Discovering the best approach to mental and overall brain health can be daunting. With so many experts, programs, and methods for promoting brain wellness out there in the world, it’s difficult to know where to turn. As founder of “The Balanced Brain,” John Mekrut has developed an evidence-based cognitive programming program called ‘Brain Rewiring’ with tremendous potential for those looking for positive change in their lives. In this post, you’ll meet John Mekrut before diving into his revolutionary method of improving well-being through rewiring neural pathways to break cycles of negative thought patterns or behaviors—but don’t worry; he’s not a robot! He’s a kind, welcoming, relatable, and humorous person trained as much in personal anecdotes as evidence-based practice; he perfectly combines both worlds while keeping things light yet meaningful within his training sessions.
Let’s chat with John and explore what makes him & The Balanced Brain special.
Before Journeying inside The Balanced Brain
Suppose you’re new to managing mental and overall health issues or trying to find a better way to look after an affected family member. In that case, you will need help opening the doorway into uncharted territory.
For that, this question was asked John Mekrut:
I have much experience with traditional mental treatments and am willing to try something new. How will this experience be different from what I had?
Many people who come to us have tried many different things, not the least of which are medications. They’ve done psychotherapy as well. Neurofeedback is rarely the first thing they try, to be honest, but that’s not currently how it works.
According to John, how the system currently works is that you’re having anxiety, depression, or something. Then, you go to your doctor, who says, “Well, it sounds like you have anxiety. Here’s a prescription for Zoloft.” In other words, they give you a prescription for some medication based on their training and experience if that’s what’s right for the particular condition.
“Our argument in neurofeedback is that (medication) should be the last option. I mean, the only time for medications is in dire circumstances. Medications are not designed as long-term interventions. There are no studies on them. Nobody’s followed up on this or done a study on these medications in the past six months, maybe a year. “Truthfully, nobody has any idea, 20 years out, what the effects of benzodiazepines are,” he said.
Furthermore, John mentioned that the theory behind the medication intervention is wrongheaded to begin with.
A Push to An Integrative Approach
John said beginning with the least obtrusive methods is a surefire way to success.
“We’re not medical providers, but I understand the principles you look at when you look at your meditative posture in the world: how well can you calm yourself as a human being? What are your spiritual connections to your family, friends, and nature?”
As John emphasized, there are six pillars of lifestyle medicine. He made sure to highlight some of the following:
- Exercise. Get your heart pumping and blood flowing with just a few simple steps—no need to join that crowded gym! A stroll around the neighborhood can make all the difference in achieving better physical health.
- Diet and nutrition: Nutrition is fundamental to good mental health. If you are eating junk food, your brain isn’t going to work very well; it’s as simple as that.
- Sleep. People don’t sleep enough. They stay up because they’re on their phones, scrolling through. Put the gadgets down and get some real sleep. Sleep is the restorative place where your brain and body repair themselves.
- Stop consuming things that are hurting you. That includes bad food, but it also includes alcohol, cigarettes, drugs—all of it, including, by the way, prescribed medications. These are not helping your brain heal itself. They’re not helping your body heal itself. It has almost full capacity.
An important exemption that John mentioned is insulin. If the pancreas doesn’t produce enough of it, you need to take insulin. There’s no argument around that. However, most of the medications that were prescribed culturally need rethinking. “You could fix many different things and avoid a lot of pain, which is certainly true in the mental health field. All of them, from Zoloft to all the other commonly prescribed drugs, have minimal uses in acute situations. They are not long-term management strategies,” John pointed out.
Address the Electrical Realities
John Mekrut: People who come to us have already tried everything. They’ve been down the medication road. They’ve had five years of psychotherapy. They still don’t feel well, and they’re wondering why. Our answer is: you haven’t fixed your brain circuits.
John further said that the source of anxiety, depression, migraines, headaches, panic attacks, and more is your brain screaming that a problem needs your attention. It’s like the brain will make you feel so bad that you do something about it.
Doing something about it does not imply masking symptoms; it means remaining vigilant. You always feel like that because your brain circuits propel you to “feel that way.”
“Fix the brain circuit that gives rise to that feeling. Now you can go on about your life and don’t need to take the anxiety medication.”
The clients that have come to The Balance Brain have experimented with all those other approaches, which haven’t worked for them. “They want to get off the drug,” John said.
John said, “You’re messing with systems that are finely tuned to work properly. We’re inserting ourselves into a chemical solution that isn’t appropriate. Chemistry does not push brain function; electricity does. The chemicals support, enhance, ameliorate, and make a normal electrical function in the brain more efficient. Address the electrical realities, and you’ll solve the problem downstream.“
An Evolving Understanding of Mental Health
As someone who will be interested in how the Balanced Brain can help people who may be struggling with mental health conditions and challenges, I asked John:
How do you think the general public’s understanding of mental health is evolving?
Here’s his perspective:
“Mental health has evolved over the centuries from evil spirits and possession by the devil to all kinds of esoteric viewpoints on mental health. We finally realize that there’s so much biology involved that it’s less conscious than we ever thought.”
A Deep Biology
John talked further about the deep biology of mental health challenges like anxiety and depression and how people have started to recognize the role of brain circuit behavior in how we feel. The feeling is an interpretation that the brain makes at a conscious level, but it is based on a deeper inner experience that the brain itself is having. The brain has difficulties processing sensory information in a way that makes sense, so it gets confused and doesn’t know how to act or respond properly.
All of the ideas have to come together very quickly. We have to be able to understand what is happening around us and how we feel about it. We also need to remember things that are similar to act appropriately. If there’s a challenge anywhere in that system, the behavior you wish to exhibit isn’t going to be accurate now.
“But if the organic structure of the brain and the circuits themselves aren’t producing the appropriate information for you, your behavior will suffer. It will be different—not what you expect or intend,” John highlighted.
John highlighted the extensive range of mental health issues rooted in our organic brain circuits, such as panic attacks, depression, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). By understanding these pathways more deeply, we can help people work through their physical and psychological challenges—a fascinating connection between mind and body.
It’s not that you have a character flaw—you’re an alcoholic, you’re a drug addict, or you have a problem.
“Your brain is driving you to seek out substances or actions that make itself feel better. It doesn’t know that it’s not very good for you to take heroin. It’s just thinking, ‘I feel better when I do.’ It’s your brain talking, not your consciousness,” John asserted.
Despite our better judgment, we often struggle with the desire to drink to excess. Our brains may be making decisions for us that cause addiction in an attempt to cope with underlying traumatic experiences. These circuits get laid down throughout our lives, from childhood to the present, and all have a net result.
The Malleability of the Brain Circuits
John revealed that our brains are not bound by genetics; they can be reshaped and continually evolve. With every new knowledge packet, we gain, upgrade, and grow in skill or understanding as life goes on. We can redeem ourselves with its plasticity, no matter where we started at birth.
“Some of our animal ancestors operated that way; their entire life structure was reactive. They’re predetermined to do certain things because that’s how their brains operate. They don’t have a cortex, and they can’t learn. That’s the joy of being human—we can always learn new behaviors. We always do. The trick is to learn good behaviors that replace bad behaviors with good behaviors,” mentioned John.
We can teach the brain to operate more efficiently, with more stability, and with a more proactive consciousness so our behaviors match our expectations.
Neurofeedback enables us to observe the brain in real-time and direct its behavior. Unlike traditional interventions, neurofeedback doesn’t require conscious effort or awareness; it works passively through observation alone! This way, our brains can understand how their activity translates into tangible changes that enhance performance without extra input. Fascinatingly enough, John explains: “It is learning by observing itself in real time!”
Helping the Brain
John from the Balanced Brain revealed that their mission is to aid clients in discovering new aspects of the brain and how it works.
Nutrition is a big aspect.
Your brain is only going to work as well as the food. It receives the vitality of the food delivered to it and its nutritional components. You have to eat well.
You have to sleep.
Allow the brain time to repair itself during the rest periods. When we abuse those two things—nutrition and sleep—we will have a world of troubles.
To truly be content, we must connect with our loved ones and nature. Exploring our environment’s beauty is essential to cultivating healthy relationships that can last a lifetime.
Exercise doesn’t mean you must go to the gym and become a bodybuilder. We can walk around. Just walking has a huge benefit, and we don’t do enough of it.
We have to avoid toxins.
We all like a cocktail or two. We need to minimize that as much as possible. Alcohol’s a poison, even when we enjoy it occasionally. Moderation is key in life, and it’s a concept that applies to all aspects of our day. Limiting toxic intake, whether through information overload or environmental pollution, can immensely impact the health of our bodies and mind.
Having explored the complexities of brain rewiring, there’s a lot to learn. John Mekrut encourages an integrative approach that speaks to the electrical realities in our brains. We have an evolving understanding of mental health and can recognize circuit behaviors. This malleability of the brain circuits offers lots of hope for real change in our lives. We can help our brains in many ways when we don’t feel able to go on as we are.
The knowledge and empowering understanding from spending time with John will help you find your way back into peace and balance. It’s no longer necessary to live in distress, whatever form your struggles take. If you’ve been seeking clarity and direction, The Balanced Brain is ready to be your new best friend on this journey toward healing. You don’t have to take this step alone! There’s support available just by scheduling a discovery call, so take the first step today!
For an even more detailed look, dive deeper into Part 2 of this story—you won’t be disappointed!
Want to be in a supportive Functional Neurofeedback network dedicated to healthy living?
Join our Functional Neurofeedback Facebook Community and reap the rewards of connecting with like-minded individuals!
At The Balanced Brain, we help people from all walks of life discover the potential that lies within. We provide unprecedented resources for better mental health and well-being through groundbreaking strategies like brain rewiring and more.
To learn more about this transformative approach to wellness – join in on the revolution and schedule your personalized discovery call today! As neuroscience continues to trust us with forward-looking applications for improving lives and augmenting performance, why not let The Balanced Brain be the bridge to unlocking your brilliance?
Treat yourself, give yourself a chance – book a discovery call today!
DISCLAIMER: The information in this email is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content is for general informational purposes only and does not replace a consultation with your own doctor/health professional.