"We have the power to change our destiny, to find wealth, true love, confidence and fulfillment, simply by harnessing the power of our mind."

Tara Swart

Welcome to the mind-blowing intersection of science and spirituality with Dr. Tara Swart, PhD! As we explore the potential of the human mind and the role of neuroplasticity in shaping our lives, we discover the process of belief formation and the possibility of harnessing it for a healthier, more fulfilling life. We examine intriguing concepts such as the "opposable mind" and the profound impact of life events and crises on our deeply held beliefs. Tara also delves into unique areas like eating based on your genetic or cultural heritage, the therapeutic benefits of nature and creativity on our physical and mental health, debunks neuroscience myths and enlightens us on a “brain first” lifestyle.

Follow Tara @drtaraswart

Follow Chase @chase_chewning


In this episode, you will learn...

  • Neuroplasticity, the brain's ability to change and adapt throughout life, plays a crucial role in belief formation and transformation, highlighting the power of the human mind to shape our lives

  • The concept of the "opposable mind", or the brain's capacity to merge contrasting thoughts into a superior idea, can potentially revolutionize the way we perceive and tackle life's challenges

  • Combining elements of science and spirituality can provide a more comprehensive understanding of mental health, offering pathways to personal fulfillment and healthier living

  • Engaging in creative activities and connecting with nature can have profound therapeutic benefits, contributing to both physical and mental health

  • Adopting a "brain-first" lifestyle, focused on nurturing the brain through sleep, hydration, nutrition and mental exercises, can have a significant positive impact on overall health and wellbeing


Episode resources:

EFR 757: The Neuroscience of Manifestation and Spirituality, How to Create Life-Changing Habits, and Ancient Solutions to Modern Health Problems with Dr. Tara Swart

Welcome to the mind-blowing intersection of science and spirituality with Dr. Tara Swart, PhD! As we explore the potential of the human mind and the role of neuroplasticity in shaping our lives, we discover the process of belief formation and the possibility of harnessing it for a healthier, more fulfilling life. We examine intriguing concepts such as the "opposable mind" and the profound impact of life events and crises on our deeply held beliefs. Tara also delves into unique areas like eating based on your genetic or cultural heritage, the therapeutic benefits of nature and creativity on our physical and mental health, debunks neuroscience myths and enlightens us on a “brain first” lifestyle.

Follow Tara @drtaraswart

Follow Chase @chase_chewning


In this episode, you will learn...

  • Neuroplasticity, the brain's ability to change and adapt throughout life, plays a crucial role in belief formation and transformation, highlighting the power of the human mind to shape our lives

  • The concept of the "opposable mind", or the brain's capacity to merge contrasting thoughts into a superior idea, can potentially revolutionize the way we perceive and tackle life's challenges

  • Combining elements of science and spirituality can provide a more comprehensive understanding of mental health, offering pathways to personal fulfillment and healthier living

  • Engaging in creative activities and connecting with nature can have profound therapeutic benefits, contributing to both physical and mental health

  • Adopting a "brain-first" lifestyle, focused on nurturing the brain through sleep, hydration, nutrition and mental exercises, can have a significant positive impact on overall health and wellbeing


Episode resources:


0:02:23 - Tara Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited to be here.

0:02:25 - Chase I'm so excited I nerd out so hard on everything that you do. Basically, but especially when we look at blending of the worlds of science and spirituality what we can explain and examine and study versus maybe what we can't or we think we can't and we're going to go into a lot of different areas with your work and what you're focusing on now. But to kind of start there with science and spirituality, your book now, which has been out for a couple of years, that is still just so top of mind for a lot of people.

you have this very powerful question out of the gate or statement, and I want to just start there, please Quote we have the power to change our destiny, to find wealth, true love, confidence and fulfillment, simply by harnessing the power of our mind. You make it sound so simple. What part of quote? Harness the power of our mind is simple.

0:03:20 - Tara That's such a good question and I want to give it a bit of context, because my book did come out before the pandemic and I would say that at that time combining science and spirituality was a bit unusual and I think, given that I was known more for being faculty at MIT Sloan, people questioned it quite a lot. But also I got amazing feedback and it definitely even strengthened my belief in that combination. I think what happened then is that during the pandemic, a lot of people suffered mentally, if you like, and I'm using that as a really big umbrella word to say that you yourself may have had anxiety or chronic stress, depression, health anxiety, relationships broke down. People felt very lost and disconnected. So I've seen a massive resurgence in interest in the book and I think that's because we're all searching for something more now and that that combination of science and spirituality makes more sense now maybe than it did when the book came out.

0:04:22 - Chase It certainly has for me and I think your spot on. A lot of people are really at least questioning those realms. And in search for more questions, in search for answers as well.

0:04:33 - Tara Absolutely, and so I was thinking about what I would say to you in answer to that question. And if you hadn't put it so nicely?

what I would have said was you have to really want to change. And if you really really want to, then harnessing the power of your mind is relatively simpler, because that desire what I call magnetic desire in the book will motivate you to go through periods of feeling like nothing's happening without giving up. So that desire to want to change, to look for an answer or to ask more questions, like you said, that desire really helps Because it forms awareness, which is key to the stages of behavior change. But I would also say that it's kind of been 20 plus years now in the science world that we've understood more about neuroplasticity, which is how much your brain can change throughout life, throughout adulthood. So that does make it simpler in terms of when we still believed that by the age of 18, you physically stopped growing and your brain stopped changing and you were stuck with the personality.

0:05:40 - Chase That's old science really right.

0:05:42 - Tara Then, of course, it doesn't seem simple to think that you can harness the power of your mind to change your life.

0:05:47 - Chase Like, if it hasn't happened by then, good luck.

0:05:49 - Tara Yeah, but now that we know that that's not true, that the brain actively grows and changes till we're about 25, and that with effort after the age of 25, we can bring about more changes, we can learn new things, With effort, everybody With effort, with effort Crucial.

That's why I started by saying you have to really want to, because to make the intensity of effort that you're going to have to make, you have to really want to. Otherwise, it's way too easy to give up, and that's why often the sorts of changes that I think you and I are going to talk about today only happen after a crisis, and one of the reasons I wrote the book was that I wanted people to be able to understand how much agency they have to change their life with the power of their mind, without having to wait till they go through some kind of crisis.

0:06:42 - Chase I'm kind of laughing right now. This friend of mine, this guy who's been in this coaching program and running for a few years now, young guy, very ambitious and is very on board with this and I think a lot of people can get on board with this. We believe that, OK, in a certain major life event positive, negative there's going to be a transformation, there's going to be a change, whether I asked for it or not. And I'm laughing because once he kind of really got on board with this belief system, he was like man, when is something bad going to happen to me? He was like I'm ready for this change. I'm ready for this transformation.

0:07:20 - Tara Oh, that's sweet yeah.

0:07:22 - Chase So shout out, dom, if you're listening, man. But you don't have to want something bad to happen to you, but, to your point, awareness needs to happen. Awareness needs to happen so that, when you are in your life and there are a myriad of types of events happening, you can be looking for and creating and fanning that flame of change as well.

0:07:41 - Tara Yeah, and in my experience as a former psychiatric doctor and as a coach, if something doesn't happen, like a divorce or a health crisis, then eventually around a certain age and in terms of the psychological philosophy of Carl Jung, for example, the age is sort of 40 to 42. That's a real transitional age. If you haven't had something happen in your life by then, then you'll just reach a sort of psychological existential crisis where you just start to question the meaning of life. You understand that.

you're kind of going into the second half of your life.

0:08:17 - Chase Like if we haven't experienced death, a major loss, injury, divorce, significant life.

0:08:22 - Tara Yeah, Something seems to happen psychologically that so for Dom, if nothing bad happens, then around the age of 40 to 42, he's probably going to go through some kind of emotional transformation regardless, oh wow.

0:08:39 - Chase OK. So then this makes me think about the person that is listening, and maybe where I've been, you've been that you don't know how much you want to change. That level of awareness hasn't happened yet. And even once you do have those experiences, we're just kind of getting to new baselines, right, we're peeling back layers and you're going to have another realization later on. How would you kind of explain this to somebody that doesn't know they want to change?

0:09:13 - Tara yet Two things. I remember myself, before I made big changes, being at a stage of my life where I was like I'm fine, I've got a decent job, I've got the ability to travel, I'm happy in the relationship that I'm in. I'm still young, so I couldn't. I was like I said, fine. What I hadn't had any insight into was how much better life could be. And equally, I do sometimes hear from people now who say I'm actually really happy with my life, I don't want it to change. But I did push back with that person and say that is rare the number of people who feel so stuck, who are in a job that pays the bills but they don't enjoy it at all.

0:10:06 - Chase They're not fulfilled.

0:10:07 - Tara Definitely not fulfilled and possibly even have a good idea of what it was that they wished they could have done. But they're not doing it for maybe financial reasons, or societal or parental or whatever.

0:10:20 - Chase I know how that goes, yeah same.

0:10:24 - Tara And possibly are in a relationship that's no longer very happy or was one that was a compromise in the first place, but the fear of stepping out alone is preventing them from making a major change there. You know, maybe not happy in terms of things like health, fitness, shape, tone, you know, whatever self-esteem, self-confidence, all the things that go around in that area. So the question I asked people there which I have actually posed in the book which I thought you might be going towards was has your life panned out exactly as you dreamt it would when you were a kid? And if not, then that's okay, but maybe start examining why not? And maybe start asking yourself if it's still possible that you can have some, at least some of the things that you dreamt of, whether that's, you know, being married with a family or having your own business. You know, it could be such a wide variety of things, but Whatever you want it to be.

Yeah, and maybe it's just like one of those that you pick now and say I think I could still make that happen.

0:11:31 - Chase How would you get someone to really wrap their head around? Okay, there's a scientific approach, there's a way to understand and manipulate the body, the mind, you know, through sleep, hydration, good nutrition, movement. But then there's this other component, the things that I can't explain, the spiritual aspect. You know, I'm going to say for our conversation. We're going to say spirituality being all the things maybe that are not tangible and physical, that you know, that you can't. If I do A, then B kind of happens. How can we begin to wrap our heads around that other side of life? I think, objectively, we can agree that there is this unexplicable component to life. So how do we wrap our head around something that we can't explain, that we don't know how we can manipulate, but we know it's important to influence our actual, tangible, physical life?

0:12:24 - Tara So there's a really easy exercise towards the start of the book. That is literally about dividing your experience as a human into four quadrants, and they are physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. And so physical is literally what you feel in your body. Mental is about your thought processes, so your logical thinking. Emotional is about your feelings, so the emotions that you experience, which can kind of go between physical and mental, you know sometimes in a way, and then spiritual. That word means something to a lot of people, but it equally doesn't mean something to some people.

So I always say what you feel in your spirit or in your values, or something that's not explained by physical, mental or emotional, but you feel it.

And what I ask people to do with those quadrants is to draw it out twice and time themselves for a minute, immersing themselves in the memory, with eyes closed, of a time that you were really struggling, that things were not going right, that you were stressed, that there wasn't coherence in the group or team or family around you, and really experience that in your body, in your thoughts, in your feelings, in your spirit.

And then just make notes at the end of the minute and then to you know, maybe take a few deep breaths, put that memory behind you and bring up a memory of a time that you were doing really well, feeling like you were, you know, being your best self, in flow. There was a lot of coherence around you. Close your eyes, immerse yourself in that memory and then, after the one minute, make notes in the four quadrants and there's no right or wrong answer. It's really about feeling it for yourself and then kind of just noting down what's similar and what's different. So I've literally heard every combination of what could be similar or different between you know from nothing in common at all to actually very much the same, but a different version of the same feeling, of course, yeah.

But for me, the thing that I learnt by doing that exercise is that if I'm super stressed, then the thing I'm really aware of is what changes physically. So I would make less eye contact, I wouldn't smile, my posture might be more slumped, and those are things that I can reverse quite by choice. If I've got a negative thinking spiral or I'm just feeling really sad, it's really hard to reverse those by choice in the moment. But having the awareness about you know, okay, that probably means that I'm in that mode, is not bad. But I can always put my shoulders back, lift my chin up, smile and make eye contact with someone, and that tends for me to have an effect on the other three things.

0:15:07 - Chase I feel like you're someone who is kind of straddling two worlds. You're an MD, PhD, neuroscientist, medical doctor, who is also here talking about spirituality. You really remind me a lot of my wife. I'll share with you earlier. She's an FNP, has been in mental health for many years, you know running ketamine, assist, psychotherapy programs, clinics, and now she's in functional medicine.

But when she found mental health, particularly in medicine, she felt like she was really coming home. And I'm wondering if the same was true for you too. Were you someone that went the medical route, clinical route? Because, like, oh, I'm this spiritual person, I already understand that side and I just need to find a way to translate it to the rest of the world. Or, through your scientific approach to life and understanding the human experience, did you just naturally kind of get more to the spiritual side?

0:16:00 - Tara Definitely more the latter for me, but I'm really interested in what you posed as the former option. So what happened for me was that my parents had emigrated from India to England. So at home I was surrounded by chanting and incense, and you know food offerings to. God, and you know having to give gratitude before every meal.

0:16:24 - Chase That was your norm.

0:16:24 - Tara That was yeah, and you know being told that reincarnation like it was a fact, Absolutely. You know, when your parents tell you that is how the world works, as a kid that's what you believe, so I grew up like that. But then I also had to go to school in central London with people who were not from that cultural heritage.

0:16:43 - Chase A little different. Yeah, a little different.

0:16:46 - Tara And so I was straddling two worlds for as long as I can remember, you know, since I was conscious, and I found that hard as a kid, just wanting to fit in with my friends. But what was also curious was that, although my parents were, you know, very spiritual in that way, they wanted me to be a doctor. So, you know, in Indian culture, being a doctor or a lawyer is like kind of highest thing, like.

0:17:13 - Chase I said I know I'm familiar with my wife's middle eastern from Iran. Oh, okay, yeah, yeah. They still are confused by, like, what I do, yeah, yeah.

0:17:21 - Tara Mine were confused when I changed career for a long time, yeah. So again, I had a lot of pressure and expectation to become a doctor and my parents were very proud of the fact that I was a doctor, but at home they would not practice any Western medicine, so it was all Ayurvedic, it was all alternative homeopathic, really, yeah. So I've really like grappled with a lot of like dissonance in my life and I'm very grateful looking back. You know I never had antibiotics Till I was 18, I was, you know, brought up vegetarian and Ayurvedic and I definitely think, and you know, I had a very privileged education, so all of that has completely served me. But it did leave me quite confused as a human.

0:18:08 - Chase Naturally yeah, yeah, yeah.

0:18:09 - Tara Yeah, and so then, when I came across people like Bruce Lipton or Deepak Chopra or Daniel Siegel, I remember my first reaction to hearing Bruce Lipton on a podcast was but that's not allowed. You can't be Dr Bruce Lipton and be saying these things and be saying these things.

But there was almost like a little seed that I can remember where I was I can't remember which airport, but it was an airport and I was listening in my headphones and I remember thinking maybe it is allowed, but like not being able to really grapple with that thought at all, but just understanding that somebody who was a more advanced version of me was talking about things that I personally believed in but felt like I had to keep hidden from my professional world. So when I did start writing the source, I was really fascinated when I started doing the research, that things like the laws of attraction and manifestation were so easily explainable by cognitive science. You know that.

0:19:15 - Chase Which you do a great job of explaining, by the way. Thanks, yeah.

0:19:19 - Tara So, yeah, I spent a summer researching and I thought, okay, this definitely makes sense, this has got like there's content here, started writing. It kind of definitely was like a cathartic evolutionary journey for me, but I still was nervous about how it would be received.

0:19:38 - Chase Wow, why, so what specifically?

0:19:42 - Tara Because it was, I'm going to use the word woo woo. I thought people who see me as their executive coach or see me as their lecturer at MIT would not be able to like.

0:19:56 - Chase Grappling with it. Am I going to lose credibility? Yeah, they're going to lose respect. You know, am I going to fill a room anymore? Yeah, wow.

0:20:02 - Tara And on one of the first podcasts I was on when my book came out, because the title, the subtitle, is actually different. In the UK it's open your mind, change your life, but in the US it's the secrets of the universe, science of the brain.

0:20:15 - Chase We need that one. Huh, we need that one, I guess.

0:20:18 - Tara so Somebody said to me like didn't you think this was a risk? Didn't you think you could lose your job at MIT? And actually at that point I was like no, I didn't think I would lose my job. But you know, it made me think, okay, it's not, that's not in my mind, like somebody else also thought that was strange, but I have to say the response that I got through social media was just so heartwarming that convinced me more than my own research and writing the way that people responded to it and felt like it was completely seamless but also said I've always wanted to believe in those sorts of things, but I didn't have the right science that could convince me.

Yeah, and I had people in my personal life, people who work in the fashion industry you know completely unrelated things saying I've always thought of doing a vision board, but I've never done it before, but I'm going to do it now because of the science, and that was really, you know, kind of here's your permission slip.

0:21:13 - Chase Yeah, yeah, you mentioned confusion a couple of times around your professional and personal life. How would you describe that medically, through the neuroscience lens, and how would you describe it through the spiritual lens, if there is a difference? Because, let's be honest, we're all gonna come up against confusion and I think, especially since pandemic, to go back a little bit definitely, personally speaking, coming up against those confusing moments of wait. Do I believe this wait? Is this right? Is this wrong? Like I feel a challenge to my way of being. I feel a challenge to my belief system. I feel a challenge to what I have been told is true, but for some reason I'm just not accepting it anymore. I'm questioning it. What is going on from that neuroscience lens of confusion and our reality and what is going on through the spiritual lens of that?

0:22:13 - Tara I've never been asked that question before. It's a brilliant question, I love it.

0:22:16 - Chase I'll take it all, right all right.

0:22:19 - Tara So the first thing I was thinking about you know my own journey in the first part of your question is that there's some research from Canada about the opposable mind and that talks about the fact that one of the highest functions of the brain is your ability to hold two seemingly completely opposing thoughts and and that's just the first step the fact that your brain can even hold two thoughts that seem to completely clash if I can hold two thoughts these days, I'm killing that's a win okay, I'm just a guy who can't multitask, for crap so and and in the research it says if you can sort of merge those two ideas to come up with a hybrid, a third idea that holds elements of the first two but is superior to both of them.

0:23:08 - Chase Wow. So it's sorry I interrupt you here, but just to kind of help me understand and listen as we go along. It's not, both are true. It's that in some capacity we feel allegiance or truth to both, and therefore two things that are true that our opposites can't coexist.

0:23:25 - Tara So therefore we have to, kind of like, make a hybrid let me make it really tangible for you first, and then maybe we can go down the more intangible route, because I want to come back to the ghosts in your neural wiring that make you believe. You know, believe in certain things.

0:23:38 - Chase Yeah, yeah, it's.

0:23:41 - Tara Oh spooky season just ended, but yes, I wanted to say that to you, so we don't get back there but when I teach this researcher, mit Sloan, which is obviously the business school part of MIT, I get the groups at each table to do an exercise, which is that you identify an area of business and two very different business models so it could be something like a private jet company and like the lowest cost commercial airline, where it could be, you know, a big, high-volume, very low-cost store compared to a really high-end kind of niche, unique, expensive kind of store.

So in the end there are both offering the same technical product or service but just they go about it drastically yeah yeah, and you know, often people use examples of cars, and so then I asked them to actually write down the names of a business, that's an example of each, so you might get a Walmart and a Barney's or something like that makes it real, yeah okay, and then write down the elements that those businesses stand for, and you do it for the what's good about it, for the business itself, for the employees of that business and the customers of that business.

So you write down as many you know your brainstorm, as many points as you can, and then the actual task is to come up with a new business that's their own invention.

And the most fun part is naming it and then plucking the elements from each of the two different models that you want to bring into yours. So you know, an example that I hear quite a lot is a low-cost airline but that has options for you to pay for certain parts, so you can pay for the ILC to extra leg room or food or drinks or extra luggage or whatever, and so that that shows you in a really tangible way that you take two very different examples of a product and you can pick out the best elements of each and come up with a third, a hybrid type of product. And so in your mind, now I'll get back to the ghosts and spooky seasons here we're back, everybody all right the longer that you've held a belief in your brain, the stronger that neural pathway is.

So you know that phrase neurons that wire together, wire together.

0:26:10 - Chase Yeah, so reinforcing the mile-in-sheath.

0:26:13 - Tara It's just getting a stronger conduction and do you remember how I said to you as long as I've been conscious, I've believed in things like reincarnation, because I was just always told that. So, from the age of 0 to 7 is where these most deeply held beliefs get laid down so we enter the world boom.

It's happening up until about the age seven, okay yeah, you know, and from 7 to 14 there's pretty firmly held beliefs too, but the strongest ones are the ones that you're no longer even that conscious of. They're just the way that you operate. There's they. They're just the way that you believe the world works. And you know, if you take something like reincarnation, it's absolutely part of my culture. It's what how my parents taught me that the world works.

I, specifically, was repeatedly told a very strong example, which was that I was the reincarnation of my paternal grandmother. So you know, that was very much part of my childhood. But then later, as a scientist, of course, I have to question that belief because it can't be proven. So that's an example. That's quite an extreme one, but there will be lesser examples of things like that that we've all been conditioned with by our parents and schools and society. So when you come to an age where, either because of a crisis or a very strong positive motivator like you're getting ready to become a dad, or you're getting ready to become married, or, you know, move countries or something like that where you have to rethink, you know how you look at life, or if you get to the age of 42 and nothing like that's happened.

Yeah, there it is again yeah, then you're going to start having, you know, these be questioning of beliefs, because you're just more aware of your mortality. So, for example, you know this can really happen when we get to the age where we start to lose our parents, because then we realize that we're the next generation that that's going to happen to, and then you think, okay, what do I, what will I be proud of when I'm on my deathbed? And that might really force you to question some of your beliefs and how you've led your life up until now. So has that answered your question of how would I respond to that, both through the science lens, which is the opposable mind part, and then more spiritually, which is that you know, and it's combined with science, which is that we have these deeply, you know, held beliefs in our neural wiring and, for the various reasons I've mentioned, there will come a time where we will feel the need to challenge them.

And you know, it could. Might not even be personal, it might be the pandemic, it might be the fact that most you know, everyone in the world pretty much went through an unprecedented experience and it makes you think, okay, maybe my life isn't just gonna pan out how I always thought it would. There could be another pandemic that you know if it happened once, can it happen again?

0:29:03 - Chase I mean, now we have actuality, we have proof. We go from this what could be thing in our mind, or doomsday story, or you know preppers or whatever, to, oh no, actually hold on. I went through it, you went through, the whole world went through it, yeah. So therefore it's very real. Yeah, and the brain is looking for patterns, right, so it's looking for how is this gonna happen again? Where's this gonna happen again? How can you prepare for it?

0:29:26 - Tara yeah, and it's even harder to prepare for something that's not gonna fit the pattern, because the pandemic didn't fit a pattern of anything that we've known before. So you know, in my mind as a neuroscientist, I'm like what's the next thing that's gonna happen? That is totally unexpected for us.

0:29:43 - Chase That's scarier than another version of something that we've already experienced before so, as we go through these changes and we are now understanding how the brain works and how we can maybe explain some things tangibly scientifically and that other element, the spiritual side, what I believe we're kind of talking about here in a bare-bones capacity is learning how to change our mind. Does changing our mind change our brain? In vice versa, can we do something with like thought and what we believe that actually is happening from a neuroscience perspective and the other way around? If we actually focus on improving brain health, does our mentality, does our mindset, does our thought process, does our mind actually change as well?

0:30:27 - Tara yeah, so there's quite a. There's actually quite a few questions mixed up in that question. I'll make it easy for you and you know one of the things to caveat my answer with is that this is actually often known as the hard problem of neuroscience, which is about the interaction between thoughts and chemical processes where does the mind begin?

0:30:52 - Chase in the brain.

0:30:52 - Tara And yeah, yeah, and the duality of that. You know, whether it's both ways around or not. So a lot of scientists would say that all of our thoughts and emotions, and basically consciousness, is emergent from neurons and chemical and electrical processes. I guess the thing about you know what I'm seeing as scientists who are maybe like 20 plus years older than me being such examples of evolving spiritually themselves, is that I definitely you know in my 20s and 30s would have said you would be unscientific and you know I don't want to use like, don't want to use a derogatory word, but I would have had a negative reaction to somebody that suggested that there was anything other than neurons and chemicals and electrical messages that were creating thoughts and emotions.

I've already evolved along that pathway to think there's got to be something more than that you know, and I've looked into research around near-death experiences, terminal lucidity, past life memories, something called mind-sight, which is where blind people, who've never actually had vision in their life, when they have a near-death experience, they actually see. Yeah, so I've looked at the research around all of those things and it's made me at least think that there is a way in which consciousness can exist without those physical aspects. But I don't know more than that and I, you know, I can't prove it, but I'm very interested in it. So, but the answer to what you've said is yes, because, like I said, it was a multi-layered question. So the first thing to answer is that the way that you look after your body creates the environment that your brain and your mind exist in, and so, absolutely changes that you make there make a difference to the functioning of your brain and your mind, and I've had a, you know, a really recent example of this, which is not an experiment I would have put myself through by choice, but that I went through, which I'll come to in a second.

So, basically, what I always say is the length and quality of your sleep and the regularity of it. That's key to the functioning of your brain. What you eat, how much you eat, how regularly you eat, is key to the functioning of your brain. Those are pretty much my top two. But you know you also need to be hydrated. Ideally you shouldn't be sedentary. You know, the more you oxygenate your brain by moving around or breathing deeply. I know that you and some of your guests are big fans of really intense exercise. I'm not a fan of intense exercise but you know, exercise that is either oxygenating your brain or, like you know, building muscles, strength and tone. They have different effects on your brain but they're all good. But the high intensity stuff can be very stressful for the brain, body system.

so I don't love that. But and then basically stress management or mindfulness, you know anything in the category of like keeping your brain body system not in the fright flight mode but more in the kind of, you know, rest and digest and rejuvenate mode. All of those things are really important and I try to pay as much attention to those things all the time as I can, and I have been obviously for many years, and so during the pandemic which I personally found very stressful for you know myriad of reasons I could see that all of that work I'd done on my resilience definitely really helped me. So that's a positive.

So you know I regularly sleep for eight hours a night. I eat at least 30 different plant products a week. I drink loads of water, I am not sedentary and I have, like a very mindful way of living, so I've been very lucky. That's my area of research and I brought that into my life like a sort of patchwork quilt over the years.

0:35:00 - Chase I felt the same way. Once the pandemic came like very real, I was like damn it, I've been training for this, I've been training for this. You know, physical, mental resiliency, not to downplay the pandemic at all, but just you know, I felt so prepared, yeah as one as much as one could be.

0:35:17 - Tara Yeah, exactly, and you know, I feel that I had all the practices that prepared me as much as possible, but it was still such a challenge to the mind and the body.

And I also want to say but I think it's important for people like us to say this, you know so that because it's relatable, and if it's true, which is that since the end of the pandemic you know some people would argue hasn't ended, but the end of lockdowns let's say I have, like lost some of the great habits that I built up during the lockdown.

0:35:49 - Chase Really.

0:35:49 - Tara Yeah, I spent so much more time in nature. I was growing my own vegetables, I was out for, you know, walk in the middle of nowhere.

0:35:57 - Chase And you haven't kept these up.

0:35:58 - Tara Not as much, you know. I've spent more time in London now, more time in LA, more time traveling again because you can, because I can write and it definitely compromises some of those things.

I mean, I'm lucky that my baseline for those things is pretty healthy, but I've definitely noticed that I've let some of those things slip and I have to make a more conscious effort to bring some of those things back into my life. So I'm and I'm just saying that because I want you know if anybody else is feeling like that I want them to feel like less guilty and think okay, where can I start now?

This is a safe space, yeah, safe space, and you know the thing with neuroscience and neuroplasticity is always the best time to plant an oak tree was 200 years ago, but the second best time is now. So yeah, and there are quite a few benefits to the brain of restarting good habits. So that's, that's my excuse, but anyway. So what happened to me like recently is I've been on this like mega trip to the States and you know LA is my last stop and the stop before was on the road in the Navajo Nation.

0:37:02 - Chase I saw this. Yeah, I saw this yeah.

0:37:04 - Tara Yeah, I haven't shared too much about it yet, but I'm going to a video up on Instagram.

0:37:09 - Chase Yeah, yeah.

0:37:10 - Tara But that that week was late nights because we had to drive for hours to get between all the places, early starts because you know filming and the light and it was people that all had to get stuff done. I definitely did not have access to the kind of food that I usually eat and that was probably the biggest change for me. I could feel the difference in my body. I was making the healthiest choice that I could everywhere that I went, but my choices were limited. I still did manage to sleep eight hours each night, but the timings were all over the place. I tried to remain as hydrated as I could, but sometimes we were in the car for hours. So you know you had to be a bit mindful of that as well.

I definitely was very sedentary because we were driving for hours between sets and then filming, which was didn't involve much walking around, and but the one that you know was better than ever was I was in the most stunning nature, in fresh air, with beautiful vistas, and such a great new experience as well, yeah, yeah, new experience Talk about a.

I'd call that a spiritual imprint as well, yeah yeah, so the spiritual element, the nature element, the, the meaningful relationships element was like 1000%, but all the more physical stuff was really compromised and you know, like I said, I would never choose to, you know, to compromise my sleep times, on my diet or my hydration or my, you know, not being sedentary, but it happened for like four or five days and I could already, you know, tell the difference in my body. Since I've been back in LA, which is just under a week as of today, I've eaten 42 different plant products.

Oh, that's a big difference, because I knew I had to make up for that that time, because I could feel that it had, you know already, had traveled to the States a few weeks earlier and disrupted my gut microbiome with jet lag. And then, you know, eating out more than cooking at home. I gotta get you on the fly kit game.

0:39:11 - Chase Have you heard of fly kit? I'll tell you about this later.

0:39:13 - Tara Okay, Jet lag now is a choice. Oh, I need that, I need that zero Okay.

0:39:19 - Chase I'll hook you up.

0:39:20 - Tara That's like the biggest issue that I struggle with. So, yeah, so just saying that basically practices that you may have had or incorporated into your life for a long time, they can really help you during tough times. It's okay to have some ups and downs with some of those practices and, you know, find new things and bring them in or return to good habits. But there's also research and I think you've mentioned this to me before, that you're interested in research on the US Marines.

0:39:51 - Chase Yes, you had this really unique example in your book about this. I call him platoon in the army. I'm forgetting. I think it's platoon in the Marines as well. Yeah, this group, in preparation for deployment, went through this mindfulness training and what happened?

0:40:07 - Tara So they had a control group that didn't do mindfulness training and then an, you know, age matched group that were trained to do mindfulness for about a month before going into a battle zone and, funnily enough, it was all in the group that was supposed to be the mindfulness training group. That because they went into dorms or you know, whatever you call it- together yeah.

Yeah, it turned out that a few of the people who were in that group hadn't really taken it seriously and hadn't practiced the mindfulness. But when they got to it was Afghanistan they could see that their colleagues who had practiced mindfulness were able to sleep at night, that they weren't sweating as much as them, you know, with anxiety, and that they could eat and they didn't feel like sick to the stomach with the stress of it all. And so they contacted the researchers and said look, I know I was in the mindfulness group, but I actually didn't do it. But I can see the difference in my colleagues that did. So I want to start now. And the researchers said of course we'll, like you know, get you back into the training thing, but we're not sure if it's going to help you, because the whole point was that you pre-prepare.

0:41:19 - Chase To prepare for yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

0:41:20 - Tara But what they found to their surprise was that almost as soon as you started mindfulness training, it reduced anxiety, it reduced insomnia.

0:41:29 - Chase Even in the thing that they were ideally preparing for to alleviate they saw significant change. Yeah, wow.

0:41:36 - Tara And like almost immediate Wow In season two of my podcast which I was telling you about how some ancient wisdom stuff in it. I interviewed a dietician and we were speaking more specifically about your genetic or cultural heritage, how important it is for your gut microbiome to eat with that in mind. So do you know your cultural or genetic heritage?

0:41:58 - Chase Mostly just English Okay.

0:42:00 - Tara Yeah. So basically my cultural heritage comes from a country where coconut trees naturally grow. So things like coconut oil, mct oil, coconut milk they are not only well tolerated but good for my gut microbiome.

0:42:18 - Chase Probably literally in your genetic makeup.

0:42:20 - Tara Yeah.

0:42:21 - Chase Those fatty chains and proteins and probably how your proteins were wound down and like made you Exactly. Wow yeah.

0:42:26 - Tara But for you, if you had too many coconut products, that could actually disrupt your gut microbiome, it can actually have like the opposite effect to what it's supposed to.

0:42:34 - Chase So even though it's air court here healthy yeah these are healthy things objectively have great nutritional value Wow.

0:42:40 - Tara Yeah, so you know, I think eating with brain health in mind, or health in mind or muscle, you know, building in mind is one thing, but understanding that that's really different for different people. So obviously I was born and brought up in the UK but for my childhood I mostly ate Indian food at home anyway, and I do love Indian food and I do cook it. But that you know. The dietitian, who's my friend, said Tara, it's really important for you that you're eating enough spices and lentils and things like you know and the more unusual vegetables that you can't always get in the supermarket. So yeah, I don't know where I was going with that. Well, you bring up ancient wisdom.

0:43:25 - Chase Oh yeah, I was bringing up, yeah, Ancient wellness, basically, yeah.

0:43:27 - Tara Yeah, yeah, so, no, sorry, I know where I was going with that. It was that. You know how I said that if you started practicing mindfulness, it hadn't almost a meeting effect even if you were in a stress zone. If you change your diet, it changes your gut bacteria, the composition, the quality, the quantity, also within a matter of a day or a few days.

0:43:46 - Chase That quickly yes.

0:43:48 - Tara So things like changing your diet, bringing in mindfulness, they can have much more immediate effects than we ever believed before, even you know, let's say definitely before the pandemic. If you asked me those two same questions, I would say no, you really have to have a mindfulness practice and you'd have to, like, change your diet for a significant amount of time you need like a reset, a gut reset.

0:44:11 - Chase cleanse 30-day like healthy habit reinstallment.

0:44:14 - Tara I would probably say like 12 weeks, wow, wow, to change like the gut.

0:44:18 - Chase Wow. But now you believe something differently. Do you believe it or you prove?

0:44:22 - Tara it? Yeah, no, I believe it. The consultant dietitian I spoke to is like a very rigorous academic dietitian and you know, amishi Ja is the professor that did the US Marine Study. So yeah, I definitely believe in her.

0:44:33 - Chase Amazing. So you bring up this concept of ancient wisdom, ancient wellness, when we're looking at best practices for a modern way of living and you will say you know a healthy brain living. What else have you found from ancient practices that still hold true, that you recommend for we'll just say, blanket statement the average person here to really consider and to possibly adopt when looking at having a more curious and spiritually fulfilling life, but also is actually going to do something for us here and now, physically, for the brain even.

0:45:06 - Tara Yeah. So the way I want to answer that question is that I was taken aback by how obvious the answers to that question were and that literally all of the things that we need to be the most whole as a human have been in front of our eyes forever and we've just Preach.

0:45:26 - Chase Forgotten or not? Yes, please, please, can you just reiterate that point for us?

0:45:31 - Tara The way I fit it really succinctly is that everything that we need to be, you know, the healthiest physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually has been hiding in plain sight for millennia. So let's start with the most basic and the most fundamental one is nature. So you and I might have different tastes in art or music or books, but nature is the palette that all humans have existed in since the beginning of time, and so we all find it pleasing. And that's not just mentally, it's physically the effect it has on your blood pressure, your heart rate, your breathing rate, your stress hormone levels, whether your autonomic nervous system is in parasympathetic, which is rest and digest, or sympathetic, which is flight fright.

0:46:23 - Chase This is just you're saying being in nature. We don't need to be rock climbing, you know, free soloing, this kind of crazy stuff. We just need to be in it.

0:46:31 - Tara Just being in nature. To be honest, chase just having plants in your house rather than not having plants in your house.

0:46:38 - Chase It can be that simple, that simple.

0:46:40 - Tara Yeah, have you know, preferably having a garden, but if you don't, then you can try to get more plants into your house. Very much preferably going to the beach or the ocean or a forest or the mountain.

0:46:51 - Chase Physically touching, connecting.

0:46:53 - Tara Yeah, yeah, Getting into grounding A little bit we'll say but, you know, making it really basic if you can't, which is just having like a plant in your house instead of not having one. And so I've talked about kind of. The things I mentioned so far are the effect that it would have on you just being in, going out into nature, like today. But if you regularly spend time in nature, then it actually has a positive effect on your mental health. So less anxiety, stress, depression, insomnia. It has a positive effect on your physical health. Did you know that trees and plants excrete a compound called phytoncides, which actually trigger the release of natural killer cells in our immune system?

0:47:36 - Chase Oh, what I haven't heard this. I thought. I knew everything. Well, you know, if you hear about forest bathing?

0:47:43 - Tara Right yeah, the Japanese are.

0:47:45 - Chase I forget what it's called in. Japanese, but forest bathing basically, yeah.

0:47:49 - Tara So forest bathing, or even if you, kind of you know, hear about sound healing or nature sounds, we have for so long now been saying, yeah right, that's not scientific, right, that's Wu Wu.

0:48:02 - Chase Which to your point, the Wu Wu. These are practices that the Japanese, and like how many thousands of cultures across thousands of years, have been doing, maybe tapping into the spiritual side of you know, taking care of themselves. And just thanks to science, now we have a scientific explanation. Both are true. Both are true.

0:48:21 - Tara More of it's getting proven by science. So you know, it's one thing to say to understand that breathing in fresh air and being in a place that's got natural sounds instead of unnatural sounds is better for your health. Like, I get that and I'm happy with that. I'm happy enough with that to make the effort to go and do it. But when you hear that trees are excreting phytoncides that are boosting our immune system through actual chemical processes, then you can't really not go into nature. You have to. Okay, now I have to get more plants in your house.

0:48:54 - Chase Yeah, now I'm thinking, okay, have we narrowed it down to certain types of trees and plants? Excrete more of this. Now I'm like I can imagine the hacker in me is like okay, which park do I need to go to to get the majority of this to? You know, add another level to my wellness. Some are better than others.

0:49:11 - Tara And I did Google it and I think really it's been narrowed down.

0:49:14 - Chase Yeah, yeah, yeah.

0:49:15 - Tara Yeah, so, yeah, yeah, yeah. So I just remember off the top of my head that it was like cedars and cypresses and, I think, lime, but I can't remember all of them, so maybe you could put it in the show that makes.

0:49:28 - Chase I'll definitely have to do some research in that. I mean just thinking of a cedar tree and a cypress tree. How resilient are those trees? Those are some of the most old, the most old, longest living. They've endured crazy conditions. Yeah, think of the lone cypress tree up in Carmel. Have you are familiar with this?

0:49:47 - Tara No.

0:49:47 - Chase So there's. My first duty station was in Monterey, so I spent a lot of time in Carmel up in.

Northern California and you take the PCH down to this one part in Carmel Valley and they're out on a point on a cliff. I have to put a clip up here. There's this iconic, just single cypress tree out there it's called the lone cypress and over hundreds of years, just the erosion and just the roads and man and animals, just what it has endured to survive, and it keeps growing and keeps protruding out. I mean that doesn't surprise me. We look at things that have withstood eons. There has to be an explicable or even unexplicable component to them that we're now reaping the benefits with. Yeah, that's incredible.

0:50:28 - Tara When you're when this podcast episode comes out, Chase, you are going to be personally responsible for the massive flux of people that are going to go and hug that tree and breathe it in Wow, we're going to have to get a partnership with Pokemon Go again.

0:50:40 - Chase Everybody outside but, wow, I definitely am diving in more. This is incredible.

0:50:46 - Tara Yeah, and you know how I said, we might have different taste in art or music, but nature is the palette that is good for all of us. It's also so. There's a book called your Brain on Art by two incredible women Ivy Ross, who's the head of product design at Google, used to be at Mattel, and Susan Magsamen, who's at Johns Hopkins in the Center for Neuroscience.

0:51:07 - Chase Almost had them on the show.

0:51:08 - Tara Did you?

0:51:09 - Chase I think, like last year, yeah, yeah, yeah, you should have them on. Yeah, incredible, yeah, they're really great, incredible stuff. Yeah, really great yeah.

0:51:14 - Tara So they're episode one of season two of my podcast.

0:51:16 - Chase Amazing.

0:51:18 - Tara And they were talking about the research on how indulging in creative activity for like 20 to 40 minutes most days of the week, the benefits that that has on your health and mental health and longevity as well.

0:51:30 - Chase So not necessarily I don't need to be an artist, but just, you know, participating in some kind of creative outlet.

0:51:35 - Tara So there's two elements to the way that they put it, which is making and beholding. Oh interesting. So, there's a slight difference between you actually singing or playing an instrument, or drawing or painting and you going to the theater or the opera or the ballet or reading another. This is fascinating.

0:51:50 - Chase Yeah.

0:51:51 - Tara So both, both are good, wow. And it's very, very key that you do not have to be good at this, you know. If you want to sing out of tune in the shower or dance around really badly in your living room or color in a mandala because you don't think you'll get it, drawing, that's all good. It's just, you know, doing the activity or experiencing the activity.

0:52:10 - Chase How relieving for so many people listening right now I know. I can still reap the benefit Totally.

0:52:15 - Tara Yeah, dr Tara said so Exactly, and I thought you know I do feel a great responsibility to say things like that that I sometimes like fall off the schedule of my good habits or, you know, I don't want anyone. I definitely don't want anyone else to hear me singing. But I'll sing it. You know I'll sing in the shower or I'll do very bad karaoke with like really close friends only or people that don't know me.

0:52:36 - Chase Oh, I'm going to pause you one second. Right there, I would lost the screensaver. I'm literally going to nerd out so hard and look at all this.

0:52:47 - Tara I'm really glad. Remind me of the term again in nature. Phytoncides.

0:52:50 - Chase Phytoncides, phytoncides. Okay, oh wow, that's so intriguing. That's so intriguing. I mean, it makes total sense, but now to just have. Here's the thing.

0:52:58 - Tara Yeah, responsible for it. No, wow, wow, and I've never said that on a podcast.

0:53:02 - Chase Oh, that's so cool. The first, that's so cool. Yeah, that's so cool, yeah, amazing.

0:53:08 - Tara So I'm just trying to like remember where I was going. So I've done nature creativity. Are you asking me about that? Yeah, okay, I've got one more section to this.

0:53:19 - Chase Okay, okay, all right, isaac, if you're listening, welcome back, we'll jump right in here.

0:53:26 - Tara And so, having said you know, sort of like seeing dance, do art, let's take that back to evolution. So we know that our ancestors and we're even going back to before we had articulated speech. So we know that our ancestors in the cave hummed, played music, like drum beating particularly, which is very rhythmic, it causes entrainment of the heart rate and the breathing rate painted cave paintings and so basically, dance created music and paint and did art, and in those days we didn't really have time for luxuries. We did everything for a reason.

0:54:11 - Chase We're just trying to survive.

0:54:12 - Tara Yeah, exactly yeah. So we think that the cave paintings were to plan a hunt or to represent a hunt after it had happened, but probably more for planning the beating of the drums, the humming, the chanting, not with speech but with sound. That would have been for health benefits and for bringing the tribe together through that entrainment effect, wow. And the dancing would have probably been because there were periods of hunting and gathering that were really intense and then there would have been a lot of rest periods when there was abundance of stored food. So it was probably to make sure that there was enough movement when there were, in times of abundance.

0:54:56 - Chase Hold on cave people were getting sedentary. We need to increase our neat, but they didn't know it. But that's what they're doing. Yeah, yeah, oh, my gosh this is fantastic. Fantastic. And equally when people say to me now why do we need to do?

0:55:07 - Tara mindfulness. We didn't do mindfulness separately to our work and personal life before. It's because in the cave, we walked barefoot in nature, we looked at the stars in the sky, at night we sat around the campfire with our family. And now, if we're not conscious of making sure that we bring that sort of activity into our life, it's very easy to be switched on on your devices like 24, seven, you know, sort of skimp on sleep, skimp on quality time with friends and family. Just, you know work super hard and kind of you know not not have really healthy practices in your life. Right, right, this is fascinating.

0:55:48 - Chase I'm so fortunate to have such a unique expert and person on the show today. So, again, thank you. But this is where I get to lean into who you are and what you're doing. Maybe it's just personal awareness theory, and I've had quite a few neuroscience on the show. Dr Mishijia has been on the show, Shout out Luisa, Nicola and so many other great neuroscientists and neurophysiologists and I feel like right now, maybe just with social media or in the podcast space, it's a very trending thing and I see and hear a lot of things coming out about the brain and neuroscience and you know my wife calls Dr Andrew Heberman science daddy, science daddy is dropping Probably TMI or whatever.

You know, there's so much fascinating. There's so much fascinating news or reinterpretations of air quote here news when it comes to neuroscience. In your opinion, how do I want to say this? What is actually going on in the current world of neuroscience that you really think is most worth people looking into? What is just a regurgitation of things that are, you know, half truths, whole lies, or just shoddy science? Um, you know half truths, whole lies or just shoddy science?

0:57:11 - Tara Um, I'll get to answering that question specifically, but I just want to like tell you the thoughts that are coming through my mind hearing you pose that question so immediately. I thought you know we have a looming maybe not even looming anymore dementia crisis in the modern world dementia, alzheimer's, you know, type 4 diabetes, yeah, yeah yeah, and a mental health crisis, and we already had an issue with taking care of our mentally ill prior to the pandemic.

But the number of people who were pushed over the threshold of mental illness during and after the pandemic is massive. So when you think about neuro degeneration and mental illness, that's the reason that people are more interested in neuroscience. But I do have to say I was very pleased recently when someone said to me neuroscientists of the rock stars of today. I mean absolutely yeah, because you know I I did my PhD 30 years ago.

0:58:14 - Chase Neuroscience was not a sexy topic 30 years ago my words, not yours, was it pretty, emerging the world of neuroscience at least in this capacity to really make it a, you know, a profession it wasn't emerging.

0:58:28 - Tara Like you know, I'm gonna say that as a lab scientist, it wasn't emerging it was definitely, like you know, established, but pretty much all you could do with a neuroscience PhD at that time was stay in research in the lab or go to a pharmaceutical academy, yeah, okay, clinical yeah, and you couldn't do a degree in neuroscience when I was at university. And now you know I get emails and DMs from these kids all the time saying I'm gonna do neuroscience at university and I sort of feel like you're like cool what, yeah, yeah.

I'm like really cool, but you know, I wish I could have right. And you know, now you can do a straight degree, you can do a masters, obviously you can do a PhD. So and I think, just coming back to your question, so that's the background for me. But coming back to your question, less so now, but even when I was writing the source, when I said to my editors you know, I really want to section the bus, this myth about left brain, right brain they were like what do you mean? And I said, well, it doesn't work like that. We've known that for years now. And they said, well, no, no, the reader's not gonna think that at all. The reader will think left brain, right brain is is how it works.

Sure, I said, well, even more reason to inform people that that's not right and I think we have like moved on from from that one, but that was definitely a neuro myth. That was kind of I was constantly having to explain that.

0:59:50 - Chase That's not the way that we see it anymore now, do you think that was just a myth and you know, kind of bundling maybe some other things in here? Do you feel like a lot of what is being shared and talked about now as a neuroscience? Is it a myth or is it just? You know, we haven't caught up to the science. We legitimately believe this to be true, but now we know it's not yeah, yeah, absolutely, it is that.

1:00:08 - Tara So it's the myths become myths once the science disproves them, but they stay popular in circulation exactly. So the other one is you and me use 10% of your brain right, that's not true anymore well, it was never, it was never true, but we also now know it's not true, and I remember when that movie, lucy, came out oh, yeah, yeah I watched it on a plane because I wanted to watch it straight away, so obviously it was like you know.

I thought it was a fascinating topic for me, but I was just so annoyed with it the whole time the premise it was based on was well, that's got to be a new YouTube channel neuroscientist watches.

1:00:42 - Chase Lucy, your limit list or transcendent right.

1:00:44 - Tara Yeah, well, I do watch all of those movies we gotta get you to reaction to your commentary. That would be quite funny, yeah so yeah, I think some of those older myths like they were still around for a long time. I definitely think it's better now. They've all you know we.

The reason that we know things that we thought were true before aren't true anymore is because of the more sophisticated scanning technologies that have come out like functional MRIs and diffusion tense imaging, because for the longest time, the only way that we really knew how the brain worked was by looking at it when things are going wrong, right, yeah, or not?

1:01:23 - Chase even cadavers, but even in, like neurosurgery or like we would only look at it if there was a perceived issue.

1:01:28 - Tara Yeah, like a stroke or a brain tumor or a brain abscess or an injury. That was how we worked out which parts of the brain did what and, like you know, how much of it could be recovered and things like that. Now we can look at functioning brains and see what happens when you make a decision or you experience a certain emotion, or you know carry out a certain action or experience, you know a food or you know an interaction with someone. So now it's much more based on what's happening when things go right, and it's also based on just being able to see blood flow around the brain and just you know which parts of the brain are experiencing more electrical activity and are you familiar with this group called Wave Neuro.

1:02:12 - Chase No, another great neuroscientist we've had on the show, dr Eric Wan, former Navy brain surgeon, I believe. Actually he, I believe, is still with this organization called Wave Neuro. They're down in San Diego and they do these incredible live, basically, you know, brain scans that scan front to back of the house every brain wave.

I've done it twice now. It's this kind of new thing that I think is so cool. We're out with neuroscience and access to care and lowering costs of things like this, where, to your point, we normally would only get this when something is wrong but, now we can actually look at.

Okay, I got the gym membership where I'm working out, I'm watching what I'm eating. You know what's another area that I haven't been focusing on up to this point. You know, and for me and, I think, a lot of people, that's your brain. You know we can go hop on a scale. We can get, you know, a dexa scan. Up until now, we haven't had a way again, unless something was wrong to go. How is this up here? What's going on? And then using the information, like I have okay, dial-in sleep, more hydration, more electrolytes, certain key supplementation, things like that.

1:03:17 - Tara Yeah, so much, great access to it there is, and you know, but obviously not everyone's gonna have access to that but all of the things that you've just mentioned that you can do, these are things that people should be doing anyway. So, you know, focusing on your sleep, your hydration, your movement and and just like slightly connected to that, but not exactly connected, is that I spoke at the Financial Times weekend festival in DC in the spring and they had two panels I really wanted to go to as well. I was on the longevity panel, but there was an AI panel and a psychedelics panel.

1:03:51 - Chase Oh, yeah, all that's my world, exactly.

1:03:54 - Tara So I looked through the whole, you know the, the timetable for the whole amazing conference and I was like those are the two that I want to go to.

So I was very lucky I didn't have a time clash with those and I got to go to them.

And on the psychedelics one, there were three people on the panel but the you know person I was just geeking out over was the kind of you know professor from Johns Hopkins with the big bushy beard and the mad scientist kind of look, but really like genuine kind, lovely guy and he you know.

So I was more focused on what he had to say about the psychedelic based therapy than the other two people who are running more like private clinics for you know people who are well, and he said the research was really impressive and the results that they had seen after just one or two doses you know, on things like depression and addiction was great. But he said but none of it is doing anything that you can't do by sleeping well, eating well, practicing mindfulness, exercising and drinking enough water. And I just thought that is so perfect for me to hear. You know. I think, yes, you can go and get a brain scan and yes, you could, you know, take psychedelics, as long as it's rigorously controlled by a therapist, but actually you can just go back to doing those basic things that we all know about, and that's probably how you're gonna end up having the best life that you can have.

1:05:13 - Chase So again, this is just a reiteration you met, as he passed out here earlier, tony Horton. If you're not familiar, this fitness legend created P90X and he's been in the fitness industry for decades. Literally he started the year I was born and I was like Tony, what's the secret man? You know, you've seen so much, you've done so much, you know so many iterations of fitness and people and all this stuff, and he said the same thing. He's like move your body, have good relationships, which we haven't gotten to. Eat well, go to sleep water and it's the best through line.

No matter who I talked to on the show, no matter the hack. Sure, certain things might move the needle in a unique way, but ultimately we're all gonna get there in a different timeline by doing these most fundamental things and, to your point, these ancient tactics and I just want to say you will hear this when you listen back, so maybe I've only dropped it in like in small ways, but I have talked about positive social meaningful relationship so you know I mentioned that when I was on the road that that was one of the things that sustained me, even when I was eating well, and I think I mentioned it another time as well you're here when you this has not been a journey alone.

You know you've been talking about all the things that you do and how you got there, and there have been other people along that journey and it's definitely something I wanted to get to. I think we might have to cut a little short, but the power of relationships. I'm sure you're aware of the Harvard study, this book that came out earlier this year called the good life. I had to forget his name. One of the doctors on the earth is running the study now. It's a 82 or 84 year long study through Harvard looking at all cause, mortality, how people live their life, what gets them to. You know that 80, 90 plus year old here in.

America. The number one thing that has kept people well and alive that long and happy and happy is the quality of their relationships yeah.

1:07:10 - Tara So I haven't looked into that study particularly but I will. But there is lots of other science that already just just Google the Harvard study.

1:07:16 - Chase Yeah, yeah, in the book called the good life okay, I definitely will.

1:07:19 - Tara So I love that. I think you know personally my friends, my family, what I call my tribe is super important to me and we know from evolution that we were not meant to survive alone. You know we could. We would have perished like just from not just from physical cold, but you know the warmth we got, the warmth, the love that we got from our tribe, as well as huddling together for physical warmth, was part of you know what we get to survive and definitely all the longevity research now shows that having positive, meaningful social relationships is a factor in not just living for longer but living well, like you said before I get to my final question.

1:07:57 - Chase I just want to again say thank you for your time and expertise. I could sit here from hours. We'll have to get round two next time it's yeah it's flown by before I get to my last question. Again, I got to take advantage of having someone like yourself here. If no, if the listener walks away with nothing else from this conversation, from a neuroscience, brain health, protective angle here, what is one piece of advice that you would advise?

1:08:24 - Tara hope for someone to begin strongly considering and potentially entering into their habits every day so I think, for all of the reasons that we've discussed already, we covered a lot of ground, which I'm really pleased about. We've covered it broadly. So there's like something for everyone is that your brain is a tiny proportion of your body weight. You know, it's kind of just in there, that kind of size, but it's the most energy hungry organ in your body. If you live a life, that is what I call brain first. So if you think you know, what time should I go to bed? Because it's good for my brain, what should I eat? Because it's good for my brain, how much water should I drink? How much should I be moving around? How important is it that I prioritize spending time with my loved ones and all the other things that we've talked about nature, creativity, everything.

If you live your life in that way, then the knock-on effect on everything else your digestion, your heart, your skin, your hair, your nails, your happiness, your feelings of abundance they're all gonna get taken care of. So you know, that's how I kind of make my decisions. If I'm thinking, should I do this or that, then I think, okay, which one's gonna be best for my brain. And you know I've always been like very clear to say, like you know, I was gonna say like, as you know, a woman, but it's that's actually. As a person, you know, I do care about what my hair and my nails and my skin look like, but I know that if I'm taking care of my brain, that's gonna, you know, be the best that it can be.

1:10:01 - Chase So if I take care of this. It takes care of this kind of thing. That might roll into your answer for this, but I got to ask anyway. To live a life ever forward, what does that mean to you? How do those two words land on you?

1:10:15 - Tara well, we haven't really used the word neuroplasticity.

1:10:17 - Chase That, oh my gosh how do we have a neuroscience podcast without neuroplasticity?

1:10:22 - Tara so, but you know it's related to everything that we've said. So, neuroplasticity we did mention it at the beginning we did with it of the brain to change throughout life.

So that means that you know you can change your thought processes, even some of your like underlying beliefs. You can definitely change the way you act in the world and you know if you can influence your beliefs, your thoughts and your actions and that has the effect on your work, your relationships, your health, your fitness, your love and everything. So it's very obvious answer for me. You know I ever forward, is continually evolving. My personality type is very much chameleon and that completely goes with the fact that neuroplasticity is my area of research. I'm always trying to learn a new sport or a new language humor's got to be good for the brain, right?

he was very good for the right. I'll take it she's an expert.

1:11:13 - Chase She said it, I'll run with it.

1:11:15 - Tara I think that's a great way place to end.

1:11:20 - Chase Todd, it's been amazing to have you on here. Thank you so much. Where can my listeners go to learn more about you your book, your podcast, where you hanging out most?

1:11:26 - Tara online. I mostly hang out on Instagram, where I'm dr Tara SWAT, dr T-A-R-A-S-W-A-R-T. My book, the source, is available on Amazon, and my podcast is called reinvent yourself with Dr Tara.

1:11:39 - Chase I recommend it. All so much information and again, I just want to acknowledge and respect and have so much gratitude for your approach to the scientific way of living, which, okay, this is how we live literally, but the unexplicable stuff and how to bridge that gap and how to help us kind of find our own bridge, build our own bridge, because I think, especially when we're looking at spiritual, the more personal we can make it and more innate it can feel, the better that everything right well, you ask the best questions.

1:12:09 - Tara To draw that out of me. Thank you, thank you, thank you.