This week’s guest is Akshay Nanavati, author of the forthcoming book “Fearvana: The Revolutionary Science of How To Turn Fear Into Health, Wealth, & Happiness.” Akshay struggled with drug addiction as a youth, but his life was changed after the movie “Black Hawk Down” inspired him to join the US Marines.  After serving in Iraq, and struggling with PTSD as a result, Akshay began to educate himself deeply on the neuroscience behind fear, and developed some very interesting ideas on how fear can be used as a catalyst for many areas of personal growth. Akshay’s high-octane demeanor is contagious, and his enthusiasm for life and his work are highly enviable.  I suspect you’ll enjoy this one and learn a lot like I did!

Highlights of this episode include:

—How the movie “Black Hawk Down” inspired Akshay to quit using drugs forever

—His experiences in the US Marines and the PTSD he experienced afterwards

—The differences between post-traumatic stress and post-traumatic stress disorder

—The concept of “Fearvana” and how we can use it to our advantage

—What we can learn through enduring challenging events, and more!

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We live in strange, anxiety-inducing times.  Whether it’s the 24-hour cycle of negative news, political drama, natural disasters, or personal troubles, it’s becoming increasingly easier to feel like we’re losing control of both our circumstances and our lives.  So this week Julie and I would like to take some time to talk about the idea of designing your ideal day, which can be done as a simple exercise when you wake up in the morning.  One of the keys to creating a more meaningful life lie in our daily actions, so we’d like to help you make sure your actions are in tune with the vibe you want to put out into the world.  We think you’ll find this both simple and effective.  Try it out and let us know how it goes!

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This week’s podcast is partially inspired by this article, written by one of my favorite writers Frank Bruni:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/02/opinion/sunday/college-freshman-mental-health.html?mcubz=0

Bruni makes some fantastic points in the article, so I decided to discuss a few of them while offering some advice to college freshmen who might be struggling with the transition as well as my thoughts on getting right into the mix to hopefully avoid potential growing pains altogether. Enjoy!

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I felt compelled to record an additional quick episode of UA this week to talk about Chicago weatherman Tom Skilling, and how he was so moved by the solar eclipse that he shed tears.  Tom's shameless display of emotion can teach us a lot about living life from a place of passion as well as the shifting nature of masculinity in today's world.  Enjoy!
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Julie & I just dropped off our son, George, back at college for his senior year, and it got inspired us to talk a little bit this week about periods of transition and change that we encounter throughout our lives, especially as parents as we watch our kids grow up and move to on to do all the great things they’re destined for.  While these times can be scary and uncertain, change is nothing to fear, so tune in to get our extended thoughts on the topic!

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Back To School time can sometimes be a harrowing period that where old anxieties re-surface and new ones form seemingly out of thin air.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  So in the spirit of undoing our undue anxiety, I’ve collected a list of thoughts on how you can have your happiest, healthiest school year yet.  This is the stuff I work with most commonly in the therapy room, so take a listen and then take action! Have a great school year!

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Sean Griffin is the owner of Chicago Primal Gym, and he’s here today to share some of his incredible insights on how to cultivate strength, health, and happiness.  Sean opened his gym back in 2013, and has managed to build an extremely tight-knit community of more than 250 members.  What interests me about Sean’s philosophies is that they tend to differ from the norm —  he describes the CPG experience as being like the TV show “Cheers,” except you’re in a gym instead of a bar!  Hope you enjoy this one as much as I did!

Be sure to check out Sean’s gym on the web at www.chicagoprimal.com

Highlights of this episode include:

— Why Sean dropped out of corporate America 

— How he came to discover his path lie in helping people achieve fitness instead

— How he was highly influenced by books like “The Alchemist” and “The Untethered Soul”

— Some unconventional habits Sean has adopted for the gym such as friday gratitude circles

— What is unconditional positive regard, the importance of taking action, and much much more!

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We wanted to post an additional episode this week sharing our thoughts on the breaking news that Steve Bartman will be receiving a 2016 World Series Championship Ring from the Chicago Cubs!  Bartman was the subject of relentless public scrutiny after he accidentally tipped a foul ball in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS, and we’re pleasantly surprised that his story has a great ending.  

In case you need to catch up to speed on the story: http://wgntv.com/2017/07/31/steve-bartman-to-receive-2016-chicago-cubs-world-series-championship-ring/

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Joining me on this week’s episode is Matt Quinn, Community Relations Coordinator at Rosecrance, a substance abuse treatment center with locations throughout Illinois.  Matt’s here to help me touch on a number of areas we haven’t really had an opportunity to discuss on the podcast just yet, mainly as it relates to marijuana and alcohol usage in teenagers. 

Topics we discuss include:

— Substance abuse trends that have surprised him.  What drugs has he seen decreases and increases in?

— His biggest concern about teens and young adults using marijuana

— Marijuana usage as it related to brain development in teens

— Can marijuana be a long-term healing solution overcome anxiety, or does it only have short-term benefits?

— Is Connection the opposite of Addiction?  An interesting theory you’ll want to tune into…

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Returning to the podcast for this week’s episode is my esteemed colleague Laura Kaehler.  We talking largely about the anxiety that tends to develop in our kids during the late high school to early college transition, and some approached we can take as parents to ensure that we’re sending them out into the world to confidently embrace the challenges of life, and the resilience to bounce back from setbacks. 

If you don’t recall Laura’s story, feel free scroll back through the archives for another great listen!

Topics we hit in this episode include:

— Why are kids growing more and more anxious toward getting their drivers license?

— Instilling confidence and resilience in our kids

— Is Snapchat is cleverly designed to circumvent us parents?

— Is taking the phone away ever an effective punishment?

— Why you should make an effort to understand your kid’s music

— Our musings on when medication can be useful 

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