The Lifestyle Prescription Assessment is a cumulation of hundreds of peer-reviewed neuroscience research articles brought together to help you understand your brain.
The "getting to know you" portion will ask you questions about what you experience emotionally, behaviorally, and cognitively.
This part should take about 15 to 30 minutes.
Your results will show you which regions of your brain are likely causing you trouble and offer simple DIY solutions you can incorporate into your routine for a more optimized life.
Once you start the assessment, an email will be sent to the address you provide with a link to access the assessment in case you're not able to compete the assessment all in one go.
When you're done, your report will automatically generate for download and it will also be emailed to you.
Your privacy is taken seriously. Your information will not be sold or distributed.
As a licensed clinical mental health therapist, Andrea Hanson M.Ed discovered a gap in knowledge about neuroscience, especially when it comes to self-improvement.
Most of what is available to the public in regards to mental well-being is centered around mindset, nutrition, and fitness.
While all of those are important pillars, the brain is far more complex and there are plenty of other ways to target specific regions that are causing symptoms.
Andrea spent the next year reading through neuro and cognitive science research, compiling the most recent information about which regions of the brain impact which behaviors, thoughts, traits, emotions, and physical manifestations (inflammation, weight, pain, etc.) as well as specific DIY activities that are shown to target improvement in each region of the brain.
To make the information as user-friendly as possible, Andrea created Lifestyle Prescriptions so each individual can get access to the information that is most applicable to them.
. The way that we experience the world, in turn, helps shape the way our brain interacts with the world and itself.
Decades of research has shown that the more we study, the more complex and delicate these systems are. Our experience of ourselves, the world around us, our mood, our behaviors, and our general health can be altered drastically by any number of dysfunctions within a system or in the way one system communicates with another.
As complicated as the brain is, there are functional brain scans that show us areas involved in certain functions and altered neural behaviors when symptoms are present.
There are a number of ways research psychologists measure levels of hormones, neurotransmitters, connections, interactions, etc of brain regions that shed light on what is causing symptoms and what can alleviate them.
In the professional sector, there is a lot that can be done for symptoms. Psychiatrists can prescribe medications that help the brain synthesize, receive, and process chemicals that are needed to help restore the brain to a state of being plastic, flexible, and adaptable.
Mental health therapists use techniques and teach skills that help heal neurological reactions, adjust chemical balances, adjust neural interactions, change the density or size of a brain region, and overall move towards a healthy brain state, restoring wellness throughout the many impacted body systems.
Various types of doctors have interventions that can help reduce bodily symptoms. Best results in treatment come when all of these types of professionals are working together, blending each specialty to meet the needs of the client.
Our environment and experiences inform neural activity and shape brain regions without us even thinking about it. So , it goes without saying , that when we intentionally expose our brains and bodies to specific environments and experiences, we are altering our neural activity.
Lifestyle Prescriptions offers activities that are shown to target neural activity in specific regions of your brain. Many of these activities can be done anywhere, without one- on- one professional facilitation.
These two functional brain scans show the psychological impact in a couple who experienced a car crash together.
The couple were taken to the emergency room by EMT’s. Although EMT's had to pull the wife out of the car, the Doctor's assessment showed they were healthy. They were discharged and told they could return to their regular work activities.
Both returned to work that same day, supposedly physically healthy, but they were moody. Over the next three months, they became more and more irritable, fighting with each other more than ever before. They also could not sleep. They started drinking alcohol to fall asleep every night even though they didn’t have a history of alcohol misuse.
When they finally sought help from a mental health professional. Ruth Lantheus, who took these scans, they learned they had not left the accident physically unscathed after all.
The first scan shows that the husband in the accident was in a state of hyperarousal.
Dr. Lantheus could see from this scan that several functions in his brain are stuck in a loop of thinking he is going to die. These functions are unable to make sense of what happened or that time has passed.
Even though he was able to function enough to work, several parts of his brain were overactive, leaving other parts under- active for several months, which caused the emotional and behavior symptoms he was experiencing.
In the second scan, we can see the wife's brain functioning was well below what it would normally be. The scan shows a state of parasympathetic shut down, essentially playing dead out of reaction to fearing imminent death.
This explains why paramedics had to pull the wife out of the car even though she didn’t have any physical injuries that were visible to the naked eye. It also explains why her brain hadn’t been functioning very well over the last few months. It was having to compensate for the systems stuck in a state of shock.
From these two scans, we can see that the same event can impact people in very different ways on a neurological level, causing hyper or hypo arousal in varying systems and in communication between those systems.
This is also a plain example of how getting back to work or daily life in order to “get over” something with time isn’t an effective intervention.
Lifestyle Prescriptions is a simple yet important stepping stone in spreading awareness of the neurobiological impacts of emotional life experiences.
Most of the brain’s development happens before the age of 6. What would happen if a person’s brain was in a state like these previous scans sporadically as their brain was developing?
A cascade of issues. Parts of the brain would be way too activated while others would not be active enough.
Some chemicals would learn to release much too quickly while others would not release when they are supposed to.
These brain scans give us a glimpse of the impact disruptions have on the development of the brain. The top scan shows someone without significant disruption.
In the above brain scan, the person is aware of what is going on both inside and outside of their body. They know if they need a sweater or if they need to go to the bathroom.
They are thinking about what they want in the short and long term, and the steps they need to take to achieve what they want. They know where their body is in relation to objects around themselves. Overall, they have a sense of who they are, how to take care of themselves, and are grounded in the present moment.
The next brain scan shows someone who has had big emotional disruptions in their development.
The person above does not have a firm sense of who they are and where they are going in life or how to get there. They can have a logical conversation, they would likely even ask for advice in a conversation, but their ability to follow through with that advice is not available to them.
Staying on task, completing goals, and avoiding self-sabotage is likely difficult for them.
This person does not feel safe and they’re and their brain/body connection isn’t offering them a sense of being grounded and present
in their environment, which might cause them to be very fidgety and clumsy or find it challenging to sit very still.
They are capable of going about their lives appearing put together and intelligent and are simultaneously caught up in cycles that sabotage their ability to experience fulfillment across many areas of their lives.
If the harm done to the brain’s functioning goes untreated for years rather than three months, how much damage might a person do to their lives, their relationships, their careers, their own bodies?
Research shows it would be an immense amount. They would be more likely to :
Get low grades
Have behavioral problems
Struggle with friendships
Have volatile relationships
Be diagnosed with a myriad of mental health issues
Earn lower income or earn an extremely high income as a form of dissociation but wreak havoc on their personal lives, relationships, and family
Develop health issues such as inflammatory diseases, autoimmune diseases, skin irritability, endocrine issues, bowel dysfunction, obesity, heart disease, heart attacks, and cancer.
Through all of this, the likelihood that they will have their emotional distress and "problematic" behavior blamed on them. They may have behavioral programs implemented in their lives in attempts to motivate them to act differently when the reality is they are neurologically incapable, which is likely to lead them to feeling defective, stupid, crazy, and like a failure.
They may find temporary or surface level relief from their symptoms through medications, but the underlying systemic disruptions will likely be stirring more and more trouble deeper down the longer they go ignored.
Lifestyle Prescriptions is a helpful tool for understanding if and how your brain has been altered throughout life and empower you with interventions you can apply on your own to target improvement in specific impacted regions allowing you to experiences a more optimized, healed mind.
*lifestyle prescriptions is not a medical assessment nor does it replace professional medical and therapeutic care. Always check with your licensed providers before changing your routine.