Reprogramming Your Brain To Deal With Trauma, Getting Rid Of Cell Danger Response, Why Drugs Don't Work, "Emotional Concussions" & Much More With Dr. Don Wood.
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Dr. Don Wood is a guy I've been hearing about for years from multiple trusted friends of mine in the self-improvement and self-mastery realms, and I finally decided to connect with him and his work more deeply by hosting him at my house in Spokane, Washington to showcase the special flavor of therapy that he does - by working with both me and my family for a four hour session, followed by the podcast you can hear in this episode.
Don is the Founder of the Inspired Performance Institute and developed something called "TIPP™", which is a cutting edge approach to high performance using advancements in neuroscience. After years of research, Dr. Wood coined the term “emotional concussions ™” which simply means events and experiences in your life may have had a profound effect on your current behaviors and habits, he refers to these events and experiences as “atmospheric conditions ™” If you experience PTSD-like symptoms, health issues related to an overactive sympathetic nervous system, or impediments in your progress towards everything from business success to relationship issues to athletic performance, Don says nothing is wrong with you, and you might simply just need a reboot. Don's work is based on the idea that events and experiences throughout our lifetime continue to play a role in how we experience life in the present. He has also realized that there was a better way of treating these type of issues.
He says… …“Teaching people to live with, manage and cope with the daily stress doesn’t fix the problem. The solution comes from understanding it’s source and providing a long-term permanent solution”. Since 2015, Don's Inspired Performance Institute has worked to create innovative strategies to help people heal from the limiting effects of trauma, so they can feel and perform at their best.
The result has been the development of a revolutionary approach to performance improvement referred to as TIPP (The Inspired Performance Program). TIPP is based on the idea that our minds have developed some glitches and error messages in the ways they store information about events from our past. And apparently, we all have these glitches! Even high-functioning individuals, like executives and professional athletes, have so-called glitches from their pasts, and once “reprocessed”, their performance improves to a whole new level.
Once the mind is updated and refreshed using the Inspired Performance Institute’s NEURO technique, a part of TIPP, individuals are able to remain present, calm and focused, and their performance naturally improves. After we reset the mind with TIPP, we restore the body with our NOWW program. A chronically dysregulated and imbalanced nervous system can lead to anxiety, depression, PTSD, panic attacks, addictions, or even chronic illnesses such as auto-immune disorders, thyroid problems, cardiac and gastrointestinal diseases, and even, cancer. TIPP, TIPP KIDS, and the NOWW program are designed to help reset the mind and restore the body to optimal states of health, performance, and wellness.
Don actually separates trauma into two camps. Most of us think of trauma as a clearly defined, often injury-inducing event like a car accident or a mugging. He calls this big ‘T’ trauma. The second type of trauma he calls emotional concussion. These are experiences that affected us psychologically but may be more loosely defined or harder to pinpoint. Don says that a very large percentage of the population is dealing with unprocessed trauma when you consider these two types of trauma. Unresolved trauma or disturbing events and experiences from your past may be interfering with your ability to function at your highest level.
These experiences may limit our ability to regulate your mood, focus, or connect with others in a healthy, loving and safe way. When we experience a traumatic event, our body has a physical response to that trauma. Trauma triggers that fight or flight (aka active state) response. This creates inflammation in the body as a way of pausing the immune system so that the body can use all resources to respond to the trauma. When we are no longer in danger, the body allows everything to return to normal. What a lot of people don’t realize is that when we have unprocessed trauma, we think about it.
And, when we think about it, we relive it which results in the same fight or flight response. We have the physical response to the trauma just by thinking about it! If we are doing this constantly, the immune system can’t function properly, which overtime results in autoimmune issues. Often we dismiss the idea that trauma is the cause of an issue because we may not recognize the experience as trauma. Don uses a great analogy in this episode that points to the high-definition memories we have of traumatic times in our past vs the muted memory we have of a non-threatening event (like the dinner we had last night).
These high-definition memories can be very powerful and can trigger a physical response. The first step in identifying them as triggers sit to recognize the level of the memory and the physical response it brings. In Don's program, they actually monitor the brainwave state to determine the response to memories. Recognizing the physical response to memories of past trauma is not enough, the brain needs to be reconditioned as to how it responds to that memory. This is what Don does with TIPP. This program gets the mind to reset that high-definition memory into the same format as a day-to-day memory. By doing this, the body no longer sees that memory as a threat and it no longer triggers the fight or flight response. The brain is no longer sending an error message.
He points out that far too often we treat the symptoms caused by these trauma responses. For example, treating anxiety, depression, or inflammation that will never be resolved if the trigger memory is not reset. Many people block bad experiences or they dismiss them as not being traumatic. This may lead them to believe that these experiences can’t be the cause because they don’t have these vivid memories Don is talking about. However, these memories may still be operating on a subconscious level and can still put the body into an active response state.
This happens because our minds receive too much information for us to actively process. So, the mind does something academics refer to as ‘time slicing’. This is when the mind takes in information and slices off some to be stored in the subconscious where it can be processed or accessed later. Then, when we encounter something similar, the mind goes searching for reference and the stored memory, resurrecting the memory in full color. This can trigger an active state response. For many people, the idea of unearthing or talking about their traumatic memories feels traumatic in itself. Don says that his patients don’t need to actually discuss the experience or share the memory. This type of work can be done without having to revisit the event consciously!During our discussion, you'll discover: -How Don began his work...12:38 -Techniques used to manage rather than fix stress...17:05 -Trauma isn't always experienced on a battlefield...29:50 -How to reprogram the brain...36:38 -Not just accepting, but laughing at the problem...39:43 -How River and Terran may process trauma in the future after a session with Don...45:17 -The success rate with Don's TIPP program...49:45 -Whether this work could be approached from a functional medicine angle...51:55 -How a Special Forces soldier overcame trauma thanks to Don's practice...55:30 -Studies to see what happens at a neurotransmitter level...1:00:00 -Anchors used to recall trauma...1:02:30 -Whether the effects can be felt via Skype or Zoom...1:17:45 -And much more! Episode sponsors: