Wellness technique that boosts brain health- The New Indian Express

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Express News Service

Yogesh Tripathi, campaign manager at an advertising agency in Gurugram, used to be fatigued most of the time. Then he discovered ‘neuro-binging’, a wellness technique that boosts brain health, targeting the stress-related neural circuits to alleviate both physical and psychological symptoms. ‘Neuro’ refers to the brain; the ‘binging’ represents rigorous exercises.

The combination of stress management, brain-teasing activities, and high-energy workouts worked for Tripathi: his mental precision, creative problem-solving ability and general vitality improved drastically. It is just one among a bouquet of methods, which have paved the path for a burgeoning therapeutic approach—neuro-wellness—which integrates neurological principles to promote wellbeing.

Mindsync Methods 
“The release of neurotransmitters such as endorphins counteract stress signals, while brain-challenging exercises increase neuroplasticity in addition to creating new pathways that result in mental robustness. The technique increases the brain’s ability to rejuvenate and perform functions with greater acuity” explains Dr Saras Prasad, consultant in psychiatry at Yatharth Super Speciality Hospital, Noida Extension.

‘Thought-wave surfing’ is another such technique. “Like a surfer finding rhythm on waves, it involves riding the thought currents with awareness, to maintain mental equilibrium. Doing so regularly creates centeredness, which stimulates positive changes in the brain,” says Prasad, adding, “It may encourage stronger connectivity between different brain regions, reducing stress exponentially.”

‘Mindful time travel’ is an examination of the past to gain insights into the psychological baggage, one may be carrying unawares. “By enabling self-reflection, this method helps one in achieving personal goals. It cultivates mindfulness, regarding expectations, and emotions, thereby highlighting areas for improvement to enhance overall function,” says Dr Shaunak Ajinkya, consultant psychiatrist at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Mumbai.

“The technique is beneficial for survivors of Big T trauma: the sudden death of a parent, a bitter divorce, natural disasters, sexual assault or an accident. To make sure past painful events are revisited safely and gradually, a tailor-made programme undertaken by a professional is recommended. This will often be combined with advanced coping strategies and real-time monitoring, to promote healing. Those without such experiences can practice the programme independently in the comfort of their homes,” points out Ajinkya.

Neuro-wellness can be fun too. Like solving riddles, nonograms or playing Sudoku, for at least 20 minutes a day. This improves neuroplasticity or “the brain’s ability to form new synaptic connections, reinforce existing ones, and get rid of those that are redundant”, elaborates Dr Ajinkya. “The crucial brain function fosters mental adaptability, assimilates new information better, encourages learning and acquiring new skills.” A growing number of people are benefiting from combining the technique with conventional therapy, says Ajinkya, “as we live in a time when innovative thinking, creative problem-solving and crisis management are essential to succeed professionally.

Even though in therapy, puzzle pathway reconfiguration is followed in a structured manner, the method can be embraced by individuals who aren’t in therapy too. The key is to cultivate discipline since frequent exercising will improve cognition.” There are simultaneous exercises for the body and mind—the ‘neuro-binging’ that helped adman Tripathi to handle stress. It could be something as simple as counting backwards or spelling moderately challenging words while doing lunges or jumping jacks alongside. “The combination of physical training and cognitive challenges is a multifaceted effort, which alleviates stress at the neurological level.

It promotes the effective functioning of neurotransmitters associated with mood, namely norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin. By integrating high-energy workouts, neural adaptability is improved by boosting energy levels, and memory and learning outcomes. Additionally, the approach stimulates ‘brain-derived neurotrophic factor’, a protein, which supports neuron growth, thereby limiting the risk of getting degenerative diseases,” says Dr Puneet Dwevedi, the chief of mental health and behavioural science at Artemis Hospital, Gurugram.

Neuro-binging is one way of working towards a happier, healthier life. 

No more brain strain, only brain gain. 

THE HOW-TO-NEURO GUIDE

THOUGHT-WAVE SURFING

● Note heart rate, breathing, temperature and other preliminary biofeedback data
● Embrace stillness while keeping your eyes focused on an object in front of you
● Close your eyes and use affirmations or visualisation to restructure, redirect, or transform any one jarring recurring thought pattern. Alternatively, you can keep your eyes open and engage in expressive writing to transform that recurring thought into a constructive one
● After a few minutes, take fresh biofeedback readings and see if there have been any changes
● Do this twice a day, regularly for 30 days for positive results

MINDFUL TIME TRAVEL

● Choose a comfortable and quiet place
● Set a clear intention on the purpose of the session. Is it forgiveness, reconciliation, self-reflection, self-compassion, spiritual groundedness or projections for the future?
● When revisiting memories, approach them with compassion
● Identify the uncomfortable ones by defining them in a single word each. Note them down as you gently open your eyes. Take a pause, grounding in stillness before closing your eyes again and immersing yourself in the scene again to see if you gain more perspective with the opening and closing of your eyes.
● For the next few days, ruminate on the various perspectives that merged through mindful time travel and consider how you can reshape them or bring about a shift from the observations and reflections.

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