074 – Understand How Your Brain Works: A Discussion with Stanford Neuroscientist Dr. Andrew Huberman

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The topic of neuroscience can be intimidating due to its vastness and complexity. Today on the podcast, we welcome neuroscientist Dr. Andrew Huberman to guide us through the unchartered terrain of the mind, explaining in simple language the scientific processes behind sleep, relaxation, breathing, learning, unlearning, and more, and how each of these is related to mental and physical functioning. Dr. Huberman provides an overview of the history of neuroscience, explaining how the field has shifted the focus away from the regional activity in the brain to look at the importance of neural circuits.

We discuss the Huberman Lab’s studies of stress and anxiety and the three protocols they employ to induce the regenerative benefits of sleep, including yoga nidra, hypnosis, and breathing practices. Contrary to popular belief, humans are wired for multitasking and Dr. Huberman shares a great deal about directing your attention both internally or externally, and the various purposes of both. One of the most important takeaways from our conversation is that, for humans to function optimally, they need to be able to deliberately disengage – to “rest” their attention. In addition to providing a ton of advice on this front, Dr. Huberman also shares insights on child and adult learning, how these processes might be enhanced, and the new work they are doing in trauma counseling and unlearning negative mental patterns. We shift to talking about circadian rhythms, the importance of correctly timed exposure to light, and why mental health – like physical fitness – is something to be earned. 

Timestamps

  • A brief history of neuroscience and why it has become prominent in the 21st century. [4:27]
  • Understanding neural circuits rather than focusing only on regional activity in the brain. [6:37]
  • Measuring stress and performance and how they test these responses in people. [10:54]
  • The practice of yoga nidra: how it recovers sleep and builds dopamine reserves. [12:56]
  • What hypnosis as a relaxation protocol involves and how it relates to internal control. [19:24]
  • Breathing practices and what all three protocols teach about interoception. [21:39]
  • How humans are biologically wired to multitask and focus on two things at once. [24:46]
  • The benefits of focusing your second sphere of attention on your internal landscape. [31:25]
  • Understanding that your ability to pay attention is directly proportional to your ability to deliberately disengage. [36:47]
  • The role of neural plasticity and adaptive plasticity in development and learning. [40:53]
  • The reason why learning in adulthood requires far more effort than in childhood. [44:25]
  • How supplementing acetylcholine can expedite the learning process. [50:22]
  • Unlearning, introducing competing thoughts, and new approaches to trauma. [56:11]
  • The relevance of eye movements and vision in stress and anxiety. [1:00:14]
  • How correctly timed light plays such a crucial role in mental and physical health. [1:04:53] 
  • Why mental health is something that you have to “earn” just like health and fitness. [1:12:26]

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Ben Pakulski

Ben Pakulski

Since first lifting weights as a teenager, Ben has been on a mission to do whatever it takes… …to become the most muscular man on the planet! On the eve of The Arnold Classic, he confronts the dark realities of bodybuilding… And his own future! Follow him on his journey…

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Formerly the Muscle Expert Podcast. The world’s top authority on intelligent muscle building and fat loss gives us a simple to understand deep dive into the complex world of building a body you love, and living your greatness. Weekly interviews with leading experts in a vast number of scientific fields focusing on health optimization (nutrition, sleep, hormones, mindfulness and mind set), strength, (both physical and mental), and muscle hypertrophy. Learn proven strategies for optimum life performance, whether it be in the gym, the board room or the bedroom; this is the blueprint for becoming the upgraded modern man. Ladies, this podcast is for you too. The topics, tips, and life hacks covered are essential for every individual who wants to upgrade themselves mentally and physically.

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