Shutterstock licensed image: Heal your heart, your mind and life will follow.
Neurofeedback, ACT, and CBT: Powerful Modalities for Healing the Heart & Mind
The events and conditions within our lives can feel dramatic or difficult. At various junctures in our lives, we might feel completely overwhelmed and unable to cope. We might even lose hope, faith, and focus.
Luckily, our world is constantly changing – and so are we. And while many of the aspects in our lives can feel insurmountable, we are always in control of our perspectives, attitudes, and abilities to look deeply within ourselves.
Even the darkest night has a dawn.
Shadows disappear when obstacles are dissolved.
Science is working on behalf of all the people who are in pain. Many are creating inspiring, life-changing technological advancements that promise to improve life as we know it. All of these emerging innovations are making life more peaceful and bearable for those who are struggling.
Let’s be honest.
Most of us suffer from at least one of these things: stress, frustration, anxiety, depression, panic attacks – or all of the above. Sadly, each of these things is fueling an accelerating mental health crisis.
It might seem difficult to significantly change our immediate environments or have lasting impacts on the world around us. We might not realize just how powerful and impactful we can be!
Regardless, we can change how we respond to everything. If we’re disciplined, we can deeply heal ourselves and become more resilient. By approaching life with a sense of warriorship – a sense of adventure – we can accomplish just about anything.
While God and Guru are here to nourish and guide us, the only person who can truly heal and save us is ourselves.
We’re actually lucky to be on the planet right now.
There are so many unique healing and scientific innovations appearing almost every day. Specifically, new therapies are gaining momentum in the mental health space that could unlock a future of brighter days.
No matter the modality, begin by being vulnerable with yourself. Ask yourself what you’re feeling and what you need. If you can, call out to God and ask for Her loving guidance. When we’re open and vulnerable to the Divine, angels and transformative forces will come to our aid.
Knowing which options are available to you during your healing process is important. Here are a few that I love: CBT, ACT, and Neurofeedback therapy.
What is CBT?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, commonly shortened to CBT, is a wildly successful therapeutic method that has recently gained a lot of recognition. The idea behind CBT is that we can train the brain to respond to certain situations differently than it had before. This method involves talk-therapy mixed with Gestalt-style experiencing. This modality can also be found integrated into mobile phone apps that prompt and guide seekers to change the way they speak, feel, and think about their current situations and feelings.
Why does this work? The mind functions by firing neurons and creating neural pathways. The more your brain responds to a particular event, the more permanent this pathway becomes. People who often react negatively to events might do so because this is the most familiar way the brain knows how to respond.
In other words, the more you can coax yourself to respond differently or positively to things, the more familiar and comfortable it becomes to stay positive rather than react negatively.
Through CBT, we can learn to not only cope with stressful situations, we can learn to master and transcend them. Through CBT processes, we can learn to respond positively to even the most disruptive chaos. Breaking our negative cycles and teaching our brains to respond positively help and heal our minds, hearts, and spirits.
What is ACT?
ACT, or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, is a direct descendent of CBT, and for many people, it’s the most important modality they’ve adopted in their lives. This method uses CBT in conjunction with acceptance therapy, which teaches the patient to genuinely accept the world and all situations so that they can find peace. Another word for this technique is mindfulness, which encourages us to live in the present and be aware of ourselves and our decisions within the moment.
An adjunct to ACT and CBT – or something that can replace them entirely – is The Sedona Method, a uniquely powerful and effective technique that helps participants acknowledge, accept, and release every experience and related emotions that emerge. More on that, later!
ACT comes in two steps. First, you accept the things out of your control, whether it is the people around you, your environment, or negative events. Then, you commit to specific actions that will help you handle the stress and pain within your situation.
This method is useful for everybody, from all walks of life. It can help you, your mind, heart, and spirit become more flexible, open, and (eventually) more detached. The more we can respond positively or proactively under stress, the stronger we become.
What is Neurofeedback?
While CBT and ACT rely solely on human beings changing their behaviors, Neurofeedback elevates these methods utilizing technology. In Neurofeedback therapy, a practitioner uses EEG Biofeedback to help the patient visualize, track, and understand exactly how their brains respond to a variety of stimuli.
With this technology, the practitioner and patient watch a screen to see the way the brain responds, which becomes a primary tool within the therapeutic model. The practitioner applies electrodes to the scalp and shows the patient how their brain waves appear. Then, the patient is asked to alter this activity consciously through a video-game-like interface.
Through this method, the brain is trained to reroute its pathways, alter its activity, and ultimately respond positively, all within a fascinating reward system. This method is being used to treat conditions like anxiety, panic attacks, depression, anger, attention-deficits, sleep disorders, migraines, and even seizures and autism.
CBT vs. ACT vs. Neurofeedback: Which Is More Effective?
Whether CBT, ACT, and Neurofeedback therapies are effective has been in question for years. Many therapists are committed to using only these modalities, while more traditional therapists worry that aspects of these things are superfluous and ineffective.
Experts are regularly and rigorously testing new therapy methods to determine which are truly beneficial to psychotherapeutic practitioners. This trend is especially true for recent attempts to administer CBT through mobile apps, which had once threatened the commonly-held belief that professional therapy requires consistent human interaction and face-time with a therapist.
In 2017, a German study revealed that CBT and Neurofeedback showed the same positive results in adults who had attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. The kicker? The same positive results were found in the control (placebo) group. If nothing else, doesn’t this show that it’s not about what technologies and advancements we apply, but what our perception of them is? Maybe knowing you’ve acknowledged the problem and taken action to better your health is the most significant step towards healing.
It’s all about you. How do you feel? What helps you heal? What will help you change your mindset, and in turn, your response to the world around you? Whatever that is, that’s the answer.
Using Mindfulness To Heal
Being present and aware is natural to us, yet it often seems so far away from us. With the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, amid all of our complex webs of responsibilities, we don’t realize how far outside of our bodies we usually are. We are too often living in tomorrow, next month, or even 5 years ahead of this present moment. When we aren’t in the future, we’re thinking of the past. All the while, we’re neglecting ourselves in the present.
Mindfulness is the first step towards healing, and it can be achieved through any of the above therapies. If you choose to attend a CBT or ACT group or individual session, you’re choosing to acknowledge your problems and pain in the present and take action now.
If you choose to explore Neurofeedback therapy, you’re choosing to be aware of how your brain reacts and performs upon various stimuli and in the moment.
When conscious of ourselves in the present, we’re paying attention to who we are, what we feel, and what we want. Knowing some of these things, we can successfully heal the aspects that are most troubling to us.
Of course, you don’t need CBT, ACT, or Neurofeedback to become mindful. Mindfulness is the most basic of all modalities for healing. All you need is yourself and the conscious decision to become fully present.
Just like with CBT, you can train your brain to be mindful by default. Like with ACT, you can accept your reality in the present without being too reactive or overwhelmed. If you sit quietly amid a challenging feeling, you can find its source, accept the feeling, and then release it. This might take some time to master, but along the way, you’ll clear years of stealth emotions and experiences. Doing so, you can become free.
Find a way to make meditation a habit in your life. Encourage yourself to regularly turn inward so that you can acknowledge how you feel in the present. This alone will train your brain to advance.
Through mindfulness, we can become non-judgemental of ourselves and others. Instead of judging and feeling ashamed of our thoughts and feelings, we can fully explore them and get to know who we are.
What can be more healing than completely and unconditionally embracing our authentic selves? Nada. Dive deeply and you’ll find that you are part of a luminous and expanded consciousness.
If you truly want to heal your heart and mind, begin with a 10-minute meditation every morning and evening. As you meditate, focus on your inward and outward breaths. You might even imagine that your inward breaths are full of light and your outward breaths carry away stored negativity and stress.
Explore different methods of therapy and tools for self-reflection.
Seek a guru like Amma (Amma.org), Jesus, Buddha, or other living saints like Mother Meera and Karunamayi Ma.
Talking to a professional or a trusted friend can help you acknowledge your pain and hear out loud what you’re really thinking for the first time.
Use a diary or my Personality Cards to delve deeply into your soul to source and release behaviors and emotions that are stifling you.
Any resources that help you pause, breathe, and explore yourself in the present will put you on the path to healing.
You are a beautiful Living Being filled with light and love, born from stardust. You are unlimited potential in every direction. With a focus on discipline, virtue, and your own goodness, you can become as expanded and liberated as you desire.
Pray for others and the Universe prays for us.
LOTS OF BLESSINGS TO YOU!