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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On this week’s episode of the podcast, I’m joined once again by my wife Julie.  After being inspired by the latest Macklemore music video featuring his 100-year-old grandmother, we got onto the topic of family, and had a few musings on how we can all coexist together a little more peacefully. 

Also, here is the link to the Macklemore video we talk about in this episode:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OrLroFa0AI

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If you’ve listened to this podcast before, you’ll be familiar with the idea that fear, judgement and ego are the big three facilitators of the undue anxieties we all encounter in our daily lives.  Well, today we’re going to focus on the ego part of that with James McCrae, author of the new book “Sh*t Your Ego Says.”  James has a roller coaster of a life story that involves leaving an unfulfilling lifestyle behind, becoming homeless after Hurricane Sandy, and putting it all back together largely thanks to mindfulness practices like yoga and meditation.  If you like what James has to say, and I suspect you will, check out his work at www.shityouregosays.com.  Enjoy!

Highlights of this episode include:

— How James became unhappy climbing the typical corporate ladder in Minneapolis 

— The final “kick in the ass” that inspired James to change his life and move to New York

— How he became homeless after Hurricane Sandy

— How he became acquainted with the negative aspects of ego, and tools like yoga and meditation

 

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Today’s guest is Alex, a high school English teacher & cross country/track coach.  Alex decided his path was in coaching when he became he realized that hard work alone didn’t always equal success, and as a result became very interested in learning about the remaining puzzle pieces.  His journey has allowed him to cultivate a rather unique approach to coaching teens and he’s here to share his story and wisdom. 

Highlights of this episode include:

— The unusual reason Alex began coaching (hint: it wasn’t just to win)

— What is psychological momentum and how it can help you move toward your goals

— How focusing on the process instead of the outcome can create better teams and athletes

— How being engaged in athletics can help curb depression and anxiety in teens

— Tips for motivating an unmotivated child

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Today’s guest is Susan, a long-time friend of my mine who is here to share her story about her battles with anorexia and bulimia throughout college.  We also touch on her husbands’s suicide later on in her life, and how that has affected her family moving forward. 

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Jaimal Yogis is the author of three books (arguably with the most awesome titles ever), “Saltwater Buddha,” “The Fear Project,” and the forthcoming “All Our Waves Are Water.”  His work centers around the intersections of surfing, fear, meditation, eastern philosophy and personal memoir, the journey of which began when he ran away from home at age 16 to go learn how to surf in Hawaii in the wake of his parents’ divorce.  Jaimal has taken the lessons he’s learned from the ocean and his travels and applied them everyday life in way that’s pretty awe-inspiring. 

Highlights of this episode include:

— Why Jaimal ran way at home at age 16 to learn how to surf in Hawaii

— How his adventures as a youth influenced his parenting style today

— All the great ways surfing serves as a metaphor for life

— Why spending time in the water is like magic

— Why he decided to write an entire book about fear following a break-up

— The ancient roots of fear, and how we’re biologically wired to “fight, flight or flee”

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It’s hard to believe, but Undue Anxiety has been around for an entire year now!  To celebrate, I’m joined once again by my wife, Julie, to talk about some of the most significant observations we’ve made and the lessons we’ve learned in the process of hosting this very podcast.  While we touch on a range of topics that are bulleted below, perhaps the most important takeaway is that you should never, ever forget what it is that’s great about YOU…

What you’ll hear in this episode:
-Why we changed the name of the podcast to “Undue Anxiety”
-Why we should be honest and forthcoming with our stories versus hiding our anxieties
-My first experience with panic attacks at age 14
-What we’ve noticed when people are forthcoming in sharing their stories
-The inability to hear yourself in a world of constant external stimuli
-Therapy as a means of self optimization
-The mental & emotional roots of many physical problems
-A crucial exercise to help you reconnect to what’s great about you

(Editor's note:  I've had the following piece of writing piece of writing pinned to my wall for the last few months, and thought it would be appropriate to share along with this episode.  Enjoy!)

There is a vitality,
a life force,
a quickening
that is translated through you into action,
and because there is only one of you in all time,
this expression is unique.

And If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost.
The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine
how good it is
nor how valuable it is
nor how it compares with other expressions.

It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly
to keep the channel open.
You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work.
You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate YOU.

Keep the channel open...
No artist is pleased...

There is no satisfaction whatever at anytime
There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction
a blessed unrest that keeps us marching
and makes “us" MORE alive than the others.

Martha Graham
( - a letter to Agnes De Mille-)

 

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Andrea Petersen is a contributing writer to the Wall Street Journal, where she writes about health, psychology and neuroscience.  She’s also the author of the recently-published memoir “On Edge: A Journey Through Anxiety,” which is an incredible read that’s quite the page turner.  In our conversation, Andrea is kind enough to talk about some of the more harrowing aspects of her journey, as well as some of the most important tools in her toolbox for managing anxiety. 

Highlights of this episode include: 

— Andrea recalls the first time she ever experienced anxiety

— Her extensive journey through the medical world to arrive at an anxiety diagnosis

— The long list of avoidance behaviors she acquired and whether she judged herself for them

— The way a childhood illness can be a precursor for developing anxiety later in life

— Why she thinks anxiety is increasing among young people

— How anxiety disorders have actually improved Andrea’s life

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Summoning the confidence to follow your dreams is a much more difficult task for the average college student than it may seem. Take today’s guest, Aaron, for example — he’s been a gifted soccer player all his life, and earned a tremendous opportunity to play soccer at a NCAA Division 1 school.  But something wasn’t quite right.  He had all sorts of fears and doubts about whether or not he could actually succeed, and a history of six concussions telling him maybe it wasn’t such a good idea. The root of what Aaron was dealing with, was simply a lack of confidence, and with this episode we delve deeply into the nature of it, and it how’s such a key player in shaping our lives. 

 

What we talk about in this episode:

 — Aaron’s history of concussions as a soccer player, and the how they affected his daily functioning

—  His lack of confidence in pursuing a soccer career, even in the face of big opportunities

—  Where he suspects his lack of confidence originates

— His path back to playing soccer again, once his concussion symptoms healed

— His current inspirational outlook on the nature of following one’s dreams

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Dr. Joe Tatta is a doctor of physical therapy and the author the new book titled “Heal Your Pain Now: The Revolutionary Program to Reset Your Brain and Body for a Pain-Free Life.”  If you or a loved one is experiencing any sort of chronic pain, you’re definitely going to want to tune into our conversation, which was illuminating in terms of the role that our brains and emotions play in the larger picture of pain.  Dr. Tatta believes that resolving pain has a lot more to do with the brain than the body, and makes a very strong argument for his case. 

TOPICS WE DISCUSS IN THIS EPISODE:

— Joe’s surprising philosophy on how to alleviate chronic pain for good  [2:00]

— The difference between acute pain and chronic pain  [3:12]

— Why pain persists sometimes even after an injury had healed  [6:00]

— The types of people who may be pre-disposed to developing chronic pain  [9:00]

— The correlation between chronic pain and depression/anxiety  [12:15]

— How re-framing the way you think about chronic pain can possibly eliminate it altogether [14:10]

— Why Joe believes traditional methods of treating pain, such as medications, will always fail [14:45]

— The difference between pain and suffering [21:00]

— The role that fear plays in pain, and how addressing fear can diminish pain [23:50]

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