Health & Habits: What Are You Guilty Of?

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

Like it or not, when it comes to your health and your habits, you’re modelling behavior for those closest to you. So, are you modelling health or are you modelling illness? In this episode of The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast, Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana Amen discuss how you can model a healthy lifestyle by using lever actions that will make an impact in your life and the lives of others.

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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 to you 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 to you by BrainMD where we produced the highest quality nutraceutical products to support the health of your brain and body. For more information, visit Welcome to The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. Welcome back. We are in our new year's resolution and we are so happy you are along with us, joining us. I want to read this testimonial. You have a fan.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Awesome.
Tana Amen: At least one.
Dr. Daniel Amen: At least one.
Tana Amen: This is Patricia Delaney. "I love Dr. Amen. I am a recovering heroine addict and recently got clean off marijuana. I'm 36 days completely drug free. On day 15 I read The Brain Warrior's Way and I am already down 20 pounds."
Dr. Daniel Amen: Wow.
Tana Amen: "Dr. Amen is changing my life for the better. Thank you."
Dr. Daniel Amen: Dr. Amen and his beautiful wife Tana Amen.
Tana Amen: That's awesome.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So happy to do this with you.
Tana Amen: I know, me too.
Dr. Daniel Amen: You are a good brain warrior general. So, now that we're talking about general and sort of kicking people's butts, we need to do more with training. You know, what are the daily habits people should start doing ... Should's the wrong word, but could start doing ...
Tana Amen: Well, if you want to be better.
Dr. Daniel Amen: If they wanted to live the brain warrior's way, and the first thing in the morning, tell yourself, "Today is gonna be a great day." It starts with intention and then ask yourself are your daily habits serving you or are they hurting you? If they're hurting you, develop new ones. Exercise is so important.
Tana Amen: I think one thing that's always helped me a little bit when I really want to move my day forward, what are five lever things I can do today? What are five little things that I can do that are sort of lever actions to move my ... You know, like the one page miracle. So, pick one small lever action in each of those categories that's gonna make the most difference.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Other small things you can do, who can I appreciate today? Because that'll improve ...
Tana Amen: That would go in the relationship part.
Dr. Daniel Amen: ... The quality of [crosstalk 00:02:53] ...
Tana Amen: So that would go in the relationship part. That's a good one. Send a text to your spouse just saying you love them or make my cappuccino like you do. So that's a lever action. That's what I'm talking about. So, what can I do? What are the actions I can take today to move these forward?
Dr. Daniel Amen: Then another training thing we talk about in the book is sleep and how important it is to be disciplined around sleep. I was talking to a patient today and her daughter has had panic attacks, but only when she didn't sleep. When she stayed up too late studying or had a sleepover or ...
Tana Amen: Well, we have another teenager like that in our house. Our daughter, if she does not sleep, she's very anxious. Her anxiety revs.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So doing the right things to protect your sleep absolutely [crosstalk 00:03:43] ...
Tana Amen: Part of why we love homeschool is because she's not forced to get up at 5:00 o'clock in the morning. It's just the dumbest thing, but anyway, she's not forced to get up super early. She can sleep and ...
Dr. Daniel Amen: Just think of all the teenagers who are sleep deprived and then people wonder why 36% of girls are gonna suffer with depression during their adolescence.
Tana Amen: Well, and they act up, but teenagers' brains are going through this massive pruning thing. I mean, their hormones are raging. Their brains are being pruned. They're not getting enough sleep. If we had any clue how to understand them ...
Dr. Daniel Amen: They're on social media comparing themselves to fake people.
Tana Amen: We're not taking the time to understand those changes they're going through.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Well, we're not not a warrior, and you have to be in this society. In my new book I have this device, this writing device. You're not sure if you like it but if I was an evil ruler, what would I do to create mental illness? It's just everywhere. So, if I was an evil ruler, I'd have kids get up at 5:00 o'clock so that they start school at 7:30 or 8:00. Especially if they have to grab the bus, the bus would come, what, at 7:00 for her to start ...
Tana Amen: 10 til 7:00.
Dr. Daniel Amen: 10 til 7:00 for her to start school at 8:00 and that's just unreasonable, and then there are the smart kids who often take a zero period.
Tana Amen: Zero period, or the athletes that have to start before ... It's like ...
Dr. Daniel Amen: Right, when she was gonna take volleyball.
Tana Amen: Volleyball. She had to be there at 5:30.
Dr. Daniel Amen: She had to be at practice at 6:00 o'clock or something. Insane.
Tana Amen: We had to leave at 5:30, yeah. I was like, "What?"
Dr. Daniel Amen: We're not thinking about our brains.
Tana Amen: You touched on social media. I'm sorry, I have to touch on this. So, this just happened in our house. No, my daughter doesn't typically spend a whole lot of time on social media compared to most kids, but she got caught up in this loop because she goes, "Is this just in Newport? Where do girls look like this in my grade?" Right? So she starts flipping through and there's just all these girls that literally, they're like Barbies, right? So they're all super skinny, super tall, super long, blonde hair. It's just crazy.
First glance she's flipping through and she's like, "This isn't normal. Is this just here? Is this just in Newport? I don't understand." She's getting all frustrated, and I'm like, "Slow down, back up." Now, I know social media. I know how this works because of all the things that ... being on social media and all they stuff they do to pictures and all that stuff, because they used to do that to mine. They used to doctor my pictures. I'm like, "You need to stop doing that. It's actually bothering me, because then when I see myself for real, I'm like, 'Wait, that's not the same ...'"
Dr. Daniel Amen: Who was doctoring your pictures?
Tana Amen: Oh, a few years ago when those apps first came out, the team started doctoring my pictures, whoever I had at the time, and I'm like, "I don't like them doing that because then I feel weird or someone sees me out, they're like, 'That's not her.'"
Dr. Daniel Amen: [crosstalk 00:06:36]
Tana Amen: Oh no, I didn't like it at all. So, it was weird to me. So anyways, but I'm like, "Sweetie, take a second." Almost every one of the pictures was taken at an angle straight down to where these girls are leaning forward so they look really skinny or they're like ... And I'm like, "I'm not trying to ..." They are cute girls, but I mean, they're not ... The pictures are not ... They're not 100% accurate is all I'm trying to say.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Well, and the lever thought, you know, one more training thing because you have to train your mind to help you rather than hurt you, and the lever thought to destruction is, "I'm not good enough."
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr. Daniel Amen: "I'm not enough. I'm not pretty enough. I'm not smart enough. I'm not rich enough. I'm not strong enough. I don't have enough fans following me because I'm not enough." That drives depression. It drives anxiety. It drives even suicidal thoughts, this "I'm not enough," and so I want you practicing, "I am enough. I'm smart enough. I'm pretty enough. I'm strong enough. I'm enough," because to believe the opposite is to drive you down.
Tana Amen: Well, and just ... this generation, here generation is taught ... We want the most likes on our pictures, so how do we take a picture that looks perfect? That's the whole goal.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Or racy, and that gets into a whole slippery slope by itself.
Tana Amen: But I mean, half the time they're not even real, you know what I mean? They're just created.
Dr. Daniel Amen: All right. So, we've talked about mindset and assessment and sustenance and training. The ease essence, we talked about that a bit. Turning your pain into purpose, being purposeful. You live longer, you actually have less incidents of dementia, you have more motivation to do the right thing ... Do you have anything else to say about essence?
Tana Amen: It's pain to purpose. That's really what it's about. It's about finding your passion. It's really about taking something painful in your life and helping someone else and it's about, "Why is the world a better place because I breathe?" It's not about ...
Dr. Daniel Amen: Because you breed or breathe?
Tana Amen: Breathe. No, let's erase that last one. Why is the world a better place because I breathe? So, it's not about what everyone else can do for me. It's not a selfish thought. It's really about how can I be making things better? Because you always feel better when you're doing things ...
Dr. Daniel Amen: And when you make things better, people are going to criticize you because they like the status quo. Change is hard, so if you're getting health then you're gonna have people in your family make fun of you. I've certainly had that happen. I'm used to people making fun of me. I'm one of seven and have five sisters.
Tana Amen: Well, and as you look better, as you feel better, as you look better, as you're more confident, one thing that I ... I don't know who said it but I heard Tony Robbins say it. I don't know if he was quoting someone else, but I love this concept. There's two ways to have the tallest building in town. Build the tallest building, or tear everyone else's down. So, if someone is not feeling good about themselves, they're gonna tear your building down.
Dr. Daniel Amen: But if you believe what you're doing is the right thing, then you have to stick with it. That's what I've done with the brain imaging work we do here at Amen clinics. I get no end of grief, still get no end of grief for it, but if I'm right, and I am, it disrupts 50 years of education and training for all my colleagues. Why wouldn't you look at someone's brain? Seriously? But you have to be confident inside yourself.
Tana Amen: I know there are people out there thinking, "But you don't know what I've been through," and we have these stories that are endless. We don't know what you've been through. That's the truth, but we have so many amazing stories. I've told you my story. You all know my story. You've told your story. Sandra, our friend, she's one of my favorite stories as far as how she turned her pain into purpose. Her daughter was killed by a drunk driver and it just almost destroyed her, but she didn't let it and she turned that into a huge, powerful ministry for women. She speaks all over the place.
We have so many stories like that, Rabbi G, my friend Rabbi G, who his little girl died from leukemia and he started something called Kids Kicking Cancer. He's a black belt. Rabbi who's a black belt. It's really cool. But anyways, he started Kids Kicking Cancer, a worldwide organization now. So we just have so many amazing stories of people who went through horrible tragedies and ...
Dr. Daniel Amen: So brain warriors do not grow up with perfect families and perfect lives.
Tana Amen: Oh, dear lord no.
Dr. Daniel Amen: But they've decided to change it and that's what we want for you. We want you to ask yourself, "What do you want?" Is your behavior getting you what you want and is it purposeful? Is the world a better place because you breathe?
Tana Amen: I used to think, "Oh, if only I had grown up in this house that was this, that, the other," not what my house was for sure. I used to think, "Oh, if I just had this family that was this way," and then all of a sudden I woke up one day and I realized, "Wait, I'm successful and I'm doing what I'm doing because I grew up in the environment I was in." It's not the other way around. It's not like, "Oh, I would be more successful if I didn't have that." I'm actually successful because of it. So, it's all in how you see it.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Because of how you respond, and you taught me this, that responsibility, so that's the R in mastery, it's responsibility. It's not, "It's your fault."
Tana Amen: Right, it's not blame. It's how you respond.
Dr. Daniel Amen: It's your ability to respond.
Tana Amen: Right. I would've never dreamed ...
Dr. Daniel Amen: But, we want you to be responsible, because the fact is, you are modeling. Your behavior today, you're modeling health or you're modeling illness by your behavior. If you're bringing cookies to work, you're modeling illness. You're saying, "I love you. Let me hurt you."
Tana Amen: Right, and you just covered R, responsibility.
Dr. Daniel Amen: That's my intention.
Tana Amen: You segued right into that. That was so good.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Did you like that?
Tana Amen: Yeah. It's the ability to respond.
Dr. Daniel Amen: We got to hang out with Haven last weekend.
Tana Amen: Oh my god. It's like a little drug.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Haven is our six month old granddaughter. She's so pretty and so happy.
Tana Amen: Oh, she's so ridiculously cute. Just ridiculously cute.
Dr. Daniel Amen: She's pretty and happy and I have new pictures.
Tana Amen: The way she kicks her feet.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I took her shopping for Christmas. She has no idea ...
Tana Amen: Yeah, such a sucker now. It's like it's over.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I'm always a sucker.
Tana Amen: You are.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I have so many girls in my life.
Tana Amen: All the girls in the family, you're a sucker for.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Three daughters, five sisters, 14 nieces, two granddaughters.
Tana Amen: And you like spoiling them.
Dr. Daniel Amen: What you do around her, you're modeling health or you're modeling illness, and when Haven was born, she was born with all of the eggs in her ovaries that she'll ever have.
Tana Amen: Speaking of which, infertility is at this alarming high. It's crazy.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Well, it's because of our habits.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Our habits are not helping us, but you know, just thinking about responsibility, when I say this it always gets people to sort of stop, it's Haven was born with all of the eggs she'll ever have. Her habits, or what her mother feeds her and the stress and toxins she's around are changing the genes in those eggs, a process called epigenetics. It's turning on or off certain genes making illness more or less likely in that adorable baby, but also more or less likely in her children and her grandchildren. So, modeling health is really important to me because I want what's good for her. See, that's love, not loading her up with donuts and candy. That's not love, that's stupidity.
I mean, I don't know how else to say it. Doing things that hurt her and hurt generations of her, that's the brain warrior's mindset. I know some of you listening to this, going, "Oh, dude, you don't have to be so serious," and I'm like, "Dude, you have to be that serious. That's what the Brain Warrior's Way is about. It's about being serious," and the why is you do it for a year, or it's years long. This isn't a two week program.
Tana Amen: Well it's why when we did our course, it wasn't a six week class.
Dr. Daniel Amen: It's a six month class.
Tana Amen: It was to get you grounded. It was to get you entrenched in it.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Get you a black belt in health.
Tana Amen: Right, and we actually issued black belts.
Dr. Daniel Amen: The statistics were stunning, about people who not only lost weight but their energy went up. Their pain went down.
Tana Amen: Our testimonials were amazing.
Dr. Daniel Amen: They focused their mood. Yeah. I mean, we're thrilled to be able to share this podcast with you, so happy new year.
Tana Amen: Oh, and by the way, we have that class recorded for people who want it.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Right, and go to Amen [crosstalk 00:16:31] ...
Tana Amen: If you want to join us for six months of training to become a brain warrior.
Dr. Daniel Amen: You get your black belt in the Brain Warrior's Way. Stay with us. 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.