REI for Anxiety and Aggression: New study posted on Rhythmic Entrainment Intervention (REI)

We constantly study the efficacy of Rhythmic Entrainment Intervention (REI), the core technique of the REI Custom Program, all my CDs, and Brain Shift Radio.  And occasionally, I write up our findings in a formal paper. I just finished writing about a gem of a study we did on REI and anxiety reduction in a public school setting.

In this instance, the REI recording reduced anxiety every time it was played, often resulting in a significant decrease in physical aggression. This helped calm not only the child who was anxious, but the entire classroom as well.

Here is an excerpt:

Nancy was a highly verbal, though often inappropriate, extroverted, non-compliant and somewhat physically aggressive 12 year-old. Nancy was quite a force. She entered the room singing a Disney movie song. She engaged with me to the extent that she sang and danced around me, so I just jumped in playing. I started with basic calming rhythms, which had no impact initially as she kept on singing and tried dancing with the psychologist. After about 3 minutes she abruptly stopped singing, turned to me with a serious look and put her hands on the edge of my drum. I stopped playing.

Nancy then began telling me how great I was and how awesome my drumming was. I tried to thank her and start playing again but she kept on, telling me just how amazing I truly was. This exaggerated praise lasted for several minutes until I decided to start playing again. Once I did, she began singing and dancing again until she tripped and fell into the recorder. I kept playing, lowering my volume and rhythmic intensity, as the psychologist held her. She didn’t get hurt when she tripped and did not seemed bothered by the incident. She did, however, sit next to the psychologist when he directed her to the chair next to his.

You can read the entire blog post here: Case Study: Nancy, 12 year-old with Autism, Anxiety and Aggressive behavior

I should note that the recordings used in this study mirror the tracks contained on my REI Calming Rhythms CD and many of the rhythm tracks in the Calm category of Brain Shift Radio. You can achieve results similar to this study with Brain Shift Radio by selecting tracks with intensity levels of 4 or 5 or by answering the intensity (2nd) question as, “I’m agitated”.

Daily Essentials For Living With ADHD

ADHD is a fact of my life. I can’t get around it. It won’t go away. And drugs (legal or otherwise) don’t work for me even if I wanted to shut down the creative parts of my brain by using them.

But I’m glad. My unique brain gives me lot of strengths and advantages. But to properly harness these strengths, there are some everyday things that I absolutely must do in order to function at my best.

These are simple.

The problem is that they are not easy to do consistently.

Exercise

I once had a boss tell me not to come to work if I hadn’t exercised beforehand. He said I was distracted and irritable and therefore I wasn’t very good at my job. Besides, no one wanted to be near me. My boss understood this and, rather than fire or demote me, asked me to do what he realized I needed in order to function at the level necessary to be successful at my job. I was pretty put off by this at the time, but over the years I’ve come to understand how prescient he was. Now I’m grateful to him for showing me the relationship between my exercise and my focus.

Getting my heart-rate up for at least 30 minutes clears the fog and raises my mood and energy level. The exercise needs to be vigorous – I run or take strenuous hikes (the only kind available where I live) and do resistance training (that’s lifting weights to the hardcore). I also find that I can only go about 48 hours between sessions. Ideally I work out every day, but if I go beyond 2-days I can see my ability to focus start to degrade.

I also jump on my drums throughout the day when my energy starts to fade. For my focus, I also listen to my music on Brain Shift Radio.

As an aside, I created the radio because listening to the rhythms we do here helps me so much during the day. I prefer to mix the ratio between the rhythm and ambient stimuli to dial in just the right effect for me. This feature was so important to me that we invested way more time and money developing the architecture to deliver two synchronized music streams than we probably needed, since most people just let the system do its thing. Oh well…But I digress.

Bottom line: Exercise and movement are critical to me keeping my focus. Another one is:

Eating well

I need protein. Lots of it. I also need vegetables. These are the staple of my diet (when I’m on my plan, of which I sometimes fall off – and pay for it). Here are some other foods I have clear relationships with:

  • Carbohydrates: I should probably call this section grains because vegetables are carbs, but most people, when referring to carbs, are talking about all the stuff in the middle of the grocery store. In this parlance, carbs are my enemy, especially the refined kind. But even the unrefined variety – brown rice, whole wheat, etc – suck the attention right out of me. The problem is that I like baked goods. A crusty bread with butter is heaven to me. Alas, I can’t have it if I want to get anything done.
  • Caffeine: I love a good cup of coffee. I mean I really love good, strong coffee and I drink a fair amount. The thing is, the caffeine doesn’t improve my focus. In fact, I can drink an espresso and go to bed and fall asleep right away.
  • Alcohol: Can’t touch it. Depressants and ADHD don’t go well together. One beer or glass of wine (forget hard liquor) and I’m a noodle. Sure there are times when I indulge, but for me it’s like taking a sleeping pill and it makes me super groggy the next day. So I try to avoid it as much as possible.
  • Sugar: Refined, unrefined it’s all the same. And it’s the same for me as carbs. I have to avoid sweeteners as much as possible (did I mention I like baked goods?) lest I lose all my ability to focus. One of the problems is that ADHD’ers often crave sugar for it’s short-lived energy boost. The trick is to go two weeks without it. Once you’re clean the cravings stop (the same for refined carbs).

Getting Quality Sleep

Good restorative sleep is important for productivity (not to mention overall health and well-being). Unfortunately, many people with ADHD don’t sleep very well. Part of this is is due to brain patterns and part (probably a significant one) is due to poor sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene is fancy way to say sleep habits and relates to how your daily patterns contribute to or inhibit good sleep. These are things like diet, exercise, and media consumption. Here is a link to some good sleep habits.

Having said that, many of us wth ADHD don’t sleep like everyone else. I don’t need a lot of sleep at a time. Too much and I can’t get my brain back in gear. Four to five hours a night works for me. Sometimes I take a nap in addition to these 4-5 hours. sometimes I don’t.

But what I do do is…

Enjoy Meditation

Meditation gives me what 8-9 hours of sleep gives “regular” people. Twenty minutes of focused mind cleansing recharges me in ways that sleeping doesn’t. I try to get in two twenty-minute sessions everyday, usually around 11am and again at 3pm.

I’ve been meditating for over 25 years and can sit like any Buddhist; but to be honest, I prefer a soundtrack for the deepest meditations I can get. For this I use my baby, Brain Shift Radio.

Not to get too far off track but, repetitive percussion has been used for tens of thousands of years to achieve deep meditative states. You can read more about this in an article I wrote years ago on therapeutic rhythm-making practices around the world here.

The mind cleansing that I get from meditation helps me do the one last thing that keeps me on top of the annoying parts of having ADHD. That is…

Making Lists

I make a lot of to do lists. I make them for my big goals and I make them for my daily work.

The daily lists are key for me. Every night before I leave my studio or before I go to bed, I make a list of the five most important things I need to do the next day. These may be drawn from my big goals or they may be small items that have to be done to keep my life moving forward.

No matter what these are, they are a top priority. I begin my day with these items. Nothing gets done before these items are finished. No email, No phone calls.

Ordinarily, I try to keep this list to things that I can get done in an hour or less. Big items from the big goals lists are usually put aside for the block of time I set aside each week for these items.

Having a list of things that I do right away each day keeps me productive and gives me a sense of accomplishment so that tackling harder tasks is easier.

Aside from having this list everyday I work really hard to keep distractions at bay. This means…

Managing Email (and social media and text messages)

Because I run a company with virtual offices and work with clients all over the world, I get hundreds of emails everyday. At every time of day. Most of these are fairly high priority and could easily distract me from what I’m working on.

I can’t allow this to happen, so I only check email twice a day. Okay, I admit to having someone else checking my email and responding to the time-sensitive ones for me, but the important thing here is that I remove myself from the need to be connected to email all day long.

Regarding social media: I don’t touch it. I don’t feel the need to know what my “friends” are doing all day long and I am a fairly private person so I have no desire to tell everyone what I ate for breakfast (typically a couple double caps) or where I’m having dinner (usually at home with my family). I do have Facebook and Twitter accounts, but I let someone else here deal with them.

And, because I don’t have cell phone reception at my studio, I don’t use text messaging nor am I tied to a phone that I can be bothered by at all hours like most people with their smart phones.

I know this all sounds old-fashioned or out of touch, but it works for me.

Try it. It may also work for you.

Free Brain Shift Radio Holiday Downloads 2012

Every year my company offers a variety of free REI downloads to help you get through the stress of the holidays. This year, thanks to the Brain Shift Radio Member Community, we’re offering some very cool member mixes in our four most popular categories.

Download any or all of them, on me:

You can learn more about Brain Shift Radio here

 

Brain Shift Radio got more press: thesop.org

The SOP.org: College Students Enhance Academic Performance by Listening to Brain Shift Radio

Published November 2, 2012 | By Jeff Strong | Edit

 

A new article about Brain Shift Radio was just published by theSOP.org. SOP stands for Student Operated Press and this organization is a place where a lot of cutting edge student journalism happens. Check it out.

Here’s a short excerpt:

Web App Helps College Students Enhance Academic Performance

ADHD prescription drug abuse among college students is a known concern among campus officials. The percentages vary, yet studies show that illicit ADHD drug abuse rates may be as high as 34% of a campus student body. Students use these `smart` drugs to improve their concentration, help them cram for exams, and enhance their overall academic performance. The Strong Institute, a leader of auditory brain stimulation programs for individuals with neurobiological disorders, has a solution: Brain Shift Radio offers students the ability to improve their focus without the use of drugs.

The core technique used in Brain Shift Radio was developed from the Strong Institute`s 30-plus years of research exploring how auditory brain stimulation can enhance cognitive function. Called Rhythmic Entrainment Intervention (REI), their technique has been proven to be nearly twice as effective as 20mg of Ritalin for focusing. Other studies show improvements in anxiety, sleep, and cognition, among other areas. For nearly two decades, REI has been successfully used for longterm improvement in stress reduction and increased focus.

“Simply put, you can take control of your brain without the use of drugs,” said Jeff Strong, cofounder of Brain Shift Radio.

You can read the entire article here:

College Students Enhance Academic Performance by Listening to Brain Shift Radio

Welcome to my blog

Even though I blog regularly on both my business sites – stronginstitute.com and brainshiftradio.com – I’m just crazy enough to think I’ll have time to write something interesting here as well. The purpose of this blog site is for me to talk about the things that interest me personally rather than the research and whatnot of my businesses.

So, welcome to the ramblings of an adult with ADHD. I plan to talk about music, audio recording, music technology, neuroscience, living with ADHD, and, I suppose, the convergence of all of these things.