RELAX WITH LIGHT AND SOUND
■ In our busy lives today, we need to be taught even the most basic things, from how to play with our children to how to relax. Brain Fit, a sound-light machine, promises to provide mental sharpness, deep relaxation and stress reduction to give you better quality sleep.
__How does it work? The device uses tuned LED light and color patterns and audio programs to alter brainwave activity. The programs shift the mind into either the alpha/theta state, which can generate a sense of calmness and serenity, or the beta state for cognitive stimulation, focus and attention.
__Programs, which range from 20 to 40 minutes per session, include such topics as “Drift to deep sleep,” “Vivid dreaming,” “Bubbling brook,” “Creativity enhancer,” “Designing your destiny” and “Ambidextrous thinking.”
__Brain Fit is a passive program, meaning you sit back and listen to the programs. But according to Brain Fit, as with more active spiritual practices such as meditation and yoga, “through regular use you will easly maintain your desired target state.”
__Maybe then we can all be alert and clear-thinking during the day while we’re at work, and tired and relaxed when it’s time to go to bed.
For more information visit brainfitxl.com
PLAY GAMES, GET SMART
■ The debate continues on whether brain games work, but that doesn’t deter companies like Happyneuron from extolling the virtues of their computer games, saying that after playing you will notice cognitive improvement, and after time you will build cognitive reserve. Happyneuron, which is run by Bernard Croisile, MD, PhD, chair of the Neuropsychology Department at the Neurological Hospital of Lyon, France, since 1992, produces memory games, attention games, language games, executive-function games and visual-spatial games.
__Ever marvel how waiters remember your table’s order? Well in the restaurant game, you are the waiter trying to remember if “Alfred” ordered the mocha or the latte, the lasagne or the spare ribs. (At only 20% accuracy, I would have gotten terrible tips from my customers.) Being a wordsmith and not a waiter, I did slightly better on the word games. “The Right Word” helps you find…the right word—you know, the one that’s on the tip of your tongue but you just can’t seem to retrieve. (Some of the games seem to be based on having a certain body of knowledge—much like SAT questions). With simple graphics and easy-to-understand instructions, these games are perfect for baby boomers and even those who are new to computers.
For more information visit www.happyneurons.com
EXAMINE YOUR HEAD
■ It’s never to early to start learning about your noggin—and for the curious child, the more detailed, the better. Tedco’s 4 1/2-inch Human Head Model is appropriate for ages 8 and up and has 14 detachable hand-painted parts to help you learn the anatomy of the brain. If your child likes puzzles, what could be a better puzzle than the parts of the brain? Children can take apart the pieces and reassemble them, getting smarter as they learn about how the brain works.
Available at Amazon.com
■ We all suffer bouts of physical and emotional pain. But if your life is shaped by it, maybe it’s time to renegotiate your relationship to it. In Mindfulness Meditation for Pain Relief: Guided Practices for Reclaiming Your Body and Your Life, Jon Kabat-Zinn, founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School—the man who brought mindfulness into mainstream medicine—teaches the power of mindfulness to transform pain and suffering, and to discover new degrees of freedom for living with greater ease and quality of life. In this two-disc series—about two hours—there are programs such as “Learning to Live with Pain,” “Mindfulness-based stress reduction,” “What to do about pain” and “Resting in awareness.” “Reclaim the entire spectrum of our experiences and the joys inherent in living,” says Kabat-Zinn. Embrace the “full catastrophe” of the human condition, he says, and “thrive in the face of it.” [bw]