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There’s a way for you to Get Rid of Stress with the New “Virtual Meditation Instructor”, a text Interview with Rohan Dixit – Co-founder of Brainbot
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No, this isn’t Star Trek but a real technology that Brainbot is building. Today were talking to Rohan Dixit Co-founder of Brainbot. The science behind this application is fascinating and I believe it has the potential to change the way we live.
Here is the written interview:
Welcome to behaveyourhealth, where entrepreneurs give us insider-tips about our health.
Hi, I am Vic Phillips, Founder of behaveyourhealth
Today the topic is the brain.
-We will learn ways we can reduce anxiety
-meditations role in our lives
-What tools can we use to reduce anxiety and stress
Hi Rohan, Can you introduce yourself?
Rohan: I’m a co-founder and CEO at BrainBot, a startup that helps you learn to meditate in a science-based, quantitative way by giving you a simple self-tracking interface to your own brainwaves. I’m a recent transplant to the start-up world. Before cofounding BrainBot, I worked in a neuroimaging lab studying the effects of meditation on the brain at the Harvard-MIT-MGH Martinos Center with Dr. Sara Lazar.
Vic: What got you interested in the brain? (any events or childhood memories for example)
Rohan: I’ve always been a bit of a nerd, and went through phases as a kid where I was intensely interested in physics, then biology, and finally neuroscience. The thing that fascinates me about the brain is that it is literally your interface to your entire reality- nothing really exists for you until it is organized, processed and understood by your brain.
As a kid, my parents were into meditation and used to drag me and my little brother along to hear people speak about it. I don’t think we got a lot out of it at first, but as I got a little older I began to appreciate how self-empowering it was to give people a tool that made them happier without resorting to medication or vegging out in front of the T.V. I think those talks were where I first made the connection between the brain and meditation. It was a “light bulb” moment, like- “Oh, meditation is changing these people’s lives, and that must be happening at some level in their brains.” I didn’t learn that researchers were actually quantifying these brain changes until much later.
Vic: Stress and anxiety is a major problem for many people.
Why have you focused on this area?
Rohan: Stress is ubiquitous in our modern society. It’s estimated that the cost of stress on work-place productivity alone is almost $150 billion per year in the U.S, and that doesn’t factor in the toll it can take on your loved ones, your family and friends. I think everyone has the sense that stress and anxiety are just part of life, but that doesn’t need to be true. One of the first benefits people find from really giving meditation a try is that everyday stresses start to be less of a big deal, and that little side-effect immediately starts making life qualitatively better.
Vic: I want you to think about the work you have done while researching your product. Any tips on how we can reduce stress and anxiety?
Rohan: One thing that I’ve had trouble learning in my own life is how to take a step back and “see the bigger picture”. That’s something meditation has taught me to do. The stress response has evolved over thousands of years to help us escape predators and confront danger in the wild. We don’t need to evoke that response in dealing with your boss or your finances. Take a breath. You’re okay!
Vic: I have read about how you deal with anxiety in stressful situations.
For example, during a start-up pitch. Can you explain the “memory palace technique”.
Rohan: Sure. The memory palace technique is a cognitive technique for remembering things by exploiting our built-in spatial memory. Spatial memory helps us and other animals remember where food is, places that are dangerous, how to get back home, etc. When we want to remember a list of items, then, we can pretend to be placing these items in a “memory palace” or virtual space that we imagine clearly. It’s sort of an evolutionary hack for semantic memory.
Vic: What about meditation? Does it really work?
Rohan: There are likely hundreds of studies now looking at MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction), which is a completely secular, clinically-accepted 8 week meditation course. It’s been shown to not only have a bunch of positive behavioral outcomes on how people perceive themselves and their life, but also to physically rewire and change the brain over the course of less than two months of steady practice.
Vic: What are some of the benefits?
Rohan: Meditation has been shown to decrease stress, anxiety, increase controlled psychological metrics like fluid intelligence, and much more.
Vic: I personally visualize and construct my days in the morning.
Can you give us a quick intro on how to meditate?
Rohan: Meditation is actually one of the simplest things a person can do, but it’s paradoxically one of the hardest. Basically, the whole idea of meditation is to observe very carefully, for yourself, what’s going on in your own head once your thoughts quiet down. It’s fascinating because it’s a very empirical science, in a way- there are a thousand different techniques to get your thoughts to subside but when you do, it’s all about seeing what’s left there for yourself.
Vic: Now that we have a better understanding of anxiety. What tool can we
use that will help us with this?
Rohan: Meditation can be learned from an instructor. If it’s difficult to find a teacher, or you would prefer to learn on your own at your own pace, at BrainBot we have developed a “virtual meditation instructor” that gently guides you in your practice by keeping an eye on your actual brainwaves. We capitalize on the new scientific understanding of the brain and meditation to help you clearly, quantifiably improve and track your meditation and the scientifically proven changes happening in your brain.
Vic: How does it benefit the user? Is there a website that we can visit to learn more?
www.brainbot.me–> Please sign up for our beta if you’re interested!
Thank you, Rohan