Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning
Robin Hills on ”Practicing Emotional Intelligence and Resilience for Business: During Times of Change”

Robin Hills on ”Practicing Emotional Intelligence and Resilience for Business: During Times of Change”

October 13, 2021

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #170 with Robin Hills,[i] the director of Ei4Change, a company specializing in educational training, coaching and personal development, focused around emotional intelligence, positive psychology and neuroscience.

Watch this interview on YouTube here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xBhcVYj7No 

Learn more about Robin Hills here https://ei4change.com/ 

See past Neuroscience Meets SEL Podcast Episodes here https://www.achieveit360.com/episodes/ 

On Today's Episode You Will Learn:

✔︎  What is Emotional Intelligence and Why is it Critical for Future Workplace Success?

✔︎  How can we Learn, Measure, Practice and Assess Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace?

✔︎ What is Resilience and how can we strengthen this skill in ourselves and others?

✔︎ During Difficult Times, What Should We Keep in Mind That Guarantees Happiness and Future Success?

I'm Andrea Samadi, author, and educator from Toronto, Canada, now in Arizona, and like many of our listeners, have been fascinated with learning and understanding the science behind high performance strategies that we can use to improve our own productivity in our schools, our sports, and workplace environments. My vision is to bring the experts to you, share their books, resources, and ideas to help you to implement their proven strategies, whether you are a teacher working in the classroom or online, a student, or in the corporate environment

This week’s guest, Robin Hills, who I found out is well connected with some of our past guests, Dan Hill from EPISODE #163[ii], who taught us how to “Read the Emotions in Others” and the author of The Leading Brain, Friederike Fabritius from EPISODE #27[iii] joining us all the way England this week. Robin has taught over 250,000 people in 185 countries how to build resilience, increase their self-awareness and understanding of others.

After my interview with Dr. Perry this week, I have been thinking about the upside-down triangle, or Dr. Perry’s “Sequence of Engagement” where he mentioned that ALL information comes in through the brainstem, and we have been programmed to REACT to what we take in from our 5 senses, instead of take a few minutes to PAUSE, and RESPOND. I’m hoping that our conversation with Robin will give us some practical ideas that we can all take away, to make ourselves better teachers, leaders, and parents, looking at emotional intelligence through his lens, and make us better supervisor/leaders in our workplaces, parents, teachers, and coaches.

 

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If you want to learn more about Robin’s programs, you can see books, courses, and audio programs through his website[iv] that cover the most comprehensive and detailed education of any emotional intelligence organization and are today used in educational establishments in different parts of the world.

Let’s meet Robin Hills and see if we can Sharpen Our Saw with our EI skills.

Welcome Robin!

Q1: Robin, thank you for joining me today, all the way from the UK, where I was born (Worthing, Sussex). Welcome!

Intro Story: Robin, I was watching another podcast you did[v] recently to learn more about you as I was thinking up some questions on your work and saw some of the English Countryside behind you. I haven’t been back to England since 8th grade when I went on this school exchange program. Seeing the trees behind you, and thinking of my questions, I remember this experience I had that is relevant to what we are going to talk about today. Can I share this story with you, with the idea that you give me some EI insight into what you see?

So, I was back in 8th grade and there was a school exchange program where I would go to England for 3 weeks, and someone would come stay with me for 3 weeks. Since I came into the program late, I was partnered up with a boy for this exchange, and we were very different personality wise. I arrived from the big city of Toronto to this small town in Bristol, called Hallatrow, and it was a cottage-type house that they had made up beautifully for me coming. I was comfortable in this home with a neat loft to sleep in, but I just didn’t connect with my exchange partner, James, socially, at all. I remember looking at him and feeling this awkward silence, not knowing what to say, so said nothing at all. I’m sure we can all think of times when we were younger, and lacked these important social skills, but this memory stuck out to me, because now I look for people who are different from me, to learn from.

I just didn’t have the social skills back then to try to make things work or find a common ground (I’m sure there was one) so I spent my evenings doing what I enjoyed and would go running in the forest till the sun went down, mostly so I could avoid having to get to know my exchange partner.

INTRO QUESTION: I know that a lot of these Emotional Intelligence Skills we develop with life experience. And if I was to see James today, I would work hard to find some sort of common ground that we could have a conversation and how we could have learned something from each other to make us better, stronger people in the future, which is behind why I began doing this work with young people in the first place.

Can you share what drew you to choosing this field for your work, and if you could go back to when I was a guest at James’ house, what would you have done to help us to connect better?

Q1: Since these skills are so important for success in life and the workplace, after we leave school, but we know that learning is ongoing, and these skills must be practiced. Can you share how you would first pinpoint areas of improvement for someone (what assessment you use/what you look for) and then how do you create an action plan for that person to practice these skills?

1B) Have you ever wondered why some people appear to remain calm in the face of disaster or some sort of difficult situation, while others fail to cope? I took this from your book on resilience in the workplace where you say--

People that are able to handle themselves well and remain calm in a crisis have, what psychologists call, resilience – an ability to cope with problems and setbacks. I know there is a lot behind this question, since we all have different life experiences that shape us, but what makes someone more resilient to setbacks than another person and how could we strengthen resilience in ourselves?

Q2: What are some strategies for managing stress in the workplace, especially these days when there is already so much turmoil that came along with the Pandemic and I was talking with some friends this morning on the hiking trails, before our day began. There seems to be an unsettling feeling in the air, still so much uncertainty in the world. What have you seen working well?

Q3: What about leading others, especially when they might be emerging from a setback to a comeback?

Q4: Since we know that emotional intelligence are skills that need to be practiced, what are some ways to advance these skills to have more impact on your future results?

Thank you, Robin, for speaking with me today. I know that if we revisit Dr. Perry’s Sequence of Engagement, and look at the ways that REGULATE ourselves before we can “get to the CORTEX” or our decision-making, thinking brain, we now have many new ideas and strategies that can make us more creative and effective in the workplace.

If we think back to my story with James, I think it’s clear that I have always used exercise as a way to regulate, and calm down my brain when under stress. If only I had learned the importance of learning how to form diverse friendships when I was younger, with my story with James, there was more to that story, with tons of adventure that I uncovered running in the forests in this small town in Bristol that would have been fun to have shared with someone else. While deep in these woods, I came across a clearing, and within these trees, I discovered a movie set, with cameras, lights, and people running around yelling directions to each other. I had run into the filming of Robin Hood, and they had used the forest I had discovered to recreate Sherwood Forest, and I ran into this guy, obviously dressed as Robin, played by Jason Connery, Sean Connery’s son, after watching some of the filming, was given a signed copy of his photo to remember him by. It was something I’ve never forgotten, but looking back with an EI lens, the sad point of my story is that I missed the chance to connect with James if we had discovered this movie set together. It would have been much more fun to have discovered a movie set in the woods with someone else, but everything looks different in hindsight.

Q6: To close out James, what’s next in this field of emotional intelligence? What do you know, immersed in this field, what we might not know?

Thank you for your time today. For people who want to learn more about your books, courses and speaking topics, is the best place your website?

FOLLOW ANDREA SAMADI: 

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/AndreaSamadi  

Website https://www.achieveit360.com/ 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samadi/ 

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Achieveit360com  

Neuroscience Meets SEL Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/2975814899101697  

Twitter: https://twitter.com/andreasamadi  

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/andreasamadi/ 

RESOURCES:

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator Assessment https://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/

DiSC https://www.discprofile.com/what-is-disc

REFERENCES:

[i] https://ei4change.com/about/

[ii]Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #163 with Dan Hill on “How to Read the Emotions in Others”  https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/dan-hill-phd-the-faces-guy-on-how-to-read-the-emotions-in-others-for-schools-sports-and-the-workplace/

[iii] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #27 with Friederike Fabritius on “The Recipe for Peak Performance” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/pioneer-in-the-field-of-neuroleadership-friederike-fabritius-on-the-recipe-for-achieving-peak-performance/

[iv] https://ei4change.com/

[v]Emotional Intelligence with Robin Hill Published on YouTube  Sept. 7, 2021 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8wQ9Q3VeRA

Cognitive Neuroscience Researcher John Harmon on ”Our Brain and Mind Under Pressure”

Cognitive Neuroscience Researcher John Harmon on ”Our Brain and Mind Under Pressure”

October 11, 2021

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast for EPISODE #170 with John Harmon, an independent researcher who's developed a new way to define the mind and map it to the brain, called the MA (Memory Activation) Method. This cognitive neuroscience tool enhances CNS (Central Nervous System) medicine, natural language processing, cognitive computing and most of applied neuroscience.  John’s goal aligns directly with ours on the podcast—to enhance humanity’s understanding, appreciation and use of the human mind, and its manifestation in the brain.

Watch this interview on YouTube here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCjPIikAISU 

Learn more about John Harmon here https://www.neuralnetworkbiomarkers.com/ 

See past Neuroscience Meets SEL Podcast Episodes here https://www.achieveit360.com/episodes/ 

On Today's Episode You Will Learn:

✔︎ How to get comfortable with not knowing everything when it comes to neuroscience, the brain, and learning.

✔︎ John's Core Research translated so we can all understand how our brain maps to learning something new.

✔︎ The importance of belief with our goals, and with anything we want to accomplish, like health, or eliminating pain.

✔︎ What we need to know about how our brain works under pressure (throwing a football in a game) or taking a test.

For those who are new here, I'm Andrea Samadi, author, and educator from Toronto, Canada, now in Arizona, and like many of our listeners, have been fascinated with learning and understanding the science behind high performance strategies in our schools, our sports, and workplace environments. My vision for this podcast is to bring the experts to you, share their books, resources and ideas to help you to implement their proven strategies, and take the fear out of this new field of educational neuroscience. My hope is that this podcast will bridge the gap between the science, theory and application.

I picked the perfect guest to do this today, because he will agree with me that this topic is not easy to explain conceptually. This is the reason why I record these podcasts using video so that I can add images to explain the concepts discussed that we might at first glance think of as difficult and dismiss them. But they are important and I hope that we can learn them together.

It’s been a few years that I have followed John Harmon’s research through LinkedIn, where we connected, and I noticed that he often comments and what I call “plusses” an idea or takes it to the next level with his understanding. I started to read his comments in my early days of learning this field, because it helped me to see things through a new lens, from someone more immersed in the field than me, but when learning anything new, it takes effort. This is when you know that true learning is taking place. Whatever John would write, I would have to stop and really think about what he was saying.

Here’s an Example:

Neuroscience News Posted an article recently called Single Neurons Might Behave as Networks[i] and someone commented on their LinkedIn post[ii] “Why wouldn’t they behave as networks?” and I could agree with his train of thought as I have done a few episodes talking about Brain Network Theory[iii] and how we need to now think of the neural networks in the brain versus single parts of the brain, or neurons operating individually.

Someone else chimed in to give their thoughts saying “isn’t the discovery here that a single neuron can function as its own self-contained network?” and John Harmon plussed this comment by providing his thoughts of his take-away of the article where he offers “the article as I read it talks about individual neurons and their function in the context of a larger network activity” and that “if a neuron doesn’t function as part of a network, then it’s a noisy neuron—ie. It doesn’t contribute, or is a part of, any stored mental process (perception, recognition, meaning, executive control, goals, language, attention, intention etc.) and he guessed that “99% of neurons are part of at least one network” bringing the article into perspective for me because with each new idea we learn, “it helps us to better understand our brain and ourselves”[iv]  but it also opens up the door for more questions that I will get to in the interview. This is where it really helps to have experts in this field to bounce ideas with.

I was drawn to John’s posts as he helped me to understand this new area of educational neuroscience right from those beginning days when I was first learning this topic, and finally after years of interacting on social media, I asked if he would come on the podcast to share the research he has uncovered in this field.

Let’s meet John Harmon and learn more about how he is using this understanding of neuroscience in his consulting business, as an independent researcher and to enhance humanity’s understanding, appreciation and use of the human mind, and its manifestation in the brain.

Welcome John. It’s great to meet you after following your work for so long. Thank you for coming on the podcast.

Intro Q: Before we get into your work, I was reading your website, and thought your story is important to share since many people I have interviewed have talked about how they began in this field and met with some controversy or had to go back and refine their ideas. This was certainly the case for how I began in this field. Where did the idea to start your company Mind Brian Insights[v] begin for you and what exactly do you do?

Q1: I mention in the back story how I love that you often add insight into posts on LinkedIn, which is how I first found your work.  I call it “plussing” someone’s idea where you take the neuroscience understanding one step deeper. I’m not sure if I have this right, but I’m also not afraid of being wrong either, so we can learn together. Can you explain what your core idea is-active mind (perception, meaning, belief, attitude, state of emotion, intention etc.)  which creates a set of active general memories (which we know can be inaccurate since memories change each time we remember them) and this third part I think I’m off with and could use your direction, but this all creates a set of active FNN (functional neural network) ranges which I imagine is the activity in the brain that increases or decreases depending on the cognitive task while our mind is at work? How did I do there?

Q1B) Can you give an example of how this core idea relates to learning something new?

Q2: What is the functional neural networks, structural neural networks, the FNN[vi]/SNN[vii] and the relationship between the two of them?

Q3: What about the placebo effect (that drives home the point thoughts/belief states/emotions are manifested PHYSICALLY in the brain). Can you give some examples of this?

3 B) How can we use our mind to rid ourselves of pain, like with hypnotherapy?

3C) How important is what we believe in our schools/workplaces?

Q4: What about the mind's role in relation to the brain: mind as "captain" not brain (is it our higher self that’s in charge of the mind, at least some of the time? If our mind is in charge, not our brain, what are some ways that you think we can better manage our mind and not lose it, or improve self-regulation skills?

Q5: For those looking to apply this understanding to playing sports in these high pressure, high stakes time, what are some common sources of mind/brain signal noise when throwing a football in a stressful situation? What kind of errors happen while playing sports under stress? How can we train someone to overcome these errors at the brain level?

Q6: Since many of our listeners are educators in the classroom, or people looking to apply neuroscience to their work/daily life, can you give some practical examples of mapping learning in the brain. What is the mechanism of learning something new, for all of us listening so that can we use this understanding to improve or accelerate learning?

Q7: Final thoughts?

Thank you very much John, for taking the time to speak with me today on a topic that is not the easiest to explain.  For people who want to learn more about your work, and services, is the best place your website?

Follow John Harmon:

https://www.neuralnetworkbiomarkers.com/ Website

https://www.linkedin.com/in/john-harmon-75523384/ LinkedIn Profile

FOLLOW ANDREA SAMADI: 

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/AndreaSamadi  

Website https://www.achieveit360.com/ 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samadi/ 

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Achieveit360com  

Neuroscience Meets SEL Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/2975814899101697  

Twitter: https://twitter.com/andreasamadi  

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/andreasamadi/ 

RESOURCES:

Mapping the Human Brain to Understand the Human Mind by Jaimie Oh January 8, 2014 http://thinktank.uchicago.edu/blog/2014/1/8/mapping-the-human-brain-to-understand-the-human-mind

The Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #37 with Dr. John Dunlosky on “Improving Student Success with Some Principles from Cognitive Science” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/kent-states-dr-john-dunlosky-on-improving-student-success-some-principles-from-cognitive-science/

The Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #100 with Dr. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang on “The Neuroscience of Social and Emotional Learning” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/professor-mary-helen-immordino-yang-on-the-neuroscience-of-social-and-emotional-learning/

Functional Neural Networks by Barinder Thind May 25, 2020 https://b-thi.github.io/Posts/FNNs.html

The Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #138 with Dr. Daniel Ansari on “The Future of Educational Neuroscience” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/professor-and-canada-research-chair-in-developmental-cognitive-neuroscience-and-learning-on-the-future-of-educational-neuroscience/

The Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #48 on Brain Network Theory “Using Neuroscience to Stay Productive During Times of Change” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/brain-network-theory-using-neuroscience-to-stay-productive-during-times-of-change-and-chaos/

REFERENCES:

[i] Neuroscience News Single Neurons Might Respond as Networks Sept. 6th, 2021 https://neurosciencenews.com/single-neuron-deep-learning-19264/

[ii] https://www.linkedin.com/posts/neuroscience-news_single-neurons-might-behave-as-networks-activity-6840757071160446976-Ktb-

[iii]The Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #48 on “Brain Network Theory: Using Neuroscience to Stay Productive During Times of Chaos and Change”  https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/brain-network-theory-using-neuroscience-to-stay-productive-during-times-of-change-and-chaos/

[iv] Neuroscience News Single Neurons Might Respond as Networks Sept. 6th, 2021 https://neurosciencenews.com/single-neuron-deep-learning-19264/

[v] https://www.neuralnetworkbiomarkers.com/my-story/

[vi] Understanding Functional Neural Networks https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-26921-0_3

[vii] Understanding the Structure of Neural Networks by Savannah Logan Nov. 27, 2017  https://becominghuman.ai/understanding-the-structure-of-neural-networks-1fa5bd17fef0

Brain Fact Friday on ”Improving Self and Social-Awareness” After Reading Dr. Perry‘s   ”What Happened to You”

Brain Fact Friday on ”Improving Self and Social-Awareness” After Reading Dr. Perry‘s ”What Happened to You”

October 7, 2021

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast for Brain Fact Friday and EPISODE #169 on “Improving Your Self and Social-Awareness” through Dr. Perry’s What Happened to You[i] book and our insightful interview with Dr. Perry and Steve Graner on EPISODE #168.

In Today’s Brain Fact Friday, You Will Learn:

✔︎ How to improve your self and social-awareness after reading this book by thinking about the areas that hit you on an emotional level.
✔︎ Tips for cleaning up your emotions, so that we can be more resilient in the face of adversity.
✔︎ Strategies that you can use right away to apply The Neurosequential Model in your classroom, sports, or other work environments.

After speaking with Dr. Perry and Steve Graner this week on a deep dive of the book he wrote with Oprah Winfrey What Happened to You, I could pick out many important lessons to focus on for this week’s brain fact Friday, and will revisit this interview in future episodes, but if I had to pick just one, it would be to see if you can use the lessons in his book to improve your self and social awareness.

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Dr. Perry reminded us that “there’s motor, cognitive, social and emotional capabilities that remain unexpressed in many people” and the purpose of this podcast is to help us as parents, teachers and coaches to understand these SEL competencies in ourselves, and others, with strategies that we can all use to further develop these skills that are not automatic. They require practice. I picked out 6 SEL competencies to focus on in this podcast, and you can go back and listen to the Lessons Learned from our TOP 100 Episodes[ii] that ties in these 6 SEL Competencies as a review.

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HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR SELF-AWARENESS:

As you’re reading Dr. Perry’s book, whether it’s your first read, or 21st read, I encourage you to think about what parts give you an emotional charge. Dr. Perry mentioned that he went back and forth from Oprah’s difficult emotional stories, to challenging neuroscientific topics on purpose, to provide a regulating back and forth pace, just like we do with athletics, and high intensity interval training,  There was an intentionality to the way the book was written to help us to not become overwhelmed with the content and they do remind us in the beginning, that if we do, to just put the book down, and come back to it. The end of the book powerfully ties in Oprah’s story where she makes sense of her life and relationship with her mother.

With this lesson in mind, can you make sense of your own life by looking for themes of what happened you? What themes came up for you while reading the book? If you haven’t read the book yet, it’s not difficult to think about things that push your buttons, whether at home or in the workplace. Think about your interactions with others and whether these themes show up in your life. Dr. Dan Siegel[iii] talks about being able to “Name it to Tame it” and Marc Brackett from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence reminds us that we can unlock the power of our emotions with the “Permission to Feel.”[iv]

Write them down and when you are ready, you can pick the one that stands out the most to you and clean it up. Self-awareness goes a long way here. Go back and listen to Dr. Carolyn Leaf’s BONUS EPISODE[v] on Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess to help you to make sense of whatever it is that comes up for you when reading this book.  She has a simple 5-step process that can be used to help you to unpack and make sense of these emotions that we all have, (Dr. Leaf herself uses this process to keep her mind operating optimally) so that emotions are expressed and healed, instead of turned inwards into toxic thoughts that will impact our mental health and well-being. This does take some time to first of all identify emotions that are bothering us, and then making sense of where they came from, to clean them up, but there’s nothing like the feeling of having a clear mind when we are able to do this.

HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR AWARENESS OF OTHERS?

You can also understand others better with this new awareness. Whether you are a teacher in the classroom, a parent, or a coach, being able to have conversations around trauma, and being trauma informed will help you to handle these types of situations, leading to healing and resiliency. I came across an article the day after we recorded this interview with Dr. Perry, written by Allison Cooke Douglas, called “Meeting Children Where They Are”[vi] that will help you with specific ideas to apply the Neurosequential Model if you work with children and youth. Click on the link in the show notes and you can access a 10 Page PDF that will walk you step by step through Dr. Perry’s Model with tips for healing trauma that you can apply to improve the well-being of those children, students or even athletes in your life.

Can you make sense of what happened to you with this new understanding of our brain to bring you clarity for yourself, or how you parent, or teach your students to bring you some peace, like Oprah found at the of the book? I hope this new understanding that Dr Perry’s Neurosequential model offers can help you to better understand yourself and others, bringing you to higher levels of communication, resilience and peace. 

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The next time you are working, and stress comes your way, think of Dr. Perry’s Neurosequential Model and remember:

STEP 1: All information comes into the brain through the brainstem through our 5 senses, as well as through interoception or “your brain’s perception of your body state.”[vii]

STEP 2: We must remember that our brain was designed to react to the information that comes into our body first, and we must find ways to REGULATE ourselves, or we won’t be able to “reach the cortex” or our REASONING decision-making part of our brain.

STEP 3: Do you have strategies to REGULATE yourself when under stress or pressure at work? If you don’t have time to get outside for a walk when the pressure is too high, can you take some deep breaths and stretch for a minute at your desk?

STEP 4: Only then can we REASON and access the SMART part of our brain.

Dr. Perry also reminded us that creative insights are just not possible when we are under pressure and stressed on a day-to-day basis like when Oprah was recording her television shows. She came up with the idea to write this book when she was not under so much pressure, and her creative mind opened up.

Nothing beats being able to step away from your work, and finding a peaceful place to clear your mind, and access those higher parts of your brain, where we can experience those flashes of creativity and insight that are squashed while under pressure.

I hope you’ve had some AHA Moments with this Brain Fact Friday, improving the way you see yourself and others with a new way of looking a life, through the lens of our powerful brain, where we have the ability to reach incredible heights, and help others to do the same.

I’ll see you next week, with 2 interviews that will tie in our recent learning.

John Harmon will show us how we can map our experiences in the brain (like learning, or playing sports) and how to use this understanding to improve performance while under pressure, and Robin Hills will give us some ideas on how to lead and encourage others to be their best, with strategies for improving our emotional intelligence, with our brain in mind.

See you next week!

FOLLOW ANDREA SAMADI: 

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/AndreaSamadi  

Website https://www.achieveit360.com/ 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samadi/ 

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Achieveit360com  

Neuroscience Meets SEL Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/2975814899101697  

Twitter: https://twitter.com/andreasamadi  

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/andreasamadi/ 

REFERENCES:

[i] What Happened to You: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience and Healing https://www.amazon.com/What-Happened-You-Understanding-Resilience/dp/1250223180

[ii] Top Lessons Learned from our FIRST 100 Episodes https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/lessons-learned-from-our-first-100-episodes/

[iii] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #28 Dr. Daniel Siegel on “Mindsight: The Basis of Social and Emotional Intelligence” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/clinical-professor-of-psychiatry-at-the-ucla-school-of-medicine-dr-daniel-siegel-on-mindsight-the-basis-for-social-and-emotional-intelligence/

[iv] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #22 Mark Brackett on his book “permission to Feel” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/founding-director-of-the-yale-center-of-emotional-intelligence-on-his-new-book-permission-to-feel/

[v]Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning BONUS EPISODE with Dr. Carolyn Leaf on “Cleaning Up your Mental Mess”  https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/worldrenownedneuroscientistdr-caroline-leaf-oncleaningup-your-mentalmess5-simplescientifically-proven-stepsto-reduceanxiety-and-toxic-thinking/

[vi] Meeting Children Where They Are: The Neuroseqential Model of Therapeutics October 1, 2021 by Allison Cooke Douglas, MS https://adoptioncouncil.org/publications/meeting-children-where-they-are-the-neurosequential-model-of-therapeutics/

[vii] Interoception: the hidden sense that shapes well-being Sunday August 15, 2021 by David Robson https://amp.theguardian.com/science/2021/aug/15/the-hidden-sense-shaping-your-wellbeing-interoception

Dr. Bruce Perry and Steve Graner on What We Should ALL Know About ”What Happened to You” and Writing a Book with Oprah Winfrey

Dr. Bruce Perry and Steve Graner on What We Should ALL Know About ”What Happened to You” and Writing a Book with Oprah Winfrey

October 5, 2021

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #168 with a much-awaited conversation with someone I have been quoting since we launched this podcast, after getting to know his work on a deeper level when I tuned into a video training series[i] he conducted during the beginning of the Pandemic to help people around the world to better understand how the brain works while under stress. I learned specific ideas on how to reach those who were most affected during and after those very difficult days from this video series that he created for educational purposes for people to view and share.  I learned so much from this series that connected the dots for me with trauma and the brain, while inspiring our episode #52[ii] on "Igniting Your Personal Leadership to Build Resiliency.”

Watch this interview on YouTube here https://youtu.be/ixOZFwTAtCQ

Learn more about The Neurosequential Network here https://www.neurosequential.com/ 

See past Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast Episodes here. https://www.achieveit360.com/episodes/ 

On This Episode You Will Learn:

✔︎ What drew Steve Graner to work with The Neurosequential Network, and how he used his background in sports to create the Neurosequential Model for Education. 

✔︎ What Dr. Perry learned from writing a book with his good friend, Oprah Winfrey.

✔︎ Why we must all understand our genes and past to understand why we behave the way that we do.

✔︎ Dr. Perry's vision to help others in many sectors like sports, education, caregiving, and supervision to become "brain-aware"

✔︎ What we should all know about the brain and how to regulate, relate and reason with others at home and in our workplaces.

✔︎ What is the power differential and why it is so important for our students in the classroom and our workplaces--especially if you are in a position of leadership. 

Last summer, I reached out to American psychiatrist, Dr. Bruce Perry, who is currently the senior fellow of the Child Trauma Academy in Houston, Texas and an adjunct professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, with the hopes he could come on the podcast and help us to dive deeper with an understanding of how traumatic events impact the brain. I was specifically concerned with the impacts of the Pandemic generationally, because one of his trainings explained the research from families from the Katrina Disaster in 2005 showed how the offspring of those families exposed to this level of stress response had an increase of substance abuse issues. I thought about the Pandemic and how I was hearing about the increase in depression, anxiety and substance use increasing, and wondered if Dr. Perry could provide some ideas on how to reduce the impact that the Pandemic was having on the world, our future generations, educational systems and he let me know that he would come on the podcast, as soon as his next book that he was writing was complete. I understood, as writing a book takes intense focus, so I went back to work, and knew we would have a conversation in the future. This spring, I watched the release of that book he was writing and realized it was with Oprah Winfrey called What Happened to You: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience and Healing[iii], and knew that when the timing felt right, I would reach out, to have that discussion on this new book that I knew would answer all of the questions I had.

I'm Andrea Samadi, author, and educator from Toronto, Canada, now in Arizona, and like many of our listeners, have been fascinated with learning and understanding the science behind high performance strategies that we can use to improve our own productivity in our schools, our sports, and workplace environments. My vision is to bring the experts to you, share their books, resources, and ideas to help you to implement their proven strategies, whether you are a teacher working in the classroom or online, a student, or in the corporate environment

Sometimes there is no such thing as timely, as the minute this book came out, the buzz hit social media, and everyone was posting about how important and timely the content was and I couldn’t miss the impact it was having on people from all different sectors, around the world. I knew it! I had so many questions after that video series and thank goodness Dr. Perry wrote this book that I knew would take that deeper dive into understanding the impact of trauma on the brain.  I finally knew it was time to reach out to Dr. Perry when my good friend Ruthie, an educator, held up her phone as she passed me on the hiking trails, and showed me she was listening to his audiobook, shouting back to me as she ran by “You had better interview Dr. Perry because EVERY educator must read, understand and implement this book!” It was the right time, so I reached out to Dr. Perry’s office that morning and booked the interview and knew Dr. Perry would keep his word, and he did.

I just didn’t realize how difficult this topic was going to be as I dove into the book. I know that the Pandemic has shown us that we need change moving forward in our schools, raising our own children at home and for our future generations we are leading to thrive in their workplaces. So with this interview, I will take many deep breaths, as the stories that illuminate this needed change are difficult, from the first few pages, right to the very end of the book.

This book is for “anyone with a mother, father, partner, or child who may have experienced trauma. And, if you’ve ever had labels like “people pleaser,” “self-sabotager,” “disruptive,” “argumentative,” “checked out,” “can’t hold a job,” or “bad at relationships” used to describe you or your loved ones, this book is for you. Or if you simply want to better understand yourself and others, this book is for you, too.” (What Happened to You)

Let’s meet Dr. Bruce Perry and Steve Graner, Project Director from the Neurosequential Network, and uncover the power of asking “What Happened to You?” instead of “What’s Wrong with You?”

Welcome Dr. Perry and Steve Graner! Thank you so very much for taking the time to speak with me and help others to learn more about the work you are both focused on at the Neurosequential Network your most recent book, Dr. Perry,  that you wrote with Oprah Winfrey, What Happened to You, that gave me what I was looking for—a deep dive into understanding the impact that trauma has on our brain, specifically, for our future generations.

Before we get to the questions (and I had to narrow them down) there were many, but I would like to orient our listeners to how you both began this work, if I could begin with Steve because your background with sports resonated with a lot of the posts I see connected to Dr. Perry/ Megan Bartlett and her work at the Center For Healing and Justice Through Sport. With all we hear in the media with regards to abuse/trauma in the field of sport these days, I wonder what drew you to your work with the Neurosequential Network as a Project Director with Dr. Perry?

Dr. Perry, the first thing I wondered has to do with your friendship with Oprah that began when she reached out to you in 1989 while you were working in your lab and when someone said “Oprah’s calling” you said “Yeah right, take a message” thinking he was joking.

You say that back when you began this work, you were always trying to make connections with how trauma impacts the brain and behavior, and never quite getting it right.  I wondered what have you learned from your time with Oprah, her reflections back to you, and the impact that her point of view had on this connection between trauma and the brain that you’ve been focused on for your whole career?

MAKING SENSE OF THE WORLD (Q1-4)

I picked the beginning of the book as the main focus of interview today, because many of us reading your book have not had any training on the brain/neuroscience and trauma, with one question to help us to connect the dots to help us make sense of how our brain works, and some final thoughts on what we should all know to heal and make change moving forward.  Does that sound like a good plan if each of you can chime in with your thoughts?

Q1: Steve and Dr. Perry, Oprah opens up the book with saying that she believes that “the acorn contains the oak. And through her work with you she says that “If we want to understand the oak, it’s back to the acorn we must go.” This question we could spend the whole interview with, I heard my mentor, speaker Bob Proctor[iv] talking a about how an oak tree develops from the gene that lies within the acorn when I was in my late 20s and I could think about what that meant for a lifetime.  Why is it so important for us to think back to our genes, and maybe even generations of our genes to understand why people behave the way that they do and understand “this patterned plan” in each acorn or ourselves?

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Q2: 20 years ago, trauma was never considered a factor in a person’s health, let alone something we should consider as an educator in the classroom, a coach on the field, or a parent looking to break generational habits/beliefs.  When writing this book, what was your vision to help others become “brain-aware” something that is important for all of us to understand in EVERY sector of work? (In medicine, like with your example of Tyra/diabetic), and especially in the classroom with our students as teachers must deal with behavior before they can get to “teaching” the curriculum and Steve, with your thoughts of why this is so important in the sports world?

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Q3: To understand why people behave the way they do, with the brain in mind, you start put with Mike trying to help his wife understand his PTSD and why he acts the way he does.

You explain it with (your famous upside down triangle) with the brain in mind, or the example in the classroom with the student, Sam, who connected the smell of Old Spice of his teacher to his alcoholic father, or Tyra later in the book with her connection to the sirens and her friend’s death. Or your co-worker Mike, who jumped when the door slammed. There are many examples throughout the book, all teaching us “what happened to you?”

For those of us who want to be “brain-aware” and have not taken a course in neuroscience, can you explain what we should all know about the brain, stress and trauma and the 4 interconnected parts of the brain (brain stem, diencephalon, limbic and cortex)?

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Q4: I first came across your work through Dr Lori Desautels who would often quote you, and when the pandemic began, you began doing trainings to help those working with people with trauma and I joined many of those meetings[v], learning so much that I shared on the podcast to help others who might be struggling.

I always wondered what is the meaning behind the name of your company that’s on all of your slides, and the link I clicked on to access your trainings? What is neuro sequential? Then Oprah asked why it’s so important to understand the sequence of our brain in chapter 5—and I had an Aha Moment!

“Everything sequential happens in a sequence and the way our brain processes experiences is sequential” and in order to get to the reasoning part of the brain, or the cortex, we must get through the lower parts of the brain.

I think this is the most important concept to understand in the book since “effective communication, teaching, coaching, parenting—all require awareness of this sequence of engagement”

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Can you explain what gets in the way of “getting to the cortex” or the challenges we have with reasoning with someone when they are dysregulated, and how we can recognize this dysregulation to do something about it?

This will give us an understanding of The Neurosequential Network and how it applies to our everyday life.

Q5: As we are all learning this new information, and becoming “brain-aware” for those in positions of leadership, can you explain the importance of the “Power Differential” on how to be aware of this cognitive disadvantage that is felt by our students in the classroom, or those we are leading in our work environments so we can truly be leading with our brain in mind?

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Q6: I know that we have only scratched the surface of this topic with these questions, but I know that I can’t have you for an entire day, so could you give us what would be your final thoughts that we should know about when connecting the dots on “What Happened to You” that we haven’t talked about today to help us to be better leaders, educators, parents, and members in our communities?

Dr. Perry, and Steve Graner, I wish we could stay on the line all day, but know that with each time we read your book and make connections to the training you have at the Neurosequential Network, and other leaders in this new field of educational neuroscience, that we will gain more clarity to make sense of the world, become more “brain-aware” and connect the dots, helping ourselves and others to heal. Thank you both for the time you have taken to help me to share this information for those listening around the world to make shifts in their own life, that will have generational shifts for the future that my children and their children will benefit from. You’ve given us hope and a new vision at a time when we all needed it the most.

Thank you!

BIO DR. PERRY

Dr. Perry is the Principal of the Neurosequential Network, Senior Fellow of The ChildTrauma Academy and a Professor (Adjunct) in the Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago and the School of Allied Health, College of Science, Health and Engineering, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria  Australia.

Over the last thirty years, Dr. Perry has been an active teacher, clinician and researcher in children’s mental health and the neurosciences holding a variety of academic positions. His work on the impact of abuse, neglect and trauma on the developing brain has impacted clinical practice, programs and policy across the world. Dr. Perry is the author, with Maia Szalavitz, of The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog, a bestselling book based on his work with maltreated children and Born For Love: Why Empathy is Essential and Endangered. Dr. Perry's most recent book, What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing, co-authored with Oprah Winfrey, was released in 2021.

BIO STEVE GRANER:

Steve Graner is the Neurosequential Networks' NME Project Director as well as a ChildTrauma Academy Fellow.  Mr. Graner grew up in Bismarck, ND, received his Bachelors Degree from the University of Sioux Falls, and completed his Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction at Minnesota State University Mankato. With thirty-three years teaching English at Erik Ramstad Middle School in Minot, North Dakota, Mr. Graner has also coached cross country and track and field, receiving Coach of the Year honors in ND for both high school and middle school cross country. Mr. Graner is best known for his creative approaches to teaching and coaching and combines a love of the arts and sports with the passion for pedagogy.

FOLLOW THE NEUROSEQUENTIAL NETWORK:

https://twitter.com/NeuroSequential

Neurosequential Model in Education https://www.neurosequential.com/nme

Neurosequential Model in Sport https://www.neurosequential.com/nm-sport

FOLLOW DR. BRUCE PERRY

https://twitter.com/BDPerry 

FOLLOW ANDREA SAMADI: 

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/AndreaSamadi  

Website https://www.achieveit360.com/ 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samadi/ 

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Achieveit360com  

Neuroscience Meets SEL Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/2975814899101697  

Twitter: https://twitter.com/andreasamadi  

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/andreasamadi/ 

 

RESOURCES:

30 Quotes from What Happened to You by Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey by Kenneth Wong May 30th, 2021 https://millennial-grind.com/30-quotes-from-what-happened-to-you-by-bruce-d-perry-and-oprah-winfrey/

 

What Happened to You Visual Synopsis by Dani Saveker https://www.visualsynopsis.com/full-collection/what-happened-to-you-oprah-winfrey-amp-bruce-perry-visual-synopsis-by-dani-saveker

 

Meeting Children Where They Are: The Neuroseqential Model of Therapeutics October 1, 2021 by Allison Cooke Douglas, MS https://adoptioncouncil.org/publications/meeting-children-where-they-are-the-neurosequential-model-of-therapeutics/

 

Neurosequential Model in Education https://www.neurosequential.com/nme

 

Neurosequential Model in Sport https://www.neurosequential.com/nm-sport

 

Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #53 Inspired by Dr. Bruce Perry on “Self-Regulation and Your Brain: How to Bounce Back Towards Resiliency” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/self-regulation-and-your-brain-how-to-bounce-back-towards-resilience/

 

Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #56 with Educational Neuroscience Pioneer Dr. Lori Desautels on her NEW Book “Connections Over Compliance: Rewiring Our Perceptions of Discipline” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/educational-neuroscience-pioneer-dr-lori-desautels-on-her-new-book-about-connections-over-compliance-rewiring-our-perceptions-of-discipline/

 

REFERENCES:

[i] COVID 19 Stress, Distress and Trauma Series https://www.neurosequential.com/covid-19-resources

[ii] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #52 inspired by Dr. Bruce Perry on “Igniting Your Personal Leadership That Builds Resiliency” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/igniting-your-personal-leadership-that-builds-resiliency-inspired-by-dr-bruce-perry/

[iii] What Happened to You: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience and Healing https://www.amazon.com/What-Happened-You-Understanding-Resilience/dp/1250223180

[iv] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #66 on The Legendary Bob Proctor on “Social and Emotional Learning: Where it All Started” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/the-legendary-bob-proctor-on/

[v] COVID 19 Stress, Distress and Trauma Series https://www.neurosequential.com/covid-19-resources

Vice President, Executive Producer, The New York Jets, Chris Gargano on ”Accelerating Leadership for Maximum Impact and Results”

Vice President, Executive Producer, The New York Jets, Chris Gargano on ”Accelerating Leadership for Maximum Impact and Results”

October 1, 2021

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #166 with Chris Gargano, who is now in his sixth year with the New York Jets as vice president, executive producer where he oversees JETS 360, which is responsible for all Jets produced content – including video production, social media and editorial – with a goal of providing football fans an all-access pass to unique, engaging, quality content over a variety of platforms. Chris has also just started his fourth year teaching leading leadership at NYU, which is what led him to this podcast.

Watch this interview on YouTube here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NM1i-YEAIzA  

Follow the New York Jets here https://www.newyorkjets.com/video/jets360-live 

Follow Chris Gargano:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/chris-gargano/ 

On This Episode You Will Learn:

✔︎ How Chris knew that a career in sports broadcasting was the right path for him, right from childhood. 

✔︎ How an injury caused him to pivot towards broadcasting, and then later, pivoted towards lifelong learning again.

✔︎ What led Chris to our podcast for his leadership students at NYU.

✔︎ The characteristics of a championship head coach, and team.

✔︎ How he prioritizes a work/life balance with a busy schedule.

✔︎ The future of leadership--building self-awareness in our future generations. 

I'm Andrea Samadi, author, and educator from Toronto, Canada, now in Arizona, and like many of our listeners, have been fascinated with learning and understanding the science behind high performance strategies that we can use to improve our own productivity in our schools, our sports, and workplace environments. My vision is to bring the experts to you, share their books, resources, and ideas to help you to implement their proven strategies, whether you are a teacher working in the classroom or online, a student, or in the corporate environment.

I first met Chris Gargano just a couple of weeks ago when we connected on LinkedIn and his background immediately caught my attention aside from the fact he works for the New York Jets. I will let Chris tell you his story, with the hopes that it will inspire you to reach new heights and I can tell you that from someone who has led some of the best “teams behind the teams” that he will empower you to take a closer look at how he sees top performers reach those high ranks, and it all begins with the topic of leadership.

Let’s meet Chris Gargano, and see if we can leverage his life story, to push us closer to where we are all going.

Welcome Chris Gargano! Thank you for taking the time out of your busy season that has just begun, and I know there is never a slow time with your work, so thank you for taking the time to be here today.

Chris, before I get to the questions I have for you, I mention in the show notes that you run JETS 360 that’s responsible for all JETS related content, and as someone who also produces content, without a production team like you have over there, I wonder if you can give us any tips for what you do to catch people’s attention with the graphics/videos/content that you create to connect you’re your fans?

I was sorry to see the results of your game on Sunday but know that mindset is a huge part of the game here, and I know you are going to give us some new ways of looking at life and how you deal with wins/losses through the lens of someone behind the scenes of the top performers you get to work with every day. I’m looking forward to what we can all learn from your experiences.

Q1: Chris, can you take us back to where your vision for your career began, when you were a student in the classroom, before your college days, before you had this incredible opportunity to work in broadcasting and media production with teams like the NY Jets and the previous teams you worked with (Oakland Raiders and San Francisco Giants) was there any defining moment that you can recall when you thought “aha” this is what I am meant to do?

Q2: What happened to that vision/dream in your college years that led you to your career in Broadcasting/Sports?

2B) I think this is what caught my attention the most when we connected on LinkedIn. What made you decide to go back to school to continue your education with your MA in Leadership Studies?

Q3: When we first spoke on the phone, you mentioned that you found our podcast through our episode #68[i] “The Neuroscience of Personal Change with Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” that was the most downloaded episode until I checked and realized it was beat out significantly (with 3x the downloads) earlier this year with a Personal Review of the Fisher Wallace Wearable Medical Device[ii] Can you explain what your vision is for your leadership students you are teaching at NYU, what you liked about that episode?

Q4: I have to ask a question about Head Coach Saleh because I think it ties into your story.  I mentioned him at the start of this year on EPISODE #103 The Neuroscience of Leadership[iii]  when I found an article talking about his powerful story that launched his coaching career when he traded his “cubicle for his coaching dream after his brother’s 9/11 close call”[iv]   and I am certain that his passion for the sport is the foundation for the success he will experience as a head coach, in addition to the emotional intelligence that he has developed. What have you learned from your interaction with phenomenal HC that you think sets him apart from other coaches you have seen?

Q5: Using your experience with the Jets (and other pro level teams/organizations, what do you think is the best mindset for championship teams, that we can take away from your experience and apply towards our own ingredients for success?

Q6: Our podcast took a turn towards health and wellness in the past year, so I always want to emphasize the importance of the top health staples (sleep/exercise/nutrition). With an extremely busy work schedule, how do you create the balance that you need for your own mental health and well-being?

Q7: What are your final thoughts on the future of leadership, how you see yourself fitting into this vision and how do you want to encourage leaders (like those you are teaching at NYU) to step up, find their passion, true talent, voice, confidence, to attain their own individual and team success?

Chris, I want to thank you so very much for connecting with me  and first of all for validating the work I am doing here. It really did make me feel good to know that someone at your level was looking at the work that was created months ago, showing me that we can all have a significant impact on the world with whatever it is we want to do and for those listening to hear this example, to not be afraid to put their voice out into the world.

Secondly, thank you for adding to this vision, and sharing with our listeners your valuable experience working with some of the best players in the industry.

Finally, thank you for all you have shared with us here on the podcast that are all transferable skills that can be used across all industries, not just in sports. I will put a link to the NY JETS in the show notes for those who want to follow the team and your content, and I’m confident that with the talent, strong culture/community and leadership you have behind your team, that these are all the winning ingredients for success.

Follow JETS360 and the NY JETS https://www.newyorkjets.com/video/jets360-live

FOLLOW ANDREA SAMADI: 

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/AndreaSamadi  

Website https://www.achieveit360.com/ 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samadi/ 

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Achieveit360com  

Neuroscience Meets SEL Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/2975814899101697  

Twitter: https://twitter.com/andreasamadi  

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/andreasamadi/ 

RESOURCES:

Robert Saleh Becomes Jets’ 20th Head Coach in Franchise History by Randy Lange and Eric Allen January 19, 2021 https://www.newyorkjets.com/news/robert-saleh-named-head-coach-of-the-jets

Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know by Adam Grant, Published Feb. 2, 2021 https://www.amazon.com/Think-Again-Power-Knowing-What/dp/1984878107

REFERENCES:

[i] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #68 “The Neuroscience of Personal Change with Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/the-neuroscience-of-personal-change/

[ii]Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #130 “Personal Review of the Fisher Wallace Wearable Medical Device for Anxiety, Depression and Sleep Management” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/personal-review-of-the-fisher-wallace-wearable-medical-device-for-anxiety-depression-and-sleepstress-management/

[iii] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #103 “ The Neuroscience of Leadership: 3 Ways to Reset, Recharge and Refuel Your Brain for Your Best Year Ever” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/the-neuroscience-of-leadership-3-ways-to-reset-recharge-and-refuel-your-brain-for-your-best-year-ever/

[iv]  Robert Saleh traded cubicle for coaching dream after brother’s 9/11 close call by Ryan Dunleavy Jan. 12, 2021 https://nypost.com/2021/01/15/robert-saleh-wouldnt-be-jets-coach-without-brothers-9-11-close-call/?utm_campaign=iphone_nyp&utm_source=mail_app

Brain Fact Friday on ”The Neuroscience of Learning”

Brain Fact Friday on ”The Neuroscience of Learning”

September 30, 2021

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast for Brain Fact Friday and EPISODE #167 on “The Neuroscience of Learning” that was inspired with an upcoming interview with cognitive neuroscience researcher John Harmon, who will take us through how learning happens in the brain as well as understanding what happens when performing a task (like throwing a football) while under stress.

In Today’s Brain Fact Friday, You Will Learn:

✔︎ The two most important ingredients required for learning and how they relate to your brain.

✔︎ Why being a know-it-all will get you nowhere when it comes to teaching and learning.

✔︎ How to use self-reflection to become more self-aware of your own learning process.

I'm Andrea Samadi, author, and educator from Toronto, Canada, now in Arizona, and like many of our listeners, have been fascinated with learning and understanding the science behind high performance strategies in our schools, our sports, and workplace environments with ideas that we can all use, understand and implement immediately.

This week, while preparing for our upcoming interviews, I had the opportunity to stop and think before writing this week’s Brain Fact Friday. Sometimes life is so busy, that we miss this opportunity to reflect on where we began, and where we are going, and just peddle forward without this reflection, missing some powerful moments of learning. Whatever it is that you are working on, take a minute to look back to where you started. It will help you to see how far you have come, and give you boost that I’m sure you could use at this moment. This will create momentum to help propel you forward, while increasing your own self-confidence with this self-reflection. This is actually a question in Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Planner[i] that was written based on the world’s largest study of high performers and how they increase productivity and win.

When looking at where we started with this podcast, June 2019, I thought back to some of the earlier episodes and remember before I was 100% comfortable with this topic, I would spend a lot of time preparing for interviews, reading EVERY book the person had written and carefully crafting their questions. Looking back now, I know it was because I wanted to be prepared, but I also didn’t want to appear like I didn’t know what I was talking about. Listening to these old episodes is another story, and not easy to do because we can easily pick up many areas that needed to be improved, (content as well as technical) but we must all start somewhere, and progress happens when we do. We can all benefit from looking back to day 1 of whatever we are working on- what can you LEARN from this?

Once you have looked at where you began, look at where you are now, so I fast-forwarded to episode #144 that was recorded this past summer with Tom Beakbane,[ii] on “How to Understand Everything” and episode #146 with expert in psychology, cognitive neuroscience and neurotechnology, Dr. Howard Rankin, Ph.D.[iii] on “How Not to Think” I started to realize that it was ok that I didn’t understand everything and saying so was freeing. I stopped reading every single book written by the person to be interviewed and stuck to their most recent and relevant book. While being prepared is important to me, I still practice interview questions, but stopped overdoing it, and think that this new awareness made me more relaxed with this whole process.  Self-awareness goes a long way and anything we can learn to help us to improve is something we should take note of.  I wonder if anything stuck out for you when looking back at where you first began to where you are now?

With this new awareness, I was finally comfortable enough to invite someone on the podcast whose work in this new field of neuroscience still puzzles me. It’s not like I could even explain what he does with his work, without reading his BIO but John Harmon said it best himself while preparing for his interview, when he mentioned to me that “understanding a subject and explaining it are two different things.” This lit up a whole bunch of lights for me.

I remember recently talking about this same concept with Chey and Pav[iv] on their podcast[v] this summer about teaching, learning and leadership when they were talking about how a math teacher can practice problems they know how to solve over and over again with students, and get caught up in forgetting how to “teach” a new concept because they are using rote memory.  This math teacher began trying to solve problems with the class that they had not yet practiced. This is effortful, with some risk involved, especially if we fail. We risk “not knowing the answer” or “looking less than intelligent in front of others.”

So with these learning lessons in mind, for this week’s Brain Fact Friday, I want to focus on how we learn.

We did cover a whole episode #161[vi] with John Almarode, Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey on their new book How Learning Works[vii] that unpacks the science of how students learn and translates that knowledge into promising principles or practices that can be implemented in the classroom or utilized by students on their own learning journey that I do recommend this episode and their book.

But for this Week’s Brain Fact Friday—Did You Know That “Learning Changes the Brain?” and that “Moderate Stress is Beneficial for Learning?”[viii]

So when I was reflecting back on the podcast, with what we have learned over the past couple of years, it was actually changing my brain. When I asked you to think about what you have learned since day 1 of whatever it is you are working on, it created a new neural pathway in your brain, and changed it as well.

Learning Changes the Brain: From the point of view of neurobiology, learning involves changing the brain. We have mentioned on previous episodes that neuroplasticity, or how the brain “changes in response to a stimuli”[ix] happens when we are able to create an environment for learning that is free of distractions, allowing for breaks where we can have those Aha! Moments where we know and understand what we are learning and this actually produces new neurons which is called neurogenesis.

18-Metacognition_copy87fn7.jpg

Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, from episode #100[x] who covered “The Neuroscience of Social and Emotional Learning” reminds us that “Learning is a very active process—not one of investigating and retaining like a squirrel ingests nuts or a file drawer stores information.”  Immordino-Yang, a professor of education, psychology and neuroscience at the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education explains that “life exposes a brain to a limitless ocean of information. Even if a person manages to memorize a portion of it—to squirrel it away—it does them little good unless they can access it at the right moment and apply it to real-world contexts. Which is what I did when I realized that saying I didn’t understand everything really made an impact on how I’m preparing for future interviews, and whatever you uncovered should have an impact on what you do moving forward. That’s learning in action.

The task of learning is to transform some of that information into knowledge that can be used and acted upon”[xi]  and this is what creates new neural pathways in the brain, that causes the brain to change with each new experience or pathway built.

Moderate Stress is Beneficial for Learning: We also must understand that moderate stress is beneficial for learning, while mild and extreme stress are detrimental to learning. When I first began presenting on the impacts of stress on learning and the brain, all too often we would talk about stress reduction techniques, since it’s true that too much stress can cause brain shrinkage, but the right amount of stress can promote learning. Since we are all different, what could be considered to be moderate stress for one person, could be severe for another, so each person needs to find their own balance of stress that in turn motivates them.

Stress_Learning_and_the_Brain_copy6g17f.jpeg

You can see the infographic in the show notes with 12 ways to combat stress that came from my presentation with educators on Stress, Learning and the Brain[xii] but this week’s Brain Fact Friday made me think about how it’s important to find the right level of challenge or stress to motivate each person towards improved performance.

If we know that learning changes the brain, and that moderate stress is beneficial for learning, what else can we do to facilitate learning?

Two Key Ingredients for Learning: While researching, I found two key ingredients for learning: motivation or a willingness to learn, and the importance of a cognitively stimulating environment.

Motivation or Willingness to Learn[xiii] is the starting point to learning anything new. “One way to motivate the brain is to expose it to anything new and unfamiliar.” (Page 13, The Science of Learning, How We Learn).

When I think about some of the articles I read on the topic of neuroscience that go over my head, there is something inside me that causes me to stop and figure out the meaning one step at a time. When you have a clear “why” behind what you are learning, it’s easier to put in the time and effort needed. “The ability to learn new things, whether that’s calculus, or hitting a fast ball, or studying neuroscience, requires stretching the brain past the point of what’s familiar or comfortable.” (Page 12, The Science of Learning, The Ways We Learn).  I remember students always asking me “why do I need to know this? How does this apply to the real world” and while the real-world application is important, I think that understanding how we are learning is the key to future success. Once we know how we learn best as individuals, we can learn anything and the opportunities we can create for ourselves are limitless.

Raising Our Next Generation in a Cognitively Stimulating Environment[xiv] is another key ingredient for learning where we ask our children/students challenging questions that make them think instead of just sitting them down in front of the television, video games or computers. “Children who grow up in cognitively stimulating and linguistically rich environments tend to be more sophisticated in their knowledge of the world and their ability to grasp things.”[xv] As a parent, this one always catches me off guard, as there are many times that my children make a mess of the house creating forts to play in, and I have to remember to let them create these stimulating environments (for them) and suspend my need order in the home. When I sit back, watch and ask questions about their forts, there is always a story behind them, that goes much deeper than what I could ever imagine. It’s also those times when we don’t have access to WIFI that this type of creativity flows. When we spend more time in nature, walking together, laughing, and playing, we learn so much about each other away from our usual school or work environments. It’s just being aware of how to create these stimulating environments to be sure that we are always encouraging learning to take place.

Immordino-Yang reminds us that “education is not about hammering facts, procedures, and information into a person’s memory; it’s about building mental skills and dispositions that will help people learn and succeed throughout life.”[xvi] While practicing math skills certainly has its place, so does walking through a forest and letting the imagination and creativity flow.

Immordino-Yang’s work with students in Montessori schools also revealed many differences versus traditional schools, specifically that “Montessori students were more effective at directing their own learning” and that “they seemed more comfortable with not knowing things--which are characteristics that seem to correlate with improved learning at any age.”[xvii]

Which brings this week’s brain fact Friday into a close.  It’s ok to not know all of the answers but when presented with something new and unfamiliar, we now have 2 new strategies to increase our own motivation (as well as for our students/children) and hold our attention, stretch our brain past the point of what’s familiar, to the unfamiliar—which is how learning takes place. It is not easy, it takes time and effort, but we all have the ability to use an understanding of our brain, to improve our ability to learn.

See you next week!

FOLLOW ANDREA SAMADI: 

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/AndreaSamadi  

Website https://www.achieveit360.com/ 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samadi/ 

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Achieveit360com  

Neuroscience Meets SEL Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/2975814899101697  

Twitter: https://twitter.com/andreasamadi  

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/andreasamadi/ 

 

REFERENCES:

[i] Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Planner November 2, 2018 https://www.amazon.com/High-Performance-Planner-Yellow/dp/1401957331/ref=asc_df_1401957331/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312674808447&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=12785229814380293351&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9030091&hvtargid=pla-570847548926&psc=1

[ii] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #144 with Tom Beakbane on “How to Understand Everything” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/author-and-marketer-tom-beakbane-on-how-to-understand-everything-consilience-a-new-way-to-look-at-the-world/

[iii] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #146 with Dr. Howard Rankin on “How Not to Think” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/expert-in-psychology-cognitive-neuroscience-and-neurotechnology-howard-rankin-phd-on-how-not-to-think/

[iv] https://www.cheyandpav.com/

[v] Chey and Pav Summer Series with Andrea Samadi https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-summer-series-with-andrea-samadi/id1479094332?i=1000530611931

[vi] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #161 with John Almarode, Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey “How Learning Works” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/johnalmarodedouglas-fisherand-nancyfreyon-how-learning-works-translatingthescience-oflearningintostrategiesformaximum-learning-inyourclassroom/

[vii] How Learning Works: A Playbook by John Almarode, (James Madison University, Douglas Fisher (San Diego State University) and Nancy Frey (San Diego State University). https://us.corwin.com/en-us/nam/how-learning-works/book279410#description

[viii] Neuroscience and How Students Learn article based on a talk by Daniela Kaufer Berkeley  https://gsi.berkeley.edu/gsi-guide-contents/learning-theory-research/neuroscience/

[ix] IBID

[x] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #100 on “The Neuroscience of Social and Emotional Learning” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/professor-mary-helen-immordino-yang-on-the-neuroscience-of-social-and-emotional-learning/

[xi] Time Magazine Special Edition The Science of Learning Page 12

[xii] https://www.achieveit360.com/level-up-for-educators-neuroscience-meets-sel/

[xiii] Time Magazine Special Edition The Science of Learning Page 13

[xiv] Time Magazine Special Edition The Science of Learning Page 14

[xv] IBID

[xvi] IBID

[xvii] IBID

Brain Fact Friday on ”The Neuroscience of Leadership: Using Your Brain to Lead Others More Effectively”

Brain Fact Friday on ”The Neuroscience of Leadership: Using Your Brain to Lead Others More Effectively”

September 23, 2021

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast for Brain Fact Friday and EPISODE #165 on “The Neuroscience of Leadership: Using Your Brain to Lead Others More Effectively” that was inspired by a conversation I had on the phone with our next guest, whose interview will be recorded today, and released over the weekend.  You will need to tune into our next episode to hear who he is, but I can say that he is with his 6th season with the NY Jets (football) and his 4th year teaching leadership at NYU which led him to our podcast. When speaking with him, he mentioned had found our episode #68[i] “The Neuroscience of Personal Change with Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” when he was looking for ideas for his leadership class at NYU and liked how we had added the brain science to Covey’s best-seller that has sold more than 25 million copies since its first publication. When we hung up, I thought about the fact that Covey’s book impacted so many people around the world, but since it was first published in 1989 he was missing something critical to our next generation of leaders: an understanding of the Leading Brain, which let me to think about our good friend Friederike Fabritius all the way back to EPISODE #27[ii] who wrote The Leading Brain: Neuroscience Hacks to Work Smarter, Better, Happier for this week’s Brain Fact Friday.

In Today’s Brain Fact Friday, You Will Learn:

✔︎ Why Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is WRONG when it comes to Neuroscience.

✔︎ What IS the Neuroscience of Leadership?

✔︎ The Best Ways to Lead with the Brain in Mind in our Schools and Workplaces.

✔︎ How to Reach Peak Performance or Flow with our Work.

✔︎ What Too Much, or Too Little Stress Does to the Brain.

For those who are new here, I'm Andrea Samadi, author, and educator from Toronto, Canada, now in Arizona, and like many of our listeners, have been fascinated with learning and understanding the science behind high performance strategies in our schools, our sports, and workplace environments. My vision for this podcast is to bring the experts to you, share their books, resources and ideas to help you to implement their proven strategies, and take the fear out of this new field of educational neuroscience. My hope is that this podcast will bridge the gap between the science, theory, and application of these ideas for improved results in your life.

Our next few interviews coming up are exciting for me, as they all demonstrate just how important and timely this understanding of the brain is for all of us to learn and apply whether we are a teacher in the classroom or using these ideas in a corporate environment, as an employee, or CEO in a leadership role, an understanding of how our brain works is critical these days. With each episode we release, connections are made to past episodes and the learning builds just like we were taking a course together. If you are new here, go back through the episodes and see if there are ones that catch your eye. Take notes and think about how you could best apply the strategies suggested in each episode. I promise you this will be life changing when we begin to live our lives with our brain in mind.

For this Week’s Brain Fact Friday, I’m going back to the first lesson I saw on The Leading Brain, by Friederike Fabritius that was published on YouTube Dec.11th, 2016[iii] where she explains why an understanding of the brain is important for a group of business leaders. She begins her presentation by quizzing the group to see what they know about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs[iv] to see what they can remember about this model that is “a motivational theory in psychology comprising of a five-tier model of human needs”[v]  that begins with the need of food, water, sex, and sleep. Once these needs are met, we desire safety (and you can think about how important it is for our students to feel safe in our schools, or employees in the workplaces-without this safety, learning or new ideas cannot take place), and once we feel this safety, we start to form friendships/relationships, leading to our self-esteem and confidence to increase, which in turn leads to self-actualization, or the attainment of whatever our goals are.

Maslow_copy6cqf8.png

But looking at how we operate through the lens of neuroscience, Maslow’s Model is completely incorrect.

For this week's Brain Fact Friday, did you know that there’s a new model in Neuroscience, that replaces Maslow’s Model, explaining Social Cognitive Neuroscience where “without relationships, we cannot survive” (Friederike Fabritius) and that “connectedness regulates and rewards us.” (Dr. Bruce Perry).

Friederike explains that Maslow’s tier of Love/Belonging or friendship, family, and sexual intimacy are 3rd in his chosen ranks,  but when we look at how the brain operates, this is the #1 most important tier, that’s more important than food and water and she offers a new model of Social Cognitive Neuroscience that explains how without relationships, we cannot survive.

I thought about our upcoming interview with Dr. Bruce Perry (next month) on his book written with Oprah What Happened to You and he talks about how “connectedness regulates and rewards us” with his Filling our Rewards Bucket concept where he noted that “many people found it harder to fill up during the COVID-19 pandemic; people reported more anxiety and depression, and many people used some of the less healthy forms of reward (like drugs/alcohol) to fill that void”[vi] so understanding this new model of Social Cognitive Neuroscience can help us all to lead more effectively in our schools and workplaces.  We will dive deeper into Dr. Bruce Perry’s model with our interview, but you can see from the image in the show notes that explains how the brain processes information from the bottom up, and that regulation must occur before any reasoning or reflecting can take place in the upper regions of the brain (or prefrontal cortex).

Bruce_Perry_copyanry6.png

IMAGE SOURCE: Dr. Bruce Perry’s Neurosequential Network.

So why is this so important for us to understand as leaders (in our workplaces or schools?) It’s because if we are not regulated, it will shut down our executive functions in our prefrontal cortex and we won’t be operating at our highest levels.

How to Lead with the Brain in Mind?

It Begins with Putting Relationships First: Scrap Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and start thinking of Dr. Bruce Perry’s upside-down triangle where he puts regulation at the bottom. Everything should begin with building relationships to make our students feel safe/regulated in the classroom, or our employees feel safe/regulated in our corporate spaces. If you are working in the classroom, go back to the very beginning of this podcast and visit the episode with Greg Wolcott,[vii] the author of Significant 72: Unleashing the Power of Relationship’s in Today’s Schools for ideas and resources that you can use right away. You can also access many free ideas and resources directly from his website https://www.significant72.com/

If you are working in the corporate environment, there is no one better than Simon Sinek to inspire leadership, starting with his book Start With Why, which challenges assumptions about how great leaders and great companies inspire people, but also his book Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t. I met Simon in 2014 where we traded books and I keep my signed copy of Leaders Eat Last on my desk to remind me of this ancient yet powerful principle.

After Simon Sinek wrote his first book, and began travelling the world, he noticed that very few people said “I love my job” and he wanted to do something to inspire this in organizations around the world since he was able to inspire millions with his Start With Why book. When he travelled around the globe, he noticed that “some teams were able to trust each other so deeply, they would literally put their lives on the line for each other. Other teams, no matter what incentives were offered, were doomed to infighting, fragmentation and failure” (Leaders Eat Last Front Cover Flap) and the answer became clear to him with a discussion of a Marine Corps General who said “Officers eat last” and Sinek witnessed the most junior Marines eating first, while Senior Marines waited at the back of the line. Think about this from Maslow’s point of view, that biologically, we need food and shelter first, but when we operate with the brain in mind, we suspend our need for this urge, and put relationships first, stepping back and modeling “Leaders Eat Last.”

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Andrea Samadi with Simon Sinek in 2014 (Infusionsoft Conference). 

Putting it into Action

Have you ever noticed this principle in play? I have, and I will never forget it. It was back when I was working at a school in the West End of Toronto (Emery CI) and the PE teacher organized a canoe trip up North for students. I went on the trip as a chaperone, not realizing how cold it was to sleep outside in the spring time, I remember almost dying in my tent at night and in the morning when the group began cooking meals, I sat back, and watched the students, wondering if anyone else was frozen to death like I was, and I noticed one young boy from Vietnam, who sat back from the group when food was being served. He let everyone pass him in line, and I asked him why he didn’t grab a plate and some food, and he shook his head and said, “I eat last” and I remember it being profound to me that he sat back, and waited, while all others rushed forward to eat.  He had learned in his culture the importance of not giving in to his immediate needs, which we all know leads to future success in life with the famous Stanford Marshmallow experiment. I wish I could find this young man and see where he ended up, but I don’t really need to. I know he’s leading somewhere.

To review this week’s Brain Fact Friday, that explains a new model in Neuroscience, that replaces Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, explaining that “without relationships, we cannot survive” (Friederike Fabritius) and that “connectedness regulates and rewards us.” (Dr. Bruce Perry) I hope we can all begin to think with our brain in mind, on the ways we can help others in our schools or workplaces to feel more connected. Only then can we begin to work towards our goals, or self-actualization.

Next Steps:

Only once our basic needs of building and maintaining strong relationships are met, can we move towards your goals with this safety net in place.

In our podcast #27 with Friederike Fabritius, we covered the DNA of success or peak performance which is that brain state where we lose the presence of time and are the most productive. She mentioned the importance of having fun with your work, releasing the neurotransmitter dopamine, having just enough fear or a challenge to release the neurotransmitter noradrenaline and that with these two factors, focus will occur, and the neurotransmitter acetylcholine will be released. These three factors must be in place for peak performance to occur and when we hit this level of performance, it’s important that we are able to manage our distractions so that we can stay here for as long as possible for those higher levels of productivity.

We must be careful on our quest towards our goals that we keep the right balance with our stress levels. Too little stress, we go into a state of under-arousal where we are under challenged and could be bored with our work, and too much stress leads us to over-arousal where we are prone to work burn-out and depression. This state depletes the serotonin in the brain and we begin to see threats where there are none. The more you go into work burn-out, the more negative you become, so keeping the balance of peak performance where you experience flow (lose track of time with your work) and alternate this time with rest/recovery is important for your mental and physical well-being.

To conclude this week’s Brain Fact Friday, I hope that you can see how old models like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs have become outdated when we begin to operate with our brain in mind, and that we can apply the most current brain science to anything we are doing, like I did with Covey’s 7 Habits book. Once we know how our brain works, we can then work backwards and change what we are doing so that it works with our brain in mind.

Do you see how can you use this NEW Social Cognitive Model in your school or workplace? How can you put relationships first to regulate your students and co-workers? Go back and look at Greg Wolcott’s episode for those working in the classroom, and for those in the corporate world, read Simon Sinek’s Leaders Eat Last for some new ideas.

I will see you over the weekend with our episode #166 that will take our understanding of leadership into the pro sports world and then next week, will speak with independent researcher John Harmon on how our actions, thoughts and intentions all map out in the brain, especially while under pressure.

Have a good weekend!

FOLLOW ANDREA SAMADI: 

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/AndreaSamadi  

Website https://www.achieveit360.com/ 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samadi/ 

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Achieveit360com  

Neuroscience Meets SEL Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/2975814899101697  

Twitter: https://twitter.com/andreasamadi  

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/andreasamadi/ 

 

RESOURCES:

https://simonsinek.com/

https://www.significant72.com/ 

REFERENCES:

[i] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #68 “The Neuroscience of Personal Change with Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/the-neuroscience-of-personal-change/

[ii] The Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #27 with Friederike Fabritius on “The Recipe for Achieving Peak Performance”  https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/pioneer-in-the-field-of-neuroleadership-friederike-fabritius-on-the-recipe-for-achieving-peak-performance/

[iii] Friederike Fabritius “Neuroleadership: A New Approach” YouTube Published Dec. 11th, 2016 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2g4XhlLZ5ak

[iv] Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs https://psychology.wikia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs

[v] Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html

[vi] What Happened to You by Dr. Bruce Perry and Oprah Published April 27, 2021 https://www.amazon.com/What-Happened-You-Understanding-Resilience/dp/1250223180

[vii]The Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #7 with Greg Wolcott on “Building Relationships in Today’s Classrooms”  https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/greg-wolcott-on-building-relationships-in-todays-classrooms/

Brain Fact Friday on ”How to Read the Emotions of Others in Our Schools, Sports and Classroom Environments”

Brain Fact Friday on ”How to Read the Emotions of Others in Our Schools, Sports and Classroom Environments”

September 16, 2021

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast for Brain Fact Friday and EPISODE #164 that ties back into our interview released this week, episode #163 with Dr. Dan Hill on “Facial Coding: How to Read the Emotions in Others” since there was so much he explained in that interview that I think is important for all of us to think about, and dig deeper with, whether we are using these ideas in our schools, sports environments or workplaces.

For those who are new here, I'm Andrea Samadi, author, and educator from Toronto, Canada, now in Arizona, and like many of you listening, have been fascinated with learning and understanding the science behind high performance strategies in our schools, our sports, and workplace environments with ideas that we can all use, understand and implement immediately. My vision for this podcast is to bring the experts to you, share their books, resources and ideas to help you to implement their proven strategies and a day doesn’t go by that I don’t hear from someone who has found this information to be important and useful in their life. Thank you for the feedback. We can all use motivation at times.

If you take a quick look through our episodes that began in June 2019, you will notice this podcast draws many high-level guests who have spearheaded the understanding of how our brains works, tied to social and emotional learning (in our schools or sports environments) or emotional intelligence (as it’s called in our workplaces) to help us to all improve our results.  This has always been the goal of the podcast that was originally going to be a course for an educational publisher, until a turn of events caused me to decide to release my best work with the hopes it would help those who are looking to implement the most current brain research into their work. This is just the beginning of the vision I have but can clearly see that this is a topic that holds an international interest, so I will continue to create content to help us to all understand and implement this research in the new field of educational neuroscience.

In Today’s Brain Fact Friday, You Will Learn:

✔︎ The Top Emotions Dr. Hill Looks for when using his Facial Coding System to Read Others.

✔︎ How to Apply Facial Coding in Your Classroom, Workplace or Sports Teams.

✔︎ What We Should All Know, Understand and Look for With Other People’s Emotions.

 

Which Leads us to This Week’s Brain Fact Friday:

After editing and re-listening to Dr. Dan Hill, from episode #163, I had 2 major takeaways.

 

THE PIVOT: The first takeaway I had was that Dr. Hill pioneered a successful career using facial coding, when he had to pivot his career focus in his early years. Many of us listening would recognize and understand this pivot, as we have done it in our own careers ourselves. Back in my early days as a teacher (I was trained by the Raptor’s Coach as a Level 1 Technical Coach) and the pivot is something you never forget. If you remember it on a basketball court, it’s a hard turn, where you stop and shift directions quickly and suddenly, turning your back to your original direction. This is exactly what Dr. Hill had to with his career and reminded me of mine. I had to learn how the brain works in 2014 when an educator sat me down and gave me the most valuable feedback I have ever received, and I know that the pandemic caused many of my friends and colleagues to also make some sort of shift with their work. Have you ever had to make a pivot?

Last week I heard from someone I am working on bringing on the podcast who works in the field of professional sports, with a well-known sports team that I hear about daily, since it’s my husband’s favorite team and this person also made a noticeable pivot in their career towards leadership when he recognized that lifelong learning was his ticket for future success, bringing him to this podcast to see what else he could learn. We connected on LinkedIn, and when we spoke on the phone, immediately connected. I was honored that he was listening, and he was honored that I had asked him if he would be a guest on the show to share how he made his pivot towards lifelong learning and the impact that had on his life. Stay tuned, as I’m hoping we can make this interview happen quickly.

 

USING FACIAL CODING: Dan Hill’s episode also taught me a lot about how we can all use an understanding of facial coding or reading the emotions in others in our life that originated from the work of Dr. Paul Ekman,[i] an American psychologist and professor emeritus at the University of California who was ranked 59th out of 100 most cited psychologists of the 20th century, whose work was behind the popular TV Series Lie to Me.[ii]

Dan_Hill_186xs2.png

IMAGE SOURCE: https://www.paulekman.com/amp/

If you have not listened to episode #163, go back and listen to it before you go on with this one.

This week’s Brain Fact Friday, I want to share the tips that Dr. Hill noted were helpful when reading the emotions of someone he is looking to recruit for a sports team, or to think about how this could be used in the classroom to identify a student who might be lost or what emotions would make someone a valuable team player in the workplace. If we can learn to recognize the emotions in others, the result will be that we can also recognize emotions in ourselves, which was the idea behind the work of the Founder of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, Marc Brackett and his book, Permission to Feel[iii] who was one of our early interviews.

For this week’s Brain Fact Friday---

Did you know that it’s possible to increase your emotional awareness to help you to be more successful in life, happier in your marriage, be an expert at handling your kids, a better manager at work, a more effective coach in sports, a better hiring manager, close more sales, or negotiate a better deal for yourself just by understanding how to read someone else’s facial expressions? You can learn more from Dr. Dan Hill on this topic through his books and website[iv],  but for this week’s Brain Fact Friday, I will summarize what Dr. Hill looks for whether he is picking a player for a pro sports team or looking for a student who is lost in the classroom, or someone feeling isolated and alone in the corporate environment.

Tips for Using Facial Coding in Sports, the Classroom and Modern Workplaces:

When Dr. Hill was asked to help the Milwaukee Bucks to recruit players that would be a good fit for their team, he mentioned there were some key emotions he was looking for.

1. Happiness: This emotion was easy to spot with a Duchenne Smile[v], which is an expression that signals true enjoyment. This type is smile is contagious and lights up a room. You can’t miss that twinkle in someone’s eye. Dr. Hill looks for this sign when recruiting players because it correlates to someone who is coachable, solutions oriented, embraces others, is embraced by them, could connect to others, and build a sense of community.

BE AWARE OF: A fake smile that lingers too long, or comes and goes too quickly, or an asymmetrical smile that some people would say shows insincerity but could also signify this person has complicated thoughts going on.

2. Anger: Hill looks for someone to have a degree of anger. Not crazy anger, but enough that suggests they are driven and could be in control of their own destiny, making progress towards their goals. Michael Jordan shows anger which Dr. Hill says shows his focus and determination.

BE AWARE OF: Those who are unable to calm themselves down when their blood starts to boil. Anger can be a good thing, especially when its expressed, but be careful not to hold anger inwards as this can impact our health.[vi] Learn stress relieving strategies like deep breathing and meditation to calm the amygdala and bring balance back to the prefrontal cortex, or our decision-making part of our brain.

3. Contempt: Hill says there is a fine line with this emotion that can often point towards confidence/swagger, but it can also suggest that you think you are above others, which wouldn’t make you the best teammate, or someone who would take the advice of a coach.

BE AWARE OF: This emotion is according to John Gottman[vii], is the #1 predictor why a marriage will fail. That smirk means I don’t respect or trust you. In a sports environment, you can see it in Jay Cutler’s image that could show his confidence (first picture) but added to dislike, can also show that mediocrity is beneath him.

Jay_Cutler_Chicago_Bears91mp0.png

4. Disgust: Correlates well with someone who has a drive to succeed, like in Jay Cutler’s example above, that mediocrity is below them or disgusts them and he wants to get to that next level.

BE AWARE OF: That a player like this might not make the best teammate, but they do make excellent CEOS with that drive for success.

5. Sadness: Worries Dr. Hill and he sees an inverse correlation with sadness in sports because it slows you down mentally and physically. This emotion he says is a liability.

BE AWARE OF: The fact that this emotion is a sign that you have lost connection, and whether on a sports team, in a classroom or workplace, needs intervention.

6. Confusion Mixed with Fear: Hill warns this emotional mix is cause for concern in the classroom as this student is lost and would need immediate intervention.

7. Inability to Feel Empathy: When working on murder trials, this emotion was something he noticed. For someone who can read faces, usually you can pick up micro expressions, but these were notably missing with a murderer.

BE AWARE OF: With the lack of empathy, he noted that these types of people had inappropriate smiles or the wrong emotion for the situation (laughing at the wrong time). You will feel something is not quite right, and won’t want to be in this person’s presence.

Dr. Hill reminds us that using Facial Coding, or even Theory of Mind to read the emotions in someone else might be able to point us towards what someone is feeling, but we can’t know why they are feeling this way, without asking them. When you notice a blend of emotions, like confusion mixed with fear in your student, or pride that can show a mix of emotions like happiness (that I succeeded) with anger (but look at the work it took to get here) you can get in the ballpark of the emotions someone feels, but a conversation goes a long way to going deeper into learning more, and uncovering what might be going on with that person.

To close out this week’s brain fact Friday, I think it’s important to note that we aren’t always looking for the positive emotions when looking to move towards our goals and make progress. Recognizing the negative feelings of being lost or unsure of your direction can cause for significant change like Dr. Hill noted when his friend turned him towards the direction of Facial Coding, or the Pro Sports Connection I spoke about who turned towards leadership, or when I had to quickly add an understanding of the brain to my work. This leads us to fear that Dr. Hill mentioned could be a strong motivator as long as it doesn’t lead you to freeze up in the process.

When you start looking closer at the emotions of others, it will give you more insight as you learn that “actions or facial coding, speaks louder than words” and this practice will get you closer to what someone is thinking and feeling, but nothing beats a face-to-face conversation to know with 100% certainty.

Have an incredible weekend! See you next week!

FOLLOW ANDREA SAMADI: 

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/AndreaSamadi  

Website https://www.achieveit360.com/ 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samadi/ 

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Achieveit360com  

Neuroscience Meets SEL Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/2975814899101697  

Twitter: https://twitter.com/andreasamadi  

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/andreasamadi/ 

REFERENCES:

[i] https://www.paulekman.com/amp/

[ii] The Truth Behind Lie to Me https://www.paulekman.com/blog/truth-behind-lie/amp/

[iii] The Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast with Marc Bracket on his book “Permission to Feel” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/founding-director-of-the-yale-center-of-emotional-intelligence-on-his-new-book-permission-to-feel/

[iv] https://emotionswizard.com/about-the-emotions/

[v] https://www.researchgate.net/figure/The-Duchenne-smile-left-versus-the-social-smile-right-Social-smiles-use-only-the_fig4_337322714

[vi] How the Brain Works with Anger Published on YouTube October 9, 2019 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1fSzTiOzdA

[vii] https://www.gottman.com/about/research/couples

Dan Hill, Ph.D. ”The Faces Guy” on ”How to Read the Emotions in Others” for Schools, Sports and the Workplace

Dan Hill, Ph.D. ”The Faces Guy” on ”How to Read the Emotions in Others” for Schools, Sports and the Workplace

September 15, 2021

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #163 with Dr. Dan Hill, Ph.D. an internationally recognized expert on the role of emotions in politics, business, sports and pop culture, who has spoken to audiences in over 25 countries. There are two currencies in life, he says, “There’s dollars and emotions.” For over 20 years now, Dan has specialized in the latter – often in terms of business applications, and often by analyzing facial expressions because he asserts “the most valuable 25 square inches of visual territory on earth runs from the eyebrows to the mouth.” There, people best reveal and communicate the affective responses that so often drive their behavior, whether in the marketplace, the workplace, their personal lives, or in realms like politics, and sports.

Watch the interview on YouTube here.https://youtu.be/fT_SNrZM6rA

Learn more about Dr. Dan Hill https://www.sensorylogic.com/ 

See past Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast Episodes https://www.achieveit360.com/episodes/  

Back story 0-6:10

Interview with Dan Hill 6:10-1:10:25

In Today's Episode, you will learn:

✔︎ How to use facial coding to improve your results in your personal and professional life.

✔︎ Examples of how Dr. Hill used this skill in professional sports and in the classroom.

✔︎ The origins of facial coding beginning with Leonardo da Vinci, Darwin, Duchenne and Dr. Ekman.

✔︎ How Dr. Hill discovered this tool and how he has used it to build a successful career.

✔︎ Theory of Mind and Facial Coding--what emotion he stays away from.

✔︎ Our future leaders--What emotions will make them successful.

If you want to be more successful in life, happier in your marriage, be an expert at handling your kids, a better manager at work, a more effective coach in sports, a better hiring manager, close more sales, or negotiate a better deal for yourself, an understanding of how to read someone else’s facial expressions is imperative.

To capture and quantify emotions, Dan pioneered the use of facial coding (the analysis of facial expressions) in market research starting in 1998 and his company, Sensory Logic, Inc[i]., has done work for over half of the world’s top 100 consumer oriented, B2C companies. Dan has received seven U.S. patents related to facial coding and is also a certified Facial Action Coding System (FACS) practitioner[ii], which is a popular course, offered by someone I have studied in depth, Paul Ekman[iii] who’s a well-known psychologist and co-discoverer of micro expressions. Dr. Ekman was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME Magazine[iv] in 2009, has worked with many government agencies, domestic and abroad and has compiled over 50 years of his research to create comprehensive training tools to read the hidden emotions of those around you and believes we can all improve our ability to do this, with training[v] and Dan Hill has this training.

facial_expressionsbbl2e.png

IMAGE SOURCE: The New York Times November 18, 2014 https://nyti.ms/3nCE7co  

I'm Andrea Samadi, author, and educator from Toronto, Canada, now in Arizona, and like many of our listeners, have been fascinated with learning and understanding the science behind high performance strategies that we can use to improve our own productivity in our schools, our sports, and workplace environments. My vision is to bring the experts to you, share their books, resources, and ideas to help you to implement their proven strategies, whether you are a teacher working in the classroom or online, a student, or parent working in the corporate space.

Our guest for this week’s podcast, Dan Hill, whose latest books consist of Famous Faces Decoded: A Guidebook for Reading Others;[vi] Two Cheers for Democracy: How Emotions Drive Leadership Style[vii]; and First Blush: People’s Intuitive Reactions to Famous Art[viii] will help us to take a deep dive into understanding why we need to be able to read the emotions in others. His earlier, business books include: About Face: The Secrets of Emotionally Effective Advertising[ix]; and Emotionomics: Leveraging Emotions for Business Success, which features a foreword by Sam Simon, co-creator of The Simpsons. He has a NEW book that was just released on AMAZON yesterday, Blah, Blah, Blah: A Snarky Guide to Office Lingo[x] that is a humorous take on how the workplace really operates and the fact that there’s a little truth in every joke. Dan Hill is also the host of the EQ Spotlight Podcast[xi] where he has discussions with thought leaders about the importance of emotions in politics, culture and life.

​In 2014, Dan received front-page coverage in The New York Times for his work with professional and NCAA Division 1 sports teams. Other media coverage has ranged from TV appearances on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Bloomberg TV, CNBC, CNN, C-Span, ESPN, Fox, “The Today Show,” PBS, and so many others that I will link in the show notes.

The Tennis Channel, to print and digital coverage in Allure, China Forbes, Cosmopolitan, Fast Company, The Financial Times, The Los Angeles Times,  Politico, Time, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal. Dan was educated at St. Olaf College, Oxford University, Brown University, and Rutgers University. Along with his wife, Karen Bernthal, he nowadays splits his time between St. Paul, Minnesota and Palm Desert, California.

I am very grateful for the fact that this podcast allows me to learn from some of the top leaders in the world on improving productivity and results. Sometimes, while preparing for interviews, I step back and just notice how lucky I am to be able to speak directly with these world leaders, that I have the chance to learn from them, and share their knowledge with you. As I am researching, and meeting new people, you had better believe I’m also applying what I’m learning to my own life. This way, it’s like we are learning together. I will never take this learning opportunity for granted. I met Dan Hill, through Twitter, where he reached out to me, sharing his work and as I read his BIO I knew immediately that had to have him on the podcast to share his work with facing coding to help us to all understand how to read the emotions of others in our schools, sports environments and workplaces. This is a valuable skill that Dr. Paul Ekman believes we can all develop to help us to deal with what’s important in our life, without having to take the time to “think” about it. With practice, we should all be able to use this skill to just “know” the best way to proceed.  

Let’s meet Dan Hill and learn more about facial coding—what is it, and how can we use it in our own lives!

Welcome Dan Hill, thank you for joining me on the podcast today.

I have many questions for you but have to say that when we first met on Twitter, I recognized immediately that we needed to speak and it was a mix between the fact that I have been studying Dr. Eckman’s work on understanding emotions, and the fact that you have been applying this for the past 20 years, successfully in many different sectors. I’m beyond excited to learn more from you on this topic.

INTRO QUESTION: In your BIO, it mentions your front-page coverage in the New York Times for your work with professional and NCAA Division 1 sports teams and I had to look it up. I found the article “What Expressions Can Say About a Player”[xii] (Dec. 25, 2014) and Team’s Turn to a Face Reader Looking for That Winning Smile (Dec. 25, 2014)[xiii] and wonder how did you use this skill to analyze sports players to profile a successful vs problem or non-coachable player? I know there are entire courses on this subject, but what should we all know about this skill, and how we can use it to improve how we interact, teach or coach others?

Screen_Shot_2021-09-11_at_50511_PMb4aq2.png

Carmelo_Anthony_Knicks9h92a.png

Kevin_Love_Cleveland_Cavaliersbfuck.png

Jay_Cutler_Chicago_Bears91mp0.png

IMAGE SOURCE: The New York Times December 25, 2014 https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/12/26/sports/NBA-faces-data.html  

  1. I first heard about this idea of facing coding or reading emotions through facial expressions through Dr. Ekman’s work, and then through Dr. John Medina where he mentioned Theory of Mind in our interview. What are the origins of facial coding (Da Vinci, Darwin, Duchenne, Ekman)
  2. How did you discover this tool? Would you say you have a particular aptitude for facial coding? How hard is it for people to learn this skill? I know that intuition must play a role here, but how accurate is this process?
  3. I first mentioned Theory of Mind (where we can analyze and infer other people’s behaviors) on this podcast on episode #46[xiv]. Is facial coding like Theory of Mind?
  4. For educators in the classroom, can you suggest a couple of tips for helping them to understand their students better? (as you’ve taught college and also given many speeches)?
  5. What final thoughts do you think would be important for us all to take away with using facial coding in our schools, sports and workplaces?

History.png

Thank you very much Dan for your time, research, and strategies for us to all use and implement to become better at recognizing emotions in others, as well as ourselves. I know that American psychologist Dr. Paul Ekman would agree with you that this is a skill that we should all understand so that we can deal with what’s important in our life, quickly, with confidence, with this new understanding. For people who want to learn more about you, is the best place your website? What is your new book that you have coming out this week?

Thank you Dan!!

FOLLOW DR. DAN HILL

https://emotionswizard.com/

https://twitter.com/EmotionsWizard

https://www.linkedin.com/in/dan-hill-emotionswizard/

FOLLOW ANDREA SAMADI: 

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/AndreaSamadi  

Website https://www.achieveit360.com/  

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samadi/ 

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Achieveit360com  

Neuroscience Meets SEL Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/2975814899101697  

Twitter: https://twitter.com/andreasamadi  

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/andreasamadi/ 

RESOURCES:

Famous Faces Decoded Book Synopsis https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2271229932979186

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Wiggins

Bucks, Young and Rebuilding, Look to Jabari Parker to Lead the Way Back Nov. 18, 2014 by Ben Strauss  https://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/19/sports/basketball/bucks-young-and-rebuilding-look-to-jabari-parker-to-lead-the-way-back.html?.?mc=aud_dev&ad-keywords=auddevgate&gclid=Cj0KCQjwkIGKBhCxARIsAINMioIUDGbdwkIAhb0IkjA2e2h35wD1swCkBjWjZlUScglN6Hmt3iipwiMaAln_EALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

Dr. Paul Ekman’s FACS Training

https://www.paulekman.com/facial-action-coding-system/

Paul Ekman Image Reference https://www.pinterest.com/pin/455074737331481340/ and Research https://www.ekmaninternational.com/a-brief-history-into-paul-ekmans-early-research/

Early Origins of Facial Coding

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michelangelo

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonardo_da_Vinci

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duchenne_de_Boulogne

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Darwin

https://www.paulekman.com/about/paul-ekman/

 

Mona Lisa’s Smile is Not Genuine June 3, 2019 by St. George’s University of London https://neurosciencenews.com/mona-lisa-smile-14150/

The Science of Genuine Smiles December 6th, 2017 by Alina Lukashevsky https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-science-behind-smiles_b_9448650

The Duchenne Smile https://www.researchgate.net/figure/The-Duchenne-smile-left-versus-the-social-smile-right-Social-smiles-use-only-the_fig4_337322714

https://www.gottman.com/about/research/couples/

REFERENCES:

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

[ii] https://www.paulekman.com/facial-action-coding-system/

[iii] https://www.paulekman.com/amp/

[iv] http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/completelist/0,29569,1894410,00.html

[v] Paul Ekman: useful Things to Know About Emotions Published on YouTube Feb. 23, 2012 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdUZQmZfMzY

[vi]Famous Faces Decoded by Dan Hill  https://www.sensorylogic.com/famous-faces

[vii] Two Cheers for Democracy: How Emotions Drive Leadership Style by Dan Hill June 18, 2019 https://www.amazon.com/Two-Cheers-Democracy-Emotions-Leadership/dp/0999741624

[viii] First Blush: People’s Intuitive Reactions to Famous Art by Dan Hill October 1, 2019 https://www.amazon.com/First-Blush-Peoples-Intuitive-Reactions/dp/0999741632/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=first+blush&qid=1631455388&s=books&sr=1-1

[ix] About Face: The Secrets of Emotionally Effective Advertising by Dan Hill October 1, 2010 https://www.amazon.com/About-Face-Emotionally-Effective-Advertising/dp/0749457570/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=about+face+dan+hill&qid=1631455553&s=books&sr=1-3

[x] Blah, Blah, Blah: A Snarky Guide to Office Lingo by Dan Hill and Howard Moskowitz September 2021 https://www.amazon.com/Blah-Snarky-Guide-Office-Lingo-ebook/dp/B09BWPQGGJ

[xi] Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight Podcast https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/dan-hills-eq-spotlight/id1519669707

[xii] The New York Times “What Expressions Can Say About a Player” December 25, 2014 https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/12/26/sports/NBA-faces-data.html

[xiii] Teams Turn to a Face Reader, Looking for That Winning Smile by Kevin Randall Dec. 25, 2014 https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/26/sports/nba-bucks-looking-for-an-edge-hire-expert-in-face-time.html

[xiv] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #46 “As Close to Mind Reading as Brain Science Gets: Developing and Using Theory of Mind in Your Daily Life” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/as-close-to-mind-reading-as-brain-science-gets-developing-and-using-theory-of-mind-in-your-daily-life/

Medical Director of Addictive Medicine at Stanford University, Dr. Anna Lembke on  ”Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence”

Medical Director of Addictive Medicine at Stanford University, Dr. Anna Lembke on ”Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence”

September 9, 2021

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #162 with Professor of Psychiatry and Medical Director of Addiction Medicine at Stanford University, Dr. Anna Lembke.[i]

Visit the episode website here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Pu82wZRZwo

Watch the interview with visuals on YouTube here.

Backstory and Introduction 0-13:00 minutes

Interview with Dr. Lembke 13:00-49:45

Follow Dr. Lembke https://profiles.stanford.edu/anna-lembke

To See Past Episodes of The Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast https://www.achieveit360.com/episodes/

In Today's Episode, you will learn:
✔︎ About the addictive nature of social media, as well as why people become addicted to certain behaviors and substances.

✔︎About her 30 Day Dopamine Fast: An 8 step process that she suggests to help us to reset our brains if we have had a surplus of dopamine in our brain due to over-indulgence that helps many people "kick their bad habits" to the curb. 

✔︎ What is happening in the brain when we experience withdrawals when we try to stop a habit or behavior and how to overcome this uncomfortable feeling for increased happiness, mental health and awareness.

✔︎What exactly is the pleasure/pain balance and why we should all be able to recognize when we are getting too much of a good thing.

✔︎How to return to whatever it is that you enjoyed in moderation.

You may have seen her in the Netflix Documentary The Social Dilemma [ii] where she discusses the addictive nature of social media, explaining that it taps into “our basic biological imperative to connect with other people—that directly affects the release of dopamine and the reward pathway” (32:35 The Social Dilemma) and she warns us that “there’s no doubt that a vehicle like social media which optimizes this connection between people is going to have the potential for addiction.” Dr. Lembke is more concerned with our children and her children (who appear in the documentary with her) and on today’s podcast, she will arm us with the knowledge that she shares with her own children daily.  Her book Drug Dealer, MD: How Doctors Were Duped, Patients Got Hooked and Why It’s So Hard to Stop[iii] (2016) is a good overview of what addiction is, and the dangers of prescription drugs. Her NEW book Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence[iv] that was just released last month, explores the exciting new scientific discoveries that explain why the relentless pursuit of pleasure leads to pain…and what to do about it.

I'm Andrea Samadi, author, and educator from Toronto, Canada, now in Arizona, and like many of our listeners, have been fascinated with learning and understanding the science behind high performance strategies that we can use to improve our own productivity in our schools, our sports, and workplace environments. My vision is to bring the experts to you, share their books, resources, and ideas to help you to implement their proven strategies, whether you are a teacher working in the classroom or online, a student, or parent working in the corporate space.

This week’s interview with Dr. Anna Lembke on her NEW book Dopamine Nation is based on true stories of her patients falling prey to addiction and finding their way out again with stories that many of us might find to be shocking, but she explains that “they are just extreme versions of what we are all capable of.” (Dopamine Nation)

When reading this book, or listening to this interview, I encourage you to think about your own life, your behaviors and what you might be running from since we are all running from something and like we have mentioned many times before on the podcast, awareness is the key to making any behavior change that can have a lasting impact on our productivity and results. My hope is that we can all take an honest look and find places where we might be leaking energy, to close those gaps, and redirect that energy towards our goals.

We covered the topic of addiction at the start of this year with Aneesh Chaudhry (EPISODE 102)[v] on “Mental Health, Well-Being and Meditation: Overcoming Addiction Using Your Brain” and I first mentioned Dr. Lembke on episode #157[vi] “Overcoming Digital Addiction Using Neuroscience” after a discussion with our friends about technology use led me to Dr. Lembke. This episode was a popular one, with over 700 downloads in the first few days of release. Then when I posted that I was working on this episode, over Labor Day weekend, I had many messages from friends and colleagues who shared with me that they were very interested in this topic. I think this is something that we should all be aware of, since most of us also have not ever had any training on the topic of addiction, yet we all know someone who struggles in some way. We can also learn so much about ourselves with this information. Understanding how chemical, behavioral, and even digital addictions are formed/broken can help us all to navigate our lives, with a deeper level of awareness that can close up those gaps where we waste energy, to improve our productivity.

Medical Disclaimer: Just a reminder—I would consider myself a researcher, sharing preventative and supplemental ideas and strategies related to the most current research on the brain, health and wellness education. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have about your health and remember that you should never disregard medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you learn through this podcast. Keep in mind, Dr. Lembke recommends her 30 day dopamine fast for people with less severe addictions and anyone who is struggling with a serious drug or alcohol addiction should seek further treatment from their medical provider.

Back to the episode…

Dr. Lembke’s book, Dopamine Nation shows us what happens when we get too much of a good thing, but we can use this understanding to counteract the effects of this neurotransmitter in our brain, bringing us back to balance, and productivity. 

PART I The Pursuit of Pleasure 

In part 1 of the book, called The Pursuit of Pleasure, Dr. Lembke gives some examples of “how we are constantly trying to distract ourselves from the present moment to be entertained” and “that we’re all running from pain—we’ll do almost anything to distract ourselves from ourselves” and that “we’ve lost the ability to tolerate even minor forms of discomfort.”  When I thought about this part of the book, I couldn’t agree more thinking of all the times I grab my phone to distract myself from something, anything difficult that comes my way, instead of staying in the present moment. Chapter three goes deeper into the  science of brain chemistry, discussing two key features of the effects of dopamine: the brain's tendency to seek homeostasis, and the development of tolerance

PART 2 Self Binding: Dr Lembke describes some encounters with her patients, and how to keep addictive behaviors under control. She covers Dopamine Fasting with an ACRONYM to help us learn how to use her 30-day Dopamine Fast to reset our brains. Dr. Lembke will explain her 30-day Dopamine Fasting Plan for people with less severe addictions, where she often sees people return to their “drug of choice” in a controlled way.  

30 Day Dopamine Fast 

Data: what are  you using, how much, how often?

Objectives: what does it do for you?

Problems: or downsides does it cause? 

Abstinence: stop using it for a month and see what happens

Mindfulness: be prepared to feel worse before you feel better 

Insight: abstaining from our drug of choice gives us incredible insight that we cannot see without stopping. What did you learn?

Next Steps: moving forward without the drug/behavior even when you miss it. Can you do that?

Experiment: Go back out into the world, experiment and see what works and what doesn’t.  

If there is something that you want to change in your life, try going without it for 30 days, and see what happens. Only you will know if this will work for you or not. Dr. Lembke noted that “even when moderation is achievable, many of her patients report it’s too exhausting to continue, and they ultimately opt for abstinence in the long haul” (Dopamine Nation).

PART 3 The Pursuit of Pain: Dr. Lembke explores the opposite side of the equation: seeking out things that are painful, in order for the brain to tend to increase feelings of pleasure immediately afterward in an attempt to regain homeostasis. Explains the “pain” side of addiction and the importance of finding balance, radical honesty and self-awareness because “people who lean too hard and too long on the pain side of the balance can also end up in a persistent dopamine deficit state.” (Dopamine Nation)

After releasing EPISODE 157 that explained Dr. Lembke’s work and her 30 day dopamine fast, I almost wanted to move on past this topic, as I say often, there are entire podcasts dedicated to addiction[vii], and they do a much better job than I ever could. But there is another reason I would rather skip it, and that’s because it’s a difficult topic. It’s much easier to move on past it than talk about something I’m still trying to learn and understand myself, because we weren’t taught this topic in school for us to know how it to handle it when it shows up in our life.

I remember the extent of my education on this topic was in 9th grade, when our PE teacher said, “don’t drink alcohol to cover up your problems.” I remember she appeared to be uncomfortable with the topic, but it’s an important one. If you ask anyone, we all know someone who suffers with a chemical addiction (alcohol or drugs) and since this topic was never a part of our schooling, it’s easy to criticize what we don’t understand, let alone recognize it in our own behaviors.

When I first encountered someone with an addiction, around 20 years ago, I couldn’t understand why they couldn’t just have one or two drinks and call it a night. Why did they have to keep going? What’s going on in the addicted brain?  This was years before we could type our questions into Google and get hundreds of articles to help us (like Dr. Lembke’s work, or even Dr. Amen’s work on the addicted brain), so I would go to our local library and find books that explained addiction to gain some understanding. I wish Dr. Lembke’s first book was there, as it wasn’t easy to navigate this topic. Not being the type to sweep anything under a rug, I found some ideas and solutions for this person to enter into a local rehab program[viii] to get further help, but this opened up a can of worms with a problem that was never discussed and made me really popular in that family, but this understanding gave me a new level of awareness that would help someone else years later.

This awareness helped my husband with one of his best friends from high school who called one day to confide in him that he had a heroin addiction, and was entering a faith-based rehabilitation program, but wanted one of his friends to know what was really going on with him. His initial reaction would have been to say “what the heck is wrong with you? Heroin addiction? Are you an idiot? How did this happen?” but because of all that time I spent researching at the library, I explained to him how addictions happen, often beginning innocently (using pain killers after a surgery) or in his friend’s case, using uppers to help him through his busy days). This explanation helped him to talk with his friend with more understanding and his friend did well in recovery, helping many others for a few years, until one day, it beat him, and he was gone.

I know this is a complex topic, often resulting in death like we saw with my husband’s high school friend, or we see with celebrities who have been unable to break the cycle, and the pandemic has magnified this issue for those who were stuck in their homes for all of this time, but with the understanding of our brain in mind, my hope is that this topic no longer is swept under the rug, but talked about openly to find solutions with our brain in mind.

Let’s meet Dr. Anna Lembke and explore her new book, Dopamine Nation, together to gain a deeper understanding for those who struggle with serious addiction, to those with less severe, and see if her 30 day Dopamine Fast could be a solution to tighten up the gaps and improve our productivity.

Welcome Dr. Lembke, thank you so much for agreeing to speak with me on the podcast today. I’ve got to tell you that before I hit send on your email to invite you on the show as a guest, I thought twice, a bit nervous about you actually replying and saying yes because I knew I needed to talk about a topic that I have avoided going deeper into, but at this point, It was obvious that I couldn’t  avoid it any longer, so thank you for agreeing to speak with me so quickly, allowing me to be more authentic and open.

Dr. Lembke, before we get to the questions I have on your most recent book, Dopamine Nation, I wanted to

ask a question that ties into where I first saw you, in the movie The Social Dilemma (which scared the living daylights out of me) where you talk about how “social media is a drug—that directly affects the release of dopamine and the reward pathway”[ix] and you talk about how with all of your knowledge and experience, you are still worried about your own kids and their time spent using these apps. I know your kids are a bit older now since that film was released, but what did you tell your kids DAILY about how our brains respond to certain apps on our cell phones?

NOTE: This question sums up everything I want to ask you in this interview, and that at the end, we can come back to your answer here, and I know it will sum everything up perfectly. I launched this podcast helping educators and those in the workplace to understand how to apply the most current neuroscience research into the classroom and workplace because it’s so important, and many of us need this information, but it wasn’t taught to us in school. Either was the topic of addiction, and this is why I thought it was so important to reach out to you, because your first book on this topic, Drug Dealer MD: How Doctors Were Duped, Patients Got Hooked, and Why It’s So Hard to Stop (2016)[x] explains what is addiction and who is at risk, Dopamine Nation goes beyond chemical addiction (drugs and alcohol) to understanding the Social Dilemma you spoke about in the Netflix movie and beyond that with how our brains respond to anything we do to escape “even minor forms of discomfort.”

Q1: So diving into your book, Dopamine Nation, I thought I’d seen it all, but I’m sure there’s a lot you see in your practice that shows to what extent we distract ourselves from whatever it is that’s painful in our present moment. You give some good examples that drill down this point, and I thought about how often I use my phone to distract me from difficult times in life (From serious life challenges to minor things). I know we can all think of what we do to escape from life, but can you explain why not being In the present moment and dealing with life’s challenges as they come up (whether we are using our phones as an escape/drugs/alcohol, romance novels, binge watching Netflix, whatever it is we do) only make our challenges worse? 

Q2: I think I’ve got an understanding of what happens to our brain when we are in a dopamine deficit. Would it be accurate to say this is what happens when we cut something out that we liked, and experience withdrawals?

2B) What happens to our brain when we overindulge?

I had never heard of the idea that you mention in the article one of my friends put on the windshield of my car[xi] about how too much pleasure (with our phones, or video games or whatever it is) can tips us towards feeling pain. I’m not sure I have ever felt this, or I’m not aware of it. What is the pleasure /pain balance and how do we know we have had too much of a good thing?

Q3: But you say there’s good news, and that our brains can reset if we do what you call a dopamine fast (30 days away from whatever we were doing) and our brains can go back to balance or baseline. With the young man who was playing video games, he went back to doing what he enjoyed by modifying his behavior and making sure he kept his work and gaming separate. You talk about after the 30 days, that you experiment and see what works and what doesn’t. I know an alcoholic can’t after a month of abstinence go back to “controlled” drinking (as much as they would like to). How does the dopamine fast work and is there something we should watch out for to make sure our brains don’t get flooded with dopamine again? 

Dopamine is not the only neurotransmitter involved in reward processing, but most neuroscientists agree it is among the most important. Dopamine may play a bigger role in the motivation to get a reward than the pleasure of the reward itself. Wanting more than liking.

The more dopamine a drug releases in the brain’s reward pathway (a brain circuit that links the ventral tegmental area, the nucleus accumbens, and the prefrontal cortex), and the faster it releases dopamine, the more addictive the drug.

Q4: When I saw your rewards and dopamine chart that show how much dopamine is released with chocolate vs sex vs drugs, and you say that learning “also increases dopamine firing in the brain.”

RAT.jpg

Where would learning or other healthy habits fit on your rewards/dopamine release chart?

How can we be sure we are not being “indulgent” with healthier habits like learning/exercise?

In your article[xii], the young man who played video games was able to go back to playing video games with a modified schedule. Then I read about how the brain changes with high dopamine rewards. (Experience dependent plasticity). Does this mean that high reward behaviors you can’t limit, and you can never go back to them? Don’t we eventually experience tolerance with all behaviors, and over time would find them boring anyway? (Your example reading your novels they were never as exciting as the first read, or when we rewatch a Netflix series we loved, it’s never as good as the first time). Where does tolerance fit into the equation?

Experience Dependent Plasticity

The brain encodes long-term memories of reward and their associated cues by changing the shape and size of dopamine-producing neurons. For example, the dendrites, the branches off the neuron, become longer and more numerous in response to high-dopamine rewards. This process is called experience-dependent plasticity. These brain changes can last a lifetime and persist long after the drug is no longer available

PART II Self-Binding chapter four: Dopamine Fasting chapter five: Space, Time, and Meaning chapter six: A Broken Balance?

Q5: Can you explain your ACRONYM for DOPAMINE and what happens to our brain when we take a month off of using our drug of choice? Dr Huberman[xiii] said it really well in his recent interview with you, the first 10 days suck. Why does this dopamine deficit feel so bad?

“A week would be good, but in my experience, a month is usually the minimum amount of time it takes to reset the brain’s reward pathway. If you don’t feel better after four weeks of abstaining, that’s also useful data. That means the cannabis isn’t driving this, and we need to think about what else is. So what do you think? Do you think you would be able and willing to stop cannabis for a month?”

Younger people recalibrate faster than older people, their brains being more plastic. Furthermore, physical withdrawal varies drug to drug. It can be minor for some drugs like video games but potentially life-threatening for others, like alcohol and benzodiazepines.

Mindfulness practices are especially important in the early days of abstinence. Many of us use high-dopamine substances and behaviors to distract ourselves from our own thoughts. When we first stop using dopamine to escape, those painful thoughts, emotions, and sensations come crashing down on us.

Q5B) Why does tolerance occur?

Dr. Lembke, I could spend the next week asking you more questions, but know I’ve got to wrap up this interview.

Q6: To close out our questions, I wanted to give something for our listeners to be able to apply on this topic. I know that you openly talk about something you stopped doing in the book that you enjoyed, and I was on the tail end of letting go of a habit that I loved when someone put the article on my car about your 30 day dopamine fast, showing me how important it was to understanding this at the brain level.  Going back to the first question I asked you, “what do you tell your kids daily about dopamine/the pleasure/pain balance and dopamine deficit and the risk of addiction” what should we all know dopamine, and breaking free of its hold over us?

Q7: Final thoughts? What should we all know about Dopamine Nation?

Thank you very much for your time today. I will put the links to Dopamine Nation in the show notes, and for anyone who wants to reach you, is the best way through your Stanford website?

Thank you Dr. Lembke.

BIO:

PROFESSOR OF PSYCHIATRY AND BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES (GENERAL PSYCHIATRY AND PSYCHOLOGY-ADULT)

Dr. Anna Lembke received her undergraduate degree in Humanities from Yale University and her medical degree from Stanford University. She is currently Professor and Medical Director of Addiction Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine. She is also Program Director of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Fellowship, and Chief of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic. She is a diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and a diplomate of the American Board of Addiction Medicine.

Dr. Lembke was one of the first in the medical community to sound the alarm regarding opioid overprescribing and the opioid epidemic. In 2016, she published her best-selling book on the prescription drug epidemic, "Drug Dealer, MD – How Doctors Were Duped, Patients Got Hooked, and Why It’s So Hard to Stop" (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016). Her book was highlighted in the New York Times as one of the top five books to read to understand the opioid epidemic (Zuger, 2018).

"Drug Dealer, MD" combines case studies with public policy, cultural anthropology, and neuroscience, to explore the complex relationship between doctors and patients around prescribing controlled drugs. It has had an impact on policy makers and legislators across the nation. Dr. Lembke has testified before Congress and consulted with governors and senators from Kentucky to Missouri to Nevada. She was a featured guest on Fresh Air with Terry Gross, MSNBC with Chris Hayes, and numerous other media broadcasts.

Using her public platform and her faculty position at Stanford University School of Medicine, Dr. Lembke has developed multiple teaching programs on addiction and safe prescribing, as well as opioid tapering. She has held multiple leadership and mentorship positions and received the Stanford’s Chairman’s Award for Clinical Innovation, and the Stanford Departmental Award for Outstanding Teaching. Dr. Lembke continues to educate policymakers and the public about causes of and solutions for the problem of addiction.

Look for her new book, "Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence" (Dutton/Penguin Random House, August 2021).

FOLLOW DR. ANNA LEMBKE: 

https://profiles.stanford.edu/anna-lembke

https://tedx.stanford.edu/lineup/anna-lembke

https://jhupbooks.press.jhu.edu/title/drug-dealer-md

 

FOLLOW ANDREA SAMADI: 

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/AndreaSamadi  

Website https://www.achieveit360.com/  

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samadi/ 

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Achieveit360com  

Neuroscience Meets SEL Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/2975814899101697  

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RESOURCES:

https://tedx.stanford.edu/lineup/anna-lembke

Reward Pathway in the Brain Khan Academy Lesson https://www.khanacademy.org/test-prep/mcat/processing-the-environment/drug-dependence/v/reward-pathway-in-the-brain

REFERENCES:

[i] https://profiles.stanford.edu/anna-lembke

[ii] The Social Dilemma Full Feature Netflix Movie Published on YouTube August 17, 2021 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mqR_e2seeM

[iii] Drug Dealer MD: How Doctors Were Duped, Patients Got Hooked and Why It’s So Hard to Stop https://www.amazon.com/Drug-Dealer-MD-Doctors-Patients/dp/1421421402

[iv] Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence by Dr. Anna Lembke August 24, 2021 https://www.amazon.com/Dopamine-Nation-Finding-Balance-Indulgence-ebook/dp/B08KPKHVXQ

[v]Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #102  “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/

[vi] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #157 on “Overcoming Digital Addiction Using Neuroscience” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/brain-fact-friday-overcoming-digital-addiction-using-neuroscience/

[vii] 15 Best Addiction Podcasts for 2021 https://www.choosingtherapy.com/addiction-podcasts/

[viii] https://www.bannerhealth.com/es/services/behavioral-health/treatment-programs

[ix] The Social Dilemma Full Feature Netflix Movie Published on YouTube August 17, 2021 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mqR_e2seeM

[x] Drug Dealer MD: How Doctors Were Duped, Patients Got Hooked, and Why It’s So Hard to Stop (Nov.15, 2016) https://www.amazon.com/Drug-Dealer-MD-Doctors-Patients/dp/1421421402

[xi] Digital Addictions are Drowning Us in Dopamine by Dr. Anna Lembke. (Saturday August 14/Sunday August 15, 2021) https://www.wsj.com/articles/digital-addictions-are-drowning-us-in-dopamine-11628861572

[xii] IBID

[xiii] Dr. Andrew Huberman’s Huberman Lab Podcast https://hubermanlab.com/dr-anna-lembke-understanding-and-treating-addiction/

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