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Dr. Don Wood – Treating Trauma, Increasing Performance & Raising Happy Children (#66)

Understanding the neuroscience behind trauma, high performance and health

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Dr. Don Wood - Treating Trauma, Increasing Performance & Raising Happy Children (#66) | The Black Country Buddhas Podcast | My Home Vitality

Introduction to guest:

Dr. Don developed the Inspired Performance Institute, after spending years researching trauma, because both his wife and daughter developed autoimmune disorders relating to traumatic childhood events.

He provides a cutting-edge solution that yields immediate and long-lasting relief, helping survivors from the Boston Marathon bombing attack, to the Las Vegas Shooting, to high performing athletes and everyone in between.

Just some things we cover in the show include:

  • Understanding different types of trauma.
  • Spotting signs of trauma.
  • Dr. Don’s 4-hour programme for treating trauma.
  • Methods that people can use to stay happier and healthier for longer.
  • Techniques for parents who want to raise happy children.
  • How to improve your performance by removing kinks in the firehose.

For those of you who want to learn more, Dr. Don has kindly offered the first chapter of his book, Emotional Concussions, free to our listeners. You can get that at

More from Dr. Don:

Key quotes and takeaways from the show:

Small traumas can add up: “Emotional Concussions”

Potential signs of trauma: procrastination, low energy, mood swings, auto-immune disorders, irrational physiological responses, addictions. Are you having emotions that are not relevant to the situation?

Don’t paint over rust! Treat the cause, not the symptoms! “Once we find what is activating the symptoms, then we can address it.”

If your central nervous system (CNS) is constantly activated because you feel like danger is everywhere, you’re going to burn out. Your fight or flight response is an Emergency Management System (EMS), it’s not meant to be on all the time but if the trauma keeps on looping, it will be.

So many people who have trauma also have autoimmune issues because the cells go into a “danger response” to protect the integrity of the system. It’s a temporary pause that develops a hard membrane, stopping anything getting into the cell until the danger is over. When the danger is over, the immune system comes in and starts cleaning everything up. If the trauma keeps looping, the system stays in that “danger response” until it feels safe. If it never feels safe the “danger response” continues. That’s when you’re going to create health issues.

“Your subconscious mind is fully present in the moment all the time. It can create a present physiological response to a threat that doesn’t exist anymore (based on a memory).”

Time slice theory – Your subconscious takes in all the data from your senses, then sends pieces, or “time slices,” to your conscious mind for processing (if relevant). Reason and logical part of the brain – around 5% of the processing. Subconscious – around 95% of the processing. There is a 400millionth of a second gap in between the time slices. In that time, your brain is doing a Google search to link the data to past experiences. If those past experiences are bad, your brain (and body) reacts as if it is currently happening.

Hollywood has made trillions of dollars from making us think something on the screen is actually happening. Memory is exactly the same thing. We convince ourselves something is happening now based on memories.

Trauma is often stored in vivid, bright, high-definition images within your mind. To stop your system calling for the emergency management system, we have to turn those images into ones that are pretty bland, and unthreatening, like what you had for dinner last night.

“Your mind and body are designed to heal.”

Only humans have 2 memory systems: Explicit Memory and Associative/Procedural Memory (animals also have this one).

One of Dr. Don’s processes – Step 1: Spend 2 hours getting people into a calm, alpha brainwave state. Step 2: For 2 minutes bring in a beta, high energy traumatic memory, so it associates with feelings of calm. Step 3: Use a technique to disregard or reduce intensity of the memory.

“Go round the back.”

“Win or learn.”

“Skill comes before confidence.”

“Develop an aptitude of optimism.”

“The Alpha brain state (between 7 and 14 Hz) is the optimum state to perform. That’s where you’re super relaxed and focussed.”

“Stay present!”

“Take the kinks out of the hose.”

5-6-7 breathing method for staying present.


Red flares = Early warning system.

Notice things about your surroundings to bring you into the present moment.

“If you can’t see the bright side of life, polish the dull side”

“Practice optimism and gratitude.”

“You can’t be anxious and laugh at the same time.”

“Nothing in life is permanent.”

Question of the day:

“What is trauma and is it always obvious?”

Links to podcast sites:

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The full podcast:

Related episode:

If you enjoyed this podcast you will also enjoy the one we recorded with Dr. John Sullivan who taught us methods for improving our performance and maintaining a healthy brain.

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Show notes:

  • 00:00 – Overall show introduction.
  • 00:44 – Finding your purpose and getting things done in life –
  • 02:45 – Introduction to today’s show.
  • 04:43 – Hello from Florida!
  • 05:11 – Dr. Don or Happy Gilmore?
  • 05:53 – What is trauma and is it always obvious?
  • 09:58 – Using brain scans to identify and treat trauma.
  • 11:40 – Using Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for treating brain injuries and healing.
  • 16:07 – Testosterone to treat brain trauma.
  • 18:50 – How Dr. Don treats patients who suffer from trauma.
  • 39:42 – The use of futuristic technologies in treating trauma and the impact of “deleting trauma”.
  • 41:47 – How we can help prisoners.
  • 42:14 – Dr. Don’s thoughts on treating addiction.
  • 45:15 – How to spot the signs of trauma.
  • 46:48 – The use of heroin in hip replacement operations and more thoughts on addiction.
  • 49:04 – Is there such a thing as resilience?
  • 50:32 – Important parenting lessons and life lessons in general.
  • 01:03:27 – How to improve your performance and the work Dr. Don does with high performers.
  • 01:11:00 – Tools for staying present.
  • 01:13:04 – Recognising changes in mental, physical and emotional states.
  • 01:15:38 – Is it true that people need high stimulation to perform well?
  • 01:19:24 – Tips for keeping your brain healthy.
  • 01:21:40 – Tips for consuming information, living happier and
  • 01:23:41 – Sasquatch and skunk apes.
  • 01:24:54 – How moving from Toronto to Florida has improved Dr. Don’s vitality.
  • 01:25:39 – Dr. Don’s final message: nothing in life is permanent!
  • 01:28:45 – Where to find more, next week’s guest and
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