EPISODES       SUBSCRIBE       REVIEWS       CONTACT

The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast is going through a rebrand to give you a fresh new look and content.

There will be no new episodes this summer, but we will return in Fall 2021. Stay tuned!

What Defines “Happiness” and Other Important Mental Health Questions

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

Dr Daniel and Tana Amen answer questions concerning happiness, joy, and the steps you can take to make them last.


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 BrainMD, 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 talking about our happiness challenge this week. And in this episode, we’re answering your questions about happiness. So let’s jump in to happiness.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Well, and don’t forget, you can sign up for the happiness challenge starts May 15th. If your late to this, or you are listening to this afterwards, you can still go to the 30 day happinesschallenge.com. Mm-hmm (affirmative) So question number one. What does happiness mean to you?

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

To me, you’re asking me ? So quite honestly, I think happiness is about being able to manage my mind. After growing up in chronic chaos and trauma and having chronic illnesses feeling like you’ve lost control. It’s really you, I’ve learned to realize you cannot control what happens around you. The pandemic taught us you cannot control what happens around you. But being able to control your mind is the most important thing to me. So being able to do EMDR, figure out how to process trauma and do meditation and be able to control and settle myself that is and have a connection to God.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Well, and if you think about it in the four circles, at least for me, happiness is about feeling energy and being without pain.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

It’s optimizing.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Right, so it’s strength, it’s cognitive clarity, it’s energy from a psychological standpoint, it’s not believing everything. I think it’s focusing what I love about my life, because before I go to bed at night, I always go what went well and always have great. I was thinking if I really wanted to be unhappy, I would go to bed every night and focus on what went wrong today. [crosstalk [00:02:34] That’s what most people do because they don’t have cognitive training or mental training.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

And they don’t have discipline.

Daniel Amen, MD:

And they don’t have the discipline to direct their minds before bed. It’s such a very important time is sleep and then socially being happy is when we’re happy. And when I feel the most connected to the kids, even when my kids are struggling, I’m not unhappy. I love them and I want them to figure it out and I’m there to be helpful to them, but I can’t allow their happiness to control mine because then I’m always going to be unbalanced.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Exactly

Daniel Amen, MD:

Especially if you have a big family and then spiritually it’s am I doing something meaningful to make a difference in the lives of other people ?

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Right and I know this is going to sound really morbid, and it’s going to sound like the opposite of happiness, but it actually lends to my happiness. Getting cancer at 23 and sort of losing what I thought led to my happiness, led me to realize we’re all going to die. So happiness can’t be based on, it can’t be based on what happens to me here now it’s got to be based on something much bigger than that. And so I think that’s why my connection to God and something that is bigger than me is important. So my meaning and purpose in life, the legacy I leave is one of the things that lends to my happiness.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Another question is how can I maintain joy when my hormones fluctuate all month long?

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Get your hormones fixed, no I’m kidding, sort of. Yeah so well not everybody can, so let’s just have this conversation. Not everyone can, because they’ve got certain health conditions that make it to where they can’t do hormone therapy. So if you can’t do that, I mean for me I get my hormones balanced because I just it’s a must, but not everyone can do that. We’re huge fans of it, if you can and if you can’t

Daniel Amen, MD:

Your talking about Bioidentical hormone optimization.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Yeah. And there’s some people though, if you’ve had breast cancer or you’ve had whatever it is

Daniel Amen, MD:

Right. But if you can’t, then you do everything else right.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

You do everything else right. Make sure you are [crosstalk [00:04:45]

Daniel Amen, MD:

Play football. It’s like, well, if you’re going to do a bam brain damaging sport, you should be doing everything else

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Because when your diet’s not right, you actually affect your hormones in a negative way. When you’re under stress, you affect your hormones in a negative way. So getting the other things right becomes critically important.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Another question is I can’t be happy without SSRIs, but they keep me away from extreme depression and anxiety. Thoughts about that.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Well, you’re the doctor. I mean, I think for the right person for some people maybe they’re helpful. For me, they were the wrong medication. They almost ruined my life.

Daniel Amen, MD:

You have to balance your medications or balance or supplements to your brain type. It’s going to be a big thing we talk about in the happiness challenge is everybody’s brain is different.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Right.

Daniel Amen, MD:

And so knowing what makes you uniquely happy. And so for the people who really struggle with depression, if they’re worried, rigid, and flexible, if things don’t go their way they get upset, SSRIs can be really helpful. But if they struggle with depression and it’s really brain fog and low energy and low motivation [crosstalk [00:05:58] SSRIs can be a disaster. Because what we see on scans is people who have the worrying depression, they have busy frontal lobes and SSRIs calm them down. People who have the low energy depression often have decreases in their brain and SSRIs decrease it further, which could dis inhibit them.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

It was a disaster for me, it made me feel numb. I wasn’t depressed, but I was numb and it made me dangerously impulsive. So I think it’s really important to understand that if you’re on the right ones or not, and if you’re wanting to get off of them, please do it with the help of a medical professional, do not do it by yourself.

Daniel Amen, MD:

And this final question I really love is how do you make happiness long lasting?

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

I think I mentioned this in the last one, for my opinion on this, as you make it a practice. You do it as a daily practice, you are committed to it. Just like love, just like forgiveness, you make it a, [crosstalk [00:06:59] just like a hygiene. Right.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Just Like gums your gums.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Right.

Daniel Amen, MD:

If you don’t brush your teeth and floss your gums every day, you’re going to end up with gum disease. And happiness is sort of like mental flux, if you will. And I get frustrated with some of my patients, I give them great strategies and they try them once and then they don’t try them again. And then they go, well, it didn’t help me. And it’s just so frustrating.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Do you lift a weight one time and then go, oh, it didn’t make me stronger. Silly.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Or if you’re 50 pounds overweight on Monday

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Right do you eat healthy one day

Daniel Amen, MD:

And you have a salad

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Right.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Monday at lunch

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

You have a Doughnut on Tuesday.

Daniel Amen, MD:

And then on Friday you’re frustrated because you’re not trim. That’s ridiculous.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Right.

Daniel Amen, MD:

I mean, it’s literally going to take you a year

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

It’s a daily practice.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Of doing the right thing that will change your brand and your body. And so we’re going to give you 30 days of a happiness challenge, but we want you to put these habits in your life for the rest of your life.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

But there’s one more thing and that is when a major, when something majorly changes in your life, it’s really important to always go back and reassess. So if you’re feeling unhappy, go back and reassess the four circles, again, biology, what’s going on? Are your hormones shifting? Do you have a thyroid condition? Did you hit your head recently? Reassess the psychology, the psychological circle. Am I disciplining my mind? Is there something else happening? Did I go through a recent trauma? Reassess the social circle. Am I, is something happening in my social life in my family or whatever that’s causing that? And reassess your spiritual circle, what’s giving your life meaning and purpose. So if I’m feeling unhappy, I immediately start looking at why, because chances are I need to fix something.

Daniel Amen, MD:

You’re so smart. I liked just sitting here hanging out with you. And you are going to be with me on almost half of the happiness videos. I’m very thrilled about that, we hope you love it. Send it to all of your friends, research suggests that if you do it with a partner, you will double your improvement. How exciting is that? And we will look forward to talking to you soon.

Thank you for being part of the Brain Warrior’s Way community. Share the Brain Warrior’s Way podcast with those you care about. Also, leave us a comment, question, review at brainwarriorswaypodcast.com.

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 podcast10 to get a 10% discount on a full evaluation at amenclinics.com. For more information, give us a call at (855) 978-1363.