Do Humans That Live With Passion Live Longer?

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

Studies have shown that people with passion and purpose tend to live longer, happier, healthier lives. So how can you find your own passion and purpose? In this episode, Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana Amen explain how the “One Page Miracle” can help you to find and focus on the things that are most important in your own life.


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Dr.Daniel Amen: Welcome to The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: And I'm Tana Amen. Here we teach you how to win the fight for your brain to defeat anxiety, depression, memory loss, ADHD and addictions.
Dr.Daniel Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is brought you to by Amen Clinics where we've transformed lives for three decades using Brain SPECT Imaging to better target treatment and natural ways to heal the brain. For more information, visit
Tana Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is also brought you to by BrainMD where we produce the highest quality nutraceutical products to support the health of your brain and body. For more information, visit Welcome to Brain Warrior's Way Podcast.
Dr.Daniel Amen: Welcome back. We were talking about dopamine and protecting your pleasure centers so that you can feel better fast and make it last. One of the ways you drip dopamine into our brains is you send a review for the Podcast.
Tana Amen: Okay. This is, Who Knew? This podcast is full of insightful wisdom for a variety of aspects you may not connect to brain health. So refreshing to know they're looking into new ways to diagnose and treat various brain issues. I love it.
Yeah, it's true. Because everything connects to your brain so some of the things we talk about you don't really necessarily think of as being related to your brain, but everything is. Your relationships, how you get along with your kids, I mean every single thing.
Dr.Daniel Amen: Managing your money.
Tana Amen: Politics, how things are going in the world, every sort of thing is connected to how we take care of ourselves, right?
Dr.Daniel Amen: You mean how often you tweet in the middle of the night is connected?
Tana Amen: Don't, don't, don't, don't, don't. Just don't. Just don't. Just don't
Dr.Daniel Amen: All right so now we're going to start into six strategies to create lasting joy from Feel Better Fast and Make It Last.
Strategy Number One, and you've heard me talk about this before, is you need to focus daily on what gives you passion and purpose. For me, that would be you.
I love an exercise that we tell our patients to do called the One Page Miracle. Virtually every single patient I've seen over the last 30 years, I asked them to do this exercise-
Tana Amen: This is so helpful.
Dr.Daniel Amen: So on one piece of paper write down what you want in your relationships, in your work, for your money, for your physical, emotional and spiritual health. Why are you on the planet? What is your deepest sense of meaning and purpose?
It starts there. Under relationships, I always want to have a kind, caring, loving supportive, passionate relationship with Tana. I always want that. Now I don't always feel like that. I may be tired. I may be stressed. I may be mad, whatever. But no matter what is going on in my moment by moment life, that is the stake in the ground.
So if I'm smart, when I get this random rude, irritating thought that I think I should say, I really try to filter it through. Will this get me what I want, kind, caring, loving, supportive, passionate relationship.
Tana Amen: We're all busy. I'm at an age like many of our listeners because they write in to me sometimes. Hormones start to just ... They reek havoc with how you feel about yourself, with how you feel within your relationship. This is important when it comes to relationships because everything's not about how you feel about something. I'm sorry to be that blunt about it, but it's just not.
Like you said, you don't always feel loving, but you know you always want that in your relationship. Same thing, you don't always feel sexy. You don't always feel all these things, but if knowing this ... This is your One Page Miracle ... If knowing this is ultimately what your goal is, you do it anyways because it's an investment. You do it because it's the right thing to do for your marriage, for your family, for your kids, for your home, for your long term happiness. It's the right thing to do. You don't go by moment to moment, like feelings, because that will not get you where you want to be, ever.
Dr.Daniel Amen: Write down what you want, relationships, work, money, your physical, emotional and spiritual self, and then you ask yourself every day, "Does my behavior get me what I want?" People go, "Oh, that's so selfish." It's totally not selfish because the things you want generally are good things that move your life forward in a positive way.
Tana Amen: If they're not, that's a whole other thing, you might need some therapy, but one thing I want to say about the One Page Miracle, one thing I like to tell people is don't write it and put it away where you're not going to see it. Now if you're going to keep it on you, like in your pocket, that's fine, but I usually coach people to keep on a bathroom mirror or somewhere where they're going to see it regularly.
One thing that I've done, once you get really used to doing this, you do it regularly, like when I get up in the morning and when I go to bed at night, it's automatically. No it's just automatic. It's sort of in my head so when I do my prayer and meditation it's like, okay, relationship, and I focus on that. What do I want, and I pray good things for people in my life, you, Chloe, my mom, and I go through my list. Then next, business. I pray for our business, I pray ... You know what I mean?
So then you go through it. It's like on one hand I know that these were the five points that I want to really focus on when I get up in the morning and when I go to bed at night. It becomes automatic, but if you know that there are those five major categories, and then within those it's the people in my life. Business, what is it that we want to accomplish? And money and all that.
Dr.Daniel Amen: Notice money is only one part of that, but so many people are so focused on that that they abandon their health, they abandon their relationships, and then they wonder why they're miserable.
The second part is, so these are six steps to create lasting joy, know what you want. The second part is you want to start limiting low value, dopamine producing activities. Those are things like much caffeine, nicotine, excessive television, politics, video games, undisciplined, digital behavior.
Tana Amen: Let's go to this for one second, quickly. I know we need to keep going. But caffeine, so that was a really hard one for me, and I'm not going to lie. It's not that I don't like caffeine.
You gotta come up with strategies, so maybe switch some things to green tea. In the past I used to drink caffeine all day long, especially when I was working in the hospital. So now in the afternoon I switched to ... I definitely don't drink any caffeine past like 11:30 in the morning ... switched to green tea. And in the morning we do half caff or quarter caff. You dilute it down with all the milk. We have strategies so that we're not getting a lot of caffeine.
So from where I was, like when I used to drink a pot, pot and a half of day of coffee before I met you, and I really understood what caffeine does to the brain, it's not that I don't have any caffeine, but I really limit it. And I still have the idea of the comfort of a cup of coffee. Or I'll have decaf, and it still feels like you're having it.
Dr.Daniel Amen: When I met you, you were way more intense than you are now.
Tana Amen: Yeah, I mean intense is just part of who I am, but-
Dr.Daniel Amen: But you're calmer for sure.
Tana Amen: I think menopause does that too.
Dr.Daniel Amen: But not generally, absolutely not generally, thinking from a psychiatrist's standpoint. And scary movies-
Tana Amen: Oh my gosh. I hate scary movies.
Dr.Daniel Amen: Why? So you have to go "Why does the movie Saw exist?"
Tana Amen: At Halloween, 35, I just want ... But my mom used to drag me to these movies when I was little, and I still am traumatized. I hate scary movies so much.
Dr.Daniel Amen: What do you remember? What movies do you remember?
Tana Amen: The Hills Have Eyes, Silent Scream, Onion Field, I remember going to those when I was little girl, and I still to this day ask her, "Why did you do that to me?"
Dr.Daniel Amen: Because she wore out her pleasure zone.
Tana Amen: She's like, "I didn't know. I didn't know they were going to be that bad."
Dr.Daniel Amen: She drank coffee all day. She smoked cigarettes.
Tana Amen: She was ADD from hell. Come on, let's just say it like it is.
Dr.Daniel Amen: She was ADD. This was her stimulant, but when you overstimulate the Basal Ganglia where dopamine is produced-
Tana Amen: And I have a rule.
Dr.Daniel Amen: ... when you overstimulate, you wear out the nucleus accumbens which then requires more and more which explains Saw II, III, IV, V, VI and 3D.
Tana Amen: I'm going to throw you under the bus for a second. I spilled my dirt on the caffeine. Yours is the mistress, okay? He's got to put parameters around his mistress because I will get really upset, and I don't share very well.
The mistress is the phone. Okay, that's the other woman is the phone. He's always on the news, sports, whatever, but he knows that he can't do that all the time because you know it's not good for you. So we have boundaries around the phone, and we have to do that.
The other one is you would listen to the news way more than I will allow. We don't do news first thing in the morning, and I do not do news before bed. Those are my rules, absolutely no news in the house when I wake up. If I come downstairs and the news is on, I'm turning it off. This is not going to happen. You have to put boundaries around it. It's okay to listen to the news, but it's not the first thing I want to hear, and it's not the last thing before bed.
Dr.Daniel Amen: So dumping dopamine wears out your pleasure centers. Some activities that dump dopamine besides the one we just talked about, helicopters, skiing, racing, motorcycles, jumping out of airplanes, running with the bulls.
Tana Amen: Why?
Dr.Daniel Amen: How is that even rational?
Tana Amen: I don't know.
Dr.Daniel Amen: Because it's a dopamine rush.
Tana Amen: See for me, karate is, but that's not a bad thing.
Dr.Daniel Amen: It's life without your frontal lobes.
Tana Amen: You can do fun things.
Dr.Daniel Amen: Drugs dump dopamine. Whether it's cocaine or marijuana does it, alcohol does it, opiates do it. You press on the pleasure centers, and over time you wear those suckers out.
Tana Amen: By the way, so does hugging someone you love, with your baby.
Dr.Daniel Amen: Wait, you're getting ahead of me. That's tripping. We're into dumping dopamine.
Tana Amen: Got it. Got it. Got it.
Dr.Daniel Amen: Other things that dump dopamine, pornography, video games, constantly falling in love, so like-
Tana Amen: Now there are people who get addicted to that, like initially.
Dr.Daniel Amen: ... Tinder, Match, which we're fans of [crosstalk 00:11:07]
Tana Amen: But we're not fans of the love-
Dr.Daniel Amen: But we're not of being a fan of addicted, and the one thing is fame. When you become famous and people recognize you when you go to the grocery store, that's like a hit of dopamine, and for the young actresses-
Tana Amen: It's just funny. I don't like it.
Dr.Daniel Amen: ... and singers I saw, my prayer for them is, "Dear God, please don't let me be famous before my brain is developed."
Tana Amen: That's hilarious.
Dr.Daniel Amen: Now, Tana does not like it when people-
Tana Amen: I don't like it.
Dr.Daniel Amen: Oh, she does sometimes. Where were we?
Tana Amen: No, you know what I like, hold on.
Dr.Daniel Amen: In London, and people recognize you-
Tana Amen: What I like is, I like it when people say that something in their life has changed. The teacher in me, the helper in me loves that.
Dr.Daniel Amen: The purposeful person.
Tana Amen: ... the purposeful person. I don't love the recognition part when I'm just out somewhere. That kind of freaks me out. It's so weird because I always expect people to recognize you, so when someone comes running at me from far away, it freaks me out.
Dr.Daniel Amen: You think they're about to attack you.
Tana Amen: I do. I get freaked out. Like if someone came up and knocked on our car window ... Please don't do that if you know anything about me ... do not do that. Come up slowly, say hello. Don't run up and knock on my window.
Dr.Daniel Amen: Sugar, also dumps dopamine, and ultimately it wears out your pleasure centers. I talked about people who are overweight or obese. They actually have a blunted response in their nucleus accumbens which means they don't feel pleasure which means they have to overdo things in order to feel normal.
So people don't abuse drugs because they just constantly want to feel good. Ultimately, when you wear out the nucleus accumbens, you end up doing drugs again, not so that you're going to get high, so that you're not depressed.
Tana Amen: To get normal.
Dr.Daniel Amen: You're really, you're using them now as self-medication because you've worn out those pleasure centers.
When we come back we're going to teach you how to drip dopamine. Stay with us.
Dr.Daniel Amen: Thank you for listening to the Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. Go to iTunes and leave a review, and you'll automatically be entered into a drawing to get a free signed copy of the Brain Warrior's Way and the Brain Warrior's Way Cookbook we give away every month.