By Dr. Austin Perlmutter
In the wake of the global spread of the 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19), many of us have started to think more carefully about our health. How can we reduce our risk of infection and of infecting others? How can we improve our immune function? What might the virus do to our lungs, heart and blood vessels? But while these questions are very important, it’s also critical to consider how a pandemic affects our brains and how to guard them against this damage. Specifically, we need to be considering strategies to protect our mental and cognitive health.
We’ve long known that mental health suffers in periods of high stress. So it’s no surprise that the current pandemic has been linked to a spike in feelings of anxiety and depression. A troubling May 2020 survey reported that over 34% of Americans are now experiencing these symptoms. This comes at a time when the world is already experiencing an epidemic of mental illness. Continue reading
“I can feel your sadness.” This is a declaration we are certainly hearing frequently these days. And it’s not to be taken lightly. Experiencing another person’s sadness, for example, and having the ability to share in their feelings is called emotional empathy. It is emotional empathy that helps us build emotional connections with other people and ultimately serves as the thread of our existence as social beings.
Our ability to share in the joy of another person’s success or achievement, as well as our sense of heartbreak when someone experiences a personal tragedy, are fundamental elements of our social fabric. Simply stated, our social existence depends deeply on our ability to participate in the emotional experiences of others. Continue reading
It’s probably been a while since you’ve heard someone say, “You know, he may have a point,” or “I see where she’s coming from, I never thought of it that way.” We are becoming an increasingly polarized society, digging in our heels with respect to our own beliefs, and closing ourselves off to any interaction with others whose beliefs may differ from our own.
Whether it’s left-wing versus right-wing, Democrats versus Republicans, or vegans versus carnivores, the ability to engage in interactive dialogue seems to be on the wane, and this is not a good thing. The ability to visit with the ideology of another person, especially when that ideology is contrary to our own, clearly offers a benefit in terms of expanding both our knowledge base. Just experiencing or attempting to understand the beliefs of another person allows us to refine our own framework for navigating the world in which we live. Continue reading
Today, we’re releasing the third and final video in our Unhack Your Brain miniseries.
By: Austin Perlmutter, M.D.
As we enter the 2020s, we’re faced with a strange paradox. Despite widespread access to all the things that are supposed to make us happy, we’re lonely, anxious and depressed. We are separated from sustainable joy.
We call this state disconnection syndrome. Continue reading
In the second episode of our Unhack Your Brain miniseries, Austin and I explore our modern relationship with technology and social media.
Certainly, the technological advancements of the past two decades have impacted all our lives for the better, from giving us access to information to better connecting us with loved ones near and far. But at what cost? Continue reading
Today, we’re releasing the first video in a three part series about unhacking your brain.
As you’ll discover in Brain Wash, getting back to nature is one of eight key ways we can work to break free of Disconnection Syndrome.
It just makes sense that nature exposure would be good for the brain and the body, right? Well, not only does it sound logical but the science says it is so. Austin and I were impressed to discover the volume of scientific literature supporting this benefits of nature exposure, and that’s why we’ve made it a critical part of our Brain Wash program.
It’s something we all do at the holidays, when we’re surrounded by gingerbread men, hot cocoa, fruitcakes, and chocolate candies. Faced with the choice of the sweet treat or healthier alternatives, we remind ourselves the holidays come but once a year, and we all fall into a sugar-laden trap. Continue reading
There seems to be and ever-rising level of concern these days regarding the potentially damaging effects of our increasing internet usage. While it is compelling to let anecdotes enter into the conversation, it’s always more meaningful to look at what the scientific literature is telling us. Continue reading