Reading about motivation for climbing…

I decided to see what my EEG data looked like while I was reading, just for fun, to see how much of the data would end up in the Active region of the graph.  Well, what do I read about?  Climbing!  I put my Muse headband on, started the program for a 7-minute duration, and commenced reading about motivation for climbing in Jerry Moffatt’s book Mastermind.  This is one of my favorite books ever on climbing and the mental game.  I’m on my fourth or fifth time reading it through.  Anyway, here’s what the data looks like for my 7-minute reading session:

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I was 36% Calm, with only 2 Recoveries from Active to Neutral, and I had a good read.  I even got some kudos from the program for having 7 Birds.  “Birds” are how the program rates your Calm time.  If your brain activity, as measured through EEG data, is calm enough for long enough, the program throws in some bird sounds, meaning that the weather in your brain is calm enough for a bird to have landed near you and chirped a few times.  Now, I didn’t know about the 7 Birds until after I had finished the 7-minute session because I wasn’t listening to the meditation program.  I was simply reading in my normal environment at the kitchen table with the Muse headband on and letting the program record what my brain was doing while I was reading about climbing.  The reason I record some of these sessions without listening to the meditation program is that the meditation program is both a distraction and a confound in my research.  And it stresses me out!  Intrusive thoughts from my PTSD have a wide-open door with a “Come on in!” sign hanging next to it if I try traditional meditation.  I have to record the session without the influence of the meditation program, therefore I don’t listen to it (ie. I take the earbuds out and lay them down on the table until the session is 15-20 seconds from finishing, then stick the earbuds back in just in case the program has instructions for me at the end of the session).  Time itself may be a confound, too, since I have to monitor it somewhat for the session length, so I’ll have to set some longer session lengths so that I can see the results of the EEG activity over a longer period of time when I’m not worried about time.  That may contribute to the EEG data in the Active region at the end of the session featured in this post.  I notice that the Active region was only reached when I would’ve been anticipating the time being close to ending for the session and sticking the earbuds back in, and I had trouble with positioning one of them.  All that is to say that the green vertical lines that you see extending downward from some of the data points on the graph represent Birds (Calm region for a long enough period of time that it registers as significant).  If you want to go back to previous graphs that I’ve posted in the last few days and look for these green indication lines of Birds, feel free to.  I don’t get birds very often, except in the case of my initial baseline of 65% Calm without listening to the program.  I had 24 Birds during that 5-minute session.  I doubt I will ever get that many again at this point!!!  I definitely won’t get that many listening to the program!!!  I want to make clear that that is NOT the program’s fault.  That is my brain, affected heavily by PTSD (to the point that my actual physical brain structure has changed), reacting the only way it knows how at this point to protect itself from further damage (trauma).  I don’t want you to think that this is a bum program!!!  It’s not!  With all of this data, you have to remember that it is EEG activity from a brain severely and chronically affected by PTSD.  Not your average Joe…

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