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Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen reveal tips on how they have maintained their loving relationship and offer knowledge on how to grow closer in a crisis, instead of drift apart.
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 Brain MD, 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 our happiness challenge. So, this is our fourth episode this week on the happiness challenge. And we’ve talked about ADD and all sorts of things that can interfere, childhood trauma, and how that interferes with your happiness. So, all of these great tips on what to do to increase happiness.
Well, and this week’s really about noticing what you like about other people.
And those are things that can interfere with that, childhood trauma-
So, what do you like about me?
So many things, I like that you actually ground me. So, because of a lot of the way that my life was, I can tend to notice what’s wrong. I’m the intense one in our relationship. You are so soothing, so grounding. You’re the yin to my yang, for sure. But when you’re with me, I feel like everything’s going to be okay. I just know it’s going to be fine. And that makes me happy. And when we’re together, I feel calm. And I love the time we spend together. And you notice what’s good about me. And you notice what’s right around us. I joke that you’re annoyingly Pollyanna, but actually, I really appreciate it.
For someone with your brain, that would be annoying.
Right, annoyingly Pollyanna. But, no, I really do appreciate it.
But what would happen if you were married to someone like you?
Oh God, no, I would never be married to someone like me. No, that would be a disaster. We would probably kill each other because I’m very intense. I’m very aware of the things wrong around me. I’m very much in survival mode. I was ready for the pandemic. I have a survival room, so, no, that wouldn’t work out well. No, because you’re very calming. You’re very balancing.
See, I thought you were going to say, “Well, I really like you make my cappuccino in the morning-
Oh no, I love all that.
And you made this shake for me this morning.
That’s true and you’re going to make my hot chocolate tonight. [crosstalk [00:02:36] Like all of that is really good too. That’s all a bonus. No, we’re a very good fit.
So what do I like about you? So many things. I love your beautiful brown eyes. I love how we always sort of connect by touch. Even after 15 years, we hold hands and we look in each other’s eyes and we have a lot of tender moments. And we don’t attach to things that might irritate us. It doesn’t go over and over and over-
We don’t loop.
Yeah, we can let things go.
GABA Calming helps out with that or Happy Saffron. And during the pandemic, initially, you were more freaked out than I was. But rather than argue with you about, you shouldn’t feel this way.
I went and found how to get a big freezer.
You supported me. When you bought a freezer, I just felt so supported. I was like, “Oh, wow. He’s with me in this.” I got this big freezer and I just suddenly felt like you understood me. Whether you did or not is not the point.
Well, people during the pandemic have had mismatched anxiety. We’ve talked about that a couple of times. And, there’ve been times in the pandemic, I was more anxious than she was, especially after my dad died-
Yeah. You’re wanting to stop the actual virus. I wasn’t as anxious about the virus and you were more anxious about the vaccine and things like that, but I supported you through that, even though I don’t feel the same way about all of that. It’s like, “Okay, I love you and I’m going to support you about that.” Because your dad died, so-
And so, if you have mismatched anxiety, if you can calm the person with high anxiety, by doing the right things, by doing things to soothe them-
And just help your relationships and you can grow closer during the time of crisis. The Chinese symbol for crisis is actually a combination of two symbols, is danger and opportunity. So what is the opportunity that you found? And so many families, I think, like ours, got closer.
Yeah. And one thing that I, especially during the pandemic, but one thing that I noticed and I do this. I’ve had to train myself to do this, and I’ve intentionally done this, sort of like we did through the pandemic, with our mismatched anxiety about different… We were anxious about different things, but I do it with my daughter at different times. But I do it with my daughter, when I start to find myself either getting irritated or thinking that’s silly or whatever it is that I don’t agree with, I step back and I just say to myself, “What’s more important?”
And for us, like between us, it’s very clear to me. There’s very little in life that is more important than our relationship. So whether it is, whatever it is, I don’t care what it is. There’s nothing politically or vaccine or whatever that is more important to me than keeping our relationship solid and making us feel secure. That’s for me when I know I need to drop it. It’s like, “This isn’t worth it.” Or with my daughter, she might be irritating me with something. But it’s like, “What’s more important, the relationship or winning this argument?” It’s not worth it, the battle or the war.
Yeah. I also love that about you. You don’t have to be right. You’ll frequently tell me when I’m [crosstalk [00:06:22], “I told you so.” That’s one of the things I don’t like, but staying with what we like, and I want you to do this exercise with someone in your life, is stay away from those things you don’t like. Focus on what you do like and that’s… You’ll get more of what you pay attention to. You’ll get more of what you pay attention to with your children, with your spouse, with your coworkers.
If you’re a boss at work with your employees. And I have a really good executive team at Amen Clinics and Brain MD, and they’re actually really good about what they notice and what they like, but can also speak the truth about things that may be problematic. That’s what we want for you. It’s a big secret to happiness, which is why we spent a whole week on it. But that’s your exercise. Write it down. Notice what you like more than what you don’t like. Take a picture of it, post it on any of your social media sites, hashtag Brain Warrior’s Way podcast. Also, leave us a comment, question, or review. And if we read it on the air, then we’ll enter you into a drawing to win either, one of Tana’s new books, The Relentless Courage of a Scared Child, or Your Brain is Always Listening. Stay with us.
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