Kevin Miller: Driven, Unlocking the Forces that Propel Us Forward | E237
Kevin Miller: Driven, Unlocking the Forces that Propel Us Forward | E237
Kevin Miller is a former pro athlete, personal development guide, and host of the top-ranking podcast Self-Helpful, which has over 60 million downloads and is visited by today’s most influential changemakers. He is also the author of the newly released book, What Drives You.
In this episode, Hala and Kevin will discuss:
– Kevin’s athletic journey
– His path to entrepreneurship
– The genesis of his new book What Drives You
– His definition of drive
– Why there’s no such thing as a lazy person
– Why some driven people are like addicts
– Why your drive is just a thought away
– The five gears of drive and how to unlock them
– How emotion can drive us and not logic
– Where to find our purpose zones
– And other topics…
Kevin Miller is a former pro athlete, respected personal development guide, top-ranking podcast host, published author, and father of nine who has devoted himself to helping people elevate their personal experience and improve the way they show up for others. Kevin hosts the Self-Helpful podcast (Glassbox Media), which has over 60 million downloads and is routinely visited by today’s most influential changemakers.
His book, What Drives You, challenges today’s myths on “driven people” and serves as a guide for clarity and conviction in what you authentically value and what truly motivates you. Kevin is often out on the Rocky Mountain trails riding, running, and competing at the elite level in his age group.
Kevin’s Website: https://www.kevinmiller.co/
Kevin’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevinmillerco/
Kevin’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/kevinmillerco
Kevin’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kevinmiller.co/
Kevin’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kevinmillerco
Kevin’s book What Drives You: https://www.amazon.com/What-Drives-You-Motivators-Accelerate/dp/1264269765/ref=sr_1_4?crid=1NH6N139TNXMX&keywords=%22what%20drives%20you%22&qid=1671318821&redirectFromSmile=1&sprefix=what%20drives%20you%20%2Caps%2C121&sr=8-4
Self Helpful Podcast with Kevin Miller https://www.kevinmiller.co/podcast
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[00:00:00] Hala Taha: Hello, my beautiful, young, and profiting family. In this episode of Yap Classic, we're talking to Dr. Daniel Amen, one of America's leading psychiatrists and brain health experts. In today's episode, we discuss Daniel's childhood, how to work through trauma and what trauma looks like in your brain. We also talk about Daniel's perspective on marijuana and alcohol and how you can improve your brain's health.
Now, I absolutely loved this episode, that's why we're replaying it.
Dr. Amon is brilliant and I'm confident you guys are gonna love this episode too. You're gonna learn a ton of actionable advice on how to improve your brain health. So let's dive right into my interview with Dr. Daniel. Amen.
[00:00:53] Hala Taha: I'm so happy to have you on Young and Profiting podcast.
Welcome to the show,
[00:00:58] Daniel Amen: Paula. Thank you so much for having me.
[00:00:59] Hala Taha: Hi. Of course. So you are known as like America's most famous psychiatrist. You are super accomplished. You've been doing this for 40 years, bestselling author of over a dozen books. Um, you're known on tv, you've got television programs. You are just a rockstar in this space.
You are a psychiatrist, a brain disorder specialist, and it turns out that you're, uh, have Lebanese descent. So me and you are both Middle Eastern and for me, being Palestinian, I feel like that's one of the reasons why I'm successful. I feel like that's one of the reasons why I have grit and drive. And so I'm curious to know how has your Lebanese descent impacted your career and the way that you are today in terms of how hardworking you are and how successful you are.
[00:01:44] Daniel Amen: Well, my dad is like the embodiment of the American dream in that My grandmother grew up in an orphanage in Bethlehem, and my grandfather came from Haifa before it changed over to Israel and. They were very poor. My grandfather worked in a foundry and my dad's one of five, but for whatever reason, he had the drive in the family and worked in a grocery store and ended up owning his own chain of grocery stores and became the chairman of the board of a $4 billion company, and I think I inherited his drive.
And Lebanese are often called the merchants of the Middle East. And I'm so grateful I have an older brother because in Middle Eastern families, the oldest boy golden child, right? If you're not the oldest boy, you're a bit expendable. And so I was second, which was just perfect because I had the drive, but I wasn't all that attached to the grocery business and just loved psychiatry and wanted to, that's what I wanted to do for my life, and it just sort of worked.
[00:03:03] Hala Taha: Yeah, I can imagine. And likewise, I mean, my dad, same thing, like embodied the American dream, came over here, became a surgeon, grew up super poor. And so I can totally relate to, you know, looking up to your father in that way. I know that you and your father actually didn't have the best relationship, so let's actually move on to that.
You have a funny goat story that I wanna talk about, I think a lot of middle Easterns have really traumatic goat stories. Like my older brother has a very similar one. So I, I, I heard this and I thought it was so funny. So tell us about the goat story, but really the lesson that I wanna pull out is how trauma impacts your brain and how long that trauma stayed with you and how you healed it.
So tell us about this goat story.
[00:03:47] Daniel Amen: Well, my dad was sort of like a no BS person. He was not warm and fuzzy. His two favorite words when I was growing up were, no, whatever you asked him, the answer was no. And bullshit. I was a two. And when I was five, I actually have a video of this. Uh, I played it in my latest, uh, public television special.
I'm five years old. We have a white goat, pure white. Uh, her name was Sugar. She loved me, I loved her, but she also loved my father's roses. So, mm. My father loved gardening and you know, one day she had just ate too many of the roses and he sent her away. To the farm, which basically meant sugar is getting slaughtered.
I mean, I didn't understand it at the time until a couple of nights later. My dad and his brother were joking. They were feeding us sugar for dinner in goats stew. I remember throwing up, running to my room crying and just thinking what an awful human being he was. And then I sort of let it go and it was decades later.
I am a psychiatrist. I'm speaking at a big conference on spirituality and the Mind and Monterey, Mexico. Well, in Mexico they actually have, you know, one of their street vendors, they sell goat meat and. I walked by and I could smell the goat me. And then I saw it and then all of a sudden I had a panic attack.
It was like I got flooded with that memory of when I was five and the murderer of sugar, um, over this stupid roses. You know, that's just the brain works through association. The cool end of the story is when I told my dad I wanted to be a psychiatrist, he asked me why I didn't wanna be a real doctor, why I wanted to be a nut doctor and hang out with nuts all day long.
So that really crystallizes our relationship. But seven years before he died, he got really sick. And for the first time in his life, he looked at me and he said, I'm sick of being sick. What do you want me to do? And that's when our relationship really transitioned in into a more helpful adult relationship.
[00:06:32] Hala Taha: Yeah, I'm glad that you guys ended up making up before he passed. I actually lost my father to Covid last May, so I know how that goes.
[00:06:41] Daniel Amen: Last minute. Yeah. May 5th. I remember the day and I was just horrified. You know when people go, COVID is a cold. It's like, no, COVID is not a cold. I'm so sorry. Um, he lost your dad.
[00:06:55] Hala Taha: Yeah, it's okay. I mean I think he had such a great life.
My dad was just like this super nice, generous, everybody loved him. Community leader, just such a great guy. So I just feel like he left such a great legacy. So I don't feel so like bad about it cuz I just feel like he touched so many people and everybody loves him and it just was his time. I guess I have to be positive about it.
[00:07:18] Daniel Amen: What was he, if I can ask, how old was he when he died?
[00:07:20] Hala Taha: He was 74. Wow. Yeah. Yeah. I'm the youngest. Youngest of all our siblings. How many siblings do you have? I have four.
[00:07:31] Daniel Amen: Uh, yeah, I'm seven. A good Catholic Lebanese family.
[00:07:35] Hala Taha: Yes. That's a lot of kids and I'm the only non-doctor. All my siblings are doctors except for me, and I'm the media personality.
So to each their own. So let's talk about that trauma, what that trauma looked like in your brain. What did that, like, what does trauma look like in your brain? So when that go thing happened, you ended up having to eat your pet goat. That was probably very traumatizing. What does that look like in your brain?
[00:08:01] Daniel Amen: So I actually published a couple of very large studies. So at Amen Clinics, we have nine, soon to be 10 clinics around the United States. We do brain imaging work. We think you should actually look at the brain before you go about messing with it. Too many people are being put on psychiatric medications and no one's actually ever assessed the organ of behavior, which is your brain.
And I published a study on 21,000 people showing we could separate emotional trauma, PTs D from physical trauma, traumatic brain injuries with very high levels of accuracy. it's what we call with emotional trauma, this diamond pattern where you are limbic or emotional brain. It becomes overactive and you just sort of can't stop thinking about it.
The trauma I grew up with got set in my brain and then periodically something would trigger it and then all of a sudden I would feel awful. And that's true for so many people. But trauma actually leaves an imprint of activity that can be flipped, switches that you just sort of aren't ready for, like walking by goat meat on the street.
[00:09:34] Hala Taha: Yeah, that's, super interesting that things can like stay with you for so long and you don't e, you might not even remember that you have this memory, but then something triggers it and you're like, oh shoot, I remember when that happened, when I was much younger. So how do you overcome that? How do you cleanse that trauma from you?
Or does trauma stay with you forever?
[00:09:53] Daniel Amen: No, there's a lot of work that you can do. To one, understand it and to soothe it. I published, uh, another study on a treatment technique I'm very fond of, called EMDR R, which stands for eye Movement, desensitization and Reprocessing. It's a treatment where you bring up the trauma, so I could talk about the goat story, and the therapist gets your eyes to go back and forth while you do it, and initially it sort of heightens the feeling, but after they're done, it's sort of dissipates and it's really cool.
And I think it's the bilateral hemisphere stimulation, stimulating one side, then the other one side, then the other. That helps bring it up. And then. Calm it down. There's another treatment technique I like a lot called Havening, so like Safe Haven Havening, I N G, and people can learn about [email protected].
I also talk about it in my new book. Your Brain is always listening, and I remember shortly after my dad died last year, I'm like in my mom's house. A couple of days later we're just going through papers and some idiot put a picture of my dead dad in the mortuary in a random stack of papers. And I remember going through it and then I saw it and it was like somebody just, you know, I threw hot water on you and it just upset me like the rest of the day, you know what idiot would do this?
And, and I noticed the picture bothered me. Well, I help people with this problem. And so I did havening and havening again, bilateral hemisphere stimulation. So it's either you stroke down from your shoulders to your elbows or you stroke your face, which during the time of covid, it's probably not a good idea or rub your hands like this.
so I notice later in the day I'm okay, you're obsessing about this. And so, so you think about it. And I just started havening. And you do it for 30 seconds and you rate it like on a scale of one to 10, how upsetting it is. And it was like a nine, and I'm still very sort of raw for my dad dying.
But after 30 seconds of havening, I noticed it was sort of like a four. And after doing it seemed, do it like up to six, seven times. After the third time, it didn't bother me. Mm-hmm. And then after I did it a couple of more times, it became my favorite picture because it was the last picture of my dad. On earth and he was at peace.
And so there are lots of ways some people use tapping, sometimes people use hypnosis, which I'm a big fan of. The trick is do something that helps rather than do things that hurt, right? Mm-hmm. There are fixes that fail. Marijuana, alcohol, ice cream being angry, you know, randomly dating to just sort of soothe the hurt you have.
I, I like it. I wrote a book once called Feel Better Fast and Make it Last. You know, what are the strategies we can use that help us now and later versus now, but not later?
[00:13:35] Hala Taha: Yeah, I love that havening thing. You know, it's so funny, I wanna just clear something up. So my dad died May, 2020, which is why I am more over it than I think your dad died May, 2021.
[00:13:47] Daniel Amen: My dad died May, 2020.
[00:13:50] Hala Taha: Oh, your dad died. May, 2020. Okay. Yeah, I thought I just wanted to be clear. My dad still, you're still, yeah. You know what I, it's funny that you just talked about the havening thing cuz that's actually gonna really help me cuz I, unfortunately, my dad died in the hospital and we weren't allowed to visit him and the last time that only time they allowed us to go to the hospital was after he died.
So I always. See this image of my dead father and I, and it's so hard to get out of my mind. So I'm gonna definitely use that the next time that that happens. And then I like the fact that you said that it's your favorite picture, cuz it's great to reframe things in that way from a negative into a positive.
So I actually will take that forever. So thank you for sharing that with me. Okay. So let's talk about alcohol and smoking marijuana on the brain since you brought it up. Um, talk to us about your research with SPECT scans and what your perspective is on marijuana and the brain. Because marijuana is getting legalized everywhere.
It's really common, especially for millennials to be smoking marijuana. And I think that you have a perspective that needs to be heard about it.
[00:15:00] Daniel Amen: Yeah, and I have no dog in the fight. You know, I'm quite frankly more likely to see you if you use marijuana than if you don't, but, I like this verse in the New Testament.
Uh, John 8 32 know the truth and the truth will set you free. Marijuana's bad for the brain. How do I know? I've looked at thousands of marijuana users. I actually published a study on a thousand marijuana users compared to healthy Brains. Every area of the brain is lower in blood flow. So from the moment I ordered my first scan in 1991, I'm like, oh, marijuana makes your brain look older than you are.
And it gives the brain this sort of toxic, unhealthy look. And then if you've been a psychiatrist for 40 years, you realize marijuana causes some vulnerable people to have an increased risk of psychosis. And if you smoke, uh, if you use marijuana as a teenager, You're much more likely in your twenties to struggle with anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
I was on the Michael Savage show years ago. He was a famous talk show host, and he's going, you're gonna get a lot of haters. And I'm like, yes, but everybody who's gonna call is spontaneously gonna complain of short-term memory problems because marijuana affects your ability to learn.
[00:16:34] Hala Taha: Yeah. What about that argument that marijuana smoking prevents Alzheimer's?
Is there any truth to that?
[00:16:41] Daniel Amen: Absolutely not. And you know the people who are selling it, the people who are for it are gonna dig up all the research they can on it. But the number one predictor you're gonna get, Alzheimer's disease is low blood flow to the brain. Number one, predictor marijuana lowers blood flow to the brain.
[00:17:05] Hala Taha: Let's talk about obesity because people think obesity, they think you're physically unhealthy. I don't think they're thinking about your brain and how obesity impacts your brain. Can you talk to us about that?
[00:17:17] Daniel Amen: Well, the research actually is horrifying. And you know, I come from a family of fat people. My dad used to always hate when I said that, but I have a brother that's like 150 pounds overweight and a sister that's.
150 or 200 pounds overweight. And then one of my friends published a study that said, as your weight goes up, this size of your brain goes down. And I'm like, oh no. I'm like, no, no, no, no, no. And that actually gave me the motivation to lose the 20 pounds I've been trying to lose for 30 years cuz I'm not ever doing anything purposefully to have a smaller brain.
That's a brand violation for me. And then I looked at my own database cuz I have a group of normal scan normal people. I. Healthy people. And I didn't sort of separate out the people who were overweight or obese from the people who are healthy weight. So I looked at that and being overweight significantly was associated with low blood flow to the front part of the brain.
Things like focus and forethought and judgment and impulse control. And then I was doing a big N F L study at the time. I looked at my N NFL players who are overweight versus healthy weight. Again, low blood flow. And then I coined a term called the dinosaur syndrome. Big body, little brain. You're gonna become extinct.
We need to get serious about this. And then last year I published a huge study on 35,000 scans and found there is basically a linear correlation. As your weight goes up, the function of your brain goes down everywhere, and we're in trouble with 42% of us over, no, 42% of US obese in the United States, 72% of US overweight.
This is the biggest brain drain in the history of the United States Plus, I have a mnemonic I like. If you wanna keep your brain healthy or rescue it, if it's headed for trouble, you have to prevent or treat the 11 major risk factors that steal your mind. And we know what they are. And the mnemonic is called Bright Minds.
Well, if you are overweight, you have six of them just being overweight cuz the fat on your body, if you're overweight, it lowers blood flow. We just talked about that. It prematurely ages the brain. Fat cells increase inflammation and everybody now knows that if you're overweight or obese, it increases your risk of dying from covid.
19. Fat cells store toxins, they change hormones. So the N in bright minds is neurohormones. It takes healthy testosterone, which is important for men and women and turns it. Into unhealthy cancer promoting forms of estrogen. This is a bad thing. And then the D in bright Minds is diabesity, high blood sugar, more likely to have if you're overweight or being overweight.
So we need to get serious. And being too thin is not good for your brain, right? Your brain needs nutrients, but we need to stop supersizing things.
[00:20:59] Hala Taha: Let's talk about dragons. So in your new book you talk about these dragons that are coming from our past haunting us today.
What are these dragons and what are some of the dragons that you have from your past life?
[00:21:12] Daniel Amen: So as I was writing, your brain is always listening. Uh, my new book, you know, I initially thought, well, your brain listens to the food you eat and the news you listen to and the social media you follow. And then I'm like, your brain also is listening to the past.
And uh, I have a friend, Sharon May, who uses the analogy of dragons in her couples counseling, and I'm like, I wonder what dragons I have. And so together, Sharon and I came up with 13 dragons, you know, to one degree or another. We all have a little bit of them, but people have primary and secondary dragons.
My primary dragon is the abandoned and visible or insignificant dragon. And, and I wasn't abandoned, but I was invisible being one of seven third, completely not special in a Lebanese family, being the second son. And you know, it sort of hurts sometimes. And I built a life based on being significant. I love helping.
And when I don't help, that dragon will sort of breathe on, breathe fire on my emotional brain. And so, you know, I have to be careful because I can't help everybody. Right? You sort of have to wanna be helped for it to work, right? Not everybody's actually a good candidate to get psychiatric help. The second one, I had the inferior, flawed dragon when, so I'm smaller.
I was like the smallest kid in my class and that was sort of hard. And then being second and then being Lebanese, I grew up in the San Fernando Valley just north of Los Angeles where it was a high Jewish population. And there was always that sort of conflict in my family and in the neighborhood. And being Palestinian, you sort of understand here in the United States, sort of, most people take Israel's position and we're like, you know, there really is another side to this story that very often in the US doesn't get told.
And so there's also the anxious dragon, the wounded dragon, the whole goat. Story, the responsible dragon, or if you grew up Roman Catholic like I did the shouldn't shaming Dragon, you know, that's sort of always pointing its finger at you. My favorite of all the dragons is the ancestral dragon. That's where the issues you have, they're not yours, that you inherited them.
They actually got written into your genetic code. And I, I just think now about civil war in Syria and all those children that are being traumatized. Well, that trauma is being written in the genetic code. So when they have babies, the babies are more likely to struggle with anxiety, more likely to have issues with post-traumatic stress disorder.
And if you think of, you know, being Palestinian or Lebanese, there's a lot, or Israeli, there's a lot of trauma in our family history that is part of our genetic code. When you think of the whole Black Lives Matter movement, there's generations of trauma,
Virtually every country around the world has. It's issue with repressed people and even after the repression may be better, there's still the trauma that can live through generations. There's also another of the dragons I've been thinking about lately is the death dragon
And one of my fun strategies, so each of the dragons, you know, where did they come from? What's the upside? Cuz all of 'em have an upside. How do you fix them? So we have strategies and my favorite strategy for the death dragon, I mean, you sort have to know you're gonna die.
It's. The denial of death that is partially responsible for people living empty purposeless lives. Because when you think you're gonna live forever, you don't take care of the relationships and issues you need to take care of. And so when I was in college, I wrote my own funeral. Very helpful to just sort of know there's an end.
So if there's an end I need to make today, Important. I need to day today special. And one of my favorite techniques is to actually list 10 good things about dying and living in near Los Angeles is I'll never have to drive in LA traffic again. These people are seriously crazy. I won't have to go to the dentist.
I hate going to the dentist. Got my teeth cleaned two weeks ago, and it's like, why are you poking my gums with this sharp metal object? So just sort of looking at what's good about it takes some of the sting out of it.
[00:26:34] Hala Taha: Yeah, I love that. You know, it reminds me of something that I spoke with Robert Green and he taught me about the law of death denial.
It's very similar to what you are talking about right now, and I love how you put some strategies in place like writing your own funeral or writing 10 things down that is, is good about death because it can actually be the greatest motivator. Death can be the life's greatest motivator. I totally agree.
All right, let's talk about another animal or insect and that's ants. What are ants or A N T S tell us about that Automatic negative thoughts, right?
[00:27:09] Daniel Amen: Automatic negative thoughts, uh, come into your mind and ruin you, and it's sort of shocking that you can get out of high school or college or have an advanced degree and no one ever taught you not to believe every stupid thing you think. There's actually no classes in managing your mind. And I came up with the term ants about 30 years ago.
I had a really hard day at work. I had four suicidal people. That's a lot I had two couples who hated each other, and two teenagers who'd run away from home. And at the end of the day, I came home, I was worn out and I had an ant infestation in my kitchen. And currently I'm battling ants in my house.
So I just know how irritating they are and I was cleaning them up. I'm like, ants automatic negative thoughts. Cuz you know when you're in medical school you have to learn so much. You're always using memory tricks to remember things. And I'm like, my patients are infested. And the next day I brought a can of raid.
An spray to work and I put it on my coffee table and I said, I'm gonna teach you how to kill the ants and the kids. Cause I'm also a child psychiatrist. Just loved it. And then I went to Pier 39 in San Francisco near my office and I got an an teter puppet. And then subsequently, and I give away these little anters because you don't have to believe every stupid thing you think.
And whenever you feel sad or mad or nervous or out of control, write down what you're thinking and then ask yourself whether or not it's true. I don't know if you were any good when you were a teenager talking back to your parents. I was excellent, but no one ever taught me to talk back to myself that if I have a thought.
I'm no good. I mean, it just came out recently. I love Naomi Osaka and how she's been so public with her struggles and she's getting ready for the US Open and she came out with, I am never enough. I am never good enough. And I'm like, no one's ever taught her to manage her mind. And I've been blessed. You know, I came out last year, I've been Justin Bieber's doctor for a long time, and Miley Cyrus, they have exactly those same thoughts and no one had ever taught them.
It's like you don't have to believe every stupid thing. You think that you can learn to manage your mind. And I have another fun technique. Called give your mind a name. So it's based on a concept called psychological distancing. You can distance yourself from the chatter, and I actually gave my mind the name of Hermie.
Hermie was my pet raccoon when I was 16. I actually had a pet raccoon and she was a troublemaker and I loved her, but she teepeed my mother's bathroom. She ate my sister's fish out of the aquarium. She used to leave raccoon poo in my shoes. She's just like my mind. All of a sudden my mind will pop up with these terrible thoughts and I'm like, oh, her me, I need to put you in the cage.
You know? It's like, I don't need to listen to you today. And periodically I'll just sort of check in and see how she's doing, but I. Mind management is so important. You know, now you need some anxiety. Let's just get that out of the way right away. People with low levels of anxiety die the earliest from accidents and preventable illnesses, but obviously too much devastates your life.
And so I want enough anxiety that I do the right things, but no more, which means I have to manage the thoughts I have. And there's an exercise in your brain as always listening of write down a hundred of your worst thoughts. And then I have you ask yourself five questions on each thought. And it's so powerful.
If you do it a hundred times, the ants will dissipate. And you know, having an ant infestation now when you go to bed, you just feel these creepy crawl things on you even when they're not there. When you have negative thoughts, they affect everything in your life. From your happiness, your relationships.
Yeah. They just affect everything.
[00:32:18] Hala Taha: Yeah. I feel like negative thoughts can impact your success, to your point, your relationships, and like you said, they don't teach that in school. I wish they would teach mental health in school the same way that they implemented like pe. I wish they would do something like meditation class or some sort of mental health class.
I hope that that's in our future soon.
[00:32:38] Daniel Amen: We have a high school course and we actually have a brand new elementary school curriculum where we do just that. We teach kids to kill the ants and manage their minds and do diaphragmatic breathing. Breathing is so helpful, so simple, so important. Uh, and it's something you can control.
And you know, if you ever watch a baby breathe or a puppy breathe, they breathe almost exclusively with their bellies. But, you know, our breathing's become more chest base, shallower, more rapid, which just makes us more anxious.
[00:33:16] Hala Taha: So you say breathe through your belly, then?
[00:33:18] Daniel Amen: Yeah. So imagine a balloon in your belly. And when you breathe in, blow it up. So let your belly get big, which means for women never wear tight clothes. Cuz if you're wearing something tight, you can't expand your lungs and that's gonna make you more anxious. And having five sisters and five daughters that this is, you know, I'm like, no tight clothes.
And it's like, oh, but I wanna look skinny. And it's like, yeah, you'll be skinny and anxious and less attractive because being anxious isn't attractive. And then take twice as long to breathe out. As you breathe in. And so there's a cool app I like called Awesome Breathing, and I'll program it four seconds in, eight seconds out.
And you just have to do it for like two minutes. Like when you come home, I want you to just try this instead of the other thing we talked about just for three minutes. Awesome. Breathing. And when you program it, four seconds in, hold it for a second, eight seconds out, hold it for a second, just for three minutes, and then email me and tell me how you feel, because I guarantee you are gonna trigger a relaxation response in your body, but your mind will be clearer than ever.
And as a business person, isn't that what you really want? Clarity. You want clarity, you want focus. You want energy, but without the frenetic pace, without the sort of monkey mind going on and diaphragmatic breathings just, it's so cool because it's intentional, it's biologic, it's psychologic, and just helps you be your best.
[00:35:20] Hala Taha: Yeah. And what's the name of that app? It's awesome Breathing. You said
[00:35:23] Daniel Amen: awesome breathing.
[00:35:24] Hala Taha: Awesome Breathing.
[00:35:25] Daniel Amen: Yeah, it's free. It's so simple.
[00:35:36] Hala Taha: I have a question for you. One of my last questions is, what would be the one thing you wish would go mainstream out of all your research that you've done that you wish that the medical field and, and your colleagues would really understand and you wish that it would just go mainstream?
[00:35:54] Daniel Amen: Well, let me pick two. The first one is imaging. If you don't look, you don't know. My colleagues have sort of tried to diminish me over the years and it's like I'm trying to get more information to help my patients and stop guessing like you are.
And in May. This year, one of my top 10 happiest moments of my whole life happened when the Canadian Association of Nuclear Medicine put out new procedure guidelines on brain SPECT imaging, basically as if I wrote them. And so imaging needs to go mainstream. How? How do you know that your depression is not the result of being exposed to covid or having an environmental toxin or had a head injury that changed your life?
How? How do you know if you don't look? Depression's not a Prozac deficiency, and I'm not opposed to Prozac. I just don't think that should be the first and only thing you use in the dark. Think of depression, like chest pain. It's nobody gets a diagnosis of chest pain because it doesn't tell you what causes it or what to do for it.
The second thing I wanna go mainstream is brain envy. I want us to love our brains. Nobody loves our brain, their brain, cuz you can't see it. When I first looked at my brain in 1991, I'm like, well that's not healthy. I played football in high school, had meningitis as a young soldier, thought I was special cause I could get by on four hours of sleep at night.
And when I saw my brain, I realized I wasn't special. I was stupid. And so, you know, loving your brain and really taking care of it. I want brain health to be as popular as Peloton and working out and physical health.
and if you wanna prevent or treat those 11 major risk factors that we talked about earlier,
you have to really love your brain and then avoid things that hurt it and do things. That help it. And so most people sort of really know what hurts their brain. And you know, we talked about marijuana. Alcohol's really not better alcohol. Any alcohol is associated with an increased risk of seven different kinds of cancer.
And so people that go everything in moderation, that's the gateway thought to hell. Um, um, because it just means you're gonna cheat. You're gonna continue to give yourself permission to cheat and you're really not gonna get serious about your health. And, you know, and the reason I, I don't do those things.
I think of it purely as an act of love. That it's not deprivation, I'm not depriving myself of something. It's, I love myself and I love my family and I love my mission. I I need a good brain to actualize those things. Cause I know you, you. Think about business and work a lot with business. Well, what's the organ of success in business?
It's your brain. Mm-hmm. And so, right. It's a series of decisions that you purposefully make over time. That's what grows great businesses. And, uh, so I avoid things that hurt it. Bad food, don't hit soccer balls with my head, thoughtful when I drive. And then I engage in regular brain healthy habits, relationships, sleep, you know, you wanna feel better tomorrow.
Go to bed early tonight. That sleep is absolutely essential. Simple supplements, multiple vitamin fish oil.
It's the decisions that you make day in and day out.
[00:39:49] Hala Taha: And something that I wanna stress is just the way that you can lose weight, you can make your brain better. So if you scanned your brain now, does it look better now than it did when you first initially scanned it 20 years ago or whenever that was
[00:40:01] Daniel Amen: radically better? I have a new, I have a series, in fact, you should do it with me on Instagram called Scan My Brain, where we take influencers, scan 'em, and then I go over it with them.
And we just did Dr. Emily Morris, I don't know if you know Emily, but Sex with Emily, huge, uh, podcasts and serious radio. Well, I scanned her and then she fell in love with her brain and did what I asked her to do, and 18 months later, her brain's dramatically better. That's the whole point. It's you are not stuck with the brain you have. You can make it better. Even if you've been bad to your brain,
[00:40:42] Hala Taha: I would love to do that test with you. I feel like that would motivate me to stop doing what we talked about before because I would know the truth and stop believing these false narratives that are out there that I've lied to myself basically.
Really quick, I do wanna talk about coordination and how coordination and dancing and doing things like playing ping pong can actually improve your brain, and any other tips that you can give us in terms of things that I would've never known if I wasn't studying you that like dancing would be good for my brain.
What are some little things that we can pick up and start doing that can help improve ourselves that aren't so obvious?
[00:41:22] Daniel Amen: So table tennis is the world's best brain game because you gotta get your eyes, hands, and feet all working together while you think about the spin on the ball. No, not beer pump. It's like, dancing is amazing because it's a coordination exercise, but not if you're drinking while you're dancing.
So, um, the cerebellum in the back, bottom part of the brain has half the brain's neurons. Cerebellum is Latin for little brain. It's involved in coordination, but so much more. When we activate that with coordination exercises, people think better, they actually make better decisions. So being involved with coordination exercises on a regular basis is great for you.
[00:42:08] Hala Taha: Yeah, I totally, I think just any physical activity I can correlate from when I started becoming successful was when I started going to the gym. Like literally I feel like it changed my mind. It changed the way that I thought. I do wanna be respectful of your time. The last question I ask all my guests is, what is your secret to profiting and life?
[00:42:26] Daniel Amen: So in 1986, I wrote a book called The Sabotage Factor. All the ways we mess ourselves up from getting what we want. And the number one hallmark of self-defeating behavior is blaming other people for how your life turns out. So I take responsibility, and responsibility is never blame, it's just my ability to respond to whatever situation comes my way.
So it starts with that, and then it goes to what do you want? Clarity, clearly defining what you want. Relationships work, money. Physical, emotional, spiritual health. I have an exercise called the one page Miracle. Write it out and write what you want, not what you don't want, right? Focus on negativity will bring more negativity in your life.
I think if I had to go, so why have I been successful? Because I'm responsible and I have clarity, and I stop caring what other people think of me. There's a rule I love called the 18 40 60 rule that says, when you're 18, you worry about what everybody's thinking of you. When you're 40, you don't give a damn what anybody thinks about you.
And when you're 60, you realize nobody has been thinking about you at all. People spend their days worrying and thinking about themselves, not you. So do what makes you happy as long as you can support your family. Um, right. There's people go, oh, you know, do what you love. And it's like, as long as you can support your family is an important caveat to that.
But I think that and brain health, because I love my brain. I'm 67. I have the same energy I had as when I was 30. I have the same mental clarity. I just have a lot more experience and wisdom.
[00:44:21] Hala Taha: I love that. This was such an excellent conversation. Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and everything that you do?
[00:44:27] Daniel Amen: So they can go to amen clinics.com. So Amen. Like the last word in a prayer clinics.com. They can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram dot Amen. Amen. Um, Yeah, I'm easy to find.
[00:44:42] Hala Taha: Amazing. Thank you so much. It was such a great conversation.
[00:44:46] Daniel Amen: Thank you.
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