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How To Reclaim Your Freedom, Energy, and Power in a Time of Uncertainty with Happiness Expert Emma Seppälä

Guest Interview

Hello beautiful souls! Emma Seppälä, the acclaimed author of The Happiness Track maps a bold and fresh, science-backed path to break the bonds of self-destructive patterns and beliefs and live a fuller, more authentic life. Her new book Sovereign delivers a radically new and enlightening message, made for this age of suffering and confusion. It’s a manifesto that awakens us to all the areas in our life where we have subjugated ourselves to self-destructive beliefs and tendencies. And it’s a roadmap to reclaim our full psychological sovereignty so we can live free, happy, and authentic lives. Seppälä’s voice is raw and honest, laugh-out-loud funny, and deeply reflective, delving into topics ranging from the nature of self-loathing to the nuances of relationship as she shows us how to unbind ourselves in every area: At work, at home, with our mental and physical health, and in our spirits. Backed by psychological data, neuroscience, and empirically validated methodologies, her new book Sovereign takes us further along the path of personal transformation than we may ever have ventured before—and gives us the true freedom to live life to our fullest potential.

To learn more about Emma Seppälä’s work:
Emma’s books Sovereign and The Happiness Track are available at all major book retailers
[IG] @thehappinesstrack


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Julie Jancius: Beautiful souls. Here’s a preview from this episode’s interview.

Emma Seppala: Once you’ve had a taste of the eudaimonic forms of happiness, you know, like, yeah, those things might give a little high, but they’re not going to lead to that fulfillment that I’m actually looking for. And a lot of people don’t know that. One of the reasons is our society doesn’t teach us that because nobody’s making money off of you going out and doing more meditation, spending more time in nature and helping other people. Like, nobody’s marketing that to you. But the research shows that’s what’s going to make you happiest.

Julie Jancius: Hello, beautiful souls. You’re listening to the Angels and Awakening podcast. I’m your host and author, Julie Jancis. Did you know that you can listen to this show everywhere podcasts are found? It’s true. Now I have three free gifts just for you. First gift, I give away a new reading each week to a person who’s left a five star positive review of this show, then submitted it to me using the contact form@theangelmedium.com. backslash contact I hope I’m calling your number next. Second gift if you’d like a new daily angel message, join me on insta at angelpodcast. Third free gift if you’d like to know the name of one of your guardian angels so that you can work with them even more closely, go to the homepage of my website, theangelmedium.com, and submit your contact info at the very top. I’ll email you back personally with the name of one of your angels. Okay, as we begin the show, I want you to feel the presence of your angels surrounding you. And just know that the loving, positive messages you resonate with today are messages for you from your angels and loved ones on the other side. Oh, and don’t forget to register for the spiritual retreat because the early bird pricing is ending June 30. We don’t want you to miss it. Sign up over@theangelmedium.com retreat. That’s theangelmedium.com retreat. Hello, beautiful souls. Welcome back to the Angels and Awakening podcast. I’m your host and author, Julie Jancis. And friends, we have on a special guest today. We have on doctor Emma Seppala. She teaches executives at Yale School of Management and is the faculty director of the Yale School of Management’s women’s leadership program. That sounds wonderful. She’s a psychologist and research scientist by training. Her expertise is in the science of happiness. Hello, this is going to be amazing. Emotional intelligence and social connection. Her best selling book, the Happiness Track, was translated into dozens of languages. And now you have this new book, Sovereign. I’m so excited to have you here, Emma. I don’t normally read introductions, but you are so accomplished, and I just like, wow. I read through that, and I thought, the audience needs to know these things.

Emma Seppala: Thank you so much, Julia. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Julie Jancius: Yay. So let’s start out here, because I’m always fascinated by people’s journeys and how spirit kind of walks them to their path. How did you become interested in this topic to begin with?

Emma Seppala: Well, thanks for asking. I grew up in Paris, France, which sounds so glamorous on the outside, but the philosophy on the streets is one of sort of criticism and complaints and, focus on the negative. And so growing up there, you just kind of feel like everything’s always going to hell in the handbasket. And, there’s a sense of doom and gloom about life. And I moved to the US for college at 17, and I realized, wow, in the US, they don’t have patience for complaints, and they are much more positive. And I thought, I like this better. But after a couple of years here, I also just saw that Americans run themselves into the ground, and they believe that they are what they do, and there’s so much burnout. And that seemed to be something that was really keeping people from really being fulfilled. After college, I went to China for a couple years, and in China, I saw people who had absolutely nothing and were grateful for absolutely everything. And I saw the same thing in India, and I realized, wow, our well being has to do with the state of our mind, not with the quality of our life. You can be sovereign. You can be happy, fulfilled, grateful, even in situations that are hard. And you can be super unhappy and ungrateful, even when you have everything at your disposal, like many people have in the US. Many people in the US have more than what 95% of the world has, and even if they have an average income. And so that really got me interested in this topic of, how do you cultivate a state of mind like that? What is it about these people who have this? And I did a master’s in east asian studies at Columbia, and actually I focused in on indo tibetan philosophies and religions and got really interested in meditation. And I was considering actually doing a PhD in religion. But then I realized that a lot of the scholars, all they do is sort of debate about translations, and they’re all stuck in their head about things. And I thought, no, you know, if I have a spiritual practice in my life, it’s going to be personal, and I’m not going to study it intellectually. But is there a way to study, to research, some of these methods that come from these traditions to see whether they can help people? And that’s where I end up in psychology, and I did a lot of research on different meditation practices, breathing practices, for anxiety, for trauma, mental health, well being, social connection. Got really interested in that and the field of compassion. And so I’ve been working with veterans, with trauma, with students who are anxious, with people who feel disconnected, different things like that. And then I started writing because I was like, God, there’s so much cool research, and people don’t know about it. Let’s write about this. So that’s how I wrote my first book, the Happiness track, which I was trying to. Trying to share with people. You know, you don’t have to run yourself into the ground to be happy. In fact, you’re not going to be happy that way, but you’re going to be much more successful even in your work life if you take care of yourself. So that was one thing. And then in my newest book, I go a little bit even beyond the science of happiness. In my new book, Sovereign, you could be doing all the happiness and well being practices that are out there that everybody knows about now, but still not be in a place of having a fulfilled life. And that is because we often fall for ways of thinking, being, acting compulsive behaviors, addictive behaviors that are actually preventing us from living the life we want. And I wanted to spell that out, show the science behind it, and help people sort of wake up to those things.

Julie Jancius: Interesting. Okay, so my ADHD mind can’t jump off of this. I know it’s not on topic, which I normally don’t do, but, you mentioned a degree you thought about in religion or theology and then decided against it. I was looking at something the other day because my daughter’s going to be looking at colleges in four years, so I’m already starting to look at different things. That is the one degree where they have the least unemployment rate. Religion and theology, which I think is so fascinating and probably listeners why a lot of people come through the angel Reiki school, because it just provides so much. But let’s focus in on here, because you touched on so much good stuff. I also just read recently, and I can’t remember where I read this, but that people have this concept of, like, what do I want? What do I want? And you’re in the present moment as you’re thinking on behalf of your future self, what do I want? And so you get into that future, you, and they say nine times out of ten, you achieve what it is that you will want to achieve. You, you get to that place, but now you’re in a different present moment in the future. And future you want something different than what past you wanted. So they said so many people have this feeling of, like, I’m never achieving what I want. I’m never reaching my goals. But they said, you really are. You’re just in a different present moment wanting something else, but you’ve achieved everything past you. And I was, like, mind blown. That is just an amazing concept.

Emma Seppala: Absolutely. You know, and we can be on the hamster wheel of I want, I want for the rest of our lives and never be happy.

Julie Jancius: Yeah.

Emma Seppala: And that’s that, you know, that desire that’s constantly running our mind. And it can take you away from the joy of, like, right here, right now. And I think that’s what practices like, meditation and breathing practices, they can take you back into the present moment and just open your eyes, be like, oh, my gosh. Like, even right now, it’s like, wow, it’s spring outside. The birds only sing in the morning for a short period of time, for a few windows of weeks in the year. The same thing with the, you know, the flowering trees in the spring. It’s like, this is it. It’s it. And it lasts a couple weeks. It’s like, are we, like, are we awake to the world around us, you know, if we’re constantly in that desire space? Not that we shouldn’t have goals and ambitions, but don’t let it take away from right here, right now, because we just don’t know how long we have. And I know that can sound cliche sometimes, but the truth is, if you look around and things are just, you know, you just don’t know. Yeah, yeah.

Julie Jancius: Set us up here. How do you define happiness? And not to, like, add any answer in here for you, but do you think that we have the wrong concept of what happiness really is and that we should all be changing our vocabulary to the word fulfillment.

Emma Seppala: I like to use that word. so scientists think of happiness in two ways. One is eudaimonic happiness, and one is, hedonic happiness. So hedonic happiness is sort of the sex, drugs, and rock and roll, pleasure, food, money, power, fame, clicks, likes on social media. I mean, all the big checks, big money wins, whatever it is, popularity, those are the things that give you a little high. And it’s very like, me, myself, and I hi. And it gives you a little dopamine kick, but then it comes crashing down and leaves you wanting more, which is why people who win the lottery, they’re not happy for that long. You know what I mean? It’s just. It’s a very short lived high. And yet the eudaimonic happiness is the happiness that comes from living a life of compassion, something beyond yourself. It could be compassion. It could be, caring about something beyond yourself, you know, wanting to work towards the betterment of the planet or animals or whatever it is. But it could also be connection to nature, connection to something bigger than you, connection to a spiritual, practice or a spiritual guide or divinity or whatever it is that resonates for that person. It’s something beyond me, myself, and I. And you’re connecting outward. Maybe you’re making a difference in some way. And that kind of happiness, research shows, is the kind of happiness that is long lasting. That’s why I would call fulfillment. It’s not like a short little high that then leaves you high and dry, right? It’s just. It’s. It continues. And that’s why, when I summarize the science of happiness, I could summarize it in one sentence. From what I know of the research, which is several decades of research now, is that the happiest people are the people who live a life characterized by compassion, balanced with self compassion. And that last piece is really important, especially, I think, for women, but for everyone, we’re really taught to be self critical. People are very hard on themselves. And it doesn’t make any factual sense. It doesn’t make any sense to have a. We talk about toxic relationships with workplace or. Or partners or whatever. Most people running around with a toxic relationship with themselves. That’s one of the things I talk about in sovereign is just like, let’s wake up to some of the things we’re doing and not questioning, you know? And so, you know, that. That self compassion piece is really key as well.

Julie Jancius: So tell me that again. So the dopamine piece is called what within? And that service connection, happiness is called what?

Emma Seppala: So there’s hedonic, like. Like hedonism, you know, hedonic. And then eudaimonic, which is spelled a I m m o n I c. Eudaimonic.

Julie Jancius: Amazing. Okay, so that’s really interesting. My question is, when people find more of that eudaimonic fulfillment, do they not need as much dopamine hit, right?

Emma Seppala: I mean, and it’s so interesting to me, right, because I have recently had the good fortune of meeting a bunch of teenagers who have been meditating for many years and who love to do community service. And I was talking to one of them the other day, and I was like, so do you feel different from your friends? And he’s like, yeah. He’s like, I kind of, you know, they want a big car, big house, this. I’m like, I kind of see through all that. Like, I’m just not into it. And it’s just so interesting, you know, because here, you know, once you have a taste of something bigger, you know, then, like, making this really concrete. All of us have had the experience of maybe having not a great day, but then being all of a sudden an emergency happens to a friend or family member, and we show up, we help them. We’re 100% on with them, and then how do we feel? Like, how do you feel when that happens?

Julie Jancius: Amazing.

Emma Seppala: You feel amazing, right? So we all have had that experience, and we know that the greatest source of happiness is indeed being able to show up for someone else. And I know, Julie, this is what you do with your work, your life’s work. And when we do that, we feel it uplifts up. like, helping others helps us. Right? And once you have that, everything else kind of. It doesn’t look as appetizing. You’re like, yeah, like, that chocolate cake would be nice, but, whatever. It’s. I know it’s not going to last. You know, like, whatever, it’s fun, but it’s not the answer. Nor is having a ton of money is not the answer. But society as a whole, and marketing agents all over the world are going to try and persuade us that whatever it is look like this, eat this, achieve this, you’re going to be, you know, happy. But once you’ve had a taste of the eudaemonic forms of happiness, you know, like, yeah, those things might give a little high, but they’re not going to lead to that fulfillment that I’m actually looking for. And a lot of people don’t know that. One of the reasons is our society doesn’t teach us that, because nobody’s making money off of you going out and, you know, doing more meditation, spending more time in nature and helping other people. Like, nobody’s marketing that to you. But the research shows that’s what’s going to make you happiest.

Julie Jancius: Ready for a little getaway that completely resets your energy. We’re hosting a live in person spiritual retreat called a whole new you. It’s the weekend of October 4 in Oakbrook, Illinois. This spiritual retreat is all about your own personal healing and growth, reconnecting with yourself, learning to connect with your angels. And I’m going to talk about all new angels that I’ve never talked about anywhere before. And you’re going to leave with more personal peace, purpose, clarity, and confidence than ever before. Learn more and see the itinerary@theangelmedium.com. retreat that’s theangelmedium.com retreat. Links are in the show notes and friend, I cannot wait to meet you and hug you in person. So I am, and I totally get where you’re coming from. And to each their own, you know, everybody’s got their own different path, and I don’t want to shame anybody, but at the same time, it’s just heart wrenching and crushing to just see influencers on TikTok here and there monetizing things in a way where it’s to get to those dopamine hedonic rewards, that materialism. And you’re like, like, what is happening within our world? Why can’t people see that? Like, like, why? Why can’t. I don’t understand.

Emma Seppala: Well, when you’re a fish in water, you don’t know you’re in water. And, you know, if teenagers are growing up and adults are growing up and these, with these messaging constantly, conditioning your mind. And again, that’s why I call my book sovereign, because I was like, wait, when we wake up to things that we are sovereign, and you can be in that world but not of it. So I’m going to share with you a really interesting story. I was actually interviewing a colonel in the military whose job it is was in communications, which means his job was to condition the minds of the enemy with specifically written messaging. Right. That was transmitted through local people. So basically brainwashing, right? M so that’s his job. So then I said, so how do you go about, like, interacting with your world when you’re back in the US? He’s like, well, everything I read, I look for the reader’s writer’s intent. You know, it’s kind of like what we did in english class in 8th grade, right, was the writer’s intent, but doing that always. And I was like, well, how do you do that with your kids? He’s like, well, we go to the supermarket, and my kid will be like, oh, I want that. Like, you know, unhealthy, sugary cereal. Or whatever. And then he’ll be like, oh, really? Why do you want that? Oh, look, it’s so pretty. It’s, like, red and, like, cute and, like, why do you think it’s like that? Oh, because it makes you happy when you look at it. It’s so fun. You, like, you just want to, like, look through the games on the back, and it’s, like, so fun. Oh, yeah, it was really fun. Like, why do you think they made it that way? Oh, they make this, like, kiss will love it. And he’s like, yeah. Like, he’s, like, training his own child to become. To discern.

Julie Jancius: Yeah.

Emma Seppala: You know?

Julie Jancius: Yeah.

Emma Seppala: And I think that once you wake up to that, you can’t really not see it anymore. Then you’re awake, you know? And that was the whole point of my book. It’s like, let’s read this. Let’s sort of wake up to things, and then you can fall less prey to the conditioning because it is a very. It has been created by some of the smartest minds on the planet, right? The undergrads who are at Yale, Harvard, Stanford, they’re all being recruited to work for Instagram, work for some of these social media companies that are making sure that it’s so addictive to go through it. For example, like, I have to use the social media because that’s part of m, promoting my books and so forth, and I like to use it to inspire people. So I have Instagram, but I don’t have it on my phone, and I have it. And when I have to go through my web browser to it, it’s not addictive, but on my phone, I realize, oh, wow. It’s a very different form of interaction because it has been so specifically designed for you to be hooked. So just little techniques you can do and just not be sucked in, you can consume what you want and not be sort of a victim of that 100%.

Julie Jancius: So, in earlier podcast episodes, my listeners know that I had a mental break years and years ago, in 2015, 2016, and ended up doing, like, a seven day in person person stay and then, like, a 30 day out patient stay. And one of the things that they do when you come in patient is your phone gets stripped away from you very first thing. And living seven days without your phone, your complete vibration shifts of you physically feel different. Mm

Emma Seppala: That’s right. And it’s so interesting because when I lived in China, and this was back before there were cell phones were so prevalent, but when I lived in China, even all the advertising that was going on around me was not aimed at me. It was aimed at chinese people. Like, take this, grow taller. Like, take this, make your skin whiter or whatever. And I was like, wow. For two years I lived without anyone advertising toward to me. And it was the most incredible experience because I was like, I was wearing whatever the hell I want. I didn’t know what, like, the quote unquote trends were. I had no idea my mind was not being imprinted by, look like this, do this, must see this, watch this movie. Da da da. da da. No, I didn’t have anything. It was fantastic. But I think we can with our phones. I took social media off my phone two years ago, and then a year ago, I took email off my phone. And, you know, some people can be like, oh, but that’s not possible. Like, I need to be, you know, I need to be reachable all the time. Well, that’s why you have a phone. Like, I know CEO’s who don’t have email on their phone because it liberates them to have free up their mind to actually do the work they want to do, to think the innovative thoughts, to create, to be more impactful than if they were constantly slaved to their messaging. Yeah, most of the time, not life or death, you know, unless you’re a doctor and you’re, like, in the emergency room, you know that.

Julie Jancius: Let’s go there. Because your new book is so powerful. It’s called sovereign. Reclaim your freedom, energy, and power in a time of distraction, uncertainty, and chaos. Like, I don’t know of a book that’s more needed at this moment for humanity than this. Let’s start here, because I’m a big fan of the crown, and I think that they even use the word sovereign to describe royalty. Right? So, would you mean by sovereign?

Emma Seppala: Well, it’s a lot of what we just talked about. Do we want to walk through our life subject to different sort of programming? that’s going on, whether it’s through our technology, but also in our own mind. Like I was saying earlier, a lot of people are walking around very self critical, which from a psychological point perspective is self loathing. We fail to question these things, but the research shows they lead to anxiety, depression are less. Less resilience. And the whole point of this book is to help people reclaim their inborn resilience. We were born to be sovereign. We were born to be resilient, to be ourselves and not to be. fall for things like addictive behaviors, fall for things like abusive relationships, or there’s so many things that we are often engaged in without realizing that they’re destructive to us.

Emma Seppala: So that’s what I talk about. How to have sovereign relationship with yourself, how to have sovereign emotions. Most people, no matter how educated they are, have no idea what to do with their big, bad, negative emotions, which is when we fall to sort of addictive behaviors. And you might think, oh, well, I don’t. I’m not an alcoholic. But most people will do something. Whether you’re shopping or overworking, it can look saintly. You could be doing community service 40 hours a week. You could be at the gym all the time, like. But most people have not learned how to handle their emotions. And then the emotions, those emotions are running the show, running their life, the trauma, things from the past that are still controlling people, you know, past difficult relationships, that are still making it difficult for you to enter a new relationship. There are many, many ways in which, without realizing it again, we could be doing all the well being practices. But if we don’t address the way in which our mind gets bound up and free it, then we can’t live a fully sovereign life. And the reason why I want everyone to live a fully sovereign life is because everyone has unique gifts to give to this planet. And our planet desperately needs it. Look at it. Look at the mess we’re in, right?

Julie Jancius: Oh, you’re speaking my language, so that’s the point.

Emma Seppala: And people have read the book. And just today, I was received a message from someone who’s an early reader, and she was saying, just reading it, it’s like deprogramming me. I’m like, yes, that was the goal.

Julie Jancius: That’s, amazing. Well, on a side note, I’d love to stay connected because my new book that I just wrote is all about using your intuition to get to that place of fulfillment. But I see this energy that you’re describing of the self loathing all the time in my sessions, and spirit comes in all the time to address it. And the energy you can. I personally feel, hear, see energy, but you can feel it a ton as an openness or a closeness. Right? So there are times where people are just so self loathing and in the. I can’t.

Emma Seppala: I won’t.

Julie Jancius: I, you know, other people can, but I can’t. That. It. Shutting them down from, dreaming, from seeing possibilities, from really living this life that I believe our soul came here to live. And we’re wasting it. There are other people who, you know, we’re gearing up here for a new class of the Angel Reiki school. And a lot of people have said, julie, has anybody not been successful? If so, why? And I said, yes, you know, there’s been a couple of people, and there are a few people who just tell themselves constantly, I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I’m not good at this. Other people can do it. I can’t. We all have that a little bit, but most of us have something where we can kind of work through it. But there are some people who it weighs more heavily on than others. Do you see that, too?

Emma Seppala: Yes. And I agree with you that, you know, in a room of 40 people, like, 38 people will have that. And I’m teaching a women’s leadership program at, Yale right now. All these talented, high level executives that come in, and there will be, most of the people in the room will raise their hand when I ask, how self critic are you? Self critical. And then there’ll be one or two who are not. And you can tell that they don’t because they show up powerful. They’re powerful because they’re not standing in their own way. They’re not buying into the programming that, you know, I feel like everybody has received, but especially women, and they’re free from it, and you can tell because they’re sovereign. You know, what’s interesting to me, actually, what I’ve noticed in my last couple cohorts, it’s been, the couple women who’ve shown up sovereign were black women. And I often wonder whether it’s because they have, not only are they women, but they’ve gone through other hardships due to their race that have put them through their wringer and where they’re coming out saying, enough. Like, no, I am showing up as me with all my talents and my beauty and my everything and watch out, world. Yeah. And, but do we, we don’t all need to go through the ring, or we can do this, but we can look at, the role models around us, the few women who are owning their power completely, and realize, yes, I can. I can do this, too. And one of the first steps is this awareness, like, being aware of how, what is. What is my relationship with myself?

Julie Jancius: Yeah. Side note to everybody who’s like, julie, I feel fearful of starting the angel Reiki school and, you know, developing my gifts. It’s not that you, are fearful. Like, what if I can? What if I don’t have gifts? What if I do? Everybody has that. But there’s some people who won’t open, even in a tiny little crack to maybe I’m gifted. If you come into the program and you’re like God, universe source, I don’t know how you’re going to open me to my gifts, but I know that you can. That’s all you need in order to be successful. I do have a question going back to what you were just saying, Emma. When you see sovereignty in folks, there’s a statistic out there that 90% of people pass away with regrets. 76% of people’s number one regret is not doing something out of fear of what other people would think. Is there any because there is ADHD out there. I think your ADHD folks, you find them more in CEO president positions. There’s a lack of fear in some ways, or, thinking about what other people think. I think probably because we got shamed so much as children and so we had to find some sovereignty early on in order to survive. Like, to hell with what everybody else thinks. I’m just going to go forge my own path. Is there any research behind left brain versus right brain, adhd versus neurotypical, when it comes to sovereignty?

Emma Seppala: I don’t know that I know the answer to that. I have a formula for sovereignty and that’s it starts with awareness. You have to have awareness what’s going on in your mind, in the world with courage and a full tank. So it’s awareness plus courage plus a full tank equals sovereignty. So the awareness we’ve been talking about, the courage is really, like you said, like, the hell with it. Like, even in my book, right, I share a lot of personal stuff I’ve never shared before. You know, some people are like, oh my gosh, you shared. I’m like, yeah, I went ahead and did that. And, yeah, I guess it took courage because some of those are really embarrassing stories. But at the same time, I thought, you know, what? If I don’t show up like this, how can anybody relate? You know, I’m from on high, Ivy League, blah, blah, blah. On the one hand, that’s where I work. But on the other hand, if I come from there, how am I going to be of use? And besides, I’m just a human like everybody else, right? And then the third aspect is this idea of full tank, which means if we’re all depleted and running on empty, it’s really hard to show up in any which way other than just basic survival, right? And, you know, many of us are busy and have a lot of things to do and don’t have time, and yet there are some things you can do every day, even if you don’t have time, that help you show up with a fuller tank.

Julie Jancius: What are those things?

Emma Seppala: Yeah, you know, I talk about meditation a lot, and also, for people who are anxious for meditation, for whom meditation is not the right first step. And that was the case for me because I was in New York during 911, and, what I did was what helped me at the time was a breathing practice called sky breath meditation, which is offered by a nonprofit called art of living. And what I found was that when I was able to learn those breathing practices, I was able to regain sovereignty over my mind and my anxiety. I no longer was slaved to that. That’s why I ended up doing research with veterans with trauma on this breathing practice, the sky breath meditation, and seeing how it normalized their anxiety and they were able to regain sovereignty over their life and move on, no longer have to self medicate with drugs, alcohol, and all the things they were doing. So I think, making time for those kind of practices every day is critical. And again, people will be like, well, I don’t have time. You know, if everybody’s honest with themselves, there is time wasted every day, you know, and it’s like, in those few pockets that you have for yourself, maybe when everyone’s in bed, you know, you’ve got 510 minutes. What are you doing? Are you doom scrolling? Or are you using this moment to do something nutritious for yourself and your mind? So I would say that’s one of the things. but other things are trying to get enough rest when you can and, trying to get the right kind of food. There’s a mental health research that nobody ever talks about, which is the impact of food on mood. And the more fruits and vegetables you eat, the happier you are. Again, nobody talks about this, but research shows that you go from being as unhappy as someone who’s unemployed to someone who’s employed if you eat more fruits and vegetables. I mean, we all knew it was good for our heart, but it’s good for our mental health. Of course, you know, people who live in food deserts and so forth, that’s. That’s a disadvantage for them to be able to purchase those. But, just some real basic things. But I think the meditation and breathing is really key.

Julie Jancius: Yeah.

Emma Seppala: And being outside. Yeah. Just different things. Getting sunshine.

Julie Jancius: I work with executives who are, like, optimizing their time the best that they can. But, I was just talking to my therapist the other week about I can get into this stuck cycle where I’m going 100 miles an hour working on this book, working on tv show, working on a million different things. And it’s the pressure that comes from wanting it to be perfect, wanting to show up in the world perfect. And my counselor was like, okay, let me give you two different Instagram influencer names and tell me who you resonate more with. And she’s like, Mel Robbins or so and so. And I won’t say the other name. And I go, Mel Robbins? She’s like, yeah, why? And I go, because she’s real. And she goes, okay. And, what does that mean to you? Well, she shows up with no makeup. You know, she allows herself to just be living her life, going at the pace that she’s going, but she’s able to show up, and she goes, yes. And what does that mean? She’s relieved all pressure off of herself, right? Like, she doesn’t have to have that pressure of having to have full makeup, full hair, you know, to go on and to record these podcasts like we’re doing today, and I’m in no makeup. She’s able to go and just do what she needs to do. And that has really, really been a game changer over the last month of, like, living in that way where I think I had stepped into my business and started my business that way. But then there’s something that entrepreneurs talk about. The more they get into their business and the more success that they have, the more pressure that they feel to have. I don’t know if perfection is the right word, but I just want everything to be the best for everybody. And I’ll just say this, too. Instagram is a messed up place. Social media is a messed up place. I get probably two to three to ten times more. No, I don’t know. Percentages double, triple, or quadruple the number of views on posts when I am in hair and makeup versus when I’m not. And so the more success you have, and you start to see some of these numbers, you think, well, then every single time I get on social media, then I have to be in hair and makeup. Otherwise, it’s not going to get that many likes. I could be saying the exact same thing in two different posts, but the one where I look better, people watch, and the one that I don’t look better, people don’t. And so you want to reach more people, so you place this pressure on yourself. But, my God, as soon as you release that pressure, it feels like a completely different experience of life. Again, absolutely.

Emma Seppala: The meditation teacher I’ve been following for 20 years, his name is Gurudev Sri Sri Ravishankar. He always says, when you’re searching for perfection, your mind becomes imperfect. right. So you can look perfect, but you’re a mess on the inside. But if you do your best and then surrender, like, okay, this is what I can do. Like, I can tell you I’m a week from my book launch right now, and there are so many things I could be doing. But I’m also teaching full time this week at Yale. I have two little boys who need me. And last night, there was so much more I could be doing, but I was like, you know what? The hell with it. I’m tired. Like, I’m not going to run myself into the ground right now. What I need to do is lie on the grass and watch my kids playing on the trampoline and not doing anything for the rest of the evening. And we have to live in a way that’s sustainable, and we have to commit to our number one priority, which is. Which is ourselves. I can only show up for my kids and my family, which is, of course, my priority. If I’ve shown up for myself. Right?

Julie Jancius: Yeah.

Emma Seppala: And if I burn myself out, I’m going to sabotage my whole family, you know? And so I’m just doing the best I can, you know, we’re just doing the best that we can. And of course, we’d all want everything to be perfect, and we need a team of 50 people to get all that done. But is it worth sacrificing our mind? Is it worth sacrificing our happiness, our family? Again? Thinking, what if this was the last week of my life? Would I want to spend it burnt out and not being able to love on the people I want to love.

Julie Jancius: On the way I want to love on them 100%? I don’t know if I want to bring this up, but it’s just, what’s with me? So I’m just going to go there. Do you ever get those moments where it’s hard to just get out of that state because your mind is ruminating on something? I had that happen last night where there’s this situation at my daughter’s school, and I have a million things to do, between now and Friday. But there’s the situation where, a parent out of nowhere is basically crucifying and trying to get fired. A teacher from the school who showed a clown picture, like, he literally the only thing that he did. And as a journalist, I was thinking to myself, there has to be more to this story. Nope, I dug in. There’s no more to this story except this. He created a social studies project for the kids to learn about social studies through, like, an online escape room. And he used clowns in them. Clowns aren’t against school policy, but a parent got so upset about it that she’s trying to get this man fired. Well, if you dig in to it deeper on Google, this woman has a very criminal past, and it’s awful, and the school district isn’t doing anything about it. So, long story short, I have been just trying to, like, write letters to advocate for this person, to try and get him into the classroom, because he’s been out for two months, and. Oh, it’s just heartbreaking. And I was sitting there last night thinking, because it also, my husband’s a teacher, and it takes away my safety and security. Thinking, like, this could happen to anybody. There needs to be somebody advocating for this man who’s five years away from retirement and is just one of the most beautiful teachers out there. But I couldn’t get out of this. Like, what’s more I could do? What more could I do? What more could I do? How do you help yourself not to just go overboard, because you do have to have compassion. But then sometimes you’ve done the best that you can do. It’s hard to turn your mind off at the end.

Emma Seppala: Absolutely. So maybe something that can help. Is this. So research. You know, sometimes you’re working on a solution, a problem, you don’t know what to do. And then all of a sudden, out of the blue, you get this aha. Insight as to what you could do to solve the problem. You’ve had that, I’m sure.

Julie Jancius: Yeah.

Emma Seppala: What kind of activities are you doing when you have those aha moments?

Julie Jancius: Silence, stillness. Just like letting the. I like to let spirit come to me and show me what’s the next step.

Emma Seppala: Yeah, and exactly. So what research shows, and, you know, people who are maybe less spiritual than you will say, also add things like when I’m walking the dog or when I’m in the shower. Right. What’s the commonality between all that? So, research. neuroscience has found that we are most likely to get our aha. Insights, those intuitions, when our brain is in alpha wave mode, which means it’s not highly focused and it’s not so relaxed you’re about to fall asleep. It’s in this in between space which you could think of as your moments of silence, your moments of prayer, your moments of connection, meditation. But people currently, commonly go into those states, like I said, walking the dog, or if they’re not on their phone, but they’re, in the shower or just making dinner or something. And that’s when our brain goes into this. You know, you could either think of it as problem solving mode, or you can think of it as receptivity. And that’s when we get our aha. Insights. So whenever you find yourself ruminating, especially in the situation where you’re trying to solve a problem and you’re trying to help someone, remembering that, oh, right. My answers come to me when I’m taking care of myself and putting myself into more of these moments of stillness could be also taking a walk in nature and just allowing for more of that time. And sometimes, you know, to calm your mind down, you actually need to do something physical, like stepping out into nature or doing breathing exercises or even yoga or anything that can bring you back in the present moment. But knowing that that is when we’re working at our best is when we are in those modes.

Julie Jancius: Yeah. And that’s what I had to do. It was right before bed, so I had to just breathe. And then I had to tell myself, I am safe. My family is safe. my husband is safe. I am safe. My family is safe, my husband is safe. Until I just fell asleep. No, I love that. So let’s go back to sovereignty, because your book is just so powerful, and it walks people through all different ways of coming back to their own sovereignty. I know that as you write a book, a lot of times authors think, well, I’m going to go in this direction. But then the book has, like, a life force of its own, and it takes you somewhere else. Did that happen to you at all? And what were, like, the major moments and parts in which that happened?

Emma Seppala: I actually felt the whole. The whole book came to me. I felt like the book came to me and was like, hey, you want to write me? And I said, yes. And so it was kind of like a marriage, you know, and I just felt like I wrote. I knew exactly what was going in each chapter, and, yes, I needed to dig through the, you know, definitely put lots of research in there. That’s all my skill, you know, that’s what I do. But I knew exactly what was going where. and I really feel like it was. It came through me, because I feel like it’s what’s needed right now. And like I said, people who have the early readers are like, oh, this is helping me as I’m reading it. It’s kind of like recalibrating me to a different space of sovereignty. So, yeah, I feel like these are the times that we live in. We live in really crazy times, and we’re being invited to become more aware of how we’re living, the choices we’re making, and that there are. There is another way that’s more life supportive so that we can show up, like you said, with all our gifts, 100%.

Julie Jancius: So you said, awareness plus courage plus a full tank really gets us, to that place of allowing ourselves to just be who we are, not be influenced by the outside worlds and all this advertising that’s coming through to us. That courage piece is really big for people, and I wonder if you can kind of dive into how we develop that courage.

Emma Seppala: Courage, I think, is developed by just doing what you’re scared of and just closing your eyes and jumping in the deep end, and then once you’ve done it, once, you do it again. But I’ll give you a couple examples. One is because a sister of a friend of mine had a really serious illness, and she was told she should change her diet in order to address that illness, and she chose not to so that she would look normal. She did not want to not look normal, okay? So she would rather almost die than have the courage to do something that isn’t normal. So just to show you just how far we can go with this, okay, I mean, it’s really crazy when you think about it. but it does need courage. I mean, for example, for myself, I ran a research study. The research study I ran. I won’t go into the details of what it was about, but I had the idea for it. I spent a couple years raising money for it. I recruited the research assistants. I recruited the participants. I ran the study over several years. I did all the analyses. I wrote up the paper. Paper. And then it got blocked by people in my labs. There was politics, and they weren’t allowing me to move forward with getting it published. And then another faculty member came along, and he needed tenure. So in order to get tenure, you have to have more publications. So he came up to me and said, hey, why don’t I help you write this paper? I really just care about the data it needs to get out there. And I was like, right, I knew what he was up to, right. He needed another publication. And, you know, I was like, that’s fine. Like, I needed help from above. And he was a. Had a. He was a professor, and I was a research scientist, and I needed his help, so I accepted his help. And then when I was about to publish it, and it was accepted. He wrote to me and my supervisor and said, hey, how about we be co first authors? Now, being a first author is a big deal, really. It’s like you’re the one who’s led this entire project. And I knew that he had not led the entire project. He helped with the last part, so I gave him second authorship ahead of research assistants who had worked really hard for years on this but did not think that he deserved co authorship. And he asked me for this copying my supervisor. so I went to the supervisor, and I said, hey, so what do you think of this guy asking me for coauthorship? And he said, I have no problem with it. here we are, two senior people higher on the totem poles, two men, and here I am, a junior female scientist. Okay. I couldn’t believe it. You know, I could not believe it. How I was completely unsupported. So I took my courage in two hands, and I wrote an email to both of them, and I said, I respectfully decline your request. That’s it. And you know what? It worked. But what I’m just saying is, you know, sometimes courage, you just have to do it, and that’s it. You do it, and then you just. You practice at it. And for many years, I had a hard time even opening my mouth and even saying anything to anybody, let alone having good boundaries. But it took practice. Like, I would practice saying something in my head, and then I would blurt it out and see what happens. You know, at first, you’re awkward, and you make mistakes, and maybe you go a little overboard. So what you’re learning, right? This life is a training ground, isn’t it?

Julie Jancius: 100%.

Emma Seppala: And, what do we. We don’t want to be, like, that person who won’t change her diet because she doesn’t want to look abnormal. She’d rather die. I mean, that’s crazy.

Julie Jancius: I don’t even get, like, what that would even look like. because I know what Oprah is talking about now with obesity, and I think that’s, like, a longer conversation. But she didn’t want to look thinner, or she didn’t want to.

Emma Seppala: Yeah. I actually don’t know much about that. But whatever your goals are, why would you prefer death over looking abnormal? A lot of people would. And that’s why so many people are afraid of speaking in public, because they don’t want be ridiculed. They’re more scared of that than afraid of death. Yeah, we got to get over that, or we’re not living right?

Julie Jancius: For sure. So what does a happy like your happiest life? From a happiness expert. Sovereignty expert. Which sovereignty gets us to that place of fulfillment and happiness? What does that happiest life look like?

Emma Seppala: I think it’s going to vary according to who you are. You know, we all have different goals in life. We all have different ways that we want to live. But I would say that a sovereign life is one where you don’t feel bound and restricted by your belief systems, by your emotions, by fear, by anger, where you’re not beholden to different addictive patterns, where you’re not letting others tell you how to think and how to act, but where you are true to yourself, where you’re authentic and where you’re relaxed because you’re living in true respect of yourself, but also you’re living in authenticity. And it’s a life of freedom. You’re feeling free on the inside. You know, we can talk about having freedom on the outside. I want to be free, you know, free. I want to work from home, be free in that way. That’s great. I want to be financially independent. That’s great. But you can have all of the external freedom. You can have all the external sovereignty but have no internal sovereignty, right? That’s not real sovereignty. I wrote this book, so to help people develop internal sovereignty.

Julie Jancius: Yeah, I love that. And once you really find that sovereignty and you have your intuition to help you, like, guide yourself forward, you get to a point in life where you’re just un untouchable in some ways. Like anything could happen, you’re going to manage it. You know, any crossroad can come up in life and you’re going to figure out the way. I’ve also heard that, in that thing I was referencing earlier where people think that having challenges come up or crossroads come up or change come up means that it’s something bad or you’re not really to that place of happiness in your life. But that’s not true. The challenges, the obstacles, the crossroads all give you different life force, energy in different ways to show you how to thrust yourself forward.

Emma Seppala: Yeah, it’s often the difficult parts of our life that have made us wiser, stronger, more compassionate. Right. And that’s why I also have this whole chapter you were mentioning intuition. I have a whole chapter on the science of intuition. And some people are like, oh my gosh, you’re a scientist. Like, you talking about this? It’s like really daring and out there, like, well, kind of, but kind of not. I mean, research is showing that when matters are complicated. When you go with your feelings, your gut feeling, you’re going to make a better decision. That’s like neuroscience research by Joe Michaels, one of my colleagues. And, the military has been studying intuition for decades. It was made fun of in a movie called men who stare at goats. But they’re still doing research now because so many, soldiers came back from Afghanistan and Iraq claiming that it was intuition that helped them save their lives or the lives of others. And so the military is always trying to optimize human performance, right? So. And we all have had that experience where we’ve gone against our intuition. And then later, if we were really honest with ourselves, we always knew this was going to be a bad decision. And then others times when we have fall, like my friend Kushal, who was in one of the twin towers during 911, and the guards were saying, everyone stay inside, and he ran for it, and he saved his life by a hair.

Julie Jancius: You know, we had him on the show.

Emma Seppala: You had Kushal on the show? Oh, that’s so great.

Julie Jancius: Yeah. Yeah. He’s amazing. He’s amazing. Incredible. So what are the statistics on intuition?

Emma Seppala: Well, like I said, I mean, research shows that, you know, when. When decisions are complicated, when decision is simple, you know, your phone’s broken, you need a new phone. You don’t need your intuition for that. But when decisions are really complicated, like, oh, I need. I got this job offer, but it’s in another city. I’ll have to move my whole family and buy a new house and do this and do that. It’s a lot of moving parts. Then going with your gut feeling is actually going to help you make a better decision. That’s what the research shows. We often pooh pooh it because we think, oh, in school and in our society, we’re taught to think logically and rationally, which is great. Like, we show think logically and rationally, but somehow that’s taught us to disregard our gut feelings about things. And yet, I really like what Joe Michael said when he says that when he’s making a complicated decision, he does consult his logic and reason, but he also makes time to consult his gut feeling, including the intuition aspect, into our approach of life, which, right now, we’ve mostly excluded it.

Julie Jancius: Yeah. And that’s the science that I’ve seen, too. And I don’t know if it’s Joe’s or not, but, there’s so much that Harvard Business review has, like, put into when you look at, the data of what’s the practical choice to make and then tune in to your intuition. Going off of those two things combined lead people to decisions where they don’t regret them most of the time. They know that they made the right choice at the right time for them. And that was the best that they could do.

Emma Seppala: Exactly. Absolutely. And, one of my favorite female leaders is Lynn Tilton. She runs the largest women owned business in America. She’s amazing. And, she was on Wall street in the eighties, and she was sexually harassed all the time, but she was a single mom in the eighties on Wall street, so she was just working for her daughter, really. And then by the time she was 30 or in her thirties, she was like, I’m out of here. Get lost. And she moved to Florida with her daughter and was like, I’m going to retire. And then she had a dream, like an intuition that came to her as a dream, which was her deceased father. Now, her father had deceased when she was a teenager, and so she’d experienced firsthand what it’s like to have a, main provider pass away in a family, and how devastating that is for a family. And so in this dream that came to her as sort of, as an intuition, her father came to her and said, this is not what I had in mind for you, that she just retire. Right. And so she decided to make sure that other families do not have to go through the suffering her family had to go through with the loss of main providers. So she went and purchased companies that had been left for dead that all the consulting companies had said, forget about it, this company is unsavable. And she bought them and she turned them around. And she’s called the turnaround queen. And she has saved 700,000 us jobs, which is amazing, you know, companies that you probably would recognize, like style of makeup, that she, like, turned around and made successful. And she’s amazing. And she followed her intuition. And when I interviewed her, she also said, you know, you have to follow your intuition. She says you have to use logic and reason too, but it’s the intuition that fuels you and tells you where to go, and then you got to use the, you know, the logic and the reasoning to it happen.

Julie Jancius: Yeah.

Emma Seppala: Yeah. She talks about how that’s also being true to yourself.

Julie Jancius: Oh, amazing. This world would be a better place and completely different experience for all. If all were sovereign and listening to their intuition. It would just change everything.

Emma Seppala: Well, that’s, that’s the hopes, I hope. A lot of people read this book, and it’s, it’s really meant, it’s meant sort of as it’s, an invitation. It’s an invitation for people to open their eyes and make some choices that are more life supportive for them and therefore for the planet.

Julie Jancius: Because like that word.

Emma Seppala: Yeah, because when people can show up and are life supportive in their, in their life, they’re going to be benefiting everybody around them and also modeling that for others.

Julie Jancius: I like that word, invitation. It’s the first chapter of your book and it’s beautiful, your, book. Sovereign, reclaim your freedom, energy, and power in a time of distraction, uncertainty, and chaos. Emma Sepala, thank you so much for being here. Tell everybody, where they can find you the book and we’ll put all of those links in the show notes.

Emma Seppala: Thanks so much. So my book is available on Amazon or anywhere. Books are sold, on Instagram. I’m at the happiness track and I’m also on Facebook and YouTube and x. Yeah.

Julie Jancius: Wonderful. Thank you so much for all of the work that you’re putting into the world.

Emma Seppala: Thank you, Julie, for what you’re doing too.

Julie Jancius: Friends, I need your help reaching as many people as possible. If you’d like to support this podcast and help us spread more hope to the world, please book a session with me, join my angel membership, or take my angel Reiki school. What’s the difference? If you’d like to know what messages your angels and loved ones have for you, you’ll want to book a session with me. The angel membership is all about your own personal spiritual healing. The membership takes you on a spiritual journey that teaches you how to create your own heaven on earth. And the Angel Reiki school is for those who want to get certified in mediumship. Angel messages and energy healing all at once. These are three ways you can help us share a message of hope and love with more people than ever before, register for one or all three at ah, theangelmedium.com. that’s theangelmedium.com. now let’s pray together. As we do. I want you to pray in a way where you feel as though everything you want for yourself and the world has already come true and you’re giving thanks. Why? Because this is the best way to manifest. So let’s begin. God, universe, source. Thank you. We’re so grateful that you’ve blessed this world with calm and peace for all. This calm and peace has spread like ripples, soothing the hearts of every soul. Thank you for opening our hearts to abundance, allowing each of us to live our most authentic life, and helping us to create our own heaven on earth. We thank you for the love and deep heart to heart connection that surrounds us us every day in our relationships. We thank you for the abundance of health and aliveness we feel radiating from every cell in our and our, families bodies. Thank you for the gift of walking this life with us and guiding us every step of the way through your messages, we hear you through our own intuition and we feel you walking right by our side and we overflow with gratitude. Thank you for financial abundance and abundance of opportunities and miracles, blessings and prosperity in every way. We know that you want us to succeed so that we can show others how you want them to succeed too. Thank you for the boundless love, kindness, empathy and compassion that binds us all together. Thank you for the laughter, fun moments of pure delight that fill us every day, especially today. God universe source thank you for blessing us beyond measure and allowing us to use our souls, gifts, talents, skills and abilities to serve the world. We love you. I love you. And in this we pray. Amen. Friends, we’re working on some pretty major things over here and if you wouldn’t mind saying a little prayer that these things come to fruition, if they’re God’s will, we’d so appreciate it. And please add a little prayer in for any specific thing you need right now too. Have a beautiful, blessed day and don’t forget to submit your contact info@theangelmedium.com. dot if you’d like me to channel the name of one of your angels for you, sending you peace, bliss and many blessings.

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