Guest Duff McDonald, journalist and New York Times bestselling author, discusses his philosophy, and his new book, "Tickled: A Commonsense Guide To The Present Moment."
Melanie continues her conversation with Aliza Einhorn, astrologer, and author of A Mystical Practical Guide to Magic: Instructions for Seekers, Witches, & Other Spiritual Misfits.
Guest host Diane Tegmeyer talks with author and expert on American cheeses, Laura Werlin.
Guest Aliza Einhorn, astrologer, and author of A Mystical Practical Guide to Magic: Instructions for Seekers, Witches, & Other Spiritual Misfits discusses emotions, spirituality, and tarot.
Animals can be such wonderful contributors to our healing, happiness and well-being!
Guest host Diane Tegmeyer talks all things animals with Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Human Society Executive Director Dr. Jennifer Steketee.
Born and raised in Oregon, Jennifer attended vet school in Oregon and Washington states. Hers is an important voice in helping us understand the plight of sheltered animals in northern New Mexico. She shares stories of hope and healing, as well as lots of ideas for volunteering in this episode.
We can find a tremendous amount of wisdom when we journal. Dr. Elaine Casquarelli and Dr. Karin Lubin share insights, ideas, and lots of laughter in this episode.
Elaine is a psychotherapist who incorporates IFS (Internal Family Systems) into her work with clients.
Karin's professional background includes having been the Global Director of The Passion Test Certification programs. She's the co-owner — along with her husband, Randy Crutches, of Quantum Leap Coaching and Consulting. And she's co-hosted and guest hosted several episodes of Living From Happiness. Karin's doctorate is in education and organizational leadership.
There is now a large body of research that supports journaling as an activity that can have a profound impact on our health, happiness, and wellbeing. Karin explains some of these benefits to listeners.
And Elaine offers insights into how powerful it can be to understand our internal parts.
When the two are combined together -- IFS and journaling -- amazing things can happen. Elaine, Karin and Melanie talk about the importance of curiosity and clarity, how to access our inner wisdom, and how journaling can help us reconnect with ourselves.
In the second half, Karin shares her feelings about the books cover art, created by Estella Loretto (be on the lookout for a show with Estella in the near future).
Elaine and Karin are co-facilitating a 6-week virtual journaling wisdom circle Oct 8 – Nov 12, 2021. They’ll incorporate their book -- Living From Your Centered Self: An IFS Wisdom Journal -- and teach you how to connect with your centered Self and help the wounded and overworked parts of you to heal.
You’ll reconnect with your body, mind, and spirit through guided meditations, journaling and the sharing of your experiences and inner wisdom with one another.
Stress. Who isn't stressed these days? Absolutely no one. Melanie's the guest on her own show in this episode inspired by a New York Times article on smart phones and stress.
Do you know that stress really does affect everything else in our lives, from how we feel when we wake up (how’d you sleep last night, by the way?) to how we interact with too fast or too slow drivers around town?
Stress has a major affect on our health, wellbeing and happiness. It’s an important component of almost decision we make all day long, all our lives. Stress contributes to anxiety, sadness, anger, brain fog, rational thought, self-control and our decision-making abilities. It’s a contributor to serious health problems.
Basically, stress can make us miserable.
The article states that “cortisol is our primary fight-or-flight hormone. Its release triggers physiological changes, such as spikes in blood pressure, heart rate and blood sugar, that help us react to and survive acute physical threats.
“These effects can be lifesaving if you are actually in physical danger — like, say, you’re being charged by a bull. But our bodies also release cortisol in response to emotional stressors where an increased heart rate isn’t going to do much good, such as checking your phone to find an angry email from your boss.
“If they happened only occasionally, phone-induced cortisol spikes might not matter. But the average American spends four hours a day staring at their smartphone and keeps it within arm’s reach nearly all the time … . The result, as Google has noted in a report, is that ‘mobile devices loaded with social media, email and news apps create ‘a constant sense of obligation, generating unintended personal stress.’"
The good news? There's lots of it in the 2nd half of the show, including the idea of being with beauty to help calm our nervous systems down.
As Terry Tempest Williams wrote, “Finding beauty in a broken world is creating beauty in the world we find.” (in Finding Beauty in a Broken World)
Listen in for more ideas about calming down our stress response.
Notable New Mexico psychotherapist Dr. Elaine Casquarelli is featured in this episode. Elaine is a counselor, instructor, and an author. She's a certified EMDR therapist, as well as an IFS (Internal Family Systems)-trained practitioner.
IFS "is an approach to psychotherapy that identifies and addresses multiple sub-personalities or families within each person’s mental system. These sub-personalities consist of wounded parts and painful emotions such as anger and shame, and parts that try to control and protect the person from the pain of the wounded parts. The sub-personalities are often in conflict with each other and with one’s core Self, a concept that describes the confident, compassionate, whole person that is at the core of every individual. IFS focuses on healing the wounded parts and restoring mental balance and harmony by changing the dynamics that create discord among the sub-personalities and the Self." [from www.psychologytoday.com]
Don't freak out if that sounds too headsy, or complicated, or weird -- Elaine is masterful at helping us understand how IFS works!
She's even co-authored a book about it with Dr. Karin Lubin (stay tuned for a show with both of these amazing women in just a couple of weeks). The book is "Living From Your Centered Self: An IFS Wisdom Journal."
Elaine and Melanie talk about how IFS can help us recognize the internal voices that can either help us move into greater health or sabotage us, strategies to navigate the Covid-19 pandemic, how to define happiness and wellbeing, and much more.
note: Elaine and Dr. Karin Lubin are co-facilitating a 6-week virtual journaling circle Oct 8 - Nov 12, 2021. They'll incorporate their book, and teach you how to connect with your centered Self and help the wounded and overworked parts of you to heal. You'll reconnect with your body, mind, and spirit through guided meditations, journaling and the sharing of your experiences and inner wisdom with one another.
"Normal is broken," Melanie and guest Erin Doerwald agree. Erin's a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist, mindfulness facilitator, and mindfulness program developer based in Santa Fe, NM. She was the Program Director for The Sky Center of the New Mexico Suicide Intervention Project for many years and developed the core programming of Sky’s Toolkit for Wellbeing model. Finally, she's a member of the Board of Directors of Vallecitos Mountain Retreat Center.
Erin's an expert when it comes to mindfulness and how to manage when normal is broken.
She's also an incredibly articulate and compassionate psychotherapist who shares insights on life in a (sort of) post-pandemic world.
What does the process of meaning-making look like? What's resiliency? What's that "skillful place in the middle" that Erin mentions?
This conversation is wide-ranging, in-depth, full of curiosity and insights and laughter and hope.
For the truth is, there's always hope. There is always a way to create a little more space in our nervous systems and psyches. Which allows us to adapt to an ever-changing world, deepening into what's real and true and good and possible.
Erin mentions the internationally respected resiliency researcher, Dr. Ann Masten.* Resilience is basically the capacity of a system, whether that be an individual, a family, an organization, or a culture, to adapt in adverse circumstances.
One of the ways to strengthen our ability to adapt in adverse circumstances, to strengthen our resiliency muscle, is by practicing mindfulness.
How that works is a big part of this episode.
Among other things, Erin works with individuals and families in therapy, and teaches virtual affiliated mindfulness classes from UCLA.
Mindfulness, "normal," successfully adapting to an insane world ... so much in this 25-minute show!
David Bedrick, JD, psychotherapist specializing in process psychology, teacher, founder of the Santa Fe Institute for Shame-Based Studies, author, and all-around cool guy, is featured in this episode.
He and Melanie talk about his newest book, "You Can't Judge a Body by its Cover: 17 Women's Stories of Hunger, Body Shame, and Redemption."
David's insights into disordered eating, why diet programs fail, shame and self-hatred, and "the desire behind the desire, the hunger behind the hunger" are fascinating.
He explains that "failing at dieting masquerades as a problem of willpower and discipline, but it’s just as potent and complex as any other psychological issue or physical illness. My research has shown that resistance to dieting is a healthy response to the shaming that is baked into what drives people to try to lose weight. Because people naturally resist shame and self-hatred, they subconsciously undermine diets motivated by these feelings.”
Another quote from David regarding shame is, "What desire are you trying to satisfy behind the desire for nachos, or ice cream, or pie? You can’t love the parts of yourself you’re not yet aware of. These parts of you are waiting for you to notice them and let wisdom launch you forward. These parts need a loving not a shaming witness."
David brings deep insight, many years of clinical research and work with clients, as well as a real passion for making a difference in people's lives.
Part of his clinical and healing work includes diving into and re-working "the assumption that the thing that is wrong with me is not me. I can get rid of it and become the pure me, the right me, the “healed” me. But psychological difficulties are different. If we get angry but try to get rid of it, we only end up suppressing parts of ourselves. I can’t get rid of myself; I must become myself. I can’t get rid of my hungers and body size; I must become them—not the size and eating habits themselves, but the intelligence expressed in my size and habits."
This episode is terrific for anyone who's curious about how psychology works, how to develop and use self-insights and self-awareness, and some of the components of happiness and wellbeing.
Making choices can feel overwhelming. Diane Tegmeyer, professional travel and food writer and new resident of Santa Fe, has been through a lot of changes in the last few years.
She and Melanie get personal as they talk about what it means to leave one life for another, making choices, taking risks, and choosing new beginnings.
In her professional life as a travel writer, Diane was constantly faced with making choices. And in her personal life, she was living in New York City during the pandemic year, facing challenging medical issues on her own.
And she's now living in a brand-new city, navigating a multitude of decisions every day (not to mention moving to Santa Fe from New York City, and before that from Aspen to New York City).
The truth is that, in the larger collective conversation, each of us is now being called to adapt, to innovate, to make better choices. It's part of the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the tremendous changes we're facing, whether or not we want to.
It is what we're facing as we hurtle into ramifications of the climate crisis.
Each of us has the choice to step into healthy adaptive solutions, whether that's on a very personal level as Diane talks about or on the larger systemic levels of family, community, culture, even humanity.
When the yucky stuff hits the fan, there's always a choice: to either step forward, toward growth, or backward, where it only feels safe.
These are not times to sit on the couch watching TV. In this era of accelerating demands for innovative adaptation, we must pay a new sort-of attention to the choices we're making. For growth, adaptation, and transformation begin with one person at a time, moving outward to collective tipping points and game-changing social movements.
We can ride this wave together if we choose to do so. You ready? Let's go!
"Big T trauma" and "little t trauma" are two phrases often used to describe different psychological/emotional trauma levels. Big T can result from either one specific experience or recurring sexual or physical abuse.
Little t, on the other end of the trauma spectrum, can result from a series of smaller yet still challenging events.
We can be traumatized by a single event like being involved in a bad accident or experiencing an act of violence such as assault or recurring abuse. That's a Big T trauma -- a big event or a series of significant repetitive events.
We can also be traumatized by a series of smaller, not-so-big things like being bullied (as a child or an adult), family conflict, infidelity, divorce, a sudden geographical move, or medical issues.
Big T traumas are generally considered more dramatic than those of little t.
How individuals respond to the event, though, is what matters. One person may be deeply traumatized by something to which another person barely reacts.
And those emotional/behavioral reactions are what psychotherapists such as Paige Pierson are trained to work with.
Paige is a psychotherapist, licensed both in Texas and New Mexico. She's a credentialed supervisor for LMHC’s.
Based in Los Alamos, Paige has previously worked in corrections, behavioral health hospitals, private practice, and community agencies.
In this episode, Melanie and Paige offer a fascinating insider glimpse into the world of trauma-sensitive therapy.
Paige is also a working artist, sharing insights about how her creative life nurtures her life as a psychotherapist.
Last but not least, Paige is the author of a YA dystopian fiction novel set in 2088. She wrote it for young people who are struggling with bullying, anxiety, self-esteem, and resilience.
Her commitment to living a rich life, no matter what we've experienced, can be a model for all of us.
The psychology of self-esteem and style is the focus of this show. Stylist Kitty Ault, photographer Gabriella Marks, and hair and make-up artist Jess Evans -- the KA Style team -- all share ideas about the importance of how we present ourselves to the world.
This is a lively show with a terrific team of women who work well together. And Melanie discovered academic research on the psychology of fashion, sharing it with listeners and asking for feedback from the KA Style team.
In doing research for this show, Melanie found the following from psychologist Carolyn Mair, Ph.D.:
" ... it's stressful for us if we don't feel comfortable in what we're wearing. If we're really worrying that it's appropriate or it's suitable or we don't feel confident in what we're wearing, it stresses us and this means that we don't have the cognitive capacity to deal with the problem at hand. This is why lots of very successful people tend to wear a work uniform ... [people] who wear the same items every day to allow this freeing up of cognitive capacity for more important issues." [https://www.apa.org/research/action/speaking-of-psychology/fashion]
How we show up in the world can have a significant impact on our psychological/mental/emotional health. Because how we show up in the world can be both a reflection of how we're feeling or how we want to feel, as well as signaling to others how we expect to be treated.
"Your fashion style can determine if you ace that interview and get that dream job. Once you are on the job, your wardrobe can determine if you get more responsibility and get promoted. Your clothing choices can make or break your career, your ability to make friends, and develop the romantic relationships that you seek.
"Just as dress radiates outward to your surroundings, it also moves inward. How you dress affects your mood. Your wardrobe choices have a psychological impact. Karen Pine demonstrates in her book Mind What You Wear that there is a science behind fashion and that psychology and fashion are indeed linked.
"The next time you choose what to wear, think about why you chose that outfit. Allow more understanding for others when considering why they dress the way they do. And most of all, use the opportunity to have fun and bring pleasure into your life. Self-care is an important aspect of mental health. Looking and feeling good is not just an advertising slogan, it is a viable aspect to your wellbeing." [https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-psychology-of-fashion#4]
Dressing "up," meaning dressing for how you want to feel and how you want to be seen by others -- with healthy self-confidence and strong self-esteem -- is a simple technique to change your cognition and emotions.
The holy space of singing on stage is just one of the very cool things Melanie and Susanne Mentzer talk about in this episode.
Susanne is a mezzo-soprano who’s performed all over the world, singing in operatic productions, as well as concerts, chamber music performances, and recitals. She's been a guest artist at the Metropolitan Opera since 1989, and made many recordings. She's a Full-time Professor of Voice at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Official Voice Teacher at the San Francisco Opera.
Finally, Susanne is singing this summer at the Santa Fe Opera.
This episode is full of light-hearted energy, lots of laughter, some personal revelations of overcoming hardships ... lots of life.
Susanne talks about the ways in which being on stage for her is therapeutic, perhaps even sacred at times.
Being passionate about her work in the world, which has now spanned several decades, continues to bring much meaning for Susanne.
Not incidentally, feeling a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives is one of the major contributors to our overall health, wellbeing, and happiness.
As an article in Scientific American says, "A wealth of research in positive psychology suggests that happiness and meaning are, in fact, essential elements of well-being. Happiness and meaning are strongly correlated with each other, and often feed off each other. The more meaning we find in life, the more happy we typically feel, and the more happy we feel, the more we often feel encouraged to pursue even greater meaning and purpose."
Another major key to wellbeing is having healthy social connections, which Susanne talks about. That same Scientific American article says " ... feeling connected to others, feeling productive, and not being alone or bored contributed to both happiness and meaning. However, they also found some important differences ... ." [https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/the-differences-between-happiness-and-meaning-in-life/]*
Her life has taken some unexpected turns, she's lived some tragedy and experienced great triumphs, and is incredibly transparent in sharing insights, and hope, and inspiration.
*Happiness and meaning and purpose can quickly become a very nuanced conversation, at least according to some research findings. This statement may help shed a bit more light on it: "It seems that happiness has more to do with having your needs satisfied, getting what you want, and feeling good, whereas meaning is more related to uniquely human activities such as developing a personal identity, expressing the self, and consciously integrating one’s past, present, and future experiences." [https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/the-differences-between-happiness-and-meaning-in-life/]
Dr. Michelle Schwab is a clinical psychologist based in Portland, Maine. She specializes in health psychology and working with high-achieving professionals who are struggling with burnout.
And these days, who isn't feeling at least a little burned out?!
Michelle shares some of the red flags for burnout, which includes cynicism and a lack of empathy.
From the APA (American Psychological Association) comes this:
"Burnout is more than just feeling worn out. According to psychologist Christina Maslach, PhD—a pioneering burnout researcher who developed what has become the gold standard for measuring burnout—the condition has three components: overwhelming exhaustion, cynicism and detachment, and a sense of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment (Maslach Burnout Inventory Manual, fourth edition, 2016).
"People kind of switch to doing the bare minimum instead of doing their very best," says Maslach, a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and co-editor-in-chief of the journal Burnout Research." https://www.apa.org/monitor/2018/02/ce-corner
For health care workers and all caregivers, it's important to remember that burnout is associated with compassion fatigue or secondary trauma, which can contribute to even more burnout.
The good news is that there are things that can be helpful to prevent or lessen burnout, including making self-care a priority.
Having a trusted social support network, even if that's one other person, can make a big difference.
Mindfulness is another practice that's proven to be helpful. In order to deal with what's happening, we need to be aware of how we're feeling, right?
In the 2nd half of this episode, Michelle shares a lovely personal story of her work with a cancer patient 30 years ago, and how that helped her cope with 2020's pandemic year.
This show is rich with personal insights, and current research data about burnout, stress, and anxiety as we all continue to learn how to navigate the uncharted waters of this era.
Women and power and style are part of this show with Kitty Ault.
Kitty's back in the studio talking about how we present ourselves to the world. 'Cause, the truth is, clothes and hair and make-up all enhance or hide our identities.
It's always fascinating to dive deep into something that's often misunderstood, trivialized, and/or exploited.
And Kitty's an expert. She's a stylist with a degree in Art History/ Fine Arts. She worked in New York in public relations, design, marketing, event management, and fashion for innovative companies such as Perrier, L’Oreal, Cacharel, The Hearst Corporation, and financial institutions. She then ventured into the world of modeling, magazine location/styling, and photoshoots. She had the opportunity to work with top photographers, Conde Nast, Hearst publications, Time Inc., and associated magazines.
In 2005, Kitty and her family moved to Santa Fe, NM.
She shares thoughts on how the pandemic changed the ways we see ourselves, and how we choose to show up in the world.
How we’re shifting identities, roles, and priorities.
The ways in which it’s a re-set for women in the workplace.
Kitty and Melanie also get into women and power (yep, she's an expert), and women and vulnerability (yes, there's a connection).
Psychological studies show the impact of clothing in the workplace. Including, no surprise, that women can be judged harshly for their attire. Especially if their position is "higher status."
In one study, "we found that the clothing did matter. People rated the [female] senior manager less favourably when her dress style was more ‘provocative’, and more favourably when dressed more conservatively (longer skirt, buttoned-up blouse). I reiterate that the clothing in the ‘provocative’ condition was still very conservative in style and look—it was not a short skirt and a revealing blouse, but a skirt slightly above the knee and one button on the blouse undone.
"The rating of the receptionist role was not affected by these clothing manipulations, suggesting that there may be more leeway for some jobs than others.
"So even subtle changes to clothing style can contribute toward negative impressions of the competence of women who hold higher status positions." https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/do-something-different/201304/what-your-clothes-might-be-saying-about-you
In that same article, the author writes "it is important to choose our dress style carefully because people will make all sorts of assumptions and decisions about us without proper evidence. We are unlikely to know what these assessments are, so it is quite possible that our clothes reveal more than we thought.
"Sartorial laziness is an easy habit to slip into. We may think that fashion is just profligate indulgence and our sunny personality will eclipse our dull attire or detract from the soup stains on our anorak. Untrue. What we wear speaks volumes in just a few seconds. Dressing to impress really is worthwhile and could even be key to success."
Stuart Ashman, CEO of the International Folk Art Market, one of the largest social entrepreneurship organizations in the world, shares insights and updates in this episode.
Stuart has a long and impressive background as a cultural ambassador. He was the Executive Director & Chief Curator of CCA in Santa Fe; President and CEO of the Museum of Latin American Art; Director of the New Mexico Museum of Art; Executive Director of the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art; and was the Cabinet Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs. He's also served as Expert Consultant for the United States Peace Corps and serves as Vice-Chair of the Richardson Center for Global Engagement.
Stuart and Melanie talk about the innovative adaptations and creative solutions that had to be instituted at the Market in this pandemic era.
The truth is that, for many of the artists, the Market is their only source of income for the year. And many of the artists support their communities through their art.
As the website states, “artist earnings have exceeded $34 million and impacted more than one million lives in the communities they represent.”
Further, “each of our artists has a story to tell about craft tradition, and a family, village and culture to support.”
Stuart Ashman's response to the importance of art and beauty for a life of happiness and wellbeing may surprise you ... be sure and listen for this in the second half.
The artists of the International Folk Art Market have long held a special place in Melanie's heart. Their enduring dedication to their respective cultures' traditional arts and crafts, the pervasive sense of community support, and the sheer beauty and joy of the myriad offerings shared with the world year after year continue to be a wellspring of inspiration and hope for a better world.
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion was an international bestseller when it was first published 25 years ago.
Dr. Robert Cialdini, social psychologist, Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University, president of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology, and the recipient of a number of scientific research awards, has updated and revised the book and just published a brand-new edition.
Bob is a charming guest and the definitive expert on the psychology of persuasion and why it behooves us to understand how the mind works.
Turns out that it's terribly easy to mislead people who don't know how to pay attention to it.
In this episode, Bob shares his insights on the seven principles of the psychology of persuasion, which are:
He also talks about the cost of mental shortcuts. Bob writes, "I have become impressed by evidence indicating that the form and pace of modern life is not allowing us to make fully thoughtful decisions, even on many personally relevant topics. Sometimes the issues may be so complicated, the time so tight, the distractions so intrusive, the emotional arousal so strong, or the mental fatigue so deep that we are in no cognitive condition to operate mindfully. Important topic or not, we have to take the shortcut."
Bob also uses this quote from Mother Teresa to describe one of his principles: "If we have no peace, it’s because we have forgotten that we belong to one another."
The good news about our minds is that we can learn to manage them, as it were. To think with more conscious awareness, to feel with more empathy and compassion, and to act with more self-confidence.
It's a powerful message that's more timely than ever in these chronically fraught times.
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion has been an international hit since it was first published 25 years ago. So much so that Dr. Robert Cialdini, social psychologist, Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University, president of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology, and the recipient of a number of scientific research awards, had to update and revise the book and publish a brand-new edition.
Bob provides a glimpse behind the scenes of our minds, helping us better understand cognitive biases and automatic behavior patterns.
As he puts it, "[not understanding our automatic patterns] makes us terribly vulnerable to anyone who does know how they work."
The psychology of getting people to say yes impacts every area of our lives, from how we spend and what we buy, to how we vote.
Bob shares fascinating research data about the power of psychological persuasion including that voting in a church sways Republican, and voting in a school sways Democratic … such a simple research finding that has profound implications.
Some other topics include:
The more we understand our own minds and how to manage the feedback loop of our thoughts, emotions, and actions, the better able we are to live consciously, making intentional choices for ourselves and our community.
We also become more adept at increasing our influence on those things that most matter to us.
This fascinating conversation takes place over two podcasts; be sure and download the 2nd show, as well.
How to be happy when the world seems to be falling apart? What's wellbeing? This episode shines a light on all things positive and good and hope-full.
These days it feels as though our well-being is assaulted from every direction. And it could be easy to argue that happiness doesn’t have much of a place in the world as it is these days.
There’s so much that’s breaking our hearts, both collectively, and individually … it can seem just too self-absorbed and narcissistically privileged to even bring up the topic of wellbeing.
Who has time to deal with wellbeing and happiness when the world is falling apart?!
There are millions of people in this country who are desperate to feel something positive and hopeful, something good, to be engaged in focusing their attention on living well, even in the midst of heartbreak and uncertainty.
It's more important than ever before to develop a practice of wellbeing. Yes, many things are falling apart. And yes, much is transforming.
What more effective tool do we have than to seed our future using the 12 keys of wellbeing?
Melanie discusses each of the 12 building blocks of individual and community wellbeing, from the researchers and experts at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center. Those building blocks, in alphabetical order, are: