How To Quiet Your Busy Brain And Have Energy To Do Great Work with Dr. Romie Mushtaq

In this episode of The Widest Net Podcast, Pam is joined by Dr. Romie Mushtaq, a renowned figure in the field of neurology, integrative medicine, and mindfulness. As a board-certified physician and the founder of brainSHIFT at Work, she has amassed over two decades of experience in transforming mental health and wellness in the workplace. 

 

Dr. Romie’s influence extends to Fortune 500 companies, professional athletes, and global associations, where she has made a significant impact as the chief wellness officer for Evolution Hospitality, scaling a mindfulness and wellness program to over 7000 employees. With her latest book, The Busy Brain Cure: The 8-Week Plan to Find Focus, Tame Anxiety, and Sleep Dr. Romie continues to provide valuable insights for professionals seeking to improve focus and productivity, ultimately leading to increased happiness, clarity of mind, and curing the busy brain.

 

Here’s what you can expect from this episode: 

  • Gain an understanding of the vision behind Dr. Romie’s book, “The Busy Brain Cure: The 8-Week Plan to Find Focus, Tame Anxiety, and Sleep”
  • Dig into a few of the protocols behind Dr. Romie’s model called the brainSHIFT and what the acronym stands for
  • Uncover how to calm a busy brain and enhance productivity for better work-life balance
  • Master circadian rhythm and sleep optimization to supercharge your energy and productivity
  • Harness hope and create positive change for a more successful and fulfilling career

 

Here are the Show Notes.

 

Here’s the transcript:

00:00:00

 

Welcome to another episode of The Widest Net Podcast.        

00:07:11
            

I’m your host, Pamela Slim, and I’m joined today by my guest, Dr. Romie Mushtaq. Dr. Romie is a board certified physician, award winning wellness speaker and the founder of brainSHIFT at Work. She brings together over 20 years of authority in neurology, integrative medicine, and mindfulness to not just deliver programs, but create cultural change.        

00:07:36
            

She is on a mission to transform mental health and wellness in the workplace and currently works with Fortune 500 companies, professional athletes, and global associations. Dr. Romie is also the Chief Wellness Officer for Evolution Hospitality, where she scaled a mindfulness and wellness program to over 7000 employees. Her expertise is featured in the national media such as NPR, NBC, TEd Talks, and Forbes. Find the cure for your busy brain@drRomie.com or at        

00:08:10
            

Dr. Romie on social media. This week, she also has a brand new book, which we will talk about out with Harper Collins called The Busy Brain Cure: The 8-Week Plan to Find Focus, Tame Anxiety, and Sleep. Again, Dr. Romie, welcome to the podcast.        

00:08:28
            

Pam, my sister, to your community. Namaste. It is an honor to be here with you all. We have been around the block together. Let me just say that I was so lucky.        

00:08:42
            

And I will never forget to meet you in Fargo, North Dakota, where we both were.        

00:08:53
            

Me and my stilettos, meeting my sister Pam in one of her chic wrap dresses in Fargo, North Dakota, which we both love that city, by the way. We love it. We love Fargo. And it was an amazing time. It was an amazing audience.        

00:09:07
            

Both of us did TEDx talks. We were both in our pre-talk jitters, I think, getting our makeup done and everything. And they’ll never forget. We had a meal together, and we sat down, and I just felt an immediate connection with you. And I remember in watching your talk about you telling the very real story that I think has brought you into a lot of the work that is in your book and that we’re going to talk about today, which is just your own journey as a doctor.        

00:09:35
            

So for those who have not yet seen that TEDx talk, give us a little bit of the background. What led to this current work? You have me think of my body of work, Pam, to use a popular Pam slim term. Looking back, I could not have written this story. When you map out a life or a career, I think my journey starts.        

00:10:00
            

And I always honor my mother and father and all of our ancestors that sit here with me today and with you today. And that I am the proud daughter of immigrants. And English is my third language. And in school back then, and even today, you get a derogatory label, ESL English as a second language. And teachers in the system automatically assume you won’t succeed.        

00:10:27
            

Except what people didn’t know and teachers slowly found out, was I had a Father who had one success mantra and prayer for his daughter that was whispered to me in the newborn nursery and echoed every single day of my childhood. “We have one daughter, and you will become a doctor.” And at that time, my maternal grandmother, my Mother, hadn’t completed college, and they understood the assignment. Like we were living in America, where women can achieve great things. And then my dad, himself a busy practicing doctor.        

00:11:06
            

So it was the job of my Mother and my Aunties to make sure that everything I did every day of childhood, make sure that I would grow up to become a doctor, and despite my big mouth, find a suitable husband. Those were their exact words, your lively narration of your life and strong feelings. Right, as we say it is. And so in the book, people hear the voice.        

00:11:32
            

We all have these internal voices, as you’re saying, Pam. Right. And I think it’s what makes you a brilliant business coach. You recognize our internal voices right away. Mine are forever ingrained as the voices of my Aunties.        

00:11:45
            

And when I have a busy brain, they’re the voice of judgment. When I brain shift and I’m in my better self, they’re the voice of hope and wisdom. Right? And that’s it. And so you asked me about the story, so mission accomplished.        

00:12:00
            

I grow up. I enter neurology at a time where less than 5% of the brain doctors in America were women. And I want to make it clear, Pam, despite the challenges women face back then and today in STEM, I loved my job, I loved my colleagues. I loved the research I was doing. I loved the opportunity to teach medical students and interns the next generation of doctors.        

00:12:25
            

And yet, hope was slipping away from me, and I didn’t know what was going on back then. We didn’t have that term in the vernacular in medicine, let alone globally, of burnout. And I ended up in 2010 in life saving surgery, not understanding that you can’t wear success as a badge of honor or as just like, this sense of shame. And that was what started this entire journey that today is now meant to help other individuals who are in that dark place. And companies transform burnout culture using the brainSHIFT protocol.        

00:13:07
            

They always say sometimes the root of work that you do can really be rooted in your own journey and just that deep, literal life, your life, was in the balance. So I know how much that is just internalized for you. And we were reflecting just as we were chatting a little bit before we started recording here that I feel so lucky that I’ve been witnessed to so many pivotal moments in your life, including when you were here at the K’é Community Lab, writing up on the whiteboard your vision of what you wanted for yourself, for your business, and for this book. That was a long time ago. And so tell us, when you shared that vision of writing the book, why was it so important for you to write it?        

00:13:58
            

Oh, my God. My sister Pam. We’re going to make me cry. And I think this is going to be the only podcast I cry on. I love tears.        

00:14:04
            

I love tears. Truth? Yes. Not falling on the microphone. Thank God you can’t see that.        

00:14:15
            

You are not just a business coach. You are the people that hold the space of people’s vision. And I had this vision sitting on that whiteboard with your expertise of when you’re a thought leader, how do you map it out into a business? Because as a thought leader, it was in my brain. And I remember back then in 2017, coming to your whiteboard and telling you, I have this big idea.        

00:14:42
            

And you listened and your husband and children blessed that idea. And the idea was this, that we in neurology and psychiatry got it all wrong. That anxiety, adult onset ADD and insomnia are not three separate diseases. They’re all rooted in one thing. I want to do the research and write a book about it, because this is what I’ve not only been facing, but as a professional speaker, leaders across every industry were relating.        

00:15:09
            

I’m like, this is a crisis, and I think I have the solution. And I remember mapping that out and the rest of my business plan and my philanthropy plan on your board, and I was so scared. And there was, like, this voice in my head that, as an entrepreneur, you have to tell me if other clients have this. When people don’t understand, you leave a traditional job, like a successful doctor and become an entrepreneur. More than one person that I loved in my life told me I was crazy.        

00:15:39
            

And sitting in your space at K’e’, I knew you held that space of, no, you are a visionary. There’s a fine line between that and it’s just your mindset. And I remember the internal voices telling me I’m crazy to put all this up on your whiteboard. I literally was wondering if I was manic in that moment. And it’s really vulnerable to share this.        

00:15:59
            

And the fact that we are on a podcast tour. And after the interview with Publishers Weekly that you are, the very first interview I’m doing for this book is a full circle moment that has me having the spirit chills, as they say. This chill spirit is giving me chills right now, and lots of tears. So thank you for being there.        

00:16:24
            

Now you’ll make me cry. It’s my true joy. It’s the deepest, most meaningful part of my work in that partnership. I forget who it is, so I can’t give proper credit, but there was somebody I was talking to that talks about this third space that happens when you have two people in a room. And we also have La’Vista Jones, who often rides with me, that’s taking notes as we go.        

00:16:48
            

So we sort of have the three of us anchored there, and then there’s this alternate space in which, as you’re describing, you can speak your truth. It’s so fascinating that the stories sometimes we tell ourselves or society tells us, is that deepest truth and the deepest vision of which you have an abundance. I know we don’t have a video of this podcast as we publish it, but people can’t see behind you. Whenever I’m with you on Zoom, you have these brilliant, beautiful paintings that just show this gold glowing, which is really the experience I have with you. And I will never forget hearing that vision.        

00:17:26
            

And there’s just a part of it to me, that’s always being in awe of that and also recognizing in the specific experience that you have as a professional medical doctor, researcher, neurologist, I love that hypothesis, as you said, where you begin to notice things, which is, to me, always the source of anything. That’s a great innovation. You begin to notice things like, wait a minute, why are we talking about this in a whole variety of different ways? You need to begin to hypothesize, to do research, to test a methodology, to face, probably the critique of your professional peers.        

00:18:02
            

Can you share a little bit about that? Were you just embraced? And everybody said, Dr. Romie, where have you been my whole life? Like, you’re 100% right.        

00:18:11
            

This is true. What did it take to actually bring that methodology together? Girl, first of all, Instagram makes you want to think like, oh, she’s in a cute outfit. Somebody did her hair and makeup. Everybody is like, hallelujah.        

00:18:24
            

The Busy Brain Curer is here, no, no. I think no matter where you are in business and what your sector is, is. I always say this from my own journey, is there’s a fine line every day between crazy and visionary, and people will pull you to either side. And you yourself. I myself had to be anchored in spirituality.        

00:18:46
            

And there were many days where I was in self doubt, fear, and judgment. And, Pam, it was this idea of, how can I be of service? Like, right when I would give know how I make revenue in my business is three arms keynote speaking, consulting for companies as a fractional Chief Wellness Officer, including one major company I’m with now and running our eight week brainSHIFT course. And right when I was ready to give up, we would get a message on Twitter, on Instagram, on LinkedIn, through the website of somebody saying, I heard Dr. Romie speak.        

00:19:20
            

I went through the eight week program. I need you to know it saved my life. It saved my marriage. And you realize this is not about me. This is about being of service to something bigger than me that I don’t quite understand.        

00:19:33
            

One, I think that is always the key when you’re working with an idea and always coming back to that. And second thing was, there’s a three pronged approach when you’re doing this research. And one of them was going back into all the medical literature to see what was there and what were the threads I could tie together so people will read straight out in chapter one and two of the book, the theory of your busy brain center is like an airport traffic control tower. And a specific pattern of neuroinflammation that occurs in the brain that gives you all three of these symptoms. Adult onset ADD.        

00:20:13
            

I can’t focus. You get ruminating anxiety that you’re constantly worried about everything you say and do and to do lists. And then you try to calm yourself down at night, and it can require alcohol or sedatives. And you can’t shut down a busy brain and you have insomnia. And we’re stuck on a stimulant sedative cycle.        

00:20:32
            

So all this got researched, and then I had to find where were the gaps in the research. And this is a great story. I came to you right as I did the first research study at Evolution Hospitality, where I put 500 leaders on digital detox. And Susan Byer, one of your colleagues, a special shout out to her. I come to her with all these spreadsheets and data.        

00:20:54
            

I mean, this was an extraordinary company. The story is in chapter nine of visionary. At that time, their president, CEO, and John Murphy. Imagine walking into any company and going to a CEO, I need data for this research I’m doing. And could I study the brains and mental health of your leaders?        

00:21:12
            

And they were like, okay. And the thing was, we made it a fun wellness program. And to this day, Pam, it is the most requested wellness initiative in our company. When are we doing the 21 day digital detox again? That was the first time ever we had studied digital detox outside of a sleep lab.        

00:21:30
            

And so you take that research. Susan helped me make sense of the numbers and found statistical significance. Then you presented at a medical meeting. I was lucky. I was at the Osteopathic College of Head and Neck, Ear, Eye, Nose and Throat Surgeons.        

00:21:49
            

And they did embrace it. And so now it becomes that it’s been presented as medical literature at a medical meeting. It’s now technically published. We have the white paper that’s on our website. We didn’t put the entire white paper in the book, but it’s on the website.        

00:22:04
            

And that is what started it. And then I knew I was onto something. And two big things happened from there. Pam, this was even before the book was being written. Two big things happened.        

00:22:15
            

Evolution Hospitality. And their leadership comes up and says, we’re bringing you in as our Chief Wellness Officer. This was early 2018. And that was another time. I called Pam, like, in the middle of the weekend.        

00:22:27
            

What does this mean? I googled it. There’s nobody else on LinkedIn with that title, like help. And my therapist got a call, and that happened. But then other companies started to take notice and we were giving them this data.        

00:22:42
            

And other companies started to do digital detox and realized this is helping our leadership team. All of that was happening long before I started to write the book, Pam. I was constantly giving out the data, asking people to do it, receiving feedback, and then constantly tweaking the protocol based on careful neurotic neurology observation. People need to know this research started in late 2017 and into 2018.        

00:23:13
            

It goes with a theory I have that knowing, as we said, you wrote on the board in 2017 that you want to write the book. So one could say, oh, so by 2018, the book was done. The book tells you when it needs to be written. In my own experience at the time of publication, be seven years from uttering that word of this is what I see in the vision of it. I believe so strongly, looking at your body of work and in particular the fact that you’re doing work and you have a hypothesis that needs to be medically informed.        

00:23:47
            

Right. With people. I mean, there’s like all of these gates and milestones to me that are really challenging. In general, if you were just a researcher in an academic institution, there’s everything you have to go through that.        

00:24:00
            

But also, you’re selling business professionals on doing this research, that they’re paying you to be doing this research, because you’re providing tremendous value. It’s so interesting to me, and that’s part of what has been such a joy of working with you through the years. I love to get those like, oh, my gosh, we have this opportunity coming, emails or texts, because it’s so fun to be figuring it out. But I love that it illustrates. There’s a working hypothesis that I’m really building out right now as a core of the work, where you have an area that you start to specialize in.        

00:24:36
            

As we look at the codification and the scaling of work, you realize you have a very specific focus that you work on. You really build that. You show up and you do magic with people in the room, right? Because like your magic, you show up, people are wowed. If you’re on stage, all of that, and then you say, okay, if I’m not just me personally here to be doing that magic, how do I codify things so I get it out, validate it, build all of the method and the model around it.        

00:25:03
            

Then there is our favorite thing, connecting with people, building the audience, Tiny Marketing Actions, getting visible, really developing that desire for the magic in the market where people look around and they’re like, what is this thing? I want more of it. Because you have to have that before you go into that fourth stage of scale where you do begin, as you are doing, to be bringing it out into larger companies, as you begin to see your IP and eventual certification. Wink, wink. Yes.        

00:25:32
            

Nudge, nudge. Right? Where you have this protocol that’s actually delivering these kinds of results. So it is magical to me. It’s the part of it that is very profound about this work.        

00:25:46
            

And I just want to underscore how difficult it is to do all of those things. And run a business. And I’m speaking and I’m single, and you’re one of my hope holders that I have a second chance at love. But right now, my travel boyfriend is Delta Airlines, and I’m currently, I have a side chick named United Airlines, and I’m traveling 150,000 plus domestic US miles a year. So I’m running a full time speaking business and consulting business while doing this research and writing the book.        

00:26:21
            

But that’s the magic of this. Everyone that’s listening to this podcast that’s in your community, and my community knows this. We are success driven professionals and we do a lot. But you have to take care of your brain, but thank you for mapping that out for me.        

00:26:35
            

I am sure you said that in some version to me back in 2017, 18, 19. I’m so impatient. I just really want to highlight to people that when you are building something like this, people are going to see this explosion of media with The Busy Brain Cure and all my work. It’s really been a ten year overnight success story, as they say. And thank you for.        

00:26:58
            

And people need to rewind everything you just said. They need to listen to that over and over, Pam, because there’s this formula that’s out there for entrepreneurs. Oh, write a book, make it a bestseller on Amazon, give a keynote lecture. You’ve made it. And people have tried to truncate that process into under twelve to 18 months.        

00:27:18
            

And I’m on stages all around the world with thought leaders. And it’s only after you pointed this out to me that when I’m sitting with other thought leaders in their areas of expertise, that I realize they’ve had the similar journey. It’s years and decades of a body of work that comes together. So really, thank you. And I think that’s a really important entrepreneurial and leadership lesson for everybody listening.        

00:27:42
            

You can’t just listen to seven podcasts and be like, I’m an expert. Ready to go. No. And I did write a blog post about it because it’s an evolution of threads that I’ve had that I hadn’t really put together so clearly. For me, it’s this combination of body of work in the widest net, beginning to see how they go together, and recognizing there’s a difference between actually having work that is true, validated work in the world that is structured and effective in such a way that large companies buy it, that people for people that work in B to C, that people can invest in that work and trust it and actually have it give results.        

00:28:22
            

Because I get cynical and judgy at times when I’m like a marketing tactic is not a business model. Just create an online course and we forget the actual meat of what we’re talking about that needs to be built. So I appreciate those parts of it. And then the other thing I love talking again about Susan Baier, our friend who does audience analysis, is I loved in the introduction to the book. This may surprise people because when they say, oh, busy brain cure wellness, they think, oh, Dr.        

00:28:54
            

Romie just sits around know being calm and meditating all day, every day. Can I read a passage from the intro for people? Okay, hear me sharing your words. So you say, “I wrote this book for you, my fellow unapologetic, Type A success driven professionals. You may have been told to slow down, but the problem is we don’t want to slow down.”       

00:29:17
            

“Quite frankly, we do not have the luxury to pause, take a break, or go on a self care sabbatical. You are the leaders, change makers, caregivers, single parents, night school attending mortgage paying adults who live in the real world. A four hour work week? Impossible. The successful people with passion for their purpose, whom I’ve served, aren’t working 4 hours a week.”       

00:29:39
            

They are teachers, lawyers, journalists, nurses, techies, finance executives, hotel general managers, airline pilots, accountants, doctors, startup founders, architects, nonprofit directors, national sales leaders, c-suite executive bankers, or pharmaceutical representatives. And they have deep, meaningful goals. In consulting with these dedicated, hardworking, and amazing people, I discovered that we all had one thing in common. If one more person told us to chill or go with a flow, we would run over them with our wearable tech and designer shoes.”        

00:30:19
            

I mean Dr. Romie, real talk. People think she’s an integrative medicine doctor. She loves mindfulness. Oh, but I learned that in the pandemic.        

00:30:29
            

All of a sudden, companies were calling to give virtual presentations really quickly I learned, and nobody want to hear, oh, eat berries and breathe and everything is going to be just fine. No, we need Dr. Romie real talk. And I needed to create a protocol for people who live in this real world.        

00:30:46
            

Now, please understand, Pam, I’m not promoting hustle culture. I’m not promoting a toxic workplace where leaders expect their employees to work insane hours. But I’m a realist, and I think it lends to my thought leadership that you can tell I have worked across every major industry in the world. And this idea of having a laptop lifestyle is not a luxury for 99% of the globe. Exactly.        

00:31:19
            

Well, and I think for those that are, as we know, I’d love to have a specific point of view. It’s something for you that people that you want to connect and relate with, that want to feel better. And I’ll get right into the protocol in just a second to talk about some of the concrete things that people do. But I love having that point of view that can be a little bit counter what many people think, which is that you don’t necessarily have to just stop doing everything and become a minimalist and so forth. For many people, that’s not going to work.        

00:31:49
            

And then for others, that’s exactly what they want to do, is just to end up having much more ease, which is great, which is a great choice for them, but for a lot of folks. Exactly. I’m okay with that, by the way. I’m okay with that. You have to be okay with that.        

00:32:04
            

As a thought leader, you have to know who you serve, and I’m here to serve people. Like, here’s the thing, Pam. I want to make success sexy again. We’ve come out of an era of everybody gets a trophy or go with the flow. I want to make it sexy to say, I want that promotion.        

00:32:24
            

I want that raise. I want to hit the bestsellers list for this book. It’s okay to have those goals. Not everybody does. But my people, we got goals.        

00:32:35
            

They’re ready to go to series ABCD. We got goals. And I want you to make success sexy in your lives, but without burning out and without having a busy brain. And that’s the whole goal of this book. So let’s go into the method. Help us understand first, what is a busy brain? This is so important, and I want to ask you and me today, and any of our listeners, do some of these symptoms resonate?        

00:33:46
            

You’re like, girl, don’t even talk to me this morning until I get a venti latte. And if they put in dairy instead of oat milk, I’m going to be b capital b bitter all day long, right? And you need caffeine to keep going. And you get to your workstation and you have multiple browser windows open on your computer and on your brain, and the tasks are multiplying and you can’t focus, and you’re like, oh, that ADHD post, that should have been about me. And then you get lost in a spiral googling productivity tips for ADHD instead of focusing on an important work deadline you have at noon and the tasks are piling up and you can’t check off your to-do list, so you keep chucking caffeine to keep going during the day.        

00:34:28
            

Or maybe your doctor gave you a prescription of Adderall to be effective. No judgment. And then you get home and you’re like, oh, I heard Dr. Romie and Pam on that podcast. Ah, I’m going to go home and do some self care, staying asleep tonight.        

00:34:42
            

And you need alcohol or three glasses of wine to take the edge off. And if you don’t drink, you’re like, let me try that bougie supplement from that Instagram influencer that was way overpriced. And you put your head down on the pillow and you can’t get the racing thoughts out of your head. Those are signs of a busy brain. And in our clinical research, we see they go hand in hand with high achieving, success driven professionals.        

00:35:09
            

What a busy brain clinically is, is a triad of symptoms, adult onset attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or just an inability to focus. Like, there’s a wide range. Why? I say adult onset, we’ll get to that in a second, Pam, but it means you didn’t have the symptoms as a child. The second part of that is ruminating anxiety.        

00:35:31
            

You, as my business coach, have seen me in that over and over again where I can’t stop playing a conversation out of my head, or I can’t stop worrying, or there’s so many things on my to-do list. I’m like, I have multiple volcanoes erupting. Where do I go? That ruminating anxiety, and then insomnia, difficulty falling and staying asleep. That triad is a particular pattern of neuro-inflammation in the brain of a hyperactive brain state, and it creates what we call the stimulant sedative addiction cycle.        

00:36:01
            

You need stimulants like caffeine or Adderall all day, and you need some kind of sedative like alcohol or a prescription sleeping pill to calm down at night. And now your brain is addicted to these to even function, let alone you have peak performance. And that is what, clinically, a busy brain is. I’m just curious, is it greatly accelerated just in the way that we use technology today with our phones and so forth? Has it been something that clinically, that there has been an increase, given the amount of devices and so forth?        

00:36:34
            

I covered that both in chapter nine of the book. When you hear the story of evolution, hospitality and digital devices and attention span, and then again in the middle of the protocol in chapter 14, we go 13 and 14, we go through that again, Pam. And what people are going to find is, listen, I’m a realist. We don’t do anything in our jobs or personal lives without digital devices anymore. But our brains are rewired now for this constant stimulation and faster activity.        

00:37:04
            

And here’s an example of my sister. I’m going to age myself, and I’m not aging you in this process. But I remember coming home and watching an entire sitcom for 30 minutes, butt on the couch and doing nothing else, not eating, not picking up a phone. I mean, do you remember those days? Or even a movie?        

00:37:21
            

Oh, I’m older than you, girl. I know. I definitely did that. Right? But we know our brains are wired today that nobody can sit through.        

00:37:31
            

Forget waiting until Thursday night. The primetime slot at 07:00 p.m. We need it on demand, and we need it streamed, and we need it without commercials. And there are very few shows or movies that are so riveting that you put down the devices we see in studies. Most people, when they’re watching tv, also have a laptop or tablet open and their phone, and they’re simultaneously taking in multiple digital devices.        

00:37:58
            

Same with our workday. In that continuous stimulation of screen and touching screens creates these bursts of dopamine, like a crack addict. And that’s what’s feeding into the attention deficit as an adult. It’s the digital devices, and we have a solution for that because we have to create an environment and work at home where we can make peace with our digital devices, but we also need to live in the real world and work and realize, like, here’s an example of a busy brain moment. You’re listening to this podcast as you’re driving home, and I’ve now said work in the last five minutes a dozen times, and you’re picking up your phone, checking your work emails out of FOMO.        

00:38:39
            

You missed something, right? That’s a sign of a busy brain. And that’s when we know you have a busy brain where you don’t really have to check the phone, but in your brain, it feels like an emergency. What if I miss an important sales email and I won’t close the deal and I won’t make my Q1 goals and I’m going to get fired, and I can’t pay the mortgage, and I’m going to be homeless, and I’m going to have to sell off all my designer shoes? You’re speaking about me, really?        

00:39:06
            

I notice my lovely husband, who has really wise advice that I very often don’t want to hear because shouldn’t you not be on your phone, like, right before you’re going to sleep, reading your lovely rom-com novel and then flipping back and forth with TikTok and all of these things? It really does become a habit. I get diagnosed by the medical advice on TikTok, which I know you laugh at me as my family does. For that, I’m like, oh, my gosh, I have this. I have ADHD.        

00:39:37
            

Kidding. Sort of. Can I tell you about that? Because this really. Thank you for that authentic moment.        

00:39:44
            

Yes. Two things I just want to remind people. They know this, that TikTok comes from China. Their children are limited to less than 45 minutes day of a use of it. But here, it’s literally unraveling the mental health of adults and children.        

00:40:00
            

Number one. Number two, from corporate leaders, people that are in the traditional workplace that are listening to this going, oh, Dr. Romie has a solution for burnout in the workplace. You don’t need to invest in another one of those big platforms. And then HR people go, Dr.        

00:40:14
            

Romie, less than 3% of our employees are engaging with that platform. And we spent all this money as a Chief Wellness Officer. Pam, that is what I deal with every day. Our employees sending me Instagram Reels or TikTok saying, Dr. Romie, is this true?        

00:40:27
            

So thank God this company is smart enough, and I’ve worked there years that I’ve built the trust of employees that they at least are coming to me now. Sometimes they’re not happy when I say, no. My sister Pam, that’s some TikTok nonsense. That person called themselves a doctor, and all they did was print up a certificate off of Google to call themselves a doctor. They didn’t go to medical school, naturopathic school, chiropractic school.        

00:40:52
            

No, they’re like, not really a doctor. And so most people don’t know the difference. Like, you could buy a white doctor’s lab coat from Amazon and get on TikTok, and 90% of people will think that is a healthcare professional giving advice. And so that’s the challenge we have. Yes, well, and I do appreciate it.        

00:41:13
            

And you’re always on one shoulder, on the angel shoulder for me, of looking over my shoulder. So let’s just talk for a couple of minutes and knowing there’s so much fantastic detail in the book in terms of really being a protocol. But you have a model brainSHIFT, which the SHIFT acronym stands for Sleep, Hormones, markers of Inflammation, Food as fuel, and Technology to give us a just high level picture about these areas of the protocol. How do you explain it to people? Like, when we’re like, okay, I know that I’m doing this thing that Pam does, and how do I start to break it?        

00:41:51
            

How do you start to break it? Well, it’s kind of like none of us have the same hairstyle that are listening to the podcast. None of us have the identical solution to a busy brain. And so in my research, I was like, the problem happens in these five buckets. Your circadian rhythm or sleep for some people, hormones for another, markers of inflammation, like vitamin D, as in dog three, food, specifically, sugar.        

00:42:15
            

Caffeine together, and then digital distraction, or TikTok tea. Right. Or tinder for tea. So those were the five buckets that I had to address, and then I had to do something even deeper, my sister, which was this, I am going to create a protocol without putting anybody on a diet. Diet is a four letter curse word in The Brain Shift Institute, and nor are we going to put somebody on a calorie limiting cleanse.        

00:42:46
            

Because here is the thing I learned as a Chief Wellness Officer with employees from a global, diverse workforce is this is all of the traditional diets that are coming out here in the new year right now. Do not take diversity, equity and belonging and inclusion into play like, I want comfort, because I finally learned how to make my nanny’s lamb biryani. And there ain’t one quote unquote healthy whole foods ingredient in that recipe. Yeah. And the psychological trauma and stress.        

00:43:20
            

You’ll give yourself a busy brain over a diet, over a cleanse, over meal prep, over wanting to enjoy birthday cake at your child’s first birthday party. I don’t want that for anybody. So, one, I want to make it clear there’s no diet here. And then I had to go through all of that nonsense that I hear on Instagram and TikTok and do this. No, do that.        

00:43:43
            

And my job was to research the eight simple micro habits that are brain shifts that will actually heal burnout and get to the root cause in one of those five buckets. And that’s chapters 10 through 18. Because if you’re like, girl, I’m busy and I know you’re funny, and the stories of your Aunties are hysterical in the book. Give it to me straight. Listen, I won’t fault you for turning straight to chapter ten.        

00:44:05
            

You’re going to take the busy brain test online for free. It’s in the book. There’s a QR code. We’ll link it here in the podcast. You get your score, and we walk you week by week, these micro habits.        

00:44:15
            

But here was the key thing in that five part acronym that is most important. The entire preface of a busy brain is that your circadian rhythm, our biological clock, is off in our brain, in our body, in our hormone system, in our spirit, and we need that back. And so you have to start with the s in the shift protocol, which is sleep. And I ask people, even those that travel like me and sometimes have to take a red eye flight, or people that are in global workforces and have no choice but to get up in the middle of the night to talk in the US to a team that’s in India. That’s okay.        

00:44:50
            

We ask for a 10 to 14 day. We put them on a seven day sleep challenge right out of the gate. And we ask, could you give me 14 days to focus on resetting your sleep cycle? I will tell you, this is why companies and CEOs and Chros, right away know, I don’t know what that brainshift thing Dr. Romie was doing, but something has changed in our company.        

00:45:09
            

People are happy again. It is amazing in 14 days the transformation individuals and teams make just by doing that. Can you just give me a couple of examples of what is that? What are we shifting from and to? Yeah, we’re basically shifting from having an irregular sleep pattern to doing what so many people have heard in my keynote lectures that we ask teams to do, which is, we ask you, me, Pam, as individuals, to set a regular time to sleep and a regular time to get up every day.        

00:45:39
            

It doesn’t matter if it’s a work day, a school day, or a play day, or a vacation day. We’re going to set that. Then step two from that is backtracking and asking for strict digital detox 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime, including no tv, no screens. If you’re going to meditate or listen to music, don’t do it looking at a screen. And then three, we give the key supplements and obviously talk to your doctor before you start.        

00:46:05
            

These supplements that help to reset the circadian rhythm, melatonin, are actually making the situation worse. So the two supplements I dive into deeply in chapter eleven and twelve of the book is five htp, five hydroxytryptophan, which is a precursor to serotonin, the feel good hormone, and magnesium glycinate, which is a key mineral that our brain needs and our circadian rhythm needs to reset that we can’t get enough or easily from food. Those three steps in the first 14 days transform lives. There’s other instructions in there for brain dump, so that’s for individuals. Now, if you’re listening to this going Dr.        

00:46:42
            

Romie, I got that global team. I have young children. I have to go back to work after bed or my emails will never get answered. I got you. What we’re trying to do in that ten to 14 day system is also to reset your circadian rhythm, Pam, so that you understand what’s truly an emergency at work, what’s urgent at work, and what’s a daily to do task.        

00:47:05
            

The kind of green, yellow, red, red is an emergency red. Like to use an example. At Evolution Hospitality, our general managers, if they’re at home, they need a phone call, if a guest had an accident, if the building’s on fire, if those are a flood in our businesses, we all have that identify what those emergencies are. Right? Yellow is something that’s urgent, but it doesn’t need to be done right before bedtime, right?        

00:47:33
            

Don’t forget your podcast interview with Pam today or I have a flight coming and it’s urgent. I need to finish packing. By the way, after I do this podcast interview with you, I’m on the road for the next twelve days, right, in two different climates. So those are things that need to be taken care of. But an email doesn’t need to be addressed.        

00:47:52
            

Honestly, when you do an email assessment and we walk you through this in one of our exercises in chapters 13 and 14 of taking a brain pause in the book, we actually ask you to look through your emails and identify how many of these things were a daily task. And really, that’s what it is. Somebody saying, could you sign this contract? Could you loop so and so into this meeting? Those are daily tasks that don’t need to be done.        

00:48:15
            

But when our busy brain score is above a 30, our brain thinks everything is red emergency. Do it now. Answer it now. And then what happens when you have a busy brain? You open up your emails to do that one calendar invite or sign that one contract, and 92 minutes later you’re taking care of a new project and you’re like, let me just knock some things out before the work day tomorrow.        

00:48:34
            

Yeah. It’s so interesting. And the combination, it’s been fun to talk about it through the years with you because you can have the medical evidence about it and you can know the kinds of things that need to change. But I see where it really does meet a framework and a context for how you think about work, how you set boundaries and expectations, if you are an entrepreneur, how it is that you’re delegating. You know, my favorite activity.        

00:48:59
            

Exactly. SOPs. You know that I love my buckets of quarters. So I feel like I spend half my life helping people to say what actually has to happen this quarter versus what can happen next quarter. Or do you really do this right?        

00:49:17
            

I mean, that’s why we go back and forth with it. And so it’s interesting where you do have this interplay between how you are really thoughtful about what you’re doing in many ways remembering who you are, remembering your power, having clarity in your mindset, really grounding and anchoring in whatever your own spiritual practice is for people who have that kind of experience in their life. But it is just so interesting to me where you can begin to see, I think, one without the other is really incomplete. Yes. Because what you’re going to have this quarterly talk with people like me, every single coaching call, if they don’t cure their busy brain or I cure my busy brain, but I don’t have the skill set you do.        

00:49:58
            

And I’m like, okay, I’m doing the protocol. I’ve gotten my labs checked. I’m fixing my thyroid or whatever else is off. But I also need help as an entrepreneur in my business. And that’s where your SOPs come in.        

00:50:09
            

You’re absolutely right. They go together. I mean, literally, you got to cure the busy brain as an entrepreneur or a founder and do that so that you can implement all the time management techniques, productivity tools, all the business planning that needs to take place. It’s true. And I know we often have fond talks.        

00:50:27
            

As you mentioned before, having a therapist, like so many of my clients, I feel like we’re in this wonderful shared space. It goes a lot to The Widest Net Method of any one person when they’re trying to do something, needs to have a variety of support and input. So you might notice, wow, somebody has a desire to grow their business, but they’re really panicking and they’re noticing they’re totally stuck when they’re trying to take tiny marketing actions. Like, I wonder what’s happening emotionally. Maybe there are things to work on there, or I find this all the time, and now I know the book to send them and the program to send them on, but where I might talk to somebody who’s super enthusiastic, they’re not afraid of doing something, but we can meet once every two weeks, and they’re like, gosh, I had kept meaning to get to the work that is more strategic in my business, but I just find I’m always totally distracted.        

00:51:16
            

And what’s so important to know you can tell yourself that story that it’s just because I’m not a focused person and I lack discipline. When, as a medical doctor, what I’m hearing from you is you have serious inflammation that’s happening in your brain. There are medical things happening that the chemicals are driving the train. Yes. And you’re not strong enough to get it.        

00:51:40
            

You know what it is? I have this thing that I have this problem that you’ve helped me with, and I say it often, and I don’t know who coined the phrase, but the shiny entrepreneurial project syndrome that we have a quarterly plan, and you’re like, oh, but I’m going to start a podcast. Oh, I heard Dr. Romie on Pam’s podcast. I’m going to go write a book.        

00:52:00
            

You keep shifting. That’s a sign of a busy brain. And yes, there’s data out there that entrepreneurs and founders may have a higher rate of adult onset ADD or ADHD, but we need to treat it and then go back and put those systems in place that going back to that red, green, yellow method, what I’m hearing from you is there is a red that you’ve identified for them. Like, hey, we need to do this strategic planning or this outreach, or you need to handle this in your finances, and they’re too busy working on the green things. Right.        

00:52:30
            

And it’s not just prioritizing, but it’s a busy brain. And I really want to say this as me, you’re not going to just do this eight week protocol and hallelujah, you’re cured. You will read the very last chapter of the book. The edits to the manuscript almost didn’t go in. I was having a busy brain.        

00:52:49
            

And I remember reaching out to you, Pam, and I remember you literally having to curse me to say, get on the plane and go on vacation. And it was you and my therapist that made sure. And I had to go through the protocol all over again. And I really want people to know it’s a cycle and it can happen and have help. And that’s why I’m so thankful you are part of my team, the people holding space, the strategists that are in my life to make this happen.        

00:53:17
            

Because I now get done more in one day when I’ve cured my busy brain and I’ve brainshifted than the average American worker does in two weeks. And that’s how I can speak full time for a living, be a Chief Wellness Officer and have this book and have this protocol that we’re now taking out from corporate america into the public. I am so excited by it. It’s just such a great joy, delight and honor to be walking this journey with you. And I just want to underscore for folks who are listening as we go right to the very top of the interview, and as you were just sharing about what it meant for you to have the courage just to speak your truth and to really lay out your dreams and to have the courage in a lot of challenge, personally, professionally, the world as it relates to the economy, like all these different ways that you’ve had to navigate, but your work is so important and it literally is going to be changing the lives of so many people who are experiencing it.        

00:54:24
            

And it is why, when I talk about architects of liberatory change, you are one of them. And what I mean by that very deliberately is we have to design new ways of working and being. And I think for all of us, in the speed of the world and everything that’s happening, we literally need to have models that we can go back to so we can recognize and say, oh my gosh, I’m in the middle of busy brain. Like, I know what it is. I can recognize the symptoms, I know the kinds of things that I can do to get back on track.        

00:54:57
            

As a parent of a teenager, I think about this a lot with the way that my kids use technology, what are ways that I can really help do it. So I’m so thankful just to be able to be a partner with you on this journey. And I say this in a totally non patronizing way, I hope. But I am so proud of you. Thank you.        

00:55:19
            

I’m so excited for you. That’s not patronizing. Thank you. Because entrepreneurial journey and when you’re on a visionary path can be really lonely. And yes, maybe the people you expected to say, I’m proud of you, they don’t even understand what you’re doing.        

00:55:36
            

And so I’m so thankful you’re here. As the entrepreneur whisperer, you have this gift of working with those thought leaders who can get stuck in idea and to help us build a business and scale it. And just thank you for being one of my hope holders, which is really when you finally cure the busy brain, you come back to that place of hope. There were so many people like you holding hope for me, and here I am. And my intention with this book is that I and this manuscript are now holding hope for you and your brain.        

00:56:10
            

I so receive that and appreciate it. Well, I can’t wait to see you all over american television, on morning shows, on stages. I can’t wait to be on airplanes and see people holding your beautiful book. It’s so joyful. And so for people who want to connect with you, what is the best way to do that?        

00:56:31
            

Yes. I am Dr. Romie. D-R-R-O-M-I-E. Dr.        

00:56:36
            

Romie.com, the website. If you are curious about this book, you can go to busybraincure.com. You can take the busy brain test for free. Get your score if it’s above a 30, we have all the resources for free for you on that page. You can order the book.        

00:56:51
            

And do me a favor, order a second copy for someone in your life or your doctor so you don’t have to go through this journey alone. For the doctors, there’s a lot of science in there of why we do the entire protocol and then hashtag brainshift on social media. Let me know how you’re feeling and how you’re doing and ask us questions. We have a global brainshift community. You’re going to find someone on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok that is going through the healing journey of busy brain right along with you.        

00:57:23
            

It’s an honor to hold hope for the entire global community. I love it. Well, thank you so much, Dr. Romie, for sharing time with us today. For those listening, check out the show notes at pamelaslim.com we will have tips, resources, links to the book, as well as the quiz.        

00:57:40
            

I want to thank my 31 Marketplace production team, La’Vista Jones, Tanika Lothery, Jose Arboleda and our award winning show narrator Andia Winslow. Until next time, be sure to subscribe and rate the show and continue getting inspiration to help grow your world changing work at scale.

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