Scott Schimmel 0:20
Welcome to another YouSchool podcast. I'm Scott Schimmel. And this week is, it's actually Red Ribbon Week. I don't know if you know that or remember that from when you were a kid or when your kids maybe were in elementary school. But for I think it's over 25, almost 30 years now, this week in October is considered National Red Ribbon Week, which in schools, a lot of times turns into spirit days, and we're in Jersey on Tuesday and crazy hair and socks on Friday. But the purpose behind it is to actually do targeted specific education about the dangers of drugs and alcohol for kids. And our kids are at risk right now. More than ever, really, especially with fentanyl, which we'll talk about just a minute. But our kids are particularly prone to making impulsive decisions trying to be accepted by peers, their prefrontal cortex, their thinking rational part of their brain hasn't developed yet. They have a real thirst for dopamine, that happy chemical that makes them feel good. And a bunch of other reasons why escape overwhelming mental health, no real clear sense of how do you practice wellness and personal self care? So there's a bunch of different reasons why our kids are under threat and risk and why are we talking about it? Well, we're all about helping you help kids put together and build meaningful lives. And we have the series of questions, critical questions, 30 of them that we believe every single kid, if they answer him, will have the foundation that they need. However, if a kid going through that process, if this is done perfectly, the kid going through this process, along the way chooses, makes a choice to engage in harmful activities, like substance use, no matter how clear they are about their identity, their purpose or strong relationships. It's all for naught, they're under threat and risk. You probably don't know this, we have had for a couple of these couple of years now a significant strategic partnership with another organization that really cares about kids called Natural High, I served as a Content Director for them and do love the writing and curriculum design. For the past couple of years. If you're interested in getting their essential resources that I think every parent needs, you can go to naturalhigh.org and sign up and you'll start getting those emails on a weekly basis. They have a series of what they call storyteller videos. They're influencers, athletes, artists, musicians, who have chosen a healthy lifestyle in their short three to seven minute videos that are specifically designed for kids. Right, I think middle school plus or minus three years is the kind of the perfect target. And you can send these videos to kids engaging, thoughtful, why these different artists and celebrities and athletes have made the choices that they've made, and the curriculum and discussion questions to go along with it. So today is a special episode, we put together a really short almost a PSA like a public service announcement for a school that we have a partnership with and we work on their campus with the faculty and staff they asked us to come in, YouSchool to come in and lead an assembly, an all school assembly, about drug and alcohol awareness. And instead, what we decided to do was not have a big assembly where all the kids get into the gym, but instead, record the short under five minute video that's going to come up next. And play that into all the different classrooms so that once they're done watching this video, they can actually turn and discuss and there's discussion questions. And a small group guide. They're also watching in this assembly this week, there's all the entire campus is also watching a fentanyl documentary called Dead on Arrival, sponsored by, hosted by Natural High as well. It's there's a parent version and a kid version and both are, by gosh, informative, shocking. I think necessary, life preventative. And I highly encourage you to take a look at it. All those resources are at naturalhigh.org as well as YouTube. So if you'd like to listen to this next part with your kid, I highly recommend it. This is the science of a natural high- what happens inside of a kid's brain. Why they might be naturally wired to search and thirst for artificial highs, and what they can do to be intentional for themselves about creating a life that's really thriving. So here we go.
Your brain has a mind of its own, it has one primary goal, it's to feel good. Maybe you know this, that your brain will control you subconsciously to do anything at all costs to avoid pain or displeasure, your brain wants to feel happy, and happy feelings come from certain chemicals produced inside your brain. Maybe you've heard of some of them, dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, those chemicals get automatically triggered when you do something enjoyable. Other chemicals get automatically triggered when you do something unenjoyable, or painful or uncomfortable. Cortisol is what's known as a stress chemical, and your brain produces it to send a signal to the rest of your body that danger is close. So you have to be on high alert, ready for a fight, or to run away or to hide. It's a really, really useful chemical, but it doesn't feel good. And too much of it will make you feel worse and worse over time. Researchers have discovered that people feel physically and emotionally miserable when they experience those things. Even the idea of doing something unenjoyable triggers those unhappy chemicals. For example, the experience of being rejected by a friend is one of the most painful experiences anyone can have. Your brain is so keen on avoiding rejection, that it can imagine scenarios and situations that might lead to feeling that awful feeling. So it'll anticipate other people's reactions to things like your hair, your clothes, the things you say. And before you even get around someone else that chemical is already pumping. Remember, your brain wants to feel good and avoid feeling bad. But your brain can't do both at the same time it has to prioritize one over the other. So avoiding pain typically wins. Unfortunately, feeling good from the good chemicals gets turned off unless you become more aware of what's happening in your brain and become more intentional. Here's where we get to the good news, scientists have discovered that you can actually hack your brain system to be happier and healthier more often, you can choose to do certain activities to trigger the happy chemicals to start flowing on purpose. We like to call them natural highs. A natural high is an automatic response your brain has when you intentionally do something that you find enjoyable, like reading a good book, dancing to your favorite song, hanging out with your best friend, telling a joke, riding a skateboard, baking chocolate chip cookies, going for a run. Ironically, artificial substances can make you feel good too. Certain substances, like alcohol and drugs will flip a switch to turn off the bad chemicals and turn on the good chemicals inside your brain. Unfortunately, they don't work for very long. On the one hand, the high that you get from artificial substances doesn't last long, it expires, those uncomfortable feelings return. On the other hand, your brain gets tricked into believing it needs those substances to avoid feeling bad and feel good all the time. Then when the high stops making you feel good. Most people feel actually worse. They feel guilty. They feel remorse, maybe even rejected by their friends and family and get more isolated. Those are awful and miserable feelings. And since your brain has developed a pattern, it starts to believe that the only way to feel good again is yep, you guessed it, more substances. And it eventually reshapes how your brain functions and cuts off some of the critical developments your brain needs. Later in life really important things like how to learn how to make good decisions, how to stay motivated, motivated towards goals and how to connect with people you love. Back to the good news. You are in charge of how you feel more than you probably realize. By choosing to do something you enjoy, you feel more joy. The more often and consistently you choose to do enjoyable activities, the more your brain will crave more enjoyable activities. So here's the question. What brings you joy? What are some of your natural highs?
Hey, thanks for joining in the YouSchool podcast we'd love to share with you the resources available on our website at theyouschool.com not just articles, ebooks, worksheets and other podcasts episodes, but specifically you should know about a free course we have available called The Real Me course. It's digital, it's interactive, and it'll guide you to get clear about who you are in a great story you could tell with your life. So go register for a free account and get started on The Real Me course today at theyouschool.com That's the you school dot com.