• Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of all mental disorders. Without treatment, up to 20% of people with serious eating disorders die. But people with anorexia do not want to change. They don’t want help. They don’t want to eat. So, how do you change the behaviour of a person who does not want any help? Well, let’s find out in this episode of What Monkeys Do.

    In this episode, I speak with Mette Bentz, a psychologist and PhD, who works in the child and adolescent mental health centre in the capital region of Denmark. She is a specialist in the treatment of anorexia. She will help us understand the severity of the illness, what to look for and how we treat it best.

  • We have access to more information than ever. Yet, we still base most of our decisions on guesses, gut feelings, outdated information. Why? Because we do not take our time to gather and understand the evidence behind. The gap between available information and the decisions we take is simply too wide - in our private lives, as well as in organisations. But, if we change that, we will make better informed decisions with better outcomes.

    So, how do you make better decisions? The best way is to start using an evidence-based approach. Evidence-based practice does not mean reading a lot of boring research. That means to take a structured approach to your decision making, use several sources, and critically judge the quality of the information. My guest today, Rob Briner, is a front person in the evidence-based practice movement. He is a professor in organisational psychology at Queen Mary University in London and Scientific Director in the Centre for Evidence-based Management. He will help you make better decisions.


    Why we see a big gap between evidence and practiceA clear guide as to how you make a more informed decisionWhy Google Scholar is your new best friendHow you can use the evidence-based practice to make better decisions for your organisation
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  • Men and women have different sexual desires. And this leads to sexual conflicts. Conflicts, which can create problems in relationships when dating or living together. But why? Evolutionary psychology uses the theory of sexual selection to explain these conflicts.

    My guest today, David Buss, will lay out six sexual conflicts that typically occur between men and women due to our evolutionary traits; why men sometimes mistake a smile for a sexual signal, why women tend to file for more divorces or why men statistically cheat more than women.

    David Buss often appears among the top 50 most influential psychologists ever to live due to his research on the evolutionary psychology of human mating strategies, conflicts between sexes and the evolution of jealousy, to name a few. Listen along to hear how we can use this knowledge to engage in a healthier conversation between partners.


    The theory of sexual selection: Why men and women approach sexual relationships differentlyThe six sexual conflicts: what we lie about, why men have a deeper desire for more sexual partners and why we sometimes do bad things to the people we loveHow Tinder reflects modern sexual selection
  • You may know that personality, to some degree, is heritable. In fact, 50-60% of your personality comes down to your genetic makeup. But did you also know that your level of happiness too is heritable, stable and hard to change? Some days, you may feel happier than others, yet your base-level of happiness is reasonably fixed. And it is connected to your personality traits. But what can we do to change our level of happiness?

    In this episode of What Monkeys Do, I have invited Richard Lucas to talk about personality, happiness and why some people are happier than others. Richard is a leading professor in personality psychology and is internationally recognized for his research on happiness and well-being. Listen along to find out what you can do to increase your happiness.


    What are personality and happiness, and how do the two relate?Do some personality traits correlate with higher or lower levels of happiness?Can money, in fact, buy happiness?3 ways to increase your level of happiness
  • What if I told you that you don't need to find your "one and only passion" to have a meaningful life? We spend so much time trying to find our passion and make the right choices for our future. What if we just made choices based on what we would like to do in the present moment?

    In this episode of What Monkeys Do, I have invited Terri Trespicio, an award-winning writer, speaker and brand advisor. She is here to talk about why passion is overrated. Maybe all you need is a little bit of excitement in the moment.


    Why life is not about picking one passionWhy life plans are useless. Tune in to the moment and make a choice based on what you want to do today. Remember, you are not supposed to do anything. How to use your stories to change the way you talk about yourself
  • We tend to think about personal productivity as doing more things more effectively – being able to optimize work processes, time schedules and to-do-lists. That is often not the case. In fact, personal productivity is about doing the right things rather than to do more things. It’s about having a clear mind, when you run a busy life – and most importantly: How to get things done.

    David Allen is wildly recognized as the world's leading authority on personal and organizational productivity. During the past 30 years, he has conducted pioneering research, coached and educated some of the world's highest performing professionals. He is here to help us get [the right] things done.


    What is productivity, actually? It’s not time management, for sure. Why the daily to do lists don't work. Your life is too much of a surprise. Why the next step is the most important one.
  • If you want to make a change in you life, you will inevitably affect your identity. And if you want to make a change it must be congruent with your identity. If it is not, it will not happen. But what is our identity? An essential part of our identity is our stories. Our stories come from memories of our life, about goals we set and the paths we took. It is constructed in a way, so we better understand ourselves. Your story about your life will not only tell who you are but also how you came to be as you are and what is important to you.

    In this focus episode, I will give you a little bit of background to life stories, tell you what makes a good life story (and a poor one) and if you stay with to the end of the episode, I will give you three ways you can use your life story to make a change in our life.

  • Life is hectic. Everywhere you look, there is a battle for your attention; from your partner, kids, work, smartphone and so on. We tend not to think much about our it - we just go along. Nevertheless, mindfulness is about stopping to notice where your attention wanders off to and choosing where you actually want it to go. Over and over again.

    Michael Chaskalson has a master's degree in the clinical applications of mindfulness. He has more than 40 years of experience with the discipline and has authored several books on the subject. Listen along, as we dive into mindfulness, and how you can use mindfulness to calm your life and focus on the present.


    Why you should treat yourself with greater kindness and forgiveness. The evidence of mindfulness. By example, it has proven to be a powerful tool to reduce depression – actually as effective as antidepressants, only cheaper, and with much fewer side effects. Mindfulness is rooted in Buddhism and Stoicism. Let’s find out, what we can learn from the two. How to get started on mindfulness
  • Changing behaviour is difficult. It can provoke both anxiety, anger and stress. But why? What exactly happens in your brain when you try to make a change? I have asked neuroscientist, Gabija Toleikyte, to help us understand change from a neurological perspective – how your brain works, and what you can do to help it change.


    Some of the biggest breakthroughs in recent time in neuroscience. How to ‘trick’ your Mammal brain into liking a change.Why we need the Prefrontal Cortex to change and how to activate it. How leadership style can affect the brain’s willingness to change. The Amygdala: A small part of the Mammal brain that can hijack your rational behaviour and cause anxiety, anger etc.
  • Cultural differences can stand in the way of doing business or having good relationships. Fons Trompenaars is one of the world’s most prominent experts when it comes to exploring and defining culture. He has spent the last 30 years helping Fortune 500 companies manage and resolve cultural dilemmas and business issues.

    In this episode, we talk about how you can understand your culture, how you can use cultural understanding to deal with your intercultural business issues and not least how you can resolve intercultural differences.


    The 3 layers of culture. Conscious or not, they can be measured and are all relevant for the way we interact with other cultures. How you can use dilemmas to understand and reconcile cultural differences.The 7 dimensions of culture. Remember, awareness is not enough. You need to understand your own culture and its differences to other cultures in order to successfully reconcile your cultural dilemmas.
  • Diets don’t work. If you go on a diet, you will most likely regain what you have lost once you go off your diet. In fact, chances are that you will regain more than you lost. And it doesn’t matter which diet you pick – low fat or low carb diet – they all have the same outcome. This is well documented. But why? Why do diets not work?

    In this episode, I will look at why diets don’t work and what you can do to make them get you the results you hope for. Hint: I am not making it easier to be on a diet – there are unfortunately no shortcuts. But I will give you five evidence-based recommendations.

  • A good night's sleep is the foundation of a healthy mind and body. You compromise your sleep at your peril. But although we all know this, we live as if we have forgotten it. We have invited Vyga Kaufmann to this week's episode of What Monkeys Do, to remind us just how vital sleep is to our mental and physical health and to tell us how to get the best possible sleep.

    Vyga Kaufmann is a clinical psychologist. She specialises in cognitive behavioural approaches to the treatment of sleep issues as well as anxiety, depression, and work stress. She believes sleep is the most critical measure in the treatment of those disorders. Nevertheless, all changes you want to make in life depends on mental health and flexibility. And good night's sleep is the foundation for both.


    3 tips for you to sleep better tonightThe 4 stages of sleep. They increase your health and productivity, and most importantly, boost your moodDisorders and sleep issues. If you suffer from a disorder, chances are that you have sleep issues too. Instead of only trying to treat the disorder, Vyga suggests fixing the sleep instead. Why the bed should only be a place for sleep and sex
  • Our memory is a construction and is relatively easy to influence. For example, you probably think that you know exactly where you where and what you were doing on 9/11. But chances are, that parts of the memory are not entirely true. The good news is, that you can improve the quality and accuracy of your memory.

    Elizabeth Loftus is the world's leading expert on memory and is known for her work on the nature of false memories. She found that it is possible to plant entire false events into the minds of ordinary people and have them remember it like any other memory. Her studies on false memory made her the most influential female psychological researcher of the 20thcentury. In this episode of What Monkeys Do, we talk about memory and how it is possible to improve the accuracy of your memory.


    Why we can't trust our memory. It consists of bits and pieces of different times and places that we reconstruct into something that feels like a memory. Why some people have a better memory than others – and how you can enhance yours Why we probably don't remember what we were doing on 9/11And of course – how to better remember names
  • You can spend hours doing something with no return. Maybe you were with your family for three hours, but all you could think about was tomorrow’s presentation at work. Or at yesterday’s meeting, where you were too tired to listen. You weren’t fully engaged. In this episode of What Monkeys Do, Jim Loehr talks about investing your energy – not time – in a meaningful way.

    And how do you do that? If you ask Jim, purpose is the ultimate driver. If you find the right purpose, you are well off. Of course, it’s easier said than done. Jim Loehr is a world-renowned performance psychologist and has worked with hundreds of World Class performers. He will help us become fully engaged.


    How to find the right purpose for your energyHow to build character by investing your energy meaningfullyThe balance of moral and performance – how you achieve is more important than what you achieveAnd finally, why you should find your old journal again and start writing
  • Conflicts are good. They are opportunities for change. And they can be resolved. Whether you have a fight with your neighbor, a disagreement with your partner or just a frustrating colleague, you can learn a lot from your conflicts. Especially, if you are willing to look inwards.

    I speak with Louisa Weinstein, an expert in conflict resolution and the author of The Seven Principles of Conflict Resolution. She will provide us with a framework for conversations as well as tools and techniques that help us resolve conflicts more effectively.


    - Why conflicts are a good thing

    - The process of conflict management and how you can approach each phase

    - How you can identify your conflict patterns and what you can use them for

    - How to create a conflict friendly culture


    I have collected the three most important takeaways from my conversation with Louisa. It was a really interesting talk; I learned a lot. I hope it inspires you to listen to the full episode.

    #1 Identify your patterns of conflict

    We all have patterns in our conflicts. Some conflicts come from the same underlying reason, or some towards the same type of person. If you identify those patterns, you can communicate more clearly about your needs or fears. That will help you resolve your conflicts more effectively.

    #2 Our most intense conflicts happen when there is a violation of a fundamental need. We often discuss symptoms; you don't clean up after yourself, I want you to spend more time at home, I want to make the presentation - not you. But all that is just symptoms. Behind that is a violation of a fundamental need. Typically, these are what initiate your patterns of conflict.

    #3 Structured conversations in small units such as teams and families can prevent conflicts from escalating. It is hard to change the culture around conflicts. Especially if you are in a large organisation. Smaller units are better. A family of five or a team of six. That's where it is possible to change the culture of the conversations we have. In the episode, Louisa guides us through those conversations.

  • Resistance to change is natural. We resist because we are humans. And there is always a good reason when people resist. You don't have to agree with those reasons, but you need to understand them to manage resistance successfully. In this episode of What Monkeys Do, I have invited change management expert and best-selling author, Rick Maurer. He will explain why you shouldn't necessarily try to overcome resistance. But understand it.

    Resistance to change can occur for three reasons; People don't understand the change, they don't like the change, or they don't like you. It matters which reason it is because each requires a different approach. In the episode, Rick Maurer will tell you how to approach each reason with plenty of concrete examples.


    - The three main reasons for resistance and how to approach each of them

    - The importance of active listening and how to get better at it

    - How to feel the energy of a change - replace fear with enthusiasm in times of change


    In case you don't have the time now, here are a few key takeaways from the episode. I hope it inspires you to go listen to the full episode.

    People resist for a good reason

    Resistance is a natural reaction to change. As a leader, you should always seek to understand that reaction and the reasons behind it. Rick Maurer has identified three reasons for resistance:

    1. They don't get it. Lack of information.

    2. They don't like it. An emotional reaction.

    3. They don't like you. A relational reaction.

    Listen to the full episode to hear how you should approach each level. Rick provides us with a lot of concrete examples.

    Always start by listening

    It is as obvious as it is forgotten. So, let's remind ourselves; you should always listen to the people you are trying to change. You may think you know what they are thinking. And understand what they are saying. But the truth is that we often misunderstand. First, seek to understand then to be understood as Stephen R. Covey wrote.

    Feel the energy

    We often think of projects in terms of timelines, Gantt-charts and sprints or gates. That's all well and good, but maybe we should also think about energy. What is the energy towards a change? At what level are people energized towards a change? Is the energy positive or negative? Those questions are as relevant as "where are we on the Gantt-chart".

  • “It’s not really hard. You just have to change your whole life”. We can all imagine how hard that must be. Nevertheless, that was the reality Judy Grisel faced, when she took the incredible journey from substance abuse to rehab to becoming an internationally recognized behavioural neuroscientist and a professor in psychology. She has authored the book, ‘Never Enough’ and given one of the best Tedx Talks, I have seen.

    In this episode we look at addiction. What it is. How it affects our brain. And how we break free from it. Why? Because breaking an addition is a major change. One we can learn a lot from. Addiction can be many things. It can be an addiction to your phone. Your coffee. Or your daily glass of wine. I have invited Judy to tell us about her personal story and to find out, how we can break addiction and make a change.


    What is addiction and what does it do to our brainHow she broke her addiction and her criteria of success Why it is critical not to start taking abusive measures before the age of 18How finding new (healthy) ways to release dopamine can help you change


    Are you too busy? Don’t worry, I have collected three key takeaways from the podcast. I hope it inspires you to go listen.

    #1 Find new ways to release dopamine

    Finding new rewards is critical to breaking addiction. You need healthier ways to get your dopamine. Find new passions; it could be sport, entrepreneurship or an exciting project.

    #2 Denial is the first major barrier

    As Judy says: “I thought my drug was the solution to my problems. Not the cause”. Denial is the biggest barrier to breaking addiction. Until you become aware of the need for change, chances are, you will never change.

    #3 Early is bad

    Our brains are plastic and amazing. But if we start drinking - or taking any other abusive measure – too early, it will impact our brains forever. By example, if you start drinking by the age of 14, you have 7x the chance of developing an alcohol problem than if you had waited until you were 21 or longer.

  • Psychological flexibility is key to change. And a crucial part of psychological flexibility is how you deal with your emotions. Know that you are not responsible for your emotions. But you are responsible for the way you choose to react to them. In this episode of What Monkeys Do, I have invited Trish and Aisling Leonard-Curtin to teach us how to let go of control and accept our unwanted emotions. Essentially, how to become more psychologically flexible.

    Being present, making meaningful towards-moves and accepting our emotions is essentially yoga for the mind; they help us become more flexible. Psychologically flexible. Aisling and Trish are experienced therapists and have written the excellent book "The Power of Small". They will explain how Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) can help us move forward.


    Why you should stop trying to control what is in fact out of your control The power of small. Leave your comfort zone once a day. Just don't go too far. Instead, move into your Self-care zoneHow to accept your unwanted thoughts and emotions – don't blame yourself for having themHow to commit to the present and the Life Worth Fighting For


    In case you don't have the time now, here are a few key takeaways from the episode. I hope it inspires you to go listen to the episode.

    #1 Flexibility is key

    Change becomes easier when we are psychologically flexible. That means to stop worrying about the past and the future and to stay present in the moment. We must find a way to accept unwanted experiences and emotions. That's what Trish and Aisling are here to help us with.

    #2 Take small steps

    We believe in the power of small. Don't go all-in when trying to make a change. You should take small steps outside your comfort zone every day and let the experience guide you. And let the small step be withing your self-care Zone.

    #3 Accept your emotions

    We are often put in unwanted situations or experience unwanted emotions. But that's just how it is. Accept your emotions; you can't control them. What you can control is your reaction to them. Don't let them hold you back.

  • Every change is an individual journey. How fast you move and where you are stuck is individual. Maybe you know what to do, but not why? Or you want to do something, but you don’t know how to? In this episode, you will learn how to break your change journey into bites to manage your change journey.

    The ADKAR Model is an excellent change model. Simple and powerful. It helps you break down your change journey into five simple elements; Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement. I have invited the Chief Innovation Officer at Prosci, Tim Creasey, to tell us all about the five elements and how we can use each of them when going through a change. And yes, Tim will give you plenty of tips and tricks.

  • People make most of their decisions automatically. We make them fast and without being aware of them. About 80% of them actually. In this episode, you will learn how to use nudging to help you make those decisions better.

    As humans, we don’t always make the best automatic decisions. In fact, we often make a decision that our better self doesn’t like. We don't get up early in the morning to exercise; we eat the cookies instead of the apples; we use email instead of Teams. You get the picture.

    Cristina Gravert is a professor and expert in nudging. In this episode, she will give us tools, tricks and insights on how to use nudging in our personal and professional life. And of course, she will provide us with lots of concrete examples.


    What nudging is and why it is cool to be a behavioural economistHow you can design situations to make sure the easy decision also is the right oneWhy some nudges don’t have a lasting effect, and how you can make them doHow nudging can help us get up earlier to do our morning routine


    We have collected three key takeaways from the podcast. But that’s not all. There are more goodies in the episode itself, so hopefully, you will go listen to it.

    #1: Make it easier to make the right decisions

    Designing our environment - or plainly just making it easier to make the right decisions or harder to continue to do what we want to change - is such an obvious help. And it works. The many examples Christina provides in the episode highlight that. If you want to eat healthier, make unhealthy food less accessible. You can remove it from your sight or place it on the top shelf, so it is more difficult for you to reach. And yes, it has been researched - it really does work.

    #2: Timing is everything

    Another essential factor is timing. You need to be very clear about when it is that you make those wrong decisions and target that with a nudge. If your need for sugar primarily appears in the afternoon at the office, then it is no use hiding the cookies in your kitchen at home. Reminders and nudges need to come at the right time for it to have any effect.

    #3: Reduce choice – less is more when making the right decisions

    Reducing the amount of choice can make us do the right thing. We spend mental energy every time we make a decision. If we are not careful, we will let our automatic selves make the wrong decision. That is why fewer choices are good for us. If I get up early in the morning, and I decided the day before what my exercises should be, that will increase the likelihood that it will happen. I don’t need to think about it in the morning when I am more inclined to go back to bed or make the exercises faster.