Mark Waldman: NeuroWisdom 101: 58 Ways to Transform Your Brain

By Jennifer McCartney

Did you know it takes less than 60 seconds to improve your mood, lower stress, reduce anxiety and increase work productivity?

Mark Waldman, bestselling author of “How God Changes Your Brain,” and one of the world’s leading experts on spirituality, consciousness and the brain, shared some of the most powerful brain-changing strategies — those he teaches to MBA students at Loyola Marymount University and to organizations around the world, during the “Living an Elevated Existence Mind, Body & Soul Summit Season 2,” to help listeners reduce stress, and live a better, more relaxed life.

Mark shared:

  • The three fastest ways to relax
  • The most dangerous word in the world
  • A single word that will turn on 1200 stress-reducing genes
  • Why meditating LESS is better for your brain

“If you have too much stress, you are eight times more likely to come down with cardiovascular disease. Stress is the No. 1 enemy of the world health organization,” he told listeners. The key to reducing that stress — backed by enormous amounts of scientific research, is mindfulness. “This is the only strategy that is the most effective for dealing with virtually every kind of form of stress,” said Waldman, noting it can even act as a cancer preventive and help in the treatment of cancer. “That’s how powerful mindfulness is,” he said.

The problem is even though we know the benefits of mindfulness, “most of us in the business world will not spend even five minutes on meditation,” he said. Most of us just can’t find the time in our day to meditate regularly. But luckily, studies have shown that just 20 minutes of meditation are as effective as 40 minutes of meditation—and Waldman discovered that even just 12 minutes has the same positive results!

“We are talking about meditating for one minute every hour throughout the workday,” he said.

During that one minute, we can do simple mindfulness exercises to center and reconnect, including taking a full 60 seconds to slowly roll our neck in a circle. This alerts us to all the areas of tension we are carrying, and helps to dissolve them. Even yawning — starting with a forced yawn, and then yawning 10 times in a row — can bring us to a very relaxed state, Walman explained.

He also shared how to find one word that will turn on stress-reducing genes in our body — and this can be different for everyone. After getting into a more relaxed state, whether yawning, meditating or doing a mindfulness exercise — Waldman teaches many — we can ask ourselves: “What is your deepest value?” Write down the first word that comes to mind on a piece of paper. This one word that you discover after your minute of yawning, stretching, etc. can help you focus in your meditation, relax quickly and reduce stress.

“We now have evidence that the word you come up with…will turn on 1,200 stress reducing genes,” said Waldman


Additionally, 90 percent of Waldman’s students reported their stress levels went down and their work productivity went up after performing one of the mindfulness exercises Waldman shared on the call. These include:

1. Yawning: One of the quickest ways to relax is to yawn—so if you can “fake” 10 yawns you might feel awkward for the first few, but after that you’ll feel relaxed. With each yawn, notice how your awareness changes. “With each yawn that you take…you’ll notice that all of your worries and fears and concerns about yesterday or about tomorrow begin to fade away. As your brain and your mind relaxes, you end up coming into the present moment more and more. And it’s very pleasant. Yawning actually wakes you up,” said Waldman.

2. Stretch slowly: Take time to roll your neck, or your shoulders, and feel how your body reacts as you slowly bring the blood flow back to your body and release areas of tension. By engaging your muscles and focusing on how your body feels, you’ll be increasing awareness of your physical body and getting closer to that self-awareness.

3. Self-nurturing: Take a moment and be kind to yourself. “Touch your fingers and the palms of your hands, tickle and stroke them with your other fingers the way that gives you the most amount of pleasure,” advised Waldman. Your skin is part of the nervous system and all systems in your body are interconnected. So if you can do this one minute per day, or a few times per day, you can help make yourself feel better.

Waldman explained the science behind the yawn, stretch, self-nurture meditation: The more pleasure you feel, the more dopamine is released by your brain. It’s the feel good hormone—so if you want to raise your consciousness or increase your spiritual awareness, “take a few seconds to slowly stretch, take a few more seconds to yawn…and add self-touch. You will find you enter these blissful states.”

The application of this one-minute meditation isn’t just limited to a quick way to relax at your work desk. He advised it can be practiced before a big meeting, or before you have to give a speech or appear on stage, and it can also be used in interpersonal relationships—if you’re having relationship issues just take a moment to stretch and yawn and reground your awareness.

He also recommended downloading a mindfulness bell app, and setting it to ring every hour. The one-minute break you take is the perfect opportunity to do a mindfulness exercises.

“And once an hour, ask yourself this question: what is your deepest most innermost value,” he said.

For more from Mark and the other 25 experts in mind, body and spirit topics, sign up FREE to Season 2 of the Living an Elevated Existence Summit.


Kelley Kosow: Defying Gravity: Discover the Power of Your Shadow

By Jennifer McCartney

As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Our shadows, whether we realize it or not, dictate the quality of our lives, impacting our thoughts, feelings, behaviors, actions, inactions and choices. They determine the amount of success, love, joy, abundance and confidence we will or will not realize. When we deny our shadows and hide the parts of ourselves that we deem inappropriate or do not like or want to be, we whittle away at our full self-expression.

Kelley Kosow, life coach and chief creative officer and faculty member at The Ford Institute for Transformational Training, founded by New York Times bestselling author Debbie Ford, joined Tammy Mastroberte, founder of Elevated Existence Magazine for the  “Living an Elevated Existence Mind, Body & Soul Summit Season 2,” to explain how we can bring the light of awareness and compassion to our shadow selves and improve all areas of our lives.

“The shadow is the parts of ourselves that we don’t want to be, that we try to hide, that we deem inappropriate,” Kosow told listeners. “Little by little, we begin to whittle away parts of ourselves. Our concept is based on wholeness—it’s about being able to live to the full expression and the full range of who you are.”

So how do we develop these shadows, and where do they come from? Kosow explained our shadows are often something we develop very young. When we’re upset, or we don’t know how to handle an event, we blame it on ourselves and become shameful. We unconsciously choose to hide those parts of ourselves away. For example, if a child stutters in school, they might come to believe they are stupid, and then they try and hide that they are stupid for everyone around them. Or, it could be as a child, if our parents are divorced and we never see our father. Our shadow self tells us we are unlovable. Then as we grow up we keep attracting events, people and situations to ourselves to prove this point right.

“It creates self-sabotage,” she said. “So it’s the seven-year-old that’s running your life, not the mature adult because you’re going back to that place when the shadow belief was created.” So even though our shadows are living in the outskirts of our conscious mind, they’re actually running the operating system of our conscious mind. “It’s there even though you don’t realize it, impacting every aspect of your daily life,” she explained.

These shadow selves we refuse to own can manifest themselves in many ways in our adult lives, sabotaging us and popping up at the worst time and in the worst way. Kosow shared an example of a public figure with a shadow — Elliott Spitzer, the governor of New York.

“My favorite all time example is Elliot Spitzer who went around trying to rid New York City of prostitution . . . and then was caught with a prostitute. So that’s a perfect example of a shadow quality.”

We often create an opposite persona of our shadow to cover it up, she explained. “We put so much energy in the denial of it,” she said. But we are not healing that wound until we learn to embrace the shadow and find the gift hidden within it. “Every quality has a gift to it,” she told listeners, even those we believe are negative or undesirable. And we possess all of them — all the qualities we don’t like in others exist within us, and we want to develop a loving relationship with them so they can’t sabotage or hinder us.

We might think we don’t want to be nasty, angry or a failure, but there is a gift in all of these qualities. If we let go and embrace these qualities, we can be more whole and authentic. If we let go and embrace failure, for example, we can see failure allows us to leave a bad marriage or allows us to leave a job we don’t want—both which offer positive outcomes.

“At the end of the day, we’re here to evolve,” Kosow explained. “The shadow is here to show you you so you can be who you are and live a fuller life and an authentic life.”

Kosow shared three steps to finding and embracing our shadow selves:

1. Unconceal — We have to know what our shadows are so the first step is to unconceal them. “I love when I find a shadow because I know on the other side of that shadow is freedom,” said Kosow.

We can look to the outside world to see what our triggers might be. What aggravates us about someone? The world is our mirror and is there to teach us, and because we can’t see ourselves we need other people to show us. If we are triggered by someone, we are reacting to a part of ourselves. “Anything you judge in others is is probably something you have yourself,” she said.

2. Own It — Say, “I am that.” So if we see someone that’s abusive—verbally or physically, we should examine our own actions. We may not be physically or emotionally abusive, but it may manifest itself differently. We may be self-abusive. “Every time I had a cookie when I was on a diet, or beat myself up for not being perfect, that’s abusive,” said Kosow. The quality may manifest itself very differently than the trait we see in another person. We may not be a “cheater” in the sense that we are unfaithful in your marriage, but we may cheat ourselves

3. Embrace It — Here is where we embrace and find the gift within the shadow. How does that quality actually serve you? For example, maybe not wanting to be a cheater may make you brutally honest. Or it may make you incredibly loyal. If you’re judgmental that shadow quality may make you a more discerning person and help you from being taken advantage of in life. If you feel unlovable, you may go to the other extreme and prove how lovable you are, and the gift in that is you’re helping other people, you have a lot of compassion for people, or you’ll have really good friends. “That’s what we call embracing the gift,” she said.

The outer world is a reflection of our own world, Kelley concluded. “If you only own 50 percent of yourself you’re only manifesting 50 percent of the real world. If you can own all of who you are, that’s when you’re open to manifesting everything,” she said. Once we have embraced 100 percent of our own potential, that’s what we will be able to create in the outer world. “

You can say to me, ‘Kelley you’re a bitch.’ And I say, ‘Yeah, I know,’” she said. “There’s a gift in everything and owning those shadows can only make us more whole.”

Mary Beth Vanderlinden: Healing Journey of Your Soul – Release and Reclaim Your Fragmented Self

By Jennifer McCartney

Do you feel disconnected or like a part of you is missing? Do you have difficulty remembering your early years? Are you afraid of certain things but don’t know why? Maybe you have recurring dreams or nightmares, or are prone to anxiety and panic attacks?

Past life regression and soul retrieval may contain the answers you’ve been looking for with Mary Beth Vanderlinden shared how past life regression and soul retrieval can help during an interview with Elevated Existence founder Tammy Mastroberte, during the Living an Elevated Existence Mind, Body & Soul Summit Season 2. ” Vanderlinden—an ordained minister and intuitive healer who has been called “the human CAT scan” for her ability to see, hear and feel energy—also explained the effects of retrieving fragmented soul parts and how this can bring a person back into wholeness so he or she can move forward in life. This reuniting can also bring back joy, free one from depression, addictions and more.

She explained our soul and it’s past lives hold the key to having a happy, healthy and prosperous future, and that past-life energy can negatively affect our current lives without us even realizing it. How do we know we have past life energy holding us back? “The main way you can tell past life energy is holding you is if you can’t move forward,” Vanderlinden said. “You feel stuck.” She compared it to feeling like we are sinking in quicksand.

Our present-day issues brought about by past life energy can manifest themselves in many ways. She gave the example of a woman who felt afraid or uncomfortable around men, explaining that it could be the result of a devastating sexual and physical abuse from a past life. Our bodies retain an imprint of that abuse. “There’s that cellular memory built in fear,” she said. Also, these past lives can affect not only us but also our entire families, for generations.

“If you see patterns that are repeating in families like poverty, that’s ancestral,” she shared. If we try and escape these patterns ourselves, by trying to overcome our fear of men or trying to better manage our money, or escape a cycle of abuse that our mothers and grandmothers also suffered, our cellular energy is actively fighting against us, telling us, “you can’t do that,” she said.


Protecting Our Energy
To complicate matters, it isn’t just past energy effecting on our daily lives, but also the energy people bring to us—everyone we interact with has their own energy and we often absorb it and take it on without realizing it.

“You’re soaking up their energy and you’re showing the symptoms of that energy,” she said, using the example of meeting a friend for lunch and suddenly feeling drained afterwards. “If you notice that every time you meet them for lunch the same things happens…you notice you always feel really drained or you just don’t feel right afterwards…that person is the one you’re picking up energy from.”

So how do we protect our own energy on a daily basis, and ground ourselves so we don’t absorb the energy of others and allow it to effect us in a negative way? Vanderlinden walked listeners though the below exercise to use before we start our day:

Get seated comfortably and uncross your legs. Rest your hands on your thighs or knees. Take in a deep cleansing breath. Do that three times. 

In front of you just imagine a path in a meadow. Notice the flowers, the butterflies, and the birds. Feel the sun on your face. Now in front of you you’re about to enter a forest with massive oak trees. Walking through the forest you enter a clearing and you can feel free to sit down or remain standing.

Now you see a seedling dropping from an oak tree, fluttering toward you. It enters in through your belly and comes to settle in the core of your being. It sprouts and grows in the core of your being. It extends its roots down your back and leg and into the earth. All the way through the dirt and soil and rock to the hot core of the earth. See them drawing in that earth energy. The roots draw that energy back up into the core of your being. Feel that warm healing earth energy pulsing through your core and sit with that a moment.

 Then see the heavens open and give heavenly light to our third eye and down through our heart to the core of our being. Feel that divine light and learning and protection. Take a deep breath. Now we’re solidly grounded to heaven and to earth.      

Additionally, to establish energy boundaries, she taught listeners to “get into their coconut,” which involved projecting heavenly light from our core, our solar plexus, and pushing it out so it’s 5-feet on either side of us, as well as above and below us. This is our energy boundary and it has a hard shell, she said. Then we set the intention, “My energy is my energy, and it stays inside the coconut.”

You want to get into your coconut every morning, she said, suggesting we do the practice as soon as we wake up or while in the shower. “Otherwise, you keep getting mired in other people’s energy.”

For more from Mary Beth and the other 25 experts in mind, body and spirit topics, sign up FREE to Season 2 of the Living an Elevated Existence Summit.



Dina Proctor: Using Mini-Meditation for Transformation

By Jennifer McCartney

Dina Proctor is a life and business coach with a specialty in mind-body connection. The bestselling author of “Madly Chasing Peace: How I Went From Hell to Happy in Nine Minutes a Day,” joined Tammy Mastroberte, founder of Elevated Existence Magazine, for the “Living an Elevated Existence Mind, Body & Soul Summit Season 2,” to reveal just how vital our mindset is in shaping our bodies, relationships and outer reality and how 3-minute bursts of focused meditation throughout the day can transform our lives.

Dina discovered 3 x 3 meditation (3 minutes of meditation 3 times a day) at a low point in her life when she was struggling with alcohol addiction, and tried meditation but found that sitting still for 20 minutes just wasn’t working. She found her body “maxed out” at around three minutes. Instead of being frustrated by this, she decided to listen to her intuition and instead of sitting for a full 20 minutes, she broke up the time throughout the day in three-minute segments.

“Our intuition always knows the best route for us,” she explained. “If we nourish our bodies three time a day why not nourish our soul three time a day?” And 3 x 3 meditation was born.

These short bursts can also be a good starting point if people are curious about meditation, she noted. “Just putting yourself into a relaxed state for three minutes is taking you out of your stress state. And putting yourself in a relaxed state has a huge effect,” she said. “I don’t doubt that if you’re going from zero to once a day that you’ll have a positive benefit.”

Effectiveness is not tied to the time period, but about taking that break to disconnect. It’s about what gets us into that space of “emotional gratitude,” said Proctor. “Whether it’s 5 x 5 or 3 x 3 or whatever. Even 10, 20, 30 seconds of uninterrupted focused mental energy…is way more effective than sitting there and letting your mind wander.”

The important thing is the function of meditation to interrupt negative thoughts, and to rewire the brain’s stress response. “You’re constantly interrupting your subconscious programming,” she explained. Our recurring negative thoughts about how we’ll never lose weight, or how we’ll never look as good as someone we see on television get disrupted. Eventually a switch will flip in our brain, and we’ll have escaped those negative programs, she said.


Working in Cycles
To bring structure and intention to your 3 x 3 she advises working in seven-day cycles. Chose one intention to take into your meditations that week, and at the end of the week check in to see what has changed. “Within seven days you’re likely to see some kind of difference within yourself,” she explained. It could be that we are sleeping a bit better or feeling less stressed at work, or simply more aware of our thoughts.

You’re rewiring your brain pattern,” she said. What will manifest are feelings of emotional connectivity and feelings of creativity and inspiration. She compared meditation to gardening. “You have to weed the garden and till the soil. You have to create the space so that the flowers can grow,” said Proctor.

One of the challenges may be finding time in the middle of the day to make space for it. But the mid-day meditation in the 3×3 cycle is an important one because this is when mind chatter is at its loudest, said Proctor. That’s why it’s important to interrupt this chatter and do the meditation anyway.

“We think whatever we have going on is so amazingly important that we can’t take time for our higher self,” she said. “It’s believing the universe wants you to succeed. You’ll notice you have few minutes after your last meeting and before your next one.”

She also suggested popping out to the car or running to the bathroom in order to make the time. “It might feel overwhelming but realize that when you start one thing it may…have this trickle down effect. Set your timer. The universe is not going to sabotage you. The universe is setting us up for success,” she noted.

For more from Dina and the other 25 experts in mind, body and spirit topics, sign up FREE to Season 2 of the Living an Elevated Existence Summit.


Paul Scheele: Align Your Mind & Body

By Jennifer McCartney

With the breakthrough technology of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and whole brain learning you can improve any aspect of your life – even while you are sleeping. Author, co-founder of Learning Strategies Corp., and founder of Scheele Learning Systems, Paul R. Scheele, Ph.D., joined Tammy Mastroberte, founder of Elevated Existence Magazine, for the “Living an Elevated Existence Mind, Body & Soul Summit Season 2,” to teach us how we can reprogram our brains to reach our highest potential.

Scheele explained we’ve all been preprogrammed—often in a negative way—by society, which dictates how we feel about ourselves, our work and our relationships. Most of us don’t question this programming, and we just accept it unquestioningly.

“We’re often stopped from exploring and developing our true genius as we become adults,” he said. “We get through school, and we are programmed into what’s called ‘the socialized mind.’”

Sheele compared the preprogrammed brain to a computer that’s been infected with a virus. “We were raised to be obedient to the society that raised us, and we have accepted many of our programs unquestioningly,” he said. Maybe we now believe we’re bad at math, or that we can’t lose weight, or that we’ll never find a job. These become our default settings, and our brains don’t even try to solve the problem.

“We try to use the stuff we were given and when it doesn’t work we think, ‘oh I’m broken,’ or we look at society, and we think that society’s broken,” he noted. What we need is to identify the virus in our mind or the pre-programming we have accepted, and get rid of it. We can reprogram the brain using a variety of tools, including NLP so that our brain functions differently—more productively, and more in line with our highest self.

We all need to start by asking: “What are the voices in your head telling you?” said Scheele.

Rather than get stuck in what he called “the socialized mind,” we can become the author of our own mind, which Scheele calls “the self-authoring mind,” and ultimately, we can progress to what developmental psychologists call “the self-transforming mind.”

“That’s what we’re really encouraging here … people not just authoring their minds, but learning to transform their lives,” he explained. “We can make profound changes in our lives almost instantaneously.”


Three Brain Tools
In order to reprogram out brain, we need to understand how it works. The brain runs on three things:

1.Concentration or focus. This is what we focus on during our daily lives. If we’re meditating and focusing on breaking old thought patterns, our brain will respond accordingly. If we’re spending all our time focusing on the same old thought patterns—that’s our brain running on default. We can choose what we focus on.

2. Imagination. Our brain will create what it is that we focus our attention on. We need to step into this full representation of what we imagine. If we can “see” it in our mind’s eye we can transform it into reality.

3. Suggestion. This is what we suggest to ourselves or the suggestions we receive from others. For example, if we are in an abusive marriage where we are told that we’re worthless, not good enough, not worthy of love over and over, then we learn to accept that as the truth. Even if we escape we still have these programs running in your brain—these suggestions need to be deprogrammed. “Anytime anyone says ‘I can’t,’ they’re right. They’re absolutely programming that,” said Scheele.

The brain responds to these three powerful tools, but most of us don’t actually access the full power and potential our brains possess. We cruise along, instead of using the built in “turbochargers” that can get us where we need to go. In order to rise to the next stage of consciousness, “we have to subject our ideas to inquiry,” Scheele said. “You get more of what you reinforce.”

Once we’ve begun to positively program your brain and use it at its full potential, and are able to move into the self-authoring and self-transforming mind, we’ll find ourselves interacting differently in our family systems, work systems, and even in our church or community. We will find ourselves naturally assuming a leadership role. We will feel more self-confidence because we believe in ourselves, because that is how we are programmed.

“The change is coming from within you,” he said. “It’s not an act of willpower. It feels natural.”


For more from Paul and the other 25 experts in mind, body and spirit topics, sign up FREE to Season 2 of the Living an Elevated Existence Summit.

Marilyn Bradford: Thriving Beyond Addiction

What if addiction was not about the alcohol, sex or other people’s problems, but about a choice to go unconscious? Are you willing to make a different choice … a choice for consciousness and you? What if you could have the freedom to be the person you’ve always known or hoped you could be? Whether its food, a substance or overspending, your future does not have to reflect your past.

Marilyn Bradford, therapist, teacher and author of “Right Recovery For You,” offered “Living an Elevated Existence Mind, Body & Soul Summit Season 2,” participants tools and techniques to facilitate them in choosing and reclaiming themselves.

“You don’t have to buy into all these so-called expert points of view about what’s right for you and what’s not right for you,” she said. “A lot of addiction counseling is focused on the idea that the experts know and you don’t—but don’t judge yourself as less than and give yourselves over to them thoroughly.”

Addiction takes many forms, and while most think of drugs and alcohol, addiction can also involve shopping, gambling, cigarettes, sex, over-eating, overworking, or even being addicted to drama, or to playing a victim. However it manifests, Bradford believes addiction is a default we go to in order to forget, to go unconscious for a time.

“It’s a kind of coping skill we use because nobody gave us other coping skills. We use addiction to escape our realities,” she said.

Because of this, she does not look at addiction as a disease but rather as something we fall into—and something we can escape from. We weren’t born into the world with addictive behaviors. We acquire them, and we can get rid of them.

“This isn’t about someone who does a lot of drugs going cold turkey,” she cautioned. “But it is about rethinking how we deal with addiction.”


The Root Cause of Addiction
But first, how do we know if we have addictive behaviors? When should we be worried that a behavior is negatively impacting our lives? “The way you can tell that something is an additive behavior is if when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed it’s what you go towards. It’s a default place where you don’t really have to exist,” she said. “If you feel a compulsion to do a certain thing and you don’t feel okay unless you do that, then it’s probably an additive behavior.”

She asked us to consider, “If I wasn’t about to do ‘blank’ then what would I be aware of?” It’s about discovering what we’re trying to escape from that she says is the first key to recovery. All addiction has a root cause—usually stemming from a sense of being wrong or different, along with a tendency to judge ourselves unmercifully all the time. This root cause is what Bradford calls, the “primary addiction.” The secondary addiction is the one people tend to address, which is the actual addictive behavior and how the primary addiction manifests itself, but we can’t ignore the root cause if we want to fully recovery, she said. The more we ask questions about the root cause of our addiction the more we can work towards resolving it, she encouraged.

As an example, she shared a story of a woman she worked with who drank two bottles of wine a day—but the drinking was her secondary addiction. She finally revealed the drinking helped her deal with the fact that her marriage was falling apart. The woman could “receive” what she was missing from her life and marriage via the alcohol—it filled a need.

The first step is to look at what the behavior is contributing to you. Then look at how you can fill those needs in other ways, Bradford shared. One of the first questions she asks of her clients is, “How would you like to create your life?”

As a tip she also advised we should never take on the identity of an addict because we are putting that intention out there. “If you say I’m a smoker or I’m an alcoholic you become that,” she said. “But, if you say, currently I’m drinking more alcohol than I would like to, but I’m changing this behavior,” then we are separating our identify from the behavior.

“What I discovered…is that anyone whose truly willing can walk away from any addictive or compulsive behavior,” said Bradford. “Recovery is not about stopping a substance…true recovery for me is about stepping into the greatness of you, and looking at where you’ve created limitations, and then clearing those so you can have more and be more.”

For more from Marilyn and the other 25 experts in mind, body and spirit topics, sign up FREE to Season 2 of the Living an Elevated Existence Summit.