Kwik Brain 045: Improve Your Memory With A Good Night’s Sleep With Dr. Michael Breus

One of the easiest ways to improve your memory is by getting a good night’s sleep. In today’s episode, sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus returns to explain why sleep is so important for memory and a simple 5-step process to improve your sleep tonight.

Show Notes

One of the best ways to improve your memory and cognitive function is by getting a good night’s sleep.

REM sleep is critical for your memory because that’s when you move information from your short-term memory to your long-term memory.

Dr. Michael Breus is a sleep expert who’s appeared on The Dr. Oz Show 40+ times and the author of The Power of When.

The Brain’s 2 Sleep Systems

Sleep drive is your desire to sleep.

Sleep drives works like hunger and occurs over time.

When your cell eats glucose, adenosine comes out the back end. Adenosine travels to the brain to a specific adenosine receptor site. The more adenosine you have in your brain, the sleepier you get.

The molecular structure of adenosine and coffee are off by one molecule. Drinking coffee blocks adenosine from reaching its receptor site, which is why you don’t get sleepy.

Sleep rhythm is the natural time you go to sleep.

Our bodies naturally tend to get sleepy around 10PM – 11PM.

Balancing sleep drive and rhythm is critically important for good sleep.

If you’ve ever been exhausted and gone to bed early but couldn’t sleep, you had lots of drive and not enough rhythm.

If you’ve ever fallen asleep on the couch around 7PM then woke up and went to bed at your normal bedtime, you had too much rhythm and not enough drive.

The Stages of Sleep

Stages 1 & 2 of sleep make up about 50 – 55% of sleep, but scientists are unclear on what they do.

Stages 3 & 4 of sleep are called delta sleep and are physically restorative. This occurs during the first third of the night.

This is when you filter out any information you don’t need.

REM sleep occurs during the last third of the night.

During this stage, your brain moves information from your short- to long-term memory.

Your brain also creates an organizational substructure in your head that attaches new information to information you already know. This process improves recall.

Scientists believe that dreaming is part of this process.

If you think you don’t dream, it’s likely you’re not sleeping enough. Try adding extra sleep at the end of your night to get more REM sleep.

5 Kwik Steps to A Good Night’s Sleep

Step 1: Wake up at the same time every day.

Consistency is crucial to a good night’s sleep.

Wake up at the same time no matter what time you went to sleep.

Sticking to one sleep schedule improves your memory, sleep, and focus.

Step 2: Stop drinking caffeine by 2PM.

Caffeine is a stimulant that has a half-life of between 6 to 8 hours.

Stopping caffeine by 2PM gives your body enough time to eliminate the caffeine before bed.

If you can drink caffeine an hour before bed and sleep well, you’re probably extremely sleep-deprived or spending nights stuck in Stages 1 and 2 of sleep.

If you are constantly losing your keys, walking into a room and forgetting why you’re there, or forgetting your grocery list, you are likely sleep-deprived.

Step 3: Stop drinking alcohol 3 hours before bedtime.

The average human body takes 1 hour to digest 1 alcoholic beverage.

2 glasses of wine at dinner will increase sleep by about 10 – 12 minutes.

Your third drink has major effects on Stages 3 and 4 of sleep.

One reason you get hangovers is because alcohol affects your ability to get physically restorative sleep.

Step 4: Stop exercising about 4 hours before bedtime.

There is no better way to improve your sleep quality than exercise, but exercise can be too energy-boosting for some people.

If you are a dolphin, it’s especially important to exercise in the morning.

Make sure your exercise is improving, not disrupting, your sleep.

Step 5: Give the sun a high-five every morning.

Get 5 – 15 minutes of sunlight exposure every morning.

One reason people get ‘morning fog’ is because your brain is still producing melatonin.

Melanopsin cells in your eyes are very reactive to light. When you see sunlight, they signal your brain’s pineal gland to stop melatonin production.

This is why the military raises all the window shades at first light.

Consider getting a light box if you suffer from depression, especially in the winter.

Many people get the ‘winter blues’ because they’re not getting enough sunlight.

Light boxes are used at the International Space Station because they see the sun rise and fall every 90 minutes.

Depression is bad for your brain and affects your focus and memory.

Did you enjoy this episode? Share your biggest AHAs on social media. Don’t forget to tag me @jimkwik and Dr. Breus @thesleepdoctor, #KwikBrain, and @KwikLearning.

Want to be notified when I release new episodes? Subscribe on iTunes or join our private #KwikBrain community.

Kwik Brain 044: How to Recall Passwords and Pin Numbers

How do you remember passwords? In this episode, I share 4 techniques you can use to stop constantly forgetting passcodes and pin numbers.

Show Notes

We have lots of passwords – for bank accounts, social media, emails, etc. So how do you remember them all?

I am a fan of password managers. But when we’re too reliant on digital devices, our brain doesn’t get the exercise it needs.

We shouldn’t memorize 400 phone numbers – but we’ve lost the ability to remember a single one.

Password managers are useful at managing our online identities.

Services you should look at include LastPass, DashLane, KeePass, and 1Password.

But even if you use a password manager, you’ll still need to memorize your master password.

4 Kwik Tips to Remember Your Passwords

1. Use an acrostic.

An acrostic is a poem or sentence where the first letter of each word spells out a message for you.

If your password is TfhIeliw395SB.Trw#7pm, you could remember the sentences: The first house I ever lived in was 395 Smith Boulevard. The rent was $700 per month.

This is a 21-digit password you can remember with only 2 sentences.

If your password is Iod17cocbrwd, remember the sentence: I once drank 17 cups of coffee before realizing it was decaf.

2. Use your imagination.

Einstein once said, “Imagination is more powerful than knowledge.”

Use strange or humorous visuals and relate them to your password.

This technique is especially useful for pin numbers.

If your pin number is 0468, imagine a 4-year-old driving a car with a terrified 68-year-old in the passenger seat.

3. Use association.

Assign numbers to pictures and connect them together.

If your pin number is 2377, you might imagine Michael Jordan (whose jersey number was 23) wearing a pair of earrings shaped like the number 7.

The key is to make the pin number or password personally meaningful to you so you have more connections to it – since all learning is connecting something you want to know to something you already know.

4. Use a story.

Before we had technology, people passed on knowledge by telling stories. Stories are one of the best ways to teach because they make things memorable.

Build a mental story to make your passwords memorable. The story can be realistic or strange since we pay attention to things that are different or novel.

Stories work because they give you a starting point with which to remember your password – so take the previous story you used to explain your password and connect it to where you need to use it (like your ATM machine).

The ultimate TIP is Turn Into Picture. If you tend to remember what you see, then see what you want to remember.

If your ATM pin number is 1712, imagine that the ATM is spitting out 17 Magazine‘s issue about eggs.

Just the act of focusing on your passwords and pin numbers will make you more likely to remember them.

These techniques are a means to an end. Once your true memory knows what your passcode is, the pictures will disappear.

Use these techniques to overcome the 6-second syndrome: when you learn something brand-new, you have 6 seconds to do something with that information before you lose it.

Your Homework Assignment

Use one of these techniques to create a new password or change an existing one into something more memorable.

Try one of the password massagers mentioned above.

Did you enjoy this episode? Share your biggest AHAs on social media. Don’t forget to tag me @jimkwik, #KwikBrain, and @KwikLearning.

Want to be notified when I release new episodes? Subscribe on iTunes or join our private #KwikBrain community.

Kwik Brain 043: The Best Time to Study & Learn

Everybody talks about the ‘what’ or ‘how’ of personal development – but very few people talk about the power of ‘when.’ In this episode, my superhero sleep sensei Dr. Michael Breus shares exactly when you should study, learn, and more for best results.

Show Notes

When is the best time to learn something new, to study, or to remember?

You can do the right thing at the wrong time and not get the results you want.

Dr. Michael Breus is my ‘superhero sleep sensei’ and author of The Power of When, which talks about the 4 chronotypes and how to use yours to your advantage.

Your chronotype is based on a specific gene known as the PER3 gene.

The 4 Chronotypes

Lions are the ‘early birds.’

Lions get up early and make their first kill before dawn.

Lions make up 15% of the population and are type A personalities who never deviate from the established order.

Lions wake up around 5 – 5:30AM without an alarm clock.

Socially, they don’t do well because they’re tired from waking up so early.

Most people are bears.

Bears make up about 50 – 55% of the population.

Bears go to bed around 10PM and wake up around 6:30 – 7AM, and society is built around a bear’s schedule.

Bears tend to be fun, gregarious extroverts but also can get work done.

Wolves are the ‘night owls.’

Wolves are creative risk-takers.

Wolves can be standoffish socially – but once you become friends with a wolf, you’re friends for life.

Wolves go to bed around midnight and wake up late; they hate mornings.

Dolphins are the problem sleepers.

Dolphins sleep unihemispherically –  one-half of the brain sleeps while the other half looks for predators.

Dolphins tend to be insomniacs.

Dolphins are highly intelligent and motivated but a little anxious.

During each 24-hour cycle, your hormones start and stop at different hours depending on your chronotype.

You can discover when the best time to do something is by matching your activities to when you need your hormones.

Discover your own chronotype by taking The Power of When Quiz.

Self-awareness is a superpower.

Have your loved ones take the quiz to improve your communication.

Knowing when someone will be receptive to what you have to say can improve your relationship.

There are certain times of day when your brain is not interested in details, emotions, and focus.

It is possible to be more than one chronotype.

While lions and wolves tend to be extremes, bears fall within a spectrum.

Some bears like to sleep early while others like to sleep late.

Once dolphins start sleeping better, sometimes a second chronotype emerges.

The best time to do something falls within a range, and your placement on that range depends on your chronotype.

Lions will fall on the earlier side, bears will be in the middle, and wolves will be on the later side.

When is the best time for sex?

Before sex, you want high levels of progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, adrenaline, and cortisol. You want to have low melatonin.

92% of people have sex between 10:30PM and 11:30PM, when your hormone profile is exactly the opposite you want it to be.

Have sex in the morning because that’s when you have the hormone profile you need.

Dr. Breus has a specific chart in The Power of When that shows you when to have sex based on your and your partner’s chronotype.

Sex is good for the brain.

When is the best time to read?

Between 1PM and 3PM, you release melatonin and your core body temperature drops so you feel more tired – so this is not a good time to read.

It is ideal to read between 11AM and 12:30PM.

Be sure to eat breakfast since you won’t be able to focus without the fuel.

Try doing detailed work between 11AM and 12PM. Take a 25-minute break for lunch, then work on more detailed reading until 1PM.

Dr. Breus’ Best Sleep Tip: Pick a sleep schedule and stick to it.

For great sleep, you need to stick to your schedule on the weekends too.

Lions tend to wake up early so this is not a big issue for them. Bears like to sleep in on weekends, but sleeping in will make you feel worse so keep your schedule tight.

Consistency is important for everyone, but especially for wolves and dolphins.

If you’re interested in going more in-depth on this topic, Dr. Breus has put together a special package just for our Kwik Brain listeners. Click here to learn more.

You can also learn more in Dr. Breus’ book, The Power of When.

Did you enjoy this episode? Share your takeaways on social media and tag me @jimkwik and Dr. Breus @thesleepdoctor. Don’t forget to check out Dr. Breus’ program – exclusive to Kwik Brain listeners!

Want to be notified when I release new episodes? Subscribe on iTunes and join our private #KwikBrain community.

Like this episode? Please share it with the hashtag #KwikBrain! My podcast is ad-free ONLY because you share my work!

Kwik Brain 042: How to Solve Problems & Make Better Decisions Fast

We all have to solve problems in life – but very few of us have a process for doing so. In this episode, I share a technique you can use for both group discussion and individual thinking involving six colored hats.

Show Notes

Our life is a function of how well we solve problems, but very few of us have a process for solving problems.

In order to solve a problem well, we need to look at it from several different perspectives.

Most people can’t make good decisions because they attack the problem from the same perspective.

When I woke up in the hospital after over-exerting myself in college, a nurse handed me a mug of tea. On the teabag was an Albert Einstein quote: the same level of thinking that’s created your problem won’t solve your problem.

According to The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, a lot of major advances in various industries have come from outsiders because insiders adopt the same education and levels of belief. Outsiders are able to think ‘outside the box.’

Renowned music producer Quincy Jones once told me, “I don’t have problems. I have puzzles.”

Edward De Bono developed a tool called the 6 Thinking Hats to help you look at a problem from 6 different perspectives.

Many people are overwhelmed by information when making decisions, and this technique allows you to consider just one perspective at a time.

To get the most of this episode, pick a problem or decision you need to make and apply the technique.

Start by imagining you have 6 hats in front of you. Imagine you are putting on one hat at a time.

The 6 Thinking Hats

The white hat is the hat of logic.

When you wear the white hat, ask yourself: what is the information available? What are the facts? How can I look at this objectively?

To remember the white hat as the logical one, imagine a scientist in a white coat.

The red hat is the hat of emotion.

When you wear the red hat, ask yourself: how do I feel? What emotions come up? What is my intuition telling me?

To remember the red hat as the emotional one, imagine a fire.

The black hat is the critic.

When you wear the black hat, ask yourself: what could go wrong? Why won’t this work? Why do I need to be cautious?

To remember the black hat as the critic, imagine the robes of a judge.

The yellow hat is the hat of optimism.

When you wear the yellow hat, ask yourself: what could go right? What are the benefits? What is the upside?

To remember the yellow hat as the optimist, imagine the sun.

The green hat is the hat of creativity.

When you wear the green hat, ask yourself: how can I be creative? What are the possibilities? Is there a different alternative I’m not considering?

To remember the green hat as the creative one, imagine green grass.

The blue hat is the manager.

When you wear the blue hat, listen to the other hats, think about the big picture, and make your final decision.

To remember the blue hat as the manager, think about the sky.

What problem did you use this technique on? How did it work for you? Let me know on social media by tagging @jimkwik and #KwikBrain.

Want to be notified when I release new episodes? Subscribe on iTunes and join our private #KwikBrain community.

Like this episode? Please share it with the hashtag #KwikBrain! My podcast is ad-free ONLY because you share my work!

Kwik Brain 041: The 5 Ways to Organize Information

How do you understand something? How do you organize information in a way that makes it memorable and comprehensive so you can better assimilate it? In this episode, I reveal the 5 ways to organize information – taken from Understanding Understanding by Richard Saul Wurman.

Show Notes

How do you understand something? How do you organize information in a way that makes it memorable and comprehensive so you can better assimilate it?

The goal is not just to read and remember faster – it’s to understand what you’re learning.

The knowledge in today’s episode is pulled from a new book called Understanding Understanding by Richard Saul Wurman. He is the author of 90+ books and best-known as the creator of TED. His latest book was co-written with 25 other individuals such as magician David Blaine and world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, and asks them each to tackle the question: What does it mean to understand something? I also contributed a chapter on the topic from a brain perspective, drawing on adult learning theory and memory principles.

To frame this episode, let’s look at Wurman’s Ode to Ignorance.

To comprehend new information of any kind – be it financial reports, appliance manuals or a new recipe – you must go through certain processes and meet certain conditions before understanding can take place. You must have some interest in receiving the information; you must uncover the structure or framework by which it is or should be organized; you must relate the information to ideas that you already understand; and you must test the information against those ideas and examine it from different vantage points in order to possess or know it.

The most essential prerequisite to understanding is to be able to admit when you don’t understand something. Striving to be the dumbest person in the room.

Being able to admit that you don’t know is liberating. Giving yourself permission not to know everything will make you relax, which is the ideal frame of mind to receive new information. You must be comfortable to really listen, to really hear and absorb new information.

In our first episode, we talked about how one of the keys to learning anything FASTer is to Forget. This is all about the attitude you need of your beginner’s mind to help you learn faster and achieve faster.

When you can you admit to ignorance, you will realize that ignorance isn’t exactly bliss, it is, however, an ideal state from which to learn. The fewer preconceptions you have about the material, and the more relaxed you feel about not knowing, the more you will increase your ability to understand and learn. When you can admit that you don’t know, you are more likely to ask the questions that will enable you to learn. When you don’t have to filter your inquisitiveness through a smoke screen of intellectual posturing, you can genuinely receive or listen to new information. If you are always trying to disguise your ignorance of a subject, you will be distracted from understanding it.

All learning is state-dependent – and our ego sometimes gets in the way of learning.

By giving yourself permission not to know, you can overcome the fear that your ignorance will be discovered. THe inquisitiveness essential to learning thrives on transcending this fear.

Yet this essential prerequisite to learning is a radical concept in our society. As there are few rewards and abundant punishments for admitting ignorance on a personal or professional level in our culture, we go to great lengths to mask a lack of understanding. Most of us have been taught since childhood, at least implicitly, never to admit ignorance. We live in fear of our ignorance being discovered and spend our lives trying to put one over on the world. If we could instead delight in our ignorance, use it as an inspiration to learn instead of an embarrassment to conceal, there would be no information anxiety.

The 5 Keys for Organizing Information: LATCH

Organizing information helps you find, understand, and remember it better.

There are only 5 ways to organize information. The method you choose will permit a different understanding of the information.

L stands for Location.

If you were reporting on the automobile industry, you could organize cars by place of manufacture.

A stands for Alphabet.

A dictionary is a list of words organized in alphabetical importance.

T stands for Time.

If you were reporting on the automobile industry, you could organize cars by year.

C stands for Category.

An almanac is organized by categories.

A newspaper is organized first by categories, then by hierarchy.

H stands for Hierarchy.

Emergency rooms are organized by a hierarchy of importance AKA a likelihood of need.

If content is king, context is the kingdom.

Let’s say we ask a company to create a set of full-sized stuffed dogs of the 189 breeds accepted into the American Kennel Club. We ask them to create one male and one female of each breed, so we end up with 378 stuffed dogs. You could organize them by smallest to largest, tallest to shortest, lightest to heaviest, length of hair, etc. You could also tie ribbons around their necks, colored according to which of the six major breed types they belong to (sporting dogs, hounds, etc).

This is important because each time the dogs are arranged in a different way, you see new information created by relationships independent of the subject of the arrangement. So you can discover that, for example,  the most popular dogs are big dogs. But while the organization of the information gives us new information, the dogs themselves never change.

When you’re learning new information, how can you organize information using LATCH?

Want to be notified when I release new episodes? Subscribe on iTunes and join our private #KwikBrain community.

Want more from Richard Saul Wurman? Purchase Understanding Understanding here.

Like this episode? Please share it with the hashtag #KwikBrain! My podcast is ad-free ONLY because you share my work!

Kwik Brain 040: How To Stay Focused (And Fix A Wandering Mind)

How do you focus and tame a wandering mind? In this episode, I share a lesson from our 30-day Kwik Focus Blueprint on setting up your environment to trigger a focus state.

Show Notes

We all struggle to maintain focus in our daily lives.

But you can set up your environment to naturally trigger a focus state in yourself.

This extra-special episode is a lesson taken from our brand-new program, the Kwik Focus Blueprint.

This 30-day program is a system for busy people who want to master their attention and get ahead in a world of distraction. In just 10 – 15 minutes a day, I teach you how to declutter your mind and triple your focus and concentration.

If you enjoy this episode, you can get all 30 training lessons here at 50{a2ab13f598b9c192179e3b332480587a5b65c6fbd81f4180faa8ab5c9a3db3bb} off as a thank you for being a Kwik Brain listener.

Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world, so transforming your environment can do wonders for your focus.

Think about how you feel when you clean your desk or laptop.

One of my favorite books on this topic is Organizing from the Inside Out: The Foolproof System For Organizing Your Home, Your Office and Your Life.

For creative pursuits, a cluttered environment can stimulate new thoughts. But when it comes to your work/study environment, excess things in your surroundings can negatively impact your focus and ability to process information.

A Princeton University study found that physical clutter in your surroundings competes for your attention, which results in decreased performance and increased anxiety and stress levels.

A UCLA study of families found that all the mothers’ stress hormones spiked when dealing with clutter in their environment.

Like multitasking, physical clutter overloads your senses, increases stress, and impairs your peace of mind.

How to Reduce Clutter in Your Environment

1. Apply constraints of space and time.

When you have a short runway, it forces you to have clarity and creativity. It also forces you to concentrate and commit.

Try limiting the number of magazines or notebooks in your environment, or how many tabs you have open in your browser.

Parkinson’s Law states that we fill the time with what’s available to us. The same applies to space.

The less room you have, the less room you’ll have for clutter.

Schedule regular reviews of your environment.

Take the time to clean, organize, and discard things from your workspace each week or month.

2. Control your places and devices.

Our work habits are often related to external cues.

By associating certain places with certain tasks, you condition your brain into entering flow state faster.

Designate specific areas and specific devices to different types of work.

Productivity expert Julia Roy recommends using a designated tablet for entertainment and restricting your work laptop to professional activities. You can learn more in Kwik Brain 018: Fast Focus & Productivity with Julia Roy.

3. Design for laziness.

Habits expert Dr. B.J. Fogg recommends making it difficult to do the things that will distract you.

According to a UC Irvine study, it can take up to 20 minutes to recover from a single distraction.

Unplug your TV. Put your phone in a drawer. Turn off the wifi when you’re writing.

A Harvard Business Review study found that workers who were able to control their environment had better focus and performed better.

Put a sign outside of your office that tells people you’re busy to avoid distractions.

4. Be conscious of the lighting.

Lighting impacts your productivity because your eyes are very sensitive.

Indirect sunlight is best for establishing consistent focus and sleep patterns.

Be wary of harsh fluorescent lights and opt for light that doesn’t strain your eyes if you can.

5. Pay attention to the sound.

Reduce distracting noises by asking people to be quiet or using noise-canceling headphones.

Try creating a playlist of ‘focus music,’ ideally with acoustic songs and few lyrics.

According to The New York Times, 15 – 30 minutes of the right music can help you regain your concentration.

6. Have a focus friend.

The people you spend time with affect your focus and concentration.

The Hawthorne Effect states that being observed affects your behavior. So being watched while working can lead to a productivity boost.

Inviting a focused, productive person to work with you can help increase your focus.

You don’t have to be collaborating but need to be working in the same environment.

Remember: your focus is like a muscle. It grows stronger and sharper with the right training!

Do you want more focus training? I would be honored to be your focus coach! The Kwik Focus Blueprint is a 30-day program designed to train your focus so you can achieve your biggest goals…and as a thank you for listening to our podcast, you can get it now for 50{a2ab13f598b9c192179e3b332480587a5b65c6fbd81f4180faa8ab5c9a3db3bb} off.

Want to be notified when I release new episodes? Subscribe on iTunes and join our private #KwikBrain community.

Like this episode? Please share it with the hashtag #KwikBrain! My podcast is ad-free ONLY because you share my work!

Kwik Brain 039: Wipe Out Negative Thoughts & Limiting Beliefs

How do you reduce negative self-talk? In this episode, New York Times bestselling author Nick Ortner shows us how to transform the thoughts in our heads via tapping.

Show Notes

Your brain is like a super-computer, and your self-talk is the program it will run.
That’s why any negative self-talk you have is a major obstacle to accessing the total potential of your Kwik Brain.
Nick Ortner is an expert on Emotional Freedom Technique, also known as tapping. Tapping involves tapping on the endpoints of the meridians of your body. This sends a calming signal to your brain’s amygdala and improves your productivity, performance, and positivity.

To improve your positivity, start by tapping on your automatic negative thoughts.

How to Tap:

Round 1:

1. Pick something in your life that you’re anxious about (ideally an upcoming event)

2. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and say aloud, “I am __,” filling in the blank with your negative thought. Focus on one negative belief, and acknowledge this negative feeling. Rate how true this statement feels on a scale of 0 – 10. Pick an emotion that this statement makes you feel in your body and be present with it.

3. When you’re ready, open your eyes.

4. Take 4 fingers and tap on the “karate chop point” – the outside of your hand below the pinky. As you tap, repeat the following phrases:

Even though I have this belief about myself, I choose to relax now.

Even though I believe this about myself, I choose to relax now.

Even though I believe ___, I love and accept myself.

Insert your own belief into the final two statements.

5. Take 2 fingers and tap where your eyebrow meets the nose. Say your belief out loud as you tap. (You can do this on one side or both sides of the body since the major meridians run down both sides of the body.)

6. As you say your belief out loud, tap on the bone on the side of the eye.

7. Tap under your eye and say your belief out loud again. Be present to this belief and see how it feels in your body.

8. Tap under the nose with 2 fingers as you continue to be present to the emotion of that belief. How do you feel when you say this belief?

9. Say this belief out loud as you tap below your mouth in the chin above your crease.

10. Go about an inch below your collarbones and out to the side. Tap with all 10 fingers and say that belief out loud again. Notice if the belief starts to sound a little silly, or if you’re starting to care less about it.

11. Tap about 3 inches under your armpit. (For women, this is on your bra line.) Think about all the times you’ve disproved your belief.

12. Tap the top of your head with 5 fingers.

Round 2:

13. Return to the eyebrow, allowing your anxiety to evolve into strength.

14. Tap on the side of the eye, paying attention to the positive emotions that are beginning to come up.

15. As you tap under the eye, be present with those positive thoughts.

16. Tap under the nose and be present with the strength and confidence in your body as your negative thoughts vanish.

17. Tap under the mouth and make your strength bigger and brighter. Try to think about the negative belief again and notice how it’s hard to care about it.

18. Tap under your collarbone, and feel your own strength and power. Notice all the resources that awaken inside of you. What if you could always feel like this?

19. Tap underneath your armpit, allowing your power to sink into every cell of your body.

20. Tap your crown and be present. Feel your new reality.

21. When you’re ready, stop tapping and take a deep breath. Tune back into your belief and see how it feels. How strong does it feel on a scale of 1 – 10?

Did you enjoy this episode? Share it with your friends, tagging me @jimkwik and Nick @nickortner. Let us know if you want more from Nick – and don’t forget to listen to our first episode here.

Want more from Nick Ortner? If you enjoy this, I encourage you to purchase Nick’s brand-new book: The Tapping Solution for Manifesting Your Greatest Self. Remember: all behavior is belief-driven – and one of the best ways to change ours is by tapping. You can purchase the book here.

Want to be notified when I release new episodes? Subscribe on iTunes and join our private #KwikBrain community.

Kwik Brain 038: Eliminate Stress and Make Anxiety Disappear in Minutes

How do you get rid of stress and reduce anxiety in your body?

Stress can be a major obstacle to performance.

That’s why I interviewed Nick Ortner, New York Times bestselling author and expert on the Emotional Freedom Technique – also known as tapping.

Show Notes

Tapping involves physically tapping on the endpoints of major meridians of your body.

When you tap on these points, you send a calming signal to your amygdala.

Your amygdala is your brain’s fight-or-flight response center and is activated when you feel stress.

When you are anxious about a future event, you lose focus and have physical symptoms because of this stress response. You can freeze, fright, or run – but can’t think, create, or enjoy.

Many people power their way through stress – but tapping allows you to release this anxiety and turn off the brain’s fight-or-flight response. It tells the body it’s safe and allows the focus, flow, and pleasure to come in.

How to Tap:

Round 1:

1. Pick something in your life that you’re anxious about (ideally an upcoming event).
2. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and tune into your anxiety around this thing. Try to feel the anxiety in your body. Give the anxiety a number.
3. When you’re ready, open your eyes.
4. Take 4 fingers and tap on the “karate chop point” – the outside of your hand below the pinky. As you tap, repeat the following phrase 3 times: “Even though I feel all this anxiety, I choose to relax now.”
5. Take 2 fingers and tap where your eyebrow meets the nose. Say, “This anxiety,” as you tap. (You can do this on one side or both sides of the body since the major meridians run down both sides of the body.)
6. As you say, “This anxiety,” tap on the bone on the side of the eye.
7. Tap under the nose with 2 fingers as you imagine the event you’re anxious about.
8. Continue to imagine this event as you tap below your mouth in the chin above your crease. As you tap, notice any distracting thoughts and let them go as you continue to acknowledge your anxiety.
9. Go about an inch below your collarbones and out to the side. Tap with all 10 fingers and continue to imagine the event. The goal is to fire the amygdala in order to disengage it.
10. As you continue to tap, notice any other memories that come up. Anxiety is manufactured by the body and brain from previous experiences, so pay attention to what you think of.
11. Continue to be present with your anxiety and tap about 3 inches under your armpit. (For women, this is on your bra line.)
12. Tap the top of your head with 5 fingers.

Round 2:

13. Return to the eyebrow, allowing your anxiety to evolve.
14. Tap on the side of the eye, asking what would happen if you released your anxiety. We often hold onto anxiety for a reason.
15. As you tap under the eye, ask how your anxiety is serving you and how you can release it.
16. Tap under the nose and re-run the movie of the event in your mind. Your anxiety may be lowered, so bring it back up in order to clear it completely.
17. Tap under the mouth and continue to be present with your anxiety.
18. Tap under your collarbone, and notice if you find your anxiety replaced with a more soothing image. This is not an image you should will; it should come up naturally.
19. Tap underneath your armpit, allowing yourself to let go of the stress in your body.
20. Tap your crown and be present with the positive feelings that start to come up.

Round 3:

21. As you tap on your eyebrow, say, “It’s safe to let all this go.”
22. As you tap on the side of the eye, say, “It’s safe to release any remaining anxiety.”
23. Tap under your eye and say, “To feel strong and confident.”
24. Tap under your nose and say, “Feeling strong and confident in my body.”
25. Tap under your mouth and say, “Feeling safe in my body.”
26. Tap below your collarbone and say, “I’ve got this.”
27. Tap underneath your armpit and say, “And I know that now.”
28. Tap the top of your head and say, “I’ve got this.”
29. Stop tapping, take a deep breath, let go, and tune back in. Remember your number from Step 1. What is your anxiety now?

Want more from Nick Ortner? If you enjoy this, I encourage you to purchase Nick’s brand-new book: The Tapping Solution for Manifesting Your Greatest Self. This book takes people through a 21-day process designed to help you break through. The first week focuses on calming your anxiety and panic. The second week works on clearing out any old beliefs. During the third week, you work on creating a vision for your life. You can purchase the book here.

Liked this episode? Be sure to share it with your friends and tag me (@jimkwik) and Nick (@nickortner)!

Want to be notified when I release new episodes? Subscribe on iTunes and join our private #KwikBrain community.

Kwik Brain 037: Super Charge Your Brain & Life with Brendon Burchard (Part 3)

In the final episode of our 3-part series with master high performance trainer and New York Times bestselling author Brendon Burchard, we reveal the final 5 of the 10 human drives you need to activate your extraordinary life.

Show Notes

In our previous episodes with Brendon, we talked about baseline drives. These drives are concerned with self-knowledge and social connection.

In this episode, Brendon reveals the forward drives, which are concerned with self-actualization and social contribution. They are less comfortable to activate but more satisfying when they are achieved.

10 Human Drives (Drives 6 – 10)

Drive 6: Change.

We are driven biologically, evolutionarily, and spiritually for change.

Most people fear 3 things about change, so know what you fear and see how you can re-wire your brain to see it from a different perspective.

1. People fear loss – that they’ll lose whatever they like.

Ask yourself: what will I gain?

2. People fear process pain – that the change will be hard.

Ask yourself: how can I set this process up so that I enjoy it?

3. People fear outcome pain – that the grass won’t be greener on the other side.

Ask yourself: How can I find people who’ve achieved the outcome I want? How can they guide me?

Change can be the greatest release of dopamine in your life – but don’t make small changes.

SMART goals have their time and place…but goals are not enough.

Don’t play small. If you’re going to change your life, make a radical shift. Have a breakthrough and a transformation. Leap; don’t crawl.

Drive 7: Challenge.

Challenge is what makes you want to grow.

Growth is an outcome of challenge.

Humans are journey-thinkers, so the journey itself is rewarding.

Goals are great, but they are destination-thinking.

One of the greatest challenges of the last century was when JFK challenged Americans to go to the moon by the end of the 1960s.

When he issued the challenge in 1961, we lacked the technology, knowledge, and skills to do so – but we developed them because the challenge was set.

To hit another level of your life, ask yourself: what is that bold challenge? What is that one thing that you want to accept as a challenge?

Activating your drive for challenge is one way to reach self-actualization.

This is why many people talk about overcoming challenges as some of the most meaningful moments of their lives.

Drive 8: Creative Expression.

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. – Martha Graham

You have been given a gift of uniqueness – no one else is exactly like you. If you don’t amplify that into the world, you don’t feel alive.

When you are not expressing yourself, you are living a life that is subdued – and a life subdued feels caged.

Creative expression takes many forms.

You can dance, do music, or paint. You can write a book or work on marketing. You can talk about new ideas about the world, or decorate your office or home, or have your own fashion sense.

When you come from an authentic place creatively, you start to feel more engaged.

Drive 9: Contribution.

Fulfillment and satisfaction come from these final two drives.

Our drive for contribution is ingrained within us, but this drive tends to be subdued in our culture.

Many people think that contribution is measured by “giving to.”

Giving time, money, effort, or energy to something makes you a contributor.

People don’t feel the zest of contribution in their life because they’re not giving to anything.

While “giving to” is important, contribution is actually measured by “giving of.”

Giving of yourself to the world is your greatest contribution.

Brendon lost his father in 2009 – and while society might not recognize his contribution, he gave of himself fully to every endeavor he was in. So everyone he touched in society will carry his charge, and the values and energy he gave, with them.

To contribute more, be more of yourself.

Live life at your highest level.

When you make decisions from that standpoint, you’re more honorable, more authentic, more service-driven, more connected, and more generous.

Drive 10: Consciousness.

We all want to transcend, and this desire shows up in two ways in our lives.

1. Transcendent Thought.

We try to think beyond our own minds, transcending our impulses and ways of thinking in order to reach our highest selves.

Meditation and Buddhist thought are all about transcendent thought.

2. Transcending Self.

This is our drive to recognize and connect with something larger than ourselves.

No one can ever be fully conscious, but we can all do our best and make it a lifelong goal to transcend our own consciousness levels.

The more conscious we become, the more spiritual we become, and the more we are able to live as our highest self.

Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire. – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Being more conscious of love, of giving it generously, of opening ourselves to it, and of leading from it will change the direction of our planet.

Liked this episode? Be sure to share it with your friends and tag me (@jimkwik) and Brendon (@brendonburchard)! Don’t forget to listen to Parts 1 and 2, too.

 Want more from Brendon? Discover the 6 habits that will help you succeed in his brand-new book: High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way.

Want to be notified when I release new episodes? Subscribe on iTunes and join our private #KwikBrain community.

Kwik Brain 036: Super Charge Your Brain & Life with Brendon Burchard (Part 2)

In the second episode of our 3-part series with master high performance trainer and New York Times bestselling author Brendon Burchard, we reveal 2 more of the 10 human drives you need to activate your extraordinary life.

Show Notes

10 Human Drives (Drives 4 – 5)

Drive 4: Caring.

We are driven as a human species to care and be cared for.

If we’re born and not cared for, we die.

We leave relationships and jobs when we don’t feel cared for.

Caring starts with caring for yourself.

Most of us don’t care for ourselves.

We aren’t sleeping or hydrating, and 70{a2ab13f598b9c192179e3b332480587a5b65c6fbd81f4180faa8ab5c9a3db3bb} of Americans are overweight.

If you can’t care for your own physical body, how can you possibly care for your emotional world?

Drive 5: Connection.

We are driven to connect with others.

Love is not a human drive.

Love is a quality of both caring and connection.If you don’t feel loved, there’s not enough caring and connection there. Amplified caring and connection becomes love.

If you don’t feel loved, there’s not enough caring and connection there. Amplified caring and connection becomes love.

To create greater connection in your life, practice positive projection.

Renowned relationship expert John Gottman has found that in the relationships more likely to fail, there is a higher degree of contempt, criticism, condescension, and stonewalling.

In successful relationships, the relationship of positive to negative things said between them are 5:1.

You get what you look for in others. So look for greatness.

Liked this episode? Be sure to share it with your friends and tag me (@jimkwik) and Brendon (@brendonburchard)! Don’t forget to subscribe to get Part 3, and listen to Part 1 here.

 Want more from Brendon? Discover the 6 habits that will help you succeed in his brand-new book: High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way.

Want to be notified when I release new episodes? Subscribe on iTunes and join our private #KwikBrain community.