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It’s the season of turkey, cranberries (who eats these??) and THANKS! Join MJ and her guest, best selling author and wellness innovator David Romanelli, as they gather around the table and talk gratitude. Usually at this time of year podcasts feature episodes about how to tolerate your great uncle who drinks too much or your family member who won’t stop talking politics. Skip over those pods and enjoy David’s stories and perspective on how to find gratefulness in the good times as well as the bad times (like when his three- year- old daughter had cancer).Skip the Turkey talk and find your BFD…David’s daily dose of cultivating gratitude.
Check out David’s gifts to the world: https://davidromanelli.com
Join MJ as she talks with her husband Dr. Dominic Vachon. No, they aren’t talking about wash,(which he excels at) or raising kids but COMPASSION! As Director of Notre Dame’s, Ruth Hildebrand Center for Compassion in Medicine, Dr. Dom has a lot to say but it’s how he says it that makes this episode a MUST. In these challenging times of war, political division and day to day hardship, Dr. Dom gives us words and a process that moves compassion from an elusive idea practiced by monks to one that allows each of us to step into this foundational part of being human. In sharing his four steps of compassion we become more aware of our compassionate responses allowing us to build on them. Of equal importance, he encourages us to understand and use self-compassion when our responses to events overwhelm us and we turn toward avoidance, anger or blame. Nepotism aside, this is a GREAT episode! Listen and enjoy this antidote for a troubled world.
Are you a couch potato? A Sofa Spud? Does your critical voice constantly call you lazy? Do you plan on working out but don’t follow through? This is the episode for you!!!! We all know the stats: working out is essential for the wellness of our body, spirit and mind. But, what to do if you’re a GOOD person but can’t get yourself to exercise? Maybe you’re are a GOOD person who starts to work out but can’t keep at it. Join MJ and her guest Julie Hamilton, a personal trainer, who bench press this dilemma with some super practical and doable tips. Remember, we’re meant to move but we don’t need to be Olympians or Cross-Fit Enthusiasts to do what helps us feel better, now! So, listen on the couch or put in your earbuds and go for a walk, YOU CAN DO THIS!!!
Want to feel better? Get better at feeling!!! In this episode MJ and her guest dive into the model MJ has created to manage feelings in a more direct and healthy way. Most of us are taught to use an external mindset to manage our feelings. You know, Blame & Unclaim–send a text complaining how awful someone is, doom scroll, eat chips or have a glass of wine or two or three… We get short term relief but nothing more. The Internal Mindset: Tend & Befriend, that MJ has created is tested and approved by junior high students. You know this age group, if it doesn’t work they tell ya! The Internal Mindset uses self-awareness to help you sync up with your body and breathwork to decrease emotional intensity so you have better mental clarity–which helps you not to act in ways you regret! The hardest part of all this —to slay the dragons of avoidance and distraction that says feelings are too uncomfortable to manage. You can do this!! Feelings are physical sensations, nothing more or nothing less! Typically they are super intense for 30-90 seconds so learn to tend and befriend them so you manage them instead of them managing you! What’s your reward–better mental clarity, less rumination, and living life with lots more authenticity! The one pager in the show notes is a must!! Check it out. (Thanks to Cathy Hall, graphic artist extraordinaire. https://mjmurrayvachon.com/podcast-7/
Stop Trying to Feel Better and Get Better at Feeling? This pithy statement, credited to Whitney Johnson, sums up this episode. Did you know the average feeling moves through us in 90 seconds? EXCEPT, most of us disrupt this natural process by avoiding, minimizing, maximizing or soothing our emotional reactions because at about the 30 second mark feelings kinda SUCK. So, instead of tending and befriending our feelings we blame or unclaim them and do something to lessen their intensity. You know– blame someone, eat chips, smoke a joint or two or three or binge on Netflix. In this two parter, MJ will share with you the simple method her and 50 middle school students came up with to Name, Tame and Aim our emotions. They called it potty training their emotions which helped them not to crap all over the place! In this episode, MJ and a regular listener do Step #1:Naming our Feelings. Potty training our emotions takes a bit of knowledge and bravery and a willingness to slow down and be curious when our body gives us the signal that a feeling needs to be peed out! It is impossible to have healthy self-awareness without a process to regulate and understand what information our emotions are giving us-this is a foundational to Mental Wellness!
Welcome to Season 3!!! One of the most underutilized tools in cultivating mental wellness is your spirit!It’s with you from the minute you’re born so why not figure out how to use it to feel better? Join MJ for this 20 minute episode where she shares 10 Inner Challenge Insights to help you figure out how to boost your spirit. Our contemporary culture bombards us with a barrage of superficial solutions that promise quick fixes for our spirits. Yet, deep down, we sense the emptiness these “false spirits” leave behind. Join MJ as she shares her wisdom and helps you transform your spirit from dimmer to shimmer!
The very essence of family revolves around caregiving. Yet, amidst the chaotic demands of work and our daily lives, we often find ourselves struggling to provide the heartfelt care to those we love the most. And of course, there is the additional challenge of caring for those family members who can truly test our patience! In this episode, MJ engages in a conversation with a woman who has dedicated over five decades of her life to caregiving. While there is no all-knowing guru with a definitive formula for caregiving, our guest today offers a helpful and wise perspective which encourages us to lean into the many lessons of caregiving as we tend to our loved ones’ needs in ways that do not forget our own.
Cell Phones:We love them! We hate them! Join MJ as she talks with a neuroscience major who becomes her own cell phone therapist. All of us will gain from this young women’s guts, information and wisdom to face her cell phone addiction head on and put her life back on track. It is not as hard as we make it and she offers us some little known solutions for this BIG problem. Are you tired of this 3×6 inch tech marvel controlling you, will listen and take back your life!
This is a delightful episode! Join MJ as she wraps up her series on Ages & Stages with a guest who went back to law school in her 50’s!! What kind of Ager are you? Hopefully an Engager! Not sure what that means? Listen to this episode whether you’re 30 or 80 as our guest shares the Engager Mindset. Most of us have interests and dreams that are set aside as we raise or family, finish graduate school or work jobs that feed our landlord but not your soul? Today’s guest with humor and honesty inspires us to nudge ourself in small ways like taking an art class or an on-line course or big ways like going to law school or starting a small business.
Listen as MJ shares the GPS from young adulthood to old age. This episode starts where Ep. 38 left off, giving accessible and vital information to help you navigate each life stage with more ease. Knowledge not only helps us cultivate mental wellness but it just makes living a whole lot more fun! One listener commented, “Why do I know more about my car and computer than my human lifespan?” That is the million dollar question–and for free all you have to do is listen and learn. This is fascinating stuff!! Enjoy!
Listen as last week’s guest takes on a topic he had not anticipated– external self-awareness. In this episode, MJ helps guide this young man with how to take feedback from others so he can answer the question, Who Am I? more fully. Being open to feedback is a learned skill. MJ shares a process she created to help manage the natural demon of defensiveness which often causes us to shrug off helpful information about ourself. You’ll love the practical application of this episode as this guest moves from being a shrugger to a hugger.
What Disney Princess are You? Is your Myers-Briggs type ENFJ or ISTP? Maybe your top two E-Colors are yellow/red. What number are you on the Enneagram? Yes, personality inventories are a fun and helpful way to give us words for what we often know about ourself. Join MJ as she talks with a 20 year old who shares how taking the Enneagram not only helped him answer the question, Who Am I? but allowed him to grow in self-acceptance and worth. Listen and begin to understand how self-awareness lays the foundation for a life of authenticity. You may be surprised to learn that there are two types of self-awareness and that only 10-15% of the population are considered self-aware. No wonder many people don’t feel good!
Want a GPS for your life?? Listen to this podcast series, as MJ shares with you information about human development: Ages & Stages? Whether you are 1, 13, 25, 30, 60 or 80 years old you will learn the big question for each life stage increasing your self-awareness as well as enriching your relationships with others. Hey, if you use GPS to travel to a new place, turn inward and let ages and stages provide words and a few roadmaps to help you answer the life long question, “Who Am I?”
In this episode, MJ speaks with a listener who tried out the two mindfulness exercises, Notice On The Inside and Notice On The Outside. Mindfulness is often presented in a way that makes it seem woo woo or something for Buddhist Monks. Listen as today’s guest helps all of us learn to apply these easy inner workouts to our daily life in practical ways that help us to feel calmer and give us more mental clarity. I think you will be surprised that when it comes to inner workouts a little goes a long way! #stopfeelinglikecrap!
Let’s Get Practical! Practical! Practical! If you sing this to the tune of Let’s Get Physical you are singing my song! No fancy gyms, no expensive work out clothes are needed to up your Mental Wellness Game. In this episode, MJ shares with you her two foundational Mental Wellness Exercises used by literally thousands of people. They are junior high approved and if you know junior high students their approval means a lot. So, listen, learn and start to feel better today!
Have you taken an attachment quiz– one of the latest fads on the internet? Maybe you read an article or heard attachment talked about on the news. Today’s episode picks up where last week’s left off–the little discussed topic of how do we lay the foundation for our child’s mental wellness?? Babies are great teachers but it helps if we are willing to be students. The skills of attachment and attunement are used in all our relationships so even if you don’t have a baby you will benefit as MJ talks about the skills of attuning with a baby, a teen and her favorite: family attunement!
There are few things in life that change how we answer the question, Who Am I? then becoming a parent. While timing and circumstances are unique to each of us, as the due date gets closer, all of us ask, who am I now that I’m a parent? In today’s episode MJ talks with a couple who are weeks away from delivering their first child. As you listen you can hear them broadening their identity. They are no longer just someone’s child, sibling, neighbor, friend, partner, or coworker. They are slowly stepping to the roles of mother, father, a mom, a dad and all the love and complexity that comes with raising the next generation. This is one of the most fascinating transitions when it comes to our identity. It’s perplexing to me how little we talk about the psychological and the inter and intrapersonal experience of becoming a parent. In Inner Challenge terms, how little we Notice on the Inside the transition from me to MWE, a term coined by Dr. Daniel Siegel. Listen to Part 1 as this couple prepares for an identity update.
I want to lose weight! I have tried everything!I think about it daily! When I look at all the various diets they all are too much work, too expensive or too confusing. Today’s guest is one of the few people I have talked to about losing weight, and trust me I have talked to thousands, that never said any of the above statements. Instead, one night at age 67 he could not get off the floor when he was giving medicine to his dog and he said to himself, I AM going to lose weight. Eighteen months later, he was 120 lbs. lighter and back to his childhood love of swimming. This man defied all the experts, all the commercials, and all the hype and used one powerful tool that guaranteed his success: his mind. Listen to his story which may help you to trust yourself a bit more, keep it simple and realize that all goals are met one meal at a time. As he learned, “I can eat cake, not just the whole cake!”
In this episode a listener takes on the Mental Wellness Challenge! For one week she observed her mind and applied what she learned in episode #30 to her everyday life. Wowza!! You will be impressed with how she navigates the river of mental wellness to bring calm to her mind when she has one of those mornings when everything goes wrong! Join us for a fun and informative episode that is full of hope and practical strategies not to mention some bonus pointers to make sure your vacation is really a vacation!
What is Mental Wellness?? You kinda know, right? Wouldn’t it be great to REALLY know? Join MJ for an encore performance of her initial episode where she gives you a practical and applicable way to REALLY understand mental wellness as well as tips to start cultivating it immediately. You don’t need to feel like crap! And we certainly don’t need waiting for coffee to wreck our day! (Listen and learn how important peaceful coffee is to feeling better–NOW!) This episodes tees you up for next week’s Inner Challenge, when a listener becomes guest and applies what she learned in this episode to her life. You won’t want to miss her trains, planes and funeral pains!
This may have been a song from the cheesy movie, Oklahoma! but for many of us we aren’t quite in tune with Curly McLain. (Google him if you are clueless). Join me in this episode as I talk with a neuroscience major to find ways that we can lean into our biology to make our morning routines a bit more beautiful. It it not nearly as hard as it seems and this is one area that a few tweaks can turn our morning from numbin to hummin!
Quotas, Economic Downturns and Demanding Consumers, Oh My! Sales is one of the backbones of the American economy. A career in sales can test one’s Mental Wellness whether it’s your school’s candy sale or your full-time job! Listen to this FASCINATING episode as a 25 year-old woman shares her journey in this career and how she has learned to steady her nerves, fine-tune her perspective and balance her week. Whether you are 20 or 60, love sales or stay as far away from it as you can, you will learn from this young woman’s Mental Wellness Intelligence. After listening for a few minutes you will not be surprised to learn that she won 2022 Indianapolis Sales Counselor of the Year!
Don’t put off listening to this episode on Procrastination! In this episode, a podcast listener takes on the role of guest to explore his problem with procrastination! You may be surprised (and relieved) to learn the origin of procrastination is not laziness. Tune in as MJ shares with this young man her tested and successful method of dancing with procrastination in a way that is fun, fascinating, and doable! If you like dancing and movies, you will love MJ’s intervention! Roll ‘Em.
With so many children of all ages suffering from anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses, the impact this has on parents often goes unnoticed. As today’s guest says, “No one thinks to bring casseroles when someone’s child is suffering from a mental illness.” In this wise but raw discussion, we speak openly about the vital, scary, lonely and often exhausting role parents have in their child’s recovery/management of a mental illness.
Puppies, kitties and ponies melt our hearts and lift our Spirit. Join MJ as she talks with her sister Ann, an animal whisperer, to think about the role animals can have in cultivating mental wellness. In her enlightened and understated way, Ann teaches us to not underestimate how the wisdom we learn from animals can be applied to our relationship with our self and one another.
At 18 years old, Marcus Engel was hit by a drunk driver and became blind. Join MJ and Marcus as they discuss how Marcus has learned to cultivate mental wellness as well as become an expert in Compassionate Communication. Marcus’s story is inspiring but his journey teaches us many mental wellness tools that we can use in our day to day lives to help us cultivate mental wellness.
On today’s episode, MJ and her guest take on the topic of Adulting! Adulting! Adulting! As children we are given the impression that becoming an adult is an on/off switch. Something that automatically happens at 18, 21 or when we become a parent. In reality, becoming an adult is more like a dimmer switch, a way of life that we grow into as we figure out modern adulthood with its many opportunities, choices, responsibilities and challenges. Join us as we shine the light on the role mental wellness has in the complex transition to adulthood.
Grief and Loss, while being a natural part of life, brings most of us face to face with many new and often uncomfortable feelings, situations and relationships. Grief not faced or processed easily disrupts mental wellness. Listen as this wise and articulate woman shares the road she traveled after losing her husband of 41 years. Her insights and practical wisdom can help all of us travel the expected and unexpected losses of life, be they relational, work related or the losses inherent in each life stage. #Takingthemysteryoutofmentalwellness!
You must listen to this profound story of immigration that builds on the last episode of reaching across the divide. Turn down the current cultural message that can cause you to be suspicious of immigrants and dial up your curiosity as this young man shares his journey of growing up in our country from a mental wellness perspective. Listen and learn and allow your heart to be opened. #takingthemysteryoutofmentalwellness!! #stopfeelinglikecrap!! #UcandoThis!!
Our mental wellness depends on connection but what happens when we are divided with those with whom you live and love? Listen to live coaching session as this young man explores his path of living with “friends” who do not share his political ideology! Fascinating for sure! Listen and learn about a subject that not only touches most of us but disrupts our mental wellness. #takingthemysteryoutofmentalwellness!! #Stopfeelinglikecrap!! #ReachAcross!!#UcandoThis!!
New Year. New Goals. New Pressure! Yep! Listen to this live coaching session as MJ explores with a D1 Athlete how he grew into handling the pressure. Be it on the field of life or football our mind is the best tool we have to manage pressure. This is a LEARNED skill! There are no “emotionally gifted” humans just those of us who listen and learn as the gift of our mental wellness grows. Don’t miss this young man’s insights–they are GOLDEN! #takingthemysteryoutofmentalwellness! #stopfeelinglikecrap #UcandoThis!
You are gonna LOVE this episode!! MJ talks with a 92- year- old woman who shares her wisdom that will help point your New Year in the right direction! This amazing human helps us focus on what really helps cultivate mental wellness and the good news is it’s free and we are all wired for it! Listen and Learn in 2023!! #takingthemysteryoutofmentalwellness!! #stopfeelinglikecrap!! #Ucandothis!!
One week until Christmas and for most of us we are failing at what we had hoped to accomplish this holiday season. FA, LA, LA, LA, LA! In this episode MJ talks to a young woman not about her failure and the holidays but her relationship to it in the everyday. Listen and learn how this young woman transforms her relationship to failure in simple and concrete ways that bring her new energy and purpose. #takingthemysteryoutofmentalwellness! #stopfeelinglikecrap!
In this live coaching session, MJ works with a college student who is courageous enough to battle comparison head on! Is comparison really a thief of joy or is it just a human reaction that we can acknowledge and work with in order to get a more accurate picture of a situation. Sit back listen and learn, you’re gonna love this young mans’ journey! #takingmysteryoutofmentalwellness#stopfeelinglikecrap#Ucandothis! PS He got into medical school!
‘Tis the Season! Welcome to Season 2 where the pod gets REAL! Live coaching each week! This week we anticipate the holidays where families gather to eat, drink and be merry! Then real life gets in the way. Listen to this this live coaching session as MJ helps a well- meaning mother think through her parenting of an adult child who is in distress! #takingmysteryoutofmentalwellness#stopfeelinglikecrap#Ucandothis
We often think of Spirit as being the domain of religions or cheerleaders, but in this final episode of Season 1, MJ helps you to ponder the role your Spirit 5 has in Mental Wellness. What lifts your spirit: music, nature, reels of puppies and kittens? What dampens your Spirit: conflict, judgement, bad sleep or no time off? This type of Self-Awareness is so essential to Mental Wellness that MJ literally could not decide if this should be the first or last episode. She still does not know, send her a message if you do. Don’t forget the one pager that visualizes this episode: https://mjmurrayvachon.com/one-pagers/. Tune in for Season 2, when MJ invites guests into the Inner Challenge Studio to do unscripted live coaching sessions on Mental Wellness.
What the heck is Psychological Intelligence? It’s the great connector. The skill set that helps us understand, feel heard and come to know others. Why have you not heard of this skill set? I have no idea. It’s the Rodney Dangerfield of Mental Wellness and I am on a campaign to increase our knowledge of what Psychological Intelligence is as well as how to apply it in everyday life. Who doesn’t want their relationships at home, work and the coffee shop to be more fulfilling? Check out the one pager that visualizes this episode: https://mjmurrayvachon.com/one-pagers/. U Can Do This!
What’s your superpower? If it’s managing your phone, skip this episode. If you’re like most of us this little bit of tech wizardry is managing you more than you’re managing it. Skip the dismal statistics, forget the doomsday predictions and listen to this episode. Don’t underestimate your ability to put your phone in its proper place. MJ offers her 5-step solution, teenager approved, that helps you use your phone to improve your mental wellness. Another great one pager at: https://mjmurrayvachon.com/one-pagers/. Includes wallpaper for your phone to help you remember the process. Instead of feeling less than, lonely or pissed that you spent 90 minutes looking at sand castles you too can have a superpower!
Sleep: The New Skill Set. This how a former client of mine categorized sleep after he went from 5.5 hours a night to 7.5 hours a night. He begged me to teach people the value of what he called a new skill set. I did not tell him that sleep is the oldest skill known to humans but I did agree to share what he learned with all I met along the way. Join me for this absolutely essential piece of the Mental Wellness puzzle. Don’t forget to download the one pager, this one is my favorite, at Go to https://mjmurrayvachon.com/one-pagers/. You Can Do This!
Self-Care…Blah, Blah, Blah. We hear about it all the time and most of the time it just makes us feel we are not beautiful enough, skinny enough, rippled enough, organic enough or just plain– enough. This episode changes the focus from outside to inside. Join MJ as she asks you to think about Self-Care using the lens of Mental Wellness. Go to https://mjmurrayvachon.com/one-pagers/ for a great one pager summarizing this episode. It’s time to build your NESTS so you actually feel better about YOU!
Well…are they? In this episode, MJ basically offers you the M & M’s method of managing emotions. MJ asks you to observe if you use an external mindset or an internal mindset when something triggers an emotional reaction. Knowing the difference helps you to quickly learn how to name, tame and aim your emotions. This helps you build healthy connection to yourself and others be it at home, work or even in a coffee shop. There are few skills that cultivate mental wellness like learning to managing our emotions. Don’t forget to check out the one pager for this episode which will really help you solidify this mental wellness skill. Go to: https://mjmurrayvachon.com/one-pagers/. YOU CAN DO THIS!