Self Love & Sweat The Podcast

Transforming Education: Mental Health, Mindfulness & Empathy in Public Schools with Megan Gallagher

June 11, 2023 Lunden Souza Season 1 Episode 127
Self Love & Sweat The Podcast
Transforming Education: Mental Health, Mindfulness & Empathy in Public Schools with Megan Gallagher
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Imagine a world where mental health, meditation, and mindfulness are part of the public school curriculum. Today, we have the incredible Megan Gallagher, a mental health advocate, self-published author, and 2x Ted X Speaker as our guest. Megan is on a mission to change the public school system by introducing classes that focus on mental well-being and personal growth. She shares her own journey of dealing with anxiety and panic attacks during her high school years, and the crucial first steps in finding the right therapist and treatment modalities.

Timestamps to help better navigate this episode:
(0:00) Intro
(0:20) FREE Self Love & Sweat MONTHLY Calendar
(1:52) Mental Health Education and Advocacy
(10:42) Finding the Right Tools and Therapist
(20:30) Mindful School Schedule, Positive Mornings
(24:42) Intuition and Mindfulness in Education
(27:30) Use code LUNDEN25 for 25% OFF Snap Supplements
(30:05) Intuition, Meditation, and Parenting
(43:21) Open Communication and Feelings
(50:27) Mental Health in College and Beyond


Starting the day on a positive note can be life-changing, especially for young adults. Megan and I discuss the concept of incorporating a mindfulness class as the first period in schools and how it can help students cultivate positive mindsets and attitudes. Megan also shares her personal practices, such as breathwork, journaling, and affirmations, which have been instrumental in her ongoing mental health journey.

We also delve into the fascinating topic of intuition and mindfulness in education, and how young people can be taught to listen to their inner guidance. Megan shares her insights on distinguishing between intuition and ego, and the significance of support groups for young men facing mental health challenges. Lastly, we emphasize the power of open communication and fostering meaningful conversations with our children. Join us in this inspiring conversation with Megan Gallagher and learn how we can create a more mentally aware and empathetic society.

Connect with Megan:
www.meganwgallagher.com
IG: @meganwgallagher
Twitter: @meganwgallagher

Support the show

2 FREE HIGH INTENSITY RESISTANCE TRAINING WORKOUTS: https://lifelikelunden.activehosted.com/f/169

FREE Self Love & Sweat Monthly Life Coaching Calendar: http://lifelikelunden.com/calendar

One-On-One Life Coaching & NLP with Lunden:
http://lifelikelunden.com/vip

Connect with Lunden:
IG: @lifelikelunden
YouTube: https://youtube.com/lundensouza
LinkedIN: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lundensouza/
Twitter: @lifelikelunden

Use code LUNDEN25 for 25% off Snap Supplements: https://bit.ly/snapsweat

Use code LUNDEN25 for$25 off at Evolve Telemed: https://evolvetelemed.com

Lunden Souza:

Welcome to Self Love and Sweat the podcast, the place where you'll get inspired to live your life unapologetically, embrace your perfect imperfections, break down barriers and do what sets your soul on fire. I'm your host, Lunden Souza. Hey, have you grabbed your free Self Love and Sweat monthly calendar yet? This calendar is so amazing. It comes right in your inbox every single month to help you have a little nugget of wisdom, a sweaty workout, a mindset activity, just a little something, something to help keep you focused and motivated and keep that momentum towards your goals. So every day, when you get this calendar, you'll see a link that you can click that will lead to a podcast episode or a workout or something that will be very powerful and quick to read. And then you'll also see, on the top left corner of every single day, there's a little checkbox in the calendar And what that is is that's for your one thing. You can choose one thing every month, or it can be the same, something that you want to implement and make this something that you can easily implement, like daily meditation or getting a certain amount of steps or water, for example, and staying hydrated and even taking your supplements. This can be something if you want to get more regular, doing a particular habit and routine. You can choose what that checkbox means. So if you want your self-love and sweat free monthly calendar delivered right to your inbox every month on the first of the month, go to lifelikelunden. com/calendar fill out the form really quickly and you will have your calendar in your inbox within a few short minutes. That's . Go, get yours for free and enjoy this episode.

Lunden Souza:

Welcome back to the podcast. Today We have an amazing guest and such a powerful topic, one that really, yeah, gives me all the feels, gives me the goosebumps, makes my heartbeat a little bit faster, and so I'm so excited that we get a chance to talk about this today on the podcast. Today we have a special guest, megan Gallagher, and she is a yeah, she pretty much is working on mental health amongst young adults and bringing classes that she wish, she wish, wish, as were taught when she was in school, and she's a self-published author and really has done a lot in this space, and so I'm just so excited to have Megan here. She has done two TEDx talks, She's a four-time Amazon bestseller, she's a TV host and mental health advocate. She's been a motivational speaker for nine years and is just so passionate about changing the school system and having classes on mental health, meditation, mindfulness and learning in school how to follow your happiness. So, megan, i'm so excited for you to be here today. Thanks for your time and for reaching out. Yes, of course.

Megan Gallagher:

Thank you so much, london, for having me on. I am so excited, just so grateful. I love that I came. You know just how we met and kind of our Instagram mutual following and friends. I think it's so wonderful and I'm just so grateful. You know, anytime I get to talk about this topic, it lights my heart on fire and it I really just feel like it was you know the reason why I was put on this earth.

Lunden Souza:

Like.

Megan Gallagher:

I was put on this earth to change the public school system and to really be an advocate for mental health education. You know classes on mindfulness and journaling and how to follow your happiness All these things that we all wish were taught in our high school. And you know, we get to 20, we graduate college and we're like 22. We're like I don't know who I am, what I want to do, and I really want to prepare young adults better for the real world.

Lunden Souza:

So I love that. That really. Yeah, it hits home for me because a lot of these tools that you're mentioning meditation, journaling, mindfulness practices a lot of these things I didn't even know existed until I was in my late twenties and I'm not a mom, but I have a niece and she's four and that's really been on my heart lately, which is why, when you reached out, i was like, oh man, this is perfect, because in my mind I'm thinking I got these tools, you know, let's say, at the perfect time for me, but you know, too late if you will, and I would love to be able to teach and guide her to use these tools way earlier in life. Wait before she even realizes that they're important. What was your catalyst to jump into this space? Do you have kids? Was it a specific moment in your life Like what catapulted you to be like? I got to help in the public school system.

Megan Gallagher:

Yes. So for me it was personal experience, You know, I remember being maybe 15 years old at kind of like the beginning of my freshman year of high school, just in that place where you know you're getting used to a whole new school, finding your locker, It's just a lot of stress, a lot of just changes. And for me that's what triggered my anxiety is it was really just, you know, the fear of change And I really just was so nervous about leaving middle school, the transition, having some friends going to a different high school, all that stuff, And I vividly remember, you know, reaching honestly rock bottom like it had been months. So, the beginning of my freshman year, I started having panic attacks within the first two weeks of school, just the overwhelm stress, And I was like I don't feel normal or comfortable. And then, truly, for maybe about six months straight, it was just 10 panic attacks a day, you know, just feeling exhausted, that emotional roller coaster, the highs, the lows, the cortisol. It was like too much And I could barely function in class. I mean, I couldn't even pay attention to the teacher, you know, talking about the exam next week. It was awful, And so I really remember reaching a point where I mean, my normal thing to get out of a panic attack was asking my teacher can I go to the bathroom?

Megan Gallagher:

I would grab the hall, pass and go, rush off to the girl's bathroom. And I mean I even remember at 27, you know what those bathroom stalls felt like. It was like the cold white tiles on the ground and the sound of the humming of the generator, that just weird smell it had, and just sitting in the stall And I would wait for my panic attacks to pass And I would just sit and stare at the white tiles on the ground and just like literally pray that it went away And I was like I don't know if I'm having a stroke or like what's going on, Because there was no education about mental health in my school, So I really did not know what was happening. And so, yeah, I remember about six months into freshman year, I just was sitting in you know that bathroom stall again. But this time I realized, you know, I don't see a future for myself.

Megan Gallagher:

And that was a very weird moment at 15 to not even see myself graduating high school, leaving my parents' house or, you know, starting a new life as an adult. I never saw any of that for myself And that in that moment I was just like you know what I have to change. I have to ask for help because I want to feel better, because I was barely getting by, hanging on by a thread in a toxic relationship. You know, my grades are slipping, Just everything was really crumbling down. And so that is, you know, also a powerful moment, when I realized that there's a beautiful aspect in asking for help. It's a really powerful thing when you do, because I, you know, had so many stories about oh, I'm weak, I'll be viewed differently, My parents will send me off to some boarding school in Russia, you know, I just will know it's going to be awful.

Megan Gallagher:

But I remember one night, after dinner, I asked my parents for help And, you know, I really told them what I was feeling and they said you know, Megan, we love you, Let's start therapy next week. And it was a cool moment because I was so, you know, I was so afraid of taking that leap of faith. But sometimes, you know, we will be caught on the other side, And that's a good reminder that it's not always going to be a negative thing when you take that chance, Like, sometimes the answer will be yes, Sometimes you will be. You know people will hold the space for you. So that really sparked my journey. You know, at 15 years old started therapy and I just that opened up the doorway to this fascination with understanding who I was, why I thought the way that I did, and also having a profound sense of I want to help the next generation.

Lunden Souza:

Thank you for sharing that. That's so magnificent. I often take notes and we'll write things down while I'm interviewing and podcasting because things like pop out and I want to really listen but not forget some of the like aha moments And I love what you said, my story and your story in terms of kind of the awareness of needing support.

Lunden Souza:

Mine also started in college too, and I remember doing laundry and like needing to go downstairs and like the basement of where my apartment was when I first moved away to college, first things, whatever, and like having 75 cents instead of a dollar for the quarters to put it in and just like losing it and just like having a lot of these memories of just like losing it, if you will. And so I remember, yeah, dabbling, asking for help, whatever. But one of the first resources that I found yeah, for myself or whatever was was working out and was going for runs and doing things to help physically, until I realized I was using that tool for everything and I was working out too much for the wrong, like all the things, thinking it was going to fix right. So what was your tool? So you had that moment in the bathroom, which I love because I've had so many bathroom moments and whatever I post about people.

Megan Gallagher:

People, always respond They're like I'm in the bathroom.

Lunden Souza:

The place, yeah.

Megan Gallagher:

The shower, the bathroom, the thoughts, and you're like. You just start pondering like, why are we on this earth?

Lunden Souza:

Yeah, and having those moments of being like, okay, I need better tools, right? So my first tool was like, oh, I would go for a run and, like you know, take breaks from studying and not be, you know, try to let go a little bit and not be so hard on myself. But then that became like an overused tool. I always say I was using a hammer to build everything. So I had to realize the variety of tools is really important.

Lunden Souza:

So when you're 15 and you're on this quest to find these tools that are going to help you manage what you just described and experienced, what did you grab? first, You said therapy, was that super helpful? What was the next one? Was there anything that you tried on where you're like that doesn't work for me, but that works better, Because I think that's important in this space is like you think one thing might supposed to be working or I did for someone else and you do that, but then I like the variety of tools, Like tools that you start to cultivate. Then that you know that really worked for you.

Megan Gallagher:

Yes, So the tools that I began to cultivate. I think number one, what is most important I'm a big therapy advocate. I always have been. But the real like factor that has made me love therapy is finding therapists that you just click with. Like, if you think of it, you know when you're dating, like whether you do, I don't know, bumble hinge in person, whatever, i mean, what's the number one thing that you're looking for on that date? Probably chemistry, right, you just click, you vibe, the energy is there. To me that is what is important with any doctor or therapist.

Megan Gallagher:

But I remember vividly when I was younger, my first therapist at 15, i felt like such a deep connection to her. I felt naturally just very safe, i felt very comfortable and she really did a good job of holding the space for me And really just giving me that perfect, unbiased opinion. Because that's what we crave right With therapists. We don't want really our mom's opinion. It's our mother, she loves us, she has a certain view of us, so she's gonna come from that motherly energy. But a therapist is just, they don't have that family or close bond with you, so they're giving you a really helpful, healthy opinion, not even an opinion, just feedback, like outside perspective too, like that is zoomed out, zoomed out, and that's what makes therapy amazing. So I will say, yes. I think something that helped me in the beginning that I loved is just finding a therapist that works for me. But yes, i mean, there were so many other.

Megan Gallagher:

The family I grew up in were very holistic Eastern medicine, so that's kind of what I grew up with And I love my mom, but I remember there were many moments when I was 15 years old and she's like we're gonna cure this. I love you, you're my daughter, this is not gonna ruin you. And I'm like, okay, and she took me to so many kind of funky, just way too holistic appointments and with these herbologists and very like Chinese medicine. And I love her. But I'm like this is just not for me. I just need a therapist. Give me a treadmill, i'll exercise, that's all I need. I don't really need all this fancy. I grew up in the Bay Area So we would go into San Francisco and she would have me go see a muscle testing doctor and all these things. And oh, your right leg is longer than your left And so that means your whole kidneys are out of. I'm like, okay, everything is fine, But yes, i do think.

Lunden Souza:

So you explored a lot of modalities, so you had a lot of kind of, even if you decided like, okay, yeah, thanks for the guidance from your parents or mom or whatever to like show you different perspectives. But in the end I like what you said. You're like therapy and a treadmill, like my two Ts, is like what I need and I can just kind of be good. but it's nice, i think, to try on different tools and to test out things to see what happens. And you might like it, you also might not, but it's cool to, I think, have a moment, a taste of it, just to be able to decide for yourself if it's to one way or another for you or kind of what suits you. And I totally second on what you said about therapy is like dating, where you like gotta try it on and get to decide if that person vibes or feels good. just because someone's a therapist doesn't mean they're your therapist.

Lunden Souza:

And I've had some great experiences and I remember one in particular when I was living abroad, in Austria, and I don't know if it was the language barrier, even though he spoke great English, but I just remember going in with something really heavy that, because of past experiences in therapy, i was like, okay, i'm ready to share this right. It didn't take a lot of copesing, even though it was a big thing. But I remember leaving and being like he didn't fucking get me, like not in a rude way, but I was like that just didn't sit right. So and that was what I left just a little bit emotional and just feeling a little bit incomplete. But I share that because maybe someone listening has helped that feeling. but there's other options, just like dating or whatever it's like they might not be a good fit for you.

Megan Gallagher:

There are so many therapists out there, you guys, so many other options. Yes, i mean the amount of therapists also psychiatrists, there's hypnotherapists, there's therapists that range in all different topics, whether it's childhood trauma, anxiety, depression, relationships, family counsel like the amount of therapists that are out there is endless and just never, ever settled. Because I've also had an experience where when I was living in Miami last year, I remember trying on a few different therapists and one gentleman in particular was just not a good fit. I found him to be very gossipy And anything I said I felt like he was like egging me on. He's like, oh, tell me more, meg, like what is happening? Like yeah, he just was like oh, and how does that make you feel? And I'm like I literally feel like I'm on a reality show. Like this is not how you should be feeling in a therapy.

Lunden Souza:

It's like eat entertainment with Megan Gallagher. Yeah, yeah, yeah, He's getting all the juice, all the gossip.

Megan Gallagher:

Seriously, i was like this guy is wild, like this is not what I am craving. So it's just good, though, to listen to your intuition, and I think you just will know. Like we said in dating, you know when it's a match and you know when it's not same with therapists. It's just that easy.

Lunden Souza:

Yeah, totally, you just feel it. You just know. Let's talk about kids, about kids in school, about what you feel like is the next best step, right? I don't remember when I was in school, outside of potentially good coaches and teachers who, like, could help me find, you know, a plant, a seed, or find a bigger meaning or a better way of regulating my nervous system and my life right, whether it's a coach or a teacher.

Lunden Souza:

But there was no specific class, right? And in fact, i remember even like some classes, even on, like, even on and this is a different topic, but even on, just like health and wellness and human sexuality, whatever. They were always like electives, right. It's like, if you wanted to, it was never something. And now, as an adult, I'm like, oh my gosh, yeah, i think it's wonderful that I have, you know, certain skills I learned in school, or I can do like math in my brain in the same way that I can on my iPhone, but like I really would have loved to know other techniques. So what's kind of what have you been doing so far? What's your vision? What do you feel like is missing in that space? Like what's going on there?

Megan Gallagher:

So I would say I really, really think, you know, just from my own experience, just being that teenage girl that felt so awkward and never good enough, i feel like when I do speak at schools, you know, I am always just so like picturing my younger self in the audience. And I do think, with kids today, there is, you know, so much pressure with social media and so many, you know, like that just adds an extra layer of insecurity, low self-esteem, comparing yourself, not feeling good enough, and I just feel like the way you know I love TikTok, i love all those apps, but the way that they're headed is like it is very, very, you know, it creates just this toxic persona. I'm grateful that I grew up, you know Facebook came out when I was like a freshman in high school, so I feel grateful that I kind of missed the crazy, you know, rush of TikTok and all these a ton of apps, because I don't know what I would have done, like I already struggled with body image issues and low self-esteem. But you know, seeing all these young girls that have had, you know, so much work done and there's so many filters and so much, it's just it's awful. And so I think, you know for kids today, like I would just say, to really love yourself and to set a firm boundary with social media, because it's I think it's only gonna get bigger and bigger the way that the world is headed. But I do think it's up to us to separate ourselves from our phones, from our laptops, and to create that healthy. You know, like I am not my iPhone, i can put it down and I can still feel great about myself, but I, yeah, I feel like if I were to say anything to my younger self, i just would say it's all happening for a reason And I, right now you may not understand that reason, but I promise as you get older, everything will unfold itself and you will know why you are going through what you are going through.

Megan Gallagher:

Like that, i think, is a strong message to any kid or teenager out there listening whether you're going through anxiety, depression or family stuff at home and you just feel alone. Just know that. You know it if you believe in it, like it is serving a bigger purpose. To me, having that faith is kind of what kept me going for a while. You know, just believing. I trust that this is making me stronger. I'm gonna view it like, take away, you know, the positives from it and think how is this, you know, helping me turn into the woman that I'm becoming? Like it's making me, yeah, stronger, love myself more, have more patience, be able to forgive others easily, whatever it is. It's just, it's powerful when you can flip a challenging situation into something positive.

Lunden Souza:

Mm-hmm, yes, and being able to offer those two tools in school to students to show them how they can flip the script or reframe, and I don't know. As you were talking, i just kind of envisioned moments where, like, i would go to the principal's office or be put outside because, while being a good student, i just didn't stop talking which is why I'm so grateful for podcasting but they would like put me outside, right, like just get out, because you're just like disturbing. You know, i wish you know whoever the school, you know mental health, nervous system resources operator was at the, you know, and we didn't have that but coming up and being like hey, london, like cool, you're done with your work. Okay, let's do some breath work or let's work on some journaling or let's tap into something that will help you feel more empowered, rather than just like get outside, you're talking too much. Because that, really, that kind of story and that voice helped me back in my older as I got older and I, you know, thanks to, thanks to a lot of resources and tools, i was able to kind of uncover that there.

Lunden Souza:

So do you have a vision like where we go to first period mindfulness, and then we go like what are you like? I mean, i don't know. I just I know what school looked like for me. I think everybody listening can think about what kind of school looked like for them. Like I don't know, let's paint a promising picture for a second.

Lunden Souza:

Like what do you think is possible? Because, for example, like my niece, she's four and I'll do breath work in front of her and I'll just be like, hey, antie's gonna do breath work over here. You can join me if you want, but you don't have to. So sometimes she doesn't even hear me. She's in La La Land with her toys and her hamster. Sometimes she sits right next to me and we do heart. You know affirmation breaths together and it's beautiful. So like I hope one day she gets to go to first period meditation, right. But like what are we working towards? You also have kind of your eyes, i would say behind the curtain, a little bit of maybe what transformation is already happening, what schools are already doing? So like what's possible And what can we get excited about potentially?

Megan Gallagher:

So that is a great question. I would say my truly, my mission in life is to have a school schedule, a class schedule where kids show up. you know, first period is really starting off the day on a positive note Because, like I said, you know, teenagers are already dealing with so much, whether it's puberty, their hormones, body changes, experiencing a romantic relationship for the first. It's a lot of firsts, it's a lot of you're coming into your own, you're learning about yourself. Also, you know, we don't know what people are dealing with at home. Their family life could be really toxic and school is their escape And they, you know they'd feel safe and they don't really want to go home. So I would love to dedicate first period to starting off the day on a great note, where everyone you know gets to meditate and do a guided meditation, where there's a teacher, you know, just speaking and just helping them really get into a calm place where they can focus on their breath and they can feel very centered and they can focus on how they want the whole entire day to go. So To me, that's a practice I've been doing for years, where, you know, i always start my day and then I focus on how I want to feel throughout the day. You know, i want to feel expanded, joyful, and how I visualize myself accomplishing all my tasks and errands while feeling joyful and fulfilled and happy. And it's a powerful practice because you're not only manifesting but you're also, you know, really guiding your brain for, oh, the blueprint of today. Okay, it's going to be joyful and happy, so I'm going to focus on that. So I would start off first period as a guided meditation and then some journaling, some light breath work, and then they start the day and having, you know, the typical classes where it's math, history, science, all that good stuff, but I just think it, in order to have a productive day, i do think that it is so healthy to have breaks where you meditate and you check in with yourself. So I would want a school schedule where there are, you know, gaps of time an hour in between each three classes where they get to really chill and just decompress and check in with themselves, and whether that is having a healthy meal or going on a walk in nature, i want those things to be options. And also, i would love a class on listening to your intuition.

Megan Gallagher:

I think that is so, so, so, so important because throughout my whole entire life, you know, i've always had a strong intuition, even when I didn't know it, i would get these just I call them pits in my stomach, these feelings of like you're dropping on an elevator and I'm like that doesn't feel good, whether it was because I was around somebody or dating someone, or just about to embark on you know, a trip, a journey, and I felt either really good about it, expanded or contracted, really bad about it. And so I remember being so young and being like what is this feeling? But now, at 27, i acknowledge my intuition and I also listen to it. That's a huge part of it. Right, we can all, we all have one, we all can tap into it whenever we want. But I actually, you know, i take action based off of my intuition when it comes to basically every area of my life.

Megan Gallagher:

I think that the most successful people are the ones that really do listen to their intuition for business advice, for love advice, because I realize, you know, our intuition is like a direct connection to source, to our higher self, to like this, you know, just force out there that we can't see with our physical eye. And to me, my intuition is always spot on, like whether it's feeling someone's energy, and you're like I don't think this is going to be a match. My intuition is always so accurate. And one thing I will add is, you know, growing up I often like rebelled and I'm like I'm not listening to my intuition. I want to date this guy and then have my heart broken. I'm like, should I listen? But now you know, i actually realize that my intuition wants to help me, not hurt me, like it's actually trying to make my life easier and more lovely. It's just my ego.

Lunden Souza:

Well, is that how you distinguish between what the voice is? Because that's what I wanted to ask is how do you know that it's the voice of your intuition? because I do a lot of work with my clients on this of, like, whose voice is that? What exactly are they saying? You know, and so I love that because you're like no, that's not my intuition. If it's not guiding me towards what is of my highest good, or empowering or whatnot, then I know that that's not the voice. Is that how you distinguish it? Like, do you have kind of that? Yes, i'm sure it comes autopilot now, because you just recognize it. It's like hearing your mom, whatever's voice, someone, your partner, is not close to you. But in the beginning I think that, well, i know that because, with a lot of the work I've done and then with my clients too, there's a lot of chatter, right, and we don't know, we don't even slow down enough to know, like, what it's saying, where it came from, whose voice it is, you know, and we don't even like, it's just chatter and it's kind of loud. And I think that journey and that process which, from what you're painting, would be already started well before you, and I even got those tools but would really be able to. Yeah, like you said, like tuning into your intuition. What are these voices? Which one is actually your intuition? which is the one that is just trying to sabotage you but actually was just trying to keep you safe at some point, right? So what was that process of you being like, oh, that's my voice of my intuition. Was it trial and error? Was it like over time? or how did you know? Like, that's me, that's my intuition. Hey, really quick.

Lunden Souza:

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Lunden Souza:

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Megan Gallagher:

So I would say, if I think about it, the first moment I can remember, when my intuition popped up, i would say, i mean in high school, i think. Yeah, there was a party I was about to go to. I got invited and it was like a big party with a lot of seniors And you know, when you're a freshman that's a big deal to go to a party with seniors. So I was like, oh, i have to go, i have to look cute. And I remember, as I was getting ready and looking in my mirror and like doing my hair, i just felt this constant pulling down like energetically in my lower stomach. I felt just constantly like I can't get excited for this, like what's going? I was like, come on, megan, like what, shake it off? What's happening? Like I was looking at myself, like, am I? did I eat something weird? Why is my stomach hurting? But I literally, as you know, the time got closer to the party, i still just felt this like just this ball of, like just a fat, no, and I was like I don't even know what's happening. And so I decided, you know, i was like kind of freaking myself out and I decided to stay home. And then the next day, my friends that were at that party said there was actually a guy with a knife, that literally somehow older guy, kind of a crazy, just I don't know if it's who, but some guy. There was a huge house party And then some guy brought a knife and tried hurting people and showed up and everyone freaked out and ran. So it's wild, though, because my intuition have this like foreshadowing right before the event happening, like a premonition, and that's you know one moment that I will never forget where I'm like. Okay, so my intuition is actually really trying to help me. And then later in life, you know, dating certain guys, i would always get you know, even on the first date. Like I also will say this, i do think that the more you can strengthen your intuition and strengthen that voice Because, like I said, we all have one, it's all there, but it's just a matter of being consistent with you know, going out into nature and doing breath work and really practicing those mindful tools You will start listening to, you will start hearing your intuition more and more and more, and the more skill that you get, the more you just have that connection with your body And as someone for me, you know, i've always been very active, like I was a dancer growing up, so I was always in tune with my body and my breath And I think that helped.

Megan Gallagher:

I also grew up in a household where, you know, my mom encouraged me to meditate all the time. They showed us the movie The Secret. So I think for me I had a great childhood that really allowed me to like flourish and to develop my intuition at a young age. But now, yeah, i will say, like what you said is the best example where now it that voice, that intuition? I know when it happens and I know that feeling right away And I, just to me, i know when it's a no and I know when it's a yes And I'm like, oh yeah, it sounds just like my mom's voice. You know, i'm just like, oh yeah, that guy's I first date. I felt a fat. No, you know, energetically, intuitively, i'm like this, this guy is just not, it's not going to be good. And I've really really learned to realize that.

Megan Gallagher:

You know, we have an intuition and we also have an ego. You know, i think that as humans, i believe in reincarnation and spiritual things. But I think as humans, you know, we're put on this earth in this lifetime. And you know we all come from, i think, a place of unconditional love. But we're, all you know, given a soul and an ego, that yin and that yang, and without one or the either, we wouldn't accomplish much, because the ego helps us, you know, drive, motivate, accomplish stuff. If we didn't have an ego, we all would be like sitting in a field of flowers, you know, just staring up at the sky all day long. And we have a soul because that's where we come from. It's, you know, we're never going to lose sight of our home and our heart and what feels right. And I do believe that we all have a divine purpose on this earth. And I do feel that, you know, life is really about the moment we're born.

Megan Gallagher:

It's like undoing the doing. You know, we're born, we're brought up in the household. You know, we're raised in certain religion, community. This is what you love is to us, et cetera, et cetera. We put on these like onion layers and then we reach 25, maybe, and we're like, eh, did my childhood really serve me? You know, we start questioning and why am I dating the same guy over and over again? and all these patterns and things. And then we start undoing the doing, you know, we start peeling away and I believe that we are returning to our true selves, which is who we're destined to be in this lifetime. And we're, you know, letting go of the pain and the hardships and the you know stuff that disheartened us and trauma from our childhood. And then we're real, we're being coming enlightened. You know, we're coming back to a place of joy, of like our true selves.

Lunden Souza:

Yeah, and I love the idea of being able to introduce that much earlier and much sooner. And what? okay? So for parents listening that are thinking, okay, i have young kids, they're going to school and learning XYZ where you know not yet, is the meditation first period or kind of that morning routine. I love what you painted.

Lunden Souza:

It was kind of like almost like a morning routine when you get to school. It reminds me a lot of kind of how I start my day there. But what Okay would be like I mentioned. I'll just give a tip here to parents. I just sit next to my niece and do my breath work And we'll do especially heart opening. I'll do that in front of her a lot and smile and breathe into my heart space And I'll say things I'm thankful for and do positive affirmations, like I literally just model it because I'm going to do it anyways And I want her to like see it.

Lunden Souza:

But what are other tools that? because maybe a parent listening to was like I don't do any of those things, like I don't meditate, i don't journal, i don't. So what would be like a good way? I think it could be such a beautiful way for parents, caregivers with their children to kind of try out some of these new things in the home. But I do know that for some people listening they might be like oh, that's weird air quotes or woo, woo, or I'm uncomfortable with it, so I'm not going to do it with my kids. How can we inspire parents listening like, hey, just do a little breath work, do a little something, something with your kids, to introduce that sooner rather than later. What would you suggest?

Megan Gallagher:

I would say the best tip for parents listening. Number one I would say never be afraid to have that conversation with your child, because I think for some households and families mental health can be awkward. It's like something we don't talk about, it's weird. But just remove all of that, because the sooner you let go of all those stories and beliefs, the quicker that you're able to develop a deep connection with your child.

Megan Gallagher:

I remember being a teenager and all I really really wanted and I feel like what every child really really wants is just to be heard and seen and understood. They want to be treated like a real adult that has feelings, that has a schedule, that is doing something productive. I always just craved my parents and they did this, which was wonderful, but I always craved my parents sitting with me and speaking to me as if I were 20 years old, really speaking to me, looking me in my eyes and not just being like oh, megan, you're so this. So I would say first tip is just really let go of any negative beliefs about mental health and don't think it's so scary or awkward. My second tip would be to really, really, really just have that conversation, however you can. Maybe that's asking your child like oh, let's go get ice cream or let's go on a walk, let's go after dinner or whatever it is. You have family game night, you have no phones at the dinner table and you get to chat about your life and what's going on.

Megan Gallagher:

I think it's just important, as the parent, to be the one that kind of I mean you don't have to be the one, but I think it's important to be the one that's the role model. Your kids look up to you a lot and they watch what you do. So it's important to be like hey Johnny, hey Ashley, how was your day? What were the highs and the lows? Tell me, how are you really feeling? Get deeper, Don't just be surfaced. Ask them What in your life are you craving? Are you happy in your friendships? Where do you think you could do better? Because the more that you ask these thought provoking questions, you're actually allowing your child to start really taking self-inquiry and to really think about their life, which is healthy. Doing that from an early age is a game changer.

Lunden Souza:

Yeah, i love that, the highs, lows. I do that with adults in my teams, if you will. We do Rose Thorn. If I have a retreat or we do a team building something, i'm like, okay, what was the Rose, what was the Thorn? I got that from a mentor of mine that I love And I think that's a great way And an easy way, i think, for a parent listening, who has never done a lot of this work before, wants to bring this into their family, is nervous, doesn't have the vocabulary, wasn't taught all the words that maybe we potentially have.

Lunden Souza:

Now I think you could come to the dinner table I'm talking to you, whoever's listening and this resonates and you could just be like hey, what was your high and low of today? Best, my mom. I bought my mom a book for Christmas. It's called Best, worse, grateful, and it's like every day you write down the best thing, the worst thing and what you're grateful for. So I think that's good to bring to the table too, or to the. You know, and I also think I mean my niece is four, she talks pretty well. I think that's a good something that you could introduce it very early. You know, a high could be like oh, i ate ice cream today and my low could be like, i don't know, i didn't get the toy I wanted at Target today, like you're, the development of what might be highs and lows will vary, of course, as you, as you grow and as the child develops and whatever. Another thing I love I don't know if you've heard of it before is the feelings wheel. Have you heard of the feelings wheel before I?

Megan Gallagher:

have, is that where they break down each feeling.

Lunden Souza:

Yeah, it's like a colorful wheel and it has just a lot of different words for feelings And I love it because I feel like I don't know where. I mean I don't remember specifically the words that my parents used for feelings, but I don't remember them being very decorative and delicious and like the possibility through these words. right, it was kind of like mad, sad, bad, glad or whatever, like very just basic. And I love the feelings wheel because it gives you a lot of words that describe feelings And so with my niece I'll be like Hey, what's an excited face look like? And we'll do like excited face. Where do you feel it?

Lunden Souza:

Oh I feel it right here, you know. So I love being like, oh, do you know what Angry feels, like, yeah, where do you feel that? Oh, i feel it. So allowing them to recognize the presence of feelings I think is helpful and giving them more words, because, you know, kids are sponges, right. I always I love the videos on Instagram where, like, the mom accidentally says like fuck or shit in front of her kids and then they repeat it. You know, i think that's hysterical. Like I have no kids, i don't know if I even want them, but I think those videos I could laugh for hours on, like the funny things that the kids repeat, right.

Lunden Souza:

So it goes to show like if you spend some time just being like, hey, what helped you, what you know, what helped you feel you know what was a time you felt frustrated today or what was when you felt very enlightened or happy or excited or whatever, and give more words. And so I like the feelings wheel. In fact, i think it's I'll put it in the show notes It's like feelings wheelcom and it's beautiful because it's just like a picture And, you know, i think kids can look at it too And when they start reading they can kind of you know. Move it around and look at that feelings wheel. I think you know you have great um, yeah, i mean you're. You're great at speaking. You're a public speaker.

Lunden Souza:

I know that sometimes I take that for granted too, where I'm like, oh yeah, like the, the source is my best friend, like I love finding new words. But I think sometimes people are like feelings, emotions. I don't know what I'm really feeling or what I should say. So I like that resource too, because I love what you said about Hey, create the time pocket as a parent or caregiver or aunt or whatever. Create that time pocket to ask the question, to have an activity that's just kind of outside of you know, connected to your phone or all those things, and I think that would be, you know, a great start.

Lunden Souza:

And I remember as a kid yeah, we didn't have well, when I was a kid, cell phones didn't exist, so there wasn't a matter of having that at the table or not. But I love the idea of like a disconnected dinner and table. We never had the TV on during meals. In fact, the TV wasn't really on a ton unless you were like watching something. But I do know that sometimes TV can just be like background forever and for always and some families and we can just be like sidetracked, and so I think the takeaway, for parents at least, is like press mute, turn off the phones and just Hey, what was your high and low for today? What was the bad grateful right? It could be that simple, don't you think?

Megan Gallagher:

Yes, and it's so important too, because you're not only showing your child that it's good to talk about feelings, but you're also, you know, just allowing them to express themselves. And in a family, that's really, really important is to feel like you know you are included and that your voice does matter. And it's just something like when I look back on my childhood, i feel so grateful because I had parents that were all about saying how you feel, and they always told me you know, megan, never be afraid to tell people how you feel, always set boundaries. No one can read your mind. So I feel like that, you know, really, really just shaped me into who I am today, where it's like, you know, sometimes, like when I was younger, i used to be a huge people pleaser. I was so afraid of rocking the bow, of making people upset. That was like my confrontation, was like my biggest fear. But now I, you know, i view it differently. To me, it's not really confrontation, it's actually me just, you know, saying how I feel, so I can physically and mentally feel better and I can feel a weight off my shoulders. So I feel like it is. It's just extremely healthy, and I love the feelings wheel.

Megan Gallagher:

I think I've seen it in a few doctors offices where it's, you know, like you feel one emotion right, like anger, sadness, happy, joyful but then they break it down into more, it's like go deeper. And that's one thing that I remember one of my therapists always would say I would say, you know I'm feeling this way today and she would say, but Megan, why? She would ask why, why, why? until I got to the root of the issue. And sometimes that's just what we need as humans. You know we need someone to either keep on asking us why, to get to peel away those layers, or you know, we need somewhat like we just need something like the feelings wheel where you can go deeper and actually realize, wait, i'm not just sad, but I'm actually, you know, grieving. Like when you can pinpoint the actual emotion that you are feeling, it's a powerful thing, because then you can like oh, wait, i'm actually grieving, you know, the loss of this person, or I moved to a new city, whatever it is, so boom, you're not actually sad, it's something you know, it's a different emotion. So I love stuff like that and I do think, you know, in high school, for me, being a female, i think I always have been an open book and someone that loves expressing myself and talking about my feelings, but I, you know, feel like for men even though we live in 2023 and I do think times are changing, i do feel like for men it can be a little bit different, where I think, you know, because I've given hundreds of talks over the last nine years at middle schools, high schools, high MCAs, pta meetings, you name it colleges, fortune 500 companies And I feel like I have noticed over the last nine years that men typically don't ask many questions and they typically are more just like watching me speak and they're just like observing and they're like, you know, and I love it, i mean it's awesome.

Megan Gallagher:

But you know, i've had many instances where, you know, men will DM me on Instagram after my talk and they'll say, hey, megan, i wanted to say I loved your talk and what you said really resonated with me And I just think that's. It's just something I'm taking note of. But I do think that sometimes men feel they associate saying how they feel with not being a man. You know, because I think some guys are raised. Like I said, i know times are different, but I do think that, like in typical, just how girls and boys can be raised, like I think guys are sometimes raised like you know, be the man, be macho, provide for your family. You show up, you work hard, you hustle, and then that's it.

Megan Gallagher:

And like I've had many instances where, you know, i date guys who are kind of like workaholics and they're just, you know these like macho, trying to prove it to their dad that they're the man and they're going to like all this like toxic masculinity And I'm like this is so fascinating. And then you know we're hanging out and they start preventing to me and they're, you know, just like I hate my job, i'm unhappy, i'm burnt out at 29. And I have no work-life balance and I'm on the verge of a breakdown and I'm like you. Well, you know I'm not your therapist, but maybe you should go. You know it's just it's so. It's a wild to me because I think, regardless, if you're a guy, girl, it does not matter. Like you're still a soul, you're still a human and you need love and you need balance and you, you know, have a capacity and a bandwidth and you have to respect that.

Lunden Souza:

Yes, yeah, i love that. You touched on kind of that masculine, feminine, you know, societal norm that I think has very much hindered the capacity of men, you know like to make that feel like it's supposed to be, like stronger, better, but I think it really kind of puts a lid on it. And I've done a couple episodes and I'm going to continue to do more with men talking about this particular topic of being open with feelings and emotions and vulnerability. And I did a really good episode with the fit mess guys I can't remember exactly what episode number it is, but I'll link it down below And I got a lot of feedback from my male friends, both hetero and homosexual, saying like hey, that really was awesome, like that. I love that. Can you do more of that? Because I think men need to have the tools to talk about their feelings and communicate and connect in a way that has been kind of, let's say, more recently, mainstream for women to like take care of themselves, nurture internally and be able to express. And so I love that because I've had some awesome guess guy guess recently and I'm just excited to bring more men into this space And not that that's always the topic we talk about. But I just think it's interesting to see, okay, like yeah, how did how did you start to believe in possibility in a new way that wasn't maybe ingrained in our society? So I think that's so, yeah, just so important and powerful to think about.

Lunden Souza:

Because I remember, even as a woman who I would say in my family was pretty encouraged to share my feelings, didn't have a lot of words for my feelings. My parents obviously did their best. But I remember thinking, when I first started gathering my tools and doing a lot of this stuff in college and into my early 20s, late 20s, early 30s, i remember thinking like, oh, i feel like I'm going to be overwhelmed by more words for my feelings, and so I kind of avoided that. Then, when I started, you know, looking at the feelings wheel and exploring more vocabulary that could describe how I was feeling, it was so empowering and I felt so much better.

Lunden Souza:

I thought I was going to be like more of a basket case by unleashing them at all the emotions, but I'm like, no, actually I feel so much more in line, like I know myself better because of that. So I just feel like, yeah, for anyone listening that might be like oh, more words for how all this mess of how I might be feeling one of my coaches one time told me it's a masterpiece, london, it's not a mess. So, as we're kind of like creating this masterpiece that really resonates, go for it. Did you want to have anything to add there?

Megan Gallagher:

Yeah, i just think that's beautiful And I really do feel, you know, i have a gentleman, a friend of mine, who is a guy and we've been friends for years and he's in the life coaching space himself And he, i think, like, just he's so incredible like he leads these groups of young college guys, you know, to transform their lives. And because he went through a phase where, if I remember the story correctly, he was kind of, you know, just in that dark place at like 22, drinking a lot, just you know, sleeping with a lot of women, kind of just like in that place of just anger and frustration and, just, you know, unhealthy, and he had a wake up call where he's like, you know, i don't want to do this anymore. And so now he's like dedicating his life to having the conversations with young men and he leads these support groups And it's really, really powerful, like he, you know, helps these young men at 21, 22, 23, transform their lives and have that conversation where it's like, you know, you don't have to do all these things to try to be the man or to try to be cool or to feel like your only source of escape is through, you know, like alcohol or sex or like whatever it is. It's like you. You deserve to have this, feel like you have the same resources that women do, like you know you can take, you can go to therapy, you can have support groups.

Megan Gallagher:

So I just think it's so cool though, like you know, times really are changing And like the fact that there are support groups for young men where they can get together and do breath work and heal and transform their lives and like talk about toxic masculinity. It makes me really happy because I know that a lot of men just like women, you know anyone can really really suffer with mental health stuff, and I think when you feel like you can't share it because you're scared of how people will view you, then it makes it even harder. So I just love the world that we live in because so many things are turning in such a positive, like they're taking away all of the scariness of it and they're making it very accessible and affordable for everyone, which I love.

Lunden Souza:

Totally. I love that. We both started kind of our conversation and also our journey in college and we noticed in college this moment of like okay, i need more tools, right, and here you are trying to bring the tools sooner rather than later, which is so beautiful. But we talked about, you know, maybe some advice for parents or input for parents. What about for those people who are us right That we're in college and just having this awareness of like this is overwhelming. There's a lot happening and I don't even know what to do. First, what would you suggest? some advice for college students listening that want to go on this journey of discovering more for their health and mental health.

Megan Gallagher:

So I would say for any college student listening, first of all, just know that however you are feeling, i don't care how weird it feels, just know that it is perfectly normal.

Megan Gallagher:

Like that's one thing I wish I knew growing up, because anxiety can make you feel 5,000 things. Like your pinky toe can go numb, you know, you can get a headache. You can feel so many emotions and so many different things. I wish I knew that it was all normal and it was okay, because to me that would validate like, oh, you know, like I can breathe, like what I'm, you know, going through it's okay And I'm not a weirdo and there's not. I don't have a disease and I'm not, you know, like a freak of nature. So I feel like number one thing whatever emotion feeling in your body and your brain, you are feeling, it is okay And it is normal.

Megan Gallagher:

I would say my second best tip is to start having a daily routine or like a schedule where maybe you have I'm a written person, so I love planners and being organized But every single day, whether it's morning, lunchtime or evening or all three, have little things that you can do to form these like rituals. Every morning I do, you know, i make my bed, i do a cold shower, i drink warm water with lemon. To me, those things are like what bring me sanity when my life gets crazy. It doesn't matter if I'm traveling in a hotel room, i will always have those routines Like it. To me, it just it's a way of saying I love you and it fills up my cup. And routines are so important for mental health, whether it's exercise, breath work, getting outside sunshine, all that stuff. It is so key, and so I think that is a huge tip. And also my third tip would be you know, when you are in college, it's a huge, huge, huge time in your life, right, you're on your own for the first time. You're learning about money, budgeting, living with someone, trying to balance partying and social life in school, and it's a lot of like overwhelm and just stimuli.

Megan Gallagher:

Be kind to yourself and learn how to say no from an early age. That's one thing I wish I knew I didn't go to college, but if I had, you know, even being in my twenties in LA, i mean, i still had many moments. You know where I wish I learned to say no and to be really comfortable doing that, because you know I was just burning myself out trying to do four million things at once, and that's never a good path to be on. But I do think in college, when you learn how to say no like you don't have to go to every party, you don't have to be in Greek life if you do not want to you know all of these things. You just learn the power of like wow, every time I say no to something and I say yes to myself.

Megan Gallagher:

And like practicing self care or doing an activity that feels really good to me. Each time you do that, it's like you're allowing just your soul to like be set free, like it feels so good to just do things that make you feel good and are in alignment. So just because you're 21 years old, it does not mean that you have to get wasted. You know every night, just because that's what you do, you don't have to do those things and just know that you have a bit. You have more of a choice than you probably think you do.

Lunden Souza:

Yes, i love that, Love that really reigning in on the choices and deciding Yeah, instead of just like here I am, you know, and I think it's just kind of that age group. You know where. It's like, yeah, whether you're, let's say, in college or whatever, it's just kind of like that new adult trying to pretend like I got it all together but I really don't know shit, which I think is pretty much our whole life anyways.

Lunden Souza:

It's our whole life and never got, but I really read yeah, it's in the habits and routines. I often call them like bookends, like I do the morning routine and the evening routine, like just to help you I forget what book it was I think it might be atomic habits or something like that where they say, like you don't you thought what it, what's the? I'm going to butcher the quote right here, but I got the underlying message, which is, like you know you, only when you fall, you fall to your like your most sturdy habits if you will fall back to your default habits. So I think having those habits and routines is helpful because we're going to fall. There's going to be things that you know, we have hiccups in our lives, but we always go back to our like most solid routines and habits And so I love that you shared. There's just like you know, your morning thing, wake up, your warm water, like. There's certain stuff that just like feels good, to feel good, of course.

Lunden Souza:

So grateful that we got to have our conversation today. This is so wonderful. Thank you for reaching out, thank you for what you're doing. I feel like I mean, i know I'm not that much older than you, but I'm 34 and I just feel like the resources that I started accumulating were about at your age, and so to see where you're at and knowing that you're going out and giving the message that you are is so beautiful, i think. As a fellow woman, human, just advocate for mental health and for doing you know some of these things sooner, i say thank you, because you're so wonderful, thank you. I will say Let us know where we can. Yeah, totally, let us know where we can connect with you. Social media, i mean. Maybe there's some speeches that you gave on YouTube or something like tell us where we can find more from you.

Megan Gallagher:

Yes, so I am everywhere. I always say that I'm on every platform. So my handle for Instagram is at Megan M E G A N W Gallagher. My last name is long, it's just like the show in shameless Super Irish. So at Megan W Gallagher is Instagram. It's also Twitter And then I have a Facebook page.

Megan Gallagher:

It's I have a public page, it's Megan Gallagher, and I have like the same profile photos for each, so it's pretty easy to find me. I also have LinkedIn and then my YouTube channel is just my name. Like if you type in Megan Gallagher, ted talk or anxiety or mental health, i will pop up. It should be pretty easy to find me. And I also have my website, which is wwwmaganwgallaghercom. There you can find my contact info If you work at a school or if you are interested in having me speak at your Fortune 500 company. I do corporate, i do colleges. I have my agents contact info on my website. I also have my blog and I have my books. I have a lot of info about me And, yeah, i just you know my Ted X talks. Both of them are on YouTube if you want to watch, where I kind of share more about my journey of growing up and when you know anxiety really like became prevalent in my life. But yeah, that's where to find me, yay.

Lunden Souza:

Megan Gallagher is everywhere. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for being here for your time And thank you guys for listening. Thank you, bye. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of self love and sweat the podcast. Hey, do me a favor Wherever you're listening to this podcast, give us a review This really helps a lot and share this with a friend. I'm only one person and with your help, we can really spread the message of self love and sweat and change more lives all around the world. I'm London Suza, reminding you that you deserve a life full of passion, presence and purpose, fueled by self love and sweat. This podcast is a hit spot. Austria production.

Mental Health Education and Advocacy
Finding the Right Tools and Therapist
Mindful School Schedule, Positive Mornings
Intuition and Mindfulness in Education
Intuition, Meditation, and Parenting
Open Communication and Feelings
Mental Health in College and Beyond