The human brain works in mysterious ways. It holds the commanding power behind each of our actions, acts as a storehouse of memories and experiences, creates activity patterns, and produces complex, sophisticated thoughts. These are facilitated by the presence of billions of neurons communicating with each other in the form of neurochemical signals. What’s more? No two human brain anatomies are said to be alike.
Borrowing the words of prominent theoretical physicist Michio Kaku would be apt here: “The human brain has 100 billion neurons, each neuron connected to 10,000 other neurons. Sitting on your shoulders is the most complicated object in the known universe.” However, the brain, just like the rest of the human body, is subject to different conditions and circumstances. Fascinating as it might sound, the way we react in a given situation can sometimes turn out to be inappropriate (or irrational) if the grey matter has been conditioned in a particular way, as we grow up from an infant into an adolescent and finally into an adult. Stress could be one of the many reasons behind this. It also leads to reduced focus when it comes to fulfilling tasks.
When Dharma Life Sciences (a company that helps people achieve their goals through neuroscience) offered me a stress-buster program, it sounded like an exciting proposition. The program, according to them, can determine the original factor(s) that cause stress and help stabilize them to a great extent. They refer to these factors as ‘traits’ that need to be balanced. Spanning 8 weeks, the program requires you to download a couple of their apps; ‘Dharma Discovery‘ to ‘discover your trait’ and ‘Dharma Life‘ to ‘balance’ it by rewiring neural connections) which you’ll be using throughout. A mentor would be assigned to keep track of your timely progress; he/she would let you know how to play various games on the Dharma Life app in addition to having a chat with you once every week (for an hour or so, during a mutually-agreed time).
The first couple of sessions were about finding out the primary trait. Ishita, my mentor, took a jog down memory lane as we discussed my childhood, adolescence, and (eventually,) adulthood in the first session. While I wasn’t sure how much I was expected to open up initially, I realized that being as candid as possible during my calls with Ishita was indeed the way forward. By speaking to her, I realized how much thought I put into situations that were beyond my control, and how amplified my responses to such scenarios previously were. She broke down incidents from my past and presented them in a way that I had not imagined them. The rewiring process was slowly beginning to work its way through.
The games I was asked to play on the app were placed under three different categories: Brain actions, Mind actions, and Real World actions. Brain actions include several games that vary from choosing the appropriate response in a given situation to finding keywords in a crossword to focusing on the right stimuli in a pre-loaded scenario. Initially, I found myself stuck in a rut figuring out the nuances of the app’s A.I and how it had a tendency to constantly annoy me with grades of C and D. But, as I kept playing on a daily basis, I realized that the app was trying to condition my brain to respond in the most logically appropriate way in a particular situation. Getting acquainted with this fact truly helped.
This was followed by Mind Actions. The app would basically act as my personal journal wherein I’d jot down situations and incidents that I felt emotionally triggered by. It also allowed me to weigh between the stimuli involved in varied situations and how responding in a particular manner made me feel better or worse. Personally, I loved this section of gameplay as it enabled me to look back upon daily events from a judgment-free, third-person perspective. Real World Actions is what you eventually get to. This involves reflecting, reminding, recording, and recollecting responses/actions that you encountered/performed at any given point in time.
As the games and calls progressed, I noticed a calmer version of myself taking over. I came to the conclusion that I needed to acknowledge and accept certain things in life and react appropriately, and only when necessary. This was the ‘rewiring of the brain’ that my mentor had promised, would happen. It was along the lines of a snake shedding its old skin and resuming its journey. Almost eight weeks later, I noticed that I was not getting as worked up about things like I used to. I was able to look beyond peoples’ shortcomings and found myself getting fonder of my environs. Of course, this was great news!
At the end of 8 weeks, Ishita declared the results of the program. She stated that I had showcased considerable improvement in my ‘quality’ and that my responses to her queries had gained a certain sense of composure. Statistics-wise, I had made an improvement of 50% in my quality and 107% in my primary trait that was causing me stress due to lack of control. Knowing that makes me feel good about myself. I’m glad I took up the programme despite my overwhelming work/weekend schedules as it was high time I’d opened up about certain things to the right kind of listener and did something about it. I would like to thank Ishita for patiently hearing me out every time I kept ranting, sometimes even digressing from the topic of discussion. Cheers to my fantastic mentor!👏
I did let them in on certain inputs as to how the program can be improved/made simpler for clients and I’m positive that they’ll keep rolling out newer, advanced versions of their app going forward. I appreciate how the company is attempting to resolve issues that we often write off as trivial, but often play an exemplary role in shaping our adulthood. Would I recommend it to a friend/peer? By all means! If I was able to feel more poised in a matter of 8 weeks, then SO SHOULD YOU!🙌