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The Business of Meetings

May 9, 2023

The Business of Meetings – Episode 165 - The Science Behind Mental Health with Dr. Romie Mushtaq

We have the great pleasure of speaking with Dr. Romie Mushtaq today! 

Dr. Romie is a true expert and thought leader in mental health, wellness, and mindfulness! She has done and achieved many things over the last two decades and knows our industry well! She joins us today to share her knowledge and explain what leaders should be doing for their mental health and the well-being of their teams.


Dr. Romie is a board-certified physician, award-winning wellness speaker, and the founder of “brainSHIFT at Work.” She brings together over 20 years of authority in neurology, integrative medicine, and mindfulness to not just deliver programs, but create cultural change.

She is on a mission to transform mental health and wellness in the workplace and currently works with Fortune 500 companies, professional athletes, & global associations. Dr. Romie is also the Chief Wellness Officer for Evolution Hospitality, where she scaled a mindfulness & wellness program to over 7000 employees. Her expertise is featured in the national media such as NPR, NBC, TEDx talks, and Forbes. Find the cure for your busy brain at or @drromie on social media.

About Dr. Romie and her company, the brainSHIFT Institute

Dr. Romie is a triple board-certified physician in neurology and integrative medicine, so she combines Eastern and Western medicine. She is also Chief Wellness Officer at Evolution Hospitality and knows the events industry well.

The brainSHIFT Institute brings mental health programs to corporate America. People contact them because they know Dr. Romie has taken care of the well-being of employees in the workplace, and they want to know how to do that for themselves and their teams.

Dr. Romie’s journey

Dr. Romie is the daughter of South Asian immigrant parents. She was born and raised in the United States, and from the time she was born until she turned eighteen, her father always insisted she became a doctor. Her parents were STEMinists and raised her to be one too. When she entered the world of neurology, less than five percent of American brain doctors were women. In addition to seeing patients, she was also doing cutting-edge research. Although she loved her job, she suffered between 2008 and 2009 because she felt alone. Her patients noticed her suffering, but none of her colleagues did. She got so sick from all the stress that she had to have life-saving surgery in 2010. On her journey to healing after the surgery, she found her path to mindfulness and integrative medicine. Between working with healers around the world, returning, and getting board-certified in integrative medicine, she realized that American employees are being killed by the workload and all the stress. So she embarked on a mission to stop corporate America from hurting the brains of its employees. She did a TEDx Talk in 2018, and it went viral. Then the pandemic happened, and the mental health crisis that the experts already knew existed became publicly known, and people began to talk about it. 

Dr. Romie got to where she is today because she does not want anyone else to feel alone and suffer without help.

Breaking the stress-success cycle

The mentality of professionals in the meetings and events industry, thinking they are only as good as their last event, must change because it is a recipe for disaster for their brains and can lead to burnout. Dr. Romie breaks it down into brain science and calls it the stress-success cycle. She points out that there is a way for event professionals to stop chasing a success high, keep an even keel in their brain, and allow that to translate to their business.

Some symptoms of the stress-success cycle

  • Waking up with no energy.

  • Needing caffeine to get going in the morning and keep going throughout the day.

  • Having a constantly-multiplying to-do list, yet being unable to focus. (Adult-onset ADD)

  • Feeling anxious.

  • Disturbed sleep. (Known as a busy brain)

  • Not being able to take work out of your brain.

  • Needing to use alcohol or supplements to take the edge off.

  • Needing to take a sedative at night to calm down.

A better way to function

There is a better way to function. Events professionals can be successful in their business and with clients- even with a busy brain. The first step is to become aware that you are in a stress-success cycle and have a busy brain. (Take Dr. Romie’s free online test to assess your stress level.)


Research has shown that sleep is the foundational requirement for resetting a busy brain. So getting enough sleep is essential for professionals who want to be successful. In the brainSHIFT protocol, they say that sleep is the new status symbol of successful professionals.

Chasing the dopamine-adrenalin high

Some event professionals continue to do event planning because they are chasing the rush of the dopamine-adrenalin high that comes when an event has gone well. But constantly seeking that high is unhealthy for the brain because it can damage the HPA access and deplete the cortisol and adrenalin coming from the adrenal glands. 

Finding balance

To find balance, you must create micro-habits or make small brain shifts to maintain sustained dopamine and adrenalin levels. That will allow you to wake up each morning feeling energized without needing a crisis to fuel you. To get a natural dopamine high each morning, you must get more than four hours- preferably six to nine hours of sleep every night. 

Easy actions to take at night

Modern-day lifestyles do not give most of us the luxury of having mindful morning routines. So, at brainSHIFT, they have designed some mindfulness meditation exercises for busy brains that are to be done at night after digital devices have been put away.

Dr. Romie’s morning rule

Dr. Romie has found one morning rule particularly effective for her clients: They must give her thirty minutes before they pick up their phones, look at their calendars, read emails, or engage with social media.

Instilling corporate mindfulness

BrainSHIFT has developed an entire framework called Building a Culture of Wellness to assist leaders in putting their people first and caring for the mental health of their teams.

Toxic leaders

When a leader is toxic, it usually means they have something toxic and unprocessed in their life. As a consultant, Dr. Romie believes her job is to show toxic leaders compassion. In the leadership talk at brainSHIFT, they engage all levels of leadership within organizations to teach them how to brain-shift for their entire team.

Health advice for women entrepreneurs and their teams

Dr. Romie advises women entrepreneurs to prioritize sleep and have their thyroid panels and hormones checked annually. The best thing women leaders can do for their teams is to leave them alone from 9 pm to 7 am.

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Connect with Dr. Romie Mushtaq

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Dr. Romie’s book, The Busy Brain Cure