Hidden Brain, “Healing 2.0”: How we can change our lives by taking a closer look at the stories we tell ourselves about our lives


WUFT-FM Morning Edition host, Glenn Richards, recently spoke with the host and creator of the Hidden Brain podcast and radio show and executive editor of Hidden Brain Media, Shankar Vendantem. Hidden Brain Media is an independent production company that aims to help curious people understand the world, and themselves.

For a whole range of reasons, many people are struggling right now. Some are worried about the state of our turbulent world, or coping with anxiety that took root during the pandemic. Others are trying to deal with old traumas or new hardships. And then there are those who find the holidays to be a particularly stressful time of year. For all these reasons, Hidden Brain is dedicating the month of November to “Healing 2.0” on both the podcast and radio show, heard Sunday afternoons at 2:00 on WUFT-FM.

The “Healing 2.0” special series will explore how we can change our lives by taking a closer look at the stories we tell ourselves about our lives; discuss the nature of loss; and consider a mind-bending idea about whether we should try to do away with grief. And it will investigate whether it’s really true that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” and end with a conversation about crafting better apologies.

As a journalist, Shankar Vendantem was NPR’s social science correspondent between 2011 and 2020, and spent 10 years as a reporter at The Washington Post. From 2007 to 2009, he was also a columnist, and wrote the Department of Human Behavior column.

In 2010 he wrote the non-fiction book, The Hidden Brain: How our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars and Save Our Lives. He is also co-author, with Bill Mesler, of the 2021 book Useful Delusions: The Power and Paradox of the Self-Deceiving Brain.

Shankar Vedantam and Hidden Brain have been recognized with the Edward R Murrow Award, and honors from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, the International Society of Political Psychology, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Black Journalists, the Austen Riggs Center, the American Psychoanalytic Association, the Webby Awards, the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors, the South Asian Journalists Association, the Asian American Journalists Association, the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association, the American Public Health Association, the Templeton-Cambridge Fellowship on Science and Religion, and the Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellowship.

In 2009-2010, Vedantam served as a fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.

Hidden Brain is heard Sundays at 2:00 p.m. on WUFT 89.1 / 90.1.

“Healing 2.0” Episode Descriptions:

11/5: Healing 2.0: Change Your Story, Change Your Life
This week, psychologist Jonathan Adler explores the power of the stories we tell ourselves about our own lives. He has found that by telling those stories differently, we can make a profound change on our own life outcomes.

11/12: Healing 2.0: What We Gain From Pain
We’ve all heard the saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” But is there any truth to this idea? This week, we explore the concept of post-traumatic growth with psychologist Eranda Jayawickreme. He finds that suffering can have benefits — but not necessarily the ones we expect.

11/19: Healing 2.0: Life After Loss
We’ve all heard about the five stages of grief. But what happens when your experience doesn’t follow that model at all? Resilience researcher Lucy Hone began to question how we think about grief after a devastating loss in her own life. She shares the techniques she learned to help her cope with tragedy.

11/26: Healing 2.0: Disrupting Death
In 2019, Justin Harrison’s mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer. But by the time she died, he had figured out how to keep a part of her alive…forever. This week, the strange and provocative story of a man who believes that grief is not inevitable — that we can, in a way, cheat death.

12/3: Healing 2.0: The Power of Apologies
Why is it so hard to say ‘I’m sorry?’ This week, we talk with psychologist Tyler Okimoto about the mental barriers that keep us from admitting when we’ve done something wrong, as well as the transformative power of apologies.

Find out more:

About Glenn Richards

Glenn Richards is Operations Coordinator and local host for Morning Edition on WUFT-FM. His background includes 30+ years of radio in South Florida as an air personality, promotion director, and morning show producer (WSHE, WZTA, & WFLC). His previous education includes a Bachelor of Science in Communication from the University of Miami where he was also general manager of WVUM-FM. Upon his arrival in Gainesville in 2006 to pursue a telecommunication master’s degree at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications, he worked as an air personality at WRUF-FM (both Rock104 and Country 103.7 The Gator). One of Glenn’s passions is local music. Since 1990, he has produced and hosted local music programs in both South Florida and Gainesville, playing demos and independent releases from unsigned artists, many of whom went on to national prominence including: Marilyn Manson, Sister Hazel, For Squirrels, Matchbox 20, Saigon Kick, Mary Karlzen, Nil Lara, Hundred Waters, and more.

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