Boomer Living Senior Living Broadcast

Paul Nussbaum - Healing the Spiritual Brain of Seniors

November 15, 2021 Hanh Brown / Dr. Paul Nussbaum Season 2 Episode 136
Boomer Living Senior Living Broadcast
Paul Nussbaum - Healing the Spiritual Brain of Seniors
Show Notes Transcript

Do you feel like your brain is constantly in overdrive?

You’re not alone. We live in a world of constant stimulation, and it takes its toll on our brains. This can have some adverse effects on seniors if they don't have proper mental wellness.

With the constant pressure to keep up, it's no wonder that many seniors are in danger of experiencing poor brain health.

But there are ways to bring emotional and spiritual balance back into your life. And the first step is understanding how neuroscience has uncovered the spiritual capacity and underpinnings of the human brain.

Once we understand that our brains have an innate ability to be balanced, we can begin to take steps towards bringing more peace into our lives by taking care of ourselves with mindfulness practices that help us tap into this part of ourselves again.

These practices include meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, journaling, exercise – anything that helps us connect with what matters most to us as individuals so we can find inner peace.

Joining me in conversation today is Dr. Paul Nussbaum.
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Bio:

Dr. Nussbaum is a Board Certified Clinical and Geropsychology Neuropsychologist with a specialization in aging, brain health, and lifestyle management.

Find Dr. Nussbaum on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/drpaulnussbaum/

Hanh:

Hello, I'm Hanh Brown, the host of Aging Media Show. And thank you for tuning in. So this conversation is streaming on various social media platforms. So whether you're watching or listening, we appreciate your time to be part of this important discussion. So please let us know what questions that might come up so that together we can learn from each other's insights and experiences. And thank you again for tuning into the aging media show. So, do you feel like your brain is constantly on overdrive? Well, you're not alone. We live in a world of constant stimulation and it takes a toll on our brain. This can have some adverse effect on seniors if they don't have the proper mental bonus. So with the constant pressure to keep up, it's no wonder that many seniors are in danger of experiencing poor brain hell. But there are ways to bring emotional and spiritual balance back into your life. In the first step is understanding how neuroscience has uncovered the spiritual capacity and underpinnings of the human brain. So once we understand that our brains have an innate ability to be balanced, we can begin to take steps towards bringing more peace into our lives by taking care of ourselves with mindfulness practices. That help us tap into the part of ourselves again. So these practices include meditation, yoga, breathing, exercises, journaling, anything that help us connect with what matters most to us as individuals so that we can find inner peace. So joining me today in conversation is Dr. Nussbaum. Dr. Nussbaum is a board certified clinical Gero-psychology. Neuro-psychologist with specialization in aging, brain health, and lifestyle management. We will talk about neuroscientists, have found out how the brain can heal our body and that we can bring emotional balance and physical healing to our lives through neuro spiritual practices. So, Paul, welcome to the show.

Paul:

Good to be back Hanh. Good to see you. Thank you for having me.

Hanh:

Yeah. Yeah. Great. Well, Hey other than your professional side. Can you share with us something on a personal side?

Paul:

Sure. So, recently a, became a grandfather for the second time. A little boy, was born a couple of weeks ago. His first name is Rory and the first grandchild was a, it was a little girl named Liliana lives in Omaha. She's about a year and a half. That's that's big news.

Hanh:

Yes. Congratulations. What a beautiful thing.

Paul:

Yeah.

Hanh:

Yeah, well, great. Okay. Well, let's get started. Well, I guess let's bring everybody in the same page. If you can explain to us the difference between feeling emotional and spiritual?

Paul:

Yeah. That's a great question. So we all have emotions that can range from happy to sad, to angry, to anxious. And we have labels for them. We have words for them and all of us have experienced them. There's a whole range of emotion. We may go through them each and every Day. And they tend to be earthbound, tend to be what I call found, tend to be part of our makeup as humans. The spiritual side is a bit different because. Well, it may have some overlap with emotion. It also takes us into realms that capture consciousness, and you already used the word mindfulness, but also powers that extend beyond the, the hurt. So often times, and for thousands of years, we may turn to a higher being to help us get through a certain situation. We may turn to some deep introspection during a yoga exercise or a mindfulness meditation exercise that kind of gets us into a realm. We don't completely understand, but we know the brain has the ability to appreciate a higher being a higher call, a higher power. And when things get turned to in culture and our own lives within our own bodies and brains, often times we, we turn to that higher call and so that's, it's another tool in the toolbox. It's one that we were born with. That's one that's been around for thousands of years. I think neuroscience is beginning to pay more attention to it. For general health all across the lifespan.

Hanh:

So what's the spiritual miraculous experience. What is that?

Paul:

Well, anytime we hear the word miraculous, what I think of is we can't explain. And so often times my field medicine has some discomfort with that because we like to be able to explain everything. Why did the person get better when they have stage four cancer? We don't know what's a miracle. Well, that also means medicine wasn't able to provide the answer, but when a person heals a person healings. So it's important to understand that these things do happen. In my opinion, this is where again, it gets us to, to the to the ability for us to connect with a non earthbound entity, a higher partial power. Sometimes it gets explained, for example, practically he or she had a wonderful attitude, a very positive outlook on life. Had a reason to keep on living as an example. Well, what I always challenge people is what do you mean by attitude? Where does Attitude come from and what is that to? Because it's A physiological neuroscientific, emotional, spiritual thing. That's important for overall health and wellbeing. We're the only animals on the planet who through a single thought can make ourselves miserable or happy. So if you play that out across a lifespan, how we approach situations good, bad, or neutral can lead to things that maybe help us overcome might be explained as miraculous.

Hanh:

So, what is the biggest insight or apiffany from spiritual moment or of the spirit?

Paul:

I think it often times is at a very individual level where it brings us into complete immersion of all the systems of the brain become one. And we get to a sense of peace. And there's almost an epiphany, almost a moment of hyper focus On who we are. And why were here. And not everybody gets that, but sometimes when you talk to people who have kind of matched their passion with what it is they do, I'd say probably 99% of the people haven't reached that. But when you match your passion for what it is that you want to do with what it is that you do, you talk to those folks and they'll tell you, I had a moment. They may not call it a spiritual moment, but I had this insite. This light Is something hit me that said, this is what I'm supposed to do. And when even say those words, well, who is it? What is it that's telling you what you're supposed to do? Because I sound like I've heard it. Third party, some things looking at you, telling you what to do, where is that? And neuroscience Has some interesting thoughts upon that in terms of being able to witness our own behavior, be able to talk to ourselves, but also be able to engage with a calling, and I think that That happens that can happen, but you have to be open to it. You have to permit yourself to get out of being boxed in and being ritualistic and being procedural, which we are. All of us are in our day-to-day lives.

Hanh:

Yeah. Absolutely. So do you think there are lessons to be learned from our emotions and spiritual, spirituality? Yeah, I do. I had a little conversations

Paul:

A day with some folks about most of us even in Madison, We think about the brain as being this cognitive system. And it is But it's also in a very important, It's also an emotional system. We're talking today a little bit about emotional and spiritual system. It's a motor system, it's a relational system and we tend to undervalue those quite a bit. So one of The major lessons is that as we think about these different parts of us, this is not an academic conversation. We're talking about ourselves. We can actually nurture those parts of us. Mental health as you and I have talked about Hahn is really important. It's really important for older adults. And it's really important for us to have the ability to lead a lifestyle that brings us into emotional balance, where, we feel like What we're doing is what we're supposed to be doing and that what we're doing has impact. And we feel good about ourselves. And when that doesn't occur, we can end up feeling anxious. I have sleep problems, feel depressed or sad, have anx spiritual practices and emotional stabilizing practices help us to reach that. So it's a really cool time to be alive because we're learning about insights into how this stuff works. And we're learning that we're empowered to nurture these parts of our being parts of our brain to really flow wellness across the body.

Hanh:

Great. Great advice. So let's say, could knowing about our emotions help us with. The recovery for mental health issues such as PTSD anxiety disorder and depression?

Paul:

Yeah, I think that's a really important question because first of all, I had a little BrainHealth Moment today. I was sharing with some folks at a yoga class and. What I was trying to teach them was that we have a cognitive system and emotional system. And often times it's really hard to put words to emotion. And how do we know that? Well, there was a world series baseball game the other day, but it could be any sort of great moment. Okay. The media will run out and they'll ask the person, how do you feel right now? That's a very typical question. How do you feel you just won a billion dollars? How do you feel? And often times the person will say. I don't, I can't put it into words. I'm just sort of in shock, I can't say. And that's a really important neuro-scientific example of What I'm saying. It's hard for us to put words to our emotions. So step number one for your question is our practice of really trying to pay attention to what we feel, trying to label it, trying to describe it is a first step. I will say, women are probably five steps ahead of men with this one. I don't all men, not all women, but in general, women are really intuitive With their emotions. And it may be one of the reasons why they live longer than guys. Men have a hard time, particularly young boys at teenagers have a really hard time talking about their emotions. So why don't you get to know you have an emotional system too. You gotta be able to describe what it is that you're feeling. And kind of worked through that because that's the process. When you get into situations like PTSD, where the brain really is an overdrive and a particular emotion fear that. Process can begin to break down the walls that, that the brain has set up to, to heal.

Hanh:

I see. So now how have you discovered the emotional or spiritual capacity of your brain?

Paul:

Well, I mean, for me it's been about, I mean, I've Always read a lot about the human brain and there's a whole field now called neuro theology, which is fascinating where they do fancy things like, place monks or nuns into a scanner, and they have Them doing their mantras and prayer and they're studying what's going on in their brain. And that's really cool to me because it teaches us. For example, if I can appreciate a God or not believe in a God, where's that coming from in my brain. If, when I meditate what's happening in my brain, when we say something like listen closely To this, when we say I became one with my world. Literally when we say that the brain is taking our ability to appreciate what goes on outside of us versus what goes on inside of us important differential, that collapses. And there's no longer a difference. And we've learned that prayer and meditation can do that. So I play that out a little bit and, often times Hahn when I'm speaking to, I get called On quite a bit from people that are struggling. And we'll have conversations, typical kind Of Western medical sort of approaches. And, but then I always go to the spiritual part and I asked them about, what you're Telling me about your spiritual self, tell me. And sometimes if there's not much conversation, sometimes there's a lot. Sometimes it goes like, I used to Have a really good relationship with God and now I don't, or sometimes I'm really used to really appreciate nature and I don't get out anymore or whatever it is. So there's a whole missing in their pie of health. And so filling that in my whole approach for the past 20 years has been, you can't Always go to a pill. We don't have pills that take care of the things you and I are talking about right now. So it takes a deeper dive. It takes, stopping pausing. Doing the hard work of working through what the struggle is as hard as It may be and trying to utilize every tool, often times that can be a spiritual practice to heal. And that's, That's one of the cool things about, approaching Health and wellness from a very holistic approach. Because once You listen to a person don't guide you in terms of what works for them.

Hanh:

Very true. So let's say now that we know the relationship between intense emotions in disorders like generalized anxiety disorder. So now how has this knowledge changed the way that you and I, or his folks in general deal with intense feelings, both positive and negative?

Paul:

So one of the things that's really interesting is that we now know that there's a part of the brain that will fire when we're under a perceives. Perhaps life threatening, maybe stress or that's the way the brain perceives it. And it's actually a good thing because it helps us to turn the car wheel when we need the turn, the car wheel or hurt the brake when someone, or to lock the doors when someone's coming, these kinds of things. So it helps Us survive, but often times in our society, we perceive stressors as being life-threatening potentially that really are not. It still makes it very frightening. So our brain begins to fire and teaching people that here's this structure it's called the amygdala, that fires. And when it fires, you begin to release essentially steroids throughout your body that have all of these implications. Your heart starts beating. You start perspiring, you're panting. Your, your Respiration is isn't normal. You're having Flight of thoughts. You feel like You're going to die. You feel like you're having a heart attack. Why do people go to the emergency room when this happened literally, but then teaching Them that here are some ways that you can begin to slow that down. That's a physiological response. It's normal. If your brain thinks it's under life-threatening stress, but it's not normal when it continues to go on and it really begins to break the body down. So you mentioned earlier in your intro on something as simple. And as important as breathing. So most of Americans, anyway, we live in what. I call the inhalation Stream of life. We're inhaling all the time, and we have To learn how to exhale and the people that really are expert at this will tell you your exhale has to be a lot longer in its duration than the inhale. And so literally what I do on a daily basis, I really work on my exhalation, literally walking around. I will take a lot of. And gosh, it feels so good. It just is a reset. But because Breathing is not a conscious exercise, we have to make it conscious. That's one very practical tip. So learning about anxiety, learning what's going on under the hood. That's why I show pictures of it too long, my audiences, and then learning that you have the ability and the empowerment to change that physiology. Okay. Breathing is one. And one is one way to do that. We've talked about meditation. We've talked about yoga. We've talked about. Prayer. There's Many ways to kind of settle ourselves down.

Hanh:

So, I guess, how can people think outside the box and integrate neuroscience into their personal lives?

Paul:

Yeah. Th th the really cool thing is a lot of my work is geared towards the general public and trying to take all the fancy topics and concepts and say, Hey, This first of all is the most exotic real estate on the planet that sits right between your ears. Okay? It's not on Malibu. It's not all these fancy places. It's right there between your ears is stealing brain. Neuroscience has taught us this thing called plasticity, which means that your brain has the ability to be shaped. Now it can be shaped for all kinds of things. It can be shaped for violence that can be shaped for negativity. It can be shaped for disease. You and I are interested in shaping the brain for health and positive aspects of life. So we're empowered to do that. That's a novel Concept for a lot of people because it wasn't that long ago. My oldest son is 30. We had to read a book before he was born by a guy named Spock. And the book said that the brain's critical period of development was about zero to three. That was 30 years ago. Okay. That's not true anymore. If we've got some 85 year old 95, my mom's 97, we've got some hundred seven-year-olds on the call today. Your brain continues to want to be shaped for help. So you're empowered to do that. And that's the most important thing neuroscience can teach all of us that the environments we place our brains into the way we think the all the information That's bombarding us will have an impact on our brain. Still try to choose those things that are health promoting for you. Be selective.

Hanh:

Of your environment. Yeah. So is it possible to tune out or filter out unpleasant emotions like fear, sadness, and anger?

Paul:

It's possible to tune out the sources of those things. It takes time For some healing to occur in certain situations. Cause often times the brain may be traumatized, and those Are kind of more of the extreme cases on where it's going to take time. But those brain shut you. And can re-experience and reframe the trauma. That's the way folks get through PTSD for a lot of us on a daily basis, we're bombarded by a lot of negativity and in our culture today, I think you and I are having a conversation about how difficult it can be in our culture today. We're just living our lives. We're going about trying to do the right thing, but we seem to be a point in our culture where we're being bombarded a lot through social media, through news, through cable. With negativity And often times that drives ratings, or it's sort of more a default to be negative than to be positive. It's harder to be positive, over time That really takes a toll on us physically and mentally and emotionally. And so that's Where decisions can be made. I've made a decision to turn the TV off a lot more than I ever did in my life. So I'm really not paying attention to what other people want me to think. I'm trying to think for myself. I'm trying To look at information and make my own judgment. And one of the, one of the practical ways I think we can all think about it at least is to not make Decisions that are personalized. We've become way too personal in our ways Of thinking, and decision-making in our country Today. And when we personalize, we take something that can go from a honest discussion about differences to you are this, or you are that. And that's when it becomes quite negative, quite cop, caustic, and, And that does damage to our bodies and brains emotional Pain, the brain doesn't distinguish emotional pain from physical pain. It does the same kind of damage. The short, The short answer to your question Is we are empowered to make important decisions about what we will accept that we want to process and going into a situation where there's a lot of negativity don't go, try to remain within your own real estate. Try to remain positive and non-personal.

Hanh:

So let's talk about the benefits, What are the benefits you get from let's say, participating in meditation, yoga, and other spiritual activities?

Paul:

Oh, gosh, there's been so much research on this. As of late you get talking About benefits, first of all, in a, um, Sort of a systematic approach to let's just say yoga slash meditation. Over an eight Week period, for example, not a long time there have Been benefits to memory function. There's certainly been benefits to emotion defined as a reduction in presence of a sad or depressed mood, certainly reduction in managing anxiety. So these are All, but also physiological things like Um blood pressure, like the ability to manage, uh, Stressors that do come our way maybe before I go right to anxiety now, because of my practice I'm able To manage this and problem solve a lot better. Okay. Even looking At things like managing diabetes has been Funded. So there's just a, it's really an awakening of how do we transforms our bodies towards health by using practices, at least traditionally, we haven't done a lot of in the United States of America. So that's why there's this whole mindfulness revolution that you've seen. That's why yoga is, you see it In professional athletes, you see entertainers and people that have high power jobs, but for people like me on a day-to-day basis it's very beneficial. So it has Tremendous benefit, both physiologically, mentally and cognitively.

Hanh:

Yeah, no, I think the past 20 months or so had shown the problems and also the need for what you're describing. Yeah.

Paul:

Yeah, I think that, I think one of the challenges for all of us in one of, one of the things that I've learned PON and listening To a lot of people across different sectors of society. And I go in to talk about, for example, the psychological aspects of Covid. Now within the senior market. Imagine, my mom is 97, but there's a lot of individuals on the call today and family members who have older parents maybe, and what they went through during COVID And being locked down and isolated and not being able to touch something as simple as touch is so important to us, particularly for an older person. And you already, we've talked More in the past about loneliness. It's. An epidemic in our country and it says dangerous as cancer and it's killing a lot of people. We don't talk enough about it. But you know, I think we're at a time where we need to Have open conversations about how we're behaving and in my humble opinion, when we see certain behaviors that really isn't who we are. We, we are a good People. We're a compassionate people. We don't insult others. We don't feel good about that. We don't call people names. There's a Lot of that out there. There's a lot of that coming at us. There's a lot of people trying to get us to, to divide And the brain doesn't want to divide. It wants to unite. And by and large, the vast majority of us are very good people who are loving People and compassionate people. And. What I try to do is get everyone to remember that and not to be swayed by folks that maybe yell the loudest or try to get us to change our behavior for their benefit for their agenda. As I said Before, I think the vast majority of us are trying to get up each and every day, trying to teach our kids. And I think That's why for me, this spiritual realm of at least how I try to teach and brain health lifestyle, it is becoming more and more important. Cause I think It's very necessary in our culture Right now.

Hanh:

Yeah, that's true. I mean, we are born good right in to life experiences and what we feed into our brains and our environment that we're. In forms and shape who we become. So, but we're all born good. So, so now what are some Neuro-Spirational activities that you help or that have helped you or loved ones through hard times?

Paul:

Well, for me, it's turning to Prayer. I mean, that's a personal thing that I do. I haven't Always been the best in terms of practice of a religion or kind of prayer, But as I get older as I've studied The brain. Again, I like to have a big toolbox out there. And that one Is primary for me because it takes me into a place where I'm completely Humbled, which is important. And I'm asking for, powers and Grace that maybe I can't get myself. I'm fortunate To live in an environment that I chose to live in where I can Appreciate nature and things like waves and the sun and animals. And I sometimes find a lot of solace there are quiet moments. And one of the things I try to teach people is that your brain similar to the university likes rhythms. And so where you find rhythms, be it in waves or stars to come up each and every night or the sunrises, it sets the moon comes up. These are rhythms of the universe. And so finding those rhythms, your brain will react Well. A lot of people like to take hikes or ride a bike and wind Sometimes can be some of these things that just quiets us a bit. And so we Have our opportunities they're out and the things are out there, but you kind of get, find what's best for you and try it out and know. That you're nurturing these beautiful parts of you to kind of bring healing to you. And once your brain heals, once your brain. Feels emotionally and gets balanced. The rest of the body will fall asleep. That's the way it works. It's not the other way around.

Hanh:

Right, right. As you were describing that whole process, I think of it in terms kind of settling your soul or cleaning your soul, there's that. Inner peace in your soul. So I echo, yeah. I echo what you are saying.

Paul:

That's right. And that's why literally the window Into this. Shaping of the brain and we're talking about be it emotional systems or spiritual systems the soul is to do what Grandma taught us. It's to practice daily acts of kindness. It's to practice forgiveness. Now we're coming up on a wonderful, I always use this. One of my talks on we're coming up on a wonderful holiday. It's called Thanksgiving. And if you want a window into the psychopathology of your family and my family, it's called Thanksgiving. Okay. That's when everybody gets together and we bring all of our warts and all the goodies and they, and, and it's, It's fun, but at the same time, it can have some struggles For people. And it's a wonderful time to practice forgiveness and often times forgiveness can be practiced right within the family. And as I was taught, one time, forgiveness is not, I'll forgive you, but I don't forget. Right. That's not forgiveness. Because if You don't forget it, you're still going over the neural circuits in your brain where the toxicity can occur. So acts of kindness, patience, love, particularly for those who you may think don't deserve it. These are Ways that we were, have always been empowered to behave. And if we can do that more now on a daily basis, that really leads to a major piece of brain health. So true. And.

Hanh:

When you talk about, and I don't forget, well, you don't have to forget, but as long as you come into terms with that wrongdoing and forgive and separate, I guess the doing the wrongdoing from the doer and come in terms of peace with both, and you may not forget, and that's fine.

Paul:

Right, because what you've just done there is you've removed the emotional toxicity with that memory, which was real. Maybe I was harmed in a very real Way, and maybe I had a very normal reaction to it that I should, but as you're describing, I'm going to be better off. If I remove that sort of emotional toxicity, that was normal way To feel because it's only burdening me.

Hanh:

Yeah.

Paul:

It's not hurting anyone else. It's me. Now that's hard to do-Hanh. There's a reason why you get a big benefit from forgiveness, cause it's such a hard thing to do, but it's well worth the practice. It is. And.

Hanh:

When you say no, not forgetting, I think if you choose to live in it, you only poisoning. Yourself and the doer may or may not have even given it much thought. So. So you got to protect your brain your soul, Your healing, and be selfish about it because you're doing this for yourself.

Paul:

Spot on. Yeah. When you were talking to just there, that's what I was thinking. It's really important to maintain our real estate within our here's the brain, because then you're going to be so much better for everybody else is that you have a lot of topics on care giving. And, you one of the Things you've talked about is that a great, it's hard to be a caregiver and a caregiver will break down. So to be the best caregiver, you've got to be strong. And so taking care of yourself first is selfish, but it's selfish in a positive way to be the best you can be to help other people.

Hanh:

You can't get what you don't have.

Paul:

Yeah. Yeah. You're spot on. That's right.

Hanh:

All right. So which of the following would you best describe about what. You think about therapy? Let's say therapy is an industry for those who feel sad or therapy is a tool for self-growth or therapy as an emerging technology supplementing traditional mental health care tools?

Paul:

Yeah. So like cycle therapy as a form of therapy is very, it's Very positive. And it's got a lot of research backing up. It's been around for hundreds of years and it really Is the process of speaking and listening and experiencing to heal. Oftentimes we don't talk. Okay. I mentioned this point earlier with our culture, the way it is today, we don't talk enough about what we're going through with COVID or other things. And it turns out most of us started feeling the same thing. Once you start talking about it, and that can be very therapeutic, itself. Um, So psychotherapy and the different forms of psychotherapy and counseling are very powerful. They're not going to go away. I would really encourage them to continue. But, there's other, There's other forms of therapy as well for people in the form of exercise has been shown to be a very good antidepressant. You know, We do, and I've already talked about getting rid of toxins in our body through acts Of kindness and forgiveness. We've talked about mindfulness, meditation, prayer. All of these Things are kind of anti-depressant. And are natural sort of ways of helping us gain balance again. So they're All very important. Again, this gets back to knowing yourself what works best for you, and then going with that.

Hanh:

So is it possible to be happy and healthy and still have anxiety? And depression symptoms that, goes in and. Out over time, like seasons? And if so, So why aren't we focusing on finding the happiness treating the symptoms?

Paul:

Well, that's right. I, all of us have. It's a continuum. It's not, you're depressed. You're not depressed. You're not anxious. You are anxious. It's a continuum that we all have given me the healthiest, emotionally stable person in the world. And I'll show you a person who has days where they have moments of sadness and anxiety. If you didn't feel sad and you didn't feel anxious, you probably were going to get in trouble because something is threatening or stressing you that you're not paying attention to. So the ability to bring, appreciate that men to feel anxious, which you should feel or depressed what you should feel given that is a good thing. It's when it and indeed A clinical diagnosis of depression requires two weeks of that. Okay. And it has to impact daily living skills. Or your ability to function. I can't get to work on my schoolwork's falling behind. My relationships are a, this kind of so all of These emotions are very normal. It's our ability to understand Them, to manage them, to see them sometimes as a normal reaction. But the thing you're talking about, which is important is we all have to kind of work on being positive. Because believe it or not, our DNA or genes are set up to be negative. And the reason they're set up to be negative is we have to perceive that, which is stressful. Life-threatening to survive. And if you don't do that, you're not going to survive. Dinosaurs used to chase them. So animals used to chase us. You have to know what is threatening to us. Today, we don't have that so much, but we can do a much better job focusing in on what is positive in our life. I tried to do that. I, I need to continue to try to do that. I'm not always the best at that. But I can, I can at least be mindful of it and I can get to a point where I can say, you know what, here's the positive with this? No, give me the worst situation. Here's the pond. And that helps us adjust and The people that you probably have on your show quite a bit, or you know. Those folks that are living the longest and that are you know, Surviving the longest. Those are individuals who have adjusted in their lives just meant is in resilience is so very important.

Hanh:

Very true. Yes. I have some pretty smart folks who have been guessed and given really great advice overall, overall living, Healthy living and longevity. And of course, God forbid, is your healthy. Client cognition, decline. There's still life. And they all emphasize the fact that's what. We ought to focus on, right. Where we are and forward and not just the decline. So I hear you now let's talk a little bit about, I'd like to know your thoughts. I think you mentioned a little bit earlier, but let's go into a little deeper dive. What are your thoughts on how politicalization of everything has caused turmoil in society? Yeah, I, it's sort the elephant

Paul:

In the room, right? It's like I get asked to do these talks on COVID and. COVID is, is has been Very difficult for all of us. Right. Sort of in the corner next to COVID is this hyper politicization of everything. I mean, everything, since the Time I was a little boy this is a Very different feel. I think for All of us. And so that makes it difficult because now we have literally situations where, professional Athletics has become politicized. Relationships Have become politicized. I know people that don't date a certain person because of political thoughts or have broken off engagements because of political thoughts or who won't go to Thanksgiving dinner in a couple of weeks because of political thoughts. And, as a psychologist That's not healthy. Instead of The things that I'm trying to get folks to do is to think about this. It's a great question. You're helping us think about it, to talk about it. And to understand That there was a day when we could have differences of opinion and not personalize it and then go to dinner. There was a day and it wasn't that long ago and everybody Should go vote. But in the meantime, debate policies And think about policies and contribute to policies, but don't personalize it. So, nobody's a Nazi, nobody is, a racist, Nobody is the devil because you have a certain thought, at least the majority of people are not. Okay. We might have a difference of opinion, this gets us back to acts of kindness. And we've gotten To a point now where it's gotten physical, it's gotten in your face, it's gotten threatening, you know, And that's not who we are. And there again, the vast majority of Americans and people across the planet, they're not bad people. They're not threatening. They're not physically assaulting people. And so we Have to be very careful with who it is. That's trying to get us to do certain things and to think certain ways and to get back to who we are. And, you know, Hahn I know you a little bit, I don't know you that well, I don't know most of the people, maybe that when I go down the road here, but I'm willing to think that they're not much different than me. They want good things for people. They want good things for their family. Don't want to hate. They're not hating people. They're not aggressive people that are angry people, but we've let Our, we've let ourselves get into a position because of the media bombardment, because of the messages that are hitting us so often, but feeling anger. Not angry people are feeling angry. Non-depressed people are feeling depressed. And so, that's where I think we need sort of a groundswell of everyone saying, let's just take a deep breathe. Let's get back to being who we are. Let's block out the messengers that are trying to divide us was at the end of the day. We're the Same. We're the same. We're the same people. We're the same family. We're humans on a planet. And that stuff is important To remember.

Hanh:

Very true. And I think if we alienate folks with different politics and religion, that's over half of the world, it's a lonely. Life. It's a very, a life with a lot of hatred.

Paul:

Yeah. And that's good.

Hanh:

So, right, right. So do you think that we can ever work together as a country united without so much decisiveness again?

Paul:

Oh, gosh, you got to hope so, right. I mean, you've got to believe that even you can't, I'm a person who and I'll Bet you I'll bet you I'm describing most people that are on your show or most people across the planet. When, when We interact with one another, we learn about one another. I don't look at you and see a different gender, a different skin color, a different age, or a different religion, or a different this or different that I want to know about. Hanh. Okay. And that's the way I treat folks. And and I work Hard at that and I really don't want to be. In a situation where folks are going to think differently because this person only makes so much money. That person only has that many years of school. This person is a different color skin. This person has different politics. This person is religious, not religious. We get along everybody because everybody is worth loving and it may sound corny and I'm an academic and I've got all these academic credentials and I'm telling you, this is where we need to be. It's not the Fancy high-tech stuff. It's we got to get back to basics of just being kind to one another listening and any time that a conversation or her feeling goes personal back off, cause it's not that. And so I have A lot of concerns just from the psychological. Tone and tenor of our country. Right now, I do my little part. I try to, when I have My talks at these kinds of opportunities, I try to raise these things. You know, Because there's, this is still the greatest country on the planet. People come here freedom is Critically important. That's not a political statement. That's a health statement. And we have to be, open-handed to, to everyone that's here, you have to Have order, you have to have laws. It has to be a structure. But, um, the Day-to-day stuff is what I'm concerned about. Hanh. When I see people, being attacked or people getting Physically harmed when I see stories being looted, when I see you know, People not relating to one another, because a certain person has a belief that's not Who we are. That's, that's not who we are and we gotta get back to who we are. We're good. We're good people.

Hanh:

So you believe that it's a response. It's our responsibility to fight against decisiveness and fear-mongering even if it leads to conflict? Yeah. But I would say history is

Paul:

Filled with heroes who you know, Gandhi, you know, folks who Have had civil disobedience, if you will. The way I think about that is we have to be able to be confident to assert goodness. And this is where that higher call comes. This is where it's not earth bound. You, you, You may take everything from me as an example, metaphorically, because I have the courage to say the things, maybe I'm Saying right now, but you can't take my soul. You can't take who I am. Um, and if We're afraid of standing up and sort of in a respectful, dignified, positive way of speaking, then the answer to your question before is going to be, no, I don't think we're going to be able to come together as a country because we need people to say who we are and not to be afraid to say, look, this is who I am, We're not An angry country. We're not a, we don't hurt one another. That's not normal. And it causes a lot of psychological problems. There's a lot of anxiety out there right now because people don't feel that they have control. They don't like the direction things are going. And that's Not a political statement. That's, we don't like to be in an environment where there's a lot of angry people or where there's a lot of fighting going on. And so we Have the power to change that and it can Be done in a very. Appropriate Way and it comes from small acts of kindness on a daily basis.

Hanh:

Yeah, what wisdom? I love it. I appreciate your time passing on, from a scientific. Perspective, but also from a humanity perspective and a spiritual, I think we all need that. You know, so I appreciate it very much. And do you have anything else that you would like to add? It would just

Paul:

Be that look. I want everybody To feel empowered that they can shape their brains And shape their environments and shape their children and their families and a very health promoting brain health, promoting things. We talk about Hahn a very loving way. And we, we Do have the ability to make this even better country for my two grandchildren that we talked about in the beginning of the show and for everybody's Grandchildren, we really have that ability, but we gotta get Back to who we are and be the loving people that we are and treat people with respect and dignity, and always remember unite don't divide unite.

Hanh:

And I hope whether you're listening or watching. It's clear now that neuroscience has uncovered the spiritual capacity in underpinnings of the human brain. Revealing that we are capable of healing, our emotions and spirituality. So if you're interested in exploring how neuro spiritual practices can bring emotional balance in your life, reach out. And I thank you so much for listening and until next time.

Paul:

Thank you.