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Take the mystery out of cultivating mental wellness with Inner Challenge, a podcast hosted by MJ Murray Vachon LCSW. With over 31 years of experience teaching mental wellness and 45,000 therapy sessions under her belt, MJ brings her expertise to help you feel better. Starting with the first 13 episodes, the Inner Challenge podcast provides the fundamental tools necessary for anyone starting on their mental wellness journey. Season 2, join MJ for unscripted conversations with everyday people ...
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Join me on this emergency podcast episode as I analyze 'Inside Out 2,' the Pixar sequel depicting the emotional life of Riley, a young adolescent. As a therapist with extensive experience in adolescent mental health, I delve into the film's portrayal of teen anxiety, its causes, and societal norms contributing to the current mental health crisis. I…
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In this episode MJ is excited to share her conversation with Hedy Schleifer, an internally renowned relationship builder and motivational speaker. Hedy discusses her work on Encountered Centered Transformation (ECT), emphasizing that peace begins with family and strong partnerships. She explains her distinctions between the individual and relationa…
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It isn't hard to hear about bad news, but in many neighborhoods, there is good news to share! In this podcast episode, MJ presents inspiring everyday wins that uplift our mental wellness and add unexpected but fulfilling fun to life. From a broken window incident that demonstrates amazing problem-solving and accountability, to new parents navigatin…
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Join MJ and her guest, a mother of two, as they delve into the challenges of parenting amidst anxiety, emphasizing the development of emotional intelligence. The differing experiences of anxiety in this mother's two children illustrate the diverse emotional landscapes parents must traverse. MJ shares her model of emotional regulation, which encoura…
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Join MJ as she pays tribute to Jay Caponigro, an ordinary guy who did some extraordinary things with his one life. In this encore, Jay and his wife Lyn share their journey through cancer. In their humble yet very honest way, they discuss the complex emotional, psychological, and spiritual journey through the lens of mental wellness. They emphasize …
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Join MJ and her guest as they discuss retirement, mental wellness, and embracing life's next chapters with openness and adaptability. In this episode MJ, shares insights about filming the Inner Challenge Masterclass and introduces a guest who has recently retired after a 50-year career. They explore the concept of 'Adulthood 2', a phase of life ide…
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Join MJ as she announces a new partnership with Michael Joseph McDonald creating MasterClass: Mental Wellness our Inner Challenge! While MJ is in the studio filming she revisits an encore episode on mental wellness. MJ discusses the importance of distinguishing between the brain and the mind, emphasizing that mental wellness involves both treating …
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This may be MJ’s favorite episode! Join MJ as she talks with a remarkable woman who shares her journey of leaving a manipulative and narcissistic spouse. Despite her successful career in tech and multiple talents, she faced a struggle at home that challenged her self-worth and independence. Through her story, the podcast delves into the nature of n…
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In this episode, MJ shares her the theory of social and relational intelligence as well as an awesome one pager! We all know that relationships are key to cultivating mental wellness but so often relationships can make us unhappy or even miserable. This episode explains how belonging and being known are fundamental to human mental health and outlin…
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Join MJ and her guest as they embark on a captivating journey into the realm of stay-at-home parenting. Witnessing a notable 10% surge from 2022 to 2023, more parents have chosen to transition from their corporate roles to become the full-time CEOs of their households. In today's enlightening discussion, our guest sheds light on her own unexpected …
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Get ready to dive into a captivating conversation that goes beyond the usual chatter about Taylor, Travis, and Valentine's Day! MJ and special guest Elly Wynia LCSW, a seasoned relationship expert,(https://ellywynia.com/) are turning the spotlight on the country's buzzing atmosphere of LOVE. In this episode, they explore the intricate dynamics of r…
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Join MJ on a six-month journey with her guest, who initiates a self-imposed TikTok Block. Initially struggling with phone overuse, especially on TikTok, the guest deletes the app and shares valuable insights and strategies regarding the effects this has on her mental and physical wellness over time. The transformation illustrates the power of socia…
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Join MJ on a six-month journey with her guest, who initiates a self-imposed TikTok Block. Initially struggling with phone overuse, especially on TikTok, the guest deletes the app and shares valuable insights and strategies regarding the effects this has on her mental and physical wellness over time. The transformation illustrates the power of socia…
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Happy New Year! In this episode, MJ talks with personal trainer and weight loss coach, Julie Hamilton, about abandoning the quest for the perfect diet and instead focusing on what works for you. They discuss a practical and achievable approach to weight loss that begins with the question, "What foods can you not give up?" (MJ's – lattes and Julie's…
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Learning from Age: Wisdom and Insights on Mental Wellbeing How are your New Year's Resolutions going??? Hope to lose some weight? Do a bit more exercise? Maybe less phone time or more sleep. All useful but in this episode MJ invites us to turn our resolutions toward bettering our relationships with those who matter most to us: family and friends. M…
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On the third day of Christmas, I listened to Ep. 53 Mental Wellness & 2023. Top 10 Inner Challenge Insights! **** Happy 2024! Welcome to the second half of Season 3 where we continue to discuss how to up your Mental Wellness Skills. If you are tired of feeling like crap tune in and tune up! **** About the Host: MJ Murray Vachon LCSW is a Licensed C…
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Ep. 53 Mental Wellness & 2023 In this final episode of 2023, MJ looks back on the year and shares her favorite Inner Challenge Insights from this years’ episodes. She celebrates her People of the Year, Grace Morrison, her podcast consultant, and Taylor Swift! Two badass millennials !! Her top ten Inner Challenge Insights underscore the value of cul…
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Join MJ and life coach Joan Claire Gilbert as they ponder some of the holiday classics! You know those family issues that can turn you into The Grinch. We might not have Peace on Earth this holiday season but MJ and Joan Claire give some practical solutions to help you make your holiday a bit brighter. They share some ideas to help you not let your…
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It's the season of turkey, cranberries (who eats these??) and THANKS! Join MJ and her guest, best selling author and wellness innovator David Romanelli, as they gather around the table and talk gratitude. Usually at this time of year podcasts feature episodes about how to tolerate your great uncle who drinks too much or your family member who won't…
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Join MJ as she talks with her husband Dr. Dominic Vachon. No, they aren't talking about wash,(which he excels at) or raising kids but COMPASSION! As Director of Notre Dame's, Ruth Hildebrand Center for Compassion in Medicine, Dr. Dom has a lot to say but it's how he says it that makes this episode a MUST. In these challenging times of war, politica…
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Join MJ as she talks with her husband Dr. Dominic Vachon. No, they aren't talking about wash,(which he excels at) or raising kids but COMPASSION! As Director of Notre Dame's, Ruth Hildebrand Center for Compassion in Medicine, Dr. Dom has a lot to say but it's how he says it that makes this episode a MUST. In these challenging times of war, politica…
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Are you a couch potato? A Sofa Spud? Does your critical voice constantly call you lazy? Do you plan on working out but don’t follow through? This is the episode for you!!!! We all know the stats: working out is essential for the wellness of our body, spirit and mind. But, what to do if you’re a GOOD person but can’t get yourself to exercise? Maybe …
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Want to feel better? Get better at feeling!!! In this episode MJ and her guest dive into the model MJ has created to manage feelings in a more direct and healthy way. Most of us are taught to use an external mindset to manage our feelings. You know, Blame & Unclaim--send a text complaining how awful someone is, doom scroll, eat chips or have a glas…
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Stop Trying to Feel Better and Get Better at Feeling? This pithy statement, credited to Whitney Johnson, sums up this episode. Did you know the average feeling moves through us in 90 seconds? EXCEPT, most of us disrupt this natural process by avoiding, minimizing, maximizing or soothing our emotional reactions because at about the 30 second mark fe…
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Welcome to Season 3!!! One of the most underutilized tools in cultivating mental wellness is your spirit!It's with you from the minute you're born so why not figure out how to use it to feel better? Join MJ for this 20 minute episode where she shares 10 Inner Challenge Insights to help you figure out how to boost your spirit. Our contemporary cultu…
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August brings with it lots of new pressures! Yep! Listen to this live coaching session as MJ explores with a D1 Athlete how he grew into handling the pressure. Be it on the field of life or football our mind is the best tool we have to manage pressure. This is a LEARNED skill and this episodes gives very doable tools to balance the ups and downs so…
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As we say good-by to another summer we find ourselves once again facing the dreaded MORNING ROUTINE! Listen as MJ and her guest dive into the latest science that helps us get up and go each and every morning. You might be surprised that a little knowledge can make a HUGE difference in how you start your day! Why not get this new season off to a gre…
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Listen to the first episode of Season 2 as MJ meets with a mom who is trying to figure out the best way to parent her adult child who is going through some tough times. This is not easy!!!!! Just the term Adult Child makes for confusing times and confusing roles! Listen as MJ and her fabulous guest brainstorm some best practices of supporting our k…
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In this live coaching session, MJ works with a college student who is courageous enough to battle comparison head on! Is comparison really a thief of joy or is it just a human reaction that we can acknowledge and work with in order to get a more accurate picture of a situation. Sit back listen and learn, you're gonna love this young mans' journey! …
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Grief and Loss, while being a natural part of life, brings most of us face to face with many new and often uncomfortable feelings, situations and relationships. Grief not faced or processed easily disrupts mental wellness. Listen as this wise and articulate woman shares the road she traveled after losing her husband of 41 years. Her insights and pr…
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Don't put off listening to this episode on Procrastination! In this episode, a podcast listener takes on the role of guest to explore his problem with procrastination! You may be surprised (and relieved) to learn the origin of procrastination is not laziness. Tune in as MJ shares with this young man her tested and successful method of dancing with …
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I want to lose weight! I have tried everything!I think about it daily! When I look at all the various diets they all are too much work, too expensive or too confusing. Today's guest is one of the few people I have talked to about losing weight, and trust me I have talked to thousands, that never said any of the above statements. Instead, one night …
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The very essence of family revolves around caregiving. Yet, amidst the chaotic demands of work and our daily lives, we often find ourselves struggling to provide the heartfelt care to those we love the most. And of course, there is the additional challenge of caring for those family members who can truly test our patience! In this episode, MJ engag…
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On today’s episode, MJ and her guest take on the topic of Adulting! Adulting! Adulting! As children we are given the impression that becoming an adult is an on/off switch. Something that automatically happens at 18, 21 or when we become a parent. In reality, becoming an adult is more like a dimmer switch, a way of life that we grow into as we figur…
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Cell Phones:We love them! We hate them! Join MJ as she talks with a neuroscience major who becomes her own cell phone therapist. All of us will gain from this young women's guts, information and wisdom to face her cell phone addiction head on and put her life back on track. It is not as hard as we make it and she offers us some little known solutio…
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This is a delightful episode! Join MJ as she wraps up her series on Ages & Stages with a guest who went back to law school in her 50's!! What kind of Ager are you? Hopefully an Engager! Not sure what that means? Listen to this episode whether you're 30 or 80 as our guest shares the Engager Mindset. Most of us have interests and dreams that are set …
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Listen as MJ shares the GPS from young adulthood to old age. This episode starts where Ep. 38 left off, giving accessible and vital information to help you navigate each life stage with more ease. Knowledge not only helps us cultivate mental wellness but it just makes living a whole lot more fun! One listener commented, "Why do I know more about my…
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Listen as last week's guest takes on a topic he had not anticipated-- external self-awareness. In this episode, MJ helps guide this young man with how to take feedback from others so he can answer the question, Who Am I? more fully. Being open to feedback is a learned skill. MJ shares a process she created to help manage the natural demon of defens…
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What Disney Princess are You? Is your Myers-Briggs type ENFJ or ISTP? Maybe your top two E-Colors are yellow/red. What number are you on the Enneagram? Yes, personality inventories are a fun and helpful way to give us words for what we often know about ourself. Join MJ as she talks with a 20 year old who shares how taking the Enneagram not only hel…
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Want a GPS for your life?? Listen to this podcast series, as MJ shares with you information about human development: Ages & Stages? Whether you are 1, 13, 25, 30, 60 or 80 years old you will learn the big question for each life stage increasing your self-awareness as well as enriching your relationships with others. Hey, if you use GPS to travel to…
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In this episode, MJ speaks with a listener who tried out the two mindfulness exercises, Notice On The Inside and Notice On The Outside. Mindfulness is often presented in a way that makes it seem woo woo or something for Buddhist Monks. Listen as today's guest helps all of us learn to apply these easy inner workouts to our daily life in practical wa…
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Let's Get Practical! Practical! Practical! If you sing this to the tune of Let's Get Physical you are singing my song! No fancy gyms, no expensive work out clothes are needed to up your Mental Wellness Game. In this episode, MJ shares with you her two foundational Mental Wellness Exercises used by literally thousands of people. They are junior high…
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Have you taken an attachment quiz-- one of the latest fads on the internet? Maybe you read an article or heard attachment talked about on the news. Today's episode picks up where last week's left off--the little discussed topic of how do we lay the foundation for our child's mental wellness?? Babies are great teachers but it helps if we are willing…
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There are few things in life that change how we answer the question, Who Am I? then becoming a parent. While timing and circumstances are unique to each of us, as the due date gets closer, all of us ask, who am I now that I’m a parent? In today’s episode MJ talks with a couple who are weeks away from delivering their first child. As you listen you …
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I want to lose weight! I have tried everything!I think about it daily! When I look at all the various diets they all are too much work, too expensive or too confusing. Today's guest is one of the few people I have talked to about losing weight, and trust me I have talked to thousands, that never said any of the above statements. Instead, one night …
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Lyn and Jay Caponigro share with us how they are navigating their mental wellness during this last year since Jay's diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. In listening to them we learn more about living than dying, the importance of dancing and how we have choices even in the most dire of times and circumstances to manage our thoughts and feelings. This e…
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In this episode, a listener takes on the Mental Wellness Challenge! For one week she observed her mind and applied what she learned in episode #30 to her everyday life. Wowza!! You will be impressed with how she navigates the river of mental wellness to bring calm to her mind when she has one of those mornings when everything goes wrong! Join us fo…
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What is Mental Wellness?? You kinda know, right? Wouldn't it be great to REALLY know? Join MJ for an encore performance of her initial episode where she gives you a practical and applicable way to REALLY understand mental wellness as well as tips to start cultivating it immediately. You don't need to feel like crap! And we certainly don't need wait…
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This may have been a song from the cheesy movie, Oklahoma! but for many of us we aren't quite in tune with Curly McLain. (Google him if you are clueless). Join me in this episode as I talk with a neuroscience major to find ways that we can lean into our biology to make our morning routines a bit more beautiful. It it not nearly as hard as it seems …
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Quotas, Economic Downturns and Demanding Consumers, Oh My! Sales is one of the backbones of the American economy. A career in sales can test one's Mental Wellness whether it's your school's candy sale or your full-time job! Listen to this FASCINATING episode as a 25 year-old woman shares her journey in this career and how she has learned to steady …
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