1016: The Science of a Successful Mindset with Andrew Huberman | School of Greatness with Lewis Howes

Key Takeaways

  • It’s critical to alternate rest and effort
  • Commit to the process and make the process the prize
  • During high effort periods, adrenaline and epinephrine are being released so it feels like a strain
  • Learning takes energy and effort – you feel it in your body and brain
  • Learning happens in two phases: (1) neuroplasticity and (2) connections built during deep relaxation
  • By age 25 learned information is less reflexive and you need more self-directed neuroplasticity
  • Being in pursuit of goals is linked to the will to live
  • Ways to increase serotonin (reward molecule): getting quality sleep, yoga nidra (teaching body and brain to go into deep relaxation), practice gratitude

Introduction

Andrew Huberman, Ph.D. (@hubermanlab) is a neuroscientist at Stanford University who studies how the brain functions, how it can change through experience, and how to repair damaged brain circuits.

In this episode of School of Greatness, Lewis Howes sits down with Andrew Huberman, Ph.D. for the second part of the two part series wrapping up the conversation about our brain, neuroplasticity and learning differences by age, and the importance of gratitude.  

Host: Lewis Howes (@LewisHowes)

Learning Phase 1: Neuroplasticity

  • “The mental strain you feel while doing something is the trigger for neuroplasticity.” – Andrew Huberman
  • Neuroplasticity: brain’s ability to change in response to experience
  • Neuroplasticity is the process of taking something and making it reflexive so you don’t have to think about it
  • During high effort periods, adrenaline and epinephrine are being released so it feels like a strain
  • Acetylcholine (AcH) is the molecule of focus
  • Learning takes energy and effort – you feel it in your body and brain
  • Learning Phase 1: neuroplasticity is triggered by focus and attention; the more frustrated you feel the more you’re actually triggering learning
  • Learning Phase 2: connections are built during deep relaxation, meditation, deep sleep
  • The learning will be tough, but you can make the learning less painful by making it fun

Neuroplasticity Differences By Age

  • It’s harder to increase neuroplasticity as you get older but it’s the only way to make progress  
  • Children learn easily: they take information and make it reflexive quickly
  • By age 25 you need more self-directed neuroplasticity
  • To live a full life, constantly learning
  • There are programs to accelerate language learning through implantable electrodes
  • There are things that can stimulate AcH release and allow you to learn quicker by triggering elasticity event but you will also need more rest to improve pathways
  • As we get older, we should be learning new and challenging things every year to trigger neuroplasticity
  • Dopamine is one of the strongest triggers of neuroplasticity(i.e., brain’s ability to change itself based on experience)
  • In men: dopamine and testosterone have similar triggers
  • In women: estrogen is coupled to dopamine
  • Being in pursuit of goals is linked to the will to live
  • The more important the goal, the faster the plasticity takes place
  • Because the brain and body are connected, if we are not in pursuit of a goal we enter idleness

Learning Phase 2: Increasing Connections

  • Recovery and rest are important for learning and memory
  • We need to alternate rest and effort
  • Serotonin: reward molecule released in the brain in response to subjective experience that we have enough resources
  • Serotonin is the feeling of being “reset” and has anti-depressant properties
  • While dopamine allows us to be in pursuit, serotonin allows us to feel content and safe
  • As you age, you need more serotonin
  • Ways to increase serotonin: getting quality sleep, yoga nidra (teaching body and brain to go into deep relaxation)
  • 30 minutes of yoga nidra resets the nervous system and prepares it for action
  • Sleep is fundamentally important to performance

The Importance Of Gratitude

  • Order of change for high performance: behaviors, nutrition, supplements, prescription drugs as needed and prescribed by a physician
  • Gratitude has been scientifically proven to increase serotonin in the brain
  • Reorient your mind to express gratitude regularly
  • Gratitude can be simple: be appreciative for waking up
  • Deliberate practice of relishing and enjoying what we have is crucial
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Notes By Maryann

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