20 episodes

Neuroscience-based strategies for encouraging growth mindset, creativity, emotion regulation and resilience.

Mindset Neuroscience Podcast Stefanie Faye

    • Health & Fitness
    • 4.8 • 62 Ratings

Neuroscience-based strategies for encouraging growth mindset, creativity, emotion regulation and resilience.

    Season 2 Ep 10 - The Science of Feeling Understood

    Season 2 Ep 10 - The Science of Feeling Understood

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    Have you ever had the experience of feeling like someone really ‘gets you’?  

    This can take various forms - like being able to share what’s on our mind and the other person holding space for us to explain. It can also be reflected in their ability to mirror back what we are saying with their own words.  When I hear people talk about this experience, it often involves some form of dialogue.  

    But there are levels of this experience that are non verbal and that began a long time ago in preverbal forms.

    Many of us rely on talking to co-regulate and attempt to be understood. But it’s important for us to understand all of the signals, sensations and frequencies that occur underneath, before and beyond what we are actually saying.


    The tricky thing is that most of us aren't aware enough of how we move our body, eyes and face in ways that are based on our past experiences and that don't help us get what we really want from our relationships.


    These signals are part of our social nervous system.

    This system allows us to display signals to others that allow them to understand our internal experiences, and for us to know what another's internal state and intended action is towards us.  Without these mechanisms for transmitting and receiving these signals, we would miss out on information that is critical for our survival.


    There are so many ways that our brain-body system uses to portray what we are feeling inside to the external world.  It does this by creating audible, visible and mechanical signals so that someone else can hear, see and sense what might be going on for us.


    There are 6 aspects of this social frequency feedback system that I’ve integrated into a framework that has emerged from the years of work I’ve done in terms of:

    * measuring internal body and brain states (through heart rate variability, brainwaves, facial muscle movement and skin conductance),

    * neurocognitive testing (such as emotional bias),

    * behavioral observations of clients and patients who are having mental health, interpersonal and personal life challenges. 

    I’m combining this with perspectives from several additional researchers (papers listed below).  I go into each of these in detail in today’s podcast episode, but here is an overview:


    Signal Seeking & Expression:

    This is where we use the complex machinery of our facial muscles, eyes and voice to display and detect extraordinarily subtle signals that point to our internal state and intended action.


    The tiny, lightning fast movement of our eyes towards specific features in another 

    The movement of facial muscles (such as tiny muscles around our nose that can indicate disgust. These muscles can activate not just in terms of disgust at rotting food, but also in terms of moral disgust towards people we stereotype - see Lasana Harris’ work on this - I was one of his research assistants at NYU).https://www.ucl.ac.uk/pals/research/experimental-psychology/person/lasana-harris/

    The movement of muscles that change the frequency of our voice in accordance with our internal state and intended action

    The movement of our eardrums in parallel with our eye gaze (our eardrums move in the opposite direction of where our eyes have shifted) 


    • 45 min
    Season 2 Episode 9 – Hierarchies and Signal Flow

    Season 2 Episode 9 – Hierarchies and Signal Flow



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    Why do systems fall apart or become dysfunctional?


    A system can be a family, relationship, community, business, organization, society.  The human mind-brain-body is also a system.


    One reason dysfunction can happen is related to hierarchy and ‘signal flow’. Let’s go into both of these ideas.


    Hierarchies exist throughout nature and throughout human society. They are something that occur because of their ability to coordinate communication and signals from lower or small subsystems to a higher level that can interact with all the subsystems, either directly or indirectly.    An example of this is the brain.  It acts as a command center that receives and coordinates all the signals of the subsystems, such as the cells and organs, that make up the human organism.  If the cells and organs weren’t able to communicate with a higher order system, there would be no coherence or organization around a central goal.   A system needs a unified goal for all the subsystems to work towards.  


    This higher level of ‘command’ creates a hierarchy.  This hierarchical structure has nothing to do with which system has more rights or power, it is only to serve as a mechanism for signal flow for the subsystems.  The goal of the higher level of a hierarchy is to help with the optimal functioning of the subsystems so that they can do their job - whatever that may be.  The goal of the subsystems is to serve the goal of the entire system as a whole.  In the brain, the command features are closely tied to the frontal areas of the brain, particularly the prefrontal cortex.


    Hierarchies are best able to serve the system when there is efficient signal flow from subsystems to the higher levels and vice versa.


    We can see dysfunction happen when the highest levels of a hierarchy are

    not serving the goals of the entire system

    have communication channels dominated by a specific subgroup/subsystem 

    are blocking or suppressing efficient communication and signal flow from the subsystems


    An example of this often gets reflected in businesses and other organizations. This can take the form of a CEO serving only his bank account and that of his family, to the neglect of the goals of the employees - which could include their personal wellbeing, optimal brain-body functioning and psychological safety.  


    System suboptimization can also happen  if only one subgroup or subsystem dominates the communication channels to the central command nodes.  This can also appear in the brain as hypercoherent brainwave activity between specific subnetworks, but to the detriment of efficient communication with other networks.


    In human society, the other thing that occurs alongside system suboptimization is that as a system’s signal flow becomes dysfunctional, the splits and divides between the subgroups can also become more clear.


    This is because the communication patterns within subsystems are always denser and more frequent than ...

    • 30 min
    Season 2 Ep 8 - Shifting the Burden

    Season 2 Ep 8 - Shifting the Burden

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    When i use the word ‘neuroscience’, i am referring to a collection of knowledge that comes from many different sources and fields, including neurobiology, psychology, learning and behavioral sciences, evolutionary sciences, systems thinking and many more.   


    Some people are dedicated to studying the brain in a very specialized way - whether it’s at the individual cell level, or examining brain activity through different technologies.  My experience with studying the ‘brain’ has been a mix of working at an fMRI lab, and observing scans as they happen, to measuring what’s happening within a person’s experience through different measures, such as heart rate variability, electric conductance of the skin, and micro-movements of facial muscles, as well as using electrodes to measure the amplitude and frequency of brain activity in different areas. 


    My other (preferred) way of studying the brain is to observe patterns in people’s behaviors, language, tone, movement, and how they describe their experiences to me.  


    In a way, none of that really matters.  What matters to me is: can I connect with what a person is experiencing in a way where I will be able to find words to convey to them that I understand. 


    And then.. Can I, through an integration of my own self-understanding, utter words and express gestures that help that person see themselves in a new light?  


    Can I find ways to exchange information with others that help them feel more connected to their own strength, resilience, power, intelligence and ability to make new choices, and achieve their desired experiences?


    In my decade of doing that work - of helping people shift into a higher level of self-awareness and self-understanding…  I have not yet experienced that explaining a specific brain region is what creates the shift.  


    What I have experienced in helping people see a situation differently or feel relief from their anxiety is when I take my understanding of how our mind-brain-body system develops over time and connect it to what I hear them express about their own experience.


    This understanding is a deeply entangled mix of feelings, memories, aha moments, uttering of words, seeing a ‘light’ shine in someone’s eyes, and hearing them say to me something that expresses a new awareness, a feeling of relief, a deeper knowing of who they truly are underneath the fear and the doubt and the negative beliefs they have accumulated over time.  


    There is no ‘brain region’ that does that.  We are too complex to reduce our experience to an area of the brain.  It’s great to know about these regions - they all contribute to an overall understanding.  And that is important work that I appreciate so many scientists are involved with.   But it’s not the work that I dedicate myself to.


    We are each like specialized cells of a giant organ..  That ‘organ’ is the collective body of intelligence of the human species and its ability to not only adapt at extremely fast rates to its environment, but its ability to share knowledge and new levels of understanding with each other.  That ability to communicate new understandings is what has helped - and will help - all of us to get better a...

    • 32 min
    Season 2 Ep 7 - Normal versus Natural

    Season 2 Ep 7 - Normal versus Natural

    Normal is based on historical data. It’s based on what has happened the most often in the past. Our past ‘normal’ can make it easy to not question if there is more that’s possible in terms of wellbeing and a deeper sense of meaning for our life. But what we really, truly, deeply need to understand is that the ‘normal mode’ of consuming and doing the same combination of movements day after day without challenging our brain-body to higher and higher levels of creation and exploration is not NATURAL.

    We are: COMPLEX ADAPTIVE SYSTEMS. Our NATURE is to adapt to ever-changing, increasingly difficult and complex situations that involve other complex systems so that our adaptive problem-solving faculties become more honed and finely tuned. Many of our behaviors and patterns are blocking us from tapping into our most natural abilities.

    • 30 min
    Season 2 Episode 6: Why are humans so anxious? and the dark side of mindfulness

    Season 2 Episode 6: Why are humans so anxious? and the dark side of mindfulness

    When we focus on trying to 'fix' dysregulation without acknowledging how it emerged, we are conveying a message that somehow the anxiety or overreaction just ‘appeared’ because of an imbalance in their brain and that distress, dysregulation and anxiety are an isolated problem about that individual. 

    Treating the brain in isolation not only sends a disempowering message to the person experiencing challenges, it's also neurologically inaccurate.

    The ability to self-soothe is not genetically programmed to just ‘happen’ without the right conditions. 

    Our ability to self-regulate comes from social feedback systems that help us build our self-regulating circuitry.    

    • 31 min
    Season 2 Ep 5 – Resilience, Stability and Hyper-Coherent Networks

    Season 2 Ep 5 – Resilience, Stability and Hyper-Coherent Networks


    What a person sees  “depends both upon what he looks at and also upon what his previous visual-conception experience has taught him to see.”


    ― Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions



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    What we see depends on what we look at. 


    What we look at depends on our previous experiences.   


    Our previous experiences create a field of vision.   


    This field of vision is always limited.  Always.  There is no possibility that we can be aware of everything.  This would overwhelm our system to a point of collapse because it would not be able to process every single quanta of information that enters our senses.


    Our field of vision is therefore always incomplete and imperfect.  This concept is what Nobel Prize-winning economist Herbert Simon calls ‘bounded rationality’.*


    Our first experiences with our families create the experience-dependent prediction networks in our brain.  


    These prediction networks act like a dial that zooms in our attention according to what we already predict or assume.  


    It then focuses our attention on that and blurs out the rest.   


    This is what is happening in terms of how we even ‘see’ physical matter.  Matter is made up of blinking electron clouds of potential that flash in and out of existence.  Yet we can’t ‘see’ this when we look at our hand or a chair.  


    Our brain has to dull out and blur massive amounts of information to make sense of what we see.   This doesn’t mean that the data in the form of waves and particles isn’t there right in front of us.  We just can’t see it.

    In the same sense, this happens to us as we navigate our social worlds. Our brain prioritizes information in this way:




    Strong emotion


    This is important for us to understand because it means that the focusing mechanism of our ‘beam of awareness’ will be first geared toward figuring out what will hurt us (and when it think it’s ‘found’ the threat, it will blur out all other information).   


    If our system then does not detect threat, it can look towards what will help it achieve its goals.  From a social level this also means that we often see people as either pathways to our goal or obstacles in the way.  


    Strong emotions become the next target of our focusing mechanism (beam of awareness). 

    Social media capitalizes on all three of the above. 


    The algorithms naturally pick up on the highest priority of our nervous system because that’s what we click on and share the most.    


    This is what I also see happening in many of the human social experiences that are occurring today.  


    We each believe we are seeing the whole picture.  


    But we are imperfect humans with imperfect information.   Always…. This can’t be disputed from a molecular, neurobiological perspective!


    This means that there is always room for more information to flow into our awareness.  


    There is always another perspective.  


    The more different that perspective is from what you already think, the better.  


    Why?  Because if you continue to keep your focus on wha...

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
62 Ratings

62 Ratings

p.s. with Love ,

Great Podcast

I like the format of this show and the way the information is presented. I am learning so much with each listen!

Inte grity ,


Incredible details information. Very organic !

Highly recommended.

Drock25Cav ,


I was suggested to listen to this podcast by Mike Glover. I have been recently rated by the VA for PTS from the Gulf War and this has been very informative on how the brain works and reacts to threats as trauma. Very informative and in terms that are understood. I’m currently working with a psychiatrist this last year with the VA who has been phenomenal in my sessions and this podcast is right in line with what I have been working on to live better quality of life with this condition. Thank You for work in doing this podcast.

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