Permission to Heal

Permission to Heal Episode #76 - A Conversation with Dr. Stuart Shanker about Learning to Self-Regulate Stress.

July 06, 2022 Marci Brockmann Season 2 Episode 76
Permission to Heal Episode #76 - A Conversation with Dr. Stuart Shanker about Learning to Self-Regulate Stress.
Permission to Heal
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Permission to Heal
Permission to Heal Episode #76 - A Conversation with Dr. Stuart Shanker about Learning to Self-Regulate Stress.
Jul 06, 2022 Season 2 Episode 76
Marci Brockmann

Permission to Heal Episode #76 - A Conversation with Dr. Stuart Shanker about Learning to Self-Regulate Stress.

Dr. Stuart Shanker, Ph.D. is a Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Psychology, the Founder & Visionary of The MEHRIT Centre, Ltd., and Self-Reg Global Inc. One of his many books, “Calm, Alert and Learning: Classroom Strategies for Self-Regulation (2012)”, is a top-selling educational publication in Canada., Self-Reg: How to Help Your Child (and You) Break the Stress Cycle and Successfully Engage With Life (2016), has garnered enthusiastic reviews and media attention throughout North America, the United Kingdom, Poland, Germany, China, South Korea, Japan, the Netherlands, Georgia, and the Czech Republic. Dr. Shanker’s five-step Self-Reg model, The Shanker Method®, is a robust process for understanding and managing stress in children, youth, and adults.

His latest books are Self-Reg Schools: A Handbook for Educators (2019) and Reframed: Self-Reg for a Just Society (2020).

Connect with Dr. Shanker
His website, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Connect with Marci

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Show Notes Transcript

Permission to Heal Episode #76 - A Conversation with Dr. Stuart Shanker about Learning to Self-Regulate Stress.

Dr. Stuart Shanker, Ph.D. is a Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Psychology, the Founder & Visionary of The MEHRIT Centre, Ltd., and Self-Reg Global Inc. One of his many books, “Calm, Alert and Learning: Classroom Strategies for Self-Regulation (2012)”, is a top-selling educational publication in Canada., Self-Reg: How to Help Your Child (and You) Break the Stress Cycle and Successfully Engage With Life (2016), has garnered enthusiastic reviews and media attention throughout North America, the United Kingdom, Poland, Germany, China, South Korea, Japan, the Netherlands, Georgia, and the Czech Republic. Dr. Shanker’s five-step Self-Reg model, The Shanker Method®, is a robust process for understanding and managing stress in children, youth, and adults.

His latest books are Self-Reg Schools: A Handbook for Educators (2019) and Reframed: Self-Reg for a Just Society (2020).

Connect with Dr. Shanker
His website, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Connect with Marci

Permission to Heal Bookshop - Buy books from the episodes & support independent bookstores. 

 The Permission to Heal podcast is a passion of mine. I need your help to bring more inspirational episodes to the world; please consider becoming a patron through PATREON. 

This is where your PATREON subscription comes in. With your subscription, you get perks, swag, and meaningful contentment knowing you are helping me get PTH to the people who need it. 

Support the show 

Support the Show.

Hello, and welcome to permission to heal. I am Marci Brockman and I am really thrilled that you are here today. I have a really great episode for you today. I had a conversation with Dr. Stewart Schenker from Ontario, Canada, and he helps kids and parents and teachers and society individuals learn how to self regulate their own nervous system, their own selves. He is. Psychiatrist a PhD in distinguished research, professor emeritus in philosophy and psychology. He's the founder and visionary of the merit center and self reg global incorporated. He's written three books in a series. The first one is calm, alert, learning classroom strategies for self-regulation was a top selling educational publication in Canada. 

[00:00:53] We have self reg how to help your child and you break the stress cycle and successfully engage with life that was published in 2016 that garnered enthusiastic reviews in many, many countries and his latest books. The latest two are self reg schools, a handbook for educators, for that was published in 2019. 

[00:01:14] And the latest is called reframed self reg for a just. Society published in 2020. He has served as an advisor on early childhood development to government organizations across Canada and the United States and in countries around the world. And during this period became increasingly interested in the impact of excessive stress on child development and behavior, Dr. Shanker's five step self reg model. The Shanker method is a powerful process for understanding and managing stress in children, youth, and adults, and he walks us through the five steps of self reg in our conversation. he is brilliant and bright and personable, and really has the ability to explain. 

[00:02:01] Scientific technological things about our brains in a way that is relatable and useful to regular ordinary, every day, parent child, parent, teacher, parent, parent, self, self, whatever relationships, relationships with ourselves and with everyone else. And you're gonna enjoy this as much as I did and links to all of books and his websites and everything else that you can learn from him are listed in the show notes. So scroll down and it'll all be.  

[00:02:33] Thank you so much for listening and as always remember that the books that are written by all of my guests are in the permission to heal podcast bookshop on 

[00:02:45] And the link to that is also in the show notes so that you can buy yourselves copies of all of the guests books while supporting local and independent bookstores in your area. It's a really wonderful thing and we need to support our local and independent bookstores so that we're not all buying books from one gigantic multinational, corporate monopoly, which we can all, you know, think of the name of without me actually having to say. 

[00:03:12] So, enjoy the conversation and thank you for being here and for remembering that giving yourselves permission to heal and design your own life is a perfect place to begin.

Welcome Stewart. Shanker. How are you today? I'm good. Thank you, Marcy. I'm so glad that you're here. You've got a lot of really interesting things to talk about with your books, your, your three, your series of three books here, all about stress and breaking the stress cycle. 

[00:00:18] And I think that anybody. Everybody should be interested in all of this as a, a parent, as a human, as a teacher. I'm like all about this and I wanna know everything that, that you have to tell us. So, so let's just kind of jump in. So could you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you became the, Dr. Stewart Schenker that you are before us today? Well, I was a student at Oxford. I was at Oxford for 10 years. Wow. Yep. Well, I went on to become a Don and, I studied something called self-regulation and what we were looking at was the original research on this, which was done by an American called Walter Bradford cannon at the beginning of the 20th century. 

[00:01:10] And what Canon was interested in was we have these self-regulating mechanisms in the human brain and they start to operate the moment a baby is born. So we have them in our brain stem and we have them in a part of very deep part of the brain called the mid brain. Okay. And the idea behind this was that the human being is based in stress. 

[00:01:39] And by stress, what can and Canon is the one who defines it what he meant was anything that requires us to burn. Energy in order to stay in a state that's called he, he done the turn homeostasis and homeostasis means that, you know I'll give you an example. Our bodies are designed to stay roughly speaking at a temperature of around 98.6, right? 

[00:02:10] Then we go up and down. And so we have a homeostatic range. And let's say it goes from 99 to 98, but the average is 98.6. And we and we try to stay the it's important for the brain that we stay inside that range during the day. Now Cannon's famous example was cold weather and that according to cannon is a stress and it's a stress because it causes the brain to burn energy. 

[00:02:48] In order to maintain that, that stable homeostatic state of 98.6. Right? So how do we burn energy? Well, we burn energy by shivering or by our teeth chattering. The heart speeds up, et cetera, et cetera. And Cannon's idea was that the baby's born with a number of these kinds of homeostatic or self-regulating mechanisms to deal with the stress that the baby is suddenly exposed to. 

[00:03:20] Now that stress might be temperature. It might be light. In fact, the biggest single stressor on a newborn is light mm-hmm . The wo is not, stress free, but it's stress reduce it's dark. And so light. Remember light is a, it's a form of energy. These are photons energy waves that are washing over the baby's body. 

[00:03:42] Baby has a couple of self-regulating mechanisms. one of them is to cry and that gets rid of excess energy and the other one is to fall asleep. Okay. And Canon's point was that these mechanisms, these mechanisms for managing stress in a baby are pretty limited. So he gives a nice example. The cold temperature it's suddenly, you know, it's the first time the baby's experienced cold. 

[00:04:11] Um, and let's say the baby's lying in her caught. Uh, but the baby doesn't have the ability if she's cold to pull her blanket up. Right. Uh, and, uh, so what happens is maybe she cries or, uh, her skin starts to change color and it's up to the caregiver. To manage the baby's stress in this case, coldness mm-hmm 

[00:04:37] And so she pulls the blanket up where she sees when the baby's too warm and takes the blanket off. As we get older, we begin to learn to do these things for ourself. So that's a very nice idea. The idea is that in place of these sort of, uh, biological mechanisms for managing stress, we learn ways to manage stress. 

[00:05:04] We learn to put on a jumper, a sweater when we get cold. The reason I started to do this when I came to Canada was because what we were seeing, and this is back, we were already seeing this starting in the early nineties, we were seeing a wave, an epidemic. Of what we knew are stress related problems. Uh, and these might be problems in say anxiety. 

[00:05:37] We were already seeing anxiety and obesity back then. And that was telling us two things. One that kids, kids and teens were under too much stress and two that they were developing maladaptive ways of dealing with stress, maladaptive, self. Exactly. Right. Right. And so that's basically led me to where I am today. 

[00:06:06] Uh, trying to figure out what are the stresses that kids are under or parents are under and what are the maladaptive ways and why are they maladaptive and why does this create, uh, even bigger problems? And. Uh, well, it doesn't take a genius to figure out what are the stresses today. Sure, sure. Look anywhere you see them around look anywhere, uh, just horrendous. 

[00:06:31] Um, but what we can do, and that's what self reg was created for. Uh, we ran a seven year study on this, a longitudinal, uh, what's called a randomized control study and we were working with, um, young children on the, on the spectrum. Do you want me to give you an example or do you want me to come up for whatever let's let's do it. 

[00:06:56] Okay. Little guys on the spectrum. One of the big problems that they typically encounter is, uh, they are much more sensitive to stress. They have, uh, a lower threshold for a stress response, particularly the stress that, um, a parent or a caregiver, uh, gives off. So for example, you know, stroking your baby, that's a really comforting thing. 

[00:07:26] It releases oxytocin, but for a, a baby on the spectrum who is hypersensitive to touch, right? That, that that's stroking. Yeah. It's a stress. It's a, it is excessive stress. Uh, cuz there's good stress and bad stress. Uh, and so what the baby does. So there's a lot of stress coming from, from mum or daddy or whoever's the primary caregiver. 

[00:07:50] There's stress coming off their eyes, energy there's stress coming from their smell, whatever. And so a lot of these kids, what they do is they gaze avert. So turn your head away. Avoid eye contact. Yeah. Avoid eye contact or they even shut down. They withdraw mm-hmm but that's a maladaptive mode of self-regulation. 

[00:08:15] Why do we say that? Well, we say it because the baby needs, uh, every baby needs these interactions early in life, uh, back and forth interactions with caregiver in order to learn language emotions, facial expressions, gestures. And so it's the gaze version. May reduce the stress in the moment, but it creates greater stress for the child in a couple of years when the child now has problems with language or mind reading, et cetera. 

[00:08:52] So what we did in our, in our lab, so our clinic was kind of unique. Uh, we had a psychology, a therapy clinic on one side that did merit, which is a, a form of therapy. And on the other side, we had a neuroscience lab. And so we could look at the brain, um, what was happening as we reduced stress. And what we were looking for was. 

[00:09:24] If we could reduce the amount of stress that the baby or the child, as we working with infants, infants, and toddlers, if we could reduce the amount of stress of the interaction, would they naturally stop gaze aversion or withdrawal and turn to us and engage with us and, and go through all those wonderful steps of language development and emotion development. 

[00:09:55] Mm-hmm . And so what we did, and then looking at the brain what's happening in the brain is you do all this. And so what we learned was how to tailor your interactions so that the child does not become over stressed. All children need those interactions. Every single kid needs it because one of the things it does is, uh, we now know this is a very recent discovery. 

[00:10:25] Uh, we have a system de in our mid brain that drives us not to be alone, drives us to be with our caregiver. Our caregiver gives us, uh, oxytocin and opioids, endogenous opioids, all of this works to reduce our stress. It turns off the stress mechanism. So these children, uh, were in a sort of double bind if they were running, if they were fleeing from interaction because they were over stress, then they were also, they weren't getting that stress release that comes from being with mom and dad, right. 

[00:11:07] Or whoever. Right. And that's what we're seeing community and crave belonging. And you got it. Connection. You got. And you got exactly right. Right. And, and you have a problem when the, when the connection that you crave also causes you anxiety. That's just perfectly put, and that's what we're seeing today. 

[00:11:25] So what we're seeing is, I mean, you know, the child's number one need, uh, so I've got, um, I've got. Two kids. Um, I've got an older boy, uh, 20 years old on the spectrum. Okay. And, and I've got a younger boy, 17 years old with severe ADHD, easily. Both of them easily over stressed. And what happens when they get, and this can apply to all kids. 

[00:11:54] So this is tough times. This is tough times for every kid. Yeah. I'm a high school English teacher by day. I see this. Oh, are you didn't every single day. I didn't see that on your website. Uh, well, that's very interesting. So you're getting the full brunt of it. Yeah. And I'm about to start school for I'm going back for my third master's degree to become a therapist. 

[00:12:12] So you're gonna have triple, triple stress in your life. that's okay. And yet I'm an empty nester now, so it's fine. Okay. So now, um, all through the li all through their life, a kid needs a kid, a kid's primary need. Is that social connection that you talked about? Right? Um, my 20 year old came in last night and he was very overstressed he's on the spectrum. 

[00:12:38] So I mean, duh, right. And, and what he needed was not a lecture. Um, what he needed was not explanation. He needed me to lower my voice and actually stroke his shoulders. Uh, and it calmed everything down and nice. Yeah, it's good that you were able to learn that and provide that for him. Well, I should just tell you, uh, I was trained in psychiatry by Stanley Greenspan. 

[00:13:05] Uh, so I was trained by the best. Okay. Um, um, so even, even I've heard of him okay. Well, Stanley was, uh, it was amazing. Okay. So the point is that yeah, the stress is pretty high today. Uh, you're living in a country right now. That's in a, a really serious state of stress. Yeah. And it it's serious in every facet of society. 

[00:13:30] Yeah. In every it's everywhere. And the problem is okay. Um, let's just stick now with kids. What, what year are you teaching? I teach 11th and 12th grade. So they're, uh, 16. So you're getting 16 years old. Yeah. So you're getting, you're getting, this is a tough job. Um, seriously, it's the, these kids are really like, we're seeing in them. 

[00:13:54] uh, an anxiety epidemic such as we have never seen before. Um, I should just tell you, there are many different forms of anxiety. There's not just one. Sure. Um, and, and so to say that we're seeing anxiety epidemic, it could be that no two kids have the same, same issues. There are different systems that get activated. 

[00:14:14] The problem is that they either turn away from us or make it really hard for us to wanna be with them. Mm-hmm . Um, but in fact, they need, without their knowing it, what they need is they need that connection. The problem that we're seeing, and by the way, this is true at any point in the lifespan. 

[00:14:39] Absolutely. The problem. The problem that we're seeing is that we're living at a time when there's maladaptive ways of dealing with stress everywhere you look. And what we mean by that is let's take as an example. Um, I don't know, violent video games, so, or, or stupid video games. Um, now what those do, they were designed to give the kid a shot of dopamine. 

[00:15:11] That's their dopamine triggers. And in fact, the game designers have studied. Uh, this was a big topic in psych, in the seventies and eighties. How do you trigger dopa? Do you want me to tell you a little bit about the Milner and old study? Sure. Okay. This is like one. I know why. I mean, I was a very, very video game averse my whole life. 

[00:15:33] Oh, is that right? A, I, it was just not something that I was interested in, you know, in the, in the early eighties we had like an Atari system. Yeah. When I was a kid and it was alright, my mom liked it way better than I did. And then I was very video game. Reversed. Didn't want anything to do with it. I thought it was all inci. 

[00:15:48] Go away. Waste of time. Whatever. Now I'm the same as you. But now, like, I, I would say since the, the COVID pandemic, I see the benefit. Of video games. Now, I don't like first person things. I hear you dizzy. I don't like the games that are violent, where people shoot and stuff. I don't like things that are competitive, cuz I'm not a competitive person. 

[00:16:13] It makes me very, makes me more anxious. So, but what I've found is I like word games. I like visual puzzles. So I've got like six or seven games on my phone that I play in short bursts each day. And I, I find that it helps me calm myself down and sort of stop the 14,000 strains of thought going on at the same time, in my crazy head, you know? 

[00:16:39] Um, Okay, so you, it helps you're. Yeah. So you're saying a lot there. Yeah. Okay. So first, so first of all, uh, we do see benefits. Um, so for example, uh, from my older boy on the spectrum, it's been wonderful because he uses social media to be with others. Um, you know, so we're, he was always very overstressed by social, by physical or pro it's called proximal social interaction. 

[00:17:07] Now he can have them and he's really developed from it to the point where he actually has a girlfriend. Wow. So, yeah. So, uh, and we've seen this. Yeah, no, that's good. Um, so we've, so we see lots of benefits and what you're getting, what you were describing is you get a sedative effect. Mm-hmm meaning that it's actually triggering endogenous opioids, uh, better endorphins actually. 

[00:17:32] Mm-hmm . Now the thing is this. Where we see problems is not the game it's when the child or the teen uses it excessively to avoid the stresses in their life. Right. Uses it as a form of avoidance or, or escapism what they need to do. And the reason why this is a problem is so it's it's, uh, I'll, I'll just tell you very quickly, this one of the great studies of the 20th century done in 56 by mill olds, and what they did was they gave rats, um, two sort of taps. 

[00:18:19] One would give them a shot of dopamine mm-hmm and the other would give them a shot of food, food, and water. And what they found was the rats got cooked. On the dopamine to the point where they literally died from starvation. Wow. Yeah. So so they wouldn't go and the food was right beside it. Um, but that's what dopamine does. 

[00:18:47] So what we're worried about is when, um, when the kid keeps on pushing that dopamine button, uh, because dopamine gives you a bit of energy, gives you what we call psychic energy and it feels good. Um, and so you keep on doing that and you haven't worked on the problems. You haven't worked on the stresses. 

[00:19:09] Typically if it's a teen, it's gonna be social and emotional. And what we want them to do is we want them to shift. So this is an example of maladaptive self-regulation, that's maladaptive a because you don't work on the problems and B. Extensive use actually screws up the dopamine system. I thought it was interesting. 

[00:19:33] Wow. That you, yeah, it causes long term. It causes do dopamine dysregulation. And it was interesting when you were describing your own experience, how you said short burst. So the short burst has this calming break, right? And it's like a meditation break. Um, uh, it's when, if you've got a kid and the kid is on for six hours, eight hours not sleeping. 

[00:20:00] And so what's happening is a, it becomes disregulating. It actually harms dopamine regulation. It would seem to me that the, what was supposed to be a respite turns into a stress. Exactly right, exactly. Right. And, and what a kid should have been doing is I don't care what their age and that's why I told you about my son is coming to you coming to their primary caregivers. 

[00:20:25] Mm-hmm , um, to help them, um, to help them express what they're trying to avoid or suppress. Um, and it's through that, that we grow it's through that, that, that, um, so, uh, let me just very quickly tell you self re it's a five step method. And the fourth step is to get to calmness. What are the five steps? The first step is you reframe and what that means is, okay, so reframing is really important. 

[00:21:00] And we, we we're living through a revolution right now, uh, in neuroscience. And I can remember when I was in grad school or one of my pros saying, we will never know what's happening below the surface of the brain below the neocortex. He called it, uh, the dark continent, like nice, uh, from heart of darkness, from Conrad's heart of darkness. 

[00:21:24] Yeah. Um, and, but what's happened in the last, especially the last 20 years is we've developed, uh, technologies that allow us to see what's happening below the neocortex. We have a very good understanding now of the limbic system, the sub cortex mm-hmm and the deep parts of the brain, the, the brain stem and the midbrain. 

[00:21:48] And what it's shown us is there's, uh, it's just overturned. All of our old ideas. And one of the starting points is we've learned to distinguish between misbehavior and stress behavior. Now, misbehavior misbehavior comes from here. Misbehavior comes from the prefrontal cortex. The kid knows what he's doing. 

[00:22:14] A kid wants to see what he can get away with a kid is testing limits. Sure. Uh, kid's lying. Whatever stress behavior comes from deep inside the brain, it comes from those systems. We couldn't see before it comes from the sub cortex or from the mid brain. These are impulses that flow up the brain flow up the neuro axis and they cause the kid to behave in certain ways. 

[00:22:44] So for example, um, when my son came in last night, he was shouting and he wasn't shouting. It wasn't a misbehavior. The shouting was a stress behavior. And it told me right away that he was under too much stress. Why is this so important? It's important because, um, a kid doesn't really know what they're saying or doing when it's stress behavior. 

[00:23:12] And there are signs when it's stress behavior, their voice changes, right? The pitch goes up, uh, their, their skin color changes, their eyes change, everything changes you have. So we teach all this, you know, there are easy signs of when it's stress behavior and as the caregiver, I would imagine you have to be able to discern the difference between misbehavior and maladaptive behavior response behavior, because you're not gonna respond to that in a punitive way. 

[00:23:38] You're gonna respond to it in a compassionate way. Okay. So you're gonna have to come work with us now. cause that's exactly it. Right? Right. It changes the parental structure. It changes the parental. Okay. If we punish stress behavior, cuz we thought we got it wrong. We thought it was misbehavior, but it was actually stress behavior. 

[00:23:59] We really increased the stress. Uh, we really increased that kids were driving that kid towards maladaptive ways of regulating stress. So last night I read the sides and because I knew it was stress behavior, I reframed, then what I did was I sued. I lowered my voice. I didn't say much rub. I gave him the skin to yeah. 

[00:24:26] Rub the shoulders. Good. The next thing we do, step two is we got, then we gotta figure out what the stresses are now. It's real easy. To jump on a stress with kids or teens, you think, well, that's the obvious stress. And I tell this one story in the second book in self RA, the book, um, it is a wonderful example. 

[00:24:51] It was a teenage girl. She was 13 years old and mom and the girl had always been very close until she, until she went through puberty and the kid changed overnight and became a nightmare. And every single night they were fighting for, for hours until, and they never resolved the fights and it always resolved the door slamming. 

[00:25:13] So she finally came to see us. So, you know, we sat around the table and what the therapist said was, okay, so the next time this happens, what you're gonna do is you're gonna go out into the hall. Um, you're not gonna, you're not gonna yell go out into the, no matter what she says, because the, the vicious things they say are stress behaviors. 

[00:25:34] Sure. It's just fight or flight using language, do some deep breathing ground yourself, then go back in. And what we want you to do is we want you to soothe. Okay. So the next fight happens. The kid had asked for a pink hoodie. You call 'em hoodies in the us. Yeah. Okay. So she'd asked for a pink hoodie. Mom went under lunch hour. 

[00:25:57] They were also the pink hoodie. So she came home with a gray hoodie. Okay. So the kid, the kid flips out. So the mom, she wants to swear at the kid because she gave up her lunch hour. But, but the doctor said I'm not allowed to say anything. Mm-hmm . So instead what she does. Is according to her rules turned off the light, the kid was lying on the bed. 

[00:26:21] She turns off the light and she sits down on the bed and says, um, now when a kid's in this state, their language is really compromised. They find it very hard to answer questions. So we use various tricks to try to get that communication channel along. So one of the ones we use is, um, you'll put your, you say, you know, what we wanted to know is, do you want me to, do you want mom to rub your back now as it happens in this case, when she was a little girl, this was a kid who liked to be scratched. 

[00:27:02] Um, my son was the same. So mom, so we mom had, you have to get permission. You can't just come in barge in and start to scratch. Right. Otherwise the kid feels it as a threat. An invasion. Yeah. But you invasion. Exactly. But you can't say, do you wanna be scratch because the kid can't can't answer. They're frozen. 

[00:27:21] Mm-hmm . So you say instead, the nonverbal doesn't freeze. So you say, would you like mom to scratch your arm? It was her arm in this case. Um, raise your finger if you'd like that. But in this case we use another trick. Uh, you put your finger inside the kid's fist and, and all you say is, um, squeeze, if you want me to scratch your arm, So interesting that part of communication works. 

[00:27:52] Okay. So the kid squeezes and mom starts to gently scratch her arm and the kid, she said, the mom tells us the next day, the kid just starts to calm right down. You can feel it. And within 15 minutes of doing this, not saying anything, the kid, um, is ready to go to sleep. And she says, uh, she indicates she wants to go to sleep now. 

[00:28:17] So these are fights that have been going on for two hours. So instead, now the kid is going to sleep and she says just before she falls asleep, I love you, mommy. Wow. Yep. That's huge. It was huge. And really what it's telling us is that the child had regressed to the state of infancy. When mummy made her feel safe and secure. 

[00:28:42] So mom goes out into the hall. Now the kid's gone to sleep and mom's now she's feeling really guilty cuz now she's learning reframing. And so she, what does she feel guilty about? All of the way. All of the times that she misinterpreted all the times that reacted so it's regard. Okay, exactly. Right. So she decides, okay, so I'm gonna, uh, I'll tell her when she comes down the next morning that after school we'll go to an outlet mall and we'll get you. 

[00:29:10] We'll see if we can find the pink one and the kid comes down the stairs, smiling wearing the gray hoodie. So it wasn't the hoodie. And so what we do in step two, which is called, you know, becoming a stress detective is we assume it's always more than one stress. Yeah. So we, we have five domains of stress that we, we, we did a factor analysis. 

[00:29:35] So we look at physical stress, emotional. Cognitive social and something called prosocial. And in our experience, when you get these meltdowns that are chronic, it's always all five. And so the third step is reduce the stress. And that means looking at all the stresses, looking at sleep, looking at noise, looking at the emotional stresses of being a teenager in a highly challenging, socially challenging environment. 

[00:30:06] And so, and so, and what we find is of course, when the child is physically over stressed, it makes them much more vulnerable to social and emotional stress. Remember I told you they were fighting for two hours. Every night, this kid was running. Yeah. It's exhaustive. Exactly. Right. And kids running on empty. 

[00:30:29] Okay. Step four is the big one. Step four. this was to get to step four. Step four is we want them to become calm. What we are seeing is a generation of children and teens that do not know what calmness is, feels like. We don't know what it looks like, but it feels like, feels like, yeah. Feels like it's exactly the right word. 

[00:30:51] Feels like mentally feels like physically feeling your mind, clear your mind, soothed, feeling the tension dissipate in your body. The whole point of all this is to get to step five, which is called restoration. Now restoration is a biological concept. So it refers to, uh, the, I don't know if you guys, how much science you guys do. 

[00:31:16] It's the parasympathetic nervous system. Okay. So this is the system. That, um, triggers it refills, the energy, it triggers cellular repair, it triggers, um, kind of reboots the system, reboots the system, but you can't just get to, you can't get to restoration because you want to there's your cough. Yeah. See, excuse me. 

[00:31:45] Yep. So you gotta get to calm. And so the first three steps get you to calm. And when you're in calm, you will get, you will, there are various ways to go from calm into restoration. So for me, uh, what I do when I get myself calm is I, I meditate. That's my big thing. Okay. But restoration is more than that, but there's different ways of different ways of doing it. 

[00:32:10] My wife. Couldn't meditate it for life dependent on it. So my wife swims mm-hmm , uh, which is very, which is very restorative. Okay. For me. It's journal writing and art creation. Okay. Yes. I saw that about your writing. Uh, yeah, I was very in, I was very interested in what you said those are, um, your website is a, it's a sort of lesson in creative ways of restoration. 

[00:32:34] Yeah. That's how I restored myself. I saw that and it happened naturally. Like it didn't, I didn't know what I was doing. It wasn't a purposeful thing. I just naturally found that writing and drawing helped me manage all of the stress and get myself back to equilibrium. So what it tells us is that you were in, you had got yourself into a state where you could feel that this was. 

[00:33:03] Soothing you, one of the problems that we have with, you know, one of the reasons why we do all the neuroscience is we've learned that when these systems deep in the brain get hyper aroused, they shut down our awareness of sensations. They shut down. It's called interception. Interesting. So, so like, you know, we do a lot of work with obese obesity. 

[00:33:32] Mm-hmm and the greatest harm that's been done to individuals with obesity is telling them it's a problem of self will self control. It has nothing to do with that. No, what it is is it's, it's excessive stress in their life. The excessive stress shuts down, um, the. Hormones that tell you that you need, that you are full, that you, that in fact, if you overeat, uh, it produces aver of sensations. 

[00:34:07] You feel, um, you not just that your stomach feels full, but you feel, uh, sweaty, um, uh, headachey, et cetera, et cetera. But the excessive stress that you're under driving you to eat for the opioids, shuts down your sensations, shuts down your awareness of your awareness of overriding your natural self-regulating mechanism. 

[00:34:41] If we override our natural mechanisms, it's very interesting. And I can tell you when I, when I'm under stress, severe stress, I am. I'm an emotional eater. I don't, I'm not hungry. I might not even really want what it is. I'm eating. And yet I do it anyway. It's it's like a, an impulse driven from the back of my head somewhere. 

[00:35:05] So this is well, bottom me, your head. So this is . This is a huge breakthrough for us, because what it tells us is now this is a survival mechanism. This mechanism here is that when you're under extreme stress, like drought mm-hmm , um, nature didn't want us aware that this feels really awful. And so it blocks our awareness of these sensations. 

[00:35:35] So what happens in the over eight eating cases? On the one hand you're eating because eating triggers, uh, better endorphins, opioids, indulges opioids. On the other hand, you're getting. Um, uh, when we have too much energy in the bloodstream, so glucose, when there's too much, it creates aversive sensations, all homeostatic imbalances produce aversive sensations. 

[00:36:08] So too much salt produces an aversive sensation too much, um, not enough water and so on. So on the excessive stress, not only drives us to try to self sate, it also blocks our awareness of the aversive sensations that homeostatic imbalance creates. So, so, uh, so you eat excessive amounts of sugar and at the same, exactly, you're not aware of exactly the negative effects of all of that extra glucose in your body. 

[00:36:44] So, what do we do then when we're working with individuals that are fighting with obesity? Well, the first thing we wanna do is take willpower completely off the table. This has nothing to do with willpower. In fact, the second you, you, you, you start beating yourself up. You've now created further stress. 

[00:37:04] Sure. And now what we want to do is we want to go through self R because what it's telling us is, oh my goodness, I am under way too much stress. I wonder what they are. What are the stresses? Are they obvious? Are they the stresses? I can put my finger on like money or, or work, or a bunch of, uh, older teenagers that are driving me crazy every day in the classroom. 

[00:37:31] Where are they hidden? Are they invisible stresses? There's some real interesting stuff being done on hidden stresses. So for example, we know that, uh, nighttime noise. is a hidden stress. Uh, you learn you habituate to the noise mm-hmm uh, so we have now documented very carefully that individuals, for example, that live close to an airport have unbelievably high rates of cardiovascular disease, uh, cardiovascular. 

[00:38:04] Yeah, I know. And cardiovascular disease is of course a stress cause disease. So, but, so there's a correlation between them learning how to live with the noise and the tumult of being close to an airport. Yep. There's a, a mind, body connection there' causing cardiovascular disease. Yep. Holy shit. Yeah, I know. 

[00:38:27] That's a holy shit. That's what we say too. wow. But, but the second we know it now there are things we can do, so suppose I, so suppose I can't, I can't afford to move. Could sleeping with earplugs help. You can, you can sleep with earplugs. You can sleep with noise, canceling, uh, earplugs. You can soundproof your room. 

[00:38:48] If you don't have the money, you can soundproof your room with egg cartons. You can, you, you can soundproof your glass. There's all kinds of ways that we can, that we can reduce the noise that is triggering. Um, basically what it's doing. It's noise, stress, which is triggering a neurohormonal pep called neuro epinephrine. 

[00:39:10] Um, and that's, what's leading to the heart disease we can, once we know what's go, and it's the same with obesity, the obesity is telling me, holy shit, I am under too much stress. What are the stresses? Are they obvious? Are they hidden? Are there stresses in my life? Which are, which are draining me. And I didn't even realize that they were a stress. 

[00:39:36] And so that's, that's. The first three steps. Uh, I mean, we find the same thing over and over. So people read, you know, oh, well, meditation or yoga are really good, but what we've found over and over is the people who most could most benefit from say yoga, find it really aversive. Um, you say to them, you know, okay, so we're gonna do a breathing exercise for 15 minutes and they just go nuts. 

[00:40:04] Um, and they have got monkey mind. I can't do this. Right. Okay. So what we've gotta do is a take yoga off the table and we're gonna, it's just not a good fit for them. Maybe it's not a good meditative thing. Maybe it's not a good fit. Maybe what you need to do is creative writing or art. So we have, or women , you know, you know, one of the most, we, we run this all over Canada. 

[00:40:27] Oh, all around the world now. And the best one I've ever met was in Alberta, where we were working with a group of kids. I've seen some really wild things. I had one group in, in the Yukon where it was a group of 12 year old boys in a behavior regulation class. So we were trying to calm them down and they eventually found that what calmed them was knitty. 

[00:40:53] Wow. But you know that during the second world war, um, the RAAF, when they had, uh, uh, pilots that had been shot down, they had them knit. So it's very, very, I, the one in Alberta, they, uh, they learned how to bake and they went on after high school, they created a bakery and a very successful one. That's cool, but baking, but baking is very therapeutic, you know? 

[00:41:20] So you find what works do you think that's why there was this huge bread making craze? I do. COVID. As it happens. Yes, I do. Um, so you know, what were the big CRAs? All of a sudden during COVID I've got the most beautiful plants all through my house. Right. And then I learned everybody's got plants all through their house. 

[00:41:42] It's very soothing. Um, so you find what works for you. Um, now the last point I was trying to make there was restoration, so, okay. We're looking at biological, but there's actually two other kinds of restoration involved. Uh, one of them is social, so we need to restore our social connections with our parents, our loved ones, our friends, um, it's a real bad sign to be alone. 

[00:42:13] That's a bad one. And finally we need spiritual. Uh, we need spiritual restoration and my publishers in my second book, wouldn't let me use the word spiritual. Talk me out of it. Why? I don't know you know, that so we came up with prosocial, but in fact, you know, like I'm reading the news this morning and I'm thinking, boy, the us really needs a spiritual restoration. 

[00:42:43] No, not a spiritual practice. It doesn't have to be a deity or religion. No, exactly. A connectedness with each other and the universe and nature love it. That's it love it. I love what you just said. That's exactly right. Yeah. Um, so I don't know if everybody heard, because we both got excited, but you said it's gotta be some sort of spiritual restoration, whether it's with each other, with nature or with ourself. 

[00:43:07] Right. Okay. So, um, so those are the five steps, self reg. What we're learning, you know, I was, I was. Um, sent yesterday a video clip. Uh, I have to be careful how I say this of someone who's a religious figure railing against, uh, the Democrats can't be Christians and, and is really over the top. Uh, but what I saw when I watched it was somebody who's, the bottom parts of his neural axis were severely hyper aroused. 

[00:43:52] Um, and so he's shouting and he's foaming, but this is just somebody who needs to be soothed and calmed down. The problem is that when we're exposed to this. it sends us into the same state. There's a, there's another system which we haven't talked about today called limbic resonance. Um, and basically we are connected, uh, with each other, with our children. 

[00:44:19] There's a brain to brain connection. It goes through the limb system. Mm-hmm when you're with your child and your child is very agitated. The parts in that child's brain that are agitated cause the same parts in your brain to be agitated. Yeah. We, we don't read that our child is upset. We feel it, feel it. 

[00:44:48] Yeah. We feel it. Exactly. So that's what this is all about. That's a kind of long answer. I forget what the hell the question was. So it doesn't matter. I'm wrapped with, with interest. This is amazing. Yeah. Uh, like thinking of all of these things, like I'm, I'm applying it to my own. Kids my own relationship with my children and I'm applying it in my mind to my classroom. 

[00:45:08] Yeah. You know, we've had a couple of very difficult years with isolation and going to school virtually and all sorts of weird hybrid things and kids being stuck at home and there's lack of socialization and there all the stress and financial and healthcare and worries, you know, they, they go from lockdowns and gun, the threat of gun violence in the classroom to then not being able to be with anyone else because of this threat of disease. 

[00:45:38] So I, I, you know, this year, we're back in the classroom full time and it's been a rather bumpy road. You know, the kids forget learning readiness. They're not equally so ready for social socialization. Like everybody's coming at this from a different direction. And this is a so much depression and stress and anxiety and like rampant. 

[00:46:03] It's scary. Okay. Okay. So, um, 

[00:46:11] everything you're saying needs an answer. Okay. So we'd need another couple hours. at least we'd need days. I've been trying to unravel this for a year, you know? Okay. So let me tell you another story. Okay. I'm ready. Okay. So I, um, so I was doing a job in the Northwest territories in February. Uh, so super, um, the pilot comes on. 

[00:46:39] There's no, there, you have to walk outside the plane to get to the area, uh, terminal in, in yellow knife. So the pilot comes on and he says, bundle up folks. It's a bombing minus 42 out there. . Okay. Yeah, it's cold . So, um, they had changed the venue on me at the last minute. And, uh, I was, they had moved it to a theater and the theater was SRO and it was two tears and there was people all over the place. 

[00:47:12] So anyways, you know, I'm talking about all this stuff and at the very end, I said, yeah, I gotta ask you guys something, what the hell are y'all doing here? It's minus 42 out and there's this one little voice up on the SA up on the top. And he shouts down it's because you give us hope. 

[00:47:37] Oh, okay. So that's what self reg is all about. Um, and so what we have learned is there is never a trajectory. That we can't change. I don't care what the age is, but first. Yeah. But first, you know, you've gotta figure out, you know, how do we get to calm? How do we, and what I am seeing up here is a generation that feels no hope. 

[00:48:09] Mm-hmm, , it's a generation that says it's too much. The world's not gonna last and so on. There's so many things. So we look at this, like everything we've been doing tonight to this morning, um, hope comes from dopamine. We need dopamine. And, uh, just before Stanley died, uh, Greenspan, he and I were working on a book on mental illness. 

[00:48:40] We were looking, we were gonna write about a dozen different mil mental illnesses and what they all have. They're, they're very different. Every mental illness, you know, depression is different from panic, right? Um, let alone schizophrenia or whatever, but what they all have in common, every single mental illness is the loss of hope. 

[00:49:07] It's that feeling? That you'll never be better that, um, okay. What we find is that in every one of these illnesses, there is severe a severe depletion of dopamine. The dopamine gets repressed, suppressed. Okay. Dopamine production, the dopamine receptors basically get clogged up, so we gotta figure out okay. 

[00:49:39] The ability to find that joy. There's an inability, there is an okay. So what Marcy just said is there's an inability, it's a physiological inability. You don't even have the energy to look you can't. So we gotta get some dopamine and how the hell do you fix that? But it's fixable. Okay. So, okay. So then we say, well, how do we get dopamine? 

[00:50:09] And that's where you and I started today. Yeah. Um, so the thing that triggers dopamine is oxytocin. So oxytocin, everybody talks about it has some wonderful benefits. Oxytocin does two huge things apart from the, the breastfeeding and all that stuff. Sure. The one thing that oxytocin does is it turns off the it's technical term is, uh, I won't go into details. 

[00:50:43] It turns off the stress mechanism. It turns off something called CRF. Okay. So it turns off the thing that's killing our dopamine. And the other thing that kills dopamine is pain. And what we're seeing is you can't actually distinguish between physiological and psychological pain distress. They're both, you're in pain, psychological and physical pain causes. 

[00:51:14] And you may have been, yeah. You may repress it. You may. So now oxytocin turns off both of those. It turns, it, it, it turns off the stress and it turns off the pain. And what that does is it fires up dopamine. It fires up dopamine in an area called the ventral take mental area, deep in the brain. Okay. So that's the first thing it does. 

[00:51:42] So it gets that. So how do I do that? How do I. Oxytocin, how can I get oxytocin into my kid or my team or myself? Right. Well, you can do oxytocin. You've already release when you have an orgasm and when you're breastfeeding a baby, but what do you do with, oh, you can do that. Go have, yeah, go have some sex. 

[00:52:03] That'll help. Yeah, but not with, yeah, go ahead and say not with your kid. it's true. What Marcy just said is true, but we go a different route cuz we're we're PG, PG 15. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Um, does, does the scratching on the arm and the shoulder rub and the physical contact release oxytocin? Yeah. Okay. So that's the first one we know. 

[00:52:27] So physical contact touch, red releases, oxytocin. If it's gentle, soothing, the voice, we've got new research now telling us that the, that sound is actually a form of touch. Really. Yeah, you've got, uh, skin stretched over the eardrum and sound waves. If they're gentle. Yeah. They vibrated. They cares it. They stimulate oxytocin. 

[00:52:56] Interesting. So music do that too. Not just voice music, music, but forgot sake. Choose the music carefully. Yeah. Death metal might not do it. No, no, but we now know there's been times of research now on what kinds of music produce oxytocin? Um, you mentioned a bunch. Okay. So we've got social connection being in nature, being in sunshine, um, uh, sleep, proper sleep, proper diet. 

[00:53:24] There are all these things so people can go now and they can look it up. How do I produce dopamine? These kids are in severe dopamine. It's called a hypo dopaminergic state. and so that's why they don't feel any hope. But what we've learned is we can get that triggered again. We can get it cooking. Mm-hmm so how do we do it? 

[00:53:49] Well, we've gotta do self reg. We've gotta reduce the stresses and we've got to, uh, and by the way, uh, self-regulation not only does it reduce stress, it also turns off pain. Very interesting. Yeah. It's awesome. So we gotta do self reg. We've gotta do all the healthy things that create dopamine, but most fall, we've got to believe in this. 

[00:54:15] We've got to know that there are others who've gone down this path and changed their trajectory. And that's what we've learned. We've learned. We've never worked with a kid where we can't change the trajectory. Is it easy? Hell, no took me 50 years. no, of course not. Right. But the little signs of progress are there. 

[00:54:37] So, so it's not easy. Does it happen right away? Well, you just answered. That can be very slow. Does it always happen? Yeah. Yeah. It always happens. And what are we looking for? Um, you summed it up on your website. You know, you're looking for, you're looking for wellbeing. You're looking for that sense of joy in life. 

[00:54:58] Mm-hmm and I firmly believe that I don't care what the circumstances are. Everybody can have it. If we don't do it, then we're gonna, I, I, I do this thing, uh, for self-rate global. So self-rate global is one of our, is our international, uh, um, Um, organization and, uh, people can, there's all kinds of free stuff on it. 

[00:55:23] It's self-rate without a hyphen self-rate Um, so I do this. I'll have all your links in the website and everything in the show notes. So people just wanna scroll down. They can find all the links to your books and everything else too. Okay. Uh, so I do every about every two weeks, I do a dear self global self GGS letter. 

[00:55:43] And the one that's out this, this week, it's called the tipping point and we are at a tipping point now. And the thing about tipping points is there's, uh, what they call the snowball effect. And you're seeing the snowball effect. Um, well you saw them yesterday in your primaries. Mm-hmm um, uh, the governor of, was it Pennsylvania? 

[00:56:05] Um, uh, I mean, um, I don't know. I didn't look things okay. Don't no, no, no, it's too much stress. I know what I can't look at what I can't. I get summaries and, and, and that's it. I can't watch every day. I just too overwhelming. Okay. So the question I get asked all the time is, well, what can we possibly do so we can stop this tipping point, stop it, stop this snowballing effect. 

[00:56:32] The answer is self R. That's why we do it. Um, and so we haven't touched on a lot of the aspects of it, but basically what we're finding is this was the very first insight. In this theory, it was by a Frenchman, uh, in the middle of the 19th century. I call club Buno freed, deny freedom, psychological freedom, not Liberty, but freedom being able to choose is only possible when you're in homeostasis. 

[00:57:10] That's a ver it's a very deep thought and that's what we find. And so what we want, what I want from my kids is, you know, uh, play the game for 12 hours because somebody's controlling you. Well, you're not free. Mm-hmm, somebody in depression is not free. So we want everybody free. And freedom is sort of what I would say is the, the Corolla of everything you're doing. 

[00:57:40] Uh, it's the Corolla of joy. It's the Corolla, Corolla of meaning. So that's, that's what I do. makes sense. Makes sense. You know, I, whether it's, it's the freedom to make choices and fi and find a joy yes. And give yourself permission. Yes. To live the life design, the life that you want. Yes. Or it's even learning readiness in a classroom, you know, being able to yes. 

[00:58:04] Reach. You know, homeostasis in your life in order to learn new things and risk perfect being wrong and perfect build friendships. And, you know, it's, it's everything. Yep. It's everything. I, I, I made it my business this year. I, I teach English. So for me, reading books and talking about literature and characters and conflicts is like the ultimate primer in human emotionality in hu in emotional intelligence. 

[00:58:39] And so what I did this year was sort of turn it on a mental health or mental wellness. Well, And we started not just talking about, like, we read the crucible by Arthur Miller. Yeah. And we're not just talking about why Abigail Williams does what she does in pointing her fingers and starting the whole witch trials. 

[00:58:56] But what about her life and her experience caused, that's just wonderful to be that way. That's just wonderful. Right? So she lived through seeing her parents murdered and she was abandoned and now this mean uncle takes her over and makes her feel guilty for her existence. She has no love and no connection. 

[00:59:12] So of course she's gonna do the things that she does cuz she's looking for all of these things to create. Now I'd have the language dopamine in herself. There you go. I just, I just love it. Can I give you a book? Yeah. Okay. Uh, I don't see it on my shelves. It's by Sally Shuttleworth. Okay. So I should just tell you, my first degree was in English. 

[00:59:35] Okay. Uh, for the same reasons. Um, and I forget what the book, what the title is, but it's a book about everything you just described in 19th century fiction, how these are really incredible studies in, um, in mental health and mental illness. In fact, uh, the origins of, uh, case case studies in psychiatry, they actually used novels before they did experiments. 

[01:00:08] Wow. Yeah. So they used, uh, so one of the big ones was Domie and son, um, uh, or, or, or Withing Heights or any yeah. Um, uh, So what I do, so I, I mentioned I meditate, but the other thing I do is I read mm-hmm and I read like crazy. Yeah, yeah. Right now I'm reading. Go ahead. I'm reading, I'm reading, uh, uh, Gabriel Garcia and, uh, yeah, and I just it's just, so I don't know. 

[01:00:43] It really helps me understand the human condition and it's a vacation. Yes. I, I find that when I'm reading something and I'm really enjoying it and I'm enthralled with the, the thing itself. Yeah, me too. I forget about for a, a while it's like a vacation from all the things that I normally think about or that cause stress positive or negative. 

[01:01:03] Yeah. You know, I don't have to think about any of that. And, and depending on. What, what my, what I'm trying to achieve in that moment in time, determines what I'm gonna read. Like during the day, I'll read things that I'm engaged with cognitively that I have to think about. And at night before I go to bed, I read yep. 

[01:01:21] Really inci romance, novels. Like I don't even care how stupid they are or how badly they're written. It's something that I don't give a shit about. Really. And then I, if I fall asleep in the middle of it, it's not gonna matter, but I don't, then it shuts off all of that, you know, overthinking what I call the hula hooping monkey in my brain. 

[01:01:39] I love it. You know? So, so, um, uh, I I'm actually B uh, I speak a couple of languages and so I speak Spanish. Okay. And so, so every night, but what I find is if I read English, I can't stop the cognitive, what you just described. So I read Spanish books at night. So right now I'm reading everything that Isabelle IEN they ever wrote in the original Spanish, in the original Spanish. 

[01:02:05] And it sends me right to sleep. Wow. Yeah. Do you get as much meaning out of it, reading it in Spanish? I think I get more, to be honest. That's impressive. Yeah. No, I think you get more because you can say things in Spanish that you can't say in English. Mm-hmm um, so like for example, uh, do we really use the subjunctive in English? 

[01:02:28] I don't think so, but in Spanish it means the, my very first trip to Mexico. So the guy said to me, using the subjunctive, I'll call you tomorrow. But using the subjunctive means I have no intention of calling you. Um, but I'm being polite, right? So I sat around all morning waiting for the, for his call. And then I told some, do you speak Spanish? 

[01:02:53] No, not really. I did in high school, but I haven't used it enough to actually have a working knowledge. Okay. So if it was so in Spanish, if he's gonna say, I'm gonna call you tomorrow, say John, he said, take John May manana, meaning don't sit around. Right. So I learned hard way. It's like, so yeah. yeah, yeah. 

[01:03:13] But let's let's have lunch. That's good. Oh God. Right. Lovely, lovely boy. Okay. So what we're trying to do here is we're trying to, you know, we did all this neuroscience, uh, we're really trying to use it to enhance our understanding of why we do the things we do. And, you know, I didn't mention this, but. In self R the E emphasis is on self. 

[01:03:44] So you can't do any of this unless you yourself are regulated. So all of our work with educators, we start off the very first day is always on their self re needs because it's a tough job. It's and it's become a really tough job. So parents, I think that's where, um, Dr. Shali Saari starts with her conscious parenting. 

[01:04:05] You know, you have to know yourself and know your own emotional landscape and be able to regulate yourself in order to, to start to do that with a child and teach them how to do it themselves. That's exactly what we say. Yeah. Okay. I just love putting disparate pieces together. It's like Legos, you know? 

[01:04:26] Yeah. Love it. Love it. Yay. So, so for the, for the, for the listener who might be struggling with their own. stress, whatever that is. What, what are the first steps? You probably said this when you were talking about the five steps before, but, um, what are, what are the first things or second things that they can do to get themselves on the path to learning how to self regulate? 

[01:04:58] One of the best things we've discovered is you ask yourself two questions and it doesn't matter if it's with yourself or with the kid. And those two questions are why and why now. Okay. The reason we do that is we wanna sort of interrupt that automatic reaction. So we want to introduce that. Um, we want to introduce that pause. 

[01:05:28] So I'll give you an example. This morning I woke up and, uh, I was, uh, fixated. On that story. I told you about the, uh, pastor that got me so upset. Right? So, so I'm shaving and I'm thinking about this and I was really tense and then I stopped and I said, well, you gotta do self rage. So I asked why, and, you know, sort of zoning in grounding myself. 

[01:06:00] Um, oh, so I, I was actually dreaming about this all night, so I didn't have a restorative sleep. I was very tense in my sleep. Is there anything I can do at this moment so that I can have a better day? So what I then did was I did some meditation. So the meditation, I did release the tension release. 

[01:06:23] Exactly. And guess what happened? Stop thinking about the guy, stop thinking about all the horrible things that I'd read last night and. These intrusive thoughts are actually very valuable. They, they tell us, uh, we use something that I haven't talked about today called a ma a, a, the matrix, and people can download that for free mm-hmm Bob. 

[01:06:54] The was a great American psychologist and he designed a matrix for when we all for our energy tension state. So there are four quadrants, low energy, high tension, low energy, low tension, and so on. And what we find is when we get in trouble, it's when we're in low energy, high tension. When a kid gets in trouble, they're in low energy, high tension, and the bugger is we can be in low energy and high tension and not realize it. 

[01:07:33] So when we ask why and why now I start to ask myself, well, where am I on the energy tension matrix? Ah, I'm in, I'm in low energy, high tension. Why am I so tense? Can I release the tension? And it turns out, of course you can, you know, you learn how to do it. We call it flipping the switch. There's a, a brain switch you can flip. 

[01:07:57] So, um, where we get in trouble is that an awful lot of people are in a ver in your country are in a very high state of tension, which is draining their energy and they don't know it. And so they're miserable cuz you're gonna be yeah, but, but help is just a mental step away. Makes sense. So, so reframing, so reframing applies to our own impulses urges. 

[01:08:31] Yeah. And knowing, learning through trial and error, what works for you as an individual? I, I think is probably the, the most important thing you can learn about yourself. You know, one of the lessons that we, um, teach our teachers, our educators is so you do all this work trying to figure out, you know, what's a stress for a kid, let's say primary school, but bear in mind, one thing, the little buggers change on you all the time. 

[01:09:01] Yeah. So what was the stress? What wasn't the stress last week is this week? Well, the same is true for us, right? Mm-hmm and so what I find could be hourly, forget weekly could be hourly. Yeah. Yeah. I agree. I do agree. So, so, you know, if, but if I can tune in like last night we were watching a television show that we've really enjoyed and it just made me. 

[01:09:26] It's part of the reason why I became so tense. Um, it's about a rapist and you know, not, not the kind of thing that's gonna calm you down. Sure. Uh, um, but I didn't turn it off often. I like the show Dexter about, uh, the serial killer. Never seen it. Uh, I, it was not something that I ever thought that I would like, because it's really outside of my own personal sensibility, but I like the psychological aspect of it. 

[01:09:53] I like, it's not SCO or, you know, glorifies violence at all. It's all very purposeful psychological. I'm not gonna have to now I'm gonna have to see it. It's it's really good, but it's not the thing I can watch before bed. Okay. So we were watching anatomy of a scandal and oh, right. That's. Uh, I loved it, but last night I was tense. 

[01:10:18] I wasn't in the mood to watch it. Right. Uh, and so last night I needed to watch a hallmark movie. Right, right. For me, I put on things like Gilmore girls, which is. You know, light and fluffy, or I put on old episodes of big bang theory, which just cracks me up, I think is hysterical. You know? Well, things that are light and buoyant, you know? 

[01:10:38] Yes. I have a Sheldon, I have a Sheldon that's my older son. So I really, with that, that's what it's like. Yeah. I've got friends and students who are like that too. And you have to sort of learn how to help them manage, navigate the classroom so that the other kids don't become trigger points and interrupt them. 

[01:11:01] So, yep. Yep. Yeah. It's just difficult and, and somewhat fun in at the same time. Seriously. It is, you know, God help you, if you put the butter back in the wrong spot. Right. but it's funny. Don't sit in my spot. Right. Exactly. Exactly. It was very cool. Okay. So I think we've reached the part of the conversation where we're gonna do the seven quick questions. 

[01:11:26] Are you ready? Okay. So what six words would you use to describe yourself? Um, passionate, curious, kind. Um, can I use a bunch of words? you can use as many as you want, striving for justice, striving for a just society. That's me. That's you? Yeah, I think that's pretty accurate from the hour that I've known you. 

[01:11:53] Um, what is your favorite way to spend a day? Um, work read, walk garden, be with my wife. We got good. Good, good to squeeze her. Can I add, can I add and have my older son go out, go out with some friends for a couple hours, right? Cause then, you know, he's taken care of and happy and the house is quiet and the house is quiet. 

[01:12:19] Right. Makes sense to me. Um, what is your favorite childhood memory? Oh, that's great. One. 

[01:12:31] Being with my dad doing anything specific, 

[01:12:39] just talking with my dad, my dad, my dad was everything I wanted to be every time all whenever I think of my dad, I just think of the two of us I was talking. That's awesome. Beautiful memory. Uh, what is your favorite meal? So I'm a vegetarian. Okay. Um, um, my favorite meal would be 

[01:13:10] anything with tacos. tacos. Okay. That seems to be very popular thing. Lot of guests say tacos, but no meat, very meat. Configurations. You eat fish? No, no, just vegetables and things that grow. Yeah. Plant-based plant-based things. Yeah. Um, okay. What one piece of advice would you like to give your younger self 

[01:13:34] at any age? Really? You pick, you're gonna fuck up. Yeah. yeah. Plain. It simple, you know, and, and it's not serious. Uh, and if your heart's in the right place, you know, you'll find, you'll find your answers. Um, there are answers, um, and when the universe needs you to know them, you'll figure them out. You know, the big thing I've learned in my life is let, let your ego go to sleep. 

[01:14:04] just calm your ego down. Yeah. Right. Yeah. I think a lot of the MIS that we make and the misjudgments we make are ego based. Yes. I agree. I agree. And that's been my big learning. Cool. Um, what is one thing you would most like to change about the world? Oh, God. The world's in a very perilous state right now. 

[01:14:31] Um, uh, the brown brain we call a brown brain has been unleashed. What has to be changed now is the, the world has to get back into homeostasis, uh, social homeostasis. Uh, I sort of feel like the doomsday clock we're running outta time. Now the bad guys are getting everybody else. Yes. Yeah. And so we've really gotta do self R to let's get back to something that you and I touched on before that there has to be, you know, we have to manage our stress, but we need a spiritual reawakening. 

[01:15:10] Mm-hmm uh, that's. That's huge. I agree. And then we talked about number seven already. TV shows that you're binging and loving right now. okay. So, uh, I love Lacey a scandal. I love Lacey Shaer. Okay. Um, she, every time we watch a Lacey Shaer movie, it never makes me anxious. Um, who is she? Was she the youngest sister and party of five years and years ago? 

[01:15:41] Yes. Yeah. Okay. Then I know who she is, but in terms of we don't watch very much actually. Um, um, 

[01:15:54] I like, um, what's it called? Outlander. Oh, oh, that's wonderful. I like Outlander. It's a bit of a trigger for me though, because I have some interest, this primal fear of being stuck someplace that I can't get out of. That's very interesting. Something confined like a confined space and I'm not really, um, what do they call it? 

[01:16:19] Claustrophobic like that doesn't bother me really, but, but not being able. To escape or get out of something. And so her being trapped in another time in some cases is sort of fantastical and interesting and in other cases makes me nuts. okay. So, uh, I have a question for you. Yeah. So you've seen this, right? 

[01:16:39] Yeah. So we just, we just saw the episode where he takes her to the rocks where she was transported. Right. And then he waits for, to see if she comes or not Uhhuh. Uh, and she comes back and she says to him something about, take me to your, take me to your home. So was the idea there that I didn't see that episode. 

[01:16:59] So I don't know. Oh, it's a spoiler then. , that's fine. It's fine. I just couldn't figure out if it was supposed to be that she decided not to try, um, that she had learned to adjust to where she was or she tried and failed. Uh, and that's why she came back. Interesting. I don't know. I'll have to watch more and catch up to that. 

[01:17:20] believe it was the last episode of the first. Oh, well, then I did see it cuz I'm on like, I don't know. I'll have to go back on that. Okay. Send me an email. Send me Marc, send me an email. Go watch it again and tell me okay. I will I'll do it tonight. Okay. So have you got a, have you got a show advice from me other than Dexter? 

[01:17:41] Um, well there's a new show out. It's in the second season. It's called, um, the flight attendant. And is that good? It's very good. It's like, I like this Cuoco who plays? Um, penny on, on big bang. I thought she was very good in that she, she, but it's she is. A phenomenal actress with a range that I can't even tell you. 

[01:18:06] Okay. She's she plays the one character who's, um, an alcoholic. So you, you see her go through the whole addiction spiral and then try the 12 step program to get out of it. And, and then there's this, all this espionage and, and, and stuff going on, she's trying to find her way out of an actual minefield of crime and potential punishment at the same time you sold me. 

[01:18:33] It's so good. And it, the first season is available in its entirety now, and we're in the middle of the second season and it's like one episode a week and it comes on Thursdays and it's like torture to get from one week to the next . And I I'm like so tense for her. Like, I, I, I, I, I like want to see her. 

[01:18:53] Okay. Again, you know, it's, it's very good. And then another one that we love is called Ted lasso. And that one is on. We saw the first season and loved that Ted lasso. Oh. So yeah, we loved it. Yeah, we loved it. Oh, good. Second. Season's out also, you can see the whole thing now. And it's like such a feel good show and I'm not a sports person. 

[01:19:15] Neither. My husband or I are athletic or we're not really sports people. We forget that sports exist, you know, until we're confronted by them again. And it didn't matter that this was a soccer coach or a football coach. Like it, we just loved it. Okay. So I love that. So you and I probably have the same taste here, so I will watch the flight attendant think of you on the weekend. 

[01:19:36] Okay. Enjoy totally exciting. So, um, for everybody who's listening all of the links to Dr. Stewart Shanker's books and his website and, and everything else that you're gonna need to learn how to self-regulate yourself, which seems a little redundant, but all the links will be in the show notes. Um, so scroll down and look, thank you so much, Dr. 

[01:19:58] Shanker. This was really a wonderful conversation. Okay. I had don't say that, like I had fun with you, mercy. Thank you so much. Enjoy it out day. You too. Bye. Bye.