Zack Vayda and the Armchair Expert: Part 1

Today I listened to a podcast channel called Armchair Expert with Dax Shephard. Dax, the host, interviews people to "celebrate the messiness of being human." His first interview, and the only one I've listened to so far, is with his wife, Kristen Bell. Both are experienced actors, so I halfway expected to hear a lot about their methods and experiences in their field. I was very surprised, however, to find the subject matter much more compelling than that.

Right off the bat I knew this podcast was going to be different. Dax began by informing the listeners that he and Kristen had been arguing right before the podcast and that tension is noticeable through the first hour. Dax said he was temped to leave this podcast unpublished because of the obvious friction, but decided to keep and publish it because it is real. Since my blog only has one real theme, authenticity, I appreciated the transparency.

The next two hours turned out to be an outline of all the traits, point of views, opinions and habits I have been working hard to establish for myself for the last few years. It was incredibly encouraging (even slightly unnerving) to hear both Dax and Kristen speak honest truth and give definition to so many things I've struggled with. I consider this podcast to be the single most universally useful podcast I've ever listened to. Granted, I haven't listened to many podcasts. Maybe they're all like this. I kinda doubt that though.

At one point the conversation between Dax and Kristen turned to Kristen's acknowledgement and control over her depression (mentioned in other interviews). She said that it was her opinion that happiness, getting over depression, is a choice . If she wakes up in the morning and doesn't feel like getting out of bed, she says she'll go run on the treadmill for 10 minutes. Chiming in, Dax agreed that he has a list of things to do when he's not feeling his best and he knows he has to "actively take action." He then lists off 4 or 5 things on his list that he asks himself if he's done. If he's not feeling well, "99% of the time, I'm not doing all of those things that have proven result in happiness or contentment."
Kristen jumps back in with agreement. She answers the original question by saying she has control over her depression because, "I have become habitual about the things that make me feel good." (Kristen mentioned she does take medication for her depression as well)

There it is. How do you become happy or content? Make a list of things that you know make you happy, and if you're not happy, go down that list. How do you stay in control of your happiness long term? Become habitual about the things that make you feel good. It's as simple as that. In a matter of maybe two minutes, Dax and Kristen defined and put into words what I've been struggling to understand and to gain control over for at least two years. If it weren't so impressive, I might be kind of upset they simplified it so easily. Where was this podcast two years ago??

I plan on writing a few more installations on this podcast. If you found this information useful, I suggest three things: 
1. Listen to the podcast, it's worth your time and it's much better coming from their mouths.
2. Keep your eye out for my next posts.
3. Let me know about your opinions and thoughts on the topic.

ZackZack Vayda3 Comments