Episode 330 | August 8, 2023

Resolving Trauma Gracefully with Dr. Don Wood

A Personal Note From Orion

Welcome back to another empowering episode of the Stellar Life Podcast! This week, I am beyond excited to share a transformative conversation that may profoundly impact your life. We have Dr. Don Wood, Ph.D., an esteemed author, speaker, founder & CEO of the Inspired Performance Institute, and the mastermind behind the revolutionary TIPP method. Together, we dive deep into past trauma and discover how to unlock the power to overcome its effects and step into our full potential.

Dr. Don Wood is a trailblazer in the field of neuroscience, and his TIPP method has been designed to liberate us from the shackles of past trauma and limiting beliefs. Through cutting-edge neuroscience techniques, the TIPP method allows us to clear away the effects of disturbing events, repurpose old patterns, and unleash our minds for peak performance. 

This method is a mental REBOOT that enhances our alpha oscillations and leads to a profound shift in brain wave activity. His remarkable work has touched the lives of countless individuals, and I cannot wait for you all to learn from his wisdom and expertise.

Dr. Wood shares key insights from his top-selling books, Emotional Concussions and You Must Be Out of Your Mind. This episode is filled with invaluable lessons that will inspire you to embrace change, create a safe environment for growth, and develop an outcome-blind attitude to navigate life’s challenges with confidence and grace. 

Without further ado, on with the show!

In This Episode

  • [03:29] – Dr. Don Wood shares his passion and how he discovered that his daughter had a childhood trauma that is unrelated to the family.
  • [11:49] – How do we heal from our traumas?
  • [15:46] – Dr. Don discusses how unresolved traumas affect our well-being.
  • [19:58] – Dr. Don explains the need to map our brains during the healing process from our traumas.
  • [26:06] – What is Dr. Don’s advice for those who have minor addiction?
  • [32:23] – How does the hyperbaric chamber work?
  • [35:53] – Dr. Don emphasizes the benefits of the Inspired Performance Program, or the TIP method.
  • [44:48] – How can we overcome the fear of failure?
  • [47:31] – Dr. Don has three tips for living a stellar life.

Jump to Links and Resources

About Today’s Show

Hi, Dr. Wood. Welcome to the Stellar Life Podcast. Thank you so much for being here. 

Thanks, Orion. I’m really glad. 

I’m very excited to be talking with you. You have extraordinary knowledge and developed this incredible system that helps many people. Before we dive in, please share a little about your passion and how you became who you are today. 

The program developed because of some trauma my daughter had experienced that we didn’t know about, which created a lot of physical symptoms. I think the advantage for me in developing the program is that I’ve always been an entrepreneur. When my daughter presented with her Crohn’s disease, and then she also developed idiopathic pulmonary hemosiderosis—both autoimmune—they told us there was no cure. There was nothing they could do for her. She’d end up with a colostomy bag for Crohn’s, and then the lung disorder potentially could be a death sentence within five years. 

That set me off on the research, but I realized there was a problem. I want to figure out a solution to the problem. I came in looking for that, and that was different. I returned and got my degree, but it came more from a business mind. If there’s a problem, let’s fix it.

What happened to your daughter? When did she develop her disease? What solution did you find?

She was diagnosed with Crohn’s at 14. We had no idea where it came from. They told us that they don’t know what causes it. That there’s no cure for it. She must learn to live, manage, and cope with it. She ended up having four resections done where they cut out 24 inches of her intestines over four different operations, and eventually, she’d end up with a colostomy bag.

Then we got a call saying she’d be rushed to the hospital. Her lungs were filling up with blood, so they had her in ICU for three and a half weeks and came back and said she had another autoimmune called idiopathic pulmonary hemosiderosis. That’s where the iron in the blood gets released. The immune system releases iron. It’s an overload issue, but it dumps the blood so she can choke to death on her blood. Again, they said there’s no cure for it.

In the research, we discovered that she had had some trauma, some sexual abuse when she was younger, that she had never shared with us. It was helpful to me to understand where the problem was starting because all they were doing was treating the symptoms. That wasn’t the problem. That was the symptom of the problem.

Inflammation is not a problem; chronic inflammation is.

They had her on nonstop steroids. Then they put her on anti-anxiety and antidepressants. She was on a cocktail of stuff, and they said we could do nothing.

When I started researching, I discovered this unresolved trauma created inflammation. It’s the system cell danger response to trauma. It’s a dangerous response. Inflammation is not a problem; chronic inflammation is. 

It became chronic for her because it was supposed to turn on and shut off, but the problem is that trauma keeps it running on a loop and stays active. That’s where the problem came in. The key was to resolve the trauma, which would then reduce the inflammation and end Crohn’s. 

Your child had a perfect childhood with great parents as far as you knew, and then how did you discover that she had a childhood trauma unrelated to the family? 

She was living in the same world I grew up in. She had a great childhood with very loving parents. We didn’t yell and scream in our house. When I grew up, my mother and father never raised their voice and hit us. It was a very calm, nurturing environment, which was the key to keeping my nervous system regulated and my health in check.

I’d been healthy all my life. Even as a child, I didn’t have any real health issues. But we didn’t know that a girl in the neighborhood had been abusing her when she was six. If you had met her, you’d never know it. She was a very high-functioning, great student. She’s an amazing actress. That’s probably why she was so good at hiding it. She never told us about it. 

As you know, with so many people, when you meet them, there’s so much shame and guilt around it. Even for her, as good as the relationship we had, she couldn’t talk about it. She just hid it. Then again, we didn’t even know when she got the Crohn’s. Had we known it was the trauma, we would’ve called to the solution a lot earlier. It wasn’t until she reached the second disorder that she disclosed it.

At what age did she tell you about it?

Emotional Concussions by Dr. Don Wood

She had to have been in her early 20s. She was in and out of the hospital, constantly having those resections done. She was a poor child, really suffering, and we could do nothing. We took her off gluten and dairy, changed her diet, and did everything, but nothing was going to work. What I believe is the root of the problem was the trauma. That’s what they never addressed.

Yes, that’s incredible. You found out that you had this trauma, and then how did you come up with the process you used to heal people?

I started doing the research, and I started realizing that on the physical symptoms, they were just managing it, and then I said, “Okay, so if trauma’s the root cause, how are they treating trauma?” Well, pretty much the same way they manage it. If you have anxiety, we’re going to give you anti-anxiety meds. If you have depression, we’re going to provide you with antidepressants, and we’re going to send you to a therapist to talk to about it.

What I said was it’s a glitch, and it’s an error message. This trauma is running in real-time. The subconscious part of your mind operates in the present. It’s looking at trauma in real-time. If your mind thinks that you’re in danger and going to be hurt, it makes perfect sense that it would create a response to it. I always say that your mind calls for action if you have an emotion, a feeling, or a sensation. That’s the purpose of an emotion. The purpose of fear is to escape. The purpose of anger is to attack. 

If you think about something that happened to you when you were ten years of age, and your heart starts beating in your chest, that’s because your mind thinks you need to run. But it believes you’re ten years old. Your subconscious has no connection to time. Everything is now. Memory is seen now in real-time. 

Why does a child have trauma at six but then develop a disease at 15? Why didn’t the response to trauma show up at an earlier age?

It just depends. She probably had a lot of mitigations. She was in a very nurturing home, so it may not show up till much later. It’s going to show up sometime in some physical symptoms. 

The CDC conducted the ACEs study in Kaiser Permanente in 1997. It made a direct connection out of a survey of 17,000 people to ACEs, adverse childhood experiences or traumas, to physical and emotional health. There’s absolutely a direct line between the two. The more ACEs, the more trauma, the bigger the medical or physical issues are going to be. 

Our minds and bodies are designed to heal.

I’m thinking about my life, of course, we all think about ourselves. I’ve been through so much trauma and done many healing modalities, but man, I’ve been through a lot since I was in my mom’s belly. Is it like a domino effect where you heal one trauma, and it heals others? Or do we have to keep working on those traumas for the rest of our lives? 

No, that’s a great thing that I did discover. Once we get two or three of these traumas, starting the process of resolving the part of the brain, the thalamus, is the relay center for information. Once it gets this information, it continues to process it. It will process even the unresolved trauma we never talked about and update it simultaneously.

Our minds and bodies are designed to heal. What’s interfering with the healing? It’s stuck just like a computer gets stuck, so we can get frustrated at our computer because the little pinwheel is spinning in the middle of the computer, or we can just reboot it. 

We call it the rainbow wheel of death. 

That’s right. But all we need to do is reboot it.

How do you reboot your clients? If someone wants to come and work with you, what’s the process like? 

I take them through a four-hour process. It runs from four to five hours and is a continuous process. The first two hours are really on science and education. What I’ll do is I’ll sit down, and I’ll say, “Let me tell you how your brain is working from the research that I did.” 

This is quite fascinating. I have people come in who even say that they don’t believe this is going to help me or they don’t have any trauma. I say to every single person, “There’s nothing wrong with you, and there’s nothing wrong with your mind.”

Your subconscious doesn’t understand time. Everything occurs in the now.

Your mind is running a series of error messages and glitches constantly interfering with your ability to perform and stay present. All we have to do is reboot the system and clear up the error messages. Many people carry, “Oh, and I’m an anxious person, I’m a depressed person, I’m an addicted person.” What I say is, “That’s just a symptom. That’s not the problem.” We need to get to the root of the problem. If we resolve that, the symptom goes away.  

It’s so easy to put labels on other people or ourselves or self-diagnosed, and then we’re creating this very limited identity for ourselves. Because we have that identity, all our actions and thoughts will follow or filter through that identity, reflecting our life and reassuring us that this identity is right. We are the ones who are creating it when the truth is that we have infinite possibilities.

The truth is we sometimes put ourselves in a little cage or part of us in a little cage and say to ourselves, “This is who I am, and this is my space to be.” What you’re doing is you’re just giving people that key to open up that cage and see that they are more. What else?

Get back. Stop the trauma loop from running because it keeps activating the nervous system. I never liked the word trigger. I never used that. I always thought that sounded like a negative, violent word. Your mind isn’t negative and violent. It’s trying to protect you. It’s activating your nervous system. 

Your fight-or-flight response is a perfectly designed system. It’s designed to turn on when there’s a threat and shut off when there’s no threat. That system works perfectly in the animal world, but does not work as well in the human world because we store traumatic memories, and that keeps activating the system.

Stop the trauma loop from running because it keeps activating the nervous system.

Because in the wild, your stress is very short-lived. The tiger is chasing you, and then you escape and are done. You go back to the meadow and do whatever you need to do. But here, stress is a constant thing. We’re constantly under this fight-or-flight reaction that doesn’t serve us.

The fight-or-flight response is an emergency management system, but it’s turned into an operating system for humans. 

Right, the default. 

It was not supposed to be an operating system. It’s supposed to be on and off depending on the circumstance, but memory keeps activating it and turning it on. That’s going to create physical and emotional stress. Then that’s going to break down the body, and it’s also going to affect the mind

What I found is not only does unresolved trauma create inflammation, but it also compromises the immune system and neurotransmitters. If your immune system is compromised, you’re going to get sick. If your neurotransmitters are compromised, you’re going to feel bad. 

You can try to put in something to chemically change the brain, like what they do with what I say, “Depression is a function of the brain, not a dysfunction.” It’s shutting down to protect you, not to hurt you. The solution is to put people on SSRIs to pump up their serotonin to make them feel better. That’s painting over rust because you’re not fixing the problem. When the medication wears off, it’s going to go back. 

The rust is still there. 

You have to sand it down, prime it, and then paint it.

For the first two hours, you sit with people and talk to them about the brain, and then what happens in the second half? 

The fight or flight response is an emergency management system, but it’s turned into an operating system for humans.

In the second half, we get into some traumatic events. I’ll ask them about three life events that they consider traumatic or disturbing. I say that not everything falls under the big T type of trauma. In my second book, I called Emotional Concussions. Sometimes they’re just emotional concussions, but they affect how we operate. As long as the emotional concussion is running, it will affect how the brain works. 

What I can do in that next hour is, “Can you think of two or three events in your lifetime that fit that? And we’re going to reset them.” If I asked you what you ate for dinner last night, can you tell me what you ate?

I don’t remember.  

Well, how about breakfast? 

I had a really good shake. 

When I asked you that, you saw pictures of what you ate, maybe where you were when you ate it.

Absolutely. I saw it.

That’s how you stored the information about breakfast this morning. No animal can do that. Only humans do that. 

How do we know that no animal can do that? 

Your trauma is running in real-time. Your subconscious sees traumatic memories as present experiences. Click To Tweet

They don’t store memory. They learn through repetition and association, but animals don’t remember what they just did. That’s why you can feed your dog the same thing every day because he doesn’t remember eating that yesterday.

He’s just present at the moment, excited that he’s going to eat, but he hasn’t stored that he eats the same thing every day. It’s only humans that do that. It’s a unique feature. The problem is when we have a traumatic event, all our senses are heightened, from sight, smell, and hearing. How’s it going to record that event? High definition, tremendous detail in a very high beta brainwave state. 

Now if your subconscious is operating in the present and it accesses a memory stored in high definition and starts to review it, when does it think the memory’s happening? It has to create a physiological response to it. It’s designed to do that. It doesn’t know it’s not real. 

People are experiencing the same loop. It’s like Groundhog Day, where subconsciously, the body is going through the same patterns of stress, hormone release, tightness, and inflammation while the person is just living their life like, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me and why am I feeling this way, but this is what’s happening in the inside on a subconscious level.”

They’ll describe it as a symptom. “I have really bad anxiety. I have post-traumatic stress. I have panic attacks. I have whatever.” What they’re describing is the symptom of the problem, and everybody’s starting to treat the symptom when what I said was, that’s not the problem, let’s get to the root. 

If we can reprocess that high-definition memory into the same format as what you ate for breakfast this morning, the mind won’t see a threat to that low data or information and won’t respond to it. When I work with people who have gone through real serious trauma, by the time we’re finished, they can describe it without shaking and crying because it’s no longer activating the nervous system. 

During one of these sessions, I wanted to map what the brain is doing as we’re doing this trauma process. 

We have a device now that will measure brainwave activity. It’s a band that they wear around their head. I didn’t put it on them until we started the trauma stuff, and I wanted to record that hour of that process. As I watched it, I thought afterward and said, “Am I seeing what I think I’m seeing?”

I know we processed the trauma. I didn’t realize how fast it was. We can show it in a very high reprocessing state in the data, and the last 30 minutes were so exciting. When I took the data and sent it to the guys working on the study, they were blown away. They said it’s scientifically significant that the brain is reconsolidating in the session to that degree. 

When we have a traumatic event, all our senses are heightened, from sight, smell, and hearing.

I’m telling everybody about it because I thought, “Did I see that while watching the monitor?” And that’s exactly what I did see.

It’s incredible. It would be beneficial if people were more aware of what we can do with processes like yours. We were just so conditioned just to go and get the pill. My listeners are more aware of this. Anything that is done with the subconscious mind can be so beneficial. Why do you think your system is different from other systems? What is different about it?

The key is that the mind feels safe restoring when we get to the trauma; they’re so relaxed and focused.Plus, they’re all educated now. The one thing I hear all the time when people, as I’m going through all the education, they’ll just go, “This is making so much sense to me now.” How could you not be anxious if your mind is doing this? It’s impossible not to be right. That’s why I say, “There’s nothing wrong with you. If I’d lived your life the way you lived, I would have had the same experiences. My mind would be doing the same thing. It’s just the way our brains and our minds work.” The same thing happened with addiction. I talk to people about addiction. I say “Addiction isn’t a disease, it’s a code.”

The brain built a code to stop the pain. We call it a disease, and we call it that there’s something wrong with the person. They keep on reaching for the drug or reaching for the alcohol. I say, “Well, you would because it stopped the pain.”

What you’ve done now is because you repeated it, and your mind found a resource to stop the pain, it goes back to the resource. Of course, it would. It has to because it solved the problem. All we have to do is get the trauma out of the way that started the codes to be built and then start rebuilding the codes. But it’s much easier to rebuild the codes when you don’t always have the trauma activating the nervous system.

A lot of it beyond the method is who you are as a person. You’re so whole and good at holding space for people. You make people feel very comfortable. I was lucky to have dinner with you, our family and you in Orlando last weekend. I just like that your presence is incredible.

You deeply respect people. You have this way of seeing the best in people. You don’t come from ego. You come from love. That’s what I truly feel about you. 

Addiction isn’t a disease; it’s a code. The brain built a code to stop the pain.

That’s a big compliment from you. I appreciate that. You have a great sense of who you are and what you’re doing to help people. That means a lot.

I do, but I feel like that’s why I say to everybody that comes in, “There’s nothing wrong with you.” Even when I talk to people in addiction, I say, “Addiction is not about your character, morals, ethics, or willpower.” I’ve never had a drink in my life. I’ve never touched a drug in my life. That doesn’t say anything about my character. I didn’t have their pain. If I had their pain, I’m sure I would’ve found a resource to stop it. It’s human nature not to want to be in pain.

Do you have any advice on how to cure what is considered a minor addiction? I like YouTube shorts. Sometimes I get hooked. I’m getting so much better. I got my screen time down to 12 minutes last week. I’m very proud of myself, and I know that when I’m tired, bored, or want my dopamine hit, I will go and go back, and then I will justify it with the, “Oh, this information was so important.” 

It’s no different than any kind of addiction. A lady came in and was on heroin for seven years. 

Wow, people can live on heroin for seven years? I didn’t know that. 

She’s still functioning, but she’s still on heroin. She had a job. She continued to lose her jobs, but she would come in and out but seven years of heroin addiction. When she came in to see me, she said, “I told my therapist I was coming in to see youe told me that I have to be honest and upfront with you before we start and let you know I have self-destructive behavior.”

I smiled at her and said, “What would make you think you’re self-destructive?” She was so shocked. She looked at me and said, “Well, I’m sticking a needle in my arm with heroin. Don’t you think that’s self-destructive?” I said, “No, I don’t. I think you’re trying to feel better. I bet you when you stuck the needle in your arm, you felt better. Now the substance is destructive. You are not destructive.” 

“Your brain has built a code to stop your pain with that needle in that heroin. What if we could show you a better way to get what you want without using that substance? You’re fully capable of doing it.” We got her off. 

You Must Be Out Of Your Mind by Dr. Don Wood

Wow. That’s amazing. How long ago was that? 

That was in 2015 when I first developed the program. 

Did you follow up with her? Do you know what’s up with her now?

I’d seen her a few times, a few years after that. She was still fine. Another good example is a young lady in worse shape than her four and a half years ago. She came in, and she was 33. Her testimonial is actually on our site. I said, “Will you allow us to video you going through the program so we can show people what’s changing?” She did.

When she first came in, she was on all kinds of stuff. She was on seven medications at the same time, but she’d been on every drug you can imagine, was homeless, and lost her daughter. The courts took her daughter away. Her family had to raise her daughter. She’d been OD’ed twice before I saw her. 

When she came in, I did the same thing. I said, “Michelle, there’s nothing wrong with you, and there’s nothing wrong with your mind. You’ve had a lot of trauma.” She goes, “Yeah, how do you know I’ve had a lot of trauma?” I said, “Because people don’t do what you’re doing right now unless they’re in pain.”

“That’s not something you wake up in the morning and think, I’ll try heroin. That’s not going to happen.” I said, “If you follow the program, this is just science. I’m going to tell you about how the brain works. You can defeat this.” That was four and a half years ago. She’s working full-time. She’s got her own business. She has her daughter back, reconciled with her family, married, and bought a house. 

Totally changed her life. She’s a great success story and followed everything I told her to do. She was so compliant. She wanted her daughter back. That was her motivation.

Beautiful. People need a big way to follow through with any process. Maybe they won’t follow through if they don’t have that big reason. I don’t know. 

It depends. They can still do it if they follow the program, but I always say, think about it. If I came to you and said, “Listen, I want to buy your house, I’ll give you $100.” You’d say, “No, I’m not selling my house for a hundred dollars.” I said, “I’d give you $10 million.” “Oh, all right.” Now you’re interested. There’s got to be some trade. If somebody’s going to give up something, they want to get something in return.

I always ask them, “What is the trade? What are you going to give up this drug or alcohol for?” It’s to get their life back. For her, it was to get her daughter back, to get the respect back from her family. Nobody had told her how to do it. The only thing they had told her how to do all those years—she was 17 years of addiction since she’d been 16. She was 33 when I saw her—you’re going to white knuckle this every day. You’ll probably have to go to rehab between eight and ten times before you’re going to beat this. 

I said, “That’s nonsense. You can heal. You can stop anytime you want to if you have the tools and motivation to do it.” For her, she was strongly motivated, but you can imagine how discouraging it would be if she just kept falling back. Then what do we do to these people who are in addiction? We shame them. We make them feel guilty, which is why they got into the problem probably in the first place. They just give up. It’s very hard for them to get out of that hole. 

We don’t do our best thinking when stressed because the trauma keeps running. All we have to do is reset the trauma, take the stress out, and then let the healing start.

What I do is I tell them, “You don’t have to apologize to anybody. You couldn’t have done it any differently based on your experiences and the resources you found.”

Can someone take this affirmation? It’s like you couldn’t have done anything worse and just be like, “Oh, well, that’s me. I couldn’t have done anything better, so I’m just going to keep doing it.”

No, because basically, I’m doing it in a positive sense. I’m saying, “You’re responsible for what you did. We’re not cutting you off. We’re not saying that you don’t have to take responsibility. You do. But based on the way your mind was working, how could it have been any different? Your mind can’t produce different thoughts under that much stress. We don’t do our best thinking when we’re under stress, so the whole system is under stress because the trauma keeps running. All we have to do is reset the trauma, take the stress out, and then let the healing start.”

People come to your facility and go through the four or five hours with you. Then I know there is a possibility to stay and use some things or get some more treatments. How does it work?

We have a theta chamber that you use. When you line in the theta chamber, it spins, putting you into a very relaxed theta brainwave state. 

I’ve tried that in the biohacking lab in Santa Monica. It’s like a capsule of spins. You get the theta within three minutes.

You don’t even know you’re spinning. You feel like you’re floating. 

I know. I love it. 

We have one in our clinic. When you’re at the conference, you should’ve come over. You could have tried all that stuff. We have our hyperbaric oxygen chamber. 

I did that at the biohacking conference. I did the hyperbaric chamber. Stephan and I did that. It was so nice. We were both in the hyperbaric chamber. It was quiet. We had some time to just talk one-on-one. We had a date inside the hyperbaric chamber. It was so new.

That’s it. It is very relaxing, putting more oxygen into your system, which is healing more, bringing down inflammation. It’s amazing.

Stop treating the symptom. Treat the problem. If you don’t get to the problem, you’ll never fix it.

Especially for people with brain damage, I can see how it helps the brain to rejuvenate. 

Traumatic brain injury is how I got into it; my son had three head injuries. They just kept saying he’s got major depression. I said, “No, he doesn’t. He has a traumatic brain injury.”

I love how you like redefining those stuck definitions of depression. 

Yeah. They’re just symptoms. Stop treating the symptom. Treat the problem. If you don’t get to the problem, you’ll never fix it.

Right. Did you help heal your son with hyperbaric oxygen therapy?

Yeah, it helped him. The more you can do it, the better it is. Many of these ex-NFL players are starting to discover it from all their head injuries. Joe Namath, a famous player from the 60s, talked about 150 treatments he did, and he says he’s got the brain of a 25-year-old now. All that oxygen and blood flow to the brain is incredible. 

I fainted a few months ago. I did the hot yoga that day, and I think I was dehydrated and never fainted in my life and I fainted. I got a minor concussion. I lost my keys. I left my car running. It was crazy. 

That’s what oxygen does. It gets more blood flow into the injured part of the brain. That’s what my son was having problems with. He would get very angry and frustrated because he didn’t have enough power. It was like asking him to lift a thousand pounds. I can’t do it. It’s too heavy. He can start the healing process once you get the oxygen in there.

Do you know what happened to me since that minor concussion? I hear music differently. I hear all the notes, and I play children’s music in the car for my son, and I can hear all the sound effects that I’ve never listened to before.

Annoying but also interesting. I can hear every little thing in the music. I need more hyperbaric chambers.

Depression is a function of the brain, not a dysfunction.

There you go. Well, you got to come up to Orlando. Spend a week here and sit in the hyperbaric and the theta chamber. 

I will do that. Absolutely. What is the TIPP method? What is it? 

It’s The Inspired Performance Program. We called it TIPP because it’s a performance program. We wanted to get you to the tip, the peak of your performance levels. What we did is we didn’t want to call it trauma therapy because most people don’t want to relate to trauma. They want to relate to performance. 

What’s interfering with you performing at your highest level? These events and experiences? I work with many athletes, and we’ve seen amazing results: releasing the trauma affects the ATP and the mitochondria. Now there’s more power. That power can go to healing, can go to focus, can go to performance, even power. 

We’ve got some great examples of guys who went through our program and girls who broke world records and won world championships. If you go to a site, you’ll see it. It’s pretty incredible. 

That’s amazing. What about making money? Do you help people make a lot of money by rewiring their brains? 

Yeah, a lot of times. I’ll give you another great example of a guy, a very successful derivatives options trader who was making about $2 million a year. We’re not feeling bad for him. He said, “I always shut down in the fourth quarter all the time,” which was coming from trauma. He didn’t recognize it, but it came from a trauma in his life. 

Releasing the trauma affects the ATP and the mitochondria. Now more power can go to healing, focus, and performance

Once we get the trauma out of the way, he didn’t lose his motivation in that fourth quarter, and after he went through the program, he generally says he shut down in the fourth quarter. This time he worked all the way through to December 15th. He called me on December 15th, saying, “Today was my last day and the best year ever.” 

Did he send you a gift basket? 

No. I should have just taken a percentage of the change in revenue. That would’ve been a great trade. 

I like that. What are some ways of improving our mind and keeping it healthy daily? 

A lot of the stuff, a lot of supplements, can work well. Omegas and things like that are good for just lubricating the brain.

And what specifically? I know Omegas and blueberries are good for the brain.

Those antioxidants are really good. Whatever you can do for brain health is always good. Getting good sleep is good. If you don’t get enough sleep, that can affect the brain. But I’m also a big believer in brain training, so the more you can listen to, that is calming your mind down, allowing your mind to feel safe, that is one of the best things you can do. You take a lot of the stress out because we will have stress. Stress is something that happens on a day-to-day basis.

How do you handle stress? You have to learn how to de-stress your world. That can come in something as simple as cleaning out your closet so that every time you go into it, you’re not like, “It’s such a mess in here.” Organize your closet, desk, and clean out your bedroom. Don’t leave things all over the place, make your kitchen clean and organized. They sound simple, but there’s something about seeing everything clean.  

Me too. It’s just that I have a little one that I still homeschool. You leave the room clean and neat, and then I give up some days. It’s going to look the same tomorrow. Why am I bothering you? Just before our podcast, I was tidying up for an hour, and it looked decent, not yet up to my standards. 

But does it feel better when we can do those things? 


He’s four, so that makes sense. 

Your fight-or-flight response is a perfectly designed system to turn on when there's a threat and shut off when there isn’t. Click To Tweet

Of course, I’m joking. I did a closet cleanse with a professional a couple of months ago, and that was amazing. My husband and I donated six or seven large bags of stuff that we did not need and could help someone else.

Yeah, absolutely. One of the other little tricks that I tell people—I use this with the golfers that I work with—the professional golfers when they’re out golfing, it’s really easy for their mind to wander and start to get into negativity. I said, “Before every round, I want you to write down three positive things that are happening in your life right now or that you’re looking forward to happening. It could be a vacation or something that you’re doing. Write those three down and have them prepared.”

When a negative thought comes in, it’s very easy to get stuck on that thought. What you do is close your eyes. When you close your eyes, you change the brainwave activity. What I say is you’re going to take it out of gear, close your eyes, put it into neutral. Think about one of those three things that you’re looking forward to. Then open your eyes and look at the first thing you see and describe it. Now you’re coming back into the present, and that thought that was distracting is gone.

That’s beautiful. I’ll take it. 

It’s shifting gears.

Any other tips like that? 

You have to learn how to de-stress your world.

Again, just all the kinds of things that you can do to get used to making changes in your life. For example, if you go to a particular grocery store, if it’s the same store, just go to a different one. What you’re doing is telling your brain it’s okay to make changes because, generally, where we get and probably get stuck in patterns and codes. Do things a little bit differently. Change the way you drive to work, the way you do something.

That starts to get the brain into feeling like it’s exercising it. You have to think because if you just get in your car and you drive to Publix, you know how to do that. You don’t have to think. If you must go to another Publix, you must go, “Well. Hold on. I got to go right instead of left now. I’ve got to go down this road.” It starts exercising your brain into thinking differently. 

Part of why I think differently than many people is because I lived in different countries and I traveled so much. I traveled to over 40 countries. I experienced different places, different cultures, and different flavors. I’m the type of person that will always try something new if it’s safe enough. 

I like new adventures. I like new flavors. I’m like, “Look, I made this thing. It’s so tasty. You got to try it.” The other day we had Ethiopian, and I had leftover Injera. I made a kind of Injera french toast with egg and spices, which was so good. I was like, “You got to try this.” He was like, “No”. 

He sounds like me. 

Yeah, you guys are quite similar. “I challenge you, Dr. Wood, to try Thai food.” 

Oh my gosh, I could create my trauma.

It might be a mind-expanding experience. 

I don’t know. I’m pretty patterned now. It’d be hard to make a change. I just know what I like. 

If your mind thinks you're in danger of pain, it will create a response. Your mind calls for action if you have an emotion, a feeling, or a sensation. For example, fear’s instinct is to escape and anger’s instinct is to attack. Click To Tweet

One day I’ll take you to Thai food. 

There you go. I don’t eat much. 

We’ll have a backup plan if you don’t like it. 

There you go. That happened. I went to a restaurant. These people took me to a sushi restaurant. They had no idea I didn’t like it, so I said, “Go ahead and eat.” I said I don’t mind. I’ll sit here. I’ll just have something to drink. They said, “No, you got to eat something.” I said, “No, there’s nothing on this menu.” That sushi restaurant went out to one of the other restaurants and brought in a burger for me. I thought that was pretty good service. 

That was great. Were they Japanese? It sounds like something that the Japanese will do.

Yeah, they were. 

That’s very typical Japanese. I remember landing in Japan for the first time when I was in my early 20s. I didn’t know anything. On the first trip out of the country, I was lost in the subway system, and I saw this young girl and started crying. I was like, “I need to go here.” She went about 50 minutes out of her way, walked me to the station, to the right place and then returned. They’re just like that. It’s something really special about their culture. I’m glad you got your hamburger. 

I was impressed with that. I thought that was pretty good.

My next question is about failure and fear of failure. What can one do to overcome that fear?

Your 15th Club by Dr. Bob Rotella & Bob Cullen

Again, that’s coming back from some experience. The mind is trying to protect you. When people say to me, “I sabotage myself.” That will come in typically from something where somebody says, “I have a fear of failure, and I sabotage myself.” They’re not sabotaging themselves. It looks like sabotage. They’re protecting themselves.

The mind is going to create a workaround to not run into the danger that it was anticipating. If somebody has failed in their life, that’s one of the things that, again, I talk about in my book The Emotional Concussions. Successful people aren’t afraid of failure. Failure is part of the process of learning how to win. 

The best advice I ever got was when I was 13 from a tennis pro who was teaching me. He told me, “Do you want to be a great tennis player?” I said, “Yeah.” He said, “Okay, I’m going to tell you the secret. At 13, you think it’s a secret.”

He said to me to lose a lot. I said, “I don’t understand what you mean. Why would I lose a lot?” He said, “Because you’re playing in the divisions that you can win in, I want you to go to your 13,14-year-old divisions, and you can win. I want you to play in the 15, 16, 17, and 18-year-old divisions. You’re going to lose a lot, but you’re going to learn a lot.”

You haven’t seen that speed because the game is faster, and you’re a good athlete. The more you get to see that speed, you’ll adjust. He says, “But you’ll never do that if you keep playing in the division. You have to be willing to lose a lot.” That was the best, not only tennis advice I ever got, life advice I ever got. 

We’re going to make mistakes. We’re going to fail. What did we learn from it? When I went to play with these older kids, I would sometimes have trouble taking a game or two in a set, but what did I learn? I learned that I could catch up to that speed. Not every time, but enough times. Then eventually, 20% became 30%, became 50% until that didn’t look faster to me anymore. That was the key to winning. 

Perfect. I wish I played tennis at 13, and I wish I had that coach. Thank God, I met you, and now we can rewire again. 

There we go. We can rewire. That was just great advice. I remembered it, and I wrote about it in my book. 

Amazing. What are your three top tips for living a stellar life?

Create an environment of safety. Be around safe people. If you can keep the surrounding environment around you safe, that will keep your nervous system. I grew up in that. It’s one of the things that I tell parents, make your home safe. If you make your home safe, your children will be well adjusted because they’re going to get bumped, they’re going to get hurt. People are going to hurt their feelings and hurt them, but as long as they have a place to land, a safe place. 

Your mind isn’t negative and violent; it’s just trying to protect you.

My wife never had that. She lived in a very traumatic household. I said to her, “You are in flight all the time. You’re not supposed to be.” That would be one thing—surround yourself with good people you feel safe around and make that your inner circle.

Number two is—again, something I talk about too with athletes. I learned this from Annie Duke, a famous female poker player, to learn to develop an outcome-blind attitude. What she meant by that is the reason she was such a good poker player is that she knew what cards she had in her hand. She knew what cards she had already played. She knew what the other players had already played. 

She didn’t know what was still in the deck and what the other players were holding in their hands, so she had to make her best calculation based on her experience of what she should do next. If she moved to go in and lost, she was outcome blind. I couldn’t have done it any better based on what I knew. I’m okay with that. I’m blind to the outcome.

If she won, she didn’t get to be like I’m the best. It was more of a process of winning than you losing, and that’s how you become successful in probably most things. There’s no 100% success for anybody. I don’t care who they are. 

Probably the best advice I probably got was really from my dad. It wasn’t really what he said. It was what he did, and it’s how respectful he was to my mother and how he treated her. He never yelled at her, never raised his voice. Then one time when I was 15 or 16, I wasn’t yelling or rude. I didn’t think, but I said something to my mom. She said something to me, and I went okay, whatever—just sort of a little sarcastic.

Your mind runs a series of error messages and glitches that constantly interfere with your ability to perform and stay present. You have to reboot the system and clear up the error messages. Click To Tweet

I didn’t know he was right there, and when I turned around, he was there. He told me, “She may be your mother, but she’s my wife, and I don’t allow anybody to speak to her like that. Now stop it.” Just use that kind of respect in your life. It doesn’t have to be just your wife. It can be your children, colleagues, or whatever, but treating people with respect will pay off. They may not treat you with respect, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still be respectful.

I feel that from you. It’s part of your charm. 

Thanks. I’ll come blind. The person you know did something to hurt me. Okay, what can I do? 

Right, amazing. Where can people buy your books and  can people find you, and how can they work with you?

We are just relaunching the first two books. The first one’s called You Must Be Out of Your Mind. The second one is called Emotional Concussions. Those are being launched on July 27th. We’re looking for people to start getting engaged in that. We want to get it back up, and then we’re launching two more books.

My third book, Don’t Mess with My DNA,  talks to parents about my upbringing and what I’ve learned about parenting. Not that I’m the perfect parent, I wasn’t, but now knowing how the brain works and how children are affected by their environment, I would’ve done some things differently. That book is coming out on August 27th. Then the fourth book is a golf book. It’s called The 15th Club, and that’s going on the month after that. 

That’s amazing. You are so productive.

A lot of work. We have a new publisher launching everything for us, so we’re excited about that.

Cool. Where can people find the books, and what’s your website?

It’s all up on our website, so if you go to inspiredperformanceinstitute.com or drwoodphd.com, you can find me and the information about the books and all of our programs and how they work.

Yes, Dr. Wood, it was a pleasure. Thank you so so much. 

It was a pleasure. Absolutely. I was looking forward to this. This was great.  

Thank you so so much. Thank you, listeners. Remember to make your home safe, develop an outcome, blind attitude, be respectful to others, and have a stellar life. This is Orion till next time. 

Thanks, Orion. 

Thank you. Oh, that was great.

Your Checklist of Actions to Take

{✓}Acknowledge the root cause of your trauma. Trauma can manifest as physical and emotional symptoms, but it’s crucial to recognize that inner, unhealed wounds are the root cause. 

{✓}Resolve your trauma to reclaim your power and potential. Unresolved trauma triggers chronic inflammation, leading to various health issues. 

{✓}Break free from limiting identities. Don’t define yourself by your trauma or the labels others have placed on you. Remember, you have infinite possibilities and can overcome your traumatic experiences.

{✓}Reboot your mind and clear negative messages generated by your trauma. By doing so, you can release old patterns and embrace a healthier mental state.

{✓}Understand that your traumatic memories can feel like they’re currently happening. Your subconscious doesn’t differentiate between past and present, viewing traumatic memories as if they are ongoing experiences.

{✓}Embrace profound, lasting changes in your emotional and physical well-being. Once you begin healing your trauma, your brain heals too.

{✓}Find strong motivation to deal with addiction or overcome minor habits. Identify what you want to achieve and use this goal to drive you to stay committed.

{✓}Consider brain training exercises, calming activities, and stress-reducing habits to remain positive. Taking care of your brain health is essential. 

{✓}Pay attention to your stress triggers and find healthy ways to manage them. Meditation, mindfulness practices, or engaging in enjoyable activities can help reduce stress and promote overall well-being.

{✓}For more information about Dr. Don Wood’s books and programs, visit inspiredperformanceinstitute.com and drwoodphd.com. You’ll discover valuable resources to aid your personal growth and understanding of trauma. This can help you take significant steps toward a more fulfilling and empowered life.

Links and Resources

Connect with Dr. Don Wood


YouTube Videos


Further Resources

About Dr. Don Wood

Don Wood, Ph.D., author, speaker, founder & CEO of the Inspired Performance Institute, and creator of the patented TIPP method. TIPP is a cutting-edge method inspired and developed through the newest developments in neuroscience and designed to clear away the effects of disturbing or traumatic events, repurpose old patterns and set the individual’s mind up for peak performance. In essence, it REBOOTs the brain’s stuck thought pattern, making it possible to enhance alpha oscillations with a noninvasive and effective shift in brain wave activity. Author of two top-selling books, Emotional Concussions and You Must Be Out of Your Mind.

Disclaimer: The medical, fitness, psychological, mindset, lifestyle, and nutritional information provided on this website and through any materials, downloads, videos, webinars, podcasts, or emails are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical/fitness/nutritional advice, diagnoses, or treatment. Always seek the help of your physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, certified trainer, or dietitian with any questions regarding starting any new programs or treatments or stopping any current programs or treatments. This website is for information purposes only, and the creators and editors, including Orion Talmay, accept no liability for any injury or illness arising out of the use of the material contained herein, and make no warranty, express or implied, with respect to the contents of this website and affiliated materials.

Facebook Comments