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This is volume 7 in the series "Progress in Brain Research." Doctor Aladjalova is obviously very well versed in the subject matter of brain electrophysiology. I.
Table of contents

But while I believe that phase-synchronous training has effects similar to some types of meditation, it is not the same.

Remember when I explained that after many hours of alpha training, my vision seemed to change and open? If I looked at a landscape, I took in more of what I was looking at, with less effort. Many of my students and clinic participants have noticed the same phenomena.

  1. Mastering Our Brain’s Electrical Rhythms;
  2. Infra-slow Brain Activity Has Distinct Temporal Dynamics;
  3. Testing The Athlete's Brain – Omegawave.
  4. The Alchemy of Happiness.
  5. Slow Electrical Processes in the Brain..

What I came to understand is that we modern humans pay attention very narrowly. This is an emergency mode of paying attention. We can speculate that, in our evolutionary past, if we were walking in the forest and heard a twig snap, we would instantly narrow our focus. After we discovered the source of the sound, and if it was not threatening, we would gradually return to a more open kind of attention. Modern society and its almost continuous concerns demand narrow, objective focus. We teach our children to watch out for cars, to focus on their schoolwork, to pay close attention to what they are doing.

We do not teach them, for the most part, that they should relax and open their focus, at least some of the time, while they are learning or performing. With the constant exhortation to focus a narrow beam of attention on the world, it becomes habitual early in life. So we spend our whole lives stuck in this mode of attention, without realizing it until our focus opens. What is more, we pay attention with our whole body. Living in narrow focus, our heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, and other systems stay in overdrive.

Eventually we either get so revved up that we become chronically anxious and irritable, perhaps unable to sleep, or our bodies start to burn out. To keep pace, we drink too much coffee to maintain narrow focus, then use alcohol or prescription drugs to relax. Chronic narrow focus is akin to keeping a hand constantly clenched; after a while the muscles stiffen and we lose control of them. An extreme form of this can be seen in some children who grow up in an abusive environment. They are chronically hypervigilant and so narrowly focused on the possibility of harm that they have trouble with tasks such as reading.

The scope of their visual focus is so small that they can see only one word at a time, and they must be taught to relax and broaden their focus so that they can learn to read. Phase-synchronous alpha activity is an antidote to narrow focus, and thus a way to break its grip and reduce stress. Imagining space, while receiving feedback for brain wave synchrony, teaches people to access a form of attention in which the brain and body diffuse stress.

A new way to capture the brain’s electrical symphony

The brain and central nervous system are the master control system for mind and body. Unresolved activity from chronic fight or flight responses—hyperactive nervous and glandular systems and tense muscles, for example—are dissolved. Animals assume this state. Watch your dog or cat lying on the rug, eyes half open, seeming near sleep. The minute a morsel of food hits the bowl or there is a knock on the door, however, your pet springs up to investigate. This as yet uncommitted readiness to perform is what I call zero bias.

It is an optimal attention in which people can throttle back and rejuvenate, instead of being in a chronic narrow state of hypervigilance. In this state, synchrony takes over and normalizes the nervous system. Ideally, we can stay in that mode of attention as long as it is needed, then return quickly to an open attention.

Although paying attention is essential to who we are, we seldom give it much thought, assuming that we are either paying attention or not. The truth is that we have an eclectic range of attentional styles within four basic types:. With advanced training, all styles of attention may be accessed simultaneously. To get a feel for the changes created almost immediately by a shift in attentional style, look at this printed page and continue reading, but also be aware of the space between your eyes and the page.

Focus on the space behind and to the sides of the page. After a few minutes, your face and eye muscles may start to relax. Or sit still, and for 10 to 15 minutes, with your eyes closed, imagine space in, and between, various parts of your body, and space extending limitlessly in every direction.

Phase-synchronous alpha waves, for example, appear to be inherently stable. Much of the anxiety, fear, and depression that we experience—and repress—was never meant to remain in our bodies for extended periods. The feelings were meant to be experienced as needed, and then to dissipate. But in a heightened state of arousal, brought on by narrow and exclusive focus, these feelings are either tormenting us because they are spotlighted or chronically blocked from our awareness—avoided or repressed.

Freud appears to have understood the role of attention in therapy. He asked patients to lie down in a darkened room facing away from him, which cultivated a style of attention that promoted free association. How we pay attention—and how our attention has been conditioned to react to situations and emotional stress—is at the root of more problems than we realize. Taking medication to mask emotions does not necessarily solve the problem, any more than disconnecting a warning light in your car gets at the cause of the mechanical problems the light is warning you about.

Fortunately, stress is beginning to get more attention from scientists.

Slow Electrical Processes in the Brain, Volume 7

Bruce Perry, M. There are, however, natural antidotes to this hyperactive stress response.

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  • Mastering Our Brain’s Electrical Rhythms - Dana Foundation.
  • Certain types of meditation tend to rhythmically entrain the brain and heal both body and mind. Music, chanting, and drumming are entrainment rituals that have served cultures for centuries. All stress antidotes, I believe, are effective because they help our attention become more diffuse and absorbed. The difference is that neurofeedback training tries to give people more direct control over that attentional shift.

    When people become aware of a more diffuse style of attention, they can locate where in their body their pain or other unpleasant experience is most intense: anxiety in their stomach or chest, for example. Resisting anxiety and pain takes energy. But as anxiety is re-experienced in the diffuse style of attention, it can diffuse or disappear. Depression lifts as the need for repression wanes and the system normalizes.

    Slow Electrical Processes in the Brain, Volume 7

    Migraine headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, and insomnia appear as disparate symptoms but often they are manifestations of one problem, a stressed nervous system, and all these—and many more conditions—have been helped through attention training. We may ask how a single approach can be effective for disorders as varied as these, but often one medication is used for a similarly wide range of problems. If indeed it has such broad efficacy, it is probably because it stabilizes the brain. Certain forms of attention do exactly the same thing, while other forms destabilize the central nervous system.

    Our ability to operantly condition brain activity says something fundamental about us.

    Could the problems that we face largely be operator error—functional rather than biochemical or structural? If we know how to create the appropriate attentional environment, the brain can self-regulate to take care of many of its own problems without outside interference.

    Ongoing return to homeostasis in the central nervous system is designed to be our normal state, but as a rule we do not know how to permit and maintain it. Changing the way we pay attention is one fundamental way to do that. Spark and soup are inseparable. We coaches then think, well, it is a matter of attention, so we tell the athlete to be more focused next time. Think about factors such as attention, coordination, precision, communication, quality of movement, efficiency, fatigue CNS , motor learning, etc.

    All of these can only function optimally when the brain is fully charged. Measuring the level of DC-potential helps us detect central nervous fatigue, understand its impact on performance, and discover the effects of different training sessions and different interventions. This allows us to implement optimization of training beyond just the words. Aladjalova, N. A: Slow electrical processes in the brain; Elsevier, Burr, H. S: Blueprint for immortality; C. Daniel, Bechtereva, N. P: The neurophysiological aspects of human mental activity; Oxford University Press, Ilyukhina, V.

    Do certain parts or areas of the brain require more energy than others?

    A; Kiryanova, R. E; Baez, E: Infraslow processes of the human brain and organization of mental activity; in: Psychophysiology. Today and Tomorrow; Pergamon Pess, Becker, R.