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Are Decisions Exhausting For You? This Could Be Why

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

With all the uncertainties in the world today, it’s nice to get some answers from time to time. In this episode of the podcast, Dr. Daniel and Tana Amen answer some of your questions, shedding some light on pressing brain health matters. This episode features content on decision fatigue, havening, positivity bias training, traumatic brain injuries, and more.

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Daniel Amen, MD:

Welcome to the Brain Warrior’s Way podcast. I’m Dr. Daniel. Amen.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

And I’m Tana Amen. In our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.

Daniel Amen, MD:

The Brain Warrior’s Way podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we have been transforming lives for 30 years using tools like brain SPECT imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit amenclinics.com.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

The Brain Warrior’s Way podcast is also brought to you by BrainMD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to brainmd.com.

Welcome back. We’ve been talking about depression this week and natural strategies to help and how to know when you need to get help but in this episode we’re going to actually answer your questions. It’s really important to us when you send your questions. It’s how we get our material, it’s how we communicate with you and stay connected and we just love to do that. If you would, please write down at the end of this episode something you learned and take a screenshot of it. Send it to us and hashtag Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast. If you go to brainwarriorswaypodcast.com and leave us a question or comment or a review would be awesome, we will read those. If we read yours, it enters you into a drawing to get one of our books. Either the End of Mental Illness or the Brain Warrior’s Way Cookbook.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Great, so we have questions.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Oh wait, before you start I want to read one. This is just a really good review. This is what I mean, we love this.

Daniel Amen, MD:

This is an anti-depressant.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Yeah so this is our anti-depressant. This is from Linds031. “The best. I’ve read so many of Dr. Amen and Tana’s books. They’re constantly putting out excellent research based content. I’ve changed many of my daily habits based on their research and guidance. It’s actually changed my life! I LOVE this podcast and look forward to the weekly episodes. Proud to say I’m a Brain Warrior. Thank you Dr. Amen and Tana.”

I know this is selfish that we do this but it’s our dopamine. We’re talking about anti-depressant strategies and this is ours.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Question number one. I was hit in the head by a shot put. Ouch.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Ouch.

Daniel Amen, MD:

As a child. Could that have affected me long term? You bet. You know, lots of us had accidents when we were young or had head injuries. They don’t all stick around but if you’ve noticed, you have ADD or you have depression that doesn’t respond to simple things, that could have a lasting imprint on your brain. If you ask me, “Hey Daniel, single most important thing you’ve learned from almost 170000 scans? Mild traumatic brain injury ruins people’s lives and very few people know about it because very few people have ever looked at their brain.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

I have to read this one just because it’s so personal at the moment. Could you discuss decision fatigue? I feel so worn out after work. Do you remember me yesterday? I was like just laying on the bed at like, [8:00] and I couldn’t even talk. I was so tired. Between trying to get these kid’s school figured out, which a lot of people are struggling with right now. Three of them, schools can’t make up their mind in my area. They literally have changed their mind like, I don’t even know how many times for all three of them. Trying to get the house done for the PBS show because we can’t have a live audience and the house is … There were 100 decisions. I had so many people reaching for me at the same time, finishing the book, interviewing people, the PBS show. I literally thought I was going to lose my mind by the end of the day because I couldn’t keep up with how many things people were asking me to do. My poor assistant is going through the same thing. She was so exhausted because there was so much happening.

I was just, I literally like spread out on the bed-

Daniel Amen, MD:

So what’s the answer? They want to know?

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

GABA. For me it was GABA. I literally told everybody, “No more questions.” I closed the door and I just, I took GABA and then you came in. But that’s not fair because I have you. So you came in and you’re like, “What’s wrong, honey?” Then we just sort of slowly unwounded but not everybody has you. But they have the podcast. So tell people about the podcast. It was just awful. So I empathize. Let’s talk about what they can do besides GABA. It’s calming, that’s why.

Daniel Amen, MD:

So no, and this is why you shouldn’t do 400 emails at once-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Especially not at bedtime.

Daniel Amen, MD:

It’s because you get decision fatigue. So pretty soon you’re like, for the first 10 you answer them thoughtfully and then you just go, “No, no, no,” because when you have decision fatigue like if I said, “Hey want to cuddle?” You go, “No.”

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Right.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Because-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

You’re so tired.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Your brain is empty which is why sleeping, eating right, exercising, taking time for yourself. When you take time to meditate, to breathe, to work out, you’re just like the easiest person on the planet for me. When you don’t because the busyness overwhelms you, then you suffer and everyone who loves you suffers.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

But so what are some strategies for that? For me, GABA and having you and working out.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Are you farming me out?

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

I am. Farming is a good word. I would have used a different word but yeah.

Daniel Amen, MD:

All right so how do you deal with decision fatigue is actually the next question. Tips for a healthier brain.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Daniel Amen, MD:

Go through your day and ask yourself, “Is this good for my brain or bad for it?” Positivity bias training, we’re talking about depression, this way start your day with, “Today is going to be a great day.” “What went well today?” Before you go to bed, take your supplement.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Yep.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Multivitamin, fish oil, brain boost. I mean, really nourish your brain and just know every hour you should probably take a 10 minute break.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Yep.

Daniel Amen, MD:

If you don’t have-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

If it’s something that’s hard.

Daniel Amen, MD:

So you don’t have decision fatigue. Right, in a pandemic and the ICU is overwhelmed. It’s hard but it’s more important than to eat right and sleep than people get off work and they go drinking and they don’t sleep and they come back to work and their tank is not full. It’s half full.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

That’s a good point because I remember being in the trauma unit and having that. One thing I want to point out here, I’m not going to lie, it was very temping to just have a glass of wine. I was so tempted because it’s just one of those days where you’re just like, “I can’t take any more,” and you just want to relax but here’s why I didn’t. I took GABA instead because I knew today was going to be just as busy and if I did that I was going to be tired today and unable to make decisions quickly and as effectively. The GABA really helped me sleep well. It didn’t interrupt my sleep and I woke up refreshed as opposed to waking up kind of foggy. Be careful about the decision you make in that moment.

Daniel Amen, MD:

I knew because I saw your stress that I should go to a helpful place rather than a needy place.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Yeah but you’re awesome. Not everybody’s that awesome. I’m lucky.

Daniel Amen, MD:

What do you think of the EMDR?

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Oh my, life changing and I can’t really figure out way.

Daniel Amen, MD:

So EMDR stands for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. It’s a specific treatment for trauma. It’s very effective, it’s research based and there’s also another similar technique called havening. So when you bring up a trauma, so if I have a hard interaction with a patient and that bothers me because I want to have a good interaction with a patient so I actually bring it up and I feel it and just make these little tiny circles with your hands. It actually sends signals to your brain to settle down. So don’t avoid the trauma, don’t get drunk with the trauma and you can look at it online at Amenclinics.com, our latest blog was on havening and you can either stroke down on your face or it’s alternate hemisphere stimulation or my favorite one, stroking down from shoulders down to your forearms.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

I love it. In my new book I’m actually writing about my experience when I started EMDR and it didn’t make any sense … Your first gift to me, which was a really weird gift to give someone 10 sessions of therapy which made me feel really messed up but I was messed up. Anyway, but I didn’t know-

Daniel Amen, MD:

I’m not sure it was the first first. It was one of the first.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

It was one of the first gifts. I didn’t know what EMDR was so I’ve studied on what EMDR is because I was really against, at the time I was against therapy. Now I’m not at all. But I didn’t want to hear psychobabble and blah, blah, blah. So when you got me EMDR I was really trying to understand. I went in for a couple sessions and I’m like, “Whoa, I don’t understand why this is working.” It really didn’t make sense to me. They say it’s because the eye movements, going back and forth between the two hemispheres, keeps you present while you’re focusing on a traumatic event from the past and then you slowly start … It lessens over time. Each time you think about it, it lessens. It also connects it to what was really happening in the past, but it keeps you present so you don’t go backwards.

Daniel Amen, MD:

No. That’s not how I would think about it. I’ve thought about this a lot. What’s happening is the trauma got stuck in your head and so it’s always there. It’s like the past is infecting the future. When you bring up the trauma and then do this alternate hemisphere stimulation, what it’s doing is it’s integrating the left and right sides of the brain and so the trauma goes up but then it goes away. That’s the beautiful part. So many of those triggers that got stuck in your brain, they would just resurface and they can cause anxiety, panic, nightmares, flashbacks and doing this process, it helps your emotional brain to settle down. There’s this great study where they did this alternate hemisphere stimulation and they found it calmed the amygdala, the fear center in the brain, and it activated the prefrontal cortex which is the brain’s break. It could keep a lid, if you will, on the trauma.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Right.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Does that make sense?

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Yes. Whatever, it works.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Whatever it works. Does post concussion syndrome ever get better and how? You have to put your brain in a healing environment, so critical. They did the big NFL study at a time when the NFL was having trouble with the truth about traumatic brain injury in football and 80% of our players got better. We put them on a brain healthy diet, Brain Warrior’s Way Cookbook, multiple vitamins with high doses of B vitamins, high dose omega-3 fatty acids and a brain boost that works in multiple ways. That combination, which I later put into Brain and Body Power Max, was helpful for 80% of our patients.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Then for some people, hyperbaric oxygen really, really helps them, right?

Daniel Amen, MD:

Really helpful and I’m just a huge fan of hyperbaric oxygen. We hope this is helpful. Please send us your comments, questions, reviews, leave them on Brainwarriorswaypodcast.com. If you leave us a comment, question or a review we’ll enter you into a drawing to win one of our books. Also, what’d you learn in this podcast? Write it down, post it on any of your social media sites and we’d just be so grateful if you’d hashtag Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

If you’re enjoying the Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast, please don’t forget to subscribe so you’ll always know when there’s a new episode and while you’re at it, feel free to give us a review or five star rating, as that helps others find the podcast.

Daniel Amen, MD:

If you’re considering coming to Amen Clinics or trying some of the brain healthy supplements from BrainMD, you can use the code podcast 10 to get a 10% discount on a full evaluation at amenclinics.com or a 10% discount on all supplements at brainmdhealth.com. For more information, give us a call at 855-978-1363.