Welcome to Joy Lab!: Welcome to the Joy Lab podcast, where we help you uncover and foster your most joyful self. Your hosts, Dr. Henry Emmons and Dr. Aimee Prasek, bring you the ideal mix of soulful and scientifically sound tools to spark your joy, even when it feels dark. When you're ready to experiment with more joy, combine this podcast with the full Joy Lab program over at JoyLab.coach
Henry: Hello, I'm Henry Emmons and welcome to Joy Lab.
Aimee: And I'm Aimee Prasek. So here at Joy Lab, we infuse science with soul to help you uncover joy. And we mix it up. it's different around here for a little bit.
Um, I know we usually focus on building the elements of joy, the positive emotions and inner states that become the building blocks for a joyful life. There you go. Um, but we are going to add a bit more to that over the next three months or a little different, anyway. We're going to weave these elements of joy with the key practices that we can all use, not just to cope with depression, chronic stress, or anxiety, but to move out of it. Move beyond what we might have thought is our baseline and into more joy and flourishing.
Henry: That's right. I like to think of Joy Lab as the final piece that really helps folks move from doing okay, you know, feeling pretty well to really thriving. And, um, and it's a really important piece, but many of us, from time to time, need to get to that point of feeling okay first before we want to really focus on thriving.
And so that's really what we're, we're going to try to focus on here for a while. We're going to try to help you listeners to get a better sense of what you can do to prevent things like anxiety and depression from really knocking you down. And if it already has kind of set in and you're struggling, um, we want to try to give you some really specific concrete tools to get out of it and get back to a point of more stability and, and being able to institute some of these other great things that we talk about here.
So, we are going to walk you through a program for resilience and mood and stress reduction that I have worked on with probably thousands of people through the years. And we're going to focus on three different aspects of who we are as human beings. We know that we don't really line up quite as neatly as this, but we're going to talk about body, mind, and heart.
So, what can we do, first of all, to really get back to a state of physical balance and wellbeing through really good lifestyle choices, you know, things like diet and movement and really sound sleep. And also, you know, using things like supplements, natural therapies, and even medications. We want to talk about that too, um, for folks who might need that.
And then later on, we're going to move towards strategies that help calm the mind, that help us to really become more resilient, to kind of get back to that wonderful baseline of resilience that is our inherent natural state. And then even going beyond that natural resilience, doing more of the heart and soul work that creates a bigger container to be able to hold all of the, the things that sometimes challenge us in life.
And everybody, everybody is subject to that. So we all need to be thinking about ways we can shore ourselves up in all these important dimensions.
Aimee: Yeah, we are all subject to these experiences. And I want to share a little bit of some of the origins of this or how it came on to the podcast and a little bit about my experience as well. So, you know, we kind of went back and forth whether or not to bring this into the podcast because it's not totally the usual format as you'll find.
Um, but we are, as Henry said, digging into these foundations of what we do at Natural Mental Health and Joy Lab. And coming from my own experience, this course, what we will go through together, um, what we'll walk you through, it is what I wish I could have had really in the worst parts of my depression.
So I want to share a little bit of this because I think the universe has conspired a bit in kind of a magnificent way. So briefly, let me give a snapshot of the last 20 years of my life. So it's going to be a long episode. Uh, just kidding. So back to the year 2000, back then, I did not have health insurance, as many folks have experienced. Uh, and my depression was really at its worst during that period. I could access a few sessions from my university's mental health services, but they were overwhelmed, underfunded. You know, there was a stadium to pay for, so that's where the dollars had to go to.
It's a totally other conversation. But, um... Thankfully, you know, I had this fire in me to really get better in part because my family has what's sometimes referred to as a suicide cluster. So that means in the research that at least three family members uh, die of suicide in three generations, subsequent generations.
And so after my dad died of suicide, I had this aching feeling that I would be next, quite honestly. I was very similar to my dad in all the not so great ways that contribute toward depression and anxiety and some great ways as well that don't. But, you know, I was already stuck in that experience and it just really scared me.
So I made it, I really did. I made it my mission to end this generational sort of legacy that was part of my family, at least what I could do for myself. So it took a solid four years of kind of cobbling together things outside of the usual medications and therapy because I couldn't access it and it was slow and it was clunky and it didn't look good, but each month I would feel like two or three percent better than the month before.
And at least in that darkness, it seemed like there was little glimmers of light. And then in 2005, I read a book. I read Dr. Henry Emmons book, The Chemistry of Joy, one of his books. And I was like... This is it. This is what I had been trying to cobble together for the last four years or so. And I swore a lot because I was so mad that I didn't have this book.
I didn't have this information in front of me back then, because it could have saved me many years of sort of fumbling around. And so I kind of made another mission at that point. After reading Henry's book, I knew I wanted to research integrative modalities, like the ones that helped me, uh, like the ones that we're going to take you through in this course.
And I wanted to share them with as many people as possible so that they could kind of expedite that process of coming back to balance and then go beyond that to real, really feel connected and joyful to create a bigger container as Henry described. And then in 2008, one last piece here, I went and I saw Henry speak and I had seen him speak before.
Um, I'm picking up my book. If y'all are on YouTube, you'll see this was the book I had him sign in 2008, and he wrote to me, quote, "to Aimee, I wish you all the best in your future work as a healer." And now here we are, which just kind of blows my mind. Um, you know, we're going to share this course, these practices that really work with all of you listening, sharing this podcast, Joy Lab, everything we do at Natural Mental Health.
Really, with Henry right here, just feels like, truly, I don't know how to put it into words. It just feels like the universe has conspired. And I hope, I really do, that all of you listening can find pieces in here that you resonate with. I think you will. I hope that you can sort of find that spark as well.
Sort of a little mission in you. A mission to care for yourself, in this compassionate way that I hope you feel as you move through this course that taps into your resilience, that brings you beyond a baseline and into that space of joy and flourishing. Because we can all be there. I truly believe it.
It's really already within us, or at least it's seeking us as much as we are seeking it. And we can do this together. Crazy. How'd we end up to sitting
Henry: I don't really know what to say, Aimee. I'm really moved by your story and your comments, and I'm humbled by it. And, you know, I could not agree more that this has become part of your life mission. It's part of mine too, and I'm just so happy to be doing it with you. So, sorry I didn't write the book earlier.
Aimee: I know.
Henry: Well, you know, one of the things that I will do as we, move through these next few weeks together is to share a bit of my own journey as well. I've been there too as so many of us have and so It's just really great to be able to share things that we have experienced firsthand that we know can work and I've been fortunate enough to work with so many great folks over the years to know that it can work really broadly. And, people can really feel better and sustain it and then move even beyond that to flourishing like we talk about so often here.
Aimee: Yeah. So, here's the plan. In our next episode, which will drop on a Wednesday, like always, we will get started. That's about the only thing that's gonna stay the same Wednesdays. But, we will also drop episodes on Saturdays, until we've worked our way through this entire course. So Wednesdays and Saturdays. Henry will walk us through the lessons and then Henry and I will pop in at the beginning of those lessons, you know, those episodes and sometimes maybe at the end or maybe in the middle, I don't know.
I, I'm the one editing these,
so I could just put myself anywhere.
Henry: You can do it.
Aimee: You'll see, we will, we will pop up in different spots. Purposefully, however, we'll set the stage and then we'll give some calls to action so that you can take these lessons and integrate them into your own life in ways that make sense for you.
Uh, we'll also weave a few of our elements of joy in. Because we just can't help ourselves and they certainly are part of the experience as well. Um, so there'll be some of those usuals. Uh, good news as well... you really don't need to prep for anything. It doesn't cost you anything. I would, however, suggest that you go over to NaturalMentalHealth.com and sign up for the newsletter if you haven't yet. That will give you some cues to stay on track because we have our emails going out. And if you want a bit more support, please join us over at our resilient community because we'll have some special challenges over there for each episode and then some extra resources to help support you as you move through.
Oh, one more thing we'll have a page at NaturalMentalHealth.com as well, with all of the episodes as they come together, just to make navigating this course easier so you can easily come back to that page and find all the episodes in order. And then, um, that can be particularly helpful perhaps if you're sharing it with a friend or a patient or a client or somebody important to you that you want to either go through this course together with or after. And then we'll have show notes for you. And of course, sorry, I'm so excited. There'll be a link in the show notes to that page. I just can't help myself. You guys, this is going to be great.
Henry: I don't know if I've ever told you this, but when I was invited to write that book, and I would never have thought of doing this if I hadn't gotten an invitation to do it, but what the publisher wanted was just a book about supplements, about natural therapies. And I'm a believer in those as our listeners know, but I just couldn't see myself doing that.
I didn't think it was broad enough. It didn't honor enough who we are as, as human beings or the journey through things like depression and anxiety. So, I made a counter proposal that I would do this, and I would include the natural therapies, but I just wanted to include all these other aspects of the human condition that I thought were important, and other things that we can do to shore ourselves up, because it's not all about medication or even about natural therapies.
Consequently, I still really believe in this, but it does create a lot of material. So, so there's the, the warning at the beginning. There's a lot that we're going to talk about here. Some of it, I think, you're going to find is more important to you than other parts are, to you listeners, and don't feel like you have to take it all in or practice it all, and don't feel like you have to make a big effort with this.
This is something that you can, you can tune in each week, hopefully on both Wednesdays and Saturdays. You can listen, take it in, and if there's something that really seems to resonate with you that triggers a response in you, then go with that, you know, do that. My experience in working with groups and individuals in this process is that everybody finds something a little different that is most important to them.
So for some it's probably going to be the natural therapies, the supplements, or others it's going to be movement, others it's going to be meditations, or just one of the specific things, aspects that we're working on. But I think it's really important to lay it all out there. We'll try and do it in a systematic way and then hopefully you'll find something that really resonates for you and that really helps move you along towards greater wellbeing.
Aimee: Cheers to that. Thanks everybody for joining us and we'll see you for our next episode, the beginning of the course.
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