Oct 3, 2021
My website is www.debmalkin.com
Dr. Huberman's dopamine lecture - https://hubermanlab.com/controlling-your-dopamine-for-motivation-focus-and-satisfaction/
Article on labeling emotions -
[00:00:00] Welcome to Move With Deb. I'm Deb your friendly
neuroplastician. And this is a podcast that explores the
relationship between the body and the mind from a health at every
size, judgment, free perspective. I teach you how developing a new
internal conversation based on curiosity, self friendship and
simple neuro-plasticity techniques can rewire your bodymind out of
pain and emotional overwhelm to help you build the rich full life
that you want to live. Disclaimer, this is not a replacement for
[00:00:50] Hello, and welcome to Move With Deb the
podcast. This is episode number 33. And today I'm just going to
talk a little bit and share some of my somatic singing practice
with you. So. There's a little piece in it that I recorded while in
my car. So I apologize that the audio of it is not awesome. Uh, but
I think the information is interesting. It's me responding to a
piece of a lecture in Dr. Andrew Huberman's two hour podcast about
dopamine. So if you like to dive deep into neuroscience and learn
some interesting things. How our brain communicates inside of
itself, how wow, what even neuro-transmitters are, how neurons
work, what dopamine is. He really describes the mechanisms by which
our brain does things.
[00:02:00] I'm listening to a lecture on dopamine from Dr.
Andrew Huberman. He's like when you want to increase your baseline
in dopamine, when you're trying to reach a goal, do not depend on
the reward of achieving the goal to give you the increase in the
reward, dopamine is the reward chemical. So he said to lean in to
the difficult part, and that is where you get your reward from. So
when I talk about believing before evidence that's hacking your
dopamine system, When I talk about like becoming friends with
difficult feelings for the purpose of future you, that is hacking
your dopamine reward system, because you are saying, this is
something I am choosing to pursue.
[00:03:03] Even though at this moment, I find this
difficult. And you're saying, but I understand that practicing
this, is going to benefit me, not just right now, but in the
future. But that is what is going to increase your dopamine now. So
you're going to get the dopamine, not in the future when it's easy,
when like having feelings is easy, but you will get the dopamine
like soon, right? From the leaning in to the difficult experience
that you're having in the moment, while you're telling yourself
this is for your future.
[00:03:46] So the audio from my very enthusiastic car
ride, I literally had to pull over into the McDonald's parking lot.
And I was like, no, he's saying stuff about dopamine that reminds
me of thought work and I have to stop and I have to record my
thoughts right now as I'm driving. So I pulled over safely to
record my thoughts, but then my phone, like overheated or stopped
recording and it was recording through the car and oh, technology,
I love you. And I hate you. But what it missed was my disco version
of this dopamine experience that he was describing, which is the
way to create an increase in your baseline in dopamine is not to
put all your, your hopes on the dopamine reward of the thing in the
future, but on the challenge of whatever the task is in the
[00:04:53] I'm sure I will continue to find ways to
explain how we kind of work with our neuromodulators. I don't want
to say the word hack because it's not really a hack. It's more of a
dance. It's like the, I feel this arousal, or when I leave this
experience or I'm feeling this kind of agitation, like maybe this
agitation is acetylcholine and maybe like this drop-in energy is,
you know, like there are things that we need in our body. We need
food, we need sleep, but sometimes all that's happening is a
neurochemical process that we narrate with words. And when we get
into the habit and skill of kind of narrating on purpose using this
cognitive power of our brains to say words in a way that are felt
by the body that give us energy if we want energy. Or to help us
feel more calm, if we want to feel more calm, right. To create
whatever embodied feeling state we want to be experiencing, we can
begin to develop that process. We can begin to develop that process
by using language as an evocative power source.
[00:06:17] So what you missed that didn't get recorded in
my little car disco was me singing this song. And now of course I
feel embarrassed because it's not, it's not spontaneous anymore,
but here we go. It was me thinking about dopamine and thinking
about the rewards.
[00:06:37] And now you can't see me, but I'm kind of
bouncing back and forth and like pretend snapping my fingers, get
in the mood. And I'm like, oh yeah, do it for the dopamine. Do it
for the dopamine, do it for the dopamine. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Do it, for the dopamine, do it, for the dopamine and do it for the
dopamine. Yeah, yeah yeah yeah..
[00:07:04] So that song was really about creating some
energy around this idea. I love musicals. I love singing to myself.
Singing is a part of my somatic practice when I want to create some
kind of energy shift or lift a little bit of joy happiness,
surprise, delight. Or lean into sadness or just the quality of a
feeling. I will often use singing to amplify that feeling in my
body. It's really fun to do when you're in your car by yourself or
when you're making coffee. Um, that seems to be a place. I do it a
lot. When I'm in the kitchen, I have a little bit of a cooking
trauma, drama, uh, difficulty.
[00:07:56] And so I often try to bring in, you know, what
I call my feeling friends into these difficult experiences to keep
me company. Not to distract me. This is not a distraction, right?
This is meeting myself in a place of difficulty saying, Hey, I'm
recognizing that this is difficult and I'm doing it anyway. And
that is what Dr. Huberman was discussing and talking about when he
talks about raising our base level of dopamine, this process is
[00:08:29] So I like to do it with things that evoke,
inside of my body, pleasant or neutral feelings and singing to
myself. As you know, oftentimes I'm just like babbling singing
silly songs. They're just naturally flowing from random synapses
firing in my brain, making me do funny little dances.
[00:08:55] And all of a sudden, my whole, you know, my
whole body's moving in a way that feels very organic, that feels
very present. That is not really about creating something to be
experienced or witnessed or produced or observed, or as a product.
Right. I am moving in my life for me. With my energy that I have in
this moment, but also what we do know about movement, right?
[00:09:25] All of that research about exercise, you know,
giving you energy. It's like, that's what I'm doing. I'm tapping
into a source of energy and I'm amplifying it through movement,
through sound, through being with myself, creating a sense of self
delight. I inevitably end up laughing because I always ended up
singing something kind of weird and wacky.
[00:09:49] So yes, sometimes going to the giant gay disco
on the rainbow cloud, imagining myself at a tea dance, um, with Dr.
Huberman and a giant disco ball and all of our neuro-transmitters
are there. And we're having just like a really good time. Right?
We're we're creating our energy states on purpose.
[00:10:15] Right. We're learning how to not just be in the
bodies we have in this moment, because those are also cultivated.
We're always using our brain and our experience and our willingness
to be with a, with a challenging emotion or something that feels
unpleasant, something that feels like we want to move away from it
[00:10:40] We are always cultivating our experience. So
when we lean into something that feels uncomfortable, creates
discomfort, whether that's just the experience of a thought in your
mind, whether that's the experience of like having to make a
decision and not knowing which one is right as if there is actually
a thing as a right decision. Rather than the, what is the next best
decision I could make for myself.
[00:11:09] The way we describe things, creates our
experience of them. And so this process of getting to play inside
of my body mind helps me notice how I move my own energy, how I
create my own experience of my world.. It is not an experience
that's given to you. That's just experienced by you. It is like, it
doesn't just happen. And you walk into it like a, like a cloud of
somebody's stinky perfume. It's in fact, something that you
co-create using your willingness to feel things. And not just
unpleasant or uncomfortable things, but also your willingness to
feel things that are pleasant, that are good, that are delightful,
or even just things that are boring.
[00:12:00] There's a lot of research that shows when we
have more ability to describe our emotions. We see less anxiety,
less depression. There was a recent study about teenagers when they
had more words to describe emotions, they felt better. And so we
can do this kind of, without words, per se, like not necessarily
the act of labeling, although that's very helpful, but when we have
a greater vocabulary of feelings that lives inside of us, a greater
vocabulary of feelings that we are willing to feel, because that's
essentially what that is. Then we can recognize, wow, one, this
feeling as all feelings are transitory sensory experiences. They
come and they go, they come back again and then they go again and
they come back again and then they go again, you know? So that is
that dance part of it. And then we learn that we are the
co-creators of our embodied experience.
[00:13:06] And that sometimes what happens is we just
create these conditioned responses about avoiding feelings that we
do not want to feel, which makes sense. You don't want to feel
something and you feel fear. And you're afraid that this feeling is
going to not go away, not change. You're going to be stuck in it
[00:13:29] Maybe you've gone through periods of depression
in the past. We oftentimes, when we have a sensation or a feeling
that is like a feeling that we've had in the past that we don't
want to recreate, it makes sense that we will organize ourselves to
not have that experience again. But what is really useful to
understand is you literally cannot have that experience
[00:13:57] You could have an experience that is like it,
but it's only now in the present. So when we apply this
information, this new information about feelings that you didn't
know then you will have a different experience because if you don't
believe that depression is a dark pit that you can't get
[00:14:21] Then that thought is not going to create fear
inside of you. You can say, a thought about depression like I am
recognizing that I am feeling depleted of energy. I am noticing
that these are my thoughts and you could get them out of your
subconscious, put them down on paper. See them in a little thought
[00:14:43] And then we just start to practice this. I'm
noticing this thought, I'm noticing this feeling practice. I'm
noticing when I have this thought, I have this feeling. And then
just starting to build more curious awareness, whether it's about a
feeling, a sensation in your body, an emotion, a thought, a
[00:15:06] We just want to create the willingness to
become aware. And to create safety in becoming aware. And just
noticing when we want to react and retreat. The answer is not to
push yourself to engage or force yourself to do anything. The first
answer is just to notice that you have a desire to retreat. And
then you can say to yourself, Hey self, I notice that this is the
feeling that's coming up.
[00:15:35] So that does involve slowing down. That does
involve being with oneself ,that does involve self friendship. And
I want to invite you into this sense of curious, willingness to
just try. Spend a few moments when you have a strong emotion come
on and create some curiosity. Or start playing and then see what
happens to your energy.
[00:16:04] It's not about tackling only the hard stuff.
It's just about getting to know how your body is synthesizing your
experience of the world. Synthesizing your experience of these
neuro-transmitters dipping and bumping and zipping and zapping
through your body. Creating your lived experience. What is our
brain do when it's narrating? Is it a documentary? Is it a horror
movie? Is it a romcom? Is it some kind of wild absurdist film, or
all of them? Get to know you.
[00:16:42] This is a process by which we can change our
experience with our pain. And with our sensory experiences and it
doesn't just mean doing meditation. It doesn't just mean reaching
some kind of state that feels mysterious and unknowable. And
certainly learning to have fun is never really time
[00:17:07] That's my episode today. If you are curious
about learning more about how to rewire your brain away from pain
and towards, increased tolerance of sensory experiences, emotional
and physical, please reach out to me.
[00:17:26] I am currently offering an eight week what I
call pain recovery program, trained by Dr. Schubiner. and aligned
with Alan Gordon's work from the pain psychology center, and also
is trauma informed, health at every size, all bodies welcome
[00:17:46] I hope you're having a wonderful day. And thank you so much for listening to Move With Deb.