Episode 067 -- Post Stroke Emotional Health with Peter and Ria Evans

Peter and Ria Evans are back this week for a conversation about emotions, mood, reactions, depression, and more.

[caption id="attachment_632" align="alignleft" width="150"]Peter Evans Headshot Peter Evans[/caption]

You can hear more about their origin story (No, I'm not watching too many super hero movies. Why do you ask?) in episode 60.

We recently published Peter's article called Don’t Underestimate the Impact of Emotions on Stroke Recovery, which what kicked off this episode. You can read it here.

This time, we have less of an interview and more of a conversation. We dive deeper into the emotional challenges of life after stroke as we explore goal setting, depression, meditation and the importance of breaking out of negative patterns. We talk about some of the techniques we use to manage our moods and take control of our mindset.

[caption id="attachment_645" align="alignright" width="150"]Ria Evans Headshot Ria Evans[/caption]

There are a lot of things out of our control after a stroke; our emotional state doesn't have to be one of them. There are techniques we can use to manage our emotions. If our mood keeps getting away from us, professionals can help us learn appropriate tools or prescribe medication to help with the worst of it. The point is we have options, and we have choices. Our doctors can help.

Book Recommendations

Here are the books we referenced in this episode:

Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence, By Richard Hanson


Why is it easier to ruminate over hurt feelings than it is to bask in the warmth of being appreciated? Because your brain evolved to learn quickly from bad experiences and slowly from good ones, but you can change this.

Life isn’t easy, and having a brain wired to take in the bad and ignore the good makes us worried, irritated, and stressed, instead of confident, secure, and happy. But each day is filled with opportunities to build inner strengths and Dr. Rick Hanson, an acclaimed clinical psychologist, shows what you can do to override the brain’s default pessimism.

Hardwiring Happiness lays out a simple method that uses the hidden power of everyday experiences to build new neural structures full of happiness, love, confidence, and peace. You’ll learn to see through the lies your brain tells you. Dr. Hanson’s four steps build strengths into your brain to make contentment and a powerful sense of resilience the new normal. In just minutes a day, you can transform your brain into a refuge and power center of calm and happiness.

My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey, By, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor


The astonishing New York Times bestseller that chronicles how a brain scientist's own stroke led to enlightenment

On December 10, 1996, Jill Bolte Taylor, a thirty-seven- year-old Harvard-trained brain scientist experienced a massive stroke in the left hemisphere of her brain. As she observed her mind deteriorate to the point that she could not walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her life-all within four hours-Taylor alternated between the euphoria of the intuitive and kinesthetic right brain, in which she felt a sense of complete well-being and peace, and the logical, sequential left brain, which recognized she was having a stroke and enabled her to seek help before she was completely lost. It would take her eight years to fully recover.

For Taylor, her stroke was a blessing and a revelation. It taught her that by "stepping to the right" of our left brains, we can uncover feelings of well-being that are often sidelined by "brain chatter." Reaching wide audiences through her talk at the Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) conference and her appearance on Oprah's online Soul Series, Taylor provides a valuable recovery guide for those touched by brain injury and an inspiring testimony that inner peace is accessible to anyone.

My Stroke of Insight TED Talk



Advice from Ria

Ria mention 2 simple ways to break a negative thought patterns.

  1. Talk to yourself
  2. Hug your pillow

Sometimes the simplest ideas can have the most impact.

Hack of the Week

I type 30 wpm with one hand these days. One reason I can do it is because I have sticky keys enabled on my Windows computer. With Sticky Key, I don't have to hold shift or control while I press another key. I can just tap them. This is a great Windows Accessibility feature.

To learn more about Sticky Keys and see how to enable it, play this video:


Where do we go from here?

  • So what are your strategies for dealing with emotions? Let us know in the comments below.
  • Visit Strokecast.com/Peter to read Peter's latest article about post-stroke emotion or listen to my previous conversation with Peter and Ria.
  • Subscribe to Strokecast for free in your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode.
  • Don't get best…Get better


Strokecast is the stroke podcast where a Gen X stroke survivor explores rehab, recovery, the frontiers of neuroscience and one-handed banana peeling by helping stroke survivors, caregivers, medical providers and stroke industry affiliates connect and share their stories.

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast

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