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Building Emotional Resilience: Bounce Back from Adversity

Resilience 101

“More than education, more than experience, more than training, a person’s level of resilience will determine who succeeds and who fails. That’s true in the cancer ward, it’s true in the Olympics, and it’s true in the boardroom.”   Dean Becker, CEO Adaptiv Learning Systems

Emotional resilience is incredibly important to health, happiness, and success. If you are looking for professional success- resilience is one of the qualities shared by the super achieving elite (think Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Michael Phelps). Want to be healthier? Stress contributes to health problems including heart failure, weight gain, and insomnia and emotional resilience decreases stress.

What is resilience? More importantly, how do I become resilient?

At its core, emotional resilience is simply the ability to bounce back from the inevitable challenges of life. Ok, theoretically that makes sense but it does beg the question, HOW? Read more

Lab Testing For Brain Health And Depression

Don’t Confuse Medical Ailments with Depression 

A college coed’s fatigue and lack of concentration seem like depression but signal a thyroid imbalance that medication can correct.

A middle aged CEO has his first episode of depression. Apathetic, with loss of mental clarity, he was diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure.

An ex-football player complained of chronic pain and anxiety. He was deficient in vitamin B12, folate, and vitamin D. Turns out he was drinking excessively to treat his pain. The resultant vitamin deficiencies actually made his pain and irritability worse.

More than 100 medical disorders masquerade as mental illness. Medical conditions may cause 25% of mental health issues. With chronic inflammation being a common element in depression, diabetes, heart disease, anxiety, and thyroid disease, it is important to get laboratory tests.

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Improve Cognitive Health- Best Supplements

Supplements for Cognitive HealthAs recently as ten years ago, depression was exclusively labeled as a chemical imbalance in the brain and treated as such. We know better now, and we are striving to do better. The generally held concept of depression as a “chemical imbalance” has essentially been debunked. Rather than an imbalance of serotonin, dopamine, or norepinephrine (neurotransmitters), depression and anxiety actually begin further up the chain of events in our brains. Depression is more directly linked to effects of chronic inflammation on the brain. Thus, the emphasis is shifting. Instead of only antidepressants (SSRI, SNRI, TCAs), we are including adjunctive use of supplements to decrease brain inflammation.

The research currently being done supports this claim. A paper published in the American Journal of Psychiatry June 1, 2016 concluded that there was strong evidence to support adjunctive use of SAMe, methylfolate, Omega-3, and vitamin D with antidepressants to reduce depressive symptoms.

My 35 years of clinical experience has supported these findings, so I will share my recommendations for supplements to protect your brain much like a cardiologist protects the heart from the effects of inflammation. As with our heart, it’s more important to treat the root cause of anxiety and depression- inflammation of the brain, than just the symptoms. Read more

The Painful Evolution of Inflammation

We are in trouble.  As a culture, we are sick.  One in eight people suffer from clinical depression. Forty million people suffer from anxiety.  Heart disease is the leading cause of death across ethnicities accounting for 1 in 4 deaths. Ten percent of Americans suffer from diabetes. Twenty percent of Americans suffer from autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. We spend millions of dollars annually in treating and managing these diseases, but we are losing the battle. The common pathway to all this destruction?  Chronic systemic inflammation inherited by our evolutionary forefathers.Inflammation and Depression and Brain Fog

We tend to separate mental health disorders from physical diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. But if we want to understand the rising incidence of disease-both mental and physical- we need to look at the evolution of our bodies immune response to threats.

INFLAMMATION THEN (Caveman)

Early man was besieged by danger.  We fought predators and the threat of physical harm.  Fight or flight. Our bodies were equipped to adapt to those threats that challenged our survival. And it was supported primarily by an inflammatory response created by our immune system. Our immune systems fought against bacteria, viruses, cholera, the plague, polio, and measles.  Our immune response was appropriate to the threat.  When we got infections, our bodies reacted with inflammation.  We got fevers, we experienced pain, and we became immobile.  We acted sick.  We retreated.  We slept.  We hunkered down and allowed our bodies to fight the fight for us. Read more

Feel Like a Fraud? Exposing The Imposter Syndrome

All too often, highly accomplished people walk around feeling like imposters.  Truth be told, I feel that way occasionally. Recently, I was talking with two friends and realized we had each faced decisions where our initial response was to feel overwhelmed, under-prepared, and generally fraudulent.  Meet Christine and Steven-my two friends.

shutterstock_133637873Christine recently accepted a new VP position and it was a great step for her. She had been courted by the CEO, offered a salary increase (to the tune of 40%!) and asked to take on exciting responsibilities. Yet, she was miserable. When she talked about this new opportunity, several things emerged. Read more

Gratitude: Counting Your Blessings Works For Your Brain, Your Body, And Your Business- Really!

I was infuriated with my assistant. My wife was making me crazy. My colleagues were insufferable. It was just one of those weeks where nothing went smoothly. And then I had an “AH HA” moment.
GratitudeFor the third time in a row I heard my inner voice explode, “These people are all idiots!” Confession? When I am struggling, I see idiocy around me because my brain is looking for it. The brain is a wonderful thing…it will find proof for what it already believes is true. (Known in the biz as confirmation bias.) Fortunately, over time I have become more effective at recognizing this pattern. As I am the only common link between the people irritating the shit out of me-I may be the problem. Read more

Why Your Lizard Brain is Making You Stupid- Understanding Blind Spots

“Although we assume intelligence is a buffer against bias…it can actually be a subtle curse.” 

Jonah Lehrer- “Why Smart People are Stupid”

Chances are you have heard the term Blind Spot or Cognitive Bias.  Social and traditional media are full of discussions about Blind Spots and their effects.  But if Lehrer is correct, you are most likely dismissing them as irrelevant. Articles aimed at avoiding your blind spots and their damaging effects “don’t really apply to me.”  Or you smugly respond, “I can name three different blind spots of mine-clearly I can avoid them (and by the way, I am smarter than everyone else who can’t!)”
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Why “Those Idiots” Can’t Appreciate Your Great Ideas

Have you ever had a colleague, client or employee come to you with a really difficult personal or business problem? Can you recall listening intently and asking lots of questions to make sure you had a good handle on what was really going on before you offered canstockphoto7984784the perfect solution to the problem? How frustrating was it when the person failed to see the obvious genius of your idea? Have you ever muttered the phrase, “If this idiot doesn’t want a solution, why is he wasting my time with his stupid problem?”

If this sounds, familiar you will appreciate the situation of one of my clients, Richard. Incredibly bright, and articulate, Richard had successfully built two separate businesses into multi-million dollar enterprises. Passionate about his work, driven to success, he looked like an ideal CEO. Read more