Anxiety is typically thought of as a disease or a disorder. My guest has a very different way of looking at it, and says that rather than being a burden, anxiety can actually become a benefit, and even a strength.
Dr. David Rosmarin is an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, the founder of the Center for Anxiety, and the author of Thriving with Anxiety: 9 Tools to Make Your Anxiety Work for You. Today on the show, David explains why the prevalence of anxiety has risen while the reasons to feel anxious have fallen, and what the increase in anxiety has to do with our growing intolerance for uncertainty and uncontrollability. We discuss how the perception of anxiety is a big part of...
Perhaps you’ve read Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, a book many turn to to learn and internalize the teachings of Stoic philosophy. But what do you know of the man who penned that seminal text? Here to help us get to know the philosopher and ruler is Donald Robertson, a cognitive-behavior psychotherapist and the author of Marcus Aurelius: The Stoic Emperor. Drawing on the Meditations, three ancient histories about Marcus’ life and character, and a cache of private letters between him and his rhetoric tutor, Donald unpacks how Marcus’ life shaped his approach to Stoicism, and how Stoicism shaped him. We discuss Marcus’ childhood and influences, his idea of manliness, the surprising significance of who he does and doesn’t mention in the Meditations, and how he used that journal as a kind of father figure. We also discuss how Marcus may have undergone training modeled on the Spartan agoge, how he came to attention as a successor to the emperorship, how he got turned on to Stoicism as medicine for the soul, and how he used the philosophy to deal with his tumultuous rule.
26 February Finished
Have you ever known one of those people who seemed to be able to connect with anyone? The kind of person who had the ability to make others feel understood and smoothly navigate even the trickiest of conversations? Charles Duhigg calls these folks "supercommunicators," and he's the author of a new book by the same name. Today on the show, Charles explains that what underlies supercommunicators' skill in connection is something called the matching principle, and he unpacks how it works and how you can put it to use in your own conversations. We discuss several techniques for how to figure out what kind of conversation you're having, so you can align your language and energy with the other person. And because emotional conversations can be particularly difficult, we dig into tactics for successfully navigating them, even when they contain a high degree of conflict. We also get into how to carry the skills of connection into your digital conversations.
21 February Finished
In my twenties and early thirties, I was a regular journaler. Several years ago, however, I stopped journaling almost entirely because I wasn’t getting anything out of it anymore. But my guest has helped me see that my problem wasn’t with journaling itself, but that I had gotten into a journaling rut, and he’s introduced me to some new ways to journal that have inspired me to get back into the practice. Campbell Walker is an illustrator, animator, podcaster, and YouTuber, as well as the author of Your Head is a Houseboat: A Chaotic Guide to Mental Clarity. Today on the show, Cam shares how journaling transformed his life and what it can do for yours. We discuss why it’s helpful to do a journaling brain dump and how to then move beyond that to incorporate different techniques that will help you get greater insight into the problems you’re facing and how to solve them. We unpack those techniques, which include how to journal to break mindset, conduct a lifestyle and habits audit, and quell anxiety. We also talk about an experiment Cam did where he only used the social media apps on his phone when he was posting something, and every time he got the itch to check social media for fun, he engaged in something he calls “microjournaling” instead. We end our conversation with how Cam’s journaling changed after he became a dad and his tips on making journaling a consistent habit in your life.
19 February Finished
The marriage rate has come down 65% since 1970. There are multiple factors behind this decrease, but one of them is what we might call the poor branding that surrounds marriage in the modern day. From all corners of our culture and from both ends of the ideological spectrum come messages that marriage is an outdated institution, that it hinders financial success and personal fulfillment, and that it's even unimportant when it comes to raising kids. My guest would say that these ideas about marriage are very wrong, and he doesn't come at it from an emotionally-driven perspective, but from what's born out by the data. Dr. Brad Wilcox is a sociologist who heads the nonpartisan National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, which studies marriage and family life. He's also the author of Get Married. Today on the show, Brad discusses the latest research on marriage and how it belies the common narratives around the institution. We dig into the popular myths around marriage, and how it not only boosts your finances, but predicts happiness in life better than any other factor. Brad also shares the five pillars of marriage that happy couples embrace.
14 February Finished
If you’ve ever read the classic book Endurance, you probably shivered and shuddered as you wondered what it would have been like to have undertaken Ernest Shackleton’s famously arduous Antarctic rescue mission. The adventurer Tim Jarvis did more than wonder. When Alexandra Shackleton challenged him to re-create her grandfather’s epic journey, he jumped at the chance to follow in the legendary explorer’s footsteps. Today on the show, Tim, the author of Chasing Shackleton: Re-creating the World’s Greatest Journey of Survival, first shares the story of Shackleton’s heroic effort to save the crew of his failed Antarctic expedition. Tim then tells us how he and his own crew replicated Shackleton’s journey over land and sea, from taking the same kind of rowboat to eating the same kind of rations — and the lessons in resilience and leadership he learned along the way.
12 February Finished
When you really stop to think about it, it’s an astonishing fact that we spend a third of our lives asleep. And part of that time, we’re dreaming. What goes on during this unconscious state that consumes so much of our lives, and how can we use our dreams to improve our waking hours? Here to unpack the mysterious world of dreams is Alice Robb, the author of Why We Dream: The Transformative Power of Our Nightly Journey. Today on the show, Alice first shares some background on the nature of dreams, why their content is often stress-inducing, and how they can influence our waking hours, from impacting our emotional health to helping us be more creative. We then turn to how to get more out of our dreams, including the benefits of keeping a dream journal and talking about your dreams with others. We also get into the world of lucid dreaming and some tips for how you can start controlling your dreams.
7 February Finished