Who Am I?

  • Forrest and I explore what it takes to develop self-awareness over time, where different forms of awareness come into play, and why maintaining awareness can be such a struggle. We then spend some time considering the heartening notion that the majority of what we have to look forward to when we become more self-aware is the recognition of our own positive aspects, and the natural movement towards health and integration.

  • On this episode, Forrest and I discuss how we can identify and pursue our purpose, and why it’s so valuable to have one in the first place. We explore what questions and strategies can help us develop clarity on what we find meaningful, what our core values are, and how we’d like to spend a big chunk of our time.

  • We're all searching for fulfillment in one way or another. Today Forrest Hanson and I discuss how we can find and maintain it, and if it's truly possible to be fulfilled all the time. We're exploring how we can relate to our low moments amidst a "good vibes only" culture, what gets in the way of fulfillment, and the importance of respecting individual differences in nature.

  • We explore how we can get back in touch with the person we were when we were young. And, alongside that, how we can rediscover our “true nature:” who we were before the world got in the way.

  • How can we bring useful qualities of contemplative practice into our normal, everyday lives as people living in the real world? In this episode, meditation teacher and author Stephen Snyder joins Forrest and me to explore that overarching question, alongside a variety of topics related to “not-self,” the true nature of the self, and self-transcendence.

  • Everyone has needs, there’s no avoiding them. In order to "be well" we need to meet those needs. But in our Western culture being "needy" is viewed as a weakness, and it can be painful to accept that we have needs.

  • Are people optimistic by nature? And how can we use that answer to influence our behavior, or the behavior of other people? Today Forrest and I are joined by Dr. Tali Sharot to explore the optimism bias, how optimism can exist alongside negativity, and how we can influence others more effectively.

  • In the second part of our conversation on our 10 most essential lessons for a great life, Forrest and I explore accepting difference, open heartedness, impermanence, and more.

  • What are the most essential lessons we've ever learned? Today Forrest and I explore the first half of our 10 most important practices, skills, techniques, and reflections for the long road of life.

  • How can we find happiness even when times are challenging? Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar joins Forrest and me to explore authentic happiness, accepting difficult emotions, and giving yourself permission to be human.

  • What can we do to achieve the ‘holy grail’ of personal growth – lasting change in our hearts, minds, and behaviors? How can we change the brain for good? That’s the focus of this episode: a full primer on the science of ‘positive neuroplasticity,’ including a lot of practical advice on how we can take control of our brain’s growth over time.

  • Sharon Salzberg, one of the most prominent teachers of mindfulness in the West, joins Forrest and me to discuss how we can create real change in our hearts, minds, and lives.

  • In the second episode related to the pitfalls of self-help, we explore how individuals and environments can manipulate others by making them feel like something is wrong with them.

  • Do self-help environments force us into inauthentic happiness? And how can we move away from the false front, and into more authentic expression? Today is the first of a series of conversations with Forrest dedicated to some of the self-help community's pitfalls.

  • Is it possible to "do no harm," and should we even try? In today’s episode, Forrest and I explore what it means to do no harm, and the resources that can allow us to do as little as possible.

  • What does it mean to "transcend the self?" With Dr. David Yaden we explore self-transcendent or “peak” experiences, which psychologist Abraham Maslow defined as “moments of highest happiness and fulfillment.” We went out into the deep water on this one!

  • What can we learn about ourselves from and through art? On this special episode of Being Well, Forrest spoke with recording artist Sleeping at Last (also known as Ryan O’Neal) about the Enneagram, the creative process, art and emotion, the power of creating a persona, and how we can become ever more true to ourselves.

  • What are the “heights of human potential,” and why should we aim for them when simply surviving the here-and-now already feels so challenging? That’s one of the many topics we explore on this episode.

  • We explore both the direct stress and trauma that people in helping roles might naturally be feeling these days, as well as compassion fatigue.


Depression  |  Self-Compassion  |  Anxiety  |  Difficult People  |  Anger  |  Goals  |  Relationships  |  Communication  |  Mindfulness  |  Racism  |  Trauma

Dr. Ramani Durvasula is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, and expert on the impact of toxic narcissism. She is a Professor of Psychology at California State University, Los Angeles, and also a Visiting Professor at the University of Johannesburg.

The focus of Dr. Ramani’s clinical, academic, and consultative work is the etiology and impact of narcissism and high-conflict, entitled, antagonistic personality styles on human relationships, mental health, and societal expectations. She has spoken on these issues to clinicians, educators, and researchers around the world.

She is the author of Should I Stay or Should I Go: Surviving a Relationship With a Narcissist, and Don't You Know Who I Am? How to Stay Sane in an Era of Narcissism, Entitlement, and Incivility. Her work has been featured at SxSW, TEDx, and on a wide range of media platforms including Red Table Talk, the Today Show, Oxygen, Investigation Discovery, and Bravo, and she is a featured expert on the digital media mental health platform MedCircle. Dr. Durvasula’s research on personality disorders has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and she is a Consulting Editor of the scientific journal Behavioral Medicine.

Dr. Stephen Porges is a Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, and Professor Emeritus at both the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Maryland. He is a former president of the Society for Psychophysiological Research and has been president of the Federation of Behavioral, Psychological, and Cognitive Sciences, which represents approximately twenty-thousand biobehavioral scientists. He’s led a number of other organizations and received a wide variety of professional awards.

In 1994 he proposed the Polyvagal Theory, a theory that links the evolution of the mammalian autonomic nervous system to social behavior and emphasizes the importance of physiological states in the expression of behavioral problems and psychiatric disorders. The theory is leading to innovative treatments based on insights into the mechanisms mediating symptoms observed in several behavioral, psychiatric, and physical disorders, and has had a major impact on the field of psychology.

Dr. Porges has published more than 300 peer-reviewed papers across a wide array of disciplines. He’s also the author of several books including The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-regulation.

Dr. Bruce Perry is the Principal of the Neurosequential Network, Senior Fellow of The ChildTrauma Academy, and a Professor (Adjunct) in the Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago and the School of Allied Health at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. From 1993 to 2001 he was the Thomas S. Trammell Research Professor of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine and chief of psychiatry at Texas Children's Hospital.

He’s one of the world’s leading experts on the impact of trauma in childhood, and his work on the impact of abuse, neglect, and trauma on the developing brain has impacted clinical practice, programs, and policy across the world. His work has been instrumental in describing how traumatic events in childhood change the biology of the brain.

Dr. Perry's most recent book, What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing, co-authored with Oprah Winfrey, was released earlier this year. Dr. Perry is also the author, with Maia Szalavitz, of The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog, a bestselling book based on his work with maltreated children, and Born For Love: Why Empathy is Essential and Endangered. Additionally, he’s authored more than 300 journal articles and book chapters and has been the recipient of a variety of professional awards.

Dr. Allison Briscoe-Smith is a child clinical psychologist who specializes in trauma and issues of race. She earned her undergraduate degree from Harvard and then received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. She performed postdoctoral work at the University of California San Francisco/San Francisco General Hospital. She has combined her love of teaching and advocacy by serving as a professor and by directing mental health programs for children experiencing trauma, homelessness, or foster care.

Dr. Briscoe-Smith is also a senior fellow of Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center and is both a professor and the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Wright Institute. She provides consultation and training to nonprofits and schools on how to support trauma-informed practices and cultural accountability.

Sharon Salzberg is a world-renowned teacher and New York Times bestselling author. She is widely considered one of the most influential individuals in bringing mindfulness practices to the West, and co-founded the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts alongside Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein. Sharon has been a student of Dipa Ma, Anagarika Munindra, and Sayadaw U Pandita alongside other masters.

Sharon has authored 10 books, and is the host of the fantastic Metta Hour podcast. She was a contributing editor of Oprah’s O Magazine, had her work featured in Time and on NPR, and contributed to panels alongside the Dalai Lama.

Rick Hanson, PhD is a psychologist, Senior Fellow of UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, and New York Times best-selling author. His books have been published in 29 languages and include NeurodharmaResilient, Hardwiring HappinessBuddha’s BrainJust One Thing, and Mother Nurture – with 900,000 copies in English alone. His free newsletters have 215,000 subscribers and his online programs have scholarships available for those with financial need. He’s lectured at NASA, Google, Oxford, and Harvard, and taught in meditation centers worldwide. An expert on positive neuroplasticity, his work has been featured on the BBC, CBS, NPR, and other major media. He began meditating in 1974 and is the founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom. He and his wife live in northern California and have two adult children. He loves wilderness and taking a break from emails.

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