Is It Possible To Feel Better Fast And Make It Last?

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

In anticipation of the release of Daniel G. Amen, MD’s new book, Feel Better Fast and Make It Last, Dr. Amen and Tana discuss the importance of making decisions that lead to happiness, in both the short term and the long term. Dr. Amen also introduces us to the mnemonic, “BRAIN XL,” which you can use anytime to help remind you of these helpful principles.


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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 Brain MD where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals products to support the health of your brain and body. For more information visit
Welcome to the Brain Warrior's Way Podcast.
Dr Daniel Amen: Welcome everybody. We are so excited to start a brand new series with you on my new book called Feel Better Fast and Make It Last, unlock your brain's healing potential to overcome negativity, anxiety, anger, stress, and trauma. It's based on this idea that I've been thinking about a lot as a psychiatrist. So many people who come to see us, or who you work with.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr Daniel Amen: They engage in behaviors that help them feel better now but not later.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr Daniel Amen: Versus now, and later.
Tana Amen: Right. I can think of so many things that I've done personally we'll talk about as we go, in the past. And we do that because we want to put band-aids on something to make it ... We have to sometimes, or we think we have to. So what can we do instead?
Dr Daniel Amen: Right, you were actually talking about licking Oreos.
Tana Amen: What does that [inaudible 00:01:55] feel better about ... I was talking about when I was a trauma nurse. What did that have to do ... There was a survey. Now you have to explain. I do not lick Oreos now. There was a survey, we were at an event, a marriage retreat and they asked this question. They took a survey on how do you eat Oreos, and the way I used to eat Oreos didn't even come up, which was really weird. They said, do you bite them? Like do you take little bites and eat it slowly? Do you eat them all at once or do you dunk them in milk? And I'm like wait, what happened to breaking them open and licking out the center? That's how I used to eat them. Does no one else eat them that way? Because that's how I used to eat them.
Dr Daniel Amen: So Oreos is clearly one of the few that are now-
Tana Amen: As a kid?
Dr Daniel Amen: But not later.
Tana Amen: I had my comfort food as a kid growing up, had to have my comfort food.
Dr Daniel Amen: Versus Nutty Butter Cups.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr Daniel Amen: Which one of your recipes based on brain and love chocolate.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr Daniel Amen: And almond butter.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr Daniel Amen: That is feel better now, and later.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr Daniel Amen: So anyways, if you pre order the book at we'll actually give you four free gifts. You'll get the intro, and the first chapter of Feel Better Fast immediately before the book is out, our Feel Better Fast quick start guide, get a jump with easy to follow tips, a Feel Better Fast audio series. Four powerful hypnosis tracks, chronic pain, sleep, lose weight, calming stress. And we'll actually give you a downloadable version of Tana's brand new book, the 10 Day Brain Boost. Talk about feeling better fast.
Tana Amen: Yeah. Food is a huge part.
Dr Daniel Amen: No question. Food is a huge part, and-
Tana Amen: And we want to make it easy.
Dr Daniel Amen: So I just want to ... Because I actually spent a lot of time on the opening of the book, and what I say in the book is virtually all of us have felt anxious, depressed, traumatized, grief stricken, or hopeless at some point in life. It's normal to go through hard times or experience periods when you feel panicked or out of sorts. How you respond to these challenges makes all the difference in how you feel. Not just immediately, but in the long run. All of us quickly want to stop the pain, me included. Unfortunately, many people self-medicate with energy drinks, overeating, alcohol, drugs, risky sexual behavior, angry outbursts, wasting time on mindless TV, video games or shopping, and although these substances give you temporary relief from feeling bad, they usually only prolong and exacerbate the problems or cause more serious ones, energy crashes, obesity, addictions, STDs, unhappiness, relationship problems, or financial ruin.
And so the idea is how do you begin to make good decisions so that you feel better now and later?
Tana Amen: Like this.
Dr Daniel Amen: Yeah. Like rubbing the back of my neck, that helps me feel better now-
Tana Amen: Makes you feel better fast?
Dr Daniel Amen: And later, and what we're gonna talk about-
Tana Amen: Because it does, it gives you a boost of ... Gives you that little endorphin, dopamine drip that you talk about. But it makes you feel better, it makes me feel better, it's an investment for later right? But people don't think about it.
Dr Daniel Amen: Well, and we're gonna talk about coming up, a new technique I have in this book called the ultimate brain based therapy, which is how you can feel better fast by flooding all five of your senses at once with happiness. So what are some of the behaviors you used to engage in?
Tana Amen: Okay, so I was a trauma nurse, worked in a level A trauma unit, and when they put me ... We often had to work double shifts, so like it would be 20 hour shifts sometimes. That's really hard in a unit that's that chaotic.
Dr Daniel Amen: Wow.
Tana Amen: And then they put me on nights, and you'd have to work 20 hour shifts. So you'd start at 6:30 at night and you have to go 20 hours. You want to talk about crazy, so you have to get home, and go to sleep immediately, but it's morning okay? So it's really hard, and you can't make your brain shut off sometimes that fast, and then you've gotta go back. So a lot of the nurses, that's why you see nurses that are so unhealthy.
Dr Daniel Amen: That actually sounds dangerous.
Tana Amen: It is. It is dangerous. I was so scared I was gonna kill someone because you make a medication error, and it happens all the time. So I would pray so hard that I wouldn't, and I'd be just willing myself to sleep, but you can't. So, so many nurses will take sleeping pills, and they end up getting hooked on medication because of this. They'll take sleeping pills, they start drinking in the mornings to try to go to sleep.
And I remember I actually took ... There was one point I actually had Ambien prescribed because I'm like, I can't not sleep. And I had a baby too. So I'm like, what am I gonna do? Right, so this is a big problem. I took Ambien, I woke up the next morning feeling really wonky, I was like ... I didn't put it together that it was Ambien, but I felt really weird. Like not good weird, bad weird, and I didn't put together that it was the Ambien. I felt a little down, took it again the next day because I'm like, I have to sleep.
And so woke up the next day and was crying uncontrollably, and then I put together that it was the Ambien. But that's a perfect example, but we had nurses that would drink during the day, we had nurses that they'd comfort eat and they'd eat donuts all day long. I mean, I started eating M&M's in the middle of the night just to stay awake, just to make sure that I could actually pay attention to what I was doing. But these are typical behaviors that when you're in certain situations, it's like it's acute, you have to do something. But we automatically reach for the something that is the band-aid rather than it's over the bullet hole right? We're not actually doing something that's gonna help us long-term. It's not a cure.
And so for me, I realized I don't care what I have to do, I have to find a different job. I had to find a different unit to work on. As much as I loved working in trauma, it wasn't worth it. It was not worth not being a good mom. It was not worth not being healthy, and it was not worth almost killing somebody.
Dr Daniel Amen: That's a great example.
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr Daniel Amen: Of someone I wrote this book for. And in it, I actually opened the book with this story that I've told a couple time, but it just fit so well. The story of Chris who lost her 12 year old daughter, Sammy, to bone cancer, and the grief was so intense, and actually we'll talk about it. I take on grief in this book. The grief was so intense she went to bed, and ate, and ate bad food, and drank alcohol, basically drank herself into a stupor.
Tana Amen: Right. She was doing the same behaviors for a different reason. Hers was grief.
Dr Daniel Amen: Hers was grief. And on her five foot two frame, ballooned over 200 pounds, and on the two year anniversary of Sammy's death, despite being married and having three other children.
Tana Amen: Wow.
Dr Daniel Amen: She secretly planned to kill herself, and then I think she saw me on television for my book Change Your Brain, Change Your Body, and she said, "I'm gonna get that book and if it's a bad book I'll kill myself tomorrow." She told me this.
Tana Amen: A lot of pressure.
Dr Daniel Amen: Completely freaked me out, but she just did everything I asked her to do, what I'm gonna ask you to do as we go through this series. And she said within eight days she felt better. She stopped alcohol, she stopped the bad food, she ate better, she started to run, and within eight days she didn't wake up in a panic anymore.
Tana Amen: There's a really important reason why these strategies are ... Well, there's a really important reason why these strategies are so important, why it's critical, is because people, it sounds like it's, "Oh, well that's simplistic. If I stop doing this and start doing that it's gonna make me feel better fast." No, it's true. When people have thoughts that are suicidal, like we just saw A Star is Born right? And it was so sad, so sad.
But when people are having thoughts that are suicidal, I mean, as a nurse, as a doctor you've seen this repeatedly. It's hard to explain to other people, but when you'd doing things like taking Ambien, how I had those depressive thoughts, they were uncontrollable. Or you're drinking like that, or you're not sleeping, and you're engaging in these behaviors. You're having those thoughts, those thoughts might not even be there without those behaviors right? It exacerbates whatever is there, makes it so much worse. But if you stop those behaviors, those thoughts actually often go away. Sometimes they're brought on by those behaviors.
Dr Daniel Amen: No question. And so it clearly made Chris worse, and by engaging in the right behaviors. I met her 10 weeks later where she was already down 24 pounds, and she felt a zeal for life.
Tana Amen: That fast.
Dr Daniel Amen: And in the book I have a pneumonic, I do that. And it's BRAIN XL. So this book is really centered BRAIN XL, what's that? So the B is you have to get your brain right, and so we talk about avoid things that hurt it, do things that help it. We'll go through those strategies. The R is rational mind, you have to direct your mind, discipline your mind to help you rather than hurt you. A is attachments, and how when our relationship is great we just feel happy.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr Daniel Amen: And when your relationships are not great, it's the thing that causes people the most pain. I is inspiration, we're gonna talk about the dopamine drip or the dopamine dump. N is nutrition, which is Tana's expertise. X is the X factor. What did we learn from [inaudible 00:12:18] it can help you feel better fast. And L, the reason you do this is not because you should, it's because you love yourself.
So as we go through this series on Feel Better Fast and Make It Last, we're gonna dive into each of the BRAIN XL areas to help you feel better fast. Stay with us.
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