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The Legendary Leaders Podcast

Nov 19, 2020


Did you know that the four happiness chemicals - dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphin - have evolved to reward survival behaviours and not to make you feel good all the time?


Yes, you heard that right! But it all makes sense when you understand how these four chemicals work in animals.


Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD is the owner and founder of the Inner Mammal Institute, which helps people build power over their inner mammalian chemistry. Loretta believes that happiness comes from chemicals we have inherited from earlier mammals.


In this episode, Loretta shares her story about the unhappiness that drove her to research more and understand why people feel the way they feel and its relation to nature. Listen in to learn how to satisfy your inner child and find pleasure in it while still showing consideration for others. You will also learn the importance of building trust with others to create human connections even in the current virtual world.


Key Takeaways:

  • Learn how to respect and accept yourself by finding pleasure in whatever you say while showing consideration to others.
  • How your childhood experiences of vulnerabilities shape who you become as an adult.
  • The importance of building trust in small steps to create human connections.
  • How you release threatened feelings by laughing and how it works in the workplace.



If you enjoyed this episode, check out the video show notes and SUBSCRIBE TO THIS PODCAST on Apple Podcasts.


Episode Timeline:

  • [0:42] Intro
  • [4:42] Loretta explains how her quest for happiness motivated her to research happiness chemicals and write books.
  • [6:44] Why we all want to give two things - whatever you were missing as a kid and survival.
  • [9:02] How to find pleasure in saying whatever you want while being considerate to others.
  • [13:15] How Loretta spent many years with a fear of being ignored which came from her childhood vulnerabilities.
  • [17:32] The cortex and how it anticipates future risks which is a challenge to create a sense of safety.
  • [20:14] Understanding why trust comes first and learning to build it.
  • [23:54] Utilizing your dopamine in new ways to take steps that will help you meet needs without consequences of unwanted behaviors.
  • [26:07] How animals make decisions to co-operate for survival and the functions of serotonin in driving animals and humans to want to be in the one-up position.
  • [30:26] Learn to understand and manage the serotonin feeling by celebrating your small wins and giving yourself moments of peace.
  • [33:14] The ways you can create an endorphin release work environment where people laugh.
  • [39:48] Learn how to find the threat and then go back to seeking reward by not triggering more cortisol.



Standout Quotes:

  • “We do need to take account for others and be considerate for others, but also to respect and accept ourselves.”- Loretta Graziano Breuning [10:23]


  • “Instead of just focusing on risks, we have to celebrate our own skills.”- Loretta Graziano Breuning [19:25]


  • “Touch and trust go together but trust comes first.”- Loretta Graziano Breuning [22:47]


  • “You can lower your guard when you feel like you have social support.”- Loretta Graziano Breuning [37:09]



Find | Cathleen Merkel


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Find | Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD


Inner Mammal Institute

Inner Mammal Institute (Deutsch)

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Book| Habits of a Happy Brain: Retrain Your Brain to Boost Your Serotonin, Dopamine, Oxytocin, & Endorphin Levels



Listen to the Happy Brain Podcast Here







Do you want to learn more about how to become a Legendary Leader, then download my FREE Guide which shares 5 Proven Ways To Gain Confidence As An Inspirational Leader Without Overwhelm - Simply Click Here


About Cathleen: 


As a Thought Leader in the Mindset & (Self-) Leadership space, Cathleen supports high achieving, but worn-out women create a more content & balanced life without sacrificing their hard-earned success. Following a simple 6 step framework, she helps you not only reconnect with your inner feminine side; Cathleen also supports you to rediscover your REAL YOU!
Cathleen focuses on women who lost their sense of purpose, who feel they are running in a hamster wheel, trying to please everyone but themselves. She helps you to turn your careers, your social connections and personal life around so that you will start feeling fulfilled and excited again about the days to come.  
At the end of the process, Cathleen's clients will feel healthier, happier, energised and clear about their future.  
With over 15 years of leadership experience in Retail, Media & Broadcasting, Engineering and Property Investment, Cathleen has not only experienced the challenges and opportunities of a female leader herself, she has also been leading and supporting various leadership development initiatives within large, complex, multinational matrix organisations.


Only by deeply experiencing her very personal life challenges – ‘hitting a wall experiences’ –Cathleen was able to redefine her own purpose, deciding to bring ease and content to as many women as possible on the planet!



Tune in here: 



About Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD


Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD is a Professor Emerita of Management at California State University, East Bay. As a teacher and a mom, she was not convinced by prevailing theories of human motivation. Then she learned about the brain chemistry of animals, and everything made sense. Loretta knew this information could help people. So, she set about creating resources. She is thrilled that they have helped thousands of people around the world, and that they have been translated into Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, French, Turkish and German.

Before teaching, Loretta was a United Nations Volunteer in Africa, where she learned about the mammalian custom of bribery. Later, she volunteered as a Docent at the Oakland Zoo, where she gave family-friendly tours on the social behaviour of mammals. Loretta is a graduate of Cornell and Tufts, and the proud mother of tax-paying adults. And every day she appreciates the similarity between the field notes of a primatologist and the lyrics to a love song.

The Inner Mammal Institute helps people build their power over their mammalian brain chemistry. Happiness comes from chemicals we’ve inherited from earlier mammals: dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphin. When you know how they work in animals, your ups and downs make sense. Our happy chemicals evolved to reward survival behaviours, not to make us feel good all the time. But you can feel good more often when you understand nature’s operating system.


The IMI has all the resources you need to make peace with your inner mammal:  booksvideospodcastsinfographicsslideshowsblogsfacebooktwitter, a zoo tour and a training program. And check out our MEDIA page and praise page to find out what people are saying about the Inner Mammal Method. It’s not easy being mammal, but you can build your power over the quirky brain we’ve inherited.