The Importance Of Maintaining Your Mental Health with Dr. Gregory Scott Brown - Transcripts

June 23, 2022

  • Favorite
  • Share
While our physical health is extremely important, people often overlook exercising their mind. Mental health is the driving force behind the decisions we make; how we live, how we work, and how we love. Dr. Gregory Scott Brown, M.D. board-certified psychiatrist, mental health writer, author, and an affiliate faculty member at the University of Texas Dell Medical School, joins this episode to stress the importance of maintaining your mental health and caring for your mind. Dr. Brown kicks off the episode by defining mental health, touches on the mental health of teens vs. retirees, and talks through how nutrition impacts your mind. He also shares his five essential pillars for mental health that everyone can optimize, why breath work is the most underutilized form of medicine and experiencing burnout. Furthermore, Dr. Brown reveals a great form of therapy for your mind, discusses some of his mental health struggles, and discloses details from his newest book. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Transcript

I'm not like all the other hotels, I'm more what you might call boutique seeking. A traveler with a romantic heart must love leather lounge chairs and a library brimming with poets from around the globe, download the hotels up to find your perfect somewhere.

Dr Gregory scott Brown says mental health is the driving force behind every decision we make, how we live work and love. He wants to help us all move past outdated notions of broken brains and chemical imbalances. Sure, prescription drugs and talk therapy can be important, but he thinks lifestyle interventions are also a key part of the equation. He even believes in the therapeutic value of yoga. Dr Brown is a board certified psychiatrist, an affiliate faculty member at the University of texas Dell Medical School. In fact, we had to end our interview so he could get back to his patients, listen to his advice and insight about actionable self care and let it put the power of healing back in your control. I'm wes moss, the prevailing thought in America is that you'll never have enough money and it's almost impossible to retire early actually, I think the opposite is true. For more than 20 years. I've been researching, studying and advising American families, including those who started late on how to retire sooner and happier so my mission with retire sooner podcast is to help a million people retire earlier while enjoying the adventure along the way. I love for you to be one of them. Let's get started. Let's start with this dr Brown, which is the definition of mental health and you look at it a little bit differently, Yes, you talk about redefining mental health, tell me about what is it?

How do you define it? I think that is an excellent question. And people may look at this as a matter of semantics. I don't think it is right. And so the reason being is most people, when I ask them what they think about, when they think about mental health, they're thinking depression, anxiety, suicide A. D. H. D. They think about these diagnoses. They think about things that can happen if we don't take care of our mental health. Those are really important things west to think about. But it's also important to understand that even if you've never been diagnosed with a mental illness like depression or anxiety or you haven't thought about suicide in explicit terms, which I think would apply to many people who are listening to this show that mental health is still for you, right?

It's still important for you to pay attention to it. And so the definition I offered many of my patients and the definition I offer in the book is mental health is the idea of living with purpose balance, contentment and hope. Those four things. And if we have that, then we're on the path to living with mental health again, your book, the self healing mind essential five step practice for overcoming anxiety and depression and revitalizing your life again, it's almost as though we think of our physical health. We think, well, just because we, let's say you don't have a disease, just because you don't have cancer or heart disease or diabetes, you don't have something. It doesn't mean we don't think about keeping ourselves healthy, but it's almost as if with mental health, you only think of your mental health if there's a problem, it's like, oh, well if you have anxiety, depression, they're going to fix it. We don't really talk about, let's keep my brain my mental well being healthy in any given day, I just you don't really hear about it. Is that part of what you're talking about? It's absolutely correct. I mean, think about how many of us have gym memberships or during the pandemic, how many of us invested in buying peloton, right. I mean, it's an idea of physical health is this idea of strength and fitness, right? Um and vitality.

But when we think about mental health again, we're thinking about this clinical scenario. Um and so, you know, some people would even argue that we need to think about mental health in terms of mental fitness, just like we think about physical fitness, right? So that we can maintain our mental health and do what they do, the things we need to do in order to, you know, keep ourselves mentally strong as well. Yeah, nobody's told me how to lift weights with my brain. Maybe we'll figure that out today a little bit again, an enormous piece of the equation to be able to end up in the happy camp and we study happy versus unhappy retirees and the habits that are different between those two groups, but clearly the happy group has a high sense of purpose quotient, unhappy group has a pretty low sense of purpose quotient. How do we end up with that sense of purpose for somebody who's Kind of getting into a post career? You know, I just talked to a long, long term family that I've worked with for 15 years and the husband just retired May one and here we are a couple of weeks later and he was just saying it's been a weird month. Like, you know, the first month I'm waking up without a long list to do like the first time I can kinda quote, not think about anything, but how do you end up counseling people or what's just your advice on finding a purpose, finding core pursuits which are we call, these are kind of the hobbies on steroids that may give us some purpose potentially. How do you suggest we do that and find it? I think you got it on the nose when you were talking to me earlier, I asked, you know, I'm 38 years old, is there hope for me when it comes to retirement. You said as long as you're thinking about it, there is, right and that's something that actually in this short conversation so far has got me a little bit fired up, right, that's what purpose is all about. It's not a destination, it's a process, right?

So when I counsel my patients about purpose, it's all about getting fired up about the journey, um deciding what it is that you've always dreamed of or what you aspire to do and then coming up with concrete steps um to how you're gonna get there and enjoying every single second of that journey, enjoying the setbacks in enjoying the successes and realizing that that's part of that process. That's what purpose is all about. I think part of it is that when you're working 24 7, right, and you've got, you've already said you have two jobs, I got two jobs. Yeah, you probably both probably have like three or four. Actually at one point had three separate key cards on my key ring and I realized it was impacting my mental fitness. It was, and I remember thinking like I gotta get rid of one of these key cards, Charles. I am going to be stuck in the unhappy retiree soup and now, fortunately I've managed it down to two uh Back in 2020, you had a, if our audience doesn't know about common, but he's a rap superstar, you talked to common about mental health. What did you, did you learn from him? Oh my goodness, so common is a remarkable person who has a remarkable story again um one of the reasons why, and again, I'm just fortunate to men's health has been very kind to me. Men's health magazine for orchestrating a series of interviews I did with Common, but at the time he was launching a series of Youtube videos called Commonweal um which talked about his own journey um for wellness, talked about nutrition, talked about mindfulness and brought in some of his friends who have helped him and inspired him along the way. And so, you know, something I learned about common was that, you know, these same issues that all of us are thinking about when it comes to, how do we reduce our anxiety? How do we become more productive, how do we, you know, eat nutrient dense foods and how do we do that in a practical way?

Uh Common is this big superstar. He's thinking about the same stuff, right? And so you know, the fact that he was able to offer his tips and his advice to me, I think in a public way can help a lot of uh men and a lot of women who are thinking about the same questions. So tell our audience for those who don't know common, what would they know him most for comment is he's an Academy Award winning a songwriter, he's an actor. Uh he's a rapper. He he does everything he does it all. So he's he's a great guy and I'm just privileged to have had the opportunity to speak with him. So, men's health is I used to always, I remember going to the airport and I would always buy men's health and then I would buy I think Best Self, which was like an offshoot of men's health. It was like a similar and they got rid of Best Self. I think it was called Best Self. I don't know why they got rid of it, but men's health is still strong. So you currently write a column for them or you did a series of interviews with common for men's health.

So I am on the advisory board for Men's Health magazine. I also write a column in their mind section um of the magazine. You know, I'm active on their social media as far as helping determine the direction of their mental health programming. Uh, and I think again, men's health is as well as so many other magazines and media outlets are totally fired up about mental health and kudos to them for that. I think it's great. And also the statistics certainly don't lie. And I've seen this as a dad. I mean, I have four little kids or not so little going through the pandemic. Some were totally fine. I have one that has really had a really tough time through it with school and being isolated and not being around people. And it's just been so, again, I think it touches so many families and it's even worse today than it was three years ago because we all went through covid and within kids particularly. I think we, we all had issues, right?

We all had to face new challenges and I've seen it, I'd say in the teen world probably as much or more than it is in the, in the retiree world. Is it just tough for everybody? Is it worse for some groups? Well, I mean, I think that what's interesting is that, you know, I obviously saw patients the entire time during the pandemic. Um and I can't say, you know, all of my patients with anxiety felt more anxious and all of my patients with depression felt more depressed. I mean, people had different ways that they responded to it and I'll tell you the story that oftentimes isn't told, is that a lot of people who we're anxious about work felt so much better during the pandemic because they didn't have to go into work every single day. Right. Um The other thing is some, some of my folks who had been struggling with depression, you know, they didn't necessarily find adjusting to the pandemic is challenging uh as maybe people who hadn't struggled with that before because they had years of therapy under their belt and they had developed these really rich and meaningful coping strategies. And so again, I mean, we we've seen the statistics, a lot of people did have a hard time, but I would say that generalizing it based on age or based on, you know mental illness or diagnosis wouldn't totally be accurate.

Hey, y'all, it's Mallory boggs, a producer for the retired senior podcast from an investment standpoint, the world is changing. We've gone from no inflation to hyperinflation, zero interest rates to much higher interest rates. All of this changes the dynamics for stocks and bonds. So the question for you, are your retirement accounts ready for it? Have you adapted your investments for these major shifts? Do you know what kind of income your 401K account is going to pay you in retirement? If not, maybe it's time for a new perspective the retire sooner team is here to help. If you're ready to talk, reach out to our team and we'll help you take a closer look at how you can generate income in retirement and protect yourself from inflation. We'd love to hear from you again, Find us at West Most dot com. That's W E S M O S S dot com.

Yeah. Can you go through kind of your multi step process of kind of the most important pieces of the equation to keep our mental well being in in shape? Well, I think what's important, the first thing we need to understand is that mental health uh is something that impacts all of our lives. I mean, regardless of our walk in life, regardless of whether or not a man or woman, our background, how old we are. Right? So again, if you're listening and you're wondering if this applies to you? It does right. So let's just get that out of the way. Um and then the second thing again, what I outlined in my book are these five essential self care pillars for mental health and that's sleep, spirituality, nutrition, breathwork and movement. And again, these things don't just apply to people have been diagnosed with depression or anxiety. Uh these are strategies that we can all learn to optimize right through time tested evidence based techniques so that we can move closer to living that life of purpose, balance contentment and hope, a life of purpose, balanced contentment and hope, purpose balance contentment and hope. That's what that mental health is all about West.

So purpose balanced contentment. Hope, let's go back to nutrition just for a second. How does that factor does that factor into all of that? Or tell me a little bit more about the nutrition side. So we're learning more every day about the fact that nutrition and mental illness are related. Okay. And studies have been conducted, there's a big study several years ago called the smiles trial which actually found that patients who were depressed that incorporated more of a mediterranean type diet as part of their treatment regimen actually had better outcomes. Now there's science behind this and one of the scientific explanations is that a mediterranean type diet is considered to be more of an anti inflammatory diet. So foods rich in omega three fatty acids that you find in oily fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna, for example. Right. And so we're learning more about the fact that inflammation is related closely related to mental illnesses like depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder, just as it's related to Other lifestyle illnesses like obesity and hypertension and type two diabetes. So making small changes to the way that we eat can potentially have big effects.

Now, I'm not sitting here advocating that, you know, someone who's struggling with severe depression if they just start eating kale and oatmeal every day, that's that's a cure, right? But again, incorporating the nutrition piece with the medications if you need it with the psychotherapy. I mean, you're putting yourself really in the best position possible for recovery. I'm looking around my team here and I don't we remember guys didn't we write about the mediterranean diet in what the happiest retirees now, I had no idea that this was a thing I did. Uh and this is my weak spot, by the way, Dr Brown is nutrition. You know, I've had some amazing guests on around nutrition. Dr William lee who wrote Eat to Beat disease have had, you know, wonderful podcast with him and I'm a big, big nutrition believer. I was always in the 90 I always thought 80% of your physical health is all exercise, you gotta eat whatever you want. Now as I'm older, it's like the inverse of that, in my opinion. It's like 80% diet look as well as taking a walk and not sitting for years, that really it's diet. So I feel like I need more salmon, more mackerel, more tuna, Right? And that comes uh I love that idea to write and and it's just not it's not.

I mean I mean if you're talking about nutrition, I mean these like dark leafy greens for example helped build the precursors for neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine norepinephrine. These are important players for mental health, right? Um We know that when people are persistently stressed and overworked, it can actually deplete the good bacteria in the gut and causes something called despite aosis of the microbiome. So eating more fermented foods like yogurt and kimchi can actually help replete um those good bacteria. And then the last thing I'll add is you know, there's amino acid. One of my favorite things to talk to people about when they're interested in nutrition for mental health is there's an amino acid that occurs naturally in green tea and black tea called And al Theon in is a natural and realistic, it's a natural anti anxiety amino acid that some people actually take in supplement form. So a lot of these um these qualities of nutrition that can actually benefit our mental health are things that we all have access to. We just need to learn how to eat in a way that is conducive for our best mental health. I always love the thought that we can really heal ourselves in so many ways through nutrition and it doesn't get a lot of press. You know, I've, I've done this, I've done, I've had a holistic doctor for The better part of maybe 8-10 years has kind of taught me that it's still not easy to stay eating healthy. I was just talking to Lynn this morning saying, I kind of feel like crap this week and I was thinking about what I've been eating and I bought candy for my kids. I did a mock podcast and one of my kids classrooms and I got them candy as like this surprise treat thing to throw out and I got a giant bag of, it was Reese's pieces hit cat, Reese's peanut butter cups.

It was all this just junk and before I took it in I opened it because it's a massive bag. So it was like Halloween all over again three days before I go in and I was like, you know, I've been eating like crap this week. It's because that damn bag of candy, I mean half the day, it's like £5 anyway. Alright. So I'm getting off track. But I think it does matter. And I know the times when I've been clean eating or healthy or whether it's whole 30 or some sort of really or just straight up mediterranean. I just, I always feel better. I don't know why I stop it, right? It's usually because of some sort of like holiday event and then it throws me off track and I stay off track, right? I mean when it comes to balance too, I mean we have to keep in mind, like I'm not, I'm not the type of doctor who's gonna say, you can't ever eat candy, you can't ever, you know, have a cheeseburger, right? I mean, the important thing I do again, balance moderation, right?

And so in the book, I talk about, you know, studies have actually looked into something called the mediterranean food score, right? Which means basically how can you make your diet more mediterranean ish, right? Eat what you normally eat. Um but make it a little bit more mediterranean. I mean those little effects can have drastic improvements as well. Let's go through your five ideas for this. So breathing, mindfully sleep, spirituality, nutrition, moving. We talked about nutrition. Let's talk about next to me where I don't do any of this would be your first step, which is this breathing mindfully, let's talk about that breathwork is the most underutilized form of medicine, right? And the reason why it's underutilized is because I think often times when people are anxious, there's that annoying person in the background who's gonna say, oh just relax, take some deep breaths and you'll be fine. And we know that the only thing that does is it picks us off and make us even more. Right?

And so the thing about it is when we are developing a breathwork practice, what's important to understand, first of all we take between 20 and 30,000 breaths every single day. Right? But what's important to understand is that if we breathe in a way that's evidence it's conducive with science, our body has no choice but to respond in a positive way. That's how the body is wired. Right? And so one of the techniques I teach, among others in the book I talk about is something called 478 breathing which was popularized by Dr. Andrew Wale. Now you inhale for four, Hold count for seven and exhale count to eight. Now the numbers I'll tell you are a bit arbitrary. Now what's not arbitrary is that the longer exhale component? So if we exhale longer than we inhale that activates something called the parasympathetic nervous system, right? That can have an effect of lowering heart rate, lowering blood pressure, flooding the brain with inhibitory neurotransmitters? Like gaba these are all physiologic markers of rest and relaxation.

So it works. How many 4/7/8 does it take to start to feel feel it. So when I when I'm working with patients I usually will set a timer for about a minute. Right? And I'll say you know when we're just starting off because if someone is breathing in a really slow pace And they've never done it before, they're gonna feel super dizzy, right? Um Just because of all the oxygen flow in the brain. And so what I say is, you know, do as many as you can, you know, in the in the first minute or so. I mean, and then try to try to slow it down, right? And usually folks will Notice that after a minute, you know, they can extend that to five minutes and sometimes people can reduce it to, you know, 343 rounds of 478 uh in a minute. Right? And notice the positive mental health effects they appreciate from that. So breathing.

And then let's talk let's talk about sleep. Yeah. So sleep in mental health have a bidirectional relationship. So if you're not sleeping well, your mental health is gonna suffer. And you know, if you're struggling with something like depression, then, you know, it's gonna affect your sleep quality uh as well, Right? And so, you know, again, I talk about several different techniques in the book that can improve sleep quality. But one that gets a lot of us is just improving our basic sleep hygiene and that's a term which means that, you know, again we wanna modify the things that we can around sleep. One of those things is sleeping in a cooler room. So science shows that it's better to have the room temperature between 65 67 F, which is super cold. And my wife complains about that all the time, but science is on my side whenever we have that that discussion, right? Um you want to reserve your bedroom for nothing other than sleep and sex. So if you can, you know, avoid obviously eating in your room or you know, watching tv in your bedroom and then limit screen time, right?

We know that that certain wavelengths of light right, can actually block the release of melatonin, which can make it more difficult for us to get good quality sleep. I'm exactly the same argument. You know, I've got my thermostat on my phone, I've put it down to like 68 67 Lynn puts it to 72 I'm like so hot in here. How can you even sleep? So dr Brown is now on my side and the whole science community is on, my science community is on my side is on your side, but it still doesn't work. But Blankets, you can't cool yourself with blankets, you can stay warm with blankets. My always my argument, can't you just use more blankets? Right? So it's 65-67 65-67. That that's the sweet spot, that's pretty cold, man, it really? That's that's actually cold, but I like it, I'm doing that, that's gonna happen tonight in my house. Alright, spirituality, let's talk about that.

Yes, I mean, I love talking about spirituality and the reason, number one, it's evidence based number two, you know, when most people hear the word spirituality, the very first thing that comes to mind is religion. Um, but you don't have to be religious in order to benefit from a spiritual practice. Okay, and that's because spirituality west is all about connection connecting with your inner self through something like meditation can mean connecting with your external environment through altruism, selfless service, volunteering your time, doing something for someone else, Right? Um, and if you do happen to be religious connecting with the higher power through prayer now, here's what the science says, right? I love talking about the evidence behind these techniques, because that's what really gets people motivated here. And so the science says that when we are able to develop a spiritual practice, then we reduce activity in an area of the brain called the default mode network, right? That tends to be overly active and people who are persistently stressed out and anxious and overworked the default mode network. So if if we have some level of spirituality, here's yet another area that I'm, I'd say I haven't spent a whole lot of time on it, we've had some great guests around meditation, but I guess to some extent that is the path here. If you're not already spiritual and or maybe not overly religious, you're saying you can find that. How again, how do you find spirituality and what is it? It's connection. It's all about connection and there are different ways to connect, right?

And so, you know, I'm often times, you know, when I talk about meditation, when I talk about establishing that spiritual connection through mindfulness, for example, you know, some, some reporters will even reach out to me and they want to know, Okay, so what type of meditation should I try is transcendental meditation better than silent meditation versus mantra meditation? You know, I tell folks again, you don't have to be a meditation expert. You don't have to be a buddhist monk right to to benefit from meditation. Right? So, um it's all about, you know, finding a quiet place sitting in stillness, right? Focusing on your breath, acknowledging whatever thoughts you're experiencing there in the moment and really diving into um diving into an environment of conscious awareness, right? And you know, when you start meditating, that may be something you're only able to do for two or three minutes at a time before you just feel your mind is just racing out of control. Um, but in time it does get better. And again, I've had a business part of mine meditates, I mean he is very adamant that it's one of the most, the biggest changes he's had in the last five or six years after starting meditation is really, really, I guess, I don't know exactly how it's helped him, but he says it's really made his life better just in general? Well, I mean the thing is, you know, in the moment, first of all, um the more you meditate, the more you start to crave that stillness, That peace, that serenity, right? But I think the other area that it helps is even when you're not meditating, just being able to go there, you know, say you're having a heated discussion with someone or you're in an environment that would normally cause a lot of anxiety, I mean you've trained your body and your brain and you asked earlier, you know, what's the what's the psychological way of working out, right? How do you work out your brain?

Meditation is a way to do that, you know? And so, you know, you're in that heated discussion, you're in an anxiety provoking situation, it's like, okay, I can tap into my breath, I can, you know, become aware of my thoughts, right? This doesn't have to bother me as much as it normally would. That's the power of meditation actually makes a lot of sense. And what about movement then, are you talking about running and exercising? Working out? Are you just talking about just movement in general? Movement in general? Again, you know, I would love to sit here and say exercise exercise exercise, but the science supports the idea of movement over exercise now. Movement may mean exercise, it may mean hitting the gym, right? Going for your runs, but it also may mean, you know, just stretching in your chair, right? Or taking a walk to the mailbox, just getting up, getting going more.

You know when we're moving our body oxygenated blood is flowing to the brain. I mean that helps us reach these optimal levels of neural transmitters I spoke of earlier like serotonin dopamine norepinephrine that can help um you know us improve our mental health. It's funny when you have an afternoon lull. It's hard to have an afternoon lull if you're up and walking period right? Sometimes my afternoon lull so much that I don't want to get up and go for a walk. But if you do it you do wake up it's like eating an apple, wakes me up. Uh So what about this though? You have this the way you check your email, you have these little blocks of obsessive checking of email, tell our audience our listeners about this. I love this. Yeah. So I mean when it comes to obsession alley, I mean a lot of people think that they have O. C.

D. Right? Some people do but a lot of us don't. But we do all tend to have these moments where we just obsess over stuff. So you know I found that it it's useful to actually you know exercise some self love self compassion. Give yourself time to obsess, right, maybe that is 30 minutes a day, maybe it's an hour a day. If you're someone who obsessively checks your email, do it all right during that period of time, set a timer and then when you're done, you know, move on to something else. Now again in time that gets a lot easier to really create those boundaries for what you're going to obsess about. Um I mean it's kind of like if you know that you have an intense or an important conversation that you're gonna be having with someone else, whether it's your partner or uh you know a business partner. You know, if you're just avoiding that conversation, you're gonna be thinking about it more, you're gonna be obsessing over it. But if you schedule a time, this is when we're gonna talk right Tuesday from one p.m. To two p.m.

Have the conversation, get it out the way then more often than not the obsession al itty around it is reduced. Well I think I'm still, you know, every hour I do the quick scroll I think is what depends if I'm, yeah I think that I'm still on the on the every hour block which is the Ding Ding Ding Ding. Look look look check to three different email accounts but It would be nice to just do that only twice a day for 10 minutes, only twice a day. I'm gonna promise you I'm gonna try to work on that one. Tell me about burnout in this thought of if you're wired and tired or you don't have motivation maybe towards work or or you find yourself in an unmotivated place, which I think happens to the most motivated of us. We don't always stay motivated around a particular area all the time. And I and I do wonder sometimes does that mean it's time to go or does it mean that there's something else happening in, it's making you feel burned out and you really shouldn't be in that particular area? I think it can mean a number of different things, but I think the biggest mistake West is to ignore burnout. I mean when we're experiencing it, it's it's like our body or our mind's way of telling us something, right? And so pay attention to it. I mean, burnout isn't an official mental illness at this point, but there's a slippery slope between burnout and generalized anxiety disorder or burnout and major depressive disorder. Right?

And so maybe burn out if you're feeling wired and tired if you're just not feeling motivated to get up and you know, get going with your day, um maybe maybe it's time for a vacation, right? Maybe it's time for a discussion with your manager, your supervisor to see if you might be able to change your role at work or you know, cut back on your hours a little bit. Pay attention to it because you don't want it develop into something more significant. So again, this thought of if you're always worked up and work is you're overworking. You're overly wired and then that is what leads to the a little bit of, or just a full on burnout, which it manifests though of being tired and uninterested and unmotivated and you're saying that you'll see that if it is burnout, it's not just, I'm not so sure I want to do this. It's more like you're saying it's when it starts to impact your whole life, right? When you really need to be paying attention to that, I mean, and you feel like you're burned out again because we don't have a clear definition of what burnout actually is. Like my definition of it may be different than another psychiatrist or therapist definition of it, right? But if you feel like you're burned out then you probably are. Right? And so again, if that's something that you're concerned about, definitely pay attention to it, that's where really tapping into these self care strategies can help you know, as well, you know, focus on getting quality sleep. You know, reconnecting with nutrient dense foods, breathwork, practice meditation.

Sometimes that can be enough to stave off burnout, you know, and sometimes I do wonder or the burnout and I just think about the conversations that I would have where you do find someone who's getting closer to, let's say retirement or the ability to be able to retire and most people don't get just enough to retire, then they stop that day. If you're planning well and you're really doing a good job and have some forethought around financially being in a position to be able to stop working. You typically I see people go beyond and build more of a cushion, but that's when I maybe start to see burnout manifests itself a little bit more where you no longer have to work and you no longer have that excuse of like I just, it is what it is, I'm having to do this. I start to see folks get a little bit more if there's something wrong with work, work is burning them out there much more open to saying, you know, this is enough. And that's a version of burnout that I've, I've seen lead people to making a call on stopping that particular job going into either we call the retirement gray zone where you're kind of working part time or just full on retirement and that's why we don't have to wait for burnout to happen or wait for depression to happen or wait for us to be unhappy with our job or want to throw in the towel before we think about mental health, right? So I mean, even if you're listening and things are fine, I mean life at some point we'll throw curveballs at all of us and challenge us and make us think right, and if we already have these skills, if we've tapped into these self care strategies before things get tough, then it'll make those challenges a lot easier down the road. One of the top core pursuits and I think also I liken this to the path towards purpose through these core pursuits. The happy retiree camp. Number one, if you have them list this out. Number one on the list comes back as volunteering and you talk about altruism is good for our mental health. I've never talked about the linkage between altruism and mental health. Tell me about it.

Well I mean it's an adaptive coping strategies. So their adaptive coping strategies and their maladaptive coping strategies. So okay what are the give me give me some good examples on both. So I mean if I've had a hard day at work And I come home and I say you know I'm just gonna go out to the bar, I'm gonna have 12 beers. I'm gonna you know sink my sorrows with alcohol. I mean I might feel better momentarily in the moment, right? But long term that wouldn't be conducive for good physical health or good mental health either, right, avoidance would be considered a maladaptive coping strategy, right? And sometimes I don't want to talk and basically I don't want to talk about talk about it now. That doesn't mean you know if it's not the right time to talk about, you're gonna talk about later. But if you keep sweeping it under the rug, right? It's just gonna build up and build up and build up and then when that conversation is forced to happen. I mean someone may explode right?

Um So adaptive coping strategies, altruism would be one of them. Again, it gives you a sense of purpose. I mean speaking of retirees, I'm thinking about my uh, my, my late grandmother, you know, God bless her soul. Um now she was someone, she was someone every monday. Again, she didn't have a lot of money, but she'd go to her church soup kitchen and you know, I went with her when I was a kid and we'd make soup for, you know, people who didn't have anything to eat and and that filled her cup. I mean it was like in that moment she had all the wealth and riches in the world. I mean it just totally gave her a sense of purpose. And so sometimes just finding something that you can do for someone else, um can you know, really improve mental health and make you feel better in the moment. It really can be extraordinary when you find in your case, literally to fill your cup and you're right, when you find that it is very, very powerful. It's not always easy to find out where that's going to be. And I think that's just work. It's a little trial and error, but it's so worth, it's really worth diving into figuring out what altruism works for you, right?

Right? And again that process as we were talking about earlier, even if you don't know what it is today. I mean, getting fired up. I mean listening to this and saying, okay, there's some seeds that were planted today. I have some ideas about some things I might want to try. I mean, that can be a powerful motivator for people and give them a sense of purpose as well. Before we run. Just kind of, last question, how was the whole book experience for you writing How long to take? Tell me about the book part of your life. It's a big deal. Yeah. First of all, I mean, the book was years in the making, I would say, I mean, when I was in, we didn't spend a lot of time talking about this today.

But when I was in my early 20's, I struggled with depression. Right? I didn't know what it was back then. I didn't have a name for it. I just knew I didn't feel right. I wasn't talking to anyone about it. Um I was having trouble really connecting with a therapist with a psychiatrist. Um and I serendipitously happened upon self care without realizing that there was a whole lot of evidence to support the things that that I was already doing. I wouldn't learn that until decades later, that this is actually evidence based stuff. And so, I mean, the book was it was a process that took several years to write. But again, one of the main reasons among many that I wrote the book was that as many people could receive a positive message of hope and encouragement about mental health as possible, even if they didn't have access to a psychiatrist like me or a therapist. So, your psychiatrist is like, I just wasn't working all that well.

But what did essentially what you've outlined here today? Yeah, that's some of it. So, tapping into spirituality, tapping into faith, um developing a yoga practice. I mean yoga has been huge in my life. I mean, it taught me how to breathe, it taught me how to move mindfully, right. Um it really gave me a sense of structure and purpose, you know, in in my own life, yoga may not be the thing that does it, you know, for listeners or people who are reading the book, but again, there's so many different strategies that are outlined there in the book that something is gonna resonate, right? And so that's what I encourage people to do is find that thing that works for them. The book is out, go get the self healing mind dr Gregory scott brown uh the self healing mind, which is an essential five step practice for overcoming anxiety, depression, and revitalizing your life. And it sounds to me this is kind of the first conversation I really with the light bulb was going off on keeping your brain strong, keeping your mental health, keeping your mental wellness in shape. Just like we think about keeping our bodies fed with the right nutrition and we continue to be healthy physically as well. So, I love the thought of it that way. Yes.

And the book again. The book offers a five step workout for your mental health. That's another way to think about it. And that's something that can resonate with with anyone a five step workout to mental health. I love it man. Dr Brown, thank you man. This is very very cool, very enlightening to me and some real sparks went off and I do feel like I need, I feel like I'm guilty I need to be drinking green tea. I need some dark leafy greens. Um but listen, this is awesome man. So thank you for doing what you're doing. I know it's a big balance to do work and book and interviews and all this stuff but uh and teach, But it's all worth it and you're only 38. So if you're 38 You're gonna probably be able to retire when you're like 52.

I'm gonna hold you to that. We'll come back when I'm 52 when I'm retired and enjoying my life, right? It's a process what you're going through, which you probably love to. So, but listen, man, thank you for everything you do. Thanks so much for having me.

Hey y'all this is Mallory with the retire sooner team. Please be sure to rate and subscribe to this podcast and share it with a friend. If you have any questions, you can find us at West moss dot com. That's W. E. S. M. O S S dot com. You can also follow us on instagram and Youtube. You'll find us under the handle retire sooner podcast. And now for our shows disclosure, this podcast is provided to you as a resource for informational purposes only and is not to be viewed as investment advice or recommendations. This information is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors.

It is not intended to and should not form a primary basis for any investment decision that you may make. Always consult your own legal tax or investment advisor before making any investment or financial planning considerations. Please refer to the full disclosure in the podcast description for any additional information.

00:00:00
00:00:00