GUEST SERIES | Dr. Paul Conti: How to Improve Your Mental Health


Huberman Lab

This is episode 2 of a 4-part special series on mental health with Dr. Paul Conti, M.D., a Stanford and Harvard-trained psychiatrist currently running a clinical practice, the Pacific Premiere Group. Dr. Conti explains specific tools for how to overcome life’s challenges using a framework of self-inquiry that explores all the key elements of self, including defense mechanisms, behaviors, self-awareness and attention. We also discuss our internal driving forces, how to align them and ultimately, how to cultivate a powerful “generative drive” of positive, aspirational pursuits. Dr. Conti also explains how to adjust your internal narratives, reduce self-limiting concepts, overcome intrusive thoughts, and how certain defense mechanisms, such as “acting out” or narcissism, show up in ourselves and others. The next episode in this special series explores how to build healthy relationships with others.

For the full show notes, including articles, books, and other resources, visit

Thank you to our sponsors​



Waking Up:

Eight Sleep:



(00:00:00) Improve Mental Health

(00:02:19) Sponsors: BetterHelp & Waking Up App

(00:05:26) Structure & Function of Healthy Self

(00:16:25) Agency & Gratitude

(00:21:14) Aggressive Drive, Pleasure Drive, Generative Drive

(00:30:00) Physical & Mental Health Similarities, Verb States

(00:37:05) Sponsor: AG1

(00:38:32) Lack of Motivation, Drives

(00:43:06) Video Games/Social Media & Distraction, Generative Drive

(00:51:46) Asking Better Questions, Psychiatric Medicine, Physical Health Parallels

(00:59:10) Sponsor: Eight Sleep

(01:00:30) Self-Reflection & Structure of Self “Cupboards”, Trauma & Agency

(01:08:53) Feeling Stuck, Defense Mechanisms & Sublimation, Character

(01:13:58) Self-Reflection & Function of Self “Cupboards”, Self-Awareness

(01:19:24) Defense Mechanisms & “Acting Out”

(01:26:43) Salience, Intrusive Thoughts

(01:31:24) Self-Reflection, Behaviors & Strivings; Roadmap Forward

(01:38:25) Internal Narratives, Childhood

(01:44:44) Internal Narratives: Self-Scrutiny & Overcoming; Trauma

(01:55:18) Time Required for Change, Understanding Intrusive Thoughts

(02:03:13) Self-Reflection on Internal Drives; Envy

(02:09:56) Generative Drive; Strong Aggressive Drive & Envy

(02:21:50) High Aggressive Drive & Social Relationships, Narcissism

(02:28:43) Narcissism, Destruction, Envy

(02:37:18) Narcissism & Childhood, Change

(02:41:26) Engaging with Narcissists, Disengagement

(02:44:47) Demoralization, Learned Helplessness

(02:49:34) Self-Inventory of Drives, Optimization

(02:56:09) Social Media & Salience, Generative Drive

(03:03:21) Rational Aspiration

(03:13:16) Zero-Cost Support, YouTube Feedback, Spotify & Apple Reviews, Sponsors, Social Media, Momentous, Neural Network Newsletter

Title Card Photo Credit: Mike Blabac


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