Yes, it is!
This week, I am talking to the amazing Dr. Heidi Hanna who will teach you the simple stress management techniques she has implemented into her life, and now teach her clients, that lower stress throughout the day.
Heidi is a performance coach and keynote speaker. She has trained thousands of people on practical ways to incorporate nutrition, exercise, and positive psychology strategies to improve their health productivity and performance.
She is the CEO and founder of Synergy. A coaching and consulting company that specializes in customized health and wellness solutions for individuals and organizations.
She is also a New York Times bestselling author of The Sharp Solution: A brain-based approach for optimal performance, and also, Stressaholic: 5 steps to transform your relationship with stress, and her latest book, which I love, is called, Recharge.
In this podcast Heidi will talk about
- Sleep, how much we need for optimal brain function and energy levels
- How your morning routine either sets you up for an energy-packed day or energy-drained day
- Why good nutrition is vital for optimal stress management and focus
- How movement should be a part of every work hour
- The best diet for long-term brain function
- A key strategy to use every hour for lowering stress and keeping energy high
- How multitasking might be linked to Alzheimer’s disease
Download or listen on iTunes
Stress Management – 5 Steps to Lower Stress and Higher Energy Show Notes
The most important concepts for optimal energy management (2:45)
Heidi’s take on why “Flatlines are dangerous!” (5:26)
Why multitasking is ruining your energy (6:32)
How we set ourselves up for failure every day with poor stress management (8:00)
How starting your day in stress mode can cause depression and anxiety (9:26)
That poor stress management is nerve chemically addictive (10:48)
Step #1. How good quality sleep prevents you from flatlining (11:21)
[Exercise] Understand your sleep window (13:03)
Why many struggle with making bedtime routines (14:05)
Why not using electronics in the last hour before bed is an excellent stress management tool (14:42)
Why the pull of technology is like a drug to the brain and how airplane mode is a great stress management tool. (15:38)
How the brain is like a filing cabinet (18:00)
Step #2. How a good morning routine is a great energy and stress management tool (18:50)
How focusing on completing one thing will set you up for success (19:37)
How do you want to show up? (20:39)
How being in a reactive state will hardwire your brain to repeat the behavior (23:42)
What oscillation is and how it creates optimal performance (25:00)
How thinking about who you want to be before you think about what you want to do that day is great for stress management. (25:24)
How Move, Mediation, and Mirth changed Heidi’s life (26:26)
The effect the 3M’s have on your mood (27:24)
How watching something funny can make you feel better (28:38)
Step #3 Why nutrition is important for your energy and stress management (29:55)
How your brain can throw you off your healthy diet (31:30)
How most people fail at eating well, even though they know how to eat well (32:47)
How mindfulness can help you counter emotional eating (33:38)
Heidi’s 3 key-points for nutrition (35:55)
The best diet for long-term brain function (36:38)
How social connection affects you (38:08)
Step #4. How to use movement for stress management (38:57)
Why taking a break and moving every 50-55 minutes is great for your focus and energy levels (39:42)
How to set yourself up for success when first starting out (40:33)
How poor stress management may impact Alzheimer’s (41:25)
What the best approach to exercise is (42:24)
How Alzheimer’s inspired Heidi to research the brain (43:39)
Step #5. How having fun and taking breaks are great for stress management (44:35)
What some of the tools Heidi uses for stress management are (45:48)
Ideas to how you can start implementing breaks today for better stress management (46:44)
How ”common sense” often is uncommon practice (48:20)
Recap of the 5 steps (50:53)
How you can find out more about Heidi’s work (51:30)
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1 Stress Management – 5 Steps to Lower Stress and Higher Energy with Dr Heidi Hana. Transcript
Ari Whitten: Hey everyone, this is Ari and welcome back. In this podcast, I am going to be interviewing doctor Heidi Hannah about stress management and how it relates to energy, which I am really excited about.
Heidi is a performance coach and keynote speaker. She has trained thousands of people on practical ways to incorporate nutrition, exercise, and positive psychology strategies to improve their health productivity and performance. She is the CEO and founder of Synergy. A coaching and consulting company that specializes in customized health and wellness solutions for individuals and organizations. She is also a New York Times bestselling author of The Sharp Solution: A brain-based approach for optimal performance, and also, Stressacholic: 5 steps to transform your relationship with stress, and her latest book, which I love, is called, Recharge.
So, Heidi, with that said, how are you today?
Dr. Heidi Hanna: I am doing great I have been great I am excited to be here to talk about energy, my favorite thing.
Ari Whitten: Cool, likewise. Yeah, so real quick I just want to kind of tell the story of how I found your work and what was going on when I did. Basically, for those that know. so I, so that you guys know, I should say. Basically, I was still kind of finalizing wrapping up my Energy Blueprint Product, and I knew I needed to do this module on the psychological, emotional aspects of stress management as well as how all of that ties into regulating energy levels.
Now, everything else that I have taught in the program is really, really, focused on the physiology, the nutrition, the lifestyle strategies for energy management, but really with an emphasis on physiology and to the neglect of a lot of the psychological and emotional stress management strategies.
I found your work Recharge and I read the book and I am like, “Okay, this is way, way better than what I wanted – this is way better than all the stuff I have been working on for the last few weeks trying to teach this stuff myself. So, why don’t I just scrap all of the stuff I have been working on and interview somebody who’s actually a real expert on this topic.” So, I reached out to you and fortunately, you agreed to do this.
So, with that said, first of all, my gratitude for doing this, for being a part of this program I really appreciate it. And with that said, let’s get into it so let me ask you, first of all, kind of if you could give the I guess the 30,000-foot view of energy management as you see it. What are the most important concepts to understand and things to be aware of?
The most important concepts for optimal energy management
Dr. Heidi Hanna: Sure, well thank you for that introduction and as I mentioned to you, I am honored to do this with you and we all, I think, come to the point where we are trying to be all things to all people and it can be exhausting – and here we are trying to teach energy and we are exhausted – so I appreciate that. I have been down that road myself and I really much rather enjoy collaborating with other people where I can say, “You know what, you take this piece because there is plenty of other stuff out there, especially in the field of energy and stress management.
So, I find it interesting that when I tell people that I specialize in energy nd stress management that they think that I sit on the beach cross-legged or in warrior pose, you know, teaching people woo-woo or kumbaya stuff, and so, I always tell them that energy is actually something we can measure, and you know this with your focus on the physiology part of it.
What fascinates me the most, is this brain-body interaction or integration and I was fortunate enough to spend about eight years working with the Human Performance Institute. I learned from Dr. Jack Groppel and Dr. Jim Loehr about fundamentals of energy. Very similar what you are teaching with regard to physiology and the fact that everything about the human system is designed to oscillate, from heartbeats to brainwaves, to blood sugar. We are supposed to have it up and down with everything, not just our physiology, but actually with our emotions with our stress levels.
You know, stress is good and I know we share the same philosophy on that, that we actually need stress to challenge ourselves into adapt and grow to be stronger. But it is not just with the body, it is actually the same when you look at brain patterns for example, or if you look at emotional regulation, you know the only way you get more patient is putting yourself in a situation where you get frustrated and you have to learn to be more patient.
I remember telling someone never to pray for patience or else you are going to end up so frustrated because you have to challenge that capacity in order to grow stronger. So, essentially to me, it really all boils down to energy and looking at what I call, the synergy model of energy management, which is starting from the inside out looking at physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and social, and how all of those energy tanks so to speak need to be replenished throughout the day and fortunately we have the ability to do that. That all of those are limited capacities, but they are replenishable as long as we use the right strategies to continue to oscillate.
I think you figured this out reading my book Recharge, that oscillate is one of my favorite words.
Heidi’s take on why “Flatlines are dangerous!”
Ari Whitten: Yes, yeah, I love the line from you and I am totally going to steal this by the way, “Flatlines are dangerous!”
Dr. Heidi Hanna: Absolutely.
Ari Whitten: You know, you do not want to be a “Flatliner”
Dr. Heidi Hanna: You know, that is often how I start off with people. As I say, “If you go to the doctor and they hook you up to a monitor and you see a flat line, what does that mean?” And people would laugh, obviously, and I will say, “Well, you are not going to see it because you are not going to be there.” But if you think about, energetically, what we do on a given day, and again, I want you to think of energy not just as physical, but emotional, mental, spiritual, social, how connected you feel to the world around you, or you know from an emotional level, do you feel like you are stuck in survival mode, or do you see things as being opportunities for challenge which totally changes the way your brain and body respond to stress and simulation.
Those capacities you can challenge yourself push outside of your comfort zone as long as you build in this recharge time to oscillate and create what I call, an optimal performance pulse, where you are being fully engaged and then you are being strategically disengaged to kind of recharge yourself.
Why multitasking is ruining your energy
Ari Whitten: Beautiful. So, let me ask you this. What are what are the biggest obstacles that people are dealing with, that take them out of optimal energy and performance oscillation? You know, what difference between what you are talking about stress management, and how you should manage your energy and performance, versus the way that most people are going about it.
Dr. Heidi Hanna: that is it is a great question. So, I learned this the hard way, through my own personal challenges and certainly with my clients over the last decade as well. I think the number one enemy of extraordinary energy and we talked about this at the Human Performance Institute as well, is multitasking. Multitasking is something that, we are really not hardwired to do, but we have trained ourselves to do.
So, from the brain perspective and I will get everything. As an innovative neuroscientist, I look at everything from the perspective of the brain, and there is a very simple model created by my research partner Dr. Evian Gordon called the 124 brain model. And the number one principle is that the brain is always looking for safety first.
So, it must feel safe before it can pursue reward and there is actually five times more negative circuits in the brain than there are positives. So, the brain is constantly scanning the world around us looking for something that might be a potential threat.
Now, when we multitask we are actually telling the brain that there is some sort of emergency, because why would we be trying to do so many things in such a little period of time unless it was critical for our survival?
How we set ourselves up for failure every day with poor stress management
And yet, if you think about what we do on a daily basis, people get up first thing in the morning and what did they do? They check their phone, they check their email, they surf the internet, they get on Facebook, they watch the news, they read the paper, and how much of that you think is positive uplifting information? You know, and half the time they are doing it all at the same time, they are like on the toilet while they are checking their email.
And so, you instantly put your brain into the state of survival deprivation and many people get fixated on the fact, I am gonna, unfortunately, I do the same thing as saying there is not enough time to get it all done. If the first thing you do when you wake in the morning is you think “there is not enough time to get it all done,” your brain is now looking at the world around you as lack, and fear, and survival.
And as you know that completely changes the physiology of what is happening, and even the chemicals in the brain shifting from the endorphins that make us feel good to the endorphins that amp us up. But also, essentially break us down and cause a lot of turmoil.
So you know, there is a lot of things but I think probably the biggest thing is slipping into busyness first thing in the morning without putting your brain into the optimal brain state and then multitasking throughout the day, and then people at the end of the day, “I feel tired and wired,” at the same time they are physically exhausted but they cannot fall asleep because they cannot shut their brain off because it is still stuck in chronic survival mode, and they do not get good sleep.
So, it is this vicious cycle that is happening every day that is essentially causing us to flatline. But it can be resolved with help from the stress management tools I am sharing here.
How starting your day in stress mode can cause depression and anxiety
Ari Whitten: Wow. So, I will tell you a little personal story of mine and I would like to say that I figured this out early on, but unfortunately, it took me way too long to figure this out because it is so simple and it is so powerful.
But I realized that on mornings when I start my day with checking my email or checking my phone, the whole rest of the day I spend with a degree of anxiety, and depression, and lack of gratitude, and negativity and stress. I am unable to manage my stress.
That is just profoundly different from when I start my morning with like a block of half an hour or an hour of meditation, getting outside, being in sunlight, doing some exercise, practicing gratitude, just, you know, engaging in some of those practices of a really positive morning ritual and it carries through the entire rest of the day.
I mean, it actually horrifies me to think how many days where I had crappy anxiety-ridden days because I just started it the wrong way simply because I did not have the right stress management tools. And so, I was logged into stress and anxiety mode the whole rest of the day because of that.
That poor stress management is nerve chemically addictive
Dr. Heidi Hanna: And let me add to that. You are extraordinary. You are doing a lot of really wonderful things and people will say, “Well I am, but I am doing pretty well.” And most of the top performers that I work with are doing the same thing. They get up and they run the rat race.
That is right, even top performers often don’t know the right stress management tools to ensure hgh energy every day.
What they do not realize, is that that stress and simulation is nerve chemically addictive to the brain. So, what happens when you wake up if you do not have it and you are not intentional about jump-starting your brain in the right way as you feel kind of sluggish you are missing the rush of excitement of the possibility of what might be coming ahead.
Step #1. How good quality sleep prevents you from flatlining.
And so, I think what you are saying it is so important. And I do the same thing. It is like, I know that I need to meditate, do some deep breathing, listen to some positive music, watch a funny video. I mean, I have got the whole recharge toolkit right here and yet, I want to go to work.
So, it is not even that I have to. It is that it is literally almost like an addiction saying, you know, pay attention to me because we want you to soar today because it feels good, and you are being productive, and you are amazing at it. So, it is not necessarily a bad thing but we will burn out, and we will break down, and we will be sub-optimal, even if we are doing really well, we are suboptimal
Ari Whitten: Okay, cool. So, how do we avoid that fate? How do we avoid flatlining? What are the big keys, you know, the top three or the top five keys to optimal energy and stress management?
Dr. Heidi Hanna: Great. So, I love that you are like me. What is – give me three, give me five, maybe seven but let’s cut to the chase and so that is great. I am a three fan, but I got to go with five here. So, in the book Recharge, I talked about the five most critical times during the day where you need to get your brain into an optimal state and the strategies you can use and they are so simple it is common sense. But, I have found that common sense, is not common practice. So, stay with me here and think about these five times what you are doing, and how it could be either positively or negatively impacting your brain, and how your brain is utilizing energy.
So, the first thing is by far the most important. And that is preparing your brain for sleep. Not only preparing your brain but allowing yourself an adequate amount of sleep.
[Exercise] Understand your sleep window.
So, one of the exercises I like to ask people to do – and I would love for your listeners to do this – is just taking a blank piece of paper draw a horizontal line through the middle of it. And on the left-hand side, write down a.m. And write down what time usually get up in the morning. And then on the right-hand side, you are going to write down p.m. And write down what time you go to bed at night.
Now a lot of people say they go to bed, you know, in the a.m. And that is a problem. I mean, we could just start there and say that is what you need to work on. But, what I want you to look at is; from the time you go to bed, typically, to the time you wake in the morning. Much time are you giving yourself to sleep? Because we know that the brain requires at least six, more likely closer to eight hours of sleep every night. And not only are you allowing yourself the time but what are you doing within an hour before you go to bed that is going to prepare your brain to be able to fall asleep?
So, even if you go to bed at ten o’clock for example, and you are tired, and wired, and you cannot get your brain to shut down, you are just going to get frustrated, you are just going to get out of bed, or going to go back to work check, your email, and you are not going to get quality sleep.
Why many struggle with making bedtime routines
So, if you can create some sleep habits an hour before you go to bed that actually tell your brain it is time to unwind – and so, come up with things that are not technology-based, not stimulating – so you can read a book on paper, you can listen to a guided audio, an audiobook, or guided meditation – this is where I do a lot of my kind of pre-sleep meditation stuff – you can listen to music, you can go for a walk get some fresh air, do some journaling, there are lots of things that you can do that are great for stress management.
It is just, people kind of freak out when they think they are going to have an hour without TV, or without the internet, and we have got to break that addictive cycle because it is addictive.
Why not using electronics in the last hour before bed is an excellent stress management tool
Ari Whitten: Let me interrupt you real quick. So, we die without technology. First of all, I love that! I completely agree with you but just explain why going without technology is important during that hour.
Dr. Heidi Hanna: Yeah. It is not that I am bashing technology. But there are a couple things that technology does.
This is really interesting.
The first thing, obviously, if there is actually an electromagnetic field coming from the technology. So, everybody knows that. I mean, even if you are not an expert. You know there is some sort of like vibration coming off this electrical thing that is sitting in front of me that is disruptive to the human energy system. And there are lots of great books you can read if you are interested in that kind of stuff.
What is fascinating to me, just a little sidebar, is that the earth has the same exact vibration as the human system. And so, if you take your shoes off and you just put your feet in the earth, on the grass, you will start to tune in to what your natural rhythm is. This is work by a friend of mine over at the University of Arizona
So anyway, we have got this disruption.
Why the pull of technology is like a drug to the brain and how airplane mode is a great stress management tool.
But the other thing, that I think is more important, there is a constant pull in technology. There is always more we could be doing when we are connected to the Internet. There is always an email we could answer or article we could read. And Ari, you and I are both in the same situation where there is so much information out there that I want to study and learn, but my brain capacity is limited, no matter how much I train my brain. Part of brain training is actually learning what not to hold on to because there is a capacity and if we start taking in more and more information, we start kicking out some of the other information that might actually be important to us,
So, some of it is actually just telling the brain, “you know what, you do not need to be in touch with anybody. You are you are literally off”
And I will tell you Ari, the one thing that I do when I travel. Especially if I am trying to go take a break is I put my phone in airplane mode, and I think people do not realize you can use airplay mode when you are on the ground but just that, just the act of putting my phone in airplane mode, to me says, “I am not available.” You know, I could still use my alarm, I can study the camera, there is plenty of other things that I can do, but I am not going to accept what the world is giving me right now until I am ready.
And so, I think the key with technology is it is a wonderful tool with access to so much information but recognize that the brain is wired to crave new novel information, at all times.
So, if we constantly have that puddle open it is just really hard to get the brain to actually to settle down.
Ari Whitten: Beautiful.Yeah. So, I do not want to digress down this particular point too much, I want to get back to the five factors. But real quick, I want to just add my own personal experience around that. Which is, I, you know, like you were kind of hinting at, I always feel like there is more information, there is more to learn, there is more to do, and it is hard to just, like, switch off that mode…
Dr. Heidi Hanna: Right.
Ari Whitten: …like wanting to do stuff, and take in, consume information, and like just go into the mode of, “ok, I am going to stop doing stuff.” And let my body go into rest and sleep mode where I am doing the opposite of that where I am like just doing nothing, and looking like my brain come, you know exists for eight or nine hours in the act of not doing anything we are taking in any information.
How the brain is like a filing cabinet
Dr. Heidi Hanna: And, and that, it is very hard to do, and as I say this to you as well as to your followers as well – that imagine that the brain is like a filing cabinet. You cannot just keep taking in information, you have to file it, you have to remember where you filed it, and then you have to go get it and pull it back
So, if you are just cramming stuff in, you are losing the ability to use knowledge. And so, knowledge is really nothing without application. And so, as a couple of knowledge junkies, I think we both know what that is like, and I want to say that in my opinion, it takes much more discipline to not work, than it does to work.
It takes much more discipline for me to meditate when I want to be studying or actually to take a day off when I would rather go to the gym.
And once you have trained yourself in that sense, it really does take some training to learn how to recharge.
So, the sleep one is a big piece.
Step #2. How a good morning routine is a great energy and stress management tool
And then, you know, similar to sleep is what do you do first thing in the morning. So, how do you prepare your brain to be in a state where it is going to manage energy effectively?
So again, the worst thing that most people do is the first thought that they have is, “I do not have enough time.” “I have too much stress.” “my to-do list is so long.” “I am never going to get it all done.” And instantly we get stuck in this amygdala hijack where all of the energy resources are literally being used in this little monkey varying part of our brain.
I talked about that in all of my books. First, because I love monkeys. But second, because I think it is fascinating that most people are stuck using their monkey brain – on a regular basis – which is reactive instead of responsive. So, you are reacting to potential threats around you, instead of taking in the information and actually making a good choice.
How focusing on completing one thing will set you up for success
So one of the this is gonna really weird. I have a favorite quote by me, that is weird to say, but like one day I was watching the fabulous presenter Joe Dispenza and I am a big fan of his work. And I was going through one of his trainings. Then I was watching him do what he did on stage, and I think I may have shared with you. But public speaking has always been a big fear of mine, even though I would do it regularly, and I have gotten more comfortable but. It is just, it takes a lot of energy. And I was watching him do it, and I thought, you know, I would rather be extraordinary at less than ordinary at more.
I was watching him, and he had really done a good job of kind of saying “here is the space I need to be in in order to present.” And so, he actually made an effort to not hang out and mingle a lot with people in between. And my first thought was like “how rude.” You know, “who does he think he is.” But then I thought, “Wow, that is fascinating because now the energy and the presence he brought to the work that he did. Was mind blowing.”
And so, that was a piece of it, you know, not try to be all things to all people. Recognize that we are not going to get everything done today and that that is okay.
How do you want to show up?
But the other piece is that thinking about who we want to be before we think about what we have to do is super important for stress management. And even that even the words of that when we are looking at want before need. “who do I want to be?” “how do I want to show up?” “how do I want to make people feel who are around me?” Before I start going “okay, here is my to-do list and I had better start knocking stuff off. Because, if I can put my brain and body into a state where I am grateful, I, you know, just gratitude, just running down through things you are grateful for, watching something funny – this is why I actually use a lot of humor I will go find a funny video and I will watch it. And that actually relaxes the brain and body – humor has actually been shown to decrease cortisol hormones, decreased c-reactive protein in the body.
I mean, just finding something kind of, not even laughing, just finding something funny tells the brain that the world is not such to that place. And so, why wouldn’t we take just a few minutes – even if it Is three to five minutes – to put our brain into that state, that then allows us to see the world around us as a better place, get more done in less time, and be more successful in our day?
And essentially those two pieces, the sleep part, and the first thing in the morning ritual are the bookends of your day. And this is going to set you up for success where the other three are really kind of the more oscillation management. And most of it is the pieces that you talk about with nutrition, and fitness, and taking breaks.
Ari Whitten: Cool, so let me stop you there. You said something that I think that were extremely profound and important. And I do not want to gloss over them. I really want to, I want people to get this amazing stress management tool. I really want it to sink in.
Dr. Heidi Hanna: Great.
Ari Whitten: So, one of them is the idea of being more reactive or being more proactive.
Dr. Heidi Hanna: Right.
Ari Whitten: I find that this is a huge key for me because if I start my day for example with checking email or even, even without starting it, but if at, you know, sometime in the morning I will go on facebook and check all the messages from people asking questions about this or that, and start answering questions and start getting into comments on Facebook, and then people have responses with more questions or emails, and then people have their email responses, my brain like goes into reactivity mode and my stress management flies out the window.
Dr. Heidi Hanna: Yeah.
Ari Whitten: I stop thinking about, “Okay, what do I want to bring into the world today?” “what do I want to, like, contribute?” “what do I want to create today?” And then I start, like, compulsively checking to see
If someone else has messaged me, or if someone else replied to something I said. And my brain goes into that reactivity mode, and I am, and you can pass hours in that state, in that like compulsive reactivity state, and all day can fly by without you even really doing anything that you set out to do that day. You know, the things that you wanted to, that were important to you, that you really wanted to create that day, they do not get done because you spent your day just being compulsively reactive to other people’s inputs. You know what I mean?
How being in a reactive state will hardwire your brain to repeat the behavior
Dr. Heidi Hanna: Absolutely, and also keep in mind, that while you are doing that, you are training your brain to do that again, right? Because every behavior that you do like that is hard wiring. And your brain, by the way, it is thinking, “okay while he is doing this, he is also kind of stressed because he is trying to keep up with all of this.”
And stress releases the same chemical that drugs do, that cause us to do it again. Why would stress be involved with the reward center? It makes sense from a survival perspective, that your brain wants to hardwire anything that is potentially stressful so you will stay away from it. And so, what happens is, we
Create these habits. These neural networks that make us do it again. And it is the next day and there you are again on Facebook answering all of these responses people, which are important, and you get joy in doing that. But then you realize you did not produce anything that you wanted for you.
Ari Whitten: Right, yeah. You know, at the end of the day, the way I feel about that day, and the emotional state that I spend the day in, and in turn, my energy level.
Is so different, compared to when I am in that state I just described, versus, if I carve out blocks and say, “Okay, from this hour to this hour, I am going to go online, and answer questions and answer emails, then I am going to shut it off.” During this chunk of time, this block of most of the day, and then I might go on again for half an hour an hour and answer more questions or answer more emails ensuring great time management. Versus if I am just compulsively checking all day.
What oscillation is and how it creates optimal performance
Dr. Heidi Hanna: And that is super fundamental. So, I want to just reinforce that. That what you are talking about, is oscillation. Oscillation is crucial in stress management. What you are talking about, is building your life like a sprinter, instead of a marathoner. So, you are, like, “I am going to be fully engaged, I am full steam ahead for 30 minutes, I am going to take five or two minutes to get some air, take a stretch, do whatever, and then go back into it.” And that creates that optimal performance, that is exactly it.
How thinking about who you want to be before you think about what you want to do that day is great for stress management.
Ari Whitten: Cool. So, the other the other thing that I wanted to stop you on was, you said it kind of in passing, but I think it is a really cool concept which is, “think about who you want to be before you think about what you want to do that day” and it is such a key concept. Can you just explain it a little more? Because I feel like that can be can make such a difference in your emotional state, your mood, your energy levels, and stress management throughout the day. If you just ask yourself that little question about, like, am I directing my action today in harmony with the person that I want to be, with my deepest values of all I am trying to bring into the world.
Dr. Heidi Hanna: Yeah. So, I am glad that that resonated with you. It resonates with me, and I still want to share that thought that it does not take a lot of time to have to do this. You do not have to go into a 20-minute deep meditation mystical experience, necessarily. Although those are fantastic if you do.
How Move, Mediation, and Mirth changed Heidi’s life
I started doing something a while back and, you know, without getting too much into my history, I struggled from a very early age with depression and anxiety. I had panic disorder for many years. We could not figure out was going on, I would actually black out unexpectedly. And so, long story short, very long story, I realized I had to do something different. So, I actually had to get my brain into an optimum state, just to survive kind of and not freaking out.
And so, what I started doing were 3 M’s and it was easy for me to remember. I would move, meditate, and mirth. And mirth just makes me laugh at the word, but it is actually humor. So, I would, without thinking about what I have to do, I would get on a treadmill or go for a walk, or do something that caused the oxygen to circulate through my body, and the endorphins to start to trigger in my brain, without thinking. So, it was literally just, “you just do this” and there are points in my life where I have slept in my workout clothes so I did not have to think about what wear. It was like, “just go, just move.”
The effect the 3M’s have on your mood
Once you start moving then the brain starts to open up a little bit. Now you start to get into this optimal thinking mode, you are no longer in survival, you are no longer thinking about all the stuff that you have to do. And now you can meditate. And when I say meditate I am still moving. So, meditation does not have to be sitting still, meditation does not have to be relaxing, meditation is just quieting and focusing the mind on where you want it to go. There is open meditation which allows you to just kind of wander without you know a whole lot of judgment.
Focused, or closed meditation is that, the type that I tend to do a little bit more of because this is literally like three or four minutes meditate on how you want to show up, who do you want to be what is one word or phrase that exemplifies how you want to spend your day?
So, for me, I go again on the treadmill I start walking or start thinking, “how do I want people to feel when they are with me? You know, I want to be an example of full engagement, I want when people are with me to say she was a hundred percent with me, she was not checking her phone, she was not looking over my shoulder, she was not distracted and that, that feeling that you can give to people, in my opinion, is such a gift. Because they do not get it very often during the day. And then after I do that, I have moved, and
Meditated on how I want to make people feel, my brain and my body start to get into the state to make it so.
How watching something funny can make you feel better
And then I go find something funny. So, I will go on, maybe it is Facebook, maybe it is on youtube, but I will literally, without paying too much attention to all the noise, find something funny. I will laugh even if it is just a chuckle, and then I will share it. So, finding something funny is helpful in the sense that it boosts
Positive endorphins in the brain and it decreases cortisol. But sharing, as I am sure you know, also generates oxytocin, which is a bonding chemical, which is really healing for the brain and is great for stress management.
So, this is literally, for me it is like a prescription for getting a right into the right state. I am happy to say I was able using those techniques to go off medications, pretty severe medications that I had to be on for a long time. And I am not saying that this works for everybody, but by moving meditating and finding something funny you are actually, literally lifting your brain chemicals.
So now when I see my to-do list it is still long but it feels like I can handle it. Especially, if I know I am going to take a break, a couple of times throughout the day.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, absolutely. So, are those three M’s the other three of the five factors for stress management and higher energy?
Dr. Heidi Hanna: No, you know, I have got five factors for this, three for that, seven for this. I mean, I have got all sorts of numbered lists. That is just what I call my jumpstart routine.
Okay, my jumpstart, my morning jumpstart is; move, meditate, and mirth.
Step #3 Why nutrition is important for your energy and stress management
But the other three are actually things that you talked a lot about. It is nutrition, movement, and then taking breaks. So, I will touch on a little quicker because I know that you have set the framework for that already from my perspective.
Ari Whitten: Let me interrupt, because I will just, it is something that is, that is kind of cool. It is extremely rare, exceedingly rare, that I see someone approach those topics
Dr. Heidi Hanna: Yeah.
Ari Whitten: I am listening to them talk about those things, and then I am like, “Wow, I actually agree with them.” But it is actually a shocker to me when I hear somebody talk about things and I agree with them. And I was just listening to your Master your Mindset call with John, listening to it for the second time. And I was like I was listening to with my girlfriend, and we are both like, “she is awesome.” Like, “she knows what she is talking about. I like this stuff”
Dr. Heidi Hanna: Thank you I had the same thing and I have been telling my boyfriend, I even said, you know, “I am talking to Ari tomorrow!” And remember, I go to the gym. And while I am moving, I am not often watching videos. In fact, today I was just looking for anymore because I have watched the other one so much. But you know, I think, what that it does is, there is an alignment here at saying this is not the FAD this is just science, and it is science simplified in a way that is practical.
So, I have resource binders everywhere with the science. But, what I have learned more and more is that the basic science has not changed.
When I talk about a nutrition I am just saying, “you are supposed to eat every three to four hours. You are supposed to control blood sugar, you do not want to spike it, you do not want to crash it. Eat in a way that is balanced, use common sense, and trying to be as natural as you can. Like, it is really not rocket science.
How your brain can throw you off your healthy diet
What is difficult and why I am now starting to get more into brain-based weight management curriculum is that it is not easy when your brain is jacked up. Like when you are in a state where your brain is just craving, or escaping, or whatever it is, or if you have got some brain chemistry that is off somehow, it is a whole other ball game.
And that was very frustrating for me. I struggled most of my life being overweight. For me, every day is the very focused effort to stay in a healthy weight range. And that is just, you know, the sensitivities, and I watched Susan Pierce Thompson’s interview as well. I really liked her approach of looking at a sensitivity scale and I have talked a lot about but there are just certain brain chemistries that are very sensitive to sugar, just like it is to alcohol and drugs.
And so, it is important to know that it is not for everybody. But if you are that type of person, it is important to think about that. But for me, it is still not necessarily all or nothing. It is managing the energy that sugar is giving you a lot of energy very quickly. That is going to be toxic if you do not stabilize it. So, how do you stabilize it? I am still a fan of the glycemic index. I realize it is a little challenging for people to understand completely. But if you think about that as having an assortment of some healthy carbohydrates, and lean proteins, hopefully, some optimal fats, you get your fruits and veggies in there.
How most people fail at eating well, even though they know how to eat well
You know, I think most people know how to eat, but what they are doing is, they are rushing through their day, they are eating in their car, they are eating at their desk, they are not paying attention to what they are eating, and they are just so disconnected, they do not have their stress management tools in place – their brain and their body are so disconnected – that we just need to help, kind of nudge people back in that right direction of trusting yourself and slowing down enough.
In fact, that jumpstart routine that I just gave, move, meditate, mirth would be awesome to do for two minutes before you eat. Why not stand up and stretch? It does not have to be going to the treadmill. Stand up stretch, think about who you want to be and how you want to show up, and then laugh, and then eat. Because, what you have just done is to decrease those cortisol hormones in the brain that are telling you that you need to store it for the emergency, whatever that might be. So, it is not just what you eat it is how you eat and the brain state that you are in when you consume those calories.
How mindfulness can help you counter emotional eating
Ari Whitten: I love it. So, like for example, emotional eating, eating because you are bored, eating because you are stressed, eating on the run, all of those things that people do so commonly in contrast to what you are talking about.
Dr. Heidi Hanna: Right.
Ari Whitten: Which is really, sitting down, being totally present and conscious to the act of consuming that food. And maybe even, you know, giving a little gratitude for that food [inaudible] eating mindfully, and appreciation of what you are eating, and how that, you know, I agree with you, I think that it is literally putting the physiology into a different state, and it is going to affect nutrient partitioning, it is going to affect the hormonal state that the body is in, and where those nutrients are being delivered to.
Dr. Heidi Hanna: Yeah, absolutely. And to that point, there is a lot of talk about mindfulness. And I love, I love the mindfulness research, and I love the field. What I think we need to move towards, though, is more of an intentional brain-state shift. So, mindfulness is cool in theory, but what a lot of people struggle with is, “so, how do I get there?” “so, you are telling me to eat a raisin slowly and pay attention to it. Okay, I get that. But now, how do I apply that to my daily life when I am going from meeting to meeting, or I am rushing in my car, whatever?”
So, that is why I like to provide people with these recharge strategies, and we have talked about plenty of them. I mean it is really just, what helps you feel like you are getting energy back in the tank. To calm the brain down, and just literally make it a habit that you do that every single day. So, this is sort of something I am starting to do as I work on my own weight management is, “Ok, so now before I eat I want to experience gratitude.” By the way, experiencing gratitude is not just saying a canned prayer that you said your whole life. It is literally thinking “what am I grateful for in this moment?”
And if you do not feel grateful you can feel grateful for the fact that you are alive, that you have breath, that you have food, I mean really break it down to that simple. And the brain hears that. And the brain now says, “you know what, we do not have to rush through this.” And even if you have to make it a small meal, or a quick meal, or whatever, it is just that intentionality and having this technique, the strategies to really practice, instead of just thinking that because you understand a theory that that is going to show up for you when you need it.
Gratitude is a great tool for stress management.
Heidi’s 3 key-points for nutrition
Ari Whitten: Yeah, absolutely. Cool. So, real quick, just kind of summarize. I would like the key take-home points of nutrition for energy management.
Dr. Heidi Hanna: It is super simple. My three key points for nutrition [inaudible] often, keep the balance so that is just a nutrition a nutrient composition balance that I heard you speak on. I do not think there is a one-size-fits-all approach. So, know what you need. I know I need more protein, probably, than most people. So, know what you need and make sure you are having that balance every meal, or snack even. Do not snack on things that are obviously processed, are going to give you fast energy, snack on things that are going to have some healthy fat or lean protein in it.
Why the Mediterranean diet is the best for long-term brain function
And then, optimize those foods that are going to give you added value, added benefit. So for me, based on the research I look at, the Mediterranean diet is really having the most validity from a scientific perspective of things, like these nutrients really do support the brain and nourishing the synaptic connections between those brain cells, nourishing national neurons themselves.
And I have to say with that but I am not talking about pizza and wine and like American Mediterranean diet. I am talking about nuts and seeds, and fish, and, you know, yes to some things in moderation, but really try to stick with as much as you can. Coming from produce, fresh produce if possible, but not, not trying to justify the things you want to eat because they fall into some sort of dietary pattern. I am sure you dealt with that plenty.
Ari Whitten: Yeah for sure. And, and, I completely agree with you. I am a big fan of the Mediterranean dietary pattern and of any dietary pattern, as you mentioned, there is the strongest research on the Mediterranean dietary pattern for the prevention of neurological diseases. So…
Dr. Heidi Hanna: And also, I would be curious your thoughts on this. But just real quickly that the meta, I like what you said. The Mediterranean dietary pattern, or Mediterranean lifestyle pattern, because in addition to that, their mealtimes are also much slower and much more social. So, it is not just what they are eating, it how they are eating.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, getting at what you were saying before about the emotional state that you are in while you are eating. Yeah, I think it is huge. Definitely.
Dr. Heidi Hanna: Yeah.
How social connection affects you
Ari Whitten: Yeah, and just having a more social connection too, I think, is another aspect. You know, our world is becoming so disconnected. Where, I mean, on the one hand, theoretically it is way more connected, with the internet and Facebook and social media and all this stuff. And yet, the reality is a lot of us are spending way more time, spent staring at our computer and cell phone screens as opposed to actually engage physically with others.
Dr. Heidi Hanna: Yeah, I mean, we could do a whole, another talk on social connection because I think it is so important. And, there is really good research that is just come out about the use of social media. It used to just be the more people used it, the more depressed they were. But it turns out, now, that you have to look at what they are doing when they are on it. If they are actually engaging, then it is positive. If they are surfing, they are attending to be in more of a judgmental standpoint, it tends to be a lot more negative.
Step #4. How to use movement for stress management
Ari Whitten: Interesting. Cool. So, we have covered sleep, we have covered the morning ritual, we have covered nutrition, what is next when it comes to stress management?
Dr. Heidi Hanna: Next up, is movement.
So, we kind of talked about already as far as morning ritual goes. But very simply, the body is designed to move as I am sure you know. And most people are aware of the phenomenon. People talk about sitting is the new smoking. So, from a research perspective we know that really we are supposed to have this ultradian rhythm of about 90 minutes where we have kind of an ebb and flow, we need to get up and move around.
I think that the more stress that we have, and the more demand on our energy, the more we actually need that movement to kind of reboot. So, instead of doing the 90-minute cycles, I encourage people to look more at a 50 to 60-minute cycle.
Why taking a break and moving every 50-55 minutes is great for your focus, stress management and energy levels
So ideally, if you pull all this together what you are looking at is an evening ritual and a morning ritual and then eating about every three to four hours, and then moving every hour or so. And then, it fits in perfectly that the taking breaks also occur about every hour. So, it is every 50 to 55 minutes you take a break and you get up and you move. Even if it is just standing, stretching, rolling your shoulders, you know, just standing up doubles your metabolism. Moving around, going for a walk multiplies it with about five.
I mean, we just want to get a system kicking up that energy level, getting the oxygen.
You know, even just now I am sitting and I know you are standing. You are so much better than me, but I am sitting and it is like, my largest muscle group is being squashed on this chair and the oxygen and glucose are not getting to my brain where it is needed, it is slowly kind of starting to…
So, as much as I want to pay attention, if I sat for a long period of time it would be difficult to do that.
How to set yourself up for success when first starting out
So, very simply, about every hour. You know, there is all these devices now, Fitbit, Jawbone, and iPhones, and Apple watches, that will actually vibrate. Tell you “it is time to get up.” As long as you do not ignore it, there are ways to get that.
And then other stress management strategies. I talk to people about, “how can you build that into your routine?” So, you know, massage therapists, mental health counselors have a 50-minute work hour. Why do not the rest of us? We should allow ourselves to be fully focused for a shorter period of time with a transition that allows us to not only physically get from this point to the next, but mentally get from that meeting to the next meeting.
And instead, what happens is, we are always chasing, we are always a little bit late, we are always rushing to the next thing, we are always multitasking, and our energy it is just scattered. So, not only are we not effective, but the stress hormones are killing us.
How poor stress management may impact Alzheimer’s
And I am just going to add one little piece here, I do not know if you saw this article, a client of mine shared with me on a new research study that showed that just within the last year, I believe, that Alzheimer’s went up about 19%. The reason I am sharing this now – which may sound out of place – is because the same energy and stress management strategies we are talking about, with regard to oscillation or what the brain craves, and when the brain does not get that consistent energy regulation it gets inflamed. And it is the inflammatory response in the brain that is contributing primarily to dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, all of these other issues that are going on.
So, I do not want to simplify that, but I do want to say that if you are concerned about the health and fitness of your brain. Which you should be. We all should be. These same stress management strategies are going to help you with that as well.
So, movement is a big one. Exercise it is pretty obvious. We know that exercise will help us, but I think most people miss the mark when it comes to movement because some people will go work out and then they will sit on about all day long.
What the best approach to exercise is
Ari Whitten: Yeah. Yeah. And I talked about that, actually, in the program. There are a whole hour and a half long segment on all the science around, obviously, NEAT and gentle movement throughout the day is cruicial for better stress management. The effects of sitting, the effects of different types of exercise on energy levels, on building mitochondria, and all that stuff. But typically, on that concept, I talk about people who are a beast in the gym and a sloth outside of the gym.
Dr. Heidi Hanna: Yes, absolutely. Yeah. I did a marathon to lose weight, and I gained like 10 pounds. I am sure you heard about it a million times because you start to think, yeah I am working out all the time, but then you sit on the couch and eat Cheetos. So, I get it.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, there is two kinds of compensation for that, you know. People who do exercise and they compensate with food – which is hedonic compensation. You know, compensating like, “I am doing this painful thing, so I am going to reward myself with good food” and then there is also NEAT compensation which is mostly unconscious. People who do intense exercise, they exhaust themselves, and then they go sit down and rest because they do not have any energy to be standing and moving the rest of the day.
Dr. Heidi Hanna: Yeah, I love the NEAT. I love the NEAT research, that is great. So everything that needs a recap on that, make sure you listen that, I look forward to a listening slot too, because I will learn a lot from that too, I am sure.
How Alzheimer’s inspired Heidi to research the brain
Ari Whitten: Yeah. And the other thing I want to mention real quick is, thank you for educating me on that, you know, the aspect of how this oscillation and you know the 50-minute work hours, and the brain shifting into recharge mode and not being in constant flatline stress mode. You know, how that and poor stress management may tie into neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s. I actually, I did not know that. That is that is really cool.
Dr. Heidi Hanna: Yeah. That is a big passion of mine and part of why I started researching the brain, actually, was because I had three grandparents with Alzheimer’s disease. So, my initial intent was to help just myself and my family understand that. But I was fascinated that really everything we should be doing to protect our brain is what we should be doing to manage our energy.
So, I just encourage people, because I also think that what we are doing to destroy your energy with regards to multitasking and chronic stress, is why those rates of Alzheimer’s and dementia are escalating
The ways they are.
So, I will leave it at that because again that does that is a whole another topic.
Are you ready for us to go to the last one?
Ari Whitten: Let’s do it.
Step #5. How having fun and taking breaks are great for stress management
Dr. Heidi Hanna: Okay. So of course, this is probably one of my favorites, it is the recharge.
So, we talked about what you did before you go to bed, what you do when you wake up, how you eat, how you move now let us talk about breaks. And I wrote the book Recharge because I was so shocked that my clients kept coming to me and saying, “well what do you mean take a break?” Like what do I do? And I thought, “well, what do you do for fun?” Or like, “what do you do to relax? Or, “what do you do to make yourself feel better?” And they did not know, they could not come up with anything.
So, I started sort of putting together a list and there is plenty of things. But I think, when you are at that moment you need to have a recharge toolkit, toolbox list, whatever next to you. Because you are not necessarily going to think about it.
I have created a recharge playlist where have music that I actually go to when I need to take a break. And music – three four minutes long it is the perfect amount of time – when I am talking about a recharge. Great by the way, I am not saying 20 minutes, I am saying three to five minutes short intentional breaks to just allow the cognitive process of your brain to slow down – and the emotional reflective self-regulation parts of your brain, which the research that I am doing now is showing are more important to being successful than even your cognitive capacity.
So, how do you train those it could be?
What some of the tools Heidi uses for stress management are
I love Heart Math is one of my favorite products with their heart rate variability training. Dr. Evian Gordon has another this free app called mycalmbeat that actually trains you how to breathe in six breaths per minute cycles, which is the amount of time, so it would be like counting to five on your in-breath counting to five on your out breath. And, actually scientifically validated as the optimal breath pattern. This is a super efficient stress management tool
I do not even know if I have taken that many breaths in the last like 45 minutes, you know. So, when we get into this short shallow breathing pattern, we do not realize that that sends that chronic stress message to the brain.
So, create a list of what works for you. Short three to five minutes things. I will rattle off a couple others: going for a walk, spending time in nature, watching a funny video, write down things you are grateful for, send a positive email to somebody, and a handwritten card to somebody. Anything you do that it is an active service to somebody else, you are actually going to benefit more than they are, from just a brain perspective.
(For more tools to lower stress, check out the podcast with Mark Waldman on how to eliminate stress and anxiety and increase your performance)
Ideas to how you can start implementing breaks today for better stress management
So, there is lots and lots of stuff out there. I think the key is to take a few minutes, and I would encourage you to do right now. Take a few minutes to jot down your top 10 list. What are the 10 things, that take you three to five minutes, that you can do to just reboot your system throughout the day?
And there are lots and lots of guided meditations and things that are available online including on my website heidihannah.com and we have got a page called The Brain Gym. It has a relaxation room that you can go into with music and guided meditation, it also has some other, you know, downloadable audio that you can use for free. There is lots of stuff there, it is just a matter of spending the time to go find those, and then having them handy. Kind of like having snacks available when you need them. So you do not have to think a lot to come up with something to do.
Ari Whitten: For sure, and that is something that I started doing myself after reading your Recharge book and it is definitely powerful. Like, it makes a big difference these things are… now, I really want to emphasize to people a lot of these things are simple in theory. It is not like does not like, some like crazy cutting edge extreme thing that you have never heard about, and, you know, it is like this wild new idea, and, you know, this magic pill that you take and boost your energy, it is it really it is about creating these literal recharge rituals in your life and doing simple things.
But when you layer them into your life, in a way where you do them throughout the day rhythmically, and you create, you know, this pulsation, like, you talk about of sprinting, and doing work, and, you know, being in work or stress mode, and then recharging you know.
How ”common sense” often is uncommon practice
Dr. Heidi Hanna: and, well I got it I got to say this real quick. I am so sorry to cut you off, but you will get a kick out of it. It is so simple. So, when I did my first book The Sharp Solution, it was actually technically my second book, I did one after my dissertation called, Relax Your Fat Off – which is all about learning how to relax as a way to manage weight, a whole another topic – but The Sharp Solution. So, I did a book tour I was doing this speaking engagement, and this very nice woman was introducing me and she said I had the chance head Heidi’s book over the weekend and can do I just really, I mean this was really just common sense.
I remember like I feel like someone had stabbed me because I have spent years of my life researching this, and now you are saying it is just common sense. But, it is. And so, I remember in that moment I had a choice, right? To either be frustrated or to use it to my advantage. So, I got up on stage and I said, “you know, I really appreciate this comment, the fact of the matter is, I want to make this common sense, but it is not. How many of you are eating every three to four hours? How many of you are getting eight hours of sleep? How many of you are meditating?” You know, just these comments that are all ‘common sense,’ right? But I am not doing it, there has to be a better solution to actually making it happen.
Ari Whitten: Absolutely. So, it is clearly not common sense when 99% of people are not living their life this way. It is not common, it is not common in any way. And, you know, it is funny because I have actually gotten the same remark – I would not call it criticism – I have gotten the same remark about my book, Forever Fat Loss. You know, some people have written reviews on that on Amazon saying, “Oh, you know, it is mostly common sense. It is great, good information, solid information, but it is mostly common sense.” I am like. “No, it is not. It makes a lot of sense, I agree about that, but it there is nothing about this that is common.”
And I think the same thing is true with what you are doing. It is sense, it is uncommon sense, is really what it is.
Dr. Heidi Hanna: And what we want to do is, we want to make it common practice. Because it is one thing to have the knowledge, it is another thing to have the application. The big thing I talk a lot my books about the “no do gap” what we know versus what we do. And essentially, I believe what is going to get us over that gap is energy management.
It is much easier to make the right choices when the brain sees that those choices are helpful, but it needs to feel safer. So, it has got to have that regular oscillation happening in order to pursue reward of the things that we want. And if we get stuck back in that survival mode – it is what I always go back to if I am feeling burned out, and I am feeling frustrated, if I am gaining weight, if I am not sleeping – how am I mismanaging my energy, and what do I need to do right away to just make a little shift?
Recap of the 5 steps
Ari Whitten: I love it. So, to recap the five factors so.
Number one, sleep.
Number two, morning ritual.
Number three is movement.
Dr. Heidi Hanna: Nutrition.
Ari Whitten: Nutrition, nutrition, then movement.
Dr. Heidi Hanna: Yeah.
Ari Whitten: And the last one is…
Dr. Heidi Hanna: Taking breaks. Which clearly, you need to do after this interview.
Ari Whitten: Yes. [inaudible] them properly, and I have a good memory.
Dr. Heidi Hanna: Yes.
Ari Whitten: Perfect. So, this was awesome. Thank you so much for talking to me, I feel like I could talk to you for like five hours straight.
Dr. Heidi Hanna: Yeah. Hopefully, we will have a chance to do so.
How you can find out more about Heidi’s work
Ari Whitten: Yeah, likewise. So, tell me, tell everyone where they can find out more about your work and if there is anywhere that you want to direct them too, to find out more about what you do, and how you can offer them tools to benefit their lives.
Dr. Heidi Hanna: Great. Yeah, I would love to. So, I am, you can go to my website which is www.heidihannah.com, and as I mentioned, we have a brain gym page that is free to use. So. We have some games and exercises by my research partners company: My brain solutions and these are science-based validated exercises. So, we hear a lot about brain games and whether or not they work. There is a big difference between games and exercises. And if you have questions about that, please feel free to send me an email. You can email me, that is [email protected]
And the other thing that I would just recommend. It is a project that I am working right now, it is, we have just released a brain fitness assessment, and this has changed my life, and it is really changing the lives of the clients that I work with, in corporations, or using it for corporate groups as well.
But, this assessment you can find the link to it on my website. It is called, The E-Brain Assessment, and it looks at 17 different brain capacities. So, we separate them into four groups. Into thinking, feeling, emotion, and self-regulation. You get your scores back, and you will actually see how your brain is processing information. So, certain tests will show you things like memory, focus, attention, flexibility, inhibition, those are the cognitive capacities. But we also look at your non-unconscious biases, we look at things like your stress and anxiety and mood level, as well as things like positive and negative bias, which is a huge area of interest and research and mine right now.
It turns out, one hundred percent of people who have depression also have this negativity bias. And it does not mean that you are a negative person, it is actually more a representation of a stress sensitivity. My sense is that we would also probably find the addictive brain patterns to also have this negativity bias. It just kind of means you are on high alert all the time. And I will tell you. Personally, when I first tested I was a 1 which means I was very, very stress-sensitive. I am using humor strategies, within 30 days I shifted to a 3.5, and now I am within the healthy range.
So, we know that this stuff works. These things that we are talking about, the assessment, is a great way to even see it. You can take the assessment do some sort of training for 30-60-90 days. Take it again, and you will actually be able to see how your brain patterns are changing. So again, if that is of interest, you will see information on it on the website you can also send me an email to [email protected] And thank you for letting me share that Ari.
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