The surprising #1 fear for most Americans isn’t heights, spiders, or clowns, but speaking in public. Many tense up in fear just thinking about getting up in front of the class or workplace to give a presentation. So how can you stay cool, calm, and collected when your name gets called? In this episode of The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast, Dr. Daniel Amen, Tana Amen, and their daughter Chloe give you practical tips to keep your head and face those fears.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome to The Brain Warrior's Way podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: 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.
Dr. Daniel Amen: 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: 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 are on day four, talking about Change Your Brain Change Your Grades. So happy we've got Chloe here. We're having a great time, and as one of the contributors, she's here talking about it with us; we're having a wonderful time. Please leave us questions or comments. You can tag @tanaamen for Instagram; @danielamen. You can go to the brainwarriorswaypodcast.com. We're also going to be doing a book giveaway, so stick with us. We'll tell you how to get that book at the end.
So what are we talking about today with Change Your Brain Change Your Grades?
Dr. Daniel Amen: We're going to talk about giving presentations in class, or at work. It's the number one fear in America-
Tana Amen: Isn't that interesting? So interesting-
Dr. Daniel Amen: Is speaking in public, because people think they're being judged; and I guess in a way, they are being judged-
Tana Amen: They're being graded.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And so they're anxious, and worried about what other people think of them. Has this ever been an issue for you, Chloe?
Chloe Amen: Okay, you know what? I have to be honest with this one; I definitely had my things in school that were big challenges for me, but I really like to talk.
Tana Amen: Really?
Chloe Amen: And I like to talk in front of big groups of people, and I like to be the center of attention. Honesty is key, right?
Tana Amen: You're in the right family.
Chloe Amen: So, this one... I would get nervous before certain presentations, but this was never a big weakness for me. But, I definitely have great tips, because I've had to learn how to give different types of presentations.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Well, you've sang at church, and-
Chloe Amen: And I'm in acting now, so I audition in front of casting directors all the time.
Dr. Daniel Amen: You were in my last public television special, in front of millions of people watched that.
Tana Amen: And I still remember your very first presentation, and you knocked it out of the park.
Chloe Amen: Talk about being judged; walking into an audition with a bunch of casting directors just looking at you-
Tana Amen: And they're literally judging you.
Chloe Amen: They're literally judging you.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So what are the tips?
Chloe Amen: Let me think; I have a few really good ones. The one for me that's really key... and this might sound like kind of a broad statement, but every person has a different way that they do it. It was honestly just minimizing in your head. Minimizing the entire thing in your head, because we make it into this big thing. We brew on it before we go to present, or to talk to someone; to get up in front of someone and talk. We go over it and over it in our head; we think about every possible thing that could go wrong; and it ends up becoming this really big thing.
For me, because I do have anxiety, and I do overthink things, it was honestly just... the time that I would take before to brew on it and to make it bigger... take that same amount of time to do the opposite. Take the same amount of time to intentionally shrink it down, make it smaller. Not less important, but make the entire ordeal smaller in my head, so it's almost like it's... it's so simple, but it's just a presentation. They're just people; they're my friends. And it's just that language that you tell yourself-
Dr. Daniel Amen: So the thoughts you tell yourself matter.
Chloe Amen: Right.
Tana Amen: So what you're saying is exactly what I did for my black belt test; like you said, this isn't just for grades, or just for school. So when I was taking my black belt test, I was really, really nervous about it because I was testing at a school where it's really high level people. I didn't realize it, but I had built into my head this idea of these big monster guys, and a couple of them were world champion karate tournament fighters. So I was really scared of it; and I went to my-
Dr. Daniel Amen: And you're a middle-aged mom, almost 50-
Tana Amen: So I was telling myself; I'm a middle-aged mom, these guys are big-
Dr. Daniel Amen: You were not just telling yourself, you were telling me.
Tana Amen: Everybody; right. So I have an NLP coach I go to and what you're talking about is a perfect NLP tip; neural linguistic programming. And that was the first thing he said, he goes "I'd be scared too." So that's exactly what we did. What I did was I shrunk all these big monsters, these guys, these dudes that were world champions. I shrunk them down to be normal sized, to be the same size I was; I made myself a little bit bigger. I turned them black and white; I made myself color. I made their voices sound like Mickey Mouse, and then I put them in boxers.
Chloe Amen: So envisioning it in your head, playing it through in your head is another thing that I do, for sure. But it's just so much for me is just about the language that I tell myself; it's just a presentation. And I also... if something was to go wrong... because a lot of the times what people do, and maybe this works for some people but it just did not work for me. Is ignoring the fact that something could go wrong, so it's always like no, it's going to be okay. Everything's going to go right. And you tell yourself this to make yourself less nervous, but that's not realistic. When something does go slightly wrong, then you're like "This is not according to plan," and my head just shuts down, "but I told myself nothing was going to go wrong, and now somethings going wrong, what do I do," and I'm having this panic attack.
Tana Amen: Instead of what if something goes wrong-
Chloe Amen: But if beforehand, if I went "okay, so if that did happen, that worse fear, that thing that I'm thinking about", if that did happen rather than put it in the back of my head, if I bring it forward and acknowledge it, so if that were to happen, what would those people that I'm so afraid of, what would they do? They are probably not going to sit there afterwards and go "That was really terrible, like I've never seen anything that bad." They're going to go to Starbucks, they're going to get their latte and they are going to go on with their life. And I know that because that's what I would do-
Dr. Daniel Amen: Brain Warriors don't go to Starbucks and get their latte, just saying.
Chloe Amen: I'm sorry.
Tana Amen: She gets an almond milk though.
Chloe Amen: I get an unsweetened almond milk latte, okay. It's Brain Warrior approved-
Dr. Daniel Amen: But the Brain Warrior's listening; so the thing I'm hearing though is that you prepare. So to deal with presentation anxiety, you are prepared.
Tana Amen: The other thing-
Dr. Daniel Amen: And you work hard.
Tana Amen: The other thing I heard-
Dr. Daniel Amen: Preparation decreases anxiety. The other thing is don't leave, because I've seen this happen that people get anxious and they don't show up. Because when you don't show up or you leave a situation, the situation now has you by the throat-
Chloe Amen: Right.
Dr. Daniel Amen: ...and will choke the life out of you, will control you. That's how this psychiatric disorder called agoraphobia, which literally, it's Greek, means fear of the marketplace. I've treated people that have not left their home for 20 years because they were afraid they would go out and have a panic attack. It's because initially they were worried about something, it caused them not to go to the store, not to go to the mall, not to go to their friend's house, it started controlling them. The other thing that's so important is controlling your breath. Because that's something you can control, but when you get anxious almost immediately your breathing starts to become faster, less efficient which means you get less oxygen to your brain, and when your brain gets less oxygen it panics. Because if the brain is deprived of oxygen for just a few minutes it will actually start killing cells. So it freaks out and so the magic number is, take 3 seconds to breathe in, hold it, just for a second, then take 6 to breath out. If you do that 10 times, your anxiety will be less.
Tana Amen: Yes, it drops your adrenalin.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Along with getting your mindset right.
Tana Amen: Yes, that's the part that I heard that I really want to touch on, because what you said is so important. What you were talking about is, you really make a point not to take what other people say personally, and realize that they are probably not saying all that much. I love Byron Katie's saying "What people say about me is none of my business," but the truth is, you're saying, what do you say the 18-40-60 rule is really important too.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Well this is the 18-40-60 rule which just saved my life, it says when you're 18 you worry about what everybody's thinking of you, and when you're 40 you don't give a damn what anybody thinks about you-
Tana Amen: So true.
Dr. Daniel Amen: ...and when you're 60 you realize nobody's been thinking about you at all.
Tana Amen: But fortunately you, figured it out at 15. Right, that they're really not-
Chloe Amen: Well, gosh, especially 15 year olds, no one's thinking about you. They're all thinking about themselves, their thinking about the selfie they just posted. It's not, no, yeah, I couldn't agree with that more.
Tana Amen: That's hilarious.
Chloe Amen: Yeah.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So, A student, hard worker, obviously your mom and dad are super proud of you, some other tips as we close this last podcast Change Your Brain Change Your Grades. When you were reading the book, anything you went "Oh well that's cool, I'm going to do that" or the things you added. There are all these tips by Chloe and Alize that really added great fun, but also practical tips of living in a world that has Instagram and Facebook, and constant interruption.
Chloe Amen: Right, so I can add something about that, about time management for sure because that is one thing that I've had to learn because I'm involved in so much that sometimes I can get scattered, and when I need to get something done it's important to learn time management. Some little things that I do for myself, I guess now that I'm talking about it I'm realizing that a lot of how I regulate myself is just by asking myself questions and changing little things in my mind, just the language I use with myself.
But for time management, it's just write yourself; what I did, actually just the other day; write yourself a little note card, like one of the little study cards, and give yourself 3 little tactics. Just 3 because if you overload yourself you'll never remember them; 3 things that you are going to either ask yourself, that you're going to do, or you're going to think, in your head, to keep yourself on track. Every time you start to feel yourself going off track, stop, and go through those 3 things that are on that note card. By the end of those 3 things, usually you realize that you might not want to get back on track, you might not want to focus, but you have a harder time getting side tracked. Because, what really gets us side tracked now is instant gratification. Right? So we're studying, we get bored, we pick up our phones. But we do it so instinctively, it's not even that it's like "Oh I don't want to do this anymore, I should probably pick up my phone", we don't even have that much time in between-
Dr. Daniel Amen: It's automatic, it's a habit.
Chloe Amen: We just instinctively go on Instagram. But if you stop for that 1 second, some of the ones that are like, so my little note card for time management. I wrote, one of my questions to myself, and this is kind of random, but it's "Am I confident about this, am I confident about the fact that I am picking up my phone and going on Instagram when I know I should be studying for a test?" Usually, the answer is no. Actually answer them. One of the other ones I think, the second one is "What is going to matter most later, the fact that I studied for this test or the fact that I went on Instagram? Am I going to regret it later, that I did this?" And actually answer it, which one is going to matter most later?
And then the third one is, "It's just" and then a blank. That's a big one for me, with almost everything. "It's just Instagram," or "It's just an hour." If I plan to study for an hour "It's just an hour, and then I can go on Instagram." So fill in that blank, and usually it really changes it around. And when I'm trying to eat healthy, that's a big one too. This is like kind of getting off track, but it's very important. When I'm trying to eat healthy and I come downstairs, or I'm out and it's like I walk by ice cream or something and "I really want it, I really want it," usually instinctively we do the same thing. If we don't stop and think about it, we'll just do it, and then we regret it later. If you stop and take that 1 second and you have a note card and you go through your 3 things, usually it works. But what I do is, "it's just ice cream, it's just pizza" and then it's like, what's going to matter most later?
Tana Amen: That's a great use of language.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And another 3 words that I use all the time, I used it with a patient this morning, "does it fit? If I do this, does it fit with the goals I have?"
Chloe Amen: Right.
Tana Amen: And I like them-
Dr. Daniel Amen: The goals I have to be healthy, the goals I have to be smart, the goals I have to keep my brain in tact.
Chloe Amen: And you know what, it works the other way with motivation, too. Nike said it best "just do it". So if I'm playing, or if I'm at dance, or I'm in an audition; it's just an audition, or it's just 5 minutes. My performance actually increases, because "just do it, what do you have to lose, right?"
Tana Amen: Go for it.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And if we look at your ability to perform 2 years ago, versus now, it's like-
Tana Amen: It's incredible.
Dr. Daniel Amen: People actually don't know that Chloe is the face for unicorn slime. And-
Chloe Amen: You just had to do it, didn't you? You just had to.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Her videos have like 26 million views.
Tana Amen: Poopsie.
Dr. Daniel Amen: The ambassador of Poopsie.
Tana Amen: It's way more than that now.
Chloe Amen: You're looking at the face.
Dr. Daniel Amen: It's fun. Well, you have been such a joy.
Chloe Amen: Thank you for having me.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Actually for your whole life, you've been a joy. We're grateful that you help with Change Your Brain Change Your Grades. Coming up you're going to meet our niece Alize, she's awesome as well. If you want Change Your Brain Change Your Grades signed by all 3 of us, go to brainwarriorswaypodcast.com, leave us a comment, a question, a review and in the subject line put Change Your Brain Change Your Grades raffle and we'll enter you into a drawing. Take care.
Tana Amen: If you're enjoying the brainwarriorswaypodcast, 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 5 star rating, as that helps others find the podcast.
Dr. Daniel Amen: If you're considering coming to Amen Clinics, or trying some of the brain healthy supplements from BrainMD, you can use the code podcast10 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.