Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning
Brain Fact Friday on “Training Your Brain to Self-Regulate Automatic Negative Thoughts and Emotions”

Brain Fact Friday on “Training Your Brain to Self-Regulate Automatic Negative Thoughts and Emotions”

March 12, 2021

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast, for our second Brain Fact Friday! When we recorded episode #109[i] we announced we would be pulling out an important Brain Fact every Friday to dive deep into some of the brain-based strategies we are offering in each episode, so we can be sure to implement these important concepts in our schools, workplaces and lives.

BRAIN FACT: Here’s our Brain Fact for this week from Horacio Sanchez, who we had an insightful interview with for Episode #111[ii] on his new book “Finding Solutions to the Poverty Problem.”

“Did you know that when we engage in inner speech, all the mechanisms of outer speech and the auditory process activate in the brain. Therefore, what we say to ourselves is just like hearing it said by someone else to us. Inform students (and ourselves) that inner speech can build them up or destroy them.” (Horacio Sanchez)[iii]

I brought up the damaging effects of Automatic Negative Thinking on one of our early episodes, #14 on Self-Regulation[iv]. The skill of managing our thoughts, emotions and behavior comes under the competency of self-regulation (one of the 6 social and emotional learning competencies that we covered in the beginning episodes of this podcast).

What is Self-Regulation and Why is it So Important? 

It’s “the ability to manage your emotions and behavior in accordance with the demands of the situation. It includes being able to resist highly emotional reactions to upsetting stimuli, to calm yourself down when you get upset, adjust to a change in expectations and (the ability) to handle frustration”[v] In other words, it’s the ability to bounce back after a setback or disappointment, and the ability to stay in congruence with your inner value system. 

Using Self-Regulation to Manage Negative Thinking in the Workplace

I’ve got to say, this topic has come up recently as stress in the workplace is at an all-time high. Things are going to happen on a day to basis that you might not like, and you might have the urge to say every negative thought in your head, out loud, in the heat of the moment, to get your point across. Then, we could spend the rest of the day brewing over the incident and playing the negative thoughts over and over again. We must have a strategy to stop them from ruminating or continuing in a loop, since we know that switching off these negative thoughts is an important step towards self-regulation, moving forward and preventing further problems. Besides, Horacio’s quote tells us that this type of negative thinking can destroy us.

An effective strategy used in cognitive behavioral therapy[vi] is to say the word “SWITCH” in your head as you focus on switching the negative emotion that you feel to something more positive. This takes some practice, that’s for sure. I’ve always used the strategy of saying “STOP” when this happens and changing the thought pattern in my head to something more productive.

Also, remembering to RESPOND to situations with questions to dig deeper, and learn more, instead of REACTING with emotion is always a better solution.

When difficult situations arise, we have three choices. We can approach (by asking questions), avoid, or attack.[vii] The best results obviously occur when we are able to respond to a situation (approaching it with understanding) rather than react (by avoidance or attack) by asking questions to uncover more and see if there might be something we are missing or some sort of miscommunication that could explain the conflict. We always have a choice on how we respond to situations. The research is clear that mindfulness and meditation can help increase the gap between a stimulus and our response to it, so those who have developed their own practice, will find making this choice to respond vs react, much easier.[viii]

How to Teach Self-Regulation to Our Children or Students?

The ability to control one's behavior, emotions, and thoughts is an integral skill to be taught to young children as well, so they can form and maintain healthy relationships and connections later in life.[ix] This skill is crucial to develop as we all know that life is full of ups and downs and we must be able to navigate through challenging situations before we can reach any level of achievement and success. We all know people who seem to bounce back after adversity. It’s not by luck or chance, it’s because they have learned how to self-regulate and intentionally get back on course. This is a learned skill and one that we must teach or model to our students/children for them to be able to master it as adults.

Why is This Such an Important Skill?

 Horacio Sanchez’s brain fact says it all. If we don’t teach children (or ourselves) a strategy to stop automatic negative thoughts, or ways to respond instead of react to distressing situations, our brain will hear these thoughts, and think they are true. We all know of the impact of negative thinking on our results. Our inner speech has the ability to build us up or destroy us.   

“Keep my words positive. Words become my behaviors. Keep my behaviors positive. Behaviors become my habits. Keep my habits positive. Habits become my values. Keep my values positive. Values become my destiny.” (Mahatma Gandhi)

I hope you have enjoyed our second episode of Brain Fact Friday! Stay tuned for episode #112 next week with Troy Busot, the founder of Athlinks.com[x] on “Health, Chasing 50, and The Secrets to Launching a Successful Business.”

RESOURCES:

Your Brain Can Be Trained to Self-Regulate Negative Thinking January 10, 2016 by Christopher Bergland-The Athlete’s Way  https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201601/your-brain-can-be-trained-self-regulate-negative-thinking?amp

ANTS Workbook Grades 1-12 https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Automatic-Negative-Thoughts-ANTs-Workbook-1103094

REFERENCES:

[i] Neuroscience Meets SEL Podcast Episode #109 with Andrea Samadi https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/achieving-quantum-leap-results-using-price-pritchetts-you-squared-principles/

[ii] Neuroscience Meets SEL Podcast Episode #11 with Horacio Sanchez on “Finding Solutions to The Poverty Problem” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/resiliency-expert-and-author-horacio-sanchez-on-finding-solutions-to-the-poverty-problem/

[iii] Horacio Sanchez on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/posts/hsanchezceo_neuroscience-education-activity-6770706945264386048-BDCn

[iv] Neuroscience Meets SEL Episode #14 with Andrea Samadi on “Self-Regulation: The Foundational Learning Skill for Future Success” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/self-regulation-the-foundational-learning-skill-for-future-success/

[v] Edutopia article “Teaching Self-Regulation by Modeling” (January, 2019) https://www.edutopia.org/video/teaching-self-regulation-modeling

[vi] What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with Therapist Kati Morton YouTube uploaded Sept. 23, 2013 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7B3n9jobus

[vii] How to Practice Self-Regulation https://www.verywellmind.com/how-you-can-practice-self-regulation-4163536

[viii] Mindfulness, Meditation and Executive Control https://academic.oup.com/scan/article/8/1/85/1694475

[ix] How to Practice Self-Regulation https://www.verywellmind.com/how-you-can-practice-self-regulation-4163536

[x] www.athlinks.com

Resiliency Expert and Author Horacio Sanchez on “Finding Solutions to The Poverty Problem”

Resiliency Expert and Author Horacio Sanchez on “Finding Solutions to The Poverty Problem”

March 7, 2021

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast episode #111 with our 3rd returning guest, whose interview episode #74[i] made an impact on many of our listeners (and me) as we were right in the first few months of the Pandemic. If you are new here, my name is Andrea Samadi, and I’m a former educator who created this podcast to bring the most current neuroscience research, along with high performing experts who have risen to the top of their field, with specific strategies or ideas that you can implement immediately, whether you are an educator, or in the corporate space, to take your results to the next level. If we want to improve our social, emotional and cognitive abilities, it all starts with an understanding of our brain. 

You can watch the interview on YouTube here. 

Going back to today’s guest and our first interview—while many of my questions for our guest,  on episode #74 were focused on Horacio Sanchez’s, book The Education Revolution [ii]published by Corwin Press, that addresses the decline in empathy, increase in obesity, and the impact of implicit bias on minority students, our conversation turned to focus on the problems we were seeing in the world at that moment (July 2020) highlighting the need for racial change through an understanding of race and culture. I knew that Horacio was deep into his next book, The Poverty Problem: How Education Can Promote Resilience and Counter Poverty's Impact on Brain Development but had not read it, nor made the connection between this book, the implicit biases that we all have, how to understand where they originated from in order to self-correct them and where to even begin to make these changes. If you have not yet watched our first interview, I recommend reviewing it before this one.[iii]

A Bit About Horacio

Horacio Sanchez who is recognized as one of the nation’s prominent experts on promoting student resiliency and applying brain science to improve school outcomes as they relate to diverse topics such as overcoming the impact of poverty, improving school climate, engaging in brain-based instruction, and addressing issues related to implicit bias. His new book was just released in January of this year, The Poverty Problem: How Education Can Promote Resilience and Counter Poverty's Impact on Brain Development and Functioning.[iv] If you follow Horacio on Twitter @ResiliencyInc, you will see the excitement this book is creating with educators around the country who are receiving their books, attending his trainings and learning how to Improve outcomes for students in poverty by understanding their developing brains.

I highly recommend following Horacio on LinkedIn, as he has a daily brain tip where he shares brain tips and how they are relevant for student learning.

Horacio’s new book covers how economic hardship is changing our students’ brain structures at a genetic level, producing psychological, behavioral, and cognitive issues that dramatically impact learning, behavior, physical health, and emotional stability. But there is hope. 

He offers solutions that will change minds, attitudes, and behaviors. You will learn about how problems develop between people of different races, how the brain develops in persistent poverty, and how it might react to solutions.

PovertyProblem_1_1_6djlm.png

In addition:

  • The lack of culturally competent instruction and its impact on students of color
  • Poverty's effect on language development and how it can be positively influenced
  • The importance of reading
  • How to counteract the effects of the widespread stress in lower SES environments

Remember: “Children make up 23% of the U.S. population and account for almost 33% of those living in poverty, making the education system our most distressed institution. In The Poverty Problem, you’ll learn how to increase students’ perseverance and confidence and positively impact outcomes by arming yourself with research-based instructional strategies that are inspiring, realistic, and proven to work.”

Welcome back Horacio, it’s wonderful to see you again, even though I feel like we have kept in touch since last July through other projects, social media, and I’m always learning something from your posts on LinkedIn. Thanks so much for coming back on the podcast to talk about your new book, The Poverty Problem.

Q1: Horacio, it seems we were just getting started as we ended our last interview, with our discussion on the change needed to take place in or educational system as it relates to the lack of culturally competent instruction and its impact on students of color. We talked about this, with some ideas of change, and wonder what do you think needs to happen for these changes to take place with clear, science-based strategies for these changes?

Q1B: Why did you call the book The Poverty Problem vs The Poverty Solution?

Q2: What about poverty’s impact on our brain. Can you explain how the outcome of poverty’s load compromises decision-making regardless of intellect?

2B) How can schools turn around poverty

Q3: How does poverty affect language development resulting in language processing difficulties? What are some recommendations for this?

Q4: What can be done to combat the fact that poverty leads to a negative self-image? How can we teach our children the important character skills necessary to build their own life path when they might not feel like they have a chance to begin with?

Q4B: What about growth mindset vs skill building?

Q5: We spoke about the protective risk factors in our first interview and how poverty and resiliency are so closely correlated, but can we talk about how we can build protective factors in all students with a resiliency plan?

Q5B: How do you get your children to stick to routines and still remain a positive, supportive parent vs yelling and being a stressor?

Q6? Is there anything important that I have missed?

Thank you Horacio for the time you have taken to share your work with us on this podcast. If anyone wants to learn more about your programs, books, or find you, they can go to https://www.resiliencyinc.com/

People can follow you on Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/hsanchezceo/ or Twitter https://twitter.com/ResiliencyInc where I have mentioned you share valuable brain tips and how to apply them at home or in the classroom.

Your book, The Poverty Problem can be found https://us.corwin.com/en-us/nam/the-poverty-problem/book276652

BIO: Horacio Sanchez has been a teacher, administrator, clinician, mental health director, and consultant to the Department of Education in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and other states. His diverse education and background have helped him to merge research, science, and practice which is why he has been so successful in the field of neuro education. His best-selling book, The Education Revolution published by Corwin Press, addresses the decline in empathy, increase in obesity, and the impact of implicit bias on minority students. 

RESOURCES:

A Brief Guide to Embodied Cognition: Why You are Not Your Brain by Samuel McNerney Nov. 4th, 2011 https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/a-brief-guide-to-embodied-cognition-why-you-are-not-your-brain/

REFERENCES:

[i] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Episode #74 with Horacio Sanchez on “How to Apply Brain Science to Improve Instruction and School Climate” https://www.achieveit360.com/leading-brain-science-and-resiliency-expert-horatio-sanchez-on-how-to-apply-brain-science-to-improve-instruction-and-school-climate/

[ii] The Education Revolution by Horacio Sanchez https://us.corwin.com/en-us/nam/the-education-revolution/book249726

[iii] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Episode #74 with Horacio Sanchez on “How to Apply Brain Science to Improve Instruction and School Climate” Published on YouTube July 27, 2020 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R57XnrSSQqw

[iv] The Poverty Problem: How Education Can Promote Resilience and Counter Poverty's Impact on Brain Development and Functioning by Horacio Sanchez (January 2021) https://us.corwin.com/en-us/nam/the-poverty-problem/book276652

Brain Fact Friday on “Using the Reticular Activating System to Set Your Intent and Achieve it!”

Brain Fact Friday on “Using the Reticular Activating System to Set Your Intent and Achieve it!”

March 5, 2021

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast, for our very first Brain Fact Friday episode.

When we recorded episode #109[i] on “Achieving Quantum Level Results Using Price Pritchett’s You Squared Principles” we announced we would be pulling out an important Brain Fact every Friday to dive deep into some of the brain-based strategies we are offering in each episode.

I love how my good friend Samuel Holston and Kirin Goy pull out their brain tools on their podcast Brain Tools[ii] or how Lewis Howes has his 5 Minute Fridays on The School of Greatness Podcast.[iii] And I did mention one of the top strategies for taking your results to the next level is to find a mentor who is achieving outstanding results and do what they are doing—so we are following in their footsteps.

BRAIN FACT: Did you know that Giuseppe Moruzzi, from the University of Pisa, is responsible for discovering the Reticular Activating System?

What is the Reticular Activating System and How Can it Help You?

To achieve your goals, or things that you want in your life, learn how to understand and use your Reticular Activating System[iv] which is a filter in your brain that helps you to focus on the things that are important to you. If you have heard the idea that “energy flows where your attention goes” this explains why putting some focus on what you want to create in your life is so important. Be very careful of where you are putting your focus, because your RAS will help you to achieve whatever you are focused on, good or bad. There really is a power of making your environments work for you, not against you.

Tobias van Schneider explains how the Reticular Activating System (RAS) that’s a “bundle of nerves at our brainstem that filters out unnecessary information, so the important stuff gets through.”[v] He believes that the Reticular Activating System can be trained, and I agree.

Using the Reticular Activating System

So let’s apply this important brain discovery to our daily life. First, think of when you have noticed this system at work in your life.

I remember a time I met someone at an event, and I asked him what he did for a living. He said, “I’ll tell you, but then watch out, because you will never forget me, and you’ll see what I invested EVERYWHERE” and he went on the share he was one of the people responsible for the MAXON ® Liftgate you see on the back of trucks. He was right. I never forgot him, and think of him every time I see that yellow Maxon sign while driving. That’s my RAS at work.

So how do we use this part of our brain to achieve our goals? Just knowing that it’s there is a start. We have a part of our brain that helps us to filter out what we don’t need, and focus on what we do need. This is why saying your goals out loud is so important. Know what you want, say it out loud, expect it, and let your brain help you to achieve what you want. It’s really that simple.

Sorry if now you will also see the MAXON sign everywhere. This also happened to me when someone mentioned the country Botswana. I had never heard of this country at the time, but after hearing about it, for some reason, I couldn’t stop hearing about it. IT appeared on the news, in the articles I was reading, and reminded me again that what we focus on, we notice—everywhere.

 I hope you have found our first episode of Brain Fact Friday to be helpful. Stay tuned for EPISODE #111 next week with Horacio Sanchez on his new book, the Poverty Problem.[vi]

REFERENCES:

[i] Neuroscience Meets SEL Podcast Episode #109 with Andrea Samadi https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/achieving-quantum-leap-results-using-price-pritchetts-you-squared-principles/

[ii] Brain Tools Podcast with Samuel Holston and Kirun Goy https://braintools.podbean.com/

[iii] Lewis Howes School of Greatness Podcast https://lewishowes.com/sogpodcast/

[iv] What is the Reticular Activating System May 2013  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCnfAzAIhVw

[v] If You Want it, you might get it. The Reticular Activating System explained by Tobias van Schneider (June 22, 2017) https://medium.com/desk-of-van-schneider/if-you-want-it-you-might-get-it-the-reticular-activating-system-explained-761b6ac14e53

[vi] The Poverty Problem: How Education Can Promote Resilience and Counter Poverty's Impact on Brain Development and Functioning by Horacio Sanchez (January 2021) https://us.corwin.com/en-us/nam/the-poverty-problem/book276652

World renowned Neuroscientist Dr. Caroline Leaf on “Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess: 5 Simple, Scientifically Proven Steps to Reduce Anxiety and Toxic Thinking.”

World renowned Neuroscientist Dr. Caroline Leaf on “Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess: 5 Simple, Scientifically Proven Steps to Reduce Anxiety and Toxic Thinking.”

February 28, 2021

Today we have a special BONUS episode on the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast with a very insightful backstory for how we came to meet our next guest. But first,  if you are new here, my name is Andrea Samadi, and I’m a former educator who created this podcast to bring the most current neuroscience research, along with high performing experts who have risen to the top of their field, with specific strategies or ideas that you can implement immediately, whether you are an educator, or in the corporate space, to take your results to the next level. If we want to improve our social, emotional and cognitive abilities, it all starts with an understanding of our brain. 

You can watch this interview on YouTube here. 

----------------BACKSTORY-----------------

I first heard our next guest on Dr. Daniel and Tana Amen’s Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast[i] right at the start of the Pandemic last May 2020 where I learned about a “Step 5 Process to Managing Trauma.” At the time of this interview, many people around me were just beginning to feel the stressors and pressure that this global pandemic was having on the world, and I began to pay attention to what this speaker was saying. I usually listen to my podcasts early morning and takes notes on my phone, and I began quickly writing what I was learning on this podcast.

This speaker caught my attention because she mentioned that she had spent 25 years in the in South Africa in the worst areas—working with local schools, and community centers where she would teach them about their brain and their mind, and her work had such an incredible impact on those around her, they would fill these rooms, with standing room only. I know what it takes to fill a room, coming from my work in the speaking industry, working closely with Bob Proctor Seminars, so I knew she had to be doing something outstanding to draw this much interest. This podcast episode ended and I went back to my usual work life and interviewing new speakers. At that time, I was referred to a publisher and was working with many of authors connected to this polisher (Corwin Press), and my interview schedule filled up through the summer, and I wasn’t looking for new guests, I was just trying to keep up with the demand to interview the ones I had in cue.

Then I had an email from one of my LinkedIn contacts, John Prucha[ii], from Atlanta, GA, who I heard from occasionally as he was enjoying the podcast episodes and often would send me his thoughts and feedback. One day he sent me a private message asking if I had considered reaching out to Dr. Carolyn Leaf[iii] for the podcast. At the time he sent me the message, I was swamped with the line-up of guests, but I do take all referrals seriously, and wrote down Dr. Leaf’s name on my desk.  And went back to work as usual.

A couple of weeks later I was working on a Character Book that I am creating, and this time, I am doing the interior design of the book, instead of sending it to a publisher, and I was looking for some headings to go along with the lessons I was creating. For each Character Trait, like Attentiveness, I have created ways to learn this attribute, and had the heading THINK (with some tips on what to think about before studying how to become more attentive), LEARN (the actual lesson on attentiveness), TAKE ACTION (with an activity to implement attentiveness into your daily life) and I was searching for the last heading. What happens to people after they learn a new skill? When I don’t know the answer to something, I usually type it into Google and see what comes up. I typed in THINK, LEARN, and the FIRST thing to come up was a book called Think, Learn, Succeed: Understanding and Using Your Mind to Thrive at School, the Workplace and Life[iv] by Dr. Caroline Leaf!  If you had been in my office, you would have seen me glance at the note on my desk as my brain processed, “Hey, wasn’t that the same person who John Prucha from LinkedIn asked me to contact?” Then I typed Dr. Leaf’s name into my notes, and there she was, on the Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast, so I put down what I was doing, and emailed her offices to request her as a guest on the podcast. I don’t believe in accidents, or that things happen by chance or luck. I believe that when there is an opportunity that we can easily miss it if we are not aware. I really should have reached out to Dr. Leaf the minute I knew of her background with education and the brain, which is the whole entire theme of this podcast, for those who have been following us.  I did hear back from her offices, from someone named Jessica, who let me know that Dr. Leaf was currently swamped, but for me to reach back to her in January. Of course I put a note up on my calendar on my wall to contact Dr. Leaf then, and circled it so I wouldn’t forget.

And went on with my work and life, until I was contacted by Podbean, who hosts this podcast, to see if I could be interested in moderating an event that was coming up in November of 2020, called Wellness Week. I wrote back that I would love to do this and asked to learn more about the session I would be moderating. I received an email back that I would be running the session about Neuroscience, Mental Health and Coaching with John Kim, and….Dr. Caroline Leaf!

Of course I did a deep dive into Dr. Leaf’s work prior to that session, and loved every minute of speaking with her, learning more, taking more notes, and knowing that it would be so much fun to one day interview her face to face on The Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast.

And today is that day.

World-renowned neuroscientist and best-selling author Dr. Caroline Leaf, is a communication pathologist and cognitive neuroscientist with a Masters and PhD in Communication Pathology and a BSc Logopaedics, specializing in cognitive and metacognitive neuropsychology. Since the early 1980s she has researched the mind-brain connection, the nature of mental health, and the formation of memory. She was one of the first in her field to study how the brain can change (neuroplasticity) with directed mind input. 

During her years in clinical practice and her work with thousands of underprivileged teachers and students in her home country of South Africa and in the USA, she developed her theory (called the Geodesic Information Processing theory) of how we think, build memory, and learn, into tools and processes that have transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), learning disabilities (ADD, ADHD), autism, dementias and mental ill-health issues like anxiety and depression. She has helped hundreds of thousands of students and adults learn how to use their mind to detox and grow their brain to succeed in every area of their lives, including school, university, and the workplace.

Dr. Leaf is about to release her NEW book, Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess: 5 Simple Scientifically Proven Steps to Reduce Anxiety, Stress and Toxic Thinking (March 2, 2021) where the solution is offered in five action-oriented steps called the Neurocycle, where she shares practical application and strategies for readers. Backed by clinical research and illustrated with compelling case studies, Dr. Leaf provides a scientifically supported plan to find and eliminate the root of anxiety, depression, and intrusive thoughts in reader’s lives so they can build a healthy new and automated neural network in 63 days, the length of time to properly build a new habit.

“I truly believe that mental mess is something we all experience often,” writes Dr. Leaf, “and that it isn’t something we should be ashamed of. This is my profession, and I still have to clean up my mind daily. The events and circumstances of life aren’t going anywhere; people make a lot of decisions every day that affect us all, suffering of some sort for you and your loved ones is inevitable. That said, I wholeheartedly believe that although the events and circumstances can’t be controlled, we can control our reactions to these events and circumstances. This is mind-management in action!”

Dr. Leaf leverages the strategies she has developed working with patients over the last 38 years to teach readers how to foster and cultivate the power of their own thinking and direct their own brain changes. Mind-management, when done correctly, helps facilitate talk between the conscious, the subconscious, and the nonconscious mind. This, in turn, gets brainwaves flowing in a healthy way, optimizing brain function. This is done by implementing the Neurocycle, a simple, clinically researched mind-management tool for personal use to address and ameliorate such warning signals as anxiety, depression, toxic thinking, inability to concentrate, irritability, exhaustion and burnout before they take over someone’s mind.

In CLEANING UP YOUR MENTAL MESS, you will learn:

  • What happens when we don’t use our minds properly
  • Mind-management and why we need it
  • How the 5 steps can help reduce anxiety and depression by up to 81% according to clinical studies
  • Why mind-management is the solution to cleaning up your mental mess
  • How the science can help us transition from being aware of toxic thoughts, to catching and managing them in their early stages
  • How our thoughts physically affect ourselves and others
  • How to capitalize on directed neuroplasticity using the Neurocycle
  • To apply mind-management to unwire toxic habits and trauma
  • How to leverage the lessons in the book for their daily lifestyle, including connection, brain-building, sleep, diet, exercise, people-pleasing, toxic perfectionism, overthinking, toxic emails and texts
  • Why mindfulness is not enough and how strategic mind-management through the 5 steps can take a reader beyond mindfulness

You can order your copy of Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess[v] starting March 2nd (and pre-order your copy if you are listening to this podcast on March 1st).

Welcome Dr. Leaf, it’s such a pleasure to meet you face to face after working with you during Podbean’s Wellness Week for our session back in November last year.

Intro:

Dr. Leaf, before we get to the questions I have for you, I wanted to ask if you could give us a quick history of how you came to study the brain and how did you come to believe that if “we direct our mind, we can change our brain.” How did you set out to prove those 2 professors wrong who told you this concept was ridiculous?

My Thoughts: I first heard about the importance of studying the mind with Bob Proctor, who I worked for through his seminars for 6 years. I learned about the mind, the importance of positive thinking, and how we could change our conditions, circumstances, environment and results with the power of our thoughts. Schools/educators were not ready for this, so when I began working with schools, I had to change the word “mind” to “brain” to make what I was saying science based. Like you, I believe that with the right strategy, we can learn anything.

PART 1 of the BOOK “The Why and the How”

Q1: When we release this podcast episode, it will be the day before you NEW book, Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess: 5 Simple Scientifically Proven Steps to Reduce Anxiety, Stress and Toxic Thinking comes out. This book takes the research you have done over the past 38 years and teaches us exactly how we can make the most of our mind and brain, taking us to new heights. Can you explain what our mind is, and what happens to it if we don’t keep our thoughts clean? What is the interconnected mind? What’s the difference between the mind and  brain? Can we measure or see what “mind” is?

My Thoughts: On episode 23[vi], we take a close look at “Understanding the Difference Between the Mind and the Brain” with Dr. Daniel Siegel’s definition of the mind and brain. It’s a topic I’ve been interested in learning more about since learning of the importance of positive thinking from Bob Proctor in the late 1990s.  I know that our thoughts control our conditions, circumstances, environment and results. I just never had the science to prove it, other than one person I met, Dr. Joesph Guan (Clinical Director at the Brain Enhancement Center in Singapore) who studied with Dr. Bruce Lipton[vii] said he saw machines (called SQUID machines) that could measure a positive and/or negative thought and prove how negative thinking caused poor results.

Q2: I know I heard you mention on your podcast with Dr. Amen that if we are anxious while eating, that our pancreas will not secrete the peptides needed to digest our food, just like the importance of our thinking on our telomeres/aging. What happens when we don’t use our minds correctly and have doubts and worries occupying our mind, like most of us do on a daily basis?

Q3: Listeners of this podcast all know of the importance of self-regulation with regards to our results, but these days, we seem to get hit with something new every week that makes positive thinking really difficult. Can you explain what your research suggests to be the best way to manage our minds during stressful times?

PART 2 of the Book, The Practical Application of the Neurocycle

Q4: I heard you speaking about this concept of using your brain to change negative thinking a few times before I really understood it. I heard it first on the Brain Warrior Way Podcast, then again on Ed Mylett’s podcast, and you went into detail about this strategy during our session on Wellness Week and I was furiously writing notes to understand this concept.  I will link all of these episodes in the show notes for people to find, so you don’t have to go into detail, but can you explain the metaphor that you use of how our worries are like branches on  a tree, with the goal of identifying FIRST what we are worrying about, pick one worry to fix, get a new perspective of this worry, and then actually get to the root cause or origin of our worry to eliminate it?

My thoughts: I downloaded the SWITCH app after watching the Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast again and have just started to work on one thing I worry about.  After just one day, I am learning so much about why I think I worry about this one thing, and even just thinking/analyzing it, has helped. (Name it to tame it idea).

Q5: It seems that every day we have a new challenge to overcome and many of us our experiencing some sort of anxiety that can lead to depression which is completely normal.

How can we use neurocycling to build mental toughness, resiliency, or even emotional toughness to overcome how difficult times are these days?

Q6: How can we use these 5 steps to break bad habits and build good lifestyle habits?

Q7: How can we use these steps to detox from trauma or memories that we habitually play over in our minds—those Automatic Negative Thoughts?

Thank you very much Dr. Leaf for the years of research you have done in this field, for the books and resources you have created, and your Switch app where anyone can go and begin to immediately implement these ideas. For people who want to learn more about your work, is the best place https://www.cleaningupyourmentalmess.com/ 

If someone wants to purchase your book, out March 2nd 2021, I will put the links in the show notes. 

Also, you have an incredible podcast, Cleaning Up the Mental Mess[viii] where you go into detail on using the neurocycle in specific areas of your life (most recently for reclaiming the loss of self and your identity).

Other than the NEW book, your APP, website and podcast, have I missed anything that people should see?

Thank you!

RESOURCES:

Neuroscience Meets SEL Episode #106 with Andrea Samadi "Review of Dr. Leaf's Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess Book and App" https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/book-and-app-review-of-neuroscientist-and-best-selling-author-dr-caroline-leafs-cleaning-up-your-mental-mess-coming-march-2-20201/ 

What is Qeeg Brain Mapping https://www.mountainvistapsychology.com/qeeg/

REFERENCES:

[i] The 5-Step Process to Managing Trauma with Dr. Caroline Leaf on The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast Published on YouTube May 22, 2020 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_sHPAvOXh4&t=2661s

[ii] John Prucha, Graduate Student from Liberty University https://www.linkedin.com/in/john-p-2160661b2/

[iii] https://drleaf.com/

[iv]Think, Learn, Succeed: Understanding and Using Your Mind to Thrive at School, the Workplace and Life by Dr. Caroline Leaf (August 7, 2018)  https://www.amazon.com/Think-Learn-Succeed-Understanding-Workplace/dp/0801093279

[v] Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess by Dr. Caroline Leaf (March 2, 2021) https://www.amazon.com/Cleaning-Your-Mental-Mess-Scientifically/dp/0801093457

[vi] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Episode #14 “Understanding the Difference Between the Mind and the Brain” https://www.achieveit360.com/understanding-the-difference-between-your-mind-and-brain/

[vii] Dr. Bruce Lipton https://www.brucelipton.com/

[viii] Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess Podcast with Dr. Leaf https://drleaf.com/pages/podcasts

Achieving Quantum Leap Results Using Price Pritchett’s “You Squared” Principles

Achieving Quantum Leap Results Using Price Pritchett’s “You Squared” Principles

February 26, 2021

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #109 with a special episode where I want to take a minute to thank anyone who has ever downloaded an episode or come on a guest to the podcast. Without you (the listener) or our guest speakers, there is no podcast, and there would be no chance that we would have hit our milestone of surpassing 50,000 downloads since our launch in June 2019.

I want to take a minute to share why hitting 50,000 downloads is such a big deal and why we couldn’t have done this on our own. It took a year and 8 months to attain this goal (that I’ve had my eye on since last summer) and if you are not a podcaster, these numbers don’t have as much meaning as those out there who create and release content and wonder—will anyone actually find what I have just created interesting, helpful and meaningful?

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When starting anything new, you are building something out of nothing, and the only way to do this is to have a vision of where you are going. For me, it started with “I hope I can get 100 people to listen to this podcast. That would be incredible!” Our first month we had 27 downloads (probably my good friends and family—thank you!), month 2 was 204 downloads, month 3, 248, then 396, jumping up to 1,648 in December 2019. What’s crazy is that if I look back to February 2020, or this time last year, our monthly numbers started to hit the thousands each month, but we were still just at 7,800 downloads in total. I’ve included a graph in the show notes so  you can see these results. If you are listening on iTunes, go over to Podbean to see these graphs. https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/ 

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So, How Did We Go From 7,800 Downloads to 51,800 Downloads in Just One Year?

When we launched the podcast, we did one episode a week, except for the beginning of the Pandemic last summer, we released 3 episodes in a week a couple of times, just due to the fact that we had extra time, most people we wanted to interview were available, and we knew the more episodes we released, the higher the downloads, which is exactly how the numbers increased so quickly.  If we want quantum leap results, it takes effort, focus, persistence and hard work.  There’s actually a formula that I learned in the late 1990s when I was given Price Pritchett’s book “You Squared: A High Velocity Formula for Multiplying your Personal Effectiveness in Quantum Leaps.”[i] Who doesn’t want to achieve exponential improvement in their performance, or multiply their personal effectiveness?

“You don’t have to be content with improving things incrementally or gradually—You Squared implies an explosive jump in your personal performance that puts you far beyond the next logical step.” (Price Pritchett)

So of course, I was looking for that exponential leap with our numbers, and not sure what the secret was. Since I always have the You Squared book on my desk, one day I looked up Pritchett and contacted his offices to see if I could have him on the podcast to discover what I was missing and share it with our listeners at the same time. He isn’t doing interviews anymore, but I will have one of his team members on this year and we will dive deeper into the principles of his book.

The tips I’m going to share with you on this episode today are for anyone who is building something from nothing. You might have an idea in the back of your head, and aren’t sure where to begin, or you’ve been given a new sales territory, and you just can’t see how you will accomplish your goal. Whatever it is that you are looking to do, there are some secrets to achieving your goals, and I highly recommend reading Pritchett’s book, You Squared to begin with.

Here’s Some Tips for Accelerating Your Rate of Achievement, and they all involve a shift in your mental mindset.

Tip #1 Learn from Those Who Have Already Paved the Path

Seek out those who have risen to the top, and model what they are doing. They had to have started where you are at some point. Whatever you are doing, there is always someone who has gone before you, and achieved your goal with ease. How did they do it? Ask them, and then be prepared to do exactly what they say.

I watched other podcasters to see how they hit this milestone, and I remember that Lewis Howes, the host of one of the top podcasts, The School of Greatness, said something along the lines of “to get more downloads, I knew I had to release more episodes.”[ii]

Since its launch in January 2013, the School of Greatness podcast has grown rapidly to be one of the top-ranked Business and Self-Development podcasts in iTunes. It regularly appears in the Top 50 of all iTunes podcasts, and has over 150 million downloads.

He said “I built up my podcast through consistently providing quality valuable content and constantly being open to my own growth without being attached to the end result. In the early stages of the podcast, I was only doing one episode per week, and then I started adding two episodes, and then I added in my 5 Minute Fridays, and then I added video. This was a slow and gradual growth and has taken years to get to where I am today.”[iii]  Lewis Howes describes what it took for the Quantum Leap results he has achieved.

So How Did This Work?

Lewis Howes suggested doing 3 episodes/week to improve his downloads. To move away from releasing just one episode a week, we did try 3 episodes in a week but that almost killed me. My life was 100% focused on each guest, preparing and editing, but I did it because I was given access to high level speakers and didn’t want to miss that opportunity. Other projects were put aside, and it was an incredible learning opportunity, but I couldn’t sustain this level on my own.

I was reminded of something I heard Brendon Burchard, the author of the book High Performance Habits talk about with how “High performers have mastered the art of prolific quality output (PQO). They produce more high-quality output than their peers over the long term, and that is how they become more effective, better known, more remembered. They aim their attention and consistent efforts toward PQO and minimize any distractions (including opportunities) that would steal them away from their craft” (Burchard, 2017)[iv]

To release more than one interview a week would compromise the quality of the work I’m doing (unless I decide to outsource some of it, which I haven’t done yet).  So, I’m sticking to one interview a week, and will be adding Brain Fact Fridays, which will be short brain tips, to reinforce the strategies offered within the interviews.  Stay tuned, as we will begin Brain Fact Fridays next week.

Who Can You Learn From? If there is someone that you know in your field who has a track record of success, look them up, and contact them. With 100% certainty, I can tell you that they will answer any questions that you might have for them. Ask them what they did to achieve their high levels of success, write it down, and follow what they did. You might have to adjust, like I did, but you will find your rhythm, and what works for you, once you begin to implement the ideas you are given. Just remember to take the advice they give you and try it.

“If you want to accelerate your rate of achievement rapidly, you must search out and vigorously employ new behaviors.” (Pritchett, Page 7)

Tip #2 Act As if Your Success is Certain—Expect It.

“If you doubt something, doubt your limits.” (Pritchett).

When starting something new, it’s normal, I think, to wonder if you will attain success with what you are doing. Just keep doing the work, and day by day, you will begin to see small wins that stack up, building your belief system. When you have true belief and faith that you will accomplish your goal, something inside you shifts. I have launched quite a few ideas that never took off, or never reached the heights I was hoping for. Even with all the belief in the world, some things just don’t work.

But when something begins to turn the corner, and the momentum builds, you will see it. Never look back to the doubts, fears and uncertainty that you might have had at the beginning.  Even if it completely shocks you, just hold that belief.

So How Did This Work?

When I saw the numbers going up last summer around the time we were doing 3 podcasts each week, I remember feeling shocked, but also thinking “it’s about time.” The belief started to come, and it never left at that point.

Do you believe in what you are doing? How can you strengthen your belief? What do you say to someone who tells you what you are trying to do is impossible, or that past results have proven it will fail?

Tip #3 The How is Not Important, You Just Need to Know What You Want

“A quantum leap is the unexpected that comes to you with sudden grace. You can open yourself to such a breakthrough, you can even invite it, but you can’t make it happen by struggling harder.” (Pritchett, page 17)

I always remember my mentor, Bob Proctor[v] talking about forgetting about “how” I was going to attain my goal but focus on what I wanted. I remember saying “But Bob, how am I going to do that?” and he would look at me and say, “You don’t need to know how” and I would be left standing there, puzzled.

Lewis Howes mentioned it when he said he remained focused on his growth. Just keep learning, working, moving, and growing, and putting one foot forward. Ideas and opportunities will come your way that you might have never seen or expected before.

So How Did This Work?

When our numbers started to accelerate, it was like a perfect storm of activity. I had just interviewed my mentored, Bob Proctor, and he offered to send out my podcast to his entire database. That really helped. Then Podbean (our podcast host) featured our podcast on the front page of their app, and we went from 32 followers to almost 4,000. This means that every time we upload an episode, 4,000 people are notified. Then we were contacted by Corwin Press, with 8 authors who they thought would be a great fit for the podcast. These authors all led me to other opportunities outside of the podcast, and the list can go on.

If you are crystal clear on where you are going, the way will be shown to you. It might not look like the pathway you expect, but with faith and belief, it will come to you, and when your quantum leap appears, it won’t shock you, because you saw it all along.

To close out this episode, I want to say thank you again to our past and future guests and listeners. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to provide this content, and that you are finding value with this podcast, from whatever part of the world you are in.  As I watch the statistics of who is listening where, I have to give a shout-out to the top 4 countries who tune into the podcast: The United States (where I live) Australia (where I have many friends), Canada (where I grew up) and the UK (where I was born).  We are proud to be showing up in the TOP 100 charts on iTunes all over the world in the Education (how-to) Category[vi] currently #55 in the US and #34 in Great Britain[vii] among other countries. Thank you for listening. 

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Stay tuned for episode #110 with Dr. Caroline Leaf on her new book, Cleaning Up the Mental Mess (coming on Monday March 1st) the day before the release of her new book on Amazon, and I hope you find Brain Fact Fridays useful. See you next week!

 

RESOURCES:

10 Best Social and Emotional Learning Podcasts to Follow in 2021 https://blog.feedspot.com/social_emotional_learning_podcasts/   

10 Trending SEL Podcasts for District Leaders and Educators https://www.panoramaed.com/blog/10-trending-sel-podcasts 

REFERENCES:

[i] Price Pritchett, Ph. D “You Squared” (Feb. 2012)  https://www.amazon.com/You-Velocity-Multiplying-Personal-Effectiveness/dp/0944002048/ref=sr_1_2?crid=18FQLA0V3NW9Y&dchild=1&keywords=you+squared+price+pritchett&qid=1614386412&sprefix=you+squared%2Caps%2C199&sr=8-2

[ii] Lewis Howes School of Greatness Podcast https://lewishowes.com/sogpodcast/

[iii] Lewis Howes on Building his Podcast School of Greatness https://observer.com/2017/10/how-lewis-howes-got-to-40m-podcast-downloads-bestseller-list-ellens-couch-robert-greene/amp/

[iv] High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard Published Sept.19, 2017  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072N6MQ5V/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

[v] Neuroscience Meet Social and Emotional Learning EPISODE #66 with the Legendary Bob Proctor https://www.achieveit360.com/the-legendary-bob-proctor-on-social-and-emotional-learning-where-it-all-started/

[vi] Neuroscience Meets SEL Podcast #55 on iTunes (Education Category-How-To) in the US https://chartable.com/charts/itunes/us-how-to-podcasts

[vii] Neuroscience Meets SEL Podcast #34 in Great Britain https://chartable.com/charts/itunes/gb-how-to-podcasts

CEO of Fisher Wallace Laboratories Kelly Roman on “Wearable Medical Devices for Anxiety, Depression, and Sleep/Stress Management”

CEO of Fisher Wallace Laboratories Kelly Roman on “Wearable Medical Devices for Anxiety, Depression, and Sleep/Stress Management”

February 19, 2021

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast episode #108 with Kelly Roman, the Co-Founder and CEO of Fisher Wallace Laboratories[i], an FDA-regulated manufacturer of wearable medical devices for the treatment of insomnia, anxiety and depression, as well as wellness devices for sleep and stress management (Circadia®). 

Watch the interview on YouTube here. 

Fisher Wallace has over 70,000 patients and 10,000 subscribers using their devices and has continued to run three sizable clinical trials during the pandemic, investigating how neurostimulation is a strong contender as a treatment for anxiety and depression compared to drug use. 

Welcome to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast. My name is Andrea Samadi, and if you are new here, I’m a former educator who created this podcast to bring the most current neuroscience research, along with high performing experts who have risen to the top of their field, with specific strategies or ideas that you can implement immediately to take your results to the next level. I can’t tell you how excited I am to speak with Kelly Roman today, as we have been on the topic of mental health and well-being on this podcast for the past few months, because this is an area that most people are interested in these days. There’s a serious need  here.

When I was covering the most important brain-health strategies, after watching the Alzheimer’s: The Science of Prevention Documentary[ii] last year, it became clear that sleep was one of the top 5 health staples that we should all be aware of. I covered this last December with a review of these top 5 health staples[iii] where getting a good quality sleep was a staple that is shown as an Alzheimer’s prevention strategy.

When I was first introduced to Kelly Roman, and saw that the company he co-founded, Fisher Wallace Labs has created wearable devices to help improve sleep, while also treating anxiety and depression, I wanted to learn more. If you take one look at their website, you can see their appearance on the TV Show, the Drs. where a patient shares that she has been wearing the device for just a week, and is already sleeping better. The more I began to research this company, and their wearable devices, the more excited I became.

I started to think up what questions I would ask our guest, and wondered:

If these devices are helping people to improve sleep, and reduce anxiety and depression, what else could they possibly do?

Could a wearable device help to improve someone’s mood and consequently help someone who struggles with addiction to stay sober?

The questions could go on…let’s see what Kelly Roman, the co-founder of Fisher Wallace Laboratories has to say.

 

--------Interview starts here----------------------------

Welcome Kelly, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today.  I’ve got to say that my mind was going 100 miles an hour when I was creating your questions. An FDA-regulated manufacturer of wearable medical devices for the treatment of insomnia, anxiety and depression, as well as wellness devices for sleep and stress management—we can go in so many directions here. But I’ve got to start with sleep--

Q1: We’ve created a clear case on this podcast over the past 6 months for the importance of getting a good night sleep as it’s one of the top 5 health staples that we should all be aware of for Alzheimer’s Prevention.  Can you explain what you are focused on at Fisher Wallace (wearable home use vs other forms- Electro Convulsive Therapy/Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) how do these devices work, and how does this improve someone’s sleep?

Q2: Kelly, my husband is a volunteer for the Maricopa Sheriff’s office here in Phoenix, he’s a commander for one volunteer units, and the stories I hear from those working in police/fire these days, it’s extremely stressful, and he lived in New Jersey, covering New York City for work, (where you live) and can deal with high stress situations. I saw a presentation you did for Brainstorm Health in 2019[iv] where you combined your technology with VR to help treat those with anxiety, insomnia or depression. Can you explain what the device is that I saw you present with VR, and how could it help people, like those in policing to increase their focus while reducing stress?

Q3: We know that anxiety and depression are at an all-time high these days, with the effects of the Pandemic, and how life has changed for many of us. How does your device help your body to release dopamine, serotonin and fall into a state of deep relaxation, with no drugs required?

Q4: What is the research saying about treatment like wearable devices for depression or anxiety vs drug use? I watched your interview with Luke Storey[v] where you give an incredible overview of the hurdles that you had to overcome with these “blockbuster anti-depressant drugs” like Prozac.  What is the research showing now about these drugs and what they are doing to the body?

Q5: When we connected on LinkedIn, I had to check to see who we have in common. When I saw that we have Aneesh Chaudhry, who I launched the year with his interview on overcoming addiction[vi]—I had to wonder- Could a wearable device help to improve someone’s mood and consequently help someone who struggles with addiction to stay sober?

Q6: What is your 10-year vision for where these devices are going? Do you think we are moving towards where health care will cover them so that we could be prescribed them for lower cost?

Q7: Can this device help improve heart rate variability? (the measure of the variation in time between each heartbeat).

Kelly Roman, Thank you for taking the time to meet with me, and for opening up my mind to the power behind wearable devices vs taking drugs for anxiety, insomnia or depression.

For people who want to learn more, they can go to https://www.fisherwallace.com/ and find you on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/kellyroman/

Any final thoughts for our listeners about this technology and how it is innovating the future of mental health?

STAY TUNED: for a follow-up to this episode after I have tested out the device for sleep.

RESOURCES:

Luke Storey Podcast https://www.lukestorey.com/lifestylistpodcast/treating-depression-anxiety-and-insomnia-naturally-with-kelly-roman-188

 

The Doctors Review of The Fisher Wallace Stimulator (Brain Stimulator) Published on YouTube Sept. 18, 2013 https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=gSHAUmGqrHU

Electroconvulsive Therapy: A History of Controversy, but Also of Help (Jan.12, 2017) https://theconversation.com/electroconvulsive-therapy-a-history-of-controversy-but-also-of-help-70938

Electroconvulsive Therapy The University of Vermont Medical Center https://www.uvmhealth.org/medcenter/wellness-resources/health-library/ty1541

How the Fisher Wallace Stimulator Works https://www.fisherwallace.com/pages/how-it-works

New Technologies for the Treatment of Mental Health with Chip Fisher TEDxBeaconStreet Published on YouTube Jan.4, 2017 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIjkLvt8f1A

Home Use Brain Stimulators vs Drug Use https://www.fisherwallace.com/pages/scientific-evidence-homepage-opioid-withdrawal

The Effectiveness of Cranial Electrical Stimulation (CES) for the Treatment of Pain, Depression, Anxiety, PTSD (Feb. 2018) Investigators: Paul Shekelle, MD, PhD, Ian Cook, MD, Isomi M Miake-Lye, PhD, Selene Mak, PhDc, Marika Suttorp Booth, MS, Roberta Shanman, MLS, and Jessica M Beroes, BS. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493132/

Mark Powers, Baylor, Director of Trauma Research https://www.bswhealth.med/research/Pages/institutes-and-centers/trauma-research-center/mark-powers.aspx

Elon Musk’s Neuralink Brain Chip Explained Published on YouTube August 30, 2020 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsX-7hS94Yo

Phoenix House Pilot Study https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0315/7737/files/Phoenix_House_Pilot_Study_Poster.pdf?315

REFERENCES:

[i] https://www.fisherwallace.com/

[ii] Alzheimer’s: The Science of Prevention Documentary https://www.drperlmutter.com/alzheimers-the-science-of-prevention-2020-air-dates/

[iii] Neuroscience Meets SEL BONUS Episode “Deep Dive into the Top 5 Health Staples” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/bonus-episode-a-deep-dive-into-the-top-5-health-staples-and-review-of-seasons-1-4/

[iv] Brainstorm Health 2019: Treating Insomnia, Anxiety and Depression Using VR and Neurostimulation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIX_PklkrCI&list=PLS8YLn_6PU1lLLTFbHlK3WD1tAkmgCjqz&index=27&t=0s&fbclid=IwAR2HvJ0wlDPBp4bttb_lp7agHRc4ioSyqxqORlaPfjgu8j5u9YGBuyeLGzM

[v] Luke Storey Podcast https://www.lukestorey.com/lifestylistpodcast/treating-depression-anxiety-and-insomnia-naturally-with-kelly-roman-188

[vi] Neuroscience Meets SEL Episode #102 Aneesh Chaudhry on “Mental Health, Well-Being and Meditation: Overcoming Addiction Using Your Brain” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/aneesh-choudhry-on-mental-health-well-being-and-meditation-overcoming-addictionusing-your-brain/

Behavior Analyst and Author Jessica Minahan on her book “The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students”

Behavior Analyst and Author Jessica Minahan on her book “The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students”

February 13, 2021

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast episode #107 with Jessica Minahan[i], the author of The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students[ii] In this much needed book, based on a collaboration dating back nearly a decade, the authors Jessica Minahan, a behavioral analyst and Nancy Rappaport,  a child psychiatrist—reveal their systematic approach for deciphering causes and patterns of difficult behaviors and how to match them with proven strategies for getting students back on track to learn.

Watch the interview on YouTube here. 

My name is Andrea Samadi, and if you are new here, I’m a former educator who created this podcast to bring the most current neuroscience research, along with high performing experts who have risen to the top of their field, with specific strategies or ideas that you can implement immediately, whether you are an educator, or in the corporate space, to take your results to the next level. If you have ever heard my story of where my career began, you would know why I would be so interested to speak with Jessica about the strategies in The Behavior Code. My first job out of The University of Toronto’s Faculty of Education, was a behavioral class. I felt overwhelmed and frustrated by the lack of resources to manage and teach my students and this was one of the catalysts that drew me towards social and emotional learning in the late 1990s. If only I had read this book back then, I wouldn’t have struggled so much.

Let me tell you more about Jessica:

She is a licensed and board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA), author, special educator, and consultant to schools internationally.  Since 2000 she has worked with students who struggle with mental health issues and challenging behavior in public school systems.  She specializes in training staff and creating behavior intervention plans for students who demonstrate explosive and unsafe behavior. She also works with students who have emotional and behavioral disabilities, anxiety disorders, or high-functioning Autism. Her particular interest is to serve these students by combining behavioral interventions with a comprehensive knowledge of best practices for those with complex mental health profiles and learning needs.

She is a blogger on The Huffington Post[iii], the author of The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students,[iv] with Nancy Rappaport (Harvard Education Press, 2012), and author of The Behavior Code Companion: Strategies, Tools, and Interventions for Supporting Students with Anxiety-Related or Oppositional Behaviors [v](Harvard Education Press, 2014).]

She holds a Bachelor in Science in Intensive Special Education from Boston University and a dual master’s degree in Special Education and Elementary Education from Wheelock College. She has a certificate of graduate study (CGS) in teaching children with Autism from the University of Albany and received her BCBA training from Northeastern University in Boston. She is sought-after internationally to speak on subjects ranging from effective interventions for students with anxiety to supporting hard-to-reach students in full-inclusion public school settings.

How did I come across Jessica’s work?

A couple of Saturday mornings ago, I was at my desk getting caught up from the week, and an email came in from Greg Wolcott, who I mention often on the podcast. He’s an assistant superintendent from Chicago who has not only been a guest a couple of times on the podcast, but is a huge supporter. He often brainstorms ideas, topics, and guest speakers with me, and this time, when he sent me Jessica’s name, and told me that he was on a webinar with her, and that I should take a look at her work, I knew I needed to speak with her the minute I saw the title of her book.

If you are a current teacher, former teacher, or thinking about being a teacher, I am sure that you would want to know “what is the behavior code?”  As a parent I am still trying to figure this out, and my girls are not teenagers yet! So I emailed Jessica that second, asked her if she would come on the podcast, and within hours we had the interview set up.

Let’s hear what Jessica has to say about the Behavior Code.

--------------------This is where the interview begins-----------

Welcome Jessica, thank you so much for taking the time out of a busy schedule (where I know you’ve been working hard presenting on the weekends) to speak with me about your book The Behavior Code.

Before we get to the questions, I wanted to read one of the reviews that you have in the beginning of the book. We haven’t met until now, so you wouldn’t possibly know my story of my first job out of teacher’s college being a behavioral class, where I wished I had some strategies, any strategies, to manage my class that was out of control, but this review could have been written by me and I think it will give you some insight into the passion that I have for your work before I begin the questions.

The review says….

“The Behavior Code needs to be read by all teachers, counselors, administrators, and parents!/From cover to cover I felt (the authors) were speaking to me, an elementary teacher (I was a middle-school teacher) and a mom (I wasn’t a mom back then, but I am now). I felt they knew me, and knew those students who kept me awake at night.  ( I still wonder what happened to those students who used to keep me up at night, over 20 years later). Teachers, this book is written by authors who KNOW what our jobs are like.” —  Lorna d’Entremont,  Special Needs Book Review

Jessica, I’ve heard you say that when you show up at a school to help teachers, it’s usually after an incident has happened, and teachers or school admin are looking for an immediate solution. I know you can’t solve everyone school’s behavior problems, but what is your vision with the Behavior Code?

Q1: When I left teaching, in the late 1990s, my close friends would say that I was the least likely out of anyone to quit anything. I broke my contract, felt burnt out, after one year of teaching behavioral students. There were no strategies at all in my teacher training programs to help me to deal with challenging behavior, and it’s been just recently that I have come across books like Dr. Lori Desautels” Connections Over Compliance: Rewiring Our Perceptions of Discipline[vi] where I started to see that there were strategies out there to help turn around even the most challenging students. Why do you think there is this gap in our teacher training programs, that “creates teachers who are undertrained and overwhelmed?” (Jessica Minahan, on Unrestrained Podcast Episode #18)[vii].

My thoughts: Unless you have stood in a classroom, in front of students, it’s not easy to really understand the job of an educator. Even sitting in the back of the classroom, as a parent volunteer, you can get a glimpse of what the day-to-day life is like in today’s schools.

Q2: When I was teaching, I remember thinking in my head “what’s wrong with these kids?” showing that I was missing some really important training.  What should all teachers know about behavior, and can you explain how we can turn around even the most challenging student behavior?

Q3: What is the process of figuring out the underlying cause behind a behavior? What are some patterns and causes of challenging behavior?

Q4: How do social and emotional skills tie into behavior control? In Ch 1 of your book you mention an incident with a student name Alyssa who blows up at another student, and you had a chart showing the SEL skills that were missing, that need to be taught. How can teachers assess the strategies you outline a situation like this in real-time, to prevent more disruption, or is the key just to keep our calm until we can get more information?  What is the best way to deal with explosive situations while they are happening?

Q5: I know that you go into depth on your FAIR Intervention Plan that you describe in chapter 2 on the podcast I heard you on recently. I will put a link to this podcast in the show notes[viii] so you don’t have to explain it again, but can you briefly explain why replacement behavior is the first step toward desired behavior, and what would the FAIR PLAN look like in practice, maybe with a student with Anxiety-Related behavior, since anxiety is at an all-time high these days?

Q6: If you had met me 20 years ago when I was a new teacher, with a room full of behavioral students, and I shared with you that I was thinking of leaving teaching, not only leaving teaching, but thinking of moving to another country, it was such a stressful experience. What would you have said to me? What would you say to teachers these days who are feeling the stress and pressure of Covid19, whether they are teaching in the classroom or online?

Q7: I just presented at a virtual conference on the topic of stress, learning and the brain[ix], as this topic is something I would like to bring more awareness to for our teachers in the classroom, or parents who might be homeschooling their children, or helping them on a different level than they’ve ever had to before. What calming strategies do you think would help a stressed teacher, or even a parent stressed out in the workplace, and then they have to come home and find new strategies to help their children who are also stressed with the way the world is today?

Jessica, I want to thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today, to share your research and years of work around a topic that I am deeply invested in. If people want to learn more about your books, articles, radio and podcasts, they can go to

https://jessicaminahan.com/publications/

They can follow you on social media:

https://twitter.com/jessica_minahan

https://www.linkedin.com/in/jessica-minahan-64a8782/

https://www.facebook.com/TheBehaviorCode

https://www.websudoku.com/

RESOURCES:

The Behavior Code Book and Companion Guide. You will learn:

*Tools that can be understood and used immediately
*How anxiety-related behaviors impact students and easy to implement strategies that are really effective!
*Case studies that are springboards to creating effective intervention support plans.
*Progress monitoring tools that measure if the interventions are effective!
*Clearly outlined components of a transition and how to support all students be successful with the numerous transitions they incur in the school day.
*The IEP goals and objectives included in the book are fantastic templates
*Protocols for unsafe behaviors
*Comprehensive list of helpful apps

Treating Explosive Kids by Ross Green and J. Stuart Ablon, https://www.stuartablon.com/treating-explosive-kids

REFERENCES:

[i] https://jessicaminahan.com/about-jessica-minahan/

[ii][ii] The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students (April 1, 2012) https://www.amazon.com/Behavior-Code-Practical-Understanding-Challenging/dp/1612501362

[iii] 5 Tips for Preventing Dependency in Anxious Students (Feb.2017) by Jessica Minahan https://www.huffpost.com/entry/5-tips-for-preventing-dependency-in-anxious-students_b_58b4a421e4b0e5fdf61975f0

[iv] The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students (April 1, 2012)  https://jessicaminahan.com/the-behavior-code/

[v] The Behavior Code Companion: Strategies, Tools and Interventions for Supporting Students with Anxiety-Related or Oppositional Behaviors https://jessicaminahan.com/the-behavior-code-companion/

[vi] Lori L Desautels, Ph.D Connections Over Compliance: Rewiring Our Perceptions of Discipline (Sept. 18, 2020) http://revelationsineducation.com/the-book/connections-over-compliance-rewiring-our-perceptions-of-discipline/

[vii] Cracking the Behavior Code (Unrestrained Podcast Episode #18) with Terry Vittone https://www.crisisprevention.com/Blog/Unrestrained-Episode-18-Guest-Jessica-Minahan

[viii] Cracking the Behavior Code (Unrestrained Podcast Episode #18) with Terry Vittone https://www.crisisprevention.com/Blog/Unrestrained-Episode-18-Guest-Jessica-Minahan

[ix] Neuroscience Meets SEL: 12 Brain-Aligned Strategies to Reduce Stress and Increase Learning by Andrea Samadi https://twitter.com/andreasamadi/status/1359096620848058371/photo/2

Review of Neuroscientist and Best-Selling Author Dr. Caroline Leaf’s “Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess” Coming March 2nd!

Review of Neuroscientist and Best-Selling Author Dr. Caroline Leaf’s “Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess” Coming March 2nd!

February 5, 2021

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast episode #106. This episode is a deep dive into Dr. Carolyn Leaf's NEW book that is coming out March 2, 2021 and App "Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess." Stay tuned for the interview that will be released on March 1, 2021. 

My name is Andrea Samadi, and if you are new here, I’m a former educator who created this podcast to bring the most current neuroscience research, along with high performing experts who have risen to the top of their field, with specific strategies or ideas that you can implement immediately, whether you are an educator, or in the corporate space, to take your results to the next level. If we want to improve our social, emotional and cognitive abilities, it all starts with an understanding of our brain. 

This week we are going to take a deep dive into the work of Dr. Carolyn Leaf[i], as we did record a bonus interview with her this week, but this episode will be released on March 1st, one day before the release of her new book, Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess: 5 Simple, Scientifically Proven Steps to Reduce Anxiety, Stress and Toxic Thinking.[ii]

This book is timely and important, backed by clinical research and illustrated with compelling case studies, where Dr. Leaf provides a scientifically proven five-step plan to find and eliminate the root of anxiety, depression, and intrusive thoughts in your life so you can experience dramatically improved mental and physical health. This 5 step plan will build a healthy new and automated neural network in 63 days, the length of time to properly build a new habit.

Dr. Leaf told me “I truly believe that mental mess is something we all experience often and that it isn’t something we should be ashamed of. She mentions that “this is my profession, and I still have to clean up my mind daily. The events and circumstances of life aren’t going anywhere; people make a lot of decisions every day that affect us all, suffering of some sort for you and your loved ones is inevitable. That said, I wholeheartedly believe that although the events and circumstances can’t be controlled, we can control our reactions to these events and circumstances. This is mind-management in action!”  Which to me is exactly what self-regulation is all about.

Dr. Leaf leverages the strategies she has developed working with patients over the last 38 years (which to me is shocking since she doesn’t look a day over 35, but she was doing research in the 1980s that complements the work that Dr. Daniel Amen was doing back then) and she’s taken her years of research to teach her readers how to foster and cultivate the power of their own thinking and direct their own brain changes. Mind-management, when done correctly, helps facilitate talk between the conscious, the subconscious, and the nonconscious mind. This, in turn, gets brainwaves flowing in a healthy way, optimizing brain function. This is done by implementing the Neurocycle, a simple, clinically researched mind-management tool for personal use to address anxiety, depression, toxic thinking, inability to concentrate, irritability, exhaustion and burnout before they take over your mind.

Last week I was speaking with my good friend Nancy, who asked me what book I was currently reading, and I shared with her that I was reading Dr. Leaf’s book to prepare for her interview, and that her book was coming out on March 2nd so it wasn’t out just yet. My friend went over to Amazon, read the title description, and told me “I need this book NOW” so I decided to release a deep dive into Dr. Leaf’s work so we can all prepare for the release of this important book, become familiar with her research and get a head start at Cleaning Up our Mental Mess.

I’ll share the back story to how I came across Dr. Leaf’s work when I release her bonus episode next month, but I will share that I don’t believe in accidents, or that things happen by chance or luck. I believe that we are all faced with multiple opportunities to learn and grow,  that we can easily miss it if we are not aware. I first heard Dr. Leaf speak on Dr. Daniel and Tana Amen’s Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast where she shares the story of her work and research that began 38 years ago in her home country, South Africa. Most of her work in her early days was focused on the mind-brain connection, the nature of mental health and the formation of memory. During her early years in clinical practice, she worked with thousands of underprivileged teachers and students in South Africa, and the US, where she developed a theory of how we think, build memory and learn, helping to transform the lives of thousands of individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Learning Disabilities (ADD, ADHD) autism, dementia and mental ill-health issues like anxiety and depression. She has helped thousands of students and adults learn how to detox and grown their brain to succeed in all areas of their lives, including school, university and the workplace.  

To get our brains thinking, over the next month, I ask that you if you haven’t learned about Dr. Leaf, that you begin taking a look at her work, and start to implement her 5-step process to clean up you mental mess. I have just started this process and have downloaded her SWITCH app[iii] where you can begin to unpack your own worries in a simple 5 step process, where Dr. Leaf guides you through each step. I grabbed a journal for this process to keep my notes in one place.

I started with a 21-day program:

STEP 1: Gather Awareness (of what’s bothering you). We’ve all heard of the importance of knowing our emotions, or when we name what’s bothering us, we can tame it[iv]. What about those worries that we name, and they don’t go away? I’ve had the same worry on my mind since 2016. Each year I write it out, acknowledge it’s there, and work on strategies for solving it, but it’s now 2021 and this particular worry has not budged. It’s even getting worse as the years go on! I’m only on day 3 of using this app, but can already see how this process is more helpful than anything else I have ever tried in the past to eliminate fears and worries. With this case, acknowledging this fear, knowing what it is, and moving forward despite it being there, hasn’t helped me. It’s always there is the back of my mind. I’m sure you will know what I mean if there’s something that you’ve been worrying about.

STEP 2: Reflect and Analyze: Answer, Ask and Discuss Some Questions to Find the Root Cause of Your Emotions or What’s Bothering You.

This is how we pull thoughts from our non-conscious mind to our conscious mind, where it becomes weaker. It’s no longer suppressed but acknowledged. Use your mind to ask yourself questions, and it will be interesting to see what comes up. This process takes time, reflection and daily effort. Our emotions are unique signals to learn how to cope with challenges, but over time, they will damage our brain with consistent worry.  

STEP 3: Write out what you discover from step 2. Begin to capture what’s bothering you and see if you can come up with root causes, or why you think this worry is on your mind. Learn to write in pictures, add color, shapes. Learn how to write in a metacog formula.[v]

STEP 4: Recheck and Edit What You Have Written Down. Re-read what you have written and see what comes up. Can you add more to your answer to help make more sense of it? Dig deeper, look for patterns, triggers and keep looking for the root cause of the problem.

STEP 5: Practice and Apply Through Active Reach. Look at what you have written and see if you can come up with an action statement to practice what you have learned from your introspection.  You will read out your daily Aha Moment 7x a day to remind yourself what you are re-shaping.

Example: I am worrying about xyz because I am afraid of xyz…but this hasn’t happened, and most likely will not happen, so this worry is wasting my time. If it happens one day, I will deal with this problem then, but not wasting the mental energy worrying about something that I cannot control. I can control my reaction to my worry.

Already, after just 3 days of working with my top worry in the SWITCH app (that will have a name change soon to match the book) I can see how this 5-step process is taking me closer to solving something I have been worrying about for years. I started by writing out all the things I was worrying about, and these days there’s a lot of them. Dr. Leaf says that your worries are like branches on a tree, with emotions attached to them, and that these worries can kill you. We go into detail on the damage that our worries can do to our brain, life and results in our interview. So in my journal, I wrote out my worries like branches on a tree, and the trunk she says is the perspective of the thought. I begin to look at my worries from a different angle or perspective. Right here you should notice a shift in energy about the problem. I started to see mine differently here looking at it from a distance. Then the roots of the tree are the origin story, or root of why I am worrying about this problem, which is what we want to uncover. This activity will give you an incredible amount of self-awareness.

If you have something like this on your mind, I highly suggest taking the time to upload the app on your phone, grab a journal and begin the work to eliminate and clean up your mental mess.

 

Next, to prepare for the release of Dr. Leaf’s book, and learn more, I suggest:

  1. Listen to Dr. Leaf on Dr. Amen and Tana Amen’s Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast[vi] to learn more about her work, research and beginning story.
  2. Listen to Dr. Leaf speaking with Ed Mylett https://drleaf.com/blogs/news/how-to-deal-with-the-death-of-a-dream-tips-for-building-self-confidence-common-mindsets-of-the-most-successful-people-interview-with-ed-mylett 
  3. Take a look at her book Think, Learn, Succeed: Understanding and Using Your Mind to Thrive at School, the Workplace and Life (August 7, 2018)[vii]
  4. Pre-order a copy of Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess[viii] If you are human, and have a brain, you will have noticed, like I have, that it can use all the help possible these days.

You will gain access to exclusive pre-order bonuses like a workbook, bonus chapters and more: https://www.cleaningupyourmentalmess.com/

Sign up to join her free text program and receive mental health care tips.

Just text DRLEAF to 1 (833) 285 3747

Register for her FREE NeuroCycle workshop (Feb 27th!): https://neurocycle.eventbrite.com

 

You will learn:

  • What happens when we don’t use our minds properly
  • Mind-management and why we need it
  • How the 5 steps can help reduce anxiety and depression by up to 81% according to clinical studies
  • Why mind-management is the solution to cleaning up your mental mess
  • How the science can help us transition from being aware of toxic thoughts, to catching and managing them in their early stages
  • How our thoughts physically affect ourselves and others
  • How to capitalize on directed neuroplasticity using the Neurocycle
  • To apply mind-management to unwire toxic habits and trauma
  • How to leverage the lessons in the book for their daily lifestyle, including connection, brain-building, sleep, diet, exercise, people-pleasing, toxic perfectionism, overthinking, toxic emails and texts
  • Why mindfulness is not enough and how strategic mind-management through the 5 steps can take a reader beyond mindfulness

I hope you have found this overview of Dr. Leaf’s work helpful as a starting point. Her interview will be released on March 2nd and you will have access to the book and can keep working on a deeper level, but at least you will have had a head start.

Have a wonderful weekend and see you next week!

REMEMBER: The interview with Dr. Leaf will be released on March 1st, 2021.

RESOURCES:

[i] Dr. Caroline Leaf https://www.cleaningupyourmentalmess.com/

[ii] Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess: 5 Simple, Scientifically Proven Steps to Reduce Anxiety, Stress and Toxic Thinking by Dr. Caroline Leaf AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER NOW (March 2, 2021)  https://www.amazon.com/Cleaning-Your-Mental-Mess-Scientifically/dp/0801093457

[iii] The Switch App by Dr. Caroline Leaf https://theswitch.app/?_ke=eyJrbF9jb21wYW55X2lkIjogIktxZ0g5ZCIsICJrbF9lbWFpbCI6ICJhbmRyZWEuc2FtYWRpQGNveC5uZXQifQ%3D%3D

[iv] Dr. Dan Siegel “Name it to Tame it” YouTube Published Dec. 2014 https://www.youtube.com/watch/ZcDLzppD4Jc

[v] Metacognitive Map https://drleaf.com/pages/research-publications

[vi] The 5-Step Process to Managing Trauma with Dr. Caroline Leaf on The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast Published on YouTube May 22, 2020 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_sHPAvOXh4&t=2661s

[vii] Think, Learn, Succeed: Understanding and Using Your Mind to Thrive at School, the Workplace and Life by Dr. Caroline Leaf (August 7, 2018)  https://www.amazon.com/Think-Learn-Succeed-Understanding-Workplace/dp/0801093279

[viii] Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess by Dr. Caroline Leaf (March 2, 2021) https://www.amazon.com/Cleaning-Your-Mental-Mess-Scientifically/dp/0801093457

Dr. Kelley Munger and Megan Marcus from FuelEd Schools “Developing Emotionally Intelligent Educators Who Create Relationship-Driven Schools”

Dr. Kelley Munger and Megan Marcus from FuelEd Schools “Developing Emotionally Intelligent Educators Who Create Relationship-Driven Schools”

January 29, 2021

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast, episode #105 with Dr. Keeley Munger (researcher) and Megan Marcus, (founder) of FuelEd, a non-profit organization that builds educator emotional intelligence and relationship-driven schools.

Watch the interview on YouTube here. 

Here’s some background on our guests today, before we get into the questions:

Megan Marcus holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California at Berkeley and masters’ degrees in psychology from Pepperdine University and in education, policy, & management from Harvard University. She served as lead researcher for the book, The Social Neuroscience of Education: Optimizing Attachment & Learning in the Classroom,[i] which explores how teacher-student relationships trigger neural plasticity and optimal academic, social and emotional learning. Her experiences working on this book while training to be a counselor served as both inspiration and the research foundations for FuelEd.

 

Dr. Kelley Munger crafts and executes research projects that enhance our understanding of social and emotional development in educational environments while also bridging the gap between science and practice. What a perfect match for the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning podcast. Welcome Megan and Kelley.  

 

When I saw that you were focused on educator SEL at FuelEd and that my career began as a classroom teacher over 20 years ago with a classroom of behavioral students that I couldn’t manage, I knew I had to speak with you and learn more about what you have built with FuelEd that is having such a significant impact on our schools. Thanks so much for being here today.

  1. I know how important educator SEL is from not only all of the SEL experts that I have been interviewing on this podcast, but personally since I found my first year of teaching behavioral students to be extremely difficult without any emotional intelligence skills to draw from, since these skills were left out of my teacher training. Can you tell me more about why you decided to focus on working directly with educators instead of students at FuelEd?  
  2. I did an episode when I first launched this podcast on the Why Behind Implementing an SEL program in your school or District, or an emotional intelligence program in the workplace, but with all of your research, What do you think is the best starting place when it comes to helping educators grow socially and emotionally?
  3. We all know that it was an incredibly difficult year (last year) with many schools thrown into distance learning last spring with the start of the Pandemic. How do you see this year impacting the emotional lives of educators specifically?  
  4. What do you think educators will need in order to address the large-scale trauma and stress they have experienced this year?    
  5. It’s been a few years now, but in 2018 I entered an educational policy contest to see if I could help put more of a focus on educator well-being with this awareness.

The premise of the paper that I wrote that didn’t win the contest, but was a great learning experience, was that “Teaching has become a high-stress occupation, leading to educator burnout, demoralization1 in the profession, and eventual instructor dropout, creating a negative impact on society and costing $7.3B in the United States with all of the training that needs to occur. Recent studies have shown that “students’ cortisol levels were much higher if the educator was overwhelmed or experiencing burn-out.”3  “People are finally seeing what negative stress does to the body, what that does to the psyche, and what it does to school engagement. I spent hours researching this topic and met some incredible people who were doing research in this area. When I first began presenting on the topic of stress and the brain in 2016, I saw that schools in Canada seemed to be ahead of us here in the US, putting a huge focus on this topic back then. Why do you think this is such an important topic, and what do you think teachers wish that their leaders understood about educator mental health?  

  1. You mentioned a story about A veteran teacher who has always loved teaching told you recently that, after the stress of this year, he hates his job now. What are your most innovative ideas for restoring teachers and preventing them from leaving the field?
  2. For Megan: What inspired you to launch FuelEd and how did you meet Kelley?

For those who want to learn more about your programs, they can go to https://www.fueledschools.org/ click on programs and schedule a call with you to learn more.  Can you give an overview of the programs that you offer at FuelEd?

FuelEd Programs:

Core Educator Collective, Empathy School and Trauma and Transitions https://www.fueledschools.org/our-programs

For webinars from FuelEd https://www.fueledschools.org/events

Kelley Munger on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/kelley-munger-phd-lpc-ncc-836190107/

Megan Marcus on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/megan-marcus-99517921/

@FuelEd on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/fueledschools

RESOURCES:

Neuroscience Meets SEL Podcast EPISODE #7 “Building Relationships in Today’s Schools” with Assistant Superintendent Greg Wolcott https://www.achieveit360.com/assistant-superintendent-greg-wolcott-on-building-relationships-in-todays-classrooms/

Neuroscience Meets SEL Podcast EPISODE #64 Assistant Superintendent Greg Wolcott on “Making Connections with Neuroscience and SEL” https://www.achieveit360.com/assistant-superintendent-greg-wolcott-on-making-connections-with-neuroscience-and-sel/

Unleashing the Power of Relationships in Today’s Schools https://www.significant72.com/

Attachment Theory with Dr. Daniel Siegel Published on YouTube March 3, 2011 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zovtRq4e2E

Dr. Daniel J Siegel “Name it to Tame it” Published on YouTube December 8, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcDLzppD4Jc&ab_channel=DalaiLamaCenterforPeaceandEducation

“Social and Emotional Learning, Teacher Well-Being, and Student Success: What Do We Know? And Where do We Go From Here?” Webinar June 5th 2018 with Dr. Mark Greenber, Penn State and Dr. Kimberly A. Schonert-Reichl https://vimeo.com/275147739

Stress Contagion Possible Amongst Students and Teachers: UBC Study https://news.ubc.ca/2016/06/27/ubc-study-finds-stress-contagion-amongst-students-and-teachers/

Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl (UBC Faculty of Education) and Advisory Board Member for FuelEd https://sel.ecps.educ.ubc.ca/dr-kimberly-schonert-reichl/

Neuroscience Meets SEL Podcast Episode #2 “Self-Awareness: Know Thyself” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/self-awareness-know-thyself/

(#5 most listened to podcast of all time).

Neuroscience Meets SEL Podcast Episode #9 “Using Your Brain to Build and Sustain Effective Relationships”  https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/how-to-build-and-sustain-effective-relationships/

REFERENCES:

[i]  The Social Neuroscience of Education: Optimizing Attachment & Learning in the Classroom by Louis Cozolino (Norton & Company, January 7, 2013). Why https://wwnorton.com/books/9780393706093

Sleep Scientist Antonio Zadra on “When Brains Dream: Exploring the Science and Mystery of Sleep.”

Sleep Scientist Antonio Zadra on “When Brains Dream: Exploring the Science and Mystery of Sleep.”

January 24, 2021

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast, episode #104.

Watch this interview on YouTube here. 

Our guest today came to me when I was referred to his book on one of my neuro-coaching training calls with Mark Robert Waldman[i], from episode #30 when I asked a question that was sent to me from a close friend from the UK, on dreams.  Mark Waldman told me that he was anxiously awaiting the NEW book, When Brains Dream: Exploring the Science and Mystery of Sleep[ii] and I immediately looked up the book, and contacted the author, Antonio Zadra, to appear on our podcast. He agreed, and the rest is history!

Before I get to the interview, I want to give you a bit more background information on this book, and the authors, and what you can expect before picking it up. I’ve got to say that what I expected from this book, continually changed as I began to read it, and it took me deeper and deeper into the mysterious world of our dreams.

Antonio Zadra and Robert Stickgold bring together state-of-the-art neuroscientific ideas and findings to propose a new and innovative model of dream function called NEXTUP—Network Exploration to Understand Possibilities. By detailing this model’s workings, they help readers understand key features of several types of dreams, from prophetic dreams to nightmares and lucid dreams. When Brains Dream reveals recent discoveries about the sleeping brain and the many ways in which dreams are psychologically, and neurologically, meaningful experiences; The book explores a host of dream-related disorders; and explains how dreams can facilitate creativity and be a source of personal insight.

Antonio Zadra[iii] is a professor at the Université de Montréal and a researcher at the Center for Advanced Research in Sleep Medicine. He has appeared on PBS's Nova and BBC's Horizon.

Welcome Tony, thank you so much for agreeing to share more about your new book, When Brains Dream today.

Q1: Tony, when we first spoke, I mentioned to you that I had been writing down my dreams since the late 1990s (off and on) it started when the speaker, Bob Proctor from episode #66[iv], who I worked for, suggested that I could learn a lot of insight from journaling about dreams, but nothing was more powerful than my first conversation with you.  You taught me a valuable lesson, that “we cannot interpret other people’s dreams, only our own.” Can you share why this is important for all of us to understand, as we all probably have the same urge to ask “what does this dream mean?” and what should we be thinking of asking instead when searching for meaning with our dreams? (Ch 12 Working with Dreams).

Q2: How can readers use your model NEXTUP (Network Exploration to Understand Possibilities) to understand prophetic dreams, nightmares or lucid dreams?

Q3:  Before we look at working with dreams, can you explain that while Freud’s influence on dreams was great,  (you cover his influence in Chapter 3) what powerful scientific and clinical work was being done on dreams way before Freud?

Q4: What made you become interested in studying about dreams, and becoming a dream scientist?

Q5: I have to ask, the biggest question about dreaming that you cover in chapter 7. Why do we dream?  I always thought our dreams were our wishes or fears, something from the past, unresolved issues, and something triggered by a current event. What would you say? Why do we dream?

Q6: What are the contents of most dreams and how can they facilitate creativity and have our dreams be a source of personal insight?

6 PART B Also, you mention in chapter 12 that “20 percent of dream material can be confidently traced to waking-life sources.”  Where is the rest of 80% coming from? Our non-conscious?  The collective consciousness that I know you mentioned.

Q7: When we were talking about 2 of my dreams before this call, you noticed that water was a theme in both dreams, and one included flowing water that you mentioned can be metaphor for our emotions. You were able to ask me some questions that pinpointed very quickly and easily the meaning of those dreams. Can you expand on any other metaphors like water that might be common themes for people? Also, what can you tell me about dream characters and why are they of such interest to you?

Q8: You had mentioned to me that taking art appreciation classes can help to get a better appreciation for our dreams, and not being one to go to the museum or art gallery, I wondered what I could learn from this. Then you mention Santiago Ramón y Cajal, (Cahal) a Spanish histologist and anatomist who won the 1906 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of nerve cells and I watched a video about his book The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramon y Cajal[v] on YouTube and it was fascinating. For the first time I began to make connections between art and dreams and see this strategy in a new light. Can you expand on this idea and explain why art appreciation is an important strategy for dream exploration?

Q9: In the epilogue you talk about the future of dreaming and that maybe one day sleep trackers could store/log our dreams and how scary this could be. What do you think the future holds for us and our dreams? Do you think there will ever be solid answers that neuroscience can answer to help us to better understand some of the questions that come up with our dreams?

Thank you very much for your time today Tony and for sharing your insights on the power of understanding how our brains dream. If anyone wants to purchase your book, is the best place Amazon? If people want to contact you directly, or learn more about your work, what is the best way?

@DrZDreams on Twitter

https://antoniozadra.com/en

https://antoniozadra.com/en/media

Thank you!

RESOURCES:

Ready Player One https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1677720/

The Dream Keepers https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07L21GQBD/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

REFERENCES:

[i] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Episode #30 Neuroscience Researcher Mark Robert Waldman on “12 Brain-Based Experiential Living Principles” https://www.achieveit360.com/neuroscience-researcher-mark-robert-waldman-on-12-brain-based-experiential-learning-and-living-principles/

[ii] When Brains Dream: Exploring the Science and Mystery of Sleep by Antonio Zadra and Robert Stickgold (Jan. 12, 2021) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08D1SF658/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

[iii] https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Antonio_Zadra

[iv] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast episode #66 The Legendary Bob Proctor on “Social and Emotional Learning: Where it All Started” https://www.achieveit360.com/the-legendary-bob-proctor-on-social-and-emotional-learning-where-it-all-started/

[v] The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramon y Cajal Published August 10, 2017 on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72IPPIt5iMw&feature=youtu.be

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