Happy Vs Flourishing episode 8 is with neuroscientist Dr Lynda Shaw and we learn about the brain and how you and your business can actually enjoy and benefit from change.
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Tony Winyard 0:00
Happiness versus flourishing episode eight.
Tony Winyard 0:08
In this week's edition, we talk with Dr. Lynda Shaw. And we find out about dealing with change. She's a neuroscientist, and helps entrepreneurs, corporations, individuals, driving change, embracing change, because these are really essential skills in order to actually see growth in organisations and individuals. And so she really helps people to become more effective and influential by taking greater control of their brain. And it's a lot easier than you might think. So we're going to find out a lot more about the brain in this episode with Dr. Lynda Shaw. This is the podcast where we aim to give you ideas on ways that you can improve your life many different facets of life, where just some small changes can lead to a much more flourishing life. why not subscribe, leave a review for us that way, the more reviews that people leave, the more other people get to find out about the podcast, and to benefit from some of the wisdom shared by many of our guests. So hope you enjoy this week's show.
Tony Winyard 1:24
Happiness versus flourishing. My guest today is Dr. Lynda Shaw. How are you, Linda?
Dr. Lynda Shaw 1:28
I'm very well. Thank you, Tony, how you doing?
Tony Winyard 1:31
I'm pretty good. And thank you for taking the time to be a guest on this. Last night in the talk you gave at the professional speaking Association. It was really enjoyable.
Dr. Lynda Shaw 1:43
Thank you very much.
Tony Winyard 1:45
And so neuroscience, what is your title?
Dr. Lynda Shaw 1:49
I'm a neuroscientist. And I specialise in change in business. So my background is when I was in business for myself for some years, and then I went back into academia and did a psychology with social anthropology degree, then another degree Master's, and then I did my doctorate in neuroscience, so and then I came out and mash it all together. My business, my business background with the neuroscience and the psychology and even the social anthropology. So you've got this very strange person. So we asked me, what's my title? It's a bit confusing, but I do tend to tell people that I'm a neuroscientist.
Tony Winyard 2:25
And it's a it's clearly a subject that really excites you. I mean, the the passion that you show for is is really
Dr. Lynda Shaw 2:35
contagious. Thank you. That's less i'd love it to be contagious. Because it's such a brilliant topic. I mean, it's this the brain, you know, I first saw my own brain being on and when I went into an fMRI scanning machine, I just was thought crumbs, that's my brain. absolutely fascinating. What we can and can't do, and actually how much control we have over our destiny. People don't realise and I think not control of everything. Of course, we shouldn't have by any means. But yeah, if we understand the brain, we can definitely choose what we attend to and focus on.
Tony Winyard 3:12
For people listening, maybe who aren't so familiar with neuro science, how would you describe it? You're a science is.
Dr. Lynda Shaw 3:21
If you think about psychology, and psychology theories, they are that they're theories. The neuroscience has come along, maybe 2530 years ago now. And it's taken some of those theories and see if we can turn it into objective measuring scientific measuring by looking at the brain and or the brain waves in various, various scanning equipment. So it's more isn't isn't an objective way at looking at how the brain operates, and the psychology of why we do what we do.
Tony Winyard 3:56
And why what is it that first attracted you to that?
Dr. Lynda Shaw 4:01
Well, what first attracted me was, when I was doing my Master's in psychology, I was looking at the profile of my professor and on the University website, and he sees it This man is a genius. He's absolutely fascinating chap. And at the very bottom of his bio, bio was a consciousness, the word consciousness and I, I have been reading about consciousness since I was 14. And his name was Michael is Michael and I, and I went into his office I said, Michael, what is this consciousness thing? He said, Oh, yeah, as a hobby of mine. Now Trust me. If this guy says he's a hobby, he is not he is that people become exceptionally well read, extract sexually quickly. He's very, very bright man. So I asked him if he would if he would supervise a PhD for me in consciousness studies using scanning equipment fMRI scanning equipment, and he read so
Dr. Lynda Shaw 5:00
It was I was so excited because as I say, I've been, I've been fascinated by consciousness since I was 14 years old. So be able to go to study it neuro scientifically. Indeed, some parts of it neuro scientifically was, was such a gift, such a gift I loved and I do my doctrine.
Tony Winyard 5:19
And I mean, I was thinking about asking you a question
Tony Winyard 5:23
Consciousness is such a massive topic/word. how would you describe it for most people who maybe haven't really thought about consciousness, what would you say?
Dr. Lynda Shaw 5:36
Well, consciousness itself, some people think of consciousness as the soul. And various things, various words like that various ideas like that. And to be honest with you, in terms of neuroscience, we're actually not not even off the starting block, studying consciousness at that level, but what I'm not very good at, is studying the difference between conscious and unconscious processing. So my particular study was looking at unconscious processing of emotion. So I had I was, people were in the fMRI scanning machine. And, and I was showing them emotional images, or emotional content in images below way below conscious awareness and seeing happening in the brain. So I was then therefore I could study, what what is lighting up? And how quickly does the brain light up if you like, looking at things that we're not even aware we're looking at. And if that is how we study it, in neuroscience, at the moment, maybe the next generation of scanning equipment will open up a whole new way of looking at things and maybe even that new study equipment and research will show us that we have to undo our understanding so far, and rethink it. But that's the beauty of research and embryonic science, which is what neuroscience is.
Tony Winyard 7:04
And one of the things I love about science, and that is so seemingly misunderstood on social media is, proper science is about trying to disprove your theory in many ways to see where it's wrong. And then so when specially it's been comes to light with this whole COVID thing about initially, certain things were said about COVID. And then a month or so later, that was changed, because new evidence had been found. But a lot of people on social media sites said these scientists don't know what they're talking about. One minute, they're saying this and now suddenly, they're saying this, which is just showing a complete misunderstanding of what it's really all about.
Dr. Lynda Shaw 7:44
Totally. Drives me nuts. And, you know, we, it's something is new as that COVID-19 you can only build upon knowledge. So, in terms of any kind of scientific inquiry, you build upon what is already known, or already been shown in the previous research, and you just keep adding to it and adding to it. And of course, in in, in the world of science, the null hypothesis is just as interesting as the hypothesis you've, you've, you've demonstrated, so that so if you can, in your words, disprove a theory, that's interesting. But in in the popular press world and in the commercial world, no, that's not interesting. That's not they want a why we get a clash between science and and the way commercial organisations interpret things, because to a scientist, I'm not finding evidence is just as interesting as finding evidence. So we, as scientists can be compromised, and it's a very, very fine line that we have to tread.
Tony Winyard 8:51
Well, and and on
Tony Winyard 8:52
I read an article a couple of days ago from a neuroscientist and one of the things that she said is common in neuroscience, and science in general. That scientists don't like the word "fact"?
Dr. Lynda Shaw 9:06
Yeah, no, no, absolutely not. And we don't even like the word proven. No, because there's there is always, always room for outliers. There's always room for new research that is going to demonstrate something different. Yeah, absolutely. It is a is a dynamic, it's constantly evolving.
Tony Winyard 9:30
What would you say? for maybe people listening who aren't so familiar with neuroscience? What would be a reason for them to maybe read a book on it or to learn a little bit more about especially for most people listening to this who are entrepreneurs, they've got their own business? What reasons would you give?
Dr. Lynda Shaw 9:47
When you understand a little bit about the brain, you've got a better understanding of your own behaviour, a better understanding of other people's behaviour and a better understanding of how to communicate. And not only that, I mean, why wouldn't you want to know about yourself? This is like the most fascinating topic, isn't it your own name, and it's the best thing you can hear. And to understand your brain for me, I, when I talk about it with, with companies and corporations, it's very much about an applied way of using neuroscience. So, people, the word interesting is the bane of my life. Because I, you know, as soon as somebody says, Oh, my gosh, that's really interesting, you've actually know that that you've lost them they're glazing over is interesting. But what is makes it important is that it's applicable tomorrow morning at 9am. For very strong business reasons, for marketing, for sales for communicating for employee engagement, for up, goodness, me this huge, huge menu of things that is fairly, very valuable to know. So that's, that's why it's a good idea to pick up a book or speak to somebody reputable about neuroscience. Oh, by the way, please speak to somebody who's reputable about it, because there's an awful lot of neuro nonsense out there. That UAC by popular press, that is not worth what not worth thinking about. So but if you want a book to start you thinking about the strangeness of the human brain, the fascinations of human brain, I love Oliver Sacks. He's a neuroscientist, who sadly died a couple of years ago now. And one of his books is called Musicophilia. And he was an applied neuroscientist. And so the book is just full of case studies of the importance and the strangeness of music and the brain. And that's really a lovely start. But some might be interested in neuroscience.
Tony Winyard 11:49
The things you mentioned your centres about the to be careful about the kind of quacks into into neuroscience, uh, how would people know the difference for anyone who doesn't know anything about this?
Dr. Lynda Shaw 12:00
Okay, um, I heard somebody the other day, say, I knew everything there is to know about the brain. Wrong. a neuroscientist doesn't know everything there is to know about the brain. Nobody knows everything there is to know about the brain...
Tony Winyard 12:16
...apart from Donald Trump, I would imagine as?
Dr. Lynda Shaw 12:18
Yes, apart from Trump! That is a person who would say such nonsense. So therefore, , you know, straightaway, I'm not going to be listening to you then. Because that's just. absolutely crazy. The people who say things like, left brain is logical, right brain is creative. No, that is far too simple. We do know the hemispheres are slightly different and do different things. But there's a whole brain all the time. And we can't label anybody more creative, because then they're right brained or more logical left brained, it's not true. Since using 10% of our brain, nonsense, we use the whole brain. Somebody's telling you that we can multitask, especially women. No, we don't. We actually switch from one task to another rapidly and there's always a trade off in terms of time and efficiency. Or there's so as soon as you hear these neuro myths coming out neuro nonsense, then you know, actually, that person isn't, isn't doesn't know enough about neuroscience for you to have confidence in what they're saying.
Tony Winyard 13:28
From the course that I did with you there's there's a lot of different myths around that you dispelled during the course.
Dr. Lynda Shaw 13:36
Yeah, absolutely. I think, again, that that does push one of my buttons because the the brain is an amazingly complex organ, and can't simplify things, the way that you hear people simplify things. Although Having said that, you can human behaviour, you can boil down to simplifying certain things to make it understandable and to make it applicable on on a daily basis. But the premise is not as a simple organ. It is very, very complicated.
Tony Winyard 14:12
Going back to we were talking about consciousness just now, I can't remember the figures, but I remember reading an article or a book about saying that most of what we do on a daily basis is done on an unconscious level. It's not that often that were really conscious about what we're doing?
Dr. Lynda Shaw 14:33
Yeah. Yeah, that's right. And several years ago, there was a documentary in the UK, with some eminent neuroscientists excellent people. And they were all individually asked separately asked how much of the brain is conscious processing, how much of the brain is unconscious processing, and they all independently agreed, first of all, that we can't know for sure, because we can't exactly measure That, that that that particular issue. However, what they all agreed on, is that if you've got an a4 sheet of paper and put a single.on, that a4 sheet of paper, and that.is conscious processing in the brain, and the rest of the white paper is unconscious processing, so it's massive, absolutely massive.
Tony Winyard 15:23
And that plays into default behaviours and people, sort of, I guess people default reaction may be reacting angrily to something or reacting sad, or whatever the emotion might be, because there is it's done unconsciously.
Dr. Lynda Shaw 15:42
Yeah, absolutely. And of course, you want that sometimes, because unconscious processing is fast, it's extremely, extremely fast responses like that, which gets us out of trouble is, of course, the fight or flight mechanism. And so you do want a notch to go on, to be processed unconsciously, for speed, and safety. However, there is often things that go wrong. For instance, what because we have a we're surrounded by cacophony of stimuli all the time masses are wet all of the time, the brain can only cope with a small amount. So it does is it tries to cope with it, consciously process some information, and then quickly falling away and unconscious processing. So this court heuristics like shortcuts for the brain to go straight into unconscious processing, so that we can then concentrate on other stuff, we've got room to be able to give attention to other information, other input, which is great, but as we all know, with heuristics, you get something a trade off, which is unconscious bias, which is huge in business at the moment, absolutely massive. So unconscious bias with mean means, for instance, that we're looking at where our attention has gone to this little creature walking across the floor, and it's got four legs, a tail into his, and it's quite big, it's not to tissue, so therefore it must be a dog. And then, so that's far away now in the dog category in your in your heuristics in your shortcuts. So you need to look at this creature, go dog and move on something else. But what that were in that, in turn, what that means is you now think to yourself, oh, that's a dog, so therefore, it's going to bark, but in actual fact, you may have misfiled it slightly, and that is now actually a cat. And you're incorrect. So that's where we get biases when it comes to people prejudice against people of colour, sexual orientation, and all those things that is our gender, age, and so on and so forth. Because we follow them away in these categories. That helps us simplify, understanding what we're looking at with them, we come up with all sorts of crazy notions about people, which are totally incorrect, because we're not seeing them as individuals.
Tony Winyard 18:01
And when you were just talking about heuristics, and it really reminded me of the Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman. He really drills down into all of that
Dr. Lynda Shaw 18:11
Great book. Really good book. That's another one to recommend to your listeners.
Tony Winyard 18:16
Yeah, I think I read that about seven or eight years ago. And I started reading again last year, because I just forgot so much of it. There's just so much to that book.
Dr. Lynda Shaw 18:26
Yeah, there is Kahneman is a great author and an excellent contributor. So there's the other thing you asked originally, how do we know who to listen to who's reputable? One way is to look up the authors to see what they've written and, and if they've got a good strong background in neuroscience as well, because cannabis, it certainly has,
Tony Winyard 18:51
I imagine is a lot of people struggle with. And it's something we were speaking about before, we started recording is about the habits that we all have. And most people have probably at least one or two habits that they want to change they want to stop doing. And there's a number of habits that they want to start doing, but they just for whatever reason can't get around to it. What would you say to them to people about habits.
Dr. Lynda Shaw 19:19
Um, the first thing to to recognise is that habits are soft wired, which means that we've learned to have them. And if we've learned to have them, we can unlearn to have them. They're not hardwired so we can do something about it, that we're not helpless when it comes to habit habits. The second thing to mention is that habit, two is the toughest part of changing a habit is to actually identify it. So typically a habit because it's, it's automatic. We were not even aware of it at all. It's not in our conscious processing. So it's when if we're not aware of it, then we don't No, it's, it might be a habit that we need to change. So if you, for instance, are now working from home a lot more, like so many of us are, then and you're drinking more coffee, and you have a habit of always having a biscuit with a cup of coffee, you're drinking more coffee, you could have maybe six or 10 cups of coffee a day could be six to 10 biscuits. And then you wonder why you put five pounds on in weight. So then you think to yourself, hang on a minute, I've got to do something here Christmas is coming up, that means I'm gonna put even more weight on me, I'll be a stone heavier by the end of the year. So you try to think what you're doing. So that's the point you think I'd have to sit down and work out what on earth it is you do, and then you identify what it is that's going on. So identifying this trigger, which is the coffee, and the reward is the biscuit is step number one. Once you've identified it, now, you know, you can do something about it. And you can either replace the trigger, which is the coffee, or replace the reward, which is the biscuit. So you could for instance, not have so much coffee, perhaps have a glass of hot water with a slice of lemon in it, or something like that. So you don't feel compelled to have to meet this habit of the biscuit. But the point is with with the with a habit like this, it becomes an empty habit, a habit that no longer serves you. And because it's repeated so much, it's actually becoming harmful because it's it's detrimental to your health. So if you have no identified this unhelpful habit, that actually you don't even enjoy anymore, because you know, 10 cups of coffee and 10 biscuits later, you've probably only registered the enjoyment of the first one. And the rest is just a habit that no longer serves you now you think to yourself, right, I'm going to change this. So you change the trigger, or you change the reward by if you're going to have that 10 cups of coffee, then don't eat the biscuit, change the biscuit for a carrot or something, whatever, whatever you think it is. And then the key there is to actually rip that new replacement to enjoy it. You see, the habit is actually driven in the striatum, which is which is deep in the brain. And it is very, very well connected to many other areas of the brain, including the proof party cortex, which means you can think about it. So although habits are unconscious processing, we are still in control of them. Because the prefrontal cortex is controlling whether we do it or not, which is fantastic. So but equally, the striatum is very much involved in the reward system of the brain. So if you can, whatever habit you want to replace the new habit, if it's enjoyable, if it stimulates the dopamine circuitry of the reward circuit in the brain, you're more inclined to repeat that new behaviour so that it becomes a habit because you're enjoying it. Now the old habit won't completely disappear, it still sits there. But because you're not using it anymore, it weakens it becomes it does become so strong. But your habit will become stronger and stronger with lovely, lovely myelin coating that new neural pathway so that you then the brain goes to by default to the new habit as opposed to the old habit because the brain will go to default. Because it's a it tends to go for the easiest route, need to replace a neural pathway with with something that's more more used, if you like. So the brain goes to that new habit more than the old habit. So there's many replace habits.
Tony Winyard 23:43
And one thing that I liked what you said about last night, there's this nonsense around in different books and so called experts who say, Oh, you need 21 days to instal the next habit or 44 days or whatever number they come up with.
Dr. Lynda Shaw 23:56
Yeah, I worry about numbers. I worry about people give being told that they can do something in X amount of days. Because say for instance, somebody said you can change that particular habit in 24 days, what happens on the 25th day when you go back to the old habit, you're going to feel a failure, you're going to feel that you've just wasted your time, you're going to feel even lower in your self esteem or self worth because you've let yourself down. I've not seen that as helpful. And more. So we're all individuals, we're all different. So I think it is important that if we want to change a habit, we go through the steps I've described, but we just keep on with a new habit until in the end, that's the one we sit with that we go to by default and not give ourselves these timelines.
Tony Winyard 24:48
And remember the story you told us about standard life?
Dr. Lynda Shaw 24:53
Yeah, that was interesting. Um, when I first left academia and I wanted to say mash mash In this experience with my academic experience, I hit a brick wall very much because I would go into companies and, and corporations and I would talk about unconscious processing of emotion. And they would go Hmm, we don't want to talk about that pink soft, fluffy stuff, we want to save money or make money. So when to wave my tail between my legs thinking no crumbs, this isn't working at all. And then, about eight or nine years ago, standard life the big pension provider employed employed me as an independent advisor, because they wanted to look at what at whether emotion in their marketing material made a difference to whether people would take out any savings plans or pension plans. So they arranged a eg scanning experiment where people are wired up with the skullcap and looking at their brain frequency in the brainwaves and the like. And it transpired that not only were people there was more activation in key areas when people looked at emotion in marketing, but even more so with positive emotion and even more so. But they were actually galvanised to do something about it and buy the products from standard life. And they were quite a girls, because they've been typically been sending out marketing or which people in their industry tend to do which are pie charts and very boring, dull information that is reams long, because they have to because of various things they must comply with. But nevertheless, it was it doesn't it doesn't enthral you unless you have really got a problem right now, that if you have got a problem that a savings plan could help with at this moment, then you're more inclined to engage is something that is you can put off, then he won't engage. So because the brain habituates very rapidly, and it will be not interested anymore. But if you with some kind of positive emotion, you actually draw people in into wanting your product. Because you're talking about saving money for holidays or for your children or your grandchildren, then you're more inclined to act upon it.
Tony Winyard 27:21
Something I just thought of is I guess is pretty closely connected to neurosciences. Emotional intelligence.
Dr. Lynda Shaw 27:29
Yeah, yeah. Emotional intelligence is extremely exceedingly important. People who can communicate well with others. And it has been shown that IQ is not as important as EQ, emotional intelligence when it comes to being efficient in the workplace.
Tony Winyard 27:55
A lot of people, I think less so now the last few years, it seems, is less people sort of doubting the usefulness and benefits of meditation. And there's a lot of science behind the benefits of meditation now on
Dr. Lynda Shaw 28:10
Yeah, very much so. And when we're in a light meditation, we put the brain in alpha state, alpha frequency is the most creative state we're in. So it's a sort of place you're in, when you just wake up in the morning, you're not you're not quite awake, you're not quite asleep, we're wandering there. And that's when you will come up with all sorts of answers to problems you didn't hadn't even consciously thought were in your head, I strongly suggest you keep a notepad by the bed at that point. But you can, you can get the brain into alpha frequency throughout the day just by staring out of the window watching the rainfall, or going into a meditation. So even if it's just counting the breath, you will find that the brain actually becomes more efficient, because you are diminishing overwhelm and anxiety and being able to opening up the mind to creative thinking because it's alpha frequency. But it can be even in deep meditation. There's been a lot of studies with nuns and monks that have shown that their brains are, I think it's in particular, it's the corpus callosum is strengthen, which is the bundle of nerves between the left hemisphere and the right hemisphere. So the theory is that perhaps both hemispheres are working more efficiently together, because of what the meditation is doing to the brain. And it must remember that the brain changes behaviour and behaviour changes the brain. So this is why I say we have more control than we realise. So if you're going to practice meditation, I think it's an excellent idea to to improve the efficiency of the way you're thinking
Tony Winyard 29:50
and wouldn't also help people is focus
Dr. Lynda Shaw 29:52
totally, absolutely, totally, you get much clearer and your focus because you're the noise is gone. You Do sort of diminished all the noise and the stuff that's interfering with your thinking and your feelings. If you're spinning loads of plates and running around like a headless chicken trying to keep them up there, you will, you can, you can attend to things, you can pay attention to things, which is your consciousness, you're paying attention to what is more valuable to attend to that stuff that's not as valuable.
Tony Winyard 30:25
And there's so much distraction around there and is this each year, there's more and more distraction than we've ever had before. So focus is more important
Dr. Lynda Shaw 30:33
completely. And our attention is really a faulty system is tiny, our attention is only on a tiny amount of information, or a tiny amount of stimuli at any one time. Therefore, if we are feeling anxious, or there's too much going on, it's very easy for our attention to go looking at the wrong thing, or the helpful thing at that particular moment.
Tony Winyard 31:00
In the course that that I did, is that just aimed at speakers and coaches, or is there a wider range of people it's aimed at as well?
Dr. Lynda Shaw 31:11
And the idea is that I wanted when I wrote the course is I wanted to empower people to use neuroscience in their business properly. But for anybody who's in the professional world at all, or in the working environment, who wants to understand the brain a bit more so that they function better it for their work. It's not just for speakers and coaches and trainers, but there is a there is a coaches especially love the course, and they use it hugely with their clients. But I get a lot of people who are managers wanting to be good managers wanting to understand how to how to motivate their people better and be a bit good employers. Mary,
Tony Winyard 31:55
would you want to describe a bit more about the course and how it could be so such as someone listening, maybe thinking, Oh, you know, what, how could that help me too, and maybe tell people a little bit more.
Dr. Lynda Shaw 32:05
Okay, it's an online programme, but it's probably I'm considering is the most personal online programme there is because there's a huge amount of input from me. So there are six sessions, and each session is contains three to six videos. And they are at the moment, I release them once a week. So we have a video is access or a session rather is accessed on a particular topic. Like the first topic is a foundation in the biology of the brain. So that was just the most technical, but you need to do that to understand the rest of it. So it's very basic, but it is a foundation in the biology and the anatomy of the brain. And then we talk about we have a we have a whole session on conscious and unconscious processing, we have a whole session on habits, motivation, good this May, what else is there? This
Tony Winyard 33:11
Dr. Lynda Shaw 33:12
yeah, behaviour change, definitely huge on behaviour change, on communication, on humour, or rapport, on health, in terms of our physical health and our nutrition. That is a very broad, very broad spectrum of most of the things that we do on a daily basis that is based on neuroscientific evidence. And then after each session, we you're on a live call, with an I've maxed out the maximum people I take at any one time is just 10. So that when we're on a live call together, I can really listen to everybody individually, and, and help them use the neuroscience for their own specific needs for their own specific work. So it's very much bespoke for the individual. And then of course, there's what they then give people one to one sessions of two hours, where we we really nail it, really make sure that they that person has got everything they need in terms of neuroscience or psychology in order to improve their business life.
Tony Winyard 34:15
And something as well, in the live sessions that I found really good is that you're one of the other people doing a course or talk about something. Oh, yeah, actually, I never thought about that. And so you learn a lot more this by some of the issues that other people bring up during the live sessions.
Dr. Lynda Shaw 34:31
Oh, yeah, that's what's so upset, delightful. I mean, apart from the fact I love delivering the sessions, I'm learning because it communication is never one way. Always two ways. So as much as I am, I am working with others and helping them they to helping me without Brandon. They're doing it because they're making me think differently. They're showing me a different perspective, because each person is different. And I'm understanding a little bit more about that particular person and how they operate. Even things and how they're going to use the information is fascinating. I love it.
Tony Winyard 35:04
And you have so many Well, just from the course idea, there's a lot of very different characters on the one course on it.
Dr. Lynda Shaw 35:10
Oh, yeah, it's wonderful.
Dr. Lynda Shaw 35:13
The next course coming up with it, of course, it's just the beginning now, it the characters in it have just sensational. And cuz you would, the whole point of the course really I think is they will attract people who are have a hunger for learning, who actually really want to know how they tick, rim want to know how other people tick really want to be able to get outside of this overwhelm, and actually get to a place of, of enjoying life better and getting a better quality to their life. Because they, they work it out. They've been looking at this amazing blob in the skull and what it can do to help them and how they can help how they can help their brain help them if it's, I mean, so the characters that want that are attracted to the course are really quite diverse. It's this delicious.
Tony Winyard 36:07
Something you mentioned just now about the you're learning all the time. And when did your book come out Was it a couple of years ago?
Dr. Lynda Shaw 36:15
Yes, it was about maybe three years now Your Brain Is Boss, and I wrote it, again, because I wanted to give people empower people with some tools, so that they could just conduct their life in a way that is less overwhelming and more efficient and more effective. That's why I wrote it that it's a very broad spectrum of a lot of topics.
Tony Winyard 36:41
And one of the things I was just thinking of when you said about how you're constantly learning all the time. So I imagine since that book, you've had so many new ideas. Are you planning on a new book? what are your thoughts?
Dr. Lynda Shaw 36:55
Oh, that's a really good question. Because
Dr. Lynda Shaw 37:00
I am so busy with clients at the moment, which is not a complaint, I'm very grateful. And I have so many new ideas based upon my experiences, since I've written your brain as boss, which you quite rightly said that for me to actually put find the time to actually write the book, I think is not going to be this year for sure. It's my baby, maybe if I get myself organised better. With my timetable, I will have have had the chance. But yeah, I've got lots of new ideas on on that I think people would find it useful. And by the way useful is my Achilles heel, I have to be useful. So I don't see the point of giving anyone anyone information unless they can really use it, for great effect. So there's a lot going on in my head that can I know can be useful and also fun. I you know, we some of the things my work is can be is very serious, but I don't take myself seriously. And I I think we need to lighten up a little bit more. Even when we've got you know, some people are doing incredibly amazing things that is exceedingly serious. But if we take ourselves too seriously, we're in danger of getting bogged down.
Tony Winyard 38:19
On that subject one of the modules in the course that we did was on on humour.
Dr. Lynda Shaw 38:26
humour is like a universal language. So cultural differences will break down as long as we're respectful of the different cultural differences in how we assimilate humour. So it's like it's like a delicious, universal language. And of course, the cultural differences are huge. But if we can laugh together, goodness me Do we break down barriers, we really do. Come we are better at communicating with one another and understanding one another. When we when we can laugh together. It's the same with music really the same thing when we appreciate music together, which breaks down cultural barriers and very much I wanted to be much more involved in collaboration. I really honestly an extremely naive Lee thought to the 21st century will be about collaboration and kindness. Boy it was wrong but it's very 20 years in so we've got we still got wins a shout. But I think collaboration is a key we can't keep ostracising ourselves dividing ourselves and and only noticing differences as opposed to enjoying differences and and working together. So I'm I'm I'm very much into if we can use humour respectfully. I think that's a great tool to help that.
Tony Winyard 39:55
Early on in the episode we touched upon that scientist yeah You're trying to disprove their, maybe their own theories, and and you've mentioned a couple of times about how you're always learning always, you know, sort of reading new stuff or whatever. How often are you? Do you read things maybe about from someone else's into neuroscience that initially you might not agree with that at all, but then you come to maybe change your ideas about things is that something that happens?
Dr. Lynda Shaw 40:26
A good scientist will change their mind. Because that's the whole point, we have an idea, we come up with an idea and then that somebody else might say something different. And then we don't agree with it, but then we'll investigate further. And when we investigate further, we can understand more why that person may have said that, and, and start to maybe, if we are in if we are in active in research, if we could actually jumpstart a whole new research project or a whole new experiment, based upon that. I mean, I know of two neuroscientists with whom I won't name, who have spent their whole career in fighting one another. And tied to the other one trying to argue with the ballot validity of that person's that research and vice versa. They've been whole career on the back of this. And what that's done is it's pushed science forward. It's been It's fantastic to watch. I'm sure they're best mates really. But you know, in terms of academia, they look like worst enemies. But But what it's done is it's given them the drive to investigate further and to go maybe go down avenues, they wouldn't have gone down.
Tony Winyard 41:43
Can you think of anything in the last few years that most scientists believed that we now realise wasn't correct?
Dr. Lynda Shaw 41:54
Oh, well, that one of the one of the biggest is, of course, the effect or the new the breadth and depth and the capacity of neuroplasticity? It wasn't many years ago, when we thought the brain you were born with it developed to a certain extent. And that was it. But now we know absolutely not. 100% not. So yes, we've changed our minds totally on that one. Because we we now know that what we do environmentally what we're thinking, what we're fit, all of those things will actually change the wiring of our brain. So we can we can create new neural pathways. New signups is new connections, new everything constantly on a daily basis, if we stimulate the brain, to create those. So our environment, and our social upbringing and our social environment up until the day we die, we leave this earth no matter how old it will continually change the brain accordingly.
Tony Winyard 43:02
And for older people, it is even more reason to be sort of stimulating the brain, isn't it?
Dr. Lynda Shaw 43:07
Oh, yeah, absolutely.
Dr. Lynda Shaw 43:11
Research shows that in terms of an ageing brain, let's face it, the brain ages from birth, but a brain as it gets older, it the stimulation is needed in terms of a social environment is in turn, it needed it for physical exercise, it needed to learn something new that is quite hard. So something like learning a new language or learning a musical instrument or learning a new piece of music, if you're already musical. All of those things are incredibly helpful, too, so that we ages the best we possibly can.
Tony Winyard 43:52
And because if they don't, there's quite a few conditions that people can start. Is it? Alzheimer's and Parkinson's?
Dr. Lynda Shaw 43:58
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. There's a lot that clearly, you know, we, some people have a genetic disposition to things, but I always say and I say over and over again, our DNA is not our destiny. You know, I know somebody who my father in law who I didn't know he died before I met my husband. He, he died of lung cancer. And but he was smoking 20 cigarettes a day. Now, I don't know whether my husband has got some kind of genetic leaning towards a lung cancer or not, but he doesn't smoke. So you know, there's far less chance so in his environment, he has taken away some of those. Some of the some of those things that antagonise what we may think we are, have been born with that we don't unless you have a DNA test, you have no idea what what what what's going on there. Nevertheless, it's not our destiny because it does also depend on what we do to ourselves.
Tony Winyard 44:58
Yeah. You just you just mentioned about how to do recent sort of change your thinking on things like neuroplasticity. And it made me think about it in certain areas or certain subjects. You can read a book from, say 30, 40 years ago, and it's still a really useful book. But I guess then, maybe in areas like science and neuroscience, you have to be careful with how far back a book you read, because a lot of that might be outdated now.
Dr. Lynda Shaw 45:29
Yeah, totally. Absolutely, totally. I renew my academic neuroscience books on a fairly regular basis, because I get the next edition. If I particularly like that book, when those authors or those editors, I will go with a new neuroscientist who might be got some really interesting research going on. And I will follow them a little bit more to find out what's going on. But yes, we do need to renew our look at the dates of books, especially in an embryonic science, like neuroscience, is evolving rapidly.
Tony Winyard 46:05
And where do you I mean, how do you see, because there's so much being learned about the brain. And we and as you say, we known so little about Brain, as you see this sort of developing over the next few years?
Dr. Lynda Shaw 46:18
Oh, isn't that a lovely, delicious question? Um, I would like to think that the new generation of scanning equipment or generations of scanning equipment, we'll be able to track things that actually we don't know exist at the moment. And maybe even find out what consciousness is, which, cause we started our conversation. But if we could, if we could find that out, it's like the last frontier, it's fine, you know, in the known universe, that will be an amazing thing to understand and learn is the true nature of consciousness, and what it actually means and that what that I would find really exciting. And I'm going to have to live to I'm 200 years old, I think, before I find out but yeah, we'll see
Tony Winyard 47:17
is that the area of the brain of all the things that we don't know about the brain? Is that thing that you would most like to know? Is there another?
Dr. Lynda Shaw 47:25
No consciousness really floats my boat? And I'm absolutely fascinated by consciousness. And as I say, there's really is little we know about it. There's lots of really fantastic researchers out there pursuing it. But we were still really on the starting block when it comes to that.
Tony Winyard 47:47
And are you aware how much because there's often seemed as a lot of competition between, say, America and China and different countries, but when it comes to, to neuroscience, is there a lot of cooperation between scientists in different countries,
Dr. Lynda Shaw 48:03
and I can't speak for the experiences of other neuroscientists. But what I see is, if you look through the journals, there, there doesn't seem to be a cultural issue, because you will find Japanese researchers may expanding upon research from Americans, you will find American researchers are expanding upon research from Europe or Russia or China, whatever. I think, I think, for us to move forward in science, collaboration is the best way forward. But there's one thing that's really, really interesting on this count is that a few years back, I went to Russia with family. And we were in we went to Moscow and St Petersburg. And we had a gut we were I love whatever I'm in a city. I like to have a walking guide to talk us through things as we as we explore. And the our guide in Moscow. Clearly a linguist was talking about her career. And because I'm asked I asked a billion questions. And when Russia was Russia, of old, and she wasn't allowed to teach more than two hours a week English in the universities, because it was all about the Russian development. And because the the Russia, Russia and the rest of the world didn't communicate about their findings, and then their own science and in they they evolved separately. When everything opened up, and she was she mostly is employed to be an interpreter at conferences. And this particular time, it was a medical conference. So we had the West and Russians together. And what she said was fascinating was how differently medicine had evolved. In Russia and outside of Russia, outside of Russia, there was a lot more reliance on equipment, new scanning equipment and that sort of thing. There was less reliance on that in Russia at that time. Clearly, this is all very different now. They have evolved, and without the equipment, but being just as effective. I thought that was fascinating. Listen to now, I can't honestly say hand on heart that I've investigated that scientifically to see if that is exactly how it has been. But this is her interpretation of what she found when she was the interpreter at a medical conference. So So you see, if we, if we've collaborate more, so we would actually, perhaps evolve more ritually, then we are, are investigating things individually or, collectively in terms of countries or cultures.
Tony Winyard 50:58
And on what you just said, It reminds me of a story of there's a there's a breathing technique called the oxygen advantage, which is based upon something called boo taker and be Taiko comes from, there was a I think he was Ukrainian. But he most of his work was in Russia. So it was Dr. Buteyko. And he developed a breathing method, which is now known as the Buteyko method, which is very helpful for people who have asthma and respiratory conditions. And it was very widely known, apparently in Russia for for many years during the Cold War. But no one in the West knew about it at all until the end of the Cold War. And then some people in the West started finding out about this. And now Buteyko is very widely known all over the world.
Dr. Lynda Shaw 51:49
Yeah, yeah. Isn't that wonderful? I just think that sort of thing is is absolutely fabulous. And it just opens our perspective as well. Because if you think about somebody who might be a doctor, or who specialises in asthma in the West, understanding that this getting to this new information that might help their patients is just like really invigorating, and stimulating to see if it works and to understand the science behind it that that is just phenomenal.
Tony Winyard 52:25
memory, if people want to find out more about you Where will be the best places to go.
Dr. Lynda Shaw 52:30
You can find me on my website, which is https://www.drlyndashaw.com/ Or very welcome to email me always lovely to hear from everybody. And that's Lynda@DrLyndashaw.com Isn't it annoying when you've got a name that you can't actually say easily?
Tony Winyard 52:57
And is there any social media you're pretty active on?
Dr. Lynda Shaw 53:01
Yeah, I tend not to be on Twitter anymore. But I'm on LinkedIn, Dr. Lynda Shaw on LinkedIn. And Facebook, of course
Tony Winyard 53:14
Yeah. And if people want to find out more about your course, I guess is your website, the best place to go to.
Dr. Lynda Shaw 53:21
And my website is under construction that we met as we speak, which is all rather exciting. We're always working progress, of course. But you're very welcome to have a look at my website. But if you do want to know anything specific about it, and the email is better.
Tony Winyard 53:35
Okay. And your as your book available on Amazon.
Dr. Lynda Shaw 53:39
It is available on Amazon. Yep. Yeah, your your brain is boss.
Tony Winyard 53:44
And finally, before we finish, as we're talking about books, is there a book that you would recommend to people for whatever reason,
Dr. Lynda Shaw 53:58
the book that absolutely blew me away? I think I devoured it in one session was Man's Search for Meaning. It's not a small book. and it's not an easy read. Of course, it's about the Holocaust, but it's absolutely superb by Viktor Frankl and I strongly recommend people read that.
Tony Winyard 54:23
What would you say that you took from that? What did you get from that book?
Dr. Lynda Shaw 54:28
What did I get from the book I got from the book, The Power of hope, and the power of purpose. And I think both are incredibly linked to our well being and even longevity. And it's, it really did in fact talking about it now. I think I might read it again. Read it for a few years now but I do recommend it very much
Tony Winyard 54:58
I just reread that earlier this year in January, yes, amazing. And last thing Is there a quotation that you particularly like?
Dr. Lynda Shaw 55:08
There is? And I don't even know who wrote it originally. But we need to live more and more and more in a world of compassionate collaboration, and be less judgmental about people who think differently from us. Because everybody's perception is different to everyone else's. So the quote that I love, it's not right. It's not wrong. It just is.
Tony Winyard 55:34
And would you remember when you first how long ago was it? You first came across that?
Dr. Lynda Shaw 55:38
Yeah, I do remember it very clearly. I was at a conference. And the speaker on stage was somebody called Denise Lynn. And she said it. She may even wrote it in the first place. What I'm not sure that Yeah, she's a wonderful speaker.
Tony Winyard 55:52
Well, Lynda, thank you for your time. It's been a pleasure at the last hour speaking, learning more about neuroscience and all your fascinating stories. So thank you for your time.
Dr. Lynda Shaw 56:01
Thank you, Tony. It's been really delightful. And thank you for your support.
Tony Winyard 56:08
Next week is episode nine. And we throw over to Singapore to speak with Sid Chawla. And we're going to learn a lot more about creativity and whether geniuses are born that way? Or can we reverse engineer creativity and become geniuses ourselves? So that's next week's episode where we're going to explore the realms of creativity. Sid has written a book all around this subject, and we're going to find out a lot more about that book and other areas as well. So that's next week's show. Hope you've enjoyed this episode. Please do share it with anyone who you feel would really get some benefit from how Lynda was talking about better ways that we can use our brain and about neuroscience in general. And why not subscribe, leave a review for us, and I hope you have a great week.
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