The Mandy Connell Show | iHeart: Dr. Bobinet on What Makes Some Athletes Mentally “Better” Than Others

February 9, 2024

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Fresh Tri’s CEO and Founder, Dr. Kyra Bobinet recently graced The Mandy Connell Show on iHeart Radio, offering a wealth of insightful discussions across a wide range of topics. From shedding light on the intricacies of the habenula and unveiling strategies to bridge the Know-do-Gap to sharing intriguing perspectives gleaned from the world of the Super Bowl, Dr. Bobinet shared with listeners her groundbreaking neuroscience and research findings.

Understanding the Habenula

In her interview, Dr. Bobinet shed light on the habenula, a recently discovered, yet powerful area of the brain. This quarter-inch area in the brain stands out as one of the most influential behavior regulators known to date. The habenula intricately impacts our dopamine reward systems, emotional well-being encompassing depression and anxiety, as well as fundamental functions like eating, sleeping, and most importantly, motivation. It operates as a dual-function mechanism, detecting failure while simultaneously dampening our motivation whenever such failure is perceived.

The Dual Nature of the Habenula

While the habenula may seem like a villain in our cognitive landscape, Dr. Bobinet reminds us of its evolutionary purpose. Let’s travel back to our younger years. Do you remember that reflex that prevented us from touching the hot stove for a second time after being burned the first time? That was in fact, the habenula. The habenula has safeguarded our ancestors and continues to shape our behaviors today, steering us away from harmful actions, decisions, and addictions.

Navigating the Know-do-Gap

The Know-do-Gap, a common phenomenon where we know what to do but struggle to act upon it, was something Dr. Bobinet, Mandy, and listeners alike could relate to. This gap, fueled by the activation of the habenula, manifests in various aspects of life, from health and fitness endeavors to professional pursuits. Recognizing this gap is the first step towards bridging it.

Insights from the Super Bowl

Drawing parallels from sports, Dr. Bobinet highlighted how athletes like Brock Purdy, the 49ers quarterback, have mastered the art of overcoming their habenula. By iterating and refining their approaches despite setbacks, these athletes demonstrate resilience in the face of adversity. In high-stakes competitions like the Super Bowl, the activation of the habenula can significantly impact team performance and the result of a game. It’s not uncommon to witness one team exerting dominance, effectively triggering the opposing team’s habenula. Once the sense of failure or impending loss sets in for a team, bouncing back becomes a formidable challenge, given the activation of their habenula. Could this psychological phenomenon have contributed to the 49ers’ performance?

Quieting the Habenula: Strategies for Success

So now we know that the goal is to keep the habenula quiet. But how do we do that? Dr. Bobinet offered practical strategies for keeping the habenula at bay. Don’t think you failed in the first place. And if you do think you failed, quickly reframe your mindset into some other narrative so that you can keep going.

Whether reframing perceived failures or maintaining a positive narrative, individuals can proactively manage their mindset to avoid triggering the habenula. Dr. Bobinet’s forthcoming book, “Unstoppable Brain,” promises further insights into behavior change and habit formation, advocating for an iterative approach to success.

Listen to the full interview here.

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