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Long-term stress can cause havoc on your brain, immune system, and overall sense of well-being. When the weight of your stresses don’t seem to be going away, it’s vital to take action to get your brain under control. In this episode of the podcast, Dr. Daniel and Tana Amen give you some practical strategies brain warriors can use to heal the brain and body and reduce the effects of long-term stress.
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.
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.
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.
Dr. Daniel Amen:
Welcome back. You’re listening to the Brain Warrior’s Way podcast. We’re talking about the effects of long-term stress on the brain, and with this podcast we’re going to give you some tips on how to deal with long term stress.
Before we do, I just want to say if you do learn something, if these tips help you, please pass it on, share it. If you take a screenshot and you tag us and maybe tag a couple of friends, that would be… we’d be ever so grateful, and you can also go to brainwarriorswaypodcast.com and leave us a review or iTunes you can leave us a review. I think you mentioned in the last one, we’re almost up to 10 million downloads and we’re actually now reaching almost a half a million people a month. That’s awesome. That’s because of you guys. So thank you.
We have a winner. So we have a winner for either your book, The End of Mental Illness, my book, the cookbook, or if you want to wait until January, you can have my new book, The Relentless Courage of a Scared Child, it’s a memoir.
She has gotten so many great endorsements and [crosstalk [00:01:59].
It’s a great book.
I’m humbled by some of the reviews I got. So a wealth of information to move you forward. This is by N.H. Susie Knitter. I started listening to this podcast after listening to The Doctor’s Pharmacy, and Dr. Amen was interviewed on that show. I’m amazed at the wealth of information that is freely shared and practical tips to make changes to your routine to improve your life and the life of your child or your entire family, how our diet is so important to the way we all think and feel. Thank you, Dr. Amen and Tana Amen for the positive stories of how others have improved after following your protocol. Grateful for finding this podcast for sure. Love that. It’s why we do what we do. We love it. So thank you for that.
We will send N.H. Susie Knitter one of the books. Our team will be in touch with you. So strategies in dealing with long term chronic stress. I always put things in threes, and the first thing to know is ultimately it’s your brain that is going to determine how you do in this time, and so you have to love your brain. It’s a strategy that we talk about a lot, but if you’re in love with your brain, then answering this simple question, is this good for my brain or bad for it, it really takes on new meaning.
Am I going to care for my brain in a way that serves my health or that hurts my health? In my book, Feel Better Fast and Make it Last, I talk about the decisions you make to feel better now but not later versus now and later. And so if you think of the ones people do now but not later, what does that make you think of?
Pot, alcohol. Yeah.
Giving into giving anger.
Drugs, opiates. Throw temper tantrums.
Sitting on the couch watching-
Rather than getting up and going for a walk.
Yeah, binge-watching dark television shows or just being obsessed with social media.
So it was Hypocrites who said, I was looking up the quote. I don’t know if I can quote it exactly. But he said centuries ago, he said, “If you feel blue, go for a walk. And if you still feel down, go for another walk.” I mean this is not something that’s actually new to us, this idea that we need to be out in sunshine, in nature, moving our bodies. It’s been harder lately, but it is one of those strategies.
Well harder lately, not only because of COVID-19, but here in California the fires and the air quality has just been terrible. So having an air purifier for your house and then doing burst training can be really helpful.
I have a treadmill desk, so it’s not one you can run on, it doesn’t go past four miles per hour, but I walk at a slow pace while I’m doing email or while I’m writing, and even if I’m just walking at two miles per hour, I’m not sitting. So I’ll do that for two hours, and it’s just really helpful because then when I’m done, I’m like, oh, I don’t feel like I just sat and I’m all like sore and stiff.
Well, the people working from home, they’re on Zoom. They’re doing all these Zoom meetings, and my team knows, basically, they’re not going to see me. I’ll be on the meeting but I’m walking.
He paces, in my house.
Sitting is the new smoking.
I just have to say this because it’s so funny. He’s doing the right thing, right? He’s literally doing laps around the entire house, but it drives the kids crazy because they don’t have to get up as early now because they’re not going to school and so they’ve been doing Zoom school. So he walks by their doors doing his meetings and it just strikes them insane. But it’s the right thing to do.
I’m stressing their brain so their brain will grow. Some stress is actually good for your brain-
But so is sleep.
Like me walking and too much stress, like COVID-19, is clearly bad for your brain. So avoid things that hurt it, drugs, alcohol, not a health food, eating bad food, sitting, watching too much television, or being on too much social media. [inaudible [00:06:40] got to care, avoid things that hurt your brain, and engage in regular brain-healthy habits.
So you already talked about exercise, but my day actually starts with supplementation. I know this is a stressful time and so I use Omega-3. We have a brand new omega-3 power squeeze. It tastes great.
It actually tastes great.
It just is amazing. We have a brand new Neuro-C, which has extra vitamin C, which we need.
It also helps move everything.
I also take our vitamin D. People have low levels of vitamin D, they’re at risk for every bad thing, cancer, dying from COVID-19, depression, dementia. So vitamin D is really important. When the pandemic hit, we had just released Happy Saffron.
That was good timing.
And one of our first testimonials was Viagra for women. Check online. Well it’s one of the reasons I created Happy Saffron was saffron has been found to enhance sexual function-
And decrease depression.
And decrease depression. And I’m like, I’m taking this. It’s also been shown to help with memory. We have another new product called Neuro Greens.
I like that in my smoothie.
That is just loaded, because there’s this-
For us, we’ve used this time to really create stuff.
Yeah, no, I actually like them. It’s just a good time. So yeah, we both increased our supplements and the zinc and all of that stuff, which Happy Saffron has zinc in it.
Yeah, it’s really good.
That’s what you need.
Right. So for me, I really want to touch on as well the food aspect, because food is also super critical. So when COVID first started, I mean, a lot of places we had trouble finding our normal stuff, right? So you were just getting whatever you could get off the shelves until things kind of settled down and went back to normal, and it was really easy because you’re just in the house all day, and at least we had a really wicked winter and spring. Our spring was really wicked. So the weather wasn’t good enough to go out anyways and nobody was going out.
So it was easy to give in and go, okay, I don’t have to be quite as strict. I’m going to relax a little bit because we’ve got to have some comforts, right. Even I was doing that a little bit, I mean not to the degree that other people do, or to the degree that other people think is normal. But still that little bit that I gave in, I noticed within a few weeks that I started to feel bad. I was more achy. I was more tired, which we’re already tired because that’s part of depression. And so I just went, “Wait, this isn’t working. This isn’t good for me.” So when the food situation got back to normal, I went back very strict. I mean for me, I’m not a baby step kind of person. I’m a jump the canyon kind of person. So I went very strictly back onto my Omni program, zero grains. It’s more like a paleo modified version with our brainwork in it. And it just immediately, my blood sugar dropped to really good.
That’s the way it’s been.
Because I actually struggle with insulin resistance genetically. But I don’t have to, I don’t have to suffer those effects if I’m paying attention. And so my blood sugar went down to this perfect level, my mood and energy like stable through the day, whereas before it was just like up and down. So food, don’t underestimate your food. Don’t give into that.
You also turned off the news.
Oh, huge. Let’s just be honest, but that doesn’t give me depression, that literally just makes me angry.
Gives you rage.
Rage. It just gives me rage.
It triggers your angry dragon.
She already has a judgmental dragon. We’re going to teach you all about the dragons coming up.
I just start yelling at the TV and I’ve been so peaceful because I turned it off, joined my prayer group. So I joined a prayer group, that really has helped me to hear everybody being positive about how they’re praying for something-
And you have a friend, you guys text what your gratitude.
Grateful, gratitude every day. I mean, I was like not kidding. I’m like, I need to get out of this crazy space in my head. Cause I’m like, I want to-
Because the news is not the news. The news is clickbait.
And it’s to drive something that upsets you and the news-
And no matter what channel you listen to.
Whatever side you’re on.
You’re going to find something that upsets you.
They’re trying to make you angry and it’s divisive.
And when I realized that I’m like, I’m not going to give them that control. So I will go online and look up what’s going on in the world, but then I will do research and see what’s real and what’s not real. I will not listen to the news.
Yeah. So we hope this is helpful for you. Obviously, if you get Feel Better Fast and Make it Last, our book the Brain Warrior’s Way, my new book The End of Mental Illness, we have all sorts of strategies. But know we’re in this for the long haul. This isn’t going to go away-
In fact, this is probably a new normal to some degree.
In November. We’re going to be at this at least another year, and so you want to put the habits in your life that extend your brain health, not shrink your brain health.
I want to leave them with this because it reminds me of the quote that you mentioned from Elisabeth Kubler-Ross where she said, you can apply it to death or you can apply it to these situations that feel like endless and terminal. Remember what she said? It is the denial.
It is the denial of death that is partially responsible for people living empty, purposeless lives, for when you think you’re going to live forever, you put off the things you know you must do today.
So yes, maybe this isn’t a life… Well, it is a life and death situation.
But, even if you’re just in it because you’re like, this is not going to… Stop thinking this is going to end tomorrow, it’s not going to end tomorrow. Rather than having that thought process, yes, we all are hopeful we’re going to get back to normal, but instead it’s like, how can I optimize my life and the life of my family now, even going through this? I mean, that’s what warriors do, right? They’re like, we have to make the most of whatever the heck it is.
They’re ready for war and during war.
And that’s why I love that metaphor.
And you also say you don’t show up on fight day.
No, you have to train every day.
You have to be training all along. And when the pandemic started, I asked myself, “Will I be proud of my behavior in September?”
And I could have said yes until all the social stuff started. Then I was just like.
All right. Did you learn anything? Write it down. Take a picture of it, post to any of your social media sites, hashtag Brain Warrior’s Way podcast. We’ll be so grateful if you go to brainwarriorwaypodcast.com, leave us a comment, question, or review. We’ll enter you into a drawing to win one of our books. We’re so grateful for all the reviews that have happened. And when we come back, we’re going to do our segment of Brain in the News. There are all sorts of interesting articles that are coming out about the brain in the news. Stay with us.
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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.