The Mental Health Doctor: Your Phone Screen & Sitting Is Destroying Your Brain!

The Mental Health Doctor: Your Phone Screen & Sitting Is Destroying Your Brain!

Intro (00:00:00)

  • 72% of people are struggling with stress.
  • 70% have at least one feature of burnout.
  • Mental health problems are on the rise.
  • Stress is higher than ever.
  • 60-80% of patient visits have a stress-related component.
  • 60% of people with burnout had an inability to disconnect from work.
  • 2/3 of parents have burnout.
  • 330 million people go 2 weeks before speaking with anyone.

Is The World Getting More Stressed? (00:02:01)

  • Stress levels are unprecedented and affecting all industries and groups.
  • Mental health, stress, and burnout are finally getting the recognition they deserve.
  • 70% of people have at least one feature of burnout.
  • 72% of people are struggling with stress.
  • The past several years have been the most stressful of people's professional careers.
  • People are experiencing a delayed stress reaction due to the recent events.
  • The brain acts like a dam during acute stress, keeping emotions in check.
  • When the acute stressor is over, psychological defenses come down, and emotions emerge.
  • This delayed stress response is why people are not feeling the "Roaring 20s" as expected.
  • Increased rates of mental health issues are being observed.

What Are the Signs of Being Burnt Out? (00:06:45)

  • Burnout symptoms include anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, stress-related disorders, and a general feeling of malaise or fatigue.
  • Burnout is different from acute stress.
  • Acute stress is managed by the prefrontal cortex, while chronic stress is governed by the amygdala.
  • The amygdala triggers the fight or flight response, which is designed for acute threats.
  • Modern-day stressors are chronic and keep the fight or flight response constantly activated.
  • Burnout occurs when the brain doesn't get time to rest and recharge.
  • Burnout symptoms have changed, with atypical features becoming more common.
  • Atypical burnout includes an inability to disconnect from work, even if engaged and motivated.
  • Addiction to work can be a sign of atypical burnout.
  • Burnout is often unrecognized due to changing definitions and stigma.
  • Two-thirds of parents experience burnout, and rates range from 60-70% in various sectors.
  • Burnout matters because the brain and body need rest and recovery.

Work Addiction & Burnout Linked (00:13:56)

  • Burnout is not conducive to longevity and having a long life.
  • Toxic resilience is productivity at all costs and a mind over matter mindset.
  • True resilience is honoring boundaries, making space and time for rest, and focusing on self-compassion.

Toxic Resilience (00:16:23)

  • Resilience is our innate biological ability to adapt, recover, and grow in the face of life's challenges.
  • Toxic resilience is a manifestation of hustle culture and is promoted by corporations and large companies.
  • True resilience needs rest and recovery and is not meant to be toxic.

The 5 Resets to Deal with Stress (00:22:29)

  • Everyone has a "canary in the coal mine" or a physical manifestation of stress.
  • It's important to pay attention to these physical symptoms and take action to manage stress.
  • Stress can worsen existing medical conditions and cause new health problems.

Understanding If You Have Stress (00:27:51)

  • Stress can be difficult to admit, especially for those who associate stress with weakness.
  • Stress manifests through physical symptoms and is a normal human experience, not a sign of inadequacy.

Stress and the Brain (00:34:28)

  • The HPA axis (hypothalamus, pituitary gland, adrenal glands) is the main stress pathway in the brain and body.
  • Chronic stress leads to the constant activation of the HPA axis and elevated levels of cortisol, causing various negative effects.

Is Stress Contagious? (00:40:46)

  • Stress is not contagious like a virus or microbe.
  • However, emotions can be contagious, creating a toxic or positive environment.
  • The heart's electromagnetic field may play a role in transmitting emotions between individuals, but more research is needed.

The Therapeutic Encounter (00:47:15)

  • The therapeutic encounter involves creating a healing experience during interactions with others.
  • Healing and cure are distinct concepts, and the therapeutic encounter aims to provide a sense of healing rather than an immediate cure.

How to Have a Therapeutic Presence (00:35:10)

  • Therapeutic presence has been shown to have positive health outcomes, such as improved medication adherence, tighter glucose control, and decreased asthma flares.
  • It's not about the amount of time spent with someone, but the quality of time and how you spend it.
  • Some tips for creating a therapeutic presence include:
    • Being at eye level with the person you're talking to.
    • Mirroring their body language.
    • Being authentic and vulnerable.
    • Using your voice effectively.

Why You Should Stick to 2 Changes at a Time (00:43:06)

  • Our brains can only make two new changes at a time, even if they're positive changes.
  • Positive life changes are also a stress to the brain and body because they require adaptation.
  • Trying to make too many changes at once can lead to overwhelm and burnout.
  • Instead, focus on making two small changes at a time and building them into your life over time.
  • This will help you work with your biology of stress rather than against it and make change possible.

Your Stress Score and How to Improve It (00:48:29)

  • Stress can be managed by taking small, incremental steps.
  • The first step is to identify what matters most to you.
  • This can be done by using the acronym MOST: Motivating, Objective, Small, and Timely.
  • Setting goals that are motivating, objective, small, and timely can help you get out of survival mode and back into prefrontal cortex thinking.
  • A stress score can be used to assess your stress level and track your progress over time.

How Exercise Manages to Reduce Stress (00:53:50)

  • Exercise can help manage stress, even in small amounts.
  • Walking for 20 minutes a day can have significant benefits for stress reduction and overall health.
  • Exercise can help reduce anxiety and improve self-efficacy.
  • Movement is an antidote to the negative effects of sitting.

How Social Media Fuels Stress (00:58:01)

  • Popcorn brain is a biological phenomenon caused by overstimulation from excessive screen time.
  • It is characterized by constant information seeking and difficulty disengaging from online activities.
  • Popcorn brain is different from internet addiction, which is a diagnosable disorder that interferes with daily life.
  • When feeling stressed, people are more prone to popcorn brain as a way to scan for danger.
  • The goal is to decrease reliance on phones rather than limit social media use.
  • Creating digital boundaries and reconsidering our relationship with technology can improve mental health and well-being.

The Relationship Between Food and Stress (01:03:34)

  • Emotional eating is a common response to stress.
  • The amygdala, a part of the brain focused on survival, craves high-fat, high-sugar foods during stress.
  • Stress eating should not be a reason for self-criticism.
  • It takes 8 weeks to build a habit, and falling off the wagon is part of habit building.
  • Small, consistent actions are more effective than drastic changes in reducing stress.
  • A 15-minute walk can make a significant difference in stress biology.
  • The Goldilocks principle: human productivity functions on a bell-shaped curve, with an optimal level of stress for peak productivity.
  • Many people are currently to the right of the curve, experiencing high stress and low productivity.

The Importance of Taking Breaks (01:12:13)

  • Microsoft study showed that taking 10-minute breaks throughout the day can reduce stress, improve mood, and increase productivity.
  • Breaks help manage stress and bring us back to a state of "just right stress," which is necessary for optimal productivity.
  • Not all stress is bad; good stress (adaptive stress) is essential for growth and well-being, while bad stress (maladaptive stress) can be harmful.
  • Breaks help with neural consolidation, the process of cementing new information into knowledge.

Your Gut Health Impacts Your Stress (01:18:16)

  • Gut health is closely linked to mental health.
  • The gut microbiome, an ecosystem of healthy bacteria, plays a crucial role in regulating mood and other mental health aspects.
  • The gut contains more serotonin receptors than the brain, highlighting its importance in mood regulation.
  • Factors like sleep, diet, exercise, and stress reduction can positively impact gut health.
  • Prebiotic and probiotic foods can help maintain a healthy gut microbiome.

Reset Your Stress by Resetting Your Brain (01:21:11)

  • Resetting the gut-brain connection can help manage stress.
  • Various factors such as sleep, diet, exercise, and stress reduction contribute to gut health and overall well-being.
  • Focusing on prebiotic and probiotic foods can support a healthy gut microbiome.

All the Stuff That Is Making You Stressed! (01:21:50)

  • To maximize anxiety and stress:
    • Use your phone with high brightness and scroll through social media and news platforms.
    • Watch graphic content of negative events late at night.
    • Stay in bed or be sedentary, avoiding movement.
    • Skimp on sleep as much as possible.
    • Avoid spending time with others.
    • Keep the TV on in your bedroom at full volume all night.
    • Eat processed foods at irregular meal times, avoiding fruits, vegetables, and water.

Only 2% of the Population Can Actually Multitask (01:25:55)

  • Multitasking is a myth.
  • Only 2% of human brains can effectively multitask.
  • Multitasking decreases and weakens our prefrontal cortex.
  • Multitasking makes us more stressed.
  • The antidote to multitasking is monotasking.
  • Monotasking is time blocking.

Breathing Technique to Reduce Stress (01:29:35)

  • Diaphragmatic breathing is the most effective breathing technique to reduce stress.
  • Diaphragmatic breathing is belly breathing.
  • To do diaphragmatic breathing, put one hand on your belly and breathe in deeply, expanding your belly.
  • Exhale slowly through your mouth with pursed lips.
  • Stop breathing is another effective breathing technique to reduce stress.
  • To do stop breathing, simply stop whatever you're doing, breathe, and be present for 3 seconds.

The Science Behind Therapeutic Writing (01:35:40)

  • Therapeutic writing is writing about a traumatic event for 20-25 minutes a day for 4 consecutive days.
  • Therapeutic writing has been shown to be effective for improving mood, sleep, anxiety, irritability, GPA, and Hospital admissions.
  • Therapeutic writing helps with cognitive reframing, processing emotions, and expressing oneself.

Don’t Live in Autopilot, It’s Hurting You (01:39:13)

  • Autopilot living can lead to stress and regret, especially when sending messages or emails.
  • The antidote to hustle culture is to "live a lifetime in a day" by incorporating six elements into each day: childhood, work, solitude, vacation, family, and retirement.
  • This approach brings a sense of fulfillment and meaning to life.

Don’t Do This at Nighttime! (01:43:12)

  • Excessive phone use can lead to "popcorn brain" and "brain drain," even when the phone is nearby but not in use.
  • To combat this, implement a media diet with time limits, geographical limits (keeping the phone away from the workstation and off the nightstand), and logistical limits (creating digital boundaries).
  • Consuming graphic content, especially related to conflicts and disasters, can increase the risk of PTSD and other mental health conditions.
  • It's important to be an informed citizen but also to set digital boundaries to protect mental health.
  • Seek counseling and medical attention if experiencing difficulty sleeping or any signs of mood disorders, anxiety, depression, or thoughts of self-harm or harming others.

What Loneliness Is Doing to You (01:49:23)

  • Despite being hyperconnected, many people feel disconnected and lonely.
  • Loneliness is a global pandemic, with 330 million people globally going two weeks without speaking to anyone.
  • Loneliness has negative health effects, equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke by 30%, and shortening lifespan.

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