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Not Quite Zen

Author: Tony Hardman

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Hey everyone, I’m Tony Hardman your host for “Not Quite Zen” a podcast about struggling with mental health and finding ways to make life better. I’ve struggled with mental health all my life, and through lots of therapy and hard work I’ve learned how to be calmer, happier and more grounded. Hopefully, this show can do the same for you.
34 Episodes
Whether you’re just getting started, or you’re someone who has gotten better, it’s important to create a daily routine for mental health to stay on track. When I started building mental health activities into my day, it was an important aspect of my success in overcoming anxiety and depression.I started small by practicing mindfulness without meditation, then I added in gratitude exercises, and worked my way up to daily meditation. Over time, these mental health exercises became a habit and an important component of my sustained mental well-being. However, the unfortunate truth is that it’s easy to slip up. You may miss a meditation here and there, stop journaling, skip therapy, and then eventually notice that you’re more irritable, anxious, and depressed.The good news is that whether you’re just starting, or you need to get back on track, having a daily routine for mental health will go a long way in keeping you happy and healthy. So, if you’re like me and you struggle with mental health, then here are some tips on how to create a daily routine for mental health.Subscribe to my newsletter - The Weekly Dispatch - get one email per week with uplifting mental health content. 
I’ve had mental health problems for most of my life, but a few years ago I finally learned how to overcome my anxiety and live in the moment. My mental health improved so much that I started this podcast in hopes that it would help others get better, faster. But, when I was hit with a heart scare, broken ankle, two bouts of COVID-19, the flu, and a sinus infection over the course of a few months my mental resiliency was tested. I felt sick and depressed, and I worried that it would take me back to a dark place.Despite the work I did to improve my mental health, the onslaught of medical issues one after another threatened to unravel my progress. In fact, these illnesses would have broken the old me. Luckily, I was able to hold on to my mental health with a positive outlook. Though there were several days that I felt quite down.The difference is that I felt sick and depressed for short periods of time, rather than going into a downward spiral. I was able to do this because I learned psychological flexibility — the ability to adapt to any given challenge that arises in life.It’s normal to feel depressed when you get sick. The truth is that life will always ebb and flow. No matter how much self-improvement work you do, the universe is always going to test you.So, what can you do when you feel sick and depressed? Well, I’m going to share with you several strategies I use to maintain a positive mindset. Listen to this episode to learn how you can develop your own psychological flexibility so that the next time you feel sick and depressed it doesn’t derail your life.
In this episode, I’m joined by Dai Manuel, author of the book “Whole Life Fitness Manifesto.” Dai has an upbeat contagious personality and offers great wisdom in what it takes to incrementally improve your life little by little, physically, mentally, and spiritually.  He is also an award-winning digital thought leader, Distinguished Toastmaster, keynote speaker, and former partner and Chief Operating Officer of a multi-million dollar retail company.  However, like all of us, Dai has known struggle, and he will share his relatable story with us.Get Dai's book: Whole Fitness Manifesto Click here to subscribe to my newsletter, The Weekly Dispatch. You’ll get life-changing mental health content every Tuesday. 
Today’s episode is about how to dive into a world of self-discovery to find a more fulfilling life and work. With so many of us searching for meaning and purpose, it can be challenging to find the right path. That's why I'm thrilled to be joined by JJ DiGeronimo, an author and former woman in tech who shares how letting go of your ego, mindfulness, and finding your fuel stations – the activities that fill you up, can lead you to a better life.Learn more about JJ at here to subscribe to my newsletter, The Weekly Dispatch. You’ll get life-changing mental health content every Tuesday. 
In this episode, I speak to Chad Peevy, author of “Break & Untangle: Discover the Freedom To Be You Despite The Inherited Mindsets Holding You Back.” Chad grew up gay in an emotionally and physically abusive family in rural Arkansas. He had to spend years learning how to overcome the trauma, depression, and anxiety that followed him into adulthood from that experience. Inspired by his own journey, Chad has created a system for supplanting damaging beliefs with healthy mindsets and now offers guidance and support to all who want to find the same freedom. We have a great conversation about struggling with family, accepting our trauma, and learning how to make space and move forward in life.  Click here to subscribe to my newsletter, The Weekly Dispatch. You’ll get life-changing mental health content every Tuesday. Follow the link to get a free copy of Chad’s book and click here to take his mindset assessment. 
On today’s episode, I invited Megan Nolan to join us. Megan is a personal trainer, yoga instructor, and vitality coach with more than 17 years of experience. She is passionate about helping people prioritize their mental, physical and spiritual health so they can thrive at work and still have time and energy to enjoy their lives.  Megan is going to share tips on how to start making progress when you’re overwhelmed, insight into the intersection between science, spirituality, mental and physical health, how to overcome the aches and pains of sitting all day, and several other great tips to help you make small changes that will improve your life.Click here to subscribe to the newsletter.Learn more about Megan Nolan by downloading her "Energy Fix" blueprint here.
Are you experiencing holiday anxiety? It’s not uncommon. According to a survey from BetterHelp, nearly half of Americans worry about their mental health during the holidays. But why is this the case when it’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year?There are a variety of potential triggers for holiday anxiety. You may be stressed about an obligation to spend time with toxic family members. Perhaps you’re worried about finding the right gifts or having enough time to cross everything off your to-do list. Maybe you have social anxiety and the idea of attending parties in unfamiliar places with new people sends your heartbeat racing. Even if you love the holidays, it’s easy to feel anxious when there are so many pressures, expectations, and activities going on. It’s surprising to me that more people don’t experience holiday anxiety.While anxiety may be common this time of year, it doesn’t have to ruin the season or your life. This episode will help you understand why the holidays give you anxiety and offer tips to deal with holiday anxiety so you can stay sane through New Year’s Eve.Click here to subscribe to my newsletter.
Have you ever felt like you were not quite normal, a little bit out of place compared to everyone else? Well, today I have a great guest for you. Marc Paisant is the creator and host of the Relatively Normal podcast.  In his show, he shares his experiences with ADHD, anxiety, and depression.  He shows that no one is alone and there is always someone willing to listen and assist when it comes to coping and managing all kinds of stress. He is an advocate for therapy and counseling and talks about the years of therapy that he has used to successfully manage his mental health.     As a former collegiate athlete, Marc also uses physical fitness to assist with his mental health. He has learned that both can be combined and used to help work through any life issue.  His goal is to inspire others to ask for help and to end the stigma when it comes to mental health and awareness.Marc has a great mental health success story and some nuggets of wisdom that I’m excited to share with you.Listen to Marc's podcast: Relatively NormalSubscribe to my newsletter: The Weekly DispatchCheck out my blog: Not Quite Zen
At the beginning of a romantic relationship, things can seem perfect. We often call this the honeymoon period. But as time goes on, challenges will surely show up. Every relationship will experience some form of stress and anxiety as time marches on. All relationships require a lot of time and effort to be successful. But what happens when one or both partners have an anxiety disorder or some form of mental illness? Caring for someone with a mental health issue can sometimes be the kiss of death for a relationship, but it doesn’t have to be. In this episode, I talk with my wife of nearly 16 years, Jackie Hardman about the challenges we faced in our relationship caused by my mental illness. How it changed over the years, what helped us move past it, and how we deal with it to this day. She offers the unique perspective of someone who has had to care for, and been hurt by someone with mental health problems – me. If you’re in a relationship, whether you are the one with mental illness or not, this episode can help you answer the question should we keep going? And even if you’re not questioning the future, the advice given may inspire you to improve things. Click to subscribe to my newsletter: The Weekly Dispatch Check out my blog: Not Quite Zen 
Have you ever felt burnt out? Like you’re so overwhelmed that you can barely hang on? Employee burnout is a global concern. According to a Deloitte survey, 77 percent of people say they have experienced burnout at their current job. 91 percent say that unmanageable stress or frustration impacts the quality of their work, and 83 percent say burnout can negatively impact personal relationships.What about outside of work? For most people work doesn’t end when you leave the office or log out of your computer. Dinner has to be made, the house has to be cleaned, bills have to be paid, and the list goes on and on. Burnout is a popular term, but it often comes with a lot of questions like:  What does burnout feel like?What’s the difference between burnout and being overwhelmed? How can you prevent burnout?How do you know if you’re headed for burnout?How can you recoverAnd why is it impacting so many people?So in this episode, my guest,  and burnout expert, Dr. Hollie Strugon is going to answer all those questions.Signup for my newsletter: The Weekly Dispatch Connect with Dr. Hollie:What's Making Your Vulnerable to Burnout Quiz
Today, I have with me, Dr. Margit Gabriele Muller — a veterinarian and certified mental health coach who specializes in helping women who have experienced childhood trauma overcome their mental illness. At a young age, Dr. Mulller herself had to learn how to overcome the unique challenges of having a mother who was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Fueled by the passion to help other women create a new, positive self, she has created an online mental health course with private coaching called "Making Peace With Your Past." This course helps women to understand their past better and create a new, empowered future.  Though her work primarily focuses on helping women, Dr. Muller offers a unique story and advice that can be applicable for anyone. So,  if you want to learn more about making peace with your past give this episode a listen. Connect With Dr. Muller: Your Pet, Your Pill®: 101 Inspirational Stories About How Pets Lead You to a Happy, Healthy and Successful Life
For most of my life feeling depressed was my default. It felt normal to me, and any sliver of happiness I ever experienced seemed odd. I didn’t know how to cope with depression. Luckily, I was able to break free from depression and change my mental health for the better.That’s not to say I don’t still get depressed, I do, it’s normal to feel down from time to time. However, when I get depressed now it typically only lasts a few hours or a couple of days. My mental health routine of consistently practicing mindfulness, meditating, connecting to present moments, and regularly checking in with my therapist keeps me even-keeled. So, recently, when I felt depressed for more than a couple of days, I found myself frustrated and searching for ways to break out of it.Depression is a serious illness that can alter the way you think and feel about the world. Even though the disease can feel like an endless pit of despair, it’s important to maintain your mental health as much as possible. The good news is it doesn’t have to be debilitating.Whether you’re just starting to feel blue or you’re already feeling like you can’t get out of bed, I will teach you strategies to cope with depression to get through the day and overcome it and live a more fulfilled life.In this episode, you’ll discover:What it means to be depressed.The difference between depression, laziness, and burnout.What causes depression.What to do when depression hits.And when to seek professional help.Read the blog post here: Signup for my newsletter: The Weekly Dispatch 
I want to talk again about one of my favorite subjects – anxiety. Do you ever have those days when your mind is racing with negative self-talk and worry? Does the thought of going anywhere makes you want to throw something across the room, or make you start to panic? As your stress levels increase, does your anxiety also go up? If you regularly suffer from anxiety or you have experienced it in the past, you know how difficult it can be to live with this condition. Most people, myself included, spend a good chunk of time trying to figure out ways to get rid of anxiety. But then, when you can’t get rid of it, the anxiety gets worse. Here’s the hard truth, I have never met anyone who has been able to get rid of anxiety. But, if you think about it, that makes sense. Anxiety is left over from our primitive brains to keep us alive. We game out situations in our minds and prepare how to react. This worked great for preventing getting eaten by a wild animal but isn’t so awesome in modern society. I too have never been able to get rid of anxiety, but I have found there are two effective ways to deal with it so that you can live a joyful productive life. Option 1: If anxiety is holding you back from achieving your goals, then you can conquer it by taking committed action tied to your values. I like to call this brute-forcing your anxiety, and I explain how to do it in episode 10: “How to Overcome Anxiety With Brute Force.” However, anxiety isn’t always something that you need to overcome. Sometimes, when you’re feeling overwhelmed, you simply need a way to calm your anxiety so you can find some peace. Fortunately, there are many ways to ease anxiety.  That’s where Option 2 comes in: Easing Your AnxietyWhether your anxiety is triggered by a specific event or life’s general stressors, I’m going to share with you several techniques that will help you feel less anxious so you can clear your mind and bring more calm to your day. Read the blog post here:  Signup for my newsletter: The Weekly Dispatch 
It's hard enough to raise your hand and say I need help, but what happens when you go to therapy and you're not getting the results you hoped for? When you’re in therapy, you hope that it will be helpful. You hope that it will help you to deal with whatever issues you’re facing and get past them once and for all. But sometimes the reality of going through therapy doesn’t always match expectations. While therapy can be extremely helpful for many people, others still struggle. So, what can you do when therapy isn’t helping?If you are currently going through therapy and not seeing any improvement, don’t give up just yet. In this episode, I'm going to share several strategies to help you move forward when you're stuck in therapy that isn't quite hitting the mark. Go to Not Quite Zen to sign-up for my newsletter. One email per week, with life-changing mental health content. 
Today, we’re gonna talk about mindfulness, meditation, and how it can improve your life. I have with me, Neil McKinlay. Neil is a meditation teacher who has vast experience practicing and leading embodied meditation. He’s also the host of the Bringing Meditation to Life podcast. In this episode, Neil and I discuss:  His own struggle with mental healthWhat he did to get his life back on trackHow people can get started with meditation and why they shouldAnd how mindfulness and meditation can benefit your life.Subscribe to Not Quite Zen NewsletterConnect with Neil:Bringing Meditation to Life PodcastNeil's website
If you’ve struggled with mental health, you’ve probably heard the phrase, “It’s ok to not be okay,” but have you ever wondered what that truly means? I’m this episode, I’m joined by Erik DaRosa, known by friends and clients as “Yoda,” he is an inspirational speaker and the Founder and Co-host of the podcast From Survivor to Thriver.Erik is a guy who has truly struggled with anxiety and knows that life is a journey that won’t always be smooth.  Each week, he and his co-host Marc Fernandes tackle different mental health topics through honest and relatable "kitchen table" conversations with real people who are helping to shatter mental health stigmas and find their voices.  He aims to normalize discussions around mental health topics and remind his audience they are not alone, there is strength in community, and "it's perfectly ok to not always be ok."We dive deep into that topic, and also cover Erik’s story of growing without support. Struggling with intrusive thoughts, OCD, and panic attacks, and the process he went through to get better. He also shares how he’s helping others improve their mental health, and offers some great life-changing advice.Subscribe to my newsletter. Listen to Erik's podcast on Apple Podcasts From Survivor to Thriver, or search for it wherever you listen.  
Today, I’m excited to bring you a fantastic and motivating guest. Kevin Palmieri grew up in a broken home without a lot of money. He didn’t meet his father until the age of 27. No doubt these were contributing factors to the anger he experienced in his everyday life. Something I’m sure many of us can relate to, myself included. Eventually, he got to a point where he didn’t think life was worth living. When he shared this feeling with a loved one, he was encouraged to seek therapy, but as a self-described tough guy, he didn’t think he needed it. However, he was motivated by the perceived pain of losing this person, so he went to that first appointment with vulnerability. For Kevin, the experience was transformative, and he learned how to grow and move past his abandonment issues. Eventually, he felt empowered enough to overcome his fears and start a podcast. He’s now the CFO of Next Level University, a Global Top 100 Podcast and near seven-figure business, and he’s teaching others how to make progress in their lives through consistency and tackling fears with no bullshit.  Kevin has been one of my favorite people to interview so far, so I hope you enjoy our conversation. Go to Not Quite Zen to sign-up for my newsletter. One email per week, with life-changing mental health content. To connect with Kevin go to Next Level University, or follow him on Instagram @neverquitkid.
How to Cope With Anger

How to Cope With Anger


Anger is a very difficult emotion to regulate because it’s a natural response to feeling threatened. Our primitive brains are wired to protect us from perceived danger, and when we feel threatened, it triggers our fight or flight response. It’s that all too familiar adrenaline rush that floods through your body, tenses up your muscles, and signals to your brain that it’s time to stand up and fight or run away. In many cases, anger is a sign that you’re standing up for yourself and asserting your boundaries. Therefore, hot-button topics and disagreements may quickly send you into a rage. I can relate to this problem. Even though I have improved my mental health in many ways, calming down from anger is still a challenge for me. This is especially true when I’m triggered by something unexpectedly. When anger catches you off guard, it can be overwhelming and lead to aggressive behavior. Some people are better than others at managing their anger, but if you’re prone to getting angry frequently, it’s important to develop techniques that will help you manage those feelings. I’m not always able to stop myself from reacting angrily to situations in the moment, but here are some tips that I use to calm down from anger and move on from challenging situations. This episode will cover:How to Stop Being ReactiveHow to Avoid Anger by Understanding TriggersUnderstanding How Anger is a Secondary EmotionCreating Space With MindfulnessHow Anger Shows up PhysicallyCalming TechniquesWhen to Walk AwayAnd moreGo to Not Quite Zen to sign-up for my newsletter. One email per week, with life-changing mental health content. 
In this episode, I bring you a remarkable mental health success story. Kai Smit, was a normal 19-year-old kid from the Netherlands, who was getting ready to head off to university and start his life when a sudden brain hemorrhage would change everything. His odds of survival were incredibly slim, but luckily he made it. Then came the hard part. Kai had to learn how to walk, talk, and gain control of his body all over again. At first, he thought the only solution was suicide, but after a chance visit from a friend, he was inspired to invest every possible effort into his recovery. Throughout this challenging process, he learned that it’s not about getting back to where he was before the accident. It’s about accepting who you are and making the best of it. Now he’s sharing his story in hopes that it will inspire others. Subscribe to my newsletter. 
In this episode, we’re going to talk about trauma. I have with me former psychotherapist and current executive coach Mike Hynes. Mike is the author of “The Myth-Guided Mind: Unleash Your God-Given Genius at Work and at Home,” and he’s going to share about his personal struggle with PTSD, the start and stop nature of healing from trauma, the importance of persistence when building mental resiliency, and what it truly takes to get your head right and live a meaningful life. Check out the link to buy his book below. (I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase).Whether or not you’ve experienced trauma yourself, I highly recommend you listen to this episode. Mike has a great story, and we cover a lot of other general topics that relate to any mental health struggle.This episode will cover:Mike’s amazing story.The struggle of dealing with PTSD. The start and stop nature of the healing process.Why anger is such a common response to trauma.The ways in which people process trauma differently.The importance of confronting and grieving your trauma.When to get help.Why you shouldn’t compare your trauma to someone else’s. Surprising benefits to overcoming trauma.  Buy Mike’s book: “The Myth-Guided Mind: Unleash Your God-Given Genius at Work and at Home”Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. 
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