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How Your Relationships Deeply Affect Happiness

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

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.

Daniel Amen, MD:

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.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

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.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Well, and this week’s really about noticing what you like about other people.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

And those are things that can interfere with that, childhood trauma-

Daniel Amen, MD:

So, what do you like about me?

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

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.

Daniel Amen, MD:

For someone with your brain, that would be annoying.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Right, annoyingly Pollyanna. But, no, I really do appreciate it.

Daniel Amen, MD:

But what would happen if you were married to someone like you?

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

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.

Daniel Amen, MD:

See, I thought you were going to say, “Well, I really like you make my cappuccino in the morning-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Oh no, I love all that.

Daniel Amen, MD:

And you made this shake for me this morning.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

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.

Daniel Amen, MD:

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-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

We don’t loop.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Again. Things-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Yeah, we can let things go.

Daniel Amen, MD:

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.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Right.

Daniel Amen, MD:

I went and found how to get a big freezer.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

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.

Daniel Amen, MD:

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-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

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-

Daniel Amen, MD:

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-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Because it-

Daniel Amen, MD:

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.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

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.

Daniel Amen, MD:

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.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

If you’re enjoying the Brain Warrior’s Way podcast, please don’t forget to subscribe so you’ll always know when there’s a new episode. And while you’re at it, feel free to give us a review or five-star rating, as that helps others find the podcast.

Daniel Amen, MD:

If you’re interested in coming to Amen Clinics, use the code podcast 10 to get a 10% discount on a full evaluation at amenclinics.com. For more information, give us a call at (855) 978-1363.