The brain gets pushed out of regulation by illness, physical or emotional distress, and injury either to the body or to the brain from a whack to the head. In other cultures, with a steady pace in life and long-term stability in work and residence, research shows the brain to be very stable over many years of life. In today’s complex culture and fast pace, the brain can become deregulated just from trying to do everything and keep up with the fast pace.
Stress without distress is motivating. Continued stress without relief causes distress. Distress causes the brain to decrease regulation. Poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, and toxic substances are known to cause the brain to deregulate. Correcting the internal environment is part of the solution: getting enough rest, good food, and good physical functioning. Improving the brain’s regulation and improving relationships with significant people in our lives is the rest of the solution.
One lady after a few sessions said, “I can tell you are tuning up my brain, but I have to change the way I think.” A week later she said, “Tuning up my brain is enabling me to change the way I think.” Enabling the brain to regulate better, in itself, does not automatically change the way a person thinks. Talking through a situation combined with neurofeedback is an effective method of improving cognitive and emotional processes.
When there has been emotional trauma, the brain tries to compensate, but it may become stuck. Being stuck means doing the same things and re-experiencing the same things with the same unhappy result. Neurofeedback frees the brain from a stuck pattern and enables the person to move forward.