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As we are in the middle of our holiday season, wherever you might be listening around the world, rushing about, tying up loose ends with work, with a focus somewhere in our heads towards whether we are ready, or not, for the holiday, where we can spend that quality time with those we love,  I want to release a quick episode to thank you, the listener, for your support with this podcast.

This year, we were listed in the Top 15 Best SEL Podcasts for 2021,[i] and Top 20 Best Neuroscience Podcasts for 2021[ii] and I owe this honor to you. Without listeners, and high quality guests, there is no podcast, so thank you for tuning in, sharing the episodes that you enjoy, and sending me messages and feedback with new ideas to continue to feature the leading experts in neuroscience, education and the brain.

For those new, or returning guests, welcome back! I’m Andrea Samadi, author, and educator from Toronto, Canada, now in Arizona, and like many of you who tune in, have been fascinated with learning, understanding and applying the most current brain research to improve results in our lives (whether we are a teacher in the classroom, or using these ideas in the corporate space).

This podcast uses Seasons to separate our content, and as we move into Season 7 at the start of the New Year, our theme will remain “Brain Health and Well-Being” as my friend Dan Vigliatore[iii] Health and PE Teacher from Toronto, Canada reminded me this year, that there’s more to this podcast than providing meaningful content around neuroscience. Wellness education must be at the heart of everything we do, since our brain is involved in everything that we do, and everything that we are, and I do want to make that apparent for those listening, like Dan noticed. Especially with the fact that I began my teaching career as a PE teacher in the late 1990s.

As we move into 2022, and plan for a new year of content, around the theme of Brain Health and Well-Being to optimize our cognitive, social and emotional competencies, I’m  truly honored to have this opportunity to host this podcast, because the strategies that we are uncovering in each episode are not only for you, but they are transforming my results, as well! I do look forward to uncovering new ideas, strategies and research in this field in the New Year that we can all use to take our results to new heights.

Especially since it’s such an interesting time in our world. Last night, we were speaking with our pediatric cardiologist who told us that at the beginning of the Pandemic, almost 2 years ago, it was very quiet in his offices, and now, with the new spike in COVID cases, he is busy with new patients coming in, with symptoms they weren’t experiencing in the early stages of the virus[iv], showing us how important our health remains for us.

With everything going on in the world today, I’m sure that YOU will have health in the back of your head this whole time, knowing full well that 2022 is only a few days away, and before we know it, we will all be back in the swing of a New Year, with our old schedules, homework routines reestablished, and hopefully, healthy habits back on track, so for just a minute, I want take this moment to stop, pause and think about what’s important at this time of year.

Instead of releasing an episode about setting goals, like we did to launch the New Year Last year, with EPISODE #103[v] on “The Neuroscience of Leadership: 3 Ways to Reset, Recharge and Refuel Your Brain for Your Best Year Ever” that I still think is a good episode to revisit, for this week’s BRAIN FACT FRIDAY and EPISODE #188, I want to cover “Putting Our Physical and Mental Health First: To Ensure a New Generation of Thriving Adults.” Our next generation needs us to model the way.

The signs pointing in this direction have been clear the whole time of the Pandemic, but have you noticed there’s a sense of urgency around mental and physical well-being at this time? I saw it with one of my first XMAS cards that came in the mail. I’ve been getting a Christmas card every year from my mentor Bob Proctor and his wife Linda. It always makes me smile to keep in touch with people who have had a profound influence on my life, and this year, when I opened the card, there was a handwritten note highlighting the importance of a “healthy” and joyous 2022. This was early December, before the Omicron Variant began impacting people around the world, but I noticed this, and it stuck in my head “pay attention to health this year.”

Then I remembered that my next interview is scheduled for the middle of January, with Nick Jonsson,[vi] author of the #1 International Best Selling book on Executive Loneliness whose website headliner says “mental health issues are rising dramatically” especially in the workplace and I’d say the writing on the wall is clear where our focus needs to be in 2022, especially if we want to be stable, strong and predictable for the children in our lives, who watch and respond to everything that we do.

So, for this week’s Brain Fact Friday,

DID YOU KNOW: “That one-quarter of Americans intend to improve their mental health in 2022”[vii] and that according to a poll conducted by the American Psychiatric Association, “almost 70 million adults resolve to find ways to improve their mental health this coming year.”[viii]

American Psychiatric Association president Vivian Pender, MD thinks this statistic is “important and encouraging” but points out of the “level of variation among demographic groups” and that “psychiatrists need to understand these trends.”

She references a poll conducted by APA’s Healthy Minds from Dec. 6-8th with a nationwide sample of 2,119 healthy adults and 37% of them revealed “anxieties about the state of their mental health approaches.”

The poll listed the following resolutions to make an impact on mental health as meditation (53%) therapy (37%), purposeful social media hiatus (35%), journaling (32%), accessing a mental health app (26%) and seeing a psychiatrist (1/5th of the participants).

Since there is such an important and timely movement toward mental health and well-being at this time, I want to provide the TOP STRATEGIES that we’ve covered over the past 2 years on this podcast, that would fall into the categories of the top modalities for improving mental and physical health.

STRATEGY 1: Meditation

There’s so much to this strategy, that it can be overwhelming for a beginner to know how to start. I learned something valuable from each of these episodes and I hope that it helps you to begin, or fine tune your meditation practice.

EPISODE 25: Mick Neustadt covers “How Meditation and Mindfulness Changes Your Life”[ix] and this episode is great for people who are new to meditation and mindfulness. He explains what mindfulness is, why it’s so important for young people, and what the research is saying about the importance of implementing a mindfulness program into your daily life.

EPISODE #98: Dr. Dawson Church covers “The Science Behind Using Meditation: Rewiring Your Brain for Happiness”[x] where he explains how he was able to turn his attention away from the horrible tragedy of losing his home in the 2017 Northern California wildfires, to create thoughts, habits and behaviors to support a happy life. I still use Dawson Church’s Bliss Brain Meditations every morning when I first wake up, because there’s something very peaceful about them.

EPISODE #28: Dr. Dan Siegel, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine covers “Mindsight: The Basis for Social and Emotional Intelligence”[xi] taking us into the results he is seeing with understanding the “mind” in others (whether in schools or the workplace).

EPISODE #60: I cover a deep dive into Dr. Dan Siegel’s Wheel of Awareness Meditation[xii] for anyone new, learning about what to expect from this meditation.  Dr. Siegel’s guided meditation has the potential for fascinating insights and results, and I will always point to this one, for anyone looking to strengthen their mind.

EPISODE #154: Author and movie producer Tom Cronin on “The Portal Book and Film: How Meditation Can Save the World”[xiii] if you want to see how Tom transformed his life with meditation.

Strategy 2: Accessing a Mental Health App or Tool

In order to dig deep and make improvements with our brain and cognition, there are tools out there that can help. Before knowing about these tools, I thought the only way to strengthen my brain was through nutrition and exercise.

EPISODE #108: CEO of Fisher Wallace Laboratories Kelly Roman who covers “Wearable Medical Devices for Anxiety, Depression, and Sleep/Stress Management.”[xiv] Fisher Wallace has over 70,000 patients and 10,000 subscribers using their devices and has continued to run three sizable clinical trials during the pandemic, investigating how neurostimulation is a strong contender as a treatment for anxiety and depression compared to drug use.

EPISODE #120: My Personal Review of the Fisher Wallace Medical Device[xv] came from following month following my interview with Kelly Roman after I had a chance to test the device myself. This is to date is our #1 most downloaded episode of all time with over 5K downloads and the episode I receive the most emails, and DMs on social media about. People want to know that there is a real person behind this review, who really did use the device. I would add a photo of me wearing it to prove I do use it but think the model in the picture looks much better than I do. All joking aside, this is a serious topic, and the emails I have received tell me that people are desperate for solutions when it comes to mental health. While I tested this device to help improve my sleep, I did notice feeling less anxious and worried about things, and it had a calming effect on me. Like I tell anyone who emails me, I highly suggest this product, and if you use it consistently, the way it’s designed to be used (20 minutes twice a day) you should notice an improvement in whatever it is that you are looking to improve (among other things) like I did.  The only way to know this, would be to try it. They do offer a hassle-free 30-day trial period so you can return the device with no questions asked if you don’t want to keep it.

We had a BONUS EPISODE in February of this year, with World Renowned Neuroscientist Dr. Carolyn Leaf on “Cleaning Up Your Mess: 5 Simple Steps”[xvi]  She has an app that goes along with her book, called Neurocycle and I would say it’s the most effective way to clean up your mind (other than going to therapy, that I have not done) that I have ever seen. She helps you to pinpoint a problem that you have, and eliminate it in a process she calls Neurocycling.

EPISODE #106: I Review Dr. Leaf’s “Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess” book and Neurocycle App.[xvii]

EPISODE #134: with Kristen Holmes from Whoop.com we cover “Unlocking a Better You: Measuring Sleep, Recovery, and Strain with a WHOOP Device.”[xviii]

EPISODE #135: I offer my biggest AHA moments from my interview with Kristen Holmes on “Recovery Strategies to Build Resiliency Against Physical, Mental and Emotional Stressors.”[xix] I haven’t been wearing this device for a full year just yet, but there are immense benefit if you are able to measure your sleep, HRV, recovery and even your skin temperature and respiratory rates, on a daily basis.

EPISODE #179: Sun Sachs, the CEO of Rewire Fitness covers their “First-To-Market Neuro Performance Mobile App for Athletes”[xx] This interview I really needed this app before and after, as I had just tested positive to COVID the day before and was right in the middle of the wonderful symptoms. I think that Sun Sachs’ story was so engaging, and his voice was so calming, that I quickly forgot I was under the weather that day, and diligently use this app to help prime my mind before and after workouts.

Strategy 3: Exercise

I can’t leave exercise off the table, but have put this strategy last, because I usually put it first. The research points to the fact that exercise can help us to achieve optimal physical and mental health and learning about this research really can help us to all put exercise first to move the needle with health and wellness in 2022.

EPISODE #116: with Best Selling Author John J Ratey, MD on “The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain”[xxi]  who explains why the brain is primed for learning after exercise.

EPISODE #118: with a Deep Dive into John J Ratey’s Books[xxii]

EPISODE #123: with Northeastern University Professor Chuck Hillman, Ph.D. on “The Impact of Exercise on the Brain and Learning”[xxiii] On this episode we dive into the brain scans Dr. Hillman did showing how exercise had a clear impact on student’s during test taking and can help us to all see of the importance of physical activity on a student’s academic performance.

To Review This Week’s Brain Fact Friday:

DID YOU KNOW: “That one-quarter of Americans intend to improve their mental health in 2022”[xxiv] and that according to a poll conducted by the American Psychiatric Association, “almost 70 million adults resolve to find ways to improve their mental health this coming year.”

With the TOP 3 strategies I’ve shared with you (Meditation, Using a Mental Health App or Tool and Exercise) I wonder what you found to be the most insightful and interesting. Your brain will ONLY pay attention to what it finds interesting, which would be the first step towards making lasting change with whatever health and wellness strategy you choose. If you are ready for to make 2022 your best year ever (mentally and physically) pick one strategy that you find the most interesting, and start with that.

Have a happy and healthy holiday, and I’ll 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/

RESOURCES:

Prioritize Mental Health in 2022 by Rochelle Ryan, Dec. 22, 2021  https://www.peoriatimes.com/opinion/article_d8b17f14-605c-11ec-b901-af80d364da97.html

3 Tips for Better Mental Health in 2022 https://www.colorado.edu/health/2021/12/20/3-tips-better-mental-health-2022

Employee Mental and Physical Health the Spotlight for 2022 https://www.securitymagazine.com/articles/96614-employee-mental-and-physical-health-support-in-the-spotlight-for-2022

4 Mental Health Tips for Creating an Even Better 2022 https://www.harvardpilgrim.org/hapiguide/4-mental-health-tips-for-creating-an-even-better-2022/

 REFERENCES:

[i] Top 10 Social and Emotional Learning Podcasts for 2021 https://blog.feedspot.com/social_emotional_learning_podcasts/

[ii] 20 Best Neuroscience Podcasts for 2021 https://welpmagazine.com/20-best-neuroscience-podcasts-of-2021/

[iii] Dan Vigliatore https://twitter.com/PhysEdDynasty

[iv] Heart Problems After COVID-19 by Wendy Susan Post https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/heart-problems-after-covid19

[v] 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/

[vi] https://nickjonsson.com/page/mystory

[vii] One-quarter of Americans Intend to Improve Mental Health in 2022 December 20, 2021 https://www.healio.com/news/psychiatry/20211220/onequarter-of-americans-intend-to-improve-mental-health-in-2022

[viii] IBID

[ix] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE  #25 with Mick Neustadt on “How Meditation and Mindfulness Changes Your Life” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/mindfulness-and-meditation-expert-mick-neustadt-on-how-meditation-and-mindfulness-changes-your-life-results-and-potential/

[x] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #98 Dr. Dawson Church on “The Science Behind Using Meditation: Rewiring Your Brain for Happiness” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/dr-dawson-church-on-the-science-behind-using-meditation-rewiring-your-brain-for-happiness-resilience-and-joy/

[xi]Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #28 with Dr. Dan Siegel on “Mindsight: The Basis for 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/

[xii]Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #60 on “The Science and Benefits of Dr. Dan Siegel’s Wheel of Awareness Meditation”  https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/the-science-behind-a-meditation-practice-with-a-deep-dive-into-dr-dan-siegel-s-wheel-of-awareness/

[xiii] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #154 with Author and Film Producer Tom Cronin on “The Portal Book and Movie: How Meditation Can Save the World” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/author-and-film-producer-tom-cronin-on-the-portal-book-and-movie-how-meditation-can-save-the-world/

[xiv] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #108 with CEO of Fisher Wallace Laboratories Kelly Roman who covers “Wearable Medical Devices for Anxiety, Depression, and Sleep/Stress Management” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/ceo-of-fisher-wallace-laboratories-on-wearable-medical-devices-for-anxiety-depression-and-sleepstress-management/

[xv] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #120 with Andrea Samadi’s Personal Review of the Fisher Wallace Wearable Medical Device https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/personal-review-of-the-fisher-wallace-wearable-medical-device-for-anxiety-depression-and-sleepstress-management/

[xvi][xvi] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast BONUS EPISODE with  World Renowned Neuroscientist Dr. Carolyn Leaf on “Cleaning Up Your Mess: 5 Simple Steps” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/worldrenownedneuroscientistdr-caroline-leaf-oncleaningup-your-mentalmess5-simplescientifically-proven-stepsto-reduceanxiety-and-toxic-thinking/

[xvii]Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #106 Review of Dr. Carolyn Leaf’s  “Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/book-and-app-review-of-neuroscientist-and-best-selling-author-dr-caroline-leafs-cleaning-up-your-mental-mess-coming-march-2-20201/

[xviii]Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #134 with Kristen Holmes from Whoop.com we cover “Unlocking a Better You: Measuring Sleep, Recovery, and Strain with a WHOOP Device.” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/kristen-holmes-from-whoopcom-on-unlocking-a-better-you-measuring-sleep-recovery-and-strain/

[xix]Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #135 on “Recovery Strategies to Build Resiliency Against Physical, Mental and Emotional Stressors” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/brain-fact-friday-using-recovery-to-become-resilient-to-physical-mental-and-emotional-stressors/

[xx]Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #179 with Sun Sachs,  the CEO of Rewire Fitness covers their “First-To-Market Neuro Performance Mobile App for Athletes” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/sun-sachs-ceo-of-rewire-fitness-on-their-first-to-market-neuro-performance-mobile-app-for-athletes/

[xxi]Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #116 with Best Selling Author John J Ratey, MD on “The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain”https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/best-selling-author-john-j-ratey-md-on-the-revolutionary-new-science-of-exercise-and-the-brain/

[xxii]Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #118 with a Deep Dive into John J Ratey’s Books  https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/deep-dive-into-best-selling-author-john-j-rateys-books-spark-go-wild-and-driven-to-distraction/

[xxiii] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #123 with Northeastern University Professor Chuck Hillman, Ph.D. on “The Impact of Exercise on the Brain and Learning” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/northeastern-university-professor-chuck-hillman-phd-on-the-impact-of-exercise-on-the-brain-and-learning/

[xxiv] One-quarter of Americans Intend to Improve Mental Health in 2022 December 20, 2021 https://www.healio.com/news/psychiatry/20211220/onequarter-of-americans-intend-to-improve-mental-health-in-2022