Ever feel like you’ve got the blues, think things
seem hopeless, or don’t feel like doing any of the things you normally enjoy at
school? Almost every student—from middle schoolers to doctoral candidates—has
these “Debbie Downer” moments from time to time and it can keep you from
reaching your potential as a student. To improve your school performance when
you’re dealing with these issues, you need to do three things: understand your
brain type, optimize your brain, and get treatment for depression if you have
Know Your Brain Type
In my book Change Your Brain, Change Your
Grades, I reveal how important it is for students to know their “brain
type.” Knowing your brain type can help you understand more about how you learn,
study, and perform in school, as well as how you interact with your teachers,
fellow students, and others.
Our brain imaging work—over 150,000 functional
brain scans and growing—shows there are 16 different brain types: 5 primary
brain types and 11 combination brain types.
5 Primary Brain Types
The remaining 11 brain types are combinations of these 5 types. You can find your brain type by taking the free Brain Health Assessment, which takes about 5 minutes.
Students with the Sensitive Brain Type tend to feel
deeply about their family, friends, and schoolmates, are more likely to have
lots of automatic negative thoughts (ANTs), and struggle with moods. They are
also more prone to depression.
Brain imaging shows that people with this brain type often have increased activity in the limbic or emotional areas of the brain. The limbic system sets the emotional tone of the mind and modulates motivation. When it is less active, there is generally a more positive and hopeful state of mind. However, when the limbic system is working too hard, it is often associated with sadness, negative thinking, and negative emotions.
Optimize Your Sensitive Brain
Knowing your brain type helps you know how to
optimize your individual brain to make you more successful at school. Engaging
in activities that release feel-good neurotransmitters, eliminating negative
thoughts that get you down, and taking certain supplements can help students
with the Sensitive Brain Type. Here are some specific ways to balance your
- Engage in physical exercise daily.
- Practice ANT therapy (questioning the automatic negative thoughts that ruin your day).
- Practice gratitude.
- Take supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D3.
Treat Depression If You Have It
If you have persistent low moods, feelings of
sadness, or negative thoughts despite doing everything you can to optimize your
brain, it could be depression rather than just a Sensitive Brain Type.
Depression is real, and it can interfere with your success at school. In fact,
doing poorly on your schoolwork, having trouble concentrating, being forgetful,
or having a hard time making decisions can all be signs of depression.
Seeking help for depression is the first step to
being able to perform your best in the classroom and beyond. Getting the right
treatment is critical. Depression isn’t a single or simple disorder. Not all
depressed students are the same, so giving them all the same treatment will
never work. It might help some students but hurt others.
There are 7 types of depression, and you need to know your type to get the most effective treatment. With the proper solutions, you can stabilize your moods, feel more motivated, and be able to concentrate on your studies. It will make school seem easier.
Change Your Brain, Change Your Grades is written by psychiatrist, neuroscientist, and brain health expert Dr. Daniel Amen and relies on the latest neuroscience and leading-edge brain imaging to show students of all ages how to strengthen the ultimate study buddy—their brain—to be more successful in school. Order your copy here.
If depression is affecting your schoolwork, it’s time to seek help. At Amen Clinics, we perform a comprehensive evaluation that includes brain imaging technology called SPECT to identify brain patterns associated with depression and other underlying brain issues that might affect school performance. By providing our patients with a more accurate diagnosis, we are able to create more personalized treatment plans that can help you feel better faster so you can reach your potential at school and in life. Speak to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or schedule a visit online.