Welcome to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast where we provide support for school leadership and the workplace with a proven approach for implementing social and emotional learning as it’s well-known in our schools today and emotional intelligence in the modern workplace, with a proven strategy to increase well-being, achievement and results, backed by the most current neuroscience research.
CEO of Fisher Wallace Laboratories Kelly Roman on "Wearable Medical Devices for Anxiety, Depression, and Sleep/Stress Management"
Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast episode #108 with Kelly Roman, the Co-Founder and CEO of Fisher Wallace Laboratories[i], an FDA-regulated manufacturer of wearable medical devices for the treatment of insomnia, anxiety and depression, as well as wellness devices for sleep and stress management (Circadia®).
Watch the interview on YouTube here.
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.
Welcome to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast. My name is Andrea Samadi, and if you are new here, I’m a former educator who created this podcast to bring the most current neuroscience research, along with high performing experts who have risen to the top of their field, with specific strategies or ideas that you can implement immediately to take your results to the next level. I can’t tell you how excited I am to speak with Kelly Roman today, as we have been on the topic of mental health and well-being on this podcast for the past few months, because this is an area that most people are interested in these days. There’s a serious need here.
When I was covering the most important brain-health strategies, after watching the Alzheimer’s: The Science of Prevention Documentary[ii] last year, it became clear that sleep was one of the top 5 health staples that we should all be aware of. I covered this last December with a review of these top 5 health staples[iii] where getting a good quality sleep was a staple that is shown as an Alzheimer’s prevention strategy.
When I was first introduced to Kelly Roman, and saw that the company he co-founded, Fisher Wallace Labs has created wearable devices to help improve sleep, while also treating anxiety and depression, I wanted to learn more. If you take one look at their website, you can see their appearance on the TV Show, the Drs. where a patient shares that she has been wearing the device for just a week, and is already sleeping better. The more I began to research this company, and their wearable devices, the more excited I became.
I started to think up what questions I would ask our guest, and wondered:
If these devices are helping people to improve sleep, and reduce anxiety and depression, what else could they possibly do?
Could a wearable device help to improve someone’s mood and consequently help someone who struggles with addiction to stay sober?
The questions could go on…let’s see what Kelly Roman, the co-founder of Fisher Wallace Laboratories has to say.
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Welcome Kelly, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today. I’ve got to say that my mind was going 100 miles an hour when I was creating your questions. An FDA-regulated manufacturer of wearable medical devices for the treatment of insomnia, anxiety and depression, as well as wellness devices for sleep and stress management—we can go in so many directions here. But I’ve got to start with sleep--
Q1: We’ve created a clear case on this podcast over the past 6 months for the importance of getting a good night sleep as it’s one of the top 5 health staples that we should all be aware of for Alzheimer’s Prevention. Can you explain what you are focused on at Fisher Wallace (wearable home use vs other forms- Electro Convulsive Therapy/Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) how do these devices work, and how does this improve someone’s sleep?
Q2: Kelly, my husband is a volunteer for the Maricopa Sheriff’s office here in Phoenix, he’s a commander for one volunteer units, and the stories I hear from those working in police
Behavior Analyst and Author Jessica Minahan on her book "The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students"
Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast episode #107 with Jessica Minahan[i], the author of The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students[ii] In this much needed book, based on a collaboration dating back nearly a decade, the authors Jessica Minahan, a behavioral analyst and Nancy Rappaport, a child psychiatrist—reveal their systematic approach for deciphering causes and patterns of difficult behaviors and how to match them with proven strategies for getting students back on track to learn.
Watch the interview on YouTube here.
My name is Andrea Samadi, and if you are new here, I’m a former educator who created this podcast to bring the most current neuroscience research, along with high performing experts who have risen to the top of their field, with specific strategies or ideas that you can implement immediately, whether you are an educator, or in the corporate space, to take your results to the next level. If you have ever heard my story of where my career began, you would know why I would be so interested to speak with Jessica about the strategies in The Behavior Code. My first job out of The University of Toronto’s Faculty of Education, was a behavioral class. I felt overwhelmed and frustrated by the lack of resources to manage and teach my students and this was one of the catalysts that drew me towards social and emotional learning in the late 1990s. If only I had read this book back then, I wouldn’t have struggled so much.
Let me tell you more about Jessica:
She is a licensed and board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA), author, special educator, and consultant to schools internationally. Since 2000 she has worked with students who struggle with mental health issues and challenging behavior in public school systems. She specializes in training staff and creating behavior intervention plans for students who demonstrate explosive and unsafe behavior. She also works with students who have emotional and behavioral disabilities, anxiety disorders, or high-functioning Autism. Her particular interest is to serve these students by combining behavioral interventions with a comprehensive knowledge of best practices for those with complex mental health profiles and learning needs.
She is a blogger on The Huffington Post[iii], the author of The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students,[iv] with Nancy Rappaport (Harvard Education Press, 2012), and author of The Behavior Code Companion: Strategies, Tools, and Interventions for Supporting Students with Anxiety-Related or Oppositional Behaviors [v](Harvard Education Press, 2014).]
She holds a Bachelor in Science in Intensive Special Education from Boston University and a dual master’s degree in Special Education and Elementary Education from Wheelock College. She has a certificate of graduate study (CGS) in teaching children with Autism from the University of Albany and received her BCBA training from Northeastern University in Boston. She is sought-after internationally to speak on subjects ranging from effective interventions for students with anxiety to supporting hard-to-reach students in full-inclusion public school settings.
How did I come across Jessica’s work?
A couple of Saturday mornings ago, I was at my desk getting caught up from the week, and an email came in from Greg Wolcott, who I mention often on the podcast. He’s an assistant superintendent from Chicago who has not only been a guest a couple of times on the podcast, but is a huge supporter. He often brainstorms ideas, topics, and guest speakers with me, and this time, when he sent me Jessica’s name, and told me that he was on a webinar with her, and that I should take a look at her work, I knew I needed to speak with her the minute I
Review of Neuroscientist and Best-Selling Author Dr. Caroline Leaf's "Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess" Coming March 2nd!
Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast episode #106. This episode is a deep dive into Dr. Carolyn Leaf's NEW book that is coming out March 2, 2021 and App "Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess." Stay tuned for the interview that will be released on March 1, 2021.
My name is Andrea Samadi, and if you are new here, I’m a former educator who created this podcast to bring the most current neuroscience research, along with high performing experts who have risen to the top of their field, with specific strategies or ideas that you can implement immediately, whether you are an educator, or in the corporate space, to take your results to the next level. If we want to improve our social, emotional and cognitive abilities, it all starts with an understanding of our brain.
This week we are going to take a deep dive into the work of Dr. Carolyn Leaf[i], as we did record a bonus interview with her this week, but this episode will be released on March 1st, one day before the release of her new book, Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess: 5 Simple, Scientifically Proven Steps to Reduce Anxiety, Stress and Toxic Thinking.[ii]
This book is timely and important, backed by clinical research and illustrated with compelling case studies, where Dr. Leaf provides a scientifically proven five-step plan to find and eliminate the root of anxiety, depression, and intrusive thoughts in your life so you can experience dramatically improved mental and physical health. This 5 step plan will build a healthy new and automated neural network in 63 days, the length of time to properly build a new habit.
Dr. Leaf told me “I truly believe that mental mess is something we all experience often and that it isn’t something we should be ashamed of. She mentions that “this is my profession, and I still have to clean up my mind daily. The events and circumstances of life aren’t going anywhere; people make a lot of decisions every day that affect us all, suffering of some sort for you and your loved ones is inevitable. That said, I wholeheartedly believe that although the events and circumstances can’t be controlled, we can control our reactions to these events and circumstances. This is mind-management in action!” Which to me is exactly what self-regulation is all about.
Dr. Leaf leverages the strategies she has developed working with patients over the last 38 years (which to me is shocking since she doesn’t look a day over 35, but she was doing research in the 1980s that complements the work that Dr. Daniel Amen was doing back then) and she’s taken her years of research to teach her readers how to foster and cultivate the power of their own thinking and direct their own brain changes. Mind-management, when done correctly, helps facilitate talk between the conscious, the subconscious, and the nonconscious mind. This, in turn, gets brainwaves flowing in a healthy way, optimizing brain function. This is done by implementing the Neurocycle, a simple, clinically researched mind-management tool for personal use to address anxiety, depression, toxic thinking, inability to concentrate, irritability, exhaustion and burnout before they take over your mind.
Last week I was speaking with my good friend Nancy, who asked me what book I was currently reading, and I shared with her that I was reading Dr. Leaf’s book to prepare for her interview, and that her book was coming out on March 2nd so it wasn’t out just yet. My friend went over to Amazon, read the title description, and told me “I need this book NOW” so I decided to release a deep dive into Dr. Leaf’s work so we can all prepare for the release of this important book, become familiar with her research and get a head start at Cleaning Up our Mental Mess.
I’ll share the back story to how I came across Dr. Leaf’s work when I release her bonus episode
Dr. Kelley Munger and Megan Marcus from FuelEd Schools "Developing Emotionally Intelligent Educators Who Create Relationship-Driven Schools"
Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast, episode #105 with Dr. Keeley Munger (researcher) and Megan Marcus, (founder) of FuelEd, a non-profit organization that builds educator emotional intelligence and relationship-driven schools.
Watch the interview on YouTube here.
Here’s some background on our guests today, before we get into the questions:
Megan Marcus holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California at Berkeley and masters’ degrees in psychology from Pepperdine University and in education, policy, & management from Harvard University. She served as lead researcher for the book, The Social Neuroscience of Education: Optimizing Attachment & Learning in the Classroom,[i] which explores how teacher-student relationships trigger neural plasticity and optimal academic, social and emotional learning. Her experiences working on this book while training to be a counselor served as both inspiration and the research foundations for FuelEd.
Dr. Kelley Munger crafts and executes research projects that enhance our understanding of social and emotional development in educational environments while also bridging the gap between science and practice. What a perfect match for the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning podcast. Welcome Megan and Kelley.
When I saw that you were focused on educator SEL at FuelEd and that my career began as a classroom teacher over 20 years ago with a classroom of behavioral students that I couldn’t manage, I knew I had to speak with you and learn more about what you have built with FuelEd that is having such a significant impact on our schools. Thanks so much for being here today.
I know how important educator SEL is from not only all of the SEL experts that I have been interviewing on this podcast, but personally since I found my first year of teaching behavioral students to be extremely difficult without any emotional intelligence skills to draw from, since these skills were left out of my teacher training. Can you tell me more about why you decided to focus on working directly with educators instead of students at FuelEd?
I did an episode when I first launched this podcast on the Why Behind Implementing an SEL program in your school or District, or an emotional intelligence program in the workplace, but with all of your research, What do you think is the best starting place when it comes to helping educators grow socially and emotionally?
We all know that it was an incredibly difficult year (last year) with many schools thrown into distance learning last spring with the start of the Pandemic. How do you see this year impacting the emotional lives of educators specifically?
What do you think educators will need in order to address the large-scale trauma and stress they have experienced this year?
It’s been a few years now, but in 2018 I entered an educational policy contest to see if I could help put more of a focus on educator well-being with this awareness.
The premise of the paper that I wrote that didn’t win the contest, but was a great learning experience, was that “Teaching has become a high-stress occupation, leading to educator burnout, demoralization1 in the profession, and eventual instructor dropout, creating a negative impact on society and costing $7.3B in the United States with all of the training that needs to occur. Recent studies have shown that “students’ cortisol levels were much higher if the educator was overwhelmed or experiencing burn-out.”3 “People are finally seeing what negative stress does to the body, what that does to the psyche, and what it does to school engagement. I spent hours researching this topic and met some incredible people who were doing research in this area. When I first began presenting on the topic of stress and the brain in 2016, I saw
Sleep Scientist Antonio Zadra on "When Brains Dream: Exploring the Science and Mystery of Sleep."
Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast, episode #104.
Watch this interview on YouTube here.
Our guest today came to me when I was referred to his book on one of my neuro-coaching training calls with Mark Robert Waldman[i], from episode #30 when I asked a question that was sent to me from a close friend from the UK, on dreams. Mark Waldman told me that he was anxiously awaiting the NEW book, When Brains Dream: Exploring the Science and Mystery of Sleep[ii] and I immediately looked up the book, and contacted the author, Antonio Zadra, to appear on our podcast. He agreed, and the rest is history!
Before I get to the interview, I want to give you a bit more background information on this book, and the authors, and what you can expect before picking it up. I’ve got to say that what I expected from this book, continually changed as I began to read it, and it took me deeper and deeper into the mysterious world of our dreams.
Antonio Zadra and Robert Stickgold bring together state-of-the-art neuroscientific ideas and findings to propose a new and innovative model of dream function called NEXTUP—Network Exploration to Understand Possibilities. By detailing this model’s workings, they help readers understand key features of several types of dreams, from prophetic dreams to nightmares and lucid dreams. When Brains Dream reveals recent discoveries about the sleeping brain and the many ways in which dreams are psychologically, and neurologically, meaningful experiences; The book explores a host of dream-related disorders; and explains how dreams can facilitate creativity and be a source of personal insight.
Antonio Zadra[iii] is a professor at the Université de Montréal and a researcher at the Center for Advanced Research in Sleep Medicine. He has appeared on PBS's Nova and BBC's Horizon.
Welcome Tony, thank you so much for agreeing to share more about your new book, When Brains Dream today.
Q1: Tony, when we first spoke, I mentioned to you that I had been writing down my dreams since the late 1990s (off and on) it started when the speaker, Bob Proctor from episode #66[iv], who I worked for, suggested that I could learn a lot of insight from journaling about dreams, but nothing was more powerful than my first conversation with you. You taught me a valuable lesson, that “we cannot interpret other people’s dreams, only our own.” Can you share why this is important for all of us to understand, as we all probably have the same urge to ask “what does this dream mean?” and what should we be thinking of asking instead when searching for meaning with our dreams? (Ch 12 Working with Dreams).
Q2: How can readers use your model NEXTUP (Network Exploration to Understand Possibilities) to understand prophetic dreams, nightmares or lucid dreams?
Q3: Before we look at working with dreams, can you explain that while Freud’s influence on dreams was great, (you cover his influence in Chapter 3) what powerful scientific and clinical work was being done on dreams way before Freud?
Q4: What made you become interested in studying about dreams, and becoming a dream scientist?
Q5: I have to ask, the biggest question about dreaming that you cover in chapter 7. Why do we dream? I always thought our dreams were our wishes or fears, something from the past, unresolved issues, and something triggered by a current event. What would you say? Why do we dream?
Q6: What are the contents of most dreams and how can they facilitate creativity and have our dreams be a source of personal insight?
6 PART B Also, you mention in chapter 12 that “20 percent of dream material can be confidently traced to waking-life sources.” Where is the rest of 80% coming from? Our non-conscious? The collective consciousness that I know you mentioned.
Q7: When we were talking about 2 of my dreams before this call, y
The Neuroscience of Leadership: 3 Ways to Reset, Recharge and Refuel Your Brain for Your Best Year Ever
Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning podcast, episode #103, where we will cover “The Neuroscience of Leadership: How to Reset, Recharge and Refuel Your Brain for Your Best Year Ever.” As we are now well into the New Year of 2021, with 2020 behind us as a distant but not forgotten memory, have you taken the time to close out the old year and welcome in the new? Whatever planning activity you do, I’ve added some ideas to this episode that I’ve collected over the years of working directly with the top leaders in motivation and success that really do add new energy to fuel this new year, with practical neuroscience tied to each strategy. The idea is to look at your year with your brain in mind and see if this new lens can create the best year ever for you.
We all intuitively know that there’s a mental energy boost that comes along with “being ahead” of the game, and for those who work in our classrooms, you know that this year, getting ahead with our students looks much different than prior years, with perhaps a phone call before the start of the year to welcome your new students, break the ice, or tie something personal into your lessons that helps you to quickly connect on a deeper level, setting the tone for your year.
Getting ahead also translates into the workplace, with significant advantages in sales, for instance, knowing and planning where your sales will come from and having a solid pipeline, sets the tone for the rest of the year, much like the sports team who gets that first point early in the game, there’s a competitive advantage to this that builds momentum. Many people will be starting new jobs or careers with the mergers and resets that occurred from 2020, and the strategies that I am going to share with you, will be relevant to those of us who are starting something new, looking to refuel for a new year, recharge our batteries in 2021, shift, pivot and building momentum early, to set the rhythm for your best year ever.
For those who work as entrepreneurs, this is the way we launch every year. For me, it’s been since I left the corporate space in 2012, so this will be my ninth New Year implementing these strategies. The first year, on Day One of working on my own, I remember calling my good friend Patti Knoles, who had been in business for herself for many years, and saying “Patti, I’m so scared! What if what I am planning to do doesn’t work out?” I don’t remember exactly what she said, but I do remember where I was at the time, and that whatever she said made me feel better. I think she said something like “how will you know if you don’t try?” and she was right—that’s the same words of wisdom that I give to those people, including one of my former sales managers, who called me after they have made this leap recently, for any thoughts, ideas or suggestions on how to be successful working from home, for yourself.
Whether in business for ourselves, or working for someone else, it takes a certain mental mindset to be 100% in charge of our results—our day, income, and life, and I know that it can also be quite scary, so for those of you facing 2021 with this new lens, here are some strategies that you can implement that will put you ahead of the game mentally, which I’m confident will change your results and set you up, for your best year ever.
Idea #1: Create Early Wins to Increase Motivation, Creativity and Overcome Challenges.
Michael D. Watkins, the cofounder of Genesis Advisers, a leadership development company, and the author of The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels[i] shares that “the single most important principle to making a successful transition in times of change, is to get early wins to build momentum fast.”[ii]
We talked about this in the introduction, how achieving ear