It's no secret that a year working from home has had a serious impact on the mental health of employees, but leaders have not been immune to the impacts either. Whether in the office or on the road, entrepreneurs thrive when they can be at the heart of the action--the home office often just doesn't cut it. Combine that with the numerous other stress factors that came along with the pandemic, and it's no wonder that the mindsets of many leaders are in need of a serious boost.

Thankfully, there are a number of innovative people, companies, and practices working on potential solutions to this mental unwellness epidemic. One of the most promising approaches--neurofeedback--has historically been reserved for in-clinic usage, but recent developments have made it possible to take advantage of this brain-training regimen from home.

What Is Neurofeedback? 

The brain is full of complex and ever-evolving pathways whose functioning determines everything from mood to behavior and cognition. Using electroencephalograms (EEGs) to measure the strength and frequency of brain waves, neurofeedback uses operant conditioning to train individuals to increase certain brain waves and inhibit others. This self-regulation enables the brain to function more effectively and efficiently, improving focus and concentration and dampening distractions and anxiety. 

By encouraging the presence of positive brain waves and suppressing negative ones, neurofeedback makes it possible to improve your overall state of mental well-being over time. Whether you need help repairing poor sleep patterns or just want to boost your mental resilience, neurofeedback could hold the key. It's no wonder, then, that the practice has started to gain a serious foothold among business leaders.

Getting in "the Zone"

While it's unlikely that stressful elements of business life are going to disappear, achieving a more relaxed, focused mental state can help leaders deal with them better. When the brain spends less time overthinking situations and keeping its owner calm, it can more effectively process information and find innovative solutions.

As leaders have searched for ways to head their organizations without negatively impacting their own mental health, many have turned to neurofeedback as a potential fix. Tony Robbins, for example, is a famous proponent of a neurofeedback program offered by the Biocybernaut Institute, a program that the company claims can permanently increase a user's IQ level by 11.7 points on average. Its fans credit it with improving everything from their resting heart rate to their creativity.

Bringing It Home

While these benefits are undeniably appealing, the retreats offered by companies like Biocybernaut will be cost- or time-prohibitive for many business leaders. Fortunately, companies are now popping up that offer EEG-informed neurofeedback programs that can be used at home. These offerings are ideal for leaders who can't spare the time (or pony up the considerable cash) to attend a retreat or go to a clinic. 

At-home neurofeedback company Healium's offering, for example, has been shown to reduce anxiety by as much as one-third in its users. Myndlift, another at-home neurofeedback provider, reports that in 23 controlled studies, neurofeedback users experienced improvements in a range of performance markers, from executive attention and memory to psychomotor skills and reaction time. Results like these may well convince business leaders who might otherwise be skeptical of such treatments. 

As with any therapy, the results of neurofeedback can differ according to the individual. Users who wish to improve their concentration and alertness by increasing the frequency of gamma or beta waves may experience panicky feelings or racing thoughts, for example. Those who seek to calm themselves by increasing the frequency of theta waves may feel sluggish or have difficulty focusing. Fortunately, if these side effects occur, they are generally temporary and tend to diminish as therapy proceeds.

Business uncertainty and remote work aren't going away anytime soon, so leaders need solutions that produce lasting mental health results. As the accessibility of neurofeedback treatments grows, so too will their viability for entrepreneurs.