Giving Your Brain A Workout Today– Part 2 of an Interview with Rachele Brooke Smith

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

Rachele Brooke Smith went from being a fearful and anxious child to acting in movies alongside actors, Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe. In this episode of the podcast, Rachele reveals how stress management tools such as meditation, visualization, and “disruptive gratitude” helped her work out her brain and create miracles in her life.


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Tana Amen: Okay.

Dr Daniel Amen: Welcome Back. We're here with Rachel. What a joy to have you.

Rachel: What a joy to be on here.

Tana Amen: Such a sweet girl.

Dr Daniel Amen: We're talking, really, about transformation. About how you transformed yourself from a highly competitive, but really unhappy, anxious ...

Rachel: I think anxious. I think that's a big people ... I mean, I still have to watch it. It's like a daily practice, to not have that anxiety consume you. Especially when your trying to do a lot of stuff.

Dr Daniel Amen: It's a daily practice, when you're trying to do great things, to have discipline because your mind like you discipline your body as a dancer. If you don't work out for awhile, then your body doesn't feel right and it doesn't move right. Your brain is exactly the same way.

Talk to us about what you do, day in and day out, to keep your mind and your body healthy. Then, how you're beginning to share it with the world.

Rachel: I'm so happy that you brought it up like that, as well. Literally, that's the analogy that I use for people because I think it's so accepted. People understand, if I want to look better physically ... If I want to gain biceps, I need to do bicep curls.

It's like with anything else in life, if you want to have ... You need to be doing that thing. It's like that in confidence as well. If you want to have more confidence, you have to do something everyday to build that confidence. If you want to have more ...

Tana Amen: Like a muscle.

Rachel: Yeah, it's a muscle, just everything.

Tana Amen: What do you do?

Rachel: I think one of the biggest things that absolutely changed my life, was committing to ... One of the first things I do when I wake up, is to listen to something inspiring, to automatically put my brain in a place of learning and growing. I kept hearing all the time, the five people you surround yourself with are the most important people, and who you become like.

I was like, "Well, people in today's world ... The people we're surrounding ourselves with aren't just the physical people. It's the people online." Especially for younger kids, we spend all of our time online, so it really matters who is on your feed. Who are the podcasts you're listening to? Who are the people on your channel, or the people you're following on Instagram?

I think, too, to hopefully help raise the standard for influencers, knowing that. If you're posting stuff on a channel, your YouTube channel, or your Instagram ... Especially these young kids, you have massive YouTube channels or Instagrams, you're effecting people.

Tana Amen: Right, it's a responsibility.

Rachel: Yeah, absolutely. Anybody that has any sort of platform or viewers, you are effecting. You have the ability to have a lot of positive change. Hopefully, you use it for that.

I think, for sure, meditation and visualization was one of the biggest things that absolutely changed my life.

Tana Amen: Me, too.

Rachel: And, really practicing what I call, disruptive gratitude. Where, rather than even just seeing and going through meditations or visualizations, practicing putting myself getting so clear about what I want my future reality to be like, different goals I want to achieve. Then, getting to a place of experiencing it in myself so strongly. Knowing what it smells like and who's there with me. Really, really, really getting myself to experience all those things, and using the power of your imagination.

It's a muscle. The more you use it, the more fun it gets, the more creative you can be, the more you see and experience things. Then, practicing gratitude ahead of time for those things. When I say affirmations in the morning, or when I write things down, I'm writing it as, "I am so thankful for that awesome new lead role, or I'm so thankful for these things."

It created ... The stress and worry of, if I was going to do it, kind of went away. It's a practice because sometimes I can feel those anxious thoughts of being like, "Oh maybe it's not gonna happen, maybe it's not gonna happen." But if you can get yourself ...

Tana Amen: Let me see if I understand. You were basically being thankful for it before you even got it.

Rachel: Yeah, because in my mind it's done. I already did it.

Tana Amen: I actually started learning this technique when I was about your age. I think it's amazing, it's so powerful. What I've manifested in my life has results been crazy too. One thing I've noticed for kids who are younger like our daughter, 13, we've been trying to like teach her some of this stuff ... Of course every now and then you have a 13 year old and they roll their eyes at you. They're like, "Oh my gosh, you're so weird, you're so weird."

Dr Daniel Amen: Did you do that?

Rachel: At that point I was ... so the first book I read, I think I was about 16, it was shortly after I quit gymnastics and I was on a whole other life journey was As a Man Thinketh. It was my first one and I just remember ...

Tana Amen: I read that book too when I was ... I read that one on cancer. It was huge

Rachel: Wow. It was just such a pivotal moment in my life. When I was like, "Oh my gosh. Your thought matter?" I remember just thinking nobody told me that it matters what I think about.

Tana Amen: That's an interesting book for a 16 year old to read.

Rachel: I know. Well the fact that you can control ... That you have the power to ... Granted, depending on there's a definite difference of chemical balances and I think I learned that big time with you guys especially with my sister. I never used to believe that. I was like, "You can choose what to think about." I think if you have ... and I would love to get your feedback on it

Dr Daniel Amen: Some people can.

Rachel: Yeah. You can ... I've also felt what it feels like to not feel balanced and to be like, "Whoa."

Tana Amen: So hardware software. We call it hardware software.

Rachel: Yes. So I would love to talk to you guys about that too and share that. I know you guys talk about that a lot.

Tana Amen: So I want to just touch really quickly what I was saying about Chloe with the 13 year old, because she would roll her eyes. What I did was learn how to put that into a fun form for someone her age. What that looked like for us was a vision board.

Rachel: Huge. Yeah.

Tana Amen: Because now as opposed to, "Oh we're gonna sit there." She's not gonna wrap her brain around that right. So instead we made it this fun thing of: well let's just go crazy with our imagination. Pull up the most wild fun things. Print pictures off the internet. What are you ...

Rachel: See that's a great mom right there.

Tana Amen: Sky is the limit. Just get a board and start putting it on there. Then, one more step, is when do you want to happen by? Then the final step is it's already that way. Just start ... She's obsessive about it.

Rachel: I love it. I think what I love ... Props to you being an amazing mom like that to find ... Everybody's so different. Everybody's body, everybody's brain, everybody's everything, metabolism. There's not one thing that might work for every single person. I think especially at a younger age, just because somebody says, "Oh I can't get myself to meditate," or, "That's stupid."

Tana Amen: There's so many ways to do it.

Rachel: Yeah, there's so many ways to do it. I think ...

Tana Amen: For some people it's called prayer. For some people it's called meditation.

Rachel: Or dance and yoga.

Tana Amen: Or martial arts, it's karate.

Rachel: I think it's like how people talk about the gateway drug. It took a lot for me to finally get to the place where I was able to ... made meditation a must for myself. My first step was going from pounding myself ... feeling like I had to kill myself at the gym to get a good result to having a really pivotal life change. When I really started learning the power of hormone balance. That's a big thing that I'm about is the stress ... I hope the next wave of health nutrition is about stress management and hormone and chemical balance to help ...

Dr Daniel Amen: So how do you manage your stress. We talked about meditation.

Tana Amen: We know exercise. You dance like crazy.

Rachel: I think just doing things ... just movement. Knowing that if I'm in ... knowing your state. If I know I'm in ... you can start to feel. All of sudden I'm like, "Okay this is not my ... I'm not in a good state right now." I think movement. Even if you ... I have to put on a song. I have a special playlist.

Tana Amen: Yeah, me too.

Rachel: Your toolbox. I have ahead of time. What are the songs that you love that you know are gonna help. As soon as you hear something, like a song you love.

Tana Amen: Change your state.

Rachel: Instantly gonna change your state. If you can start moving to that, even if you're not a dancer. Have a dance party in your room. Make it fun for yourself ...

Dr Daniel Amen: I love that. In the few minutes we have left, talk about what you're doing now. How are you spreading the mission.

Rachel: That is the disruptive movement for me and I'm actually about to launch Disruptive Academy which is like an online membership where you do ... Especially for young girls. I have something called disruptive girls club that I'm about to launch as well. Just to be a place that is everything community. Fun, accountability, and community is everything for me. That we ... You know we talked about vision boards. We create what I call gamify your life boards. It's taking vision boards to kind of another step of saying like what are the things that you have to hit, almost like levels in your game. If you can have it ...

Tana Amen: Oh I like that.

Rachel: You have a certain amount of points and you set that. So say one of my goals is to meditate every day. But that's a should until I make it a must. So to make it a must, I'm gonna gamify it. I'm gonna be kind of disruptive in my thinking and have it so I can get 10 points every time I do it. Then when I get to 100 I go on a shopping day or I go get a massage or do something fun as a reward system because that's the biggest thing. I feel like if we don't reward ourselves we don't ever celebrate our wins we don't want to keep doing that thing. The more we can have that as a ... Have a reward system ahead of time to like ...

Dr Daniel Amen: How can people learn about what you're doing?

Rachel: You can go to my website Because a lot of it is backed by an apparel brand. Then we have as well and we're actually doing a five day disruptive dare challenge. I do this thing called disruptive dares because really ... like I said if you don't ever try new things, how are you ever gonna know ... Find your passion, find your mission. So much of the time we get stuck in these little boxes and we do the same things, the same people, same restaurants all the time.

Dr Daniel Amen: Which is bad for your brain. Because you new learning is absolutely essential to keeping your brain young.

Rachel: So bad. I literally felt like I had a really pivotal moment and actually what made me get so passionate about and actually starting disruptive was because I went through a really hard break up that kind of made me unconsciously stop doing new things. It was the first time I felt like, "This is not me. I feel like I'm literally in a depression." And I couldn't get myself out of it. It wasn't until I started learning that I was like, "Oh my gosh I used to do ... How come I." I couldn't even get myself to go to an new workout class. That was hard for me. That was always my favorite thing before. But if felt like this ... Anxious thoughts where I just wanted to stay in my normal patterns. It was such a beautiful experience, even though I hated it at the time, of learning what it felt like to live in this kind of confident outgoing mindset. Then also this very stuck

Tana Amen: Was it Elanor Roosevelt that said do one thing every day that scares you?

Rachel: Scares you? Yeah, and I feel like they ... the one thing nobody talks about is that once you ... You don't necessarily have to listen to your parents all the time. You have to almost be a parent to yourself of getting yourself to do things that you don't necessarily want to do. The insecurity is never gonna go away. The most amazing ... Do you guys before you do stuff, do you still ever have ... You're always gonna feel ...

Tana Amen: Of course. We talk about parenting your inner child all the time.

Rachel: Exactly. I just think that's one of the biggest things that I would love to help people realize. That is always gonna be there. There's no perfect time ... There's never gonna be a perfect time and those justifications, those reasons why maybe you feel like you shouldn't go do that thing or it's gonna be too hard.

Dr Daniel Amen: And sometimes doors close and then other ones open, just like you said. We're so grateful for you being with us Rachel Brooke Smith. You can learn more about her work. You can see her in movies coming up. The two movies you have coming up are ...

Tana Amen: You're so sweet and so pretty and awesome.

Rachel: Yes so the one that comes out in theaters in August is Cold Moon and also Bomb City as well. It's doing amazing in different festivals right now so it'll be out as well.

Tana Amen: Awesome. Love what you're doing.

Rachel: And that's all the movie stuff.

Dr Daniel Amen: Thank you so much for being part of this. Stay with us