How Some Executives Give Their Brain Waves A Workout
Successful CEOs and entrepreneurs, as well as ambitious middle managers, often seek ways to keep their mental faculties sharp to stay ahead of their competition.
But training your brain to perform at peak levels isn’t easy.
And that’s why some executives are turning to neurofeedback sessions – a kind of biofeedback for the brain – to improve their mind’s executive function and performance.
“Improved health and mental focus can help you balance the stressors of daily living while keeping you headed toward your goals,” says Dr. Ed Carlton, founder of the Carlton Neurofeedback Center (www.carltonneurofeedbackcenter.com) and author of the book The Answer.
“For example, for people who are seeking a promotion or a career shift, or planning to start their own business, neurofeedback training can help improve their executive function and their performance.”
Inspirational speaker Tony Robbins is a fan of neurofeedback training. So is Olympic beach volleyball champion Kerri Walsh-Jennings.
Carlton refers to neurofeedback as “fitness training for the brain,” which is perhaps why it’s appealing even to Olympic athletes.
Here’s how it works: The process begins with a brain map, which locates the specific areas that need help to function more efficiently. Once these areas are identified, neurofeedback training can improve their function. The technology uses computers to monitor brain-wave patterns while the patient relaxes and watches a movie or video. The visual and audio inputs are varied, providing feedback based on the training goals from the brain map. The results are lasting and there are no side effects, Carlton says.
While neurofeedback can be used to improve executive function, it’s also used to treat ADD and ADHD, depression, autism, seizures, traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic-stress disorder.
Carlton says there are a few important facts business executives should know if they’re interested in the benefits of neurofeedback training:
- Why the brain’s executive function is important. Executive function refers to the complex neurological processes in the brain’s frontal lobe that help you plan, manage time and get organized. “This is where we learn to keep details in our head, come up with different ways to solve problems, and start and complete tasks,” Carlton says. This requires a complex set of skills such as being able to pay attention, self-monitor and regulate emotions.
- How neurofeedback training helps. Neurofeedback can help you regain your focus and reduce mental clutter that can impact memory and organization. “After patients start the training regimen, many of them tell us the first thing they notice right away is that their quality of sleep improves,” Carlton says. “As training continues, performance improvements follow.”
- Professional development as self-care. Neurofeedback training doesn’t alter your personality or change who you are, Carlton says. “It’s simply a training gym of sorts to help your brain make new connections that keep it in balance, which helps better regulate emotional states, improves attention and focus, and enhances working memory,” he says. “For anyone in business, all of these skills are keys to improving your performance edge, helping you break out of patterns or start new ones, and sharpening your cognitive performance over time.”
The weekly neurofeedback sessions take about half an hour and are painless and non-invasive, Carlton says. The results also last a long time.
“Once your brain learns new ways to respond,” he says, “it continues learning much the way we remember how to swim year after year.”
About Dr. Ed Carlton
Dr. Ed Carlton is founder of the Carlton Neurofeedback Center (www.carltonneurofeedbackcenter.com) and author of the book The Answer. He is a chiropractor, but prior to that worked for nine years as an engineer. Carlton’s interest in his current profession came about because of his own experience with bipolar disorder. "My first degree is engineering. Neurofeedback is a cross between medicine and engineering, using the best of both to provide relief for my patients. The Answer explains how neurofeedback stopped my bipolar symptoms, and how it can help others do the same.”