098: Ditching Toxic Stress & Hardwiring Your Brain for Happiness, with Jodi Aman

Picture of hosted by Penny Williams

hosted by Penny Williams

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Anxiety affects more and more kids and adults every day. It’s taking over lives and eroding the confidence of our kids (and ourselves). But, as therapist Jodi Aman outlines in her new book and explains in this episode, anxiety can be dramatically improved and brains can be hardwired for happiness.

Join us in this episode to learn about the inner critic, how the “monkey mind” feeds and grows anxiety, and what parents can do to help teens and themselves reduce anxiety and be more confident. Happiness is attainable for everyone when the work is done to shift your mindset.


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My Guest


As a family therapist for over 20 years, Jodi shows people how to create Practical Miracles even in the most difficult times. As an inspirational speaker, she helps Generation Z and their parents find their Diamond Confidence, teaching usable tools to push past fear, connect with their personal agency, and expand their consciousness. As an anxiety-survivor, she totally gets it.

As a mom of teens, she double-dog gets it. Through her TEDxWilmington talk, “Calm Anxious Kids,” and her bestselling book, You 1, Anxiety 0, Jodi is changing the way we understand the current mental health crisis. Look for her newest book, Anxiety…I’m So Done With You: A Teen’s Guide to Ditching Toxic Stress and Rewiring Your Brain for Happiness, out now.



Jodi Aman, LCSW (00:03): We have feelings. And then we have all this meaning that we make around and all this worry that we have around the feelings and all this judgment that we have around the feeling. That's the monkey mind, adding all that stuff on like the original feeling is so benign compared to all of the other original feeling. The feeling is intense. It's loss, it's sadness, whatever it is, if you have something happen, but then you put all this worry and all this negative self judgment on top of it, that's the monkey mind, just exponentially making our problems worse.

Penny Williams (00:40): Welcome to the Parenting ADHD Podcast, where I share insights and strategies on raising kids with ADHD, straight from the trenches. I'm your host, Penny Williams. I'm a parenting coach, author, ADHD-aholic and Mindset Mama, honored to guide you on the journey of raising your atypical kid. Let's get started.

Penny Williams (01:10): Welcome back to the parenting ADHD podcast. I'm excited today to be talking to Jodi Aman about her new book on anxiety. I'm so done with you, a teen's guide to ditching toxic stress. And hardwiring your brain for happiness. I'm so excited to talk anxiety as anybody. Who's a regular listener here knows. I started with anxiety. My daughter started goals with anxiety and I'm always excited to have a new perspective and a new way to kind of tackle this beast. That really is such a beast when, when you're in the midst of it and aren't yet really taking control or able to take control even. Jodie, thanks so much for being here. Will you start by introducing yourself? Let everyone know who you are and what you do. Sure. Yeah. My name is Jody amen. I'm from Rochester, New York and I've been a family therapist for over 20 years. So I've been working with kids and teens and parents and couples for all that time and really helping them overcome all the challenges in their life.

Jodi Aman, LCSW (02:18): And it came out of the, you know, I think I came into this work because of my own health crisis. Just like a lot of people come into healing work, you know, once you heal yourself, it's just so elating that you really want to pass this along to others. But, you know, I struggled with anxiety for two decades in my life since I was really little till my mid twenties. And I tell these stories in my books. But when I, when I decided, when I realized that I had learned anxiety, that I learned how to had a field this way, that I decided that I could unlearn it. And I set, I set a path for myself to figuring that out and I completely cured. So I know it's curable and it's not like I'm just a person who had anxiety and I cured it.

Jodi Aman, LCSW (03:04): I mean, I'm a mental health professional, right? I've been in this field for 25 years and I've been putting this into practice with thousands of my clients. So I say it with some authority that anxiety is curable. You don't have to stay like that. And I think a lot of people actually stay anxious because they think that they can't get better. I think there is a discourse. There's a message from a lot of other mental health providers that it's just something you have to manage and live with. And that's not true. I think that keeps people really stuck. So I'm here to share the message that you could get better. That's amazing. Yeah. And I, I was looking through your book and realizing that it really truly is written for teens. So many books say that they're for teens, but they read very much like a book that would read for a parent or a clinician.

Jodi Aman, LCSW (03:58): And this book is truly set up for the teen and it has a workbook component, which I think is so important that you're able to really sit down and put things on paper, work through them in that more concrete way. When you're writing it down, it, I think becomes more real in our minds. And it also can be very cathartic. I know my daughter, anytime she does some sort of workbook about anxiety when she's journaling, she feels enormously better just getting it out and putting it down on paper. So that work component, I think is huge. You're not just reading the information, you're actually taking action on it. Yeah. I love that piece too. I don't like to call it a workbook because my 15 year old was like, well, you don't want to do more work. Right? But these are practical exercises and they're tried and true.

Jodi Aman, LCSW (04:56): I mean, I've been using them for the last 20 years of my practice, ways to do that. And writing is incredibly healing and there's a reason for it because we get to be a witness to ourself. Like it gives us a bit of a distance. And anytime you have some like psychic distance from the CAS or the situation, or maybe it's not so CAD, most situations are. But once you take that step back and can see from a distance, you have all kinds of perspective you didn't have when you're in envelopes, in the craziness of it, especially something like anxiety when you're in anxiety, you know, you're, you're in this desperation and this urgency as he can't see things from a big picture view, but when you write, so there's something there, there's a reason why it's so powerful to write. And the reason is it puts us into our our memory.

Jodi Aman, LCSW (05:45): It's a stream of consciousness, memory development level, and that's a highest level of memory that we can have. It's the most mature level. It gives us, it allows us to be a witness of ourself. And that's why mindfulness is so powerfully healing. Because again, that's what it does is it invites us to be a witness of ourself. Anytime we do that, it gives us this big picture view. And I'm definitely, anxiety's not as scary from that big picture view. Definitely could see a lot of understandings you didn't have when you were too close to the situation. So it's really powerful. I love using writing to heal. And so see, I've put it in. It's not really much work. Don't tell your teenager work. I was like, please don't put the word work on the front cover of this book. So yeah, we call it journal prompts on the front cover.

Jodi Aman, LCSW (06:35): But yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think it's just such an important piece of it, but you're absolutely right. If we call it a workbook, kids are not going to want to do it much like school, right? Let's start with understanding anxiety. I think it's a very difficult thing for people who don't or who haven't had much anxiety in their life to really understand what is happening physiologically. You know, it's not just that we're having these thoughts and we could just shut them off. That's not the reality of the situation. It's not a switch that can be flipped. So how do parents really understand what is happening when their child 13 their young adult even is really struggling with anxiety and different situations. Well, it's, I think people don't understand it, even who have anxiety. I think there's mr. Yeah. Right? So whether you have anxiety or don't have anxiety, people don't understand anxiety.

Jodi Aman, LCSW (07:41): First of all, people call it all different things. Like we have many, many words for this phenomenon for, for our adrenaline. You know, when we have, when anxiety is really when we're anxious, when we're upset, when we're nervous, number a stressed out, let's see what else, frustrated, angry. It's all the same hormone, right? It's all the same hormone. It's different levels of that hormone, but it's all the same excited. It's all the same hormone. And so what's really interesting as we think these are all different things, but it's, we call it different things. And then we feel different. We have the sense that we don't understand each other because everyone, but everyone's just calling something different. But the feeling is similar. Of course there's different symptoms and people experience different symptoms, but all of the symptoms of adrenaline, right? So there's a little bit of adrenaline or a lot of adrenaline in your blood.

Jodi Aman, LCSW (08:32): And that might cause different symptoms or for different people. They might notice different things, but it's still, it's still acting on us the same way. And so I love to break that down, demystifying anxiety. That's my number one. You know, I have six steps to healing anxiety, and the first step is understanding it biologically, because once you really just takes all the mystery away when anxiety's mysterious, when you don't understand it, and it just comes random, it comes out of the blue, you feel out of control and it just increases it. If you're like, I don't know when it's going to comment on what to do about it, it increases it. And that's part of how anxiety stays so powerful in people's lives. Is it it's confusing and it's mysterious. So we take the mystery out and then it's like, Oh, this is what you do.

Jodi Aman, LCSW (09:19): Okay. You know? And, and and so in all of my anxiety, I have a lot of, I have 16 online programs for people helping them connect to their higher wisdom, but the, in all of them and all my anxiety programs, I teach that biology of anxiety, which I feel like when I do this in session, and when I do this online, I feel like it heals about 50% of the people right off the bat, just taking the mystery out of it is he heals half the people. And then the rest of the people have to go through the others, the rest of the six steps, but they work. So don't worry if you're like, I want these six steps, come get this book, get my other book. You want anxiety zero. Now I think all ages could read this book. Actually, both my books, my first book, you want anxiety?

Jodi Aman, LCSW (10:02): Zero. I've had teens from 13 and up read this book. I just, I don't swear in my in any of my public writing. And so it's, it's OK for any age. And then, so in this team book, I feel like for college aged kids, they probably would relate to me a little bit more if I swear, I swore in there, but I have parents of like 13 year olds are going to buy this book. So I had to keep that out. But I think it's relatable. Those are hard ages, right? 1323, like, you know, it's hard to relate to everybody, but I feel like all ages could read this book, anxiety I'm so done with you. First of all, both of my titles, externalize anxiety, right. We take it out of a person's identity and give it a personify it as it's a separate entity.

Jodi Aman, LCSW (10:49): And I think that's healing just by reading the title. It starts the process. It starts to thinking about anxiety in a different way, because anxiety is a bully, anxiety, lies. Anxiety is just so mean and loves to create chaos in your life. And if you think I start to think about it that way, it gives you something to work against instead of fighting yourself, you know? Yeah, yeah. For sure. Yeah. Can we talk a little bit about monkey mind and the inner critic, which I know are separate things, but I think both of these are really big, especially for teams, but the monkey mind, just understanding that concept is really helpful to kind of understand how that spark of anxiety ends up taking over. Yeah. So, so the monkey mind, so that was something that was a metaphor. Buddha, I think said it for the first time, thinking about a monkey swinging from branch to branch, like thought to thought to thought, you know, really we have like, what is it like 10,000 thoughts a day going through our mind or an every moment going through our mind.

Jodi Aman, LCSW (12:01): And most of them don't come into our conscious mind, they're in our subconscious mind. And it's those things that are like familiar or weird or scary, or have some kind of energy that we pull into us. And so if we think something and it has that kind of energy and we pull it into our consciousness, we could really start to worry about it. Like, why am I thinking of this? What we're thinking a million things, but that just came into our consciousness. So people often get hooked on something. Well there's so many things to say about the monkey mind. This is just one little element here, but it's a, it's like you be have feelings. And then we have all this meaning that we make around the feelings and all this worry that we have around the feelings and all those judgment that we have around the feelings.

Jodi Aman, LCSW (12:43): That's the monkey, mind adding all that stuff on. Like the original feeling is so benign compared to all of the others. And the original feeling is feeling it's intense, it's loss, it's it's sadness, whatever it is, if you have this, something happened to, but then you put all this worry and all this negative self judgment on top of it. That's the monkey mind, just really exponentially making our problems worse. And so if we understood what was happening, and I think I teach this in a way that's quite unique. If we understand what's happening, then we could really switch gears and have compassion for ourselves to so stop that negative self judgment and really decrease the intensity of all of the things we feel.

Penny Williams (13:30): Can you give us a couple of examples of what a typical teen inner critic would be saying?

Jodi Aman, LCSW (13:37): Well, okay. So say there's a breakup and after someone breaks up, of course, what, what do we do? We felt, well, we feel sad and hurt. That's a loss, that's an appropriate response to the situation. But then right away we think, Oh my gosh, I can't get over this. This is like days later, you know, you're thinking I can't get over this. Everyone would be over it by now. He's okay. And I'm not okay. Everyone thinks that something's wrong with me because what's wrong with me. I can't get over it. You know, these are all the thoughts that come to us immediately. When we feel something we're like, how am I going to get through this? I don't think I can handle this. I just got to stop paying. I got to stop thinking about this. But obviously those thoughts are really attaching us to it even more like, I wish I could stop thinking about this.

Jodi Aman, LCSW (14:18): I wish I could stop thinking, like, how many of us did that? Like, I'm raising my hand. I've been there so many times where you're just like cooked. You're just upset about how you feel in judging it so harshly. And this judgment attaches us to it. So it gives it a lot more energy, a lot more struggle a lot more intenseness. And so we suffer longer and more intensely than we would if we didn't judge ourself. So what I recommend is having compassion. So whatever you feel, so someone breaks up with you and you're hurt. You know my daughter today that our first job she's 16. She got her first job at amusement park and we're waiting here, we're in New York state. So we're waiting to hear, this is coronavirus. If you're listening to this as a recording long from now, we're, we're coming out of the pandemic when things are opening up and where we need to hear at the amusement parks are opening or not.

Jodi Aman, LCSW (15:12): And they have been delayed. We thought they were opening in zone four or phase four. And so it's a credible loss cause it's like no, nothing to do all summer, you know? And so she's very, very sad. That's so appropriate, right? To feel that way. But kids today are so scared of feeling bad because they think something's wrong with them. They feel bad. This is really human to have to have this response over a loss. But then it's so scary. So then they doubling down, you know, so first of all, they're like, this is not how I'm supposed to be. I'm supposed to be more evolved and feel good. And then they're also worried, like, how am I going to survive being this ad? It's like, there's they don't want to be uncomfortable at all. Yes. And I think there's commercialism really is a part of that.

Jodi Aman, LCSW (15:57): Right. There's, you know, the commercialism is like instant gratification, instant gratification all the time. So kids are not really learning. Like it's okay to be uncomfortable. Sometimes it's totally human to feel that way. And if you have compassion for it, instead of judging it and instead of worrying about it, you go through it a lot easier. Yeah. And I think our, our kids with ADHD and anxiety and autism, they struggle even more with the avoidance of discomfort or even perceived discomfort or potential, not even knowing that something might be uncomfortable, but it could possibly be. So I'm just not going to go there. It's a big struggle for us. Oh, I break that down in the book. So I I'm, I really, I really answer that for people. And so I'm really hoping that it's going to change everything, you know, it's that sense of entitlement.

Jodi Aman, LCSW (16:51): It's like, I shouldn't have to be, I shouldn't have to do anything I don't want to do or be uncomfortable or yeah. Then you feel like you can't do anything. And I think the fear too, for kids who do have a, you know, differently wired neurology, they fear, you know, those symptoms coming up, if they get into an uncomfortable or overwhelming situation. And so there's even more of that resistance and that wall kind of belt, which can be super difficult. So I'm excited that, that you're also really addressing that in your book. And I think it's a big part of growing the anxiety within ourselves when we start to give ourselves those, those internal thoughts or assigning them to those situations ahead of time, you know, so much of it, I feel like is a self fulfilling prophecy. If I'm super worried about the way something's going to go and I'm obsessed with it for a week or two weeks, and I just know that it's going to be so horrible, how could it go well, when I've come into it with that thinking, right, right.

Jodi Aman, LCSW (17:59): We create that, you know, we take actions on our expectations of expect things to go great. Then we take action to set that up to go great. And if we, if we expect things to fail, then we don't try so hard. And you know, we don't work so hard cause what's the point of it. And so our expectations and what we, you know, it is about the action. You know, it's not about like manifesting, you just put it out there and it comes obviously, you know, it's about, if you have that expectation, like I could do whatever I want to do. Then you are going to take action to do that. But it helps the, it propels the action. And so the actions, the thing that makes it manifest, but it wouldn't be there without the belief. So the belief is important to have first.

Jodi Aman, LCSW (18:45): Yeah, absolutely. Can we talk a little bit about what parents can do to help their teens reduce anxiety and to be more confident? Well, first of all, we have to have confidence in them. You know, I think that's, you know, parents are so worried when your, when your kid has anxiety, then you feel so worried that, Oh my gosh, how are they going to suffer? What are they going to do with their life now? And we need to have confidence in them because if we're worried about them or kind of validating that there is something to worry about, that there is a huge problem. And so we need to tell the kids, this is temporary. And you know, there's a lot of different ways to you'll form us. We'll find one, we'll do one at a time. And you know, the ones don't work, focus, go to the next one.

Jodi Aman, LCSW (19:28): But eventually we find something like this is heal a bowl, and we're not going to let you stay this way. I mean, this is what I say to my clients. When I first talked to young people, I say, we're not going to leave you this way. There's no reason to leave you suffering this bad because we could be, could stop you from suffering. And so if parents all give kids the message, when I teach parents, cause I've programs for parents who have kids with anxiety. And that's what I say first, it's like tell them that you're not going to leave them like this, that you will be with them and we'll figure it out and it's figure out a ball and we're going to get over it because of people get over it, setting that belief for them, that you have confidence in them in confidence that they could heal, changes everything.

Jodi Aman, LCSW (20:11): Because then you have all these people saying to kids, well, you'll have your wires. Your brain is wired this way. And so you just going to have to learn how to deal with it. That is not even true. I'm S it's so upsetting that this message is still getting out there in this day and age to people. And it causes a years and years more of suffering until someone comes along and tells them that's not true. They can get better. So I think that's the best thing that parents could do is, is like kids know that this is temporary. This is totally normal given the context of our lives right now. And and we don't have to say this way.

Penny Williams (20:49): Yeah. And having confidence in our kids and really communicating that is so empowering for them.

Jodi Aman, LCSW (20:56): Exactly. But we do, we worry about them and we, you know, it's, it's, it's lovely and loving, you know, to worry about your kids and let them know. You're worried. It makes them feel like they care, you care. But just for a moment, then they're like, Oh, okay. Yeah. There's something to worry about. Like, there's an energetic feeling that comes back on them. But if you believe in them, you're like, you got this. I know you could get over this. Like I know people do it, you could do it. You have a lot of skills. I've seen you do a lot of things in your life. That's amazing. I know you could do this and I'm with you every step of the way we'll research. We'll do whatever we have to do. We'll find Jody, amen. We'll have her get us better. And yeah.

Jodi Aman, LCSW (21:32): And if you do that, Oh, it just changes the mindset about it. And that's why I think the biggest message we have to give to young people is that my, that I totally understand where you feel the way you feel, because the context of like having this device in your hand, that has messages from all over and then having the coronavirus pandemic and there's, and there's, you know, school shootings and there's civil unrest. Like there's so much happening. That is it's stressful. And police brutality. I mean, there's just an all levels. Like people are scared and cause there's a context for that, you know? And sometimes there needs to be this cast for things to reorganize in a good way. And so how do we support people through it? You know, humans are highly adaptable. I have so much faith in us.

Penny Williams (22:24): Yeah. Yeah. I think so much of this too comes from feeling a lack of control just in general with anxiety, you know, feeling like you don't have control over something can certainly be anxiety provoking.

Jodi Aman, LCSW (22:39): But I think it's a hallmark of anxiety. I think that is insanity all in all out of all control issues or anxiety issues. Everyone who has anxiety has a sense of feeling out of control. It is anxiety. So yeah, absolutely. But that's comes from these messages. If you, if you watch my TEDx we'll need to talk so we can go Jody, aim and TEDx, you can just look it up. But I described the three messages that people are getting with these 4,000 messages a day. These kids are getting on their phone all day. And probably even more since a quarantine, they're probably on their phone, even more hours message or so, so content constant. And they are messages that make them feel more out of control. Like these messages are disconnecting kids from cause and effect that they could affect their life. Like they could do something to get effects that they want, that they have agency in their life.

Jodi Aman, LCSW (23:30): And it's kind of removing kids from understanding that they aren't agent of their life, that they could respond to situations. And so we have to go back and teach them that again, you know, we have to go back and show them and help them see it because they'll feel more and more and more out of control and less and less touch with those skills that they have. They have skills, they have skills. We don't have to teach them skills. They have skills, they have coping skills, but they don't know they have them. So they can't access them if they need them. You know, sometimes they can, but they don't recognize them. They don't celebrate them. They don't identify with them. And so we have to bring them out so that they can access them, identify with them, you know, they identify with I'm out, I'm a mess, right.

Jodi Aman, LCSW (24:17): I'm, I'm anxious, I'm a mess. I'm like, you know, I'm worthless, I'm out of control. And so we really have to change those stories. Yeah. And we do as a culture, kind of attach that to teens, we say, Oh, the teen years are so hard. You know, you're going to be trying to figure things out. It's going to be chaotic and you may not know what to do when you're going to be faced with all of these challenging decisions. And, you know, we do kind of set them up for feeling that they're going to be out of sorts. Yeah. Right. That's true. Also though, we also tell teens that this is, this is the best time of your life. And that's really dangerous too. Right. Because then they're thinking, Oh my God, it gets worse after this. This is so awful. And I have nothing to look forward to.

Jodi Aman, LCSW (25:08): So I think that's quite dangerous to tell teenagers that because things can totally get better. You know, if you're suffering things definitely could get better. W w at any age. So, yeah. So, so I stopped telling teens that this is the best time of your life. This should be the best time of your life. That makes them feel horrible. Yeah. But just so, so really the message we want to get teens is you got this, you could figure this out, you have this incredible brain we've given you tons of skills growing up. You're, you know, you're very ethical and, you know, right from wrong. And you're going to make these good decisions and always be kind to people and and take care of people. And you got this, you know kids need a sense of purpose. They need to have their lives need to have some meaning, just like any of us, for sure.

Jodi Aman, LCSW (25:59): And it's hard to figure that out when you're a teen, it's, it's a process, I think, but it's also a process that we can facilitate and support as parents so that it can be more manageable for them instead of this. Oh, there's the whole world. And I have to figure out what I am to do and what my place is, you know, giving them that support that scaffolding can really help them feel more confident in that process. I think, I mean, everyone has like an affinity for something, you know, kids grew up. And I think if they're, if they're on their screen so much, sometimes they're losing, like having some affinity because they're just, you know, consuming content so much. And then that keeps them distracted enough from being interested in anything. But, you know, a lot of times, as kids are growing up, they, you see that, you know, this kid really enjoys books about animals and just wants to learn everything about evolution and animals.

Jodi Aman, LCSW (26:55): And then this other little kid likes engines and mechanisms and machines and stuff like that, you know, and, and really, really interested in those kinds of things. So people do grow up with affinities. And if we encourage those infinities, that can be really helpful too, to have them finding the purpose. Doesn't have to be a humanitarian mission. You know, the purpose could just be like creating necklaces or it could be temporary, temporary purposes. You know that for now I make jewelry and later I, I don't know, take care of my friend and you know, some other time I'm in a show and I'm entertaining people on the show.

Penny Williams (27:38): Yeah. There's so many options. And I, we tend to really, in our culture, define certain careers as, or certain interests is more successful. Not that we've, you know, created a manual and written that down as necessarily, but just, we get this sense in our culture that certain careers like business or finance are going to automatically make you more successful than something like I'm a dog Walker or, you know, something that doesn't take a lot of training, I guess, is what I'm getting at. And it's really time that we stopped doing that. It's really time that we like kids decide what makes them happy. What makes them feel fulfilled and like they have a purpose and then figuring out how they can make a career or a life around that.

Jodi Aman, LCSW (28:36): Yeah, exactly. Even all the trades. I mean, those are entrepreneurial jobs, right. To be a plumber or a carpenter or something, you know, there you could do really well that you could have your own business and be doing that. So, you know, w we do, there's so many different options, even a dog Walker, that's your own business too. Right. You know, the world's changing, you know, we could create our own job, you know, entrepreneurialship is just growing and growing. So we don't who, we don't have to fit until little box. We could create what we want. And, and I think that's really exciting. And are we preparing them in the schools that we have now to be doing that? I'm not sure, you know, I have a 28 year old and I'm like, start your own business. You have such a great head for it. Like, he's just brilliant. He thinks about big picture view of stuff. And he's like, Hmm, I just don't want to take the risks. I'm like, what are you talking about? Like, you're young, like go do it. You know, this is the time. So you know, it's like, are we raising people to have such trust in themselves that they could take some risks and

Penny Williams (29:42): And do things that really would, you know, then they're not working. Right. They're just loving what they do so much. They never work a day in their life. Right. Exactly. And I think that's a big piece of it. You know, we, we tend to let kids think that adulthood is this drudgery. And, and that comes partly by saying, Hey, these are the best years of your life. Right. And they don't want to grow up now. They don't want to be adults. They fear it. They are not even a lot of kids driving at 16. They're putting it off and putting it off. And it's, it's amazing to me because I was every milestone age. I was like, yep, I'm doing that now. Right. Like I couldn't wait to get there. And this generation overall is much more wanting to take their time, but I don't think we've caught up to that.

Penny Williams (30:36): We're still expecting them to go to college after high school and to get a job that's going to set them up after college. And that just doesn't have to be the path. And it's not the right path for a lot of people, but we still, I think as a culture, we're still following that really pigeonholed expectation of the journey. And then we set them up to really be in fear of being an adult and being on their own. Let's talk to kind of wrap things up a little bit. Your last chapter in your book, self care is the new healthcare, which I completely agree with. I do a lot of work in the mom self care roam with parents of kids with neuro behavioral or neuro developmental disorders. And so self care is a big, a big talking point for me all of the time.

Penny Williams (31:32): And I think it's a really important thing that we should be teaching our kids as well. Exactly. Yeah. It's, it's so it's so important to do these things. You know, I think there's just such a myth out there that happy people are just happy and they're just lucky. And then it makes us feel really, really different when we don't feel happy and like unworthy. And so there's a huge problem. But if we understood that happy people aren't just happy. That's not just, they actually generate their own happiness. They actually work really hard to you know, release things that that make them suffer and bring in the things that make them happy. If we understood that, then we would know that we have to do these, these daily practices to take care of ourselves. And if we, you know, because a lot of people think if you're, if you've been depressed for a really long time, you're like I have to work harder than most people. I have to work really hard to be happy. Be you think that no one else was working cause no one, you don't see that stuff. You don't see how hard people are working to change their mindset and, you know, be around good people and put time

Jodi Aman, LCSW (32:40): Into those relationships. So they have good people around them to be happy. You know, we don't see that from the outside. We think that's just lucky. So I wanted to add this piece in, in the book to let people know the research on the practices that people who are the happiest use to maintain and sustain their happiness. And there are things that we all know. I mean, nothing's going to surprise and he, any reader in this book, penny, it's, they're going to read it and be like, yes. Okay. I need to get enough sleep, but I'm going to give you the real, like how much you really need and then eating. And we're going to talk about meditation. We talk about all those things that we know are good for us. Yeah. We know that that helps our emotional wellness, but I explained a little bit more of why kids need to know why before they're going to buy into something.

Jodi Aman, LCSW (33:30): Of course. Yeah. Yeah. And you just described me for the majority of my life. I thought that people who were happy just had something different than I had. They were just born that way. Or they had better life circumstances. And around the time I turned 40, I just had kind of had enough of being the victim, even though I didn't recognize yet that really I was being the victim in my life and did a lot of research and a lot of self work and it is work and it's, it's daily practice, but it's completely turned around and it amazes me because I really dismissed that for so many years. I just missed that. You know, we had control over those sorts of outcomes. And you know, I've talked about this on numerous, numerous podcast episodes because I feel like it's so valuable. I mean, I would give anything to have known to do that work and knowing the power of it in my twenties or in my teens rather than, you know, when I turned 40.

Jodi Aman, LCSW (34:39): So it's it's so I think I'm going to save people like decades of suffering, right? They read this book, you'll save decades of suffering. It's true. And I really want, I want it to be in the health classes, like in the curriculum, in high schools, I think that I'm approaching health teachers and saying, put this part, cause they all do a unit on mental health. That's from the eighties, it's the same unit that I did for my kids. And truly it has been the exact same information that we did. Yeah. So I'm really hoping that this could be part of this should be part of the curriculum. If all kids read this, they'll know how to have self compassion. I mean, I wish we learned that in middle school because while we can save ourselves a lot of heartache, a lot of negative self judgment, a lot of that inner critic that is BS, you know, we can get rid of it earlier for really understand what was happening and know how to do that pivot. It's so easy. Just have that compassion for yourself.

Penny Williams (35:38): And so, yeah, that's, I think everyone needs to read it. Yeah. I don't want them to have to get to 40 and have to figure it all out. Right. Because there's a lot of damage could be done in that time. And a lot of healing could be done for them and for people around them, if they get this information, now a lot of miss joy really life's too short to miss out. And you know, the key takeaway is that it's possible for everyone. You know, I thought it would just wasn't, wasn't my path. It wasn't possible for me for so long. And I'm sure that was some anxiety at play to kind of trumping that up and, you know, monkey mind running away with it. A lot of people think that. Yeah. Yeah. And I don't, I don't know where we necessarily get that from.

Penny Williams (36:27): Maybe it's a cultural thing or maybe it's just that we don't talk about it. And so we keep it inside and so we have to make our own conclusion. Yeah. And so self-blame is just the easiest conclusion to make. Yeah. But we really need to let our kids know that happiness as possible for everyone, everyone can, can feel good. Are you going to have challenges and struggles? And sometimes that you don't feel good of course, because we're humans, but you know, you, you have the overall control. You're steering your ship, whether you feel like it or not, you really are. And that's so, so, so empowering and a really important message. I surely hope that you get a lot of schools on board. I think we need to talk a lot more about ourselves and being human in school, not just book knowledge, but really, you know how to live a good life is something that they should be teaching.

Penny Williams (37:22): So for everyone listening, you can find the show notes with a link to Jody's books, as well as her website, Jody amman.com and social media. And all of that [email protected] slash zero nine eight for episode 98. Thank you again, Jody, for sharing a little of your time and your wisdom. I can't wait for some of the families and our audience to read the book and to let us know how much it has changed in their lives. Yeah. Me too. Anxiety. I'm so done with you. Yes. That's all be done with it. Yes, it's so good. Well, thank you so much. And with that we'll in the episode, I will see everyone next time.

Speaker 3 (38:16): [Inaudible]

Penny Williams (38:17): Thanks for joining me on the parenting ADHD podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and share, and don't forget to check out my online courses, parent coaching and mama [email protected].

Speaker 3 (38:39): [Inaudible].

Thank you!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it. Have something to say, or a question to ask? Leave a comment below. I promise to answer every single one. **Also, please leave an honest review for the Beautifully Complex Podcast on iTunes. Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and appreciated! That's what helps me reach and help more families like yours.

I'm Penny Williams.

I help stuck and struggling parents (educators, too) make the pivots necessary to unlock success and joy for neurodivergent kids and teens, themselves, and their families. I'm honored to be part of your journey!

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I'm your host, Penny.

Join me as I help parents, caregivers, and educators like you harness the realization that we are all beautifully complex and marvelously imperfect. Each week I deliver insights and actionable strategies on parenting neurodivergent kids — those with ADHD, autism, anxiety, learning disabilities…

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