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|Alice in Neuroland - Page 17|
He reorganized a "chaos cupboard" of accumulated junk at his home and filed six months' of paperwork piled on his office filing cabinet. He felt more present, more thoughtful, and less impulsive with his clients, and they noticed the change. Navigating a difficult divorce, he didn't spin out in worst-case scenarios and often found a smile on his face. "I don't get as shook up, I don't get as mad--I don't seem to have access to it," he reports. "But what I do have access to is happiness. I'm happier, more peaceful, with a quiet happiness--a steadiness that brings me pleasure."
As for me, I finished an article two hours before a deadline rather than one hour late. I felt more confident and decisive. I slept more deeply. I assembled tax records for my accountant two weeks before April 15, rather than six weeks after. I went to the airport bringing a small rollaboard of perfectly matched clothes that I'd packed two nights earlier, instead of lugging on three heavy bags packed in a panic at midnight the night before the flight. Then I started waking repeatedly at night again, with worries cycling through my head, feeling more self-doubting and obsessive than I'd ever been.
When Alice fell down the rabbit hole into Wonderland, she discovered a huge mushroom and broke off a piece with each hand. When she nibbled from the right-hand chunk, she shrank so fast she hit her chin on her foot. When she took a bite from the left, she grew so tall she could barely see her own shoulders. Only by repeatedly overshooting the mark did she get herself to her right size again. My experience of neurofeedback has been a bit like that.
In the course of this article, I was offered free neurofeedback sessions by many of the people I interviewed. Each had a favorite electrode placement and reward frequency--a personal signature, like a family's special recipe for pecan pie or winter squash soup. One tried left-brain training followed by right-brain training, to soothe my mild depression and anxiety; another put an electrode just above each ear at the same time for neurophysiological stabilization; another plunked two electrodes just back of my forehead to improve my planning and decision-making; another tried two electrodes toward the back of the skull, close to my brain's parietal lobes, to improve my clumsiness, key-loss tendencies, and weak spatial orientation. (My handwriting got better.) Like an impulsive tourist at a gelato stand handing out free samples, I had trouble saying no. And I paid a price.