In today’s fast-paced and high-stress world, many of us find ourselves constantly juggling multiple responsibilities, striving for success, and trying to keep up with the demands of our careers, families, and personal lives.
The pressure to perform and excel in every aspect can be overwhelming, leading to chronic stress and burnout. We often find ourselves on the edge of exhaustion, just one disaster away from physical or psychological breakdown. Stress has become a pervasive issue that affects our health, relationships, and overall well-being.
We often struggle to find the motivation to take action in our life and we might find ourselves overwhelmed by the feeling of being trapped in a never-ending cycle of negative thoughts.
If you’re nodding your head in agreement, then you need to listen to this new Legendary Life podcast interview. In this episode Ted Ryce talks to none other than Chris Friesen, a highly respected neuropsychologist. They dive deep into the effects of stress, the rise of narcissism, ADHD, and most importantly, the key to taking back control of our lives.
Their conversation will open your eyes to the power of awareness, metacognition (yeah, it’s a fancy word, but it’s a game-changer), and the sheer determination to take action. Prepare to be blown away as they provide insights that can help you live a more fulfilling and balanced life.
Tune in now to unlock your true potential and rise above the chaos that’s been holding you back. Listen now!
Dr. Chris Friesen, Ph.D., is a licensed neuropsychologist and renowned expert in sport and performance psychology. With a background in clinical, forensic, and neuropsychology, he specializes in helping elite athletes, professionals, and high achievers reach their full potential.
Dr. Friesen is the director and founder of Friesen Sport & Performance Psychology, a sought-after speaker, and author of the book “ACHIEVE: Find Out Who You Are, What You Really Want, And How To Make It Happen.” He combines his extensive knowledge and experience to empower individuals to excel in their personal and professional lives.
Connect to Chris Friesen
Follow Chris on Twitter: @Friesenperform
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FriesenPerformance
Chris Friesen’s Book: ACHIEVE: Find Out Who You Are, What You Really Want, And How To Make It Happen
- Prolonged high levels of stress can lead to physical and psychological ailments
- How modern factors like technology and social media exacerbate the impact of stress
- Why do people tend to believe the information they repeatedly encounter on the Internet
- The desire for neurodiversity and self-diagnosis can sometimes lead to misinterpretation of normal traits as disorders
- The limbic system, responsible for instinctive and emotional responses, can hinder long-term goals and success
- Motivation is not a constant state but an outcome of taking action and making decisions based on goals and values
- Over-reliance on the limbic system can result in a hedonistic and impulsive lifestyle
- Suppressing or avoiding discomfort and pain is counterproductive and can lead to the amplification of problems
- Why restrictive diets often fail in the long term
- The brain’s reward system plays a role in decision-making and can be trained through positive reinforcement
- Neurofeedback and other neuromodulation techniques can be used to regulate brain activity and address issues like stress and anxiety
- Practising deep rest and meditation can help reduce stress and promote relaxation
- Taking action even when not feeling motivated is crucial for long-term success
- And much more…
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Podcast Transcription: The Neuroscience of Success: Key to Achieving Your Goals and Finding Fulfillment in a Stressful World with Dr. Chris Friesen, Ph.D.
Ted Ryce: All right, Chris Friesen, welcome back to the show. How are things going, my friend?
Chris Friesen: They're going well in the Great White North. It's happening up here.
Ted Ryce: Yeah. Yeah, and you and I, we were just talking before we press record, I feel like sometimes the best information starts then, and I should just start recording before I even hop on and start talking at all.
But we were talking, we were catching up, we were talking about ourselves, managing burnout, we were talking about our clients, my clients with their challenges, trying to get in shape, your clients trying to manage their stress levels. You know, it all comes down to managing your stress levels, doesn't it?
At least that's the way my biggest shift in my perspective, Chris, and I'd love to hear your perspective about this because you're the neuropsychologist, the performance psychologist, but it's like everything's just about stress for me right now.
If you are monitoring your level of arousal or stress you're going to be in the zone, you're going to be that rockstar high achiever in your career or business, you're going to be that great parent, you're going to be able to get in shape. But if you're riding the edge of burnout, it just, you're just one disaster away from either some type of physical or psychological ailment. What do you think?
Chris Friesen: Yeah, 100%. You know, there's some new research that came out maybe six months ago showing that those who have overactive brains, and I forget the metric they use. I do quantitative EEGs, which measure the electrical activity of your brain. And we conceptualize this as high beta—beta's fast wave activity in the brain. So people who have excess fast wave activity in their brains die earlier.
And obviously, it's a marker of stress, but it's also a marker of personality as well. So, and anxiety, these are all connected, of course. People have personality tendencies to easily experience negative emotions and stress, what's called neuroticism or negative affect in the research, that normal personality trait, which technically half of us are high, half of us are low by definition.
These individuals are more likely to have stress and anxiety in their lives. And...If you think of it simply as like a car, if a car is revving really high for long periods of time, the engine is going to break down faster. So, this is something that.
I'm seeing not only in my clients, I see it in myself as well. And so, as we're getting older, we're both approaching, well, I'm 47 now, so almost 50 years old. Now I'm officially old, I think. My mind doesn't think that. My body will tell me sometimes that you're not quite the acrobatic goalie you were once when you were 20. But I think this is a huge, huge issue.
I mean, everyone claims, every generation is a stressed generation. The nuclear war threat in the 1980s, it's always something. The Vietnam War, there's always stress. Pandemics and war in Ukraine, it's all the same shit. We all like to think we're special. And this is another topic we can touch on, I think.
There's a big problem with narcissism going on in our society altogether, and we're all falling victim to this, but there is this, the issue of stress is massive.
If your stress is too high, it's going to give you health-related issues. When you're young, you can get away with it. You can work long hours, get stressed out, you know, go, go. And you're not going to really notice. You might notice a slight performance decrement, you know, temporarily.
But what happens once you hit 40, 50 years old, this is when all that stuff catches up to most people. And people just can't keep going like this.
So this is an issue. Stress is, people have to take stress seriously. It has so many negative effects. We can talk for two hours just on stress.
Ted Ryce: Yeah. And I love it for me. And I'll keep repeating this on my show. It's like, this is all about stress. This is all about stress. What is a great life about? It's about managing stress. If you're focused on the future, worrying about the past, not in the present, something's triggering that you're not in the zone.
And, and it's usually, and even for my clients, it's like, I've been looking at stress eating. It's like every single client that is overweight or obese, stress is a big component. And there's this narrative going on in the health and fitness industry or health and fitness influencers. It's like, it's really about the diet. What you need to do, you just need to follow keto, or you need to follow carnivore. You know, talking about narcissism, I get into a lot of arguments on Twitter. I used to back away from them.
But now I'm just like, I am going to crush you with data because it's like people are just, you know, it's creating this whole thing. Anyway, I'm kind of going off on some tangents, but it's all sort of a big, like you alluded to earlier, it's this big sort of concoction of stressful events, both at our personal levels and the societal level. And man, it can be challenging to deal with.
Talk a little bit about the rise of narcissism. I read an article about that. And I found it fascinating. But I know you're the guy to really break that down. Can you talk a little bit about what's going on? What do you what is narcissism, just so that we can all be on the same page? And then what specifically is showing that it's on the rise and what's the rationale, what's the reasoning why that's happening?
Chris Friesen: So, there may be specific research on this, and actually I'm not aware of that. So, there may be evidence that this is actually on the rise. I believe there is. I see, you know, I've got lots of emails from various journals that I subscribe to. I don't have enough time to read all the articles, but I do see lots of stuff on narcissism. So, narcissism has many kind of meanings. There's like narcissistic personality disorder, which is sort of what psychologists would think of as narcissism.
The way I'm defining narcissism is an excessive focus on the self, lack of empathy for others, the need for admiration and this sort of thing. And I think this stems from, and this is like, you know, easy to say, of course, now, but of course, it stems from social media and technology.
So, technology is amazing. It helps us do things like right now, speaking from many, many thousands of miles apart. And technology is amazing. But think of the rise of social media, cell phones, cameras, social media.
And these issues, everyone, it's like a bad Black Mirror episode. I think there's an episode on that where everyone has to give each other likes. You get social credit scores, these kinds of things. So everyone's trying to be noticed. There's a deep human need to be liked by people, of course, so everyone wants to be liked and supported. And our social media, as you know, is set up to show you things. Not just social media, but also YouTube.
If you watch YouTube, it's going to recommend videos that you tend to watch or like, for a good reason. It's trying to, in a way, I mean, it's not benign or benevolent. It's designed to make you continue to stay on the platform.
And so, what happens, we get into an echo chamber. And so, our opinions get too strong about things, and we start to become less open-minded. I know I've fallen into this trap, getting really arrogant. One, I'll give you an example. One was EMDR. It's a type of eye movement desensitization training. This is a treatment for PTSD.
And originally, what wasn't just my idea, lots of people in my field, when there are studies that showed it's no different than exposure therapy. So the idea of talking about a trauma over and over again.
Is called exposure, exposing yourself to the traumatic event or whatever is giving you anxiety and fear. That's been shown. It's like a principle. It's not even a theory. It's a principle that this works across the board for most people, for most problems, we do this constantly every day. Y
ou have your first podcast, you're nervous, and now you've done a thousand of them, and you're not nervous anymore. This is called exposure. So, we do this all the time. And it's this, you know, I used to think that this was bogus because the theory was some bullshit at the time.
I thought neurological idea that the person is made up, which is you move your eyes back and forth, you're following the therapist's finger as you recount a traumatic event.
And that there was this big neurological explanation like pseudo neurological explanation for what that is, the eye movements and the left versus right brain and all this stuff like this, which is mostly bogus, at least that's what we thought at the time. And we still think there's—I don't know if there's good evidence.
I haven't looked into it in very much detail recently that it's no better than exposure therapy in other forms. But interestingly, you know, Andrew Huberman, so he's talked about this idea, it made me think about this, which is some research showing—I don't know if he's connected to these two, but in my head, I connected them—is walking outside, defocusing or looking left to right as you walk outside versus being on a treadmill has a stronger stress reduction effect by doing that.
There may be some neurological explanation of higher levels of coherence, which means brains parts of your brain communicating in more in sync, things like this. And so, I'm starting to wonder, maybe, you know, that wasn't completely bogus. Maybe there is something to do with the eyes, even though it's not a massive effect beyond exposure. So anyways, people tell me this, and I'd say that's just like bullshit. It's just exposure.
But now I'm starting to wonder, geez. Am I getting arrogant because maybe I'm wrong, and I'm going to be proven wrong. And everybody's got a really strong opinion on social media, just kind of like you're describing. This is an issue. And this has been kind of—I wouldn't say humbling for me, but I'm trying to be more humble. I know I've done a lot of training in school and seen thousands of patients over the years. And, um, you never know, you could be wrong.
And so social media is not set up for people to have conversations that are open-minded, where people change their minds. When you're behind a screen, you're semi-anonymous. It's easy to just write down exactly what you're thinking without a filter of your frontal lobe filtering this out. And so, we get polarized.
So, we get information from our social media that just is an echo chamber of our own opinions. So, if you start to believe in conspiracy theories or if you start to believe that the COVID vaccine has a microchip or whatever it is, you're going to continually get more videos or things on your social media that agree with that.
And so, therefore, what we know is when we're exposed to ideas again and again, we lose track of where we got the information. We just remember it and we start to believe it as a fact. So, there was a famous guy in Canada named David Suzuki. He's a geneticist turned host of a science show called "The Nature of Things."
And I read one of his books years ago, and he said this exact thing, that we remember facts or information, but we don't remember where we got the source. And so, people could spew stuff that's incorrect. If you keep hearing it over and over again, people start to believe it, especially if it's someone you respect or you follow.
Ted Ryce: And if they have videos of themselves on Instagram shirtless and they look really good.
Chris Friesen: Yeah. Totally natural, of course.
Ted Ryce: That's a whole nother conversation. Liver King.
Chris Friesen: Yeah, Liver King, there you go. But this is the thing, right? Of course, it's all bullshit, right? All you see is people like, I don't take a picture of myself when I'm constipated on the can, right? This is not something I post on social media. I don't take a picture of myself like, "I hate my job today" or "Another patient I'm not helping," you know what I mean? I don't write that into...
So, you only see the all-star team of my, you know, I don't take many pictures. But if I look at my Facebook, the last pictures are probably when I got my new car, like five years ago. You know, other than that, I don't really post anything. But it looks like, if you look at me, "Oh, this guy is an author." And it just looks like I got it all together.
And I kind of do, but I'm still human. And we just see... And we're being reinforced to present the best part of ourselves to others. Of course, if you post anything these days, someone's going to attack you.
Again, everyone's got balls of steel all of a sudden when it comes to this. I think Mike Tyson had some quote where he talked about people all of a sudden getting really tough or something on social media. In the old days, you know, that just didn't happen, which is true.
If you're not willing to say that right to that guy's face or gal's face, you maybe shouldn't say it. And this is an issue because we are getting more and more narcissistic as a society. We want to be liked, which is normal, but our self-worth is now being based on, you know, how many likes we have, how many views on my YouTube videos, or whatever it may be.
And it's also polarizing people as well. So, this liberation of knowledge through the internet is an amazing thing. But it's also problematic.
Another quick example is I do tons of adult ADHD assessments. Since the pandemic, I swear I get one or two people a week asking me to come to an assessment, see other adults, see if they have ADHD. 98% do not have ADHD, and I tell them this, but
Ted Ryce: They are just stressed out.
Chris Friesen: Exactly, it's stress, these are high levels of anxiety.
Ted Ryce: “Oh, I got ADHD. I just can't focus. I just, it's like I need some of that Ritalin.” Yeah, it's like you need a massage and to learn how to meditate. Okay?
Chris Friesen: And this is the problem. People don't want to hear this. A lot of people, there's this... I've got to be careful how I say this, but there's the neurodiversity movement.
Ted Ryce: What is that, Chris?
Chris Friesen: So I'm not sure how familiar people are, but this is, you know, people. So, you know, there's a lot of this with being recognized as subgroups, like from sexual orientation and all these things are obviously getting lots of press.
The neurodiversity is this idea that everyone's neurodiverse and these people with usually neurodevelopmental disorders like autism, ADHD, and things like this, there are groups developing, which is good to help support each other and not to pathologize it completely, even though to be diagnosed, it has to be causing impairment in your life.
But everyone wants to be neurodiverse all of a sudden. Everyone wants to say, you know what? The reason I've not been as successful in my life, as successful as I'd like to, I wish I was, is because there was this thing that nobody noticed, ADHD, this neurodevelopmental disorder that's causing all my problems. And if I could get that label, because I saw someone on TikTok and they said they have ADHD, and they said they picked their nose and tapped their foot, and that's a sign of ADHD, which is not.
And so, therefore, I know I do that too. And of course, ADHD is an exaggeration of normal traits. So everyone loses focus. Everyone gets bored. But you have to have a lot more than the average person.
So again, this is that specialness, that narcissism, that people want to be labeled as different, being a special group, a neurodiverse group, for example, of ADHD. And then they have this label to kind of point to that can explain all the problems in their life, which would not be accurate. For people with real ADHD, this causes tons of problems that's an accurate thing.
And get medication, for example, Vyvanse, Adderall, like try your friend's Adderall and you feel more focused and you'll feel better. But of course, it's a stimulant. It's like a form of amphetamine. Most people, that's right.
Ted Ryce: Yeah, drugs work. And some people feel great on cocaine, which we know is not great for you, for your brain, for your heart, for your social life, for your dating life. Right. So it's not a good, right, right. What we feel isn't always real, or it's not.
Let's say it's not. And when you say this, you know, I'm making jokes about drugs and things. But what I really think about is someone going into the gym, killing themselves with the workout thinking, okay, that was a great workout. And what we teach our clients is like, did you do more than last time? Because this is about metrics.
And so, how are you measuring that performance? Are you just feeling good? Or is there some sort of measurable, you know, to kind of what you're saying, I see it a lot in the diet movements, right? And my hypothesis is, it is so hard to change your behavior.
I don't know about the research on this and the psychological research, but, you know, just talking about it from my experience as a coach working with people for the past 24 years, it's like there needs to be what you might call a shift in identity, right?
Or a shift in core beliefs about who you are, maybe might be the more like CBT approach, something like that. But, and it's really hard to do that. But if you go from like, "I am overweight because I eat crap and don't move enough, that's really... I just eat too many calories and a good percentage of those calories are from processed foods.” And if someone tells me, "Hey, you're just... there are calories in, calories out. You need to lift weights because they'll preserve muscle mass, and then you need to shoot for some daily steps every day," it's just like, man, you know, I know, but I'm just not motivated.
But if we change that narrative around, like, listen, you know why you're overweight? Because big pharma, big food is making you overweight. They're selling you the junk. Of course, you're putting it in your mouth and buying it, etc. You're the one bringing it home and eating it, but it's like big food is doing that to you.
And the reason big food's doing that to you, and I think there is some criticism about corporations, I don't love "big food" and "big pharma," just to get that out of the way.
But, but I don't buy into the narrative that I'm saying now either, which is big food is making me fat to make money. And their buddy is in big pharma because we do know there are some... it's like some... it's an incestuous relationship in some cases with food corporations and pharmaceutical companies.
But then, you're... then my friends at Big Pharma will sell me the drugs, and I'll have to take these drugs for my chronic conditions for the rest of my life, which is a great business model.
If you've got to sell something that, you know, medications that someone needs to keep taking, and they're going to live for a long time, and actually the medication is going to help you live longer because it'll stop the heart attack or stroke from happening. And if you go low carb or keto or carnivore, you're fighting against that.
In fact, the government, you're right, it's all about this, you know, and I'm picking on the keto and the carnivore people because that's just who's in my mind and who I've been going back and forth with on Twitter, like the past week, but it happens in so many other areas.
And if you get... man, I'm like fired up talking about it. And I don't believe any of that stuff. But just getting into that narrative, there's a... there's an enemy to fight against, to rally together against, and now I’m a hero and I’ve got a community and so now even though, I just want to eat an apple and a sandwich with brad on it, a hamburger with a bun instead of without but I am going to stick to it because I am part of this movement. I think vegans are the same way, not all vegans.
And again, not all keto or carnivore low carb people. And I think there is even legitimate reason to do all those things, but it's just like, after looking at this Chris for years, I'm like, what the hell is going on with people in this craziness?
And that's what I've come up with: They feel special. And like you said, and then I'd love to hear anything you have to say about it, but, and then you know that you feel special as a result.
I feel like my message isn't so special, although it is because I feel like I'm one of the few fitness people talking about, you know, the neuroscience and the psychology or the biometric, uh, biopsychosocial approach to things.
But, um, man, telling people to eat fewer calories and lift weights and get more steps in is not a, you know, and that it's not the government's fault that you're overeating or, you know, special interests who are manipulating you to overeat.
It's just, you know, it's, it takes, it's a different sort of, it's just a different message. And, and there's no like strong community around it. It's just like, it's Ted or it's some other individuals, but we're not organized into a group that has like the keto, the keto summit every year where you get to show up and hear are all your favorite influencers all hang out and talk about the same thing. And you get to be part of that either in person or online.
Chris Friesen: Yeah, that's tribalism, yeah, that's that tribalism, right? But this is similar to what we're discussing here. It's part of tribalism, part of black and white thinking. You're either with us or you're against us kind of thinking, very unsophisticated thinking. And this idea, right? The world is... people are complicated.
And you know, diet and weight loss, etc., is not very complicated. Of course, things are new. If you're part of a tribe, I'm the keto tribe, for example, I'm not, but if I was, you feel like you're part of something, and so there's some social accountability: How do I face my friends if I told them keto and then I'm not going keto?
And so that can help motivate people. This shows that we're still tribes and still wanting to be part of tribes and part of groups, just like neurodiversity. I wanting to be part of the ADHD tribe, even if you don't have ADHD, for example.
And if you do, it's good. Like, you get support. This can motivate you. But what you're saying is, you know, the research that you've looked at suggests that none of that really matters other than you lose weight for these things because your calories probably go down because you're restrictive diet, and diets don't work.
Diets don't work. You're going to bounce back as soon as your body is going to slow its metabolism and then hold on to fat. As soon as you get your calories, you have a cheat day or whatever it is. Right. You know?
The body is going to fight against this. And you know, this, the unsexy part is, like you say, there's a psychology behind this that has no specific name. Um, that's there's no keto name or some name. It's, it's like, look, to get in shape and to be as healthy as you can possibly be, you need to cut back on calories. It doesn't matter so much as people think in terms of how much of this is like if you're carb-free or not, that doesn't matter so much as I'm hearing what you're saying and you have to exercise more.
So, calories in, calories out. And it has to be something that's maintainable in your life. That's not like you have to train for two and a half hours every day that no one's going to do this unless that's part of their job or they're retired or so, even then it'd be difficult to do.
And it's really about what's getting in the way of this. And like you're saying, stress is getting in the way, motivation issues are getting in the way.
And then the people, let's say keto or carnivore, again, that's a social group that tribalism can motivate them to stick to what they're doing. And so, with your stuff, it's like, look, I'm just telling you the facts. You don't need to worry about all this other stuff.
You just have to get yourself to do this and maintain this, become a habit, make it part of your lifestyle and make it something that's maintainable. Like it's not really. And for some people, it's really hard to maintain carnivore or keto diets. Just like you go to your kid's birthday. What are you like?
I refuse to eat the birthday cake your kid has pizza, and you're like, you know, I'm just going to eat like ground beef and a salad. And I mean, fine, right. But there's more to life than that sometimes.
And so, it can be difficult to stick to something that's so restrictive. And this is the thing, right? You,
the harder we suppress things, the more of a problem it becomes. So you suppress your stress by just continuing to work. It's going to cause problems.
You suppress problems from your past. They're going to continue to show up. You have PTSD. You suppress your flashbacks and things, the cues or reminders you get in the environment that remind you of the traumas. And you keep avoiding those. It's a form of suppression. They pop up now in flashbacks and in dreams. OCD. You suppress your urges to do compulsions or have these obsessions. And what happens? It gets stronger.
What happens with Tourette's syndrome? You suppress your tics, and they will come out pretty strong a little bit later. So suppression doesn't work. And just like this is why restrictive diets, in the long term, don't work for most people because you need to have something that works in your lifestyle that doesn't take massive willpower.
I have a YouTube video where I talk about, you know, inspiration is not enough.
You can't just feel inspired because like I'm making this, I got to pick on Tony Robbins. He's doing well in his life. But, you know, and it's a gigantic simplification of what he does. But, you know, the idea of Tony Robbins, which is not quite true, but you go there, you get all pumped up over like a 72-hour straight. And then I'm going to make these massive changes. And you come back and you're excited for like four or five days.
And then I turn it where you go back to your normal, normal baseline. Of course, he's aware of that. And he has strategies. Who knows what he does. But, but this idea of inspiration is definitely not enough. And of course, motivation does not come like motivation is an outcome, not a state.
Ted Ryce: Talk a little bit more about that. Motivation is an outcome, not a state. What is that? Everybody thinks, ah, I'm not motivated. That's why I'm not taking action if I just had the motivation. But you're saying it's an outcome. Please explain.
Chris Friesen: Yeah. So this is like the number one crux. So again, if I give one definition of what makes people successful is that the most successful people, whatever that is, make their day-to-day decisions based on their goals and their values. Values means who do I want to be? What's important to me? Not on their moods, energy levels, motivation levels, or what their mind says they can't or cannot do.
So this is motivation comes from doing something even though you thought in your head you couldn't do it. So, this is we touched upon this before we started recording the limbic system. So, the emotional system, the people think amygdala, this sort of thing, that the negative emotion system.
So, this is designed, and I work with this with clients even today, every day. So the limbic system is an older part of our brain versus our frontal lobe. I know you talk about this on your podcast and stuff. So, this is good. So, people know what we're talking about. The frontal lobe is a newer, evolutionarily newer part of the brain. But.
And if you look at our closest relatives, chimpanzees, apes, gorillas, you look at them, look at guys like us, we have these thick, tall foreheads, and you look at a chimpanzee, we'll see a ski slope. And why is that? Because mostly because they have very small frontal lobes. But they're super smart for animals. And so that's why they don't have language, they don't have the cognitive power that we do, obviously.
And the limbic system, which is the emotional system, which is a survival system, is designed for two things: to help us gain pleasure right now or reduce uncomfortableness right now. It has no long-term perspective whatsoever. It's only designed to do those two things. If you lived in line with your...
So, people think fast, thinking slow, thinking fast. This is all the same shit that everyone just re-fucking packages over and over again. So, it's all the same thing. You can think of it from a neurological perspective. It's called the limbic system. And the limbic system.
If you lived your life in line with the limbic system, you would sleep in as long as you could until you're painfully in your bed, and it hurts to lie down. You would masturbate all day. You would just watch fun movies and eat chocolate cake, and you would do whatever's pleasurable and whatever's not going to cause you any discomfort. You would never exercise or do anything else. So that would be like a pure limbic existence or hedonistic or hedonic existence.
Obviously, that does not lead to success in life.
Ted Ryce: Some people I feel are operating not from that extreme, but certainly from, yeah, a version of that.
Chris Friesen: Yes, of course. Yeah, this is the problem. A lot of people are doing this too much. We see this on social media, too. Everyone seems to be having fun. No one seems to be stressed. Again, remember, it's a gigantic filter that you see, a filter over people's lives that highlights the positives and de-highlights the negatives, right?
And so we start to think that we should be doing that, too. I should be having more fun. I should be laughing all the time. Everyone else seems to be laughing and having a good time. They're getting new cars and new houses, and, you know, like everything is fun. They're always ripped, you know, like this kind of thing.
Ted Ryce: I want to say one thing, though. I want to interject for a second. Even if you took a photo, and this is where we kind of shoot ourselves in our own foot.
Even if I took a photo of me sad, and I was having a moment, and I wanted to post that vulnerable moment on social media, and I wrote something about it, it wouldn't do well. I would have to really get the lighting down. I would have to mess around with the camera.
Chris Friesen: Yeah, no.
Ted Ryce: To get the lighting right so that you could really see the tears and, you know, all the things, all the facial micro expressions, all that stuff, to really show like I'm in pain. And that would take me out of that moment to do all that. And, you know, people won't pay attention unless, I mean, I take, I go and take professional photos just so people will pay attention because people won't pay attention.
Chris Friesen: Of course.
Ted Ryce: Unless it's a total train wreck type of situation, you know?
Chris Friesen: And that's what I was sort of trying to say earlier is that not that we're all just narcissistic pricks, it's that, you know, the system is set up to make us narcissistic. It's not like all of a sudden our genes change because narcissism and personality is like 50% genetic. It's not like our genes flipped in the last like 20 years. It's the system, like the system, you know, I mean the government, you know, the system of free reign capitalism.
Ted Ryce: Mmm. Are you talking about the man? The man.
Chris Friesen: Yeah, the man, you know, you know, Gustav or whatever who controls the world behind a curtain somewhere, hiding somewhere on a famous island or secret island.
But it's just the way the system is set up, which is just humans, our technology, and humans' ability to create technology that will target our weaknesses, which is exactly what social media does, intermittent reinforcement of scrolling. And then every once in a while, it's not every 10 scrolls, it's not every five minutes you see something you really like.
It's intermittent, not quite random, but you have to keep, the more you scroll, the more likely you're going to see something that you like. And therefore, you're going to continue to want to scroll and get stuck on it.
Think of TikTok. That's like the worst possible thing. That's super addictive. But to go back to this idea of motivation, it comes, it's really self-efficacy, which is your belief in your ability to do things. And self-efficacy doesn't come in moments of inspiration. Like think of anyone successful.
Anyone from famous writers, do they only write when they're feeling jazzed? No. Does Michael Jordan, did Michael Jordan only play when he's feeling good? Tonight, I'm feeling, I'll get on the court. No. You know, you only go to work when you feel like it. No, because you'd lose your job pretty much within a week.
And this is what happens. You start to do things that your limbic system is telling you can't do, which is this some people call the fear of effort.
But it's really the avoidance of pain. So, for example, let's say like you and I, we'll partially work for ourselves, and therefore you can kind of make your own schedule. And there's lots of stuff maybe that comes in through your email that looks really interesting or a new podcast. But you have some actual work to do. If it's not a client, it's more like something you just have to work on. It's no real due date.
But ideally, you do it this week. You're going to have to delay that gratification to do it. And so, motivation comes when you've repeatedly not listened to your limbic system, which is telling you, I don't want to do this. It's going to be too painful.
And you have to get, you have to strengthen something called the observing self or that's in like Buddhist language, but in neuroscience, we call this metacognition, which is unique as far as we know, pretty much unique human ability, which is to observe our own thinking and emotions. And you can say, instead of "I'm mad," I'm noticing I'm feeling mad.
That's the observing self-saying. I'm noticing I'm feeling that. I'm noticing the urge to, as opposed to "I gotta check this email." That's called hooked. You're hooked by your thoughts, your emotions, really the limbic system saying pleasure, go to the pleasure right now. But see, I'm noticing the strong urge to check my email. And once you're able to do that, you're able to put some space between stimulus and response. So you need that noticing and then you decide, "What did I say I was going to do today?" Like when I wrote my book years ago.
You know, I always thought, "Okay, on Friday, when I sit down to write the book," took Fridays off to write the book, "I'm going to be so motivated, can't wait. I'm dealing with some really difficult medical legal clients. I don't want to be here. I hate this."
And Friday comes, and all of a sudden, my mind's telling me, like it made no sense at the time. I mean, I figured it out pretty quick, but my mind saying, "You're a a heal of a writer. I'm not in the mood. I'm not motivated. I'm tired today," etc., etc. And I had to do what I talk about.
So, I'm noticing the thought that I can't write. I'm noticing the thought that I'm really tired. Thank you, mind. That's the limbic system doing what it's programmed to do, which is to prevent me from feeling discomfort right now. But I'm going to do it anyways and then decide because this is called the five-minute rule.
You do something for five minutes and then decide if this was worth, you know, whether you're really too tired to work out, to write your book, or whatever it is, and you'll see 98% of the time your limbic system over-predicted how bad it was. And so, you have to understand this, how your software and your hardware work in your brain.
It's set up to fuck you up, basically. It's set up to take you away from your values and goals. And no one lives purely.
Ted Ryce: Or at least, wouldn't you argue that it's modern times where we're experiencing this mismatch or you're saying that even when we're hunting and gathering, this probably was an issue too?
Chris Friesen: It's always been in us, but those times, let's say hunting and gathering times, we had to rely a lot more on our limbic system. That's when it really evolved, and that's when it's designed for, which is I heard a growling of a sound like a tiger in that bush over on the right or that jungle over there, and therefore now I don't want to really go that way. I want to go a different direction today.
That's your limbic system probably doing what it's supposed to do. Even today, if you're walking across the street, looking at your phone and a bus almost runs you over and honks its horn, and your limbic system helps you jump out of the way before you think logically, is that bus going to hit me?
You're like, you hear the horn and you jump back. That's the limbic system overtaking your frontal lobe and just making you take action. That's your limbic system doing what it's supposed to do. If someone's attacking you, you fight back. That's the limbic system doing what it's supposed to do.
Being in love, you know, and being sexual, the limbic system takes over, and in that moment, that's hopefully what you're supposed to do, and that's okay. So, the limbic system, we want a limbic system. You don't want, you don't have to have a limbic system. It's part of the deal. There's no getting out of this. It's part of the human condition.
Ted Ryce: Hey Chris, is the reward system part of the limbic system?
Chris Friesen: Yeah, yeah, although, yes, but we can also get rewarded from things that are like living in our lives or doing something in line with our goals and values. We will feel a sense of reward. And so that's also a part of it as well. So the fact that our, you know, our limbic system is trainable in a way. And so as our, our living our lives in line with our goals and values is trainable through positive reinforcement, which is reward. So, yeah.
And this is the thing, right? You need to understand that the limbic system is going to constantly put barriers to your long-term goals and success. And the limbic system is going to try and get you to do whatever is most fun or least painful right now. And just going to give you an example, like going back to PTSD, the exposure therapy has a kind of a high dropout rate, but the people who finish it do really well. Why? Because you have to face uncomfortable fears. So your limbic system is activated, right?
And it's telling you to drop out, avoid, don't do this, don't fully engage in this therapy because I don't feel good right now. But you have to activate your frontal lobe to say, "Look, I know, wait, I hear you, limbic system. I'm noticing the thought that I don't want to do this.
Thank you, limbic system, for working. Um, but I've decided that I'm doing this for the long-term outcome, you know, uh, to get better in the long term. It's going to be no pain, no gain, just like in personal training, right? If you know, you, we, we accept that for the most part in personal training in working out.
We don't complain when we feel anxious. Sorry, when we sweat and when we, our muscles hurt, we actually do the opposite. We actually think this is good, but it's a physical pain. If I just started kicking you in the calves and say, yeah, this, and you're like, this isn't good for you, by the way, versus you training your calves. The training the calves, that pain is gonna, let's just pretend it's actually the same physical pain. That pain is going to feel good to you because you know, in the long term, it's going to help you with your goals and values. This is going to make my calves stronger.
Ted Ryce: Can we let's stop for a second right there because I think that's so important what you're talking about. You know, is the story we're telling ourselves about what we're experiencing, the pain that we're experiencing. And if you're listening right now and you're catching yourself, what you said before, it's like, I'm noticing this, I'm noticing that, and one of the things that's coming up, it's like you really have to notice the story that you're telling, especially when you're doing something that you know is going to be good for you.
I just think that's such an important point. Obviously, that's kind of the thing that we, you talked about a lot. I talked about it too. Just because I think you come to the same. I think no matter what it is, like, you want to hear something funny, Chris, I did, I was in Thailand, I was doing a meditation course there.
And the East out there, people, it's not what people think. And so I was doing this meditation course, and then it was being taught by a monk. And there was a European woman in the group with me, and she was like, well, in the West, we just focus on achievement and hard work, and you know, and she was implying that they didn't.
And then what the guys, the monk said, he's like, ah, yeah, well, meditation is hard work. I forget exactly what he said, but he was like, yeah, it's hard work. You got to sit there and you got to, you know, breathe, and you know, being a monk's not easy. And it's just, there's no way of getting around doing the work. And if we want to become a better version of ourselves, there's just no way around it.
So how do you help people? Obviously, this conversation right now, hopefully, it's helping people to gain some awareness and to check themselves. And I don't even think that this is new to the majority of people who are listening to this show.
But it's like we need that constant reminder because just in the moment when you're feeling that pain, you're like, no, I'm just too tired to go on a walk or just too busy to go hit my workout or you know what? I really deserve this treat even though I'm overweight or maybe even obese. And I've been weighing way more than I should be for my health goals. It's a good reminder. How do you help people get other than, you know, how could you share even a story maybe of like, how do you put this into action with your clients or your patients?
Chris Friesen: The number one thing is you first have to have knowledge and understanding of how the brain works. It's like my YouTube channel. I'll say, "Optimizing your psychology, physiology, and neurology." You have to understand how your physiology, neurology, and psychology work. And understanding the idea of exposure, understanding the idea of the limbic system that's designed to prevent you from doing things that may be in your long-term interests, that's only designed to reduce uncomfortableness right now. So you have to understand that is going on because people think it's them talking.
But it's like, is that you when you're super tired and you're grumpy or you're starving or you're drunk, or is that really the real you? Like enough of this bullshit real you. We're influenced by things, and we're all human. But we have to understand this. We all have this process, this limbic system, and a frontal lobe that are constantly in conflict. And you need to...
Be aware of that. That's the number one first thing people have to understand. And anyone who works with me, I have to lecture them on this for like the first session because it could be the agenda is to come to me and say, let's say someone with anxiety or it could be anxiety for the Olympics, tryouts, or whatever it is for sport or non-sport doesn't matter.
And there's an agenda, like an unconscious agenda, the patient or the client has, which is he's going to tell me something or I'm going to talk to him, it's going to magically make my pain go away. And of course, the problem is the pain is not going to go away.
There's no success without pain. There's no improvement in your condition without pain. You have to make changes that are painful, and you have to understand how the brain and mind work first, that this is all limbic system talk. And that's, you don't want to take it too seriously in these sorts of scenarios because not looking out for your long-term interest. And that's the number one first thing. So you really, really have to do this.
And then we have to do things. I teach people, let's say, meditation, and it's just like other people here, but it's a specific way of doing it, which is you focus your attention on your breathing.
As soon as your mind wanders for anything, you say to yourself in your head, "I am noticing." And then you fill in the blanks. "I am noticing my back is hurting. I'm noticing the sound of a lawnmower outside. I'm noticing the smell of coffee. I'm noticing the thought that this fucking sucks."
"I'm noticing that I want to check to see how many minutes are left in this meditation. You know, I'm noticing that my mind's all over the place." So that's activating the observing self or metacognition.
So, every time you do that, you're actually strengthening that function of your brain. It's a rep. And so, I'm noticing, then you say, "Thank you, mind" or "Isn't that interesting?" In other words, "Isn't that interesting" or "Thank you, mind or limbic system for pointing stuff out. You're supposed to be distracted. You can't meditate. That's bullshit.
No one meditates and never loses their focus. That's impossible. The good meditators catch themselves losing focus right away and then bring themselves back. And so, you say, "Thank you, mind" or "Isn't that interesting?" Isn't it interesting how my mind, I was focusing my attention on my breath, and I smell coffee, and therefore I started thinking about going to Canadian Tim Hortons or Starbucks or whatever, and I have my favorite coffee.
Oh, I'm meditating. Oh yeah, thank you, mind. I noticed the thought that I was thinking about coffee. Thank you, mind. What was I doing? Oh, breathing. And you bring your attention back. So then that's an actual workout training you can do.
Because it's like Mike Tyson says, "Everyone has a plan until you're punched in your mouth," right? If you can't do that, sitting down in a room by yourself, how are you going to be able to do this in real life when you're actually pissed off and someone cuts you off and you want to, instead of saying, "I've got to pay this guy back. This guy is an asshole.
I'm going to follow him. I'm going to, you know, even though I'm going to miss my daughter's birthday, potentially be late, go to jail," or eat this, even though it's against my diet, whatever it is, right? To be able to say, when your limbic system is actually really activated, your emotions, your amygdala hijack, it hijacks the frontal lobe, deactivates part of it, makes it basically go offline, not completely, of course.
And you say, "I'm noticing the urge to follow this guy right now. But I said I was going to get home for my daughter's birthday on time. I promised her. So I'm going to live my life and make a decision right now to live in line with my goals and values, which is to get home, be a good dad, and get home on time. Even though I'm feeling jacked right now, I'm feeling pissed off.”
So, um, so you need to do that. Those are like the beginning steps. Pretty much anyone who comes to me who's got anxiety, I have to help them eliminate the agenda of control, which is, "Can you help me control or eliminate or reduce all my anxiety and stress?" And I say, "Well, you have to understand how it works first." And the harder you try to control stress and anxiety, uh, the more like when you go to the Olympic Games and you're like, "Okay, stop being anxious...", got to relax.
That's not going to help. You have to allow yourself to feel like this.
Ted Ryce: Trying to force yourself to go to sleep, right?
Chris Friesen: That's right. And coaches do that with club players and athletes all the time, saying, "You need to relax, chill out." That doesn't help. Nobody chills out and relaxes when someone tells them to. A better thing for a coach would be...”Of course you're anxious. You're at the Olympic Games. It's normal to feel anxious. Allow that to be there because that's energy you can use.”
You know, that's what they should be saying. This is extremely important. And then once you understand this, this idea again of "I don't make my decisions about how to behave, whether I should, what I should put in my mouth, whether I should go to the gym" based on my moods. You're, it's like love. You say, like love is more of a verb, right? You know, it's more like you are a loving person.
I don't like love, I love my wife or something like this, or my daughter or my grandparents or whatever it is, right? It's like love is more of a verb, like you start to feel like you don't, it's not like a magical thing that just pulls you, you know, you need to interact with that person in a loving way. And there's a feedback mechanism where they act loving back to you, and you love that. And that becomes, you know, what it's about.
So, people constantly put the chicken before the egg or the cart before the horse or whatever they, what they're doing is they feel like, "I'll take action when I'm in the mood." It's constantly about being in the mood, and moods come after you take action. And this is where it's, again, backwards. So, you say, "I don't feel like working out today.” I can't decide that until I go for five, the five-minute rule for five minutes and get on the treadmill. If I really feel as sick as my mind was telling me, as tired as my mind was telling me, I will stop. I give myself 100% permission to stop.
It's like someone who says, "I don't like tomatoes." I'm like, well, do you eat tomatoes? "I tried them when I was five. I didn't like them." And you'd be like, okay, you don't know shit about tomatoes. So it's been like 30 years since you've had a tomato. So eat another tomato. And then you can tell me if you don't like tomatoes or whatever it is, you, you don't know until you try. So that's the thing. If the limbic system runs your life, it's going to ruin your life.
Ted Ryce: Yeah, this is, I mean, I feel like this is such a crucial conversation about what's really going on, even, you know, with what you deal with, helping your clients with their performance and anxiety, stress, and with me, helping my clients with their bodies and getting them right to control their weight, their body fat percentage.
And even I'm dealing with this too personally while growing my business, what to focus on, oh, I don't feel like doing that today. I got to sit down and do it
And it's such an important conversation. Chris, I think the big takeaway is helping people understand how their brain works is foundational in life. Like, this should be a course in school. Like, "Hey, this is a life skill. This is something that if you don't get this, you're going to think that, 'Oh, no, I just... I'm a person who loves food.'"
It's like everybody loves food. Everybody loves food. I mean, some people don't, for sure, but um, everybody loves food. The majority of people love sweets. It's just that you're getting hijacked by that limbic system because certain things taste good or certain things taste better than others.
You get more of a dopamine hit from delicious food than you do from chicken and broccoli. Right? A question for you. If the first step is this, and you said something great, basically the awareness comes first, the education and awareness, then it's you have to put in the reps, meaning you have to...
When it's hard, that's when it matters to put in the reps, right? Putting in the reps no matter what, but especially when it's hard to do. What about neurofeedback and some of the other methods you use? Does that speed things up? And if not, what does? How can we, sure, what could fast-forward this process of putting ourselves in control, just besides the awareness, the education, and putting in the reps?
Chris Friesen: Yeah, so OK, so there's another concept we can maybe come back to later. It's called the law of contrasting. It's a sneak peek to my hopefully my next YouTube video when I get around to filming this, but we'll come back to that. So let's say with neurofeedback, let's say we do a brain map, a quantitative EEG, or you take someone's brain and compare it to people their age. And the person's got lots of stress, and we see that they have excess fast waves in the brain.
We talked about earlier the beta,
Ted Ryce: The beta, you said the beta, right? Okay.
Chris Friesen: That's right, that's right. We call it high beta. And some people can live life and they're perfectly fine and doing OK with it. But let's say one of the issues is this idea that they have trouble motivating and this sort of thing.
So often, and I see this a lot with people who think they have ADHD, but it's really anxiety-based, this high beta-based stuff, which is these are people that are paralyzed. It's like paralysis by analysis.
They're indecisive, there are too many options, and what they're doing is their brains are revved really high. What we could do then in those cases is maybe the problem of you getting motivated is excess stress, excess anxiety, excess self-doubt, questioning, mind racing, these sorts of things.
Then you can do neuromodulation strategies, neurofeedback being one of them. Neurofeedback is a type of neuromodulation where, depending on where the brain map finds issues, not just where it finds issues, it has to correlate with your actual problems. Let's say there's too much fast wave, and what they do is they watch, for example, videos or play games.
Videos are easier to understand. You watch a video, and every time there's usually a clinician behind the other computer, every time the brain's producing too much fast waves because the brain's oscillating, it's moving up and down. So, let's say it's like a car. Ideally, you want about 2,500 RPMs when it's in neutral. And this person's brain is at 4,000 RPMs, which is higher. It's revving faster.
But it's not just stuck exactly at 4,000. It's kind of revving between 3,500 and 4,500. It's on average 4,000. And what we do is every time the brain oscillates down, in other words, when the fast beta comes down, the video you're watching, whatever it is, a movie or YouTube, Netflix, we have all these different things you can do, and the video will play.
And oh, good. My video. And then when it's producing going too fast, it pauses. And it plays, and it pauses. So, what you're doing is saying good, bad, good, bad, good. But it's operant conditioning, reinforcing what's happening. And you're coaxing the brain to do more of what we want it to do, kind of like a personal trainer. You did 10 reps, and tomorrow let's do 11 reps, or whatever, next week. And then...
Ted Ryce: And not even that, but quality reps. So, it's not going to count if the rep isn't, it's that annoying personal trainer who's going to be like, "Yeah, that one doesn't count, bro. You're going to have to do another one because, you know, you got sloppy or whatever, didn't go down all the way." So,
Chris Friesen: You bounce it off your chest, yeah, arch your back.
Ted Ryce: it's funny you answer that because the only basically what I hear you saying is it's the education. It's the awareness. It's the reps. How do you speed it up? Well, you get a better trainer so that you're not the one who's training yourself, thinking that you're doing a good job. You're having feedback or data, specifically data. This isn't even a person. This is a machine, although you're facilitating it, Chris, and other people who practice this.
And then you're using that data to make sure, based on what we understand about a person's problem and where they might be struggling, what area of their brain they might be struggling with. Those are good reps, those are not good reps, and we're going to sit here until we do those good reps, and we're going to sit here until you just get the, you know, the exercise technique right, is kind of the analogy I'm thinking of.
Chris Friesen: Yeah, it makes sense. And you can think of it also as what we're doing is we're not completely changing someone's brain. We're not going to change your personality completely, for example. What we're doing is introducing what I call neurological flexibility. So, remember I was saying the RPMs are kind of stuck between 3,500 and 4,500, or on average 4,000 RPMs. And what we're trying to do is give it flexibility. So just as an example, so I've done my brain map on myself maybe seven times in 10 years.
And I've done a lot of stuff to my brain, neurofeedback, like hundreds of sessions, electrical stimulation of the brain, TDCS, AVE, everything you think of. And it's always the same. I have the exact same brain profile of excessive fast waves in the central part of my brain, much like the 99.9th percentile of these fast waves in this specific area. This is part of the cingulate cortex. It doesn't really matter. But for some people, it can change your brain pattern altogether.
I don't think that's the goal. What we do is make your brain more flexible. So like, let's say my arm, I can keep it straight out, right? And then, but it's stuck this way. It only moves like just the tiny bit. But now I go to a physiotherapist, we can go back and forth. I can go all the way and touch my, you know, I can go all the way. I can go extend and flex my arm all the way. But my arm is still mostly straight out most of the time.
But what I need to do, I can now scratch my back, for example, because I can reach back there now, because I did this physio stretching and stuff on my arm. So, it's the same as your brain. You're making it more flexible. So, it still may, by default, be kind of fast. But when it's time to shut it down, for example, to sleep or to notice I'm really anxious and I'm really worked up, I can, you know, the person can notice that and modulate that themselves.
And because their brain has now got that neural pathway of slowing down as well. So,that's an example. One thing that might be useful, even more accessible to people listening.
In the last year or two, I guess it's been about a year now, I've been really personally using this and using it with some of my clients, something called audio, visual, and treatment, and CES, or cranial electrical therapy stimulation. There's a unit that I use, and I don't get money by telling people this to buy it. The company is, it's technically a Canadian company, it's called mindalive.com, and there are these audio, visual, and treatment units.
But these guys have been around since like 1981, right? These are like the OGs in this area. And they have one unit called the David Delight, which is a basic audiovisual entrainment unit. And then they have the David Delight Pro, which has the cranial electrical stimulation built in. So, this is all like gobbledygook what I'm saying.
So, I'll explain what these are. These are goggles that you put on, and they pulsate at particular wavelengths. So, for example, you've probably heard of Andrew Huberman.
And this is again, me hearing Andrew Huberman and applying it to my own life because I was noticing I was just taking too much on and getting stress-related issues, and I thought I need to do something. I'm like an expert in this and I need to work, work. And so, he even talks about this idea of non-sleep, deep rest, NSDR. Maybe he hasn't talked about it much.
Ted Ryce: Is that a real term or is that something he made up? I've heard him talk about it before. Do you know? Okay.
Chris Friesen: I think he made up the acronym. He made up the acronym, I believe, and it's obviously not his idea, this idea of having brief periods of rest. Like every culture has this.
Ted Ryce: Yeah, it's called meditation or, right.
Chris Friesen: Yeah, yeah, exactly. So he talks about yoga, nidra, basically body scans and stuff like this. So me, being the neuroscience part of me, said, you know what, and with all the equipment I have, I can do this on steroids.
How about sitting down every afternoon around two to three o'clock in the afternoon and instead of meditating I'm going to make sure I go into a deep state of deep rest more than I could with a hypnosis script, more than I could with a yoga nidra, you know, like a body scan script.
And so, what it does, let me give you an example. So, people, when your brain is in the present state, when you're not really thinking, you're in the present moment, you're not really worried, you're not really thinking of the future or the past. You're kind of here now, or probably for the most part, both of us producing a decent amount of alpha.
These are alpha waves, which are between eight and twelve hertz or cycles per second of electrical blips in your brain. We produce all the brainwaves all the time. There's Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta, Gamma, but there are certain states where certain ones predominate.
So when we meditate, we tend to produce more alpha waves when we're in that present moment. When we're worried, we produce more beta waves. That's pretty obvious. When we're really sleepy, daydreaming, or going down to Theta, you know, this kind of thing.
So, you kind of pass through these stages when you go to sleep as well. And what we know is people who have excess fast wave activity tend to benefit from getting audiovisual entrainment or making their brains produce more alpha waves. So, when alpha goes up, beta goes down. Alpha is like the most neutral part of the brainwave spectrum.
And I'll give you an example. When I took a course on neuromeditation, the one thing we know with meditation is the posterior cingulate, which is a central back part of the brain. When we're thinking, it's the home of the default node network. When we're thinking, that part lights up.
And that means like an FMRI, that means blood oxygen. But what we're talking about in the EEG is beta, beta waves. So, beta is the same thing as blood oxygen. It's basically activated. So it lights up when we're thinking. But when people meditate, it goes down. And alpha goes up. So beta goes down, alpha goes up. And so what happens is, I experimented. I put the sensor on my head. And I would meditate. And I made the system give me feedback of just a tone.
So, every time there's too much beta waves and not enough alpha, my brain, the sound, I get a tone. And then when I stop thinking, in other words, the idea of meditating in a way, not the type I explained earlier, but just not thinking, blank mind, the sound would go off. And of course, I would realize, hey, the sound went off. And all of a sudden, the sound comes back on. So exactly. And that was, again
Ted Ryce: Then you start thinking, right?
Chris Friesen: I'm the type of person that I like to look at the research, but I want to experience things for myself before I actually buy into them. And so that is that was like, wow, like that reduces increasing alpha and reducing beta in the back of the brain. That is a state of non-thinking, like the goal of some types of meditation. And long story short, you can put these goggles on, these audiovisual entrainment goggles like the David Delight or the David Delight Pro. And what it does is pulsates lights. Let's say there are like 30 different things you can do on it.
But let's say you use Meditation number one, that's the setting that's alpha. It's 10 Hertz. And what it does is it pulsates lights 10 times a second, and you hear pulsing in your ear. Think of binaural beats, but these are not binaural. There's a button to make it binaural, but it turns out that binaural is not as good as actual beats going up, like 10 times a second. So that's congruent with what you're seeing in your eyes. Of course, your eyes are closed. You're lying back like you're sitting back like you're meditating.
And I also use the fancy one, the expensive one, which has got electrical stimulation. Which in the United States, the most popular brands called AlphaStim, but this Is pulsating at a hundred hertz, but it's also pulsating at ten times a second, at a hundred hertz.
It's hard to explain, but it's alternating current stimulation. That's been shown separately. There's no research putting these together, but I started using them together, and some of my clients have, and they find it stronger, which makes sense.
But anyways, within five to six minutes, your brain will mimic the pulsing. Forget about the electrical current right now, just the pulsing lights and beats in your ears after about five or six minutes. Most people, if you did an EEG on them, their brain would be pulsing at 10 times a second. And it basically forces your brain into this deep state of meditation. I usually go in and out of consciousness and I'm in this sort of drowsy state. Then I come back.
But you get extremely relaxed. I have, of course, I use my Oura ring on, and I measure, put it on for 30 minutes. I'm measuring my heart rate, my HRV, and my temperature. And invariably, the temperature goes up, heart rate goes down, and HRV goes up as well. So, this is what I call NSDR on steroids. In other words, you can help yourself do this. And the clients I work with that are super high achievers that say to me, "I don't have time to meditate. When am I going to do that?" And I'm a little bit in that camp, so I can understand that. And I'm like, you know what?
But this is different. We're going to do something. We're going to do an AV session. You're going to put these goggles on, press these buttons, and then lay back. It's going to help you do this. And the fact that you're actually doing that, as opposed to like, "I'm just going to go in my office and sit and close the door and close my eyes and put my timer on for 15 to 20 minutes," people are much more motivated when they actually use something that is going to make sure that you get a good session, even if you don't.
I wouldn't say it's a complete replacement for meditation because the meditation I described earlier is a training of "I'm noticing, thank you, mind," you know, this kind of thing, the observing self and strengthening that. This will make it too easy.
But it's going to put you in a state of deep rest, you know, for that 30 minutes. And I, in there, invariably come out of this like it's a different day. Like I feel like I'm a different person, you know, you take a nap and you wake up or it's the next day. It's like, no matter what mood you're in before, it's like a reset, like you restarted your computer.
And I have had clients that have had serious problems with alcohol, marijuana abuse, and they use this, and they're like completely clean. I'm not saying every client in the world, this happens to, but we can, we know from some of the brainwave research, people who abuse alcohol and cannabis tend to have excess fast waves in the brain or and or a lack of alpha.
So, it makes sense that this would work because they're getting what they're actually searching for from these substances. Anyways, this is something that is a form of neuromodulation that is really cool, and I still use it most days of the week.
Ted Ryce: Interesting. Yeah, and it takes 30 minutes. Do you do this with your clients while you're together, or you teach them how to do it and they do it on their own?
Chris Friesen: Yeah, no, what we do is in my office, I actually bought a bunch of them, and then I rent to own to my clients because they're like the cheapest ones, like $400. And so, it's hard to convince people even if they tried at my office. I'll say, "Look, it's for it's like 50 bucks a week until you pay it off." And that way you can, you know, don't have to pay it all upfront.
And if you can take it back after two weeks, you lose 100 bucks, but at least you didn't lose $400. So, this is an adjunct, but I do. I Yeah, I have, I can give you like 10 people that I've worked with that just, the people use it consistently, uh, find it helpful. There are other people who have the opposite problem. Their brains are under-activated.
This is sometimes correlated with ADHD, but other issues as well, like depression. I've had people with brain cancer and things like this. So, their brains got lots of slow waves, and we do a different set of, we actually train up beta fast waves, and they put it on, and it can energize you.
One of the things that sold me on it, there's one setting on the David, 12 minutes at 7.8 Hertz, which is the border between theta and alpha. So slow waves. So it brings you down to a slow, super relaxed state. And then after 12 minutes, it flips and it goes up to 19 Hertz, which is beta waves.
And I did this a number of times because at first, I didn't believe it. I'm like, "This is probably bogus." And then I experienced it. And what happens is halfway through, I'm super relaxed. And all of a sudden, I'm super, super awake. And I was like, that convinced me again, that personal experience. I thought, "Wow, that is AV in action." Like I was in this, I didn't realize I was in this meditative deep state, and then it goes faster. And all of a sudden, I'm just wired, and I thought, "Holy cow."
But some people are so hardwired, they're not able to let go, like you can overpower it by thinking of other things, and you have to let go for this to work. Some people put it on, so I noticed nothing, and these are the people that are super over-controlled. We call it.
You know, they have super defensive defenses that are up to protect them. They don't like, they often don't like alcohol or things like this because they don't like to have anything that changes their state of mind. And they're not hypnotizable as well.
So, there is a subgroup of people that this won't work on. But it really works well for the people that can't get themselves to meditate. It's like this will meditate for you practically as long as you sit down and just let it do its thing, and almost anyone that's used it is like almost nobody takes it back, returns it.
Um, it seems like old technology, but it's been around for a long time, but there's new research coming out, supporting it as well. But they're acting like it's something different. It's all the same stuff. It's the same. There's a big thing that happened in some Europe, a European university has like a Ted talk like video, and there are a whole bunch of people in a room with strobe lights.
And I'm like, "This is nothing new. Like we've discovered this. It's like, no, you didn't. This is called AV (audio-visual) entrainment. It's been around for like 50 years." But, yeah. Cool stuff.
Ted Ryce: Interesting. You know what? I've done audio-visual entrainment once, but it wasn't properly explained. It was in a group. And yeah, it was promoted like it was going to be like an ayahuasca session and it wasn't.
But anyway, Chris, man, this has been a fascinating conversation. The products that you mentioned, and also, if you're interested in hearing more from Dr. Friesen, go to Friesen Performance with Dr. Chris Friesen on YouTube, and you spell his name and you can find them there easily. And watch more of his information.
Chris, we got to do this again, man. I really miss our conversations, and I feel like we just scratched the surface again. We just started warming up, like, you know, halfway into it. Just because we have that initial catch-up period, right? But thanks so much for coming on the show, and we got to catch up again soon.
Chris Friesen: Yeah, for sure. Yeah, I'm in.
Ted Ryce: Awesome.
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