Mismatched: Your Brain Under Stress

A revolutionary documentary series exploring stress in our society and what we can do about it.

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Stress is literally the spice of life. It has been said If you don’t experience stress you’re not alive. Stressors are everywhere. They come at you from the environment you live, work and play in, from other people and mostly, from inside your own mind. Stress is defined as our reactions to change. Like everything else, you can learn how to master your stress to live a more peaceful, productive and happy life. Mismatched: Your Brain Under Stress will tell you how.

The number of people feeling miserable has increased with increasing political and economic uncertainty, and the fear of new viral diseases. Global trends consistently show an increase in the number of people reporting negative emotions. Our minds and bodies are well adapted to short-term intense stress – the kind of stress that was in our environment for more than 200,000 years, and gave us a fighting chance when we were being chased by a saber toothed tiger. Stress turns on our fight or flight response to keep us safe from imminent threats. However rapid technological growth and other factors of modern life have changed our world beyond recognition without giving us an outlet to vent our stress. You can’t just fight the guy in the next cubicle because he is being a jerk. And so stress builds up to where it becomes chronic, and the primary forerunner of psychological disorders. Chronic stress is worse than ever. And chronic stress can destroy us.

Our brains can evolve, but not as fast as our world is changing. This creates a mismatch with our environment. To combat this we need to know how our brains can get hijacked, what tools we can use to become better aligned with the way stress affects our body and mind, and an understanding of how to recognize and move beyond kneejerk reactions to achieve our full potential.

Mismatched: Your Brain Under Stress is a 6 part documentary featuring some of the world’s leading experts on stress. Their collective experience stretches from the first experiments done on the mind/body connection to the latest research into unravelling the unconscious mind. As entertaining as it is informative, Mismatched teaches us about what stress is and how to master it.

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What Educators Are Saying About Mismatched

Since stress is such a prevalent part of today’s world — especially the world shared by young learners and their teachers — understanding stress is not just advisable. It is essential. Stress is something we don’t always think about, just as a fish doesn’t likely think about water very often. It’s just there. But when it comes to teaching, stress is a reality that matters a great deal. Stress hurts teaching by hurting teachers. The education of young people in our nation is such an important task that we cannot afford to allow something manageable like stress to impede it. We must hit on all cylinders if our tomorrows are to be as bright as we hope.

Mismatched provides a unique opportunity for teachers and teacher-leaders to truly understand what stress is doing to them, to their students, and to the instruction that depends on both parties. Mismatched helped me to develop a keener understanding of the nature of stress, its effects on my students and employees, and ways to counter its adverse effects. I think every educator in America should see it.

John Kuhn, EdD
Superintendent of Schools, Mineral Wells, Texas ISD

As I watched Mismatched: Your Brain Under Stress, I was reminded how detrimental stress can be from the viewpoint of an educator. This documentary defines stress, differentiates between good and bad forms, and discusses how chronic stress negatively affects our physical and mental well-being. With stress being such a pervasive influence in society, it also demonstrates why there is a greater need in educating the public about successful methods to cope with stress more effectively. 

Stress is a continuing influence in our lives. This documentary provides insightful information to its viewers using a variety of effective methods to both instruct and entertain its audience using innovative pedagogical approaches. It encourages viewers to become learners, to collaborate with others in conversation, and actively promote integration of new information into real-world scenarios.

Susan Heckman, M.Ed.
Educator, The School District of Palm Beach County, Florida

Episodes

EP 1: Stress and Health 

Stress has always been a part of life. But is it getting worse? Are we more stressed today than before? Why are we mismatched?

EP 2: Mind/Body Connection 

Our mind controls our physical health. Monks in the Himalayan mountains can use their mind to control their body temperature such that they are able to dry soaking wet sheets on their backs in a freezing cold room.

EP 3: Mind/Body Connection II 

We are all different, what one person finds stressful, another person finds exhilarating. When we do find something stressful, what are the cascade of events that can ultimately destroy our health? This process starts in the brain with our perception of stress.

EP 4: Resilience for First Responders

What are the unique stressors experienced by police officers and other first responders? The tools and techniques discussed here can also apply to all of us.

EP 5: Stress is a Funny Thing

Humor is one of the best ways to combat stress.

EP 6: Unlock the Power of the Unfocused Mind

Focus is great, and necessary, but it is during unfocused times that eureka moments occur.

EP 1: Stress and Health 

Stress has always been a part of life. But is it getting worse? Are we more stressed today than before? Why are we mismatched?

EP 2: Mind/Body Connection 

Our mind controls our physical health. Monks in the Himalayan mountains can use their mind to control their body temperature such that they are able to dry soaking wet sheets on their backs in a freezing cold room.

EP 3: Mind/Body Connection II 

We are all different, what one person finds stressful, another person finds exhilarating. When we do find something stressful, what are the cascade of events that can ultimately destroy our health? This process starts in the brain with our perception of stress.

EP 4: Resilience for First Responders

What are the unique stressors experienced by police officers and other first responders? The tools and techniques discussed here can also apply to all of us.

EP 5: Stress is a Funny Thing

Humor is one of the best ways to combat stress.

EP 6: Unlock the Power of the Unfocused Mind

Focus is great, and necessary, but it is during unfocused times that eureka moments occur.

Meet the Cast

(Click on the name for cast member photo and bio)

Dr. Benson is the Director Emeritus of the Benson-Henry Institute and Mind/Body Medicine Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

He is a pioneer in mind/body medicine and one of the first Western physicians to bring spirituality and healing into medicine. In his 40+ year career, he has defined the relaxation response and continues to lead teaching and research into its efficacy in counteracting the harmful effects of stress. The recipient of numerous national and international awards, Dr. Benson lectures widely about mind/body medicine. His book, The Relaxation Response, has sold over four million copies.

Dr. Kirsch is President of The American Institute of Stress and a pioneer in mind/body medicine. He has extensive clinical practice experience and has been a keynote speaker on brain technologies worldwide for over 40 years. Starting out as a 17th century philosophy major in college studying the great philosopher, mathematician and neuroscientist René Descartes, Dr. Kirsch became interested in pain and stress and as a result studied medical sciences earning a PhD in neurobiology. He is best known for inventing Alpha-Stim Brain Tech, an evidence-based prescription technology used to normalize stressed brains.

A prolific author, most recently he coauthored Stress in Health and Disease (Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 2014), contributed to the book, Complementary and Integrative Treatments in Psychiatric Practice (American Psychiatric Association, 2017), was featured in Justin Smith’s 2017 documentary movie, The Body Electric: Electroceuticals and the Future of Medicine, and it’s 2019 sequel, The Brain Electric: Healing Wave of the Future, and co-authored a chapter on brain stimulation in a book by the American Psychological Association, titled Using Technology in Mental Health Practice (2018). Dr Kirsch is also the Editor-in-Chief of two quarterly magazines published by the American Institute of Stress, Combat Stress and Contentment.

Dr. Rosch was Chairman of the Board of The American Institute of Stress, Clinical Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry at New York Medical College, and Honorary Vice President of the International Stress Management Association. He completed his internship and residency training at John Hopkins Hospital, and subsequently at the Walter Reed Army Hospital, where he was Director of the Endocrine Section. He had a Fellowship at the Institute of Experimental Medicine and Surgery at the the University of Montreal with Dr. Hans Selye, who originated the term “stress” as it is currently used, and has co-authored works with Dr. Selye as well as Dr. Flanders Dunbar, who introduced the term “pychosomatic” into American medicine. Dr. Rosch passed away on February 26, 2020. He was 92 years old.

Richard S. Biehl is the Director and Chief of Police, Dayton, Ohio. He served nearly 25 years in the Cincinnati Police Department in positions including: Officer, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, and ultimately Assistant Police Chief for six years. He commanded both the Investigations Bureau and the Administration Bureau.

Under his leadership, the Dayton Police Department has received recognition as a finalist for the 2010 and 2011 Herman Goldstein Award for Excellence in Problem Oriented Policing and the 2011 Ohio Crime Prevention Association’s Special Project Award. In addition, Chief Biehl was the 2011 recipient of the Chief Michael Kelly Excellence and Innovation in Policing Award.

Dr. Pillay is a world-renowned keynote speaker, lecturer, author, consultant and Harvard trained Psychiatrist. After graduating at the top of his class from medical school in South Africa, he received a Medical Research Council Scholarship to study the neurochemistry of panic. Thereafter, he completed his residency in Psychiatry at McLean Hospital, Harvard’s largest freestanding psychiatric hospital, with the most accolades ever give to a single resident. Srini also completed fellowships in psychopharmacology and spent 17 years studying functional brain imaging. He also maintains an active clinical practice.

Dr. Gordon is Chairman of the Board and founder of Brain Resource, which integrates brain research from over 350 scientists within leading institutions in 28 countries to encourage peak performance, and address addiction, depression, ADHD and other disorders. He has more than 30 years experience in human brain research and is considered as one of the originators of the field of integrative neuroscience, which consolidates information about how the brain functions at a physical, biological, and emotional level, and brings objective measures to psychiatry. He has published over 300 scientific papers and two books.

Dr. Gordon also established BrainRevolution.org, a non-profit organization to empower children with methods to explore and train their brains.

Dr. Gevirtz is a Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Alliant International University in San Diego. He has been involved in research and clinical work in applied psychophysiology and biofeedback for the last 30 years and served as the president of the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (2006-2007). His primary research interests are in understanding the physiological and psychological mediators involved in disorders such as chronic muscle pain, fibromyalgia, and gastrointestinal pain. In this vein, he has studied applications of heart rate variability biofeedback for anxiety, pain, gastrointestinal, cardiac rehabilitation, and other disorders. He is the author of many journal articles and chapters on these topics.

Dr. Hanna is the Chief Energy Officer of Synergy Brain Fitness, a company providing brain-based health and performance programs to individuals and organizations. As an experienced speaker, Dr. Heidi Hanna has been featured at many national and global conferences, including the Fortune Magazine Most Powerful Women in Business Summit, ESPN Women’s Leadership Summit, and the Million Dollar Round Table. Her clients have included Google, Starbucks, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, and WD40 as well as the PGA Tour and the National Football League.

Dr. Corbier is a Board Certified Neurologist with special qualifications in Child Neurology. He treats all adult and pediatric neurological conditions and has special interest in working with Autism and related spectrum disorders. Dr. Corbier also works with PANS/PANDAS and is presently conducting research in the area of Neuromodulation and Speech-Language delay. He is dedicated to the study of nutrition and its role in brain related disorders and practices “Nutritional neurology”, combining neurology with evidence-based nutritional approaches to improve the overall health of his patients. In addition to neurology, Dr. Corbier is a Board Certified in Integrative Pediatrics.

Karyn Buxman is an international speaker, successful author, and neurohumorist (living at the intersection of the brain and humor). Karyn is a pioneer in the field of applied humor, starting with her masters thesis in graduate school and now continues her partnerships with leading neuroscientists. Karyn helps leaders achieve peak performance and optimum health through the art and science of applied humor.

The Filmmaker

Justin Smith is an independent documentary filmmaker and is the writer/director of Mismatched: Your Brain Under Stress.

His previous work includes Statin Nation (2012), Statin Nation II (2015), Body Electric (2017), and The Brain Electric (2019). He is also the author of Statin Nation, the book, published by Chelsea Green in the United States and VAK in Germany.

He has had a number of articles published in major publications, including a leading feature article in the Sunday Telegraph about cholesterol and statin medications. Justin has also completed the Guardian Masterclass in Investigative Journalism. He is from the UK but travels extensively and has filmed in twelve countries.

justinsmithfilms.com/contact 
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