The Source: Open Your Mind, Change Your Life,
Dr Tara Swart
Neuroscientist, award-winning author, psychiatrist, doctor, and the chief science officer of Heights
Ours is a turbulent century. Semaine decided to call up the doctor for a prescription, formulated just for this period in which we want to thrive, rather than merely survive, or struggle through. Enter Dr. Tara Swart: a neuroscientist, award-winning author, psychiatrist, doctor, and the chief science officer of Heights, the world’s first plant-based ‘smart supplement’ designed to boost your brain power, keep your memory sharp, and safeguard your emotional wellbeing via the intelligent daily delivery of 18 key nutrients. It’s the kind of pill a lot of us could use always, but especially in the 21st Century—as an alternative for medication or a quick fix, but as an extra gentle helping hand to support anxious, heavy heads overwhelmed by the news.
Swart has pioneered a number of scientific breakthroughs over the course of her career, including how the law of attraction works (hint: it works!) and how the ancient tools of manifestation can successfully propel us towards a balanced state of confidence and personal fulfillment. Her findings—along with her library of science-backed practical tips—carry a special message of hope in light of today’s fragile climate: “With a change in pace, and by ensuring less mindless distraction, we can really apply our magnetic desire to the truly important things in life,” she says. “[At a time like this] your inner strength, and the quality of relationship you have with yourself before others, is the difference between surviving and thriving. All of these are things that can be nurtured due to the tremendous power of neuroplasticity—aka the ability of the brain to change itself.”
With this in mind, Semaine consulted Swart for a cheatsheet to help tackle modern life with positive perseverance. In response to the feelings of anxiety and fear of the new century, Dr Swart said: “It is important to acknowledge your feelings and keep moving through the curve. If we get stuck in one area it takes longer to get to the end. But, people will move through it at different rates, and we may all have to repeat this cycle several times. Be mindful of what you are experiencing physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, and that others will be going at their own pace.”
The spectre of change can often be the engine of innovation, and we are, according to Dr. Swart, “at the start of a big change….The Kubler-Ross Change Curve [a model developed by scientists in the 1960s to measure grief-related emotions] indicates that we will go through shock and denial, anger and fear, depression, bargaining and trying to find meaning, and—finally—acceptance with the ability to move forward.” It’s helpful to understand the brain’s chemistry, to have an objective view of the spiralling that occurs within when we experience a stress response: “This can lower our physical immunity making us more susceptible to common ailments, and it also re-routes the blood supply in the brain away from the higher centers, and down to survival mode.” To Dr. Swart, we exist all too often in this survival mode. To lift ourselves out of it, we must “give our brain-body system the rest, fuel, oxygen, and sense of belonging it needs.”
What, then, is Dr. Swart’s verified recipe for life, if you will? Her way of thinking teaches us to listen to the body, as well as lean on a few outside sources of comfort. She suggests: “Apart from good quality and length of sleep, eating a nutrition-dense diet and taking supplements, drinking plenty of water and minimizing alcohol and caffeine, and being physically active, I particularly rely on yoga, meditation, reflexology and magnesium baths to combat stress.”
By Elsa de Berker for Semaine.
Photography by Casey Lazonick.
Take a literal page from the doctor’s book with her go-to list of mind expanding reads.
“I love the concept of integrated thinking using your whole brain and embracing agility as well as diversity of thinking.”
“I wanted a book about spirituality that was secular and explained by rigorous cognitive science so I wrote it myself! ”
“These tales of unusual neurological syndromes inspired me to do my PhD research.”
“Written by the doctor who invented the mirror box for stroke rehabilitation, this book really highlights the incredible ability of the brain to re-wire and re-invent itself.”
“So much of neuroscience is explained by the evolution of humanity so I found this book fascinating and full of correlations that explain modern society.”
“Full of case studies and research from neuroscience that back up practical exercises to change your thinking.”
Get a head start on positive visualization with these recommended downloads. You’ll find nutrition podcasts and mindfulness apps a-plenty.
“I have been on The Bulletproof Podcast, and it has the most diverse and interesting guests all relevant to health, well-being and personal optimisation.”
“I have also featured on the Feel Better Live More podcast. It also has the most diverse and interesting guests all relevant to health, well-being and personal optimisation."
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What does the word “taste” mean to you?
True beauty – something that stimulates your senses and your emotions..
Do you have a life motto that you live by?
Never complain, never explain.
What was the last thing that made you laugh?
The small, spontaneous things that happen when spending quality time with friends and family.
What are your favourite qualities in a human being?
Generosity of spirit, warmth, forgiveness.
Who is your hero?
What is your biggest flaw?
What is your best quality?
What would your last meal on earth be?
What does success mean to you?
Fulfilling your potential.
If you had the power to change anything you wanted in the world, what would you change?
Inequality in all forms.