This Guy Took Our Breath Away.

What can you do with a 49 cent jar of bubbles and a heart of gold?

Daniel Hamiel, implementing biofeedback techniques in schools all over Israel.
Touch 250,000 kids, teach them to breath properly and develop necessary coping skills to deal with everyday life situations and trauma.

Impossible?  Not at all.

I met Daniel Hamiel at a conference this year and heard his unbelievable story that was both touching, and inspiring. Daniel created a school resilience program in Israel where missile attacks, war, and natural disasters have become a fact of everyday life. This leaves children with anxiety, nightmares, fears, difficulties with school and sleeping, detachment, and social withdrawal.  With this level of trauma everywhere, how could you hope to create balance in a child’s life in that environment?

Think about all the simple things we do to create balance within our lives.  Taking time for yourself, exercising, eating right, balancing our work and family needs; as simple as it could be, it still doesn’t ensure that we do it, despite the fact that we know it works.

Not everybody in Israel has the opportunity to create this kind of balance due to the situation and environment in which they live. The country stays in a constant state of survival mode, where people are thankful for each breath they take. Breath is life.  On a brief aside, did you know that research shows a high correlation between high blood pressure and poor breathing?

Nothing is more basic than breathing. We have to do it, but we don’t understand the impact that breathing can have on our well being.  We don’t think about the physiological function that occurs, and the impact that breathing has on our heart beat.  Did you know if you slow your breathe down, you can change your heart rate?  If you change your heart rate you feel calmer.  Breath can be a powerful tool and an easy one to master.  Daniel Hamiel is teaching many people to breathe properly through a simple and readily available activity, blowing bubbles.

Bubbles, that is a flash back memory, two little boys running around blowing bubbles, fun times. We all have fond memories of blowing bubbles with our children, they cost next to nothing, and you can do it anywhere, anytime.  But I never thought about using bubbles to teach people how to breathe. Think about what happens when you slowly exhale into a ring doused with soapy solution, a big beautiful bubble emerges. You are controlling your exhalation, probably to a count of six, and you are breathing at an optimal rate.

Daniel, along with a staff of three, has been to going into the school systems and teaching these proper breathing techniques to the counselors. In turn, the counselors teach the teachers, and of course, the teachers teach the children.  The children teach the parents and their siblings.  How simple can that be?  Simple enough to work anywhere, anytime. Daniel is helping little by little to enact change and bring a small sliver of calm into a very turbulent part of the world.

We encourage you to learn more about your breathing patterns, visit www.drweil.com.  Or, place your hand on your abdomen and count as you inhale and as you exhale.  Try to get to a count of 6 to begin with, if you are full of air before you get to 6, then pause and exhale.  Aim for 6 seconds of breath in, and 6 seconds out, resulting in 5 total breaths a minute. This is the optimal amount of breath for relaxation.

Get a feel for how you breathe, and try to bring some calmness into your crazy day.

Cognitive Behavior Disorders Center spreads awareness to both professional athletes and everyday people on the role biofeedback and neurofeedback can play in their lives.

We were proud to participate in the 2012 Ticketstock show this past weekend.  It was great fun hanging out with all the professional athletes, getting pictures taken with old and new stars, and getting the chance to meet some genuinely interesting people from all walks of life.  The best part is that these folks aren’t looking for the magic pill, or a silver bullet to improve their performance in life. In short, they’re our kind of people.

Ticketstock 2012

Our goal in attending the show was to create awareness of biofeedback and neurofeedback, and the far-reaching impacts they can have on your life.  You may be asking what a star athlete and child have in common. Neurofeedback and biofeedback give them the tools and ability to improve their mental and physical performance.  Research shows a high level of Biofeedback’s clinical efficacy for all kinds of neurological problems that range from ADHD, anxiety, to adult headaches, chronic pain, and addiction.

At the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, it was shown how biofeedback and neurofeedback can improve the management of the body’s stress response. Various athletes were trained to self regulate their physiological states by slowing their breath and synchronizing their heart rate, putting the body in a state of recovery.  They were trained to take their brain from a calm state to a focused state, and vice versa.  These are tools that can be used in the highest levels of competition, or in everyday life.

In many ways, everyday life can be a state of competition for many of us.  We can’t seem to get our “busy brain” to calm down when we need it to.  Or, we can’t seem to come out of the fog that surrounds us every day, which stops us from doing what we need and want to do, whether it be with our families, school, or on the job.  If your brain is over activated, under activated, or both, it is neurologically imbalanced.  To put it simply, the brain can’t do its job.

“Why me?”, you might ask yourself, laying awake at night. “Why do I have to work 3 times harder than my friends, but I still can’t seem to get ahead”? Sound familiar? If you had a head injury you may have changed the wiring in the brain.  If you have a family history of the problems you are experiencing, it could be genetics.  Your brain waves can be as much a result of genetics as your height or hair color.

The good news is that you can change your psychophysiological state of being.  You can teach both the brain and autonomic nervous system (lungs and heart) to self regulate.  You can create your own balanced state.  Even better, it can happen over a few months of hard work.  We encourage each patient to do some inward reflection.  Pay attention to your breath, and rank your anxiety on a piece of paper on a scale of one to ten.  Then slow it down to 4 – 7 breathes a minute, concentrating on your breath. Then rank your anxiety level, and see how much calmer you feel.  This is just a quick example of the powerful tie between mind and body, between psychological and physiological states.  Try to find a few minutes each day to get the brain in a relaxed alert state using this exercise.  If you would like to take a step further, try www.lumosity.com for a week (for free!), and see what you can do to improve your focus or your memory.  Begin to take some simple states to improve your performance in your everyday life!

Visit our website www.cognitivebehaviordisorderscenter.com and learn more about what you can do to take control of your life, hone your mind and body, and be the best you can be.

That is our wish for all of you.

In the words of St. Augustine, “The mind commands the body and it obeys. The mind orders itself and meets resistance.”