Attaining Freedom Through Emotional Agility with Susan David


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Attaining Freedom Through Emotional Agility | This episode is brought to you by ButcherBox and Bioptimizers

How do we want to show up, especially when things get tough? This is a great question to ask ourselves right now. But many of us are resistant to acknowledging when things just don’t feel all that great. We’ve grown up trying to gloss over uncomfortable feelings and society has put an emphasis on avoiding vulnerability. Being vulnerable and showing up in our difficult emotions are actually super important steps, though, if we want to be emotionally agile. On this episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy, I was excited to chat with Susan David about emotional agility and skills for dealing with the real world from an open and honest place, without running from the feelings that we don’t like.

Susan David, Ph.D. is one of the world’s leading management thinkers and an award-winning Harvard Medical School psychologist. Her new #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling book, Emotional Agility, describes the psychological skills critical to thriving in times of complexity and change. Susan’s TED Talk on the topic went viral with over 1 million views in its first week of release. She is a frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review, New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and guest on national radio and television. Susan is the CEO of Evidence Based Psychology, on the faculty at Harvard Medical School, a Cofounder of the Institute of Coaching (a Harvard Medical School/McLean affiliate), and on the Scientific Advisory Boards of Thrive Global and Virgin Pulse.

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Here are more of the details from our interview:

  • The key question that drives Susan’s work (7:55)

  • How an invitation to, “write like no one is reading” started Susan on her path to understanding the importance of emotional agility (11:37)

  • Emotional agility vs. positive psychology (12:51)

  • How bottling and brooding emotions negatively impacts us (17:03)

  • How being outpaced by technology has affected our emotional lives (21:55)

  • What is emotional agility, and what are values-connected steps? (24:05)

  • Why we need to become more aware of how we treat our difficult emotions and do away with the judgement we have about certain emotions (37:28)

  • The importance of practicing greater emotional granularity (42:45)

  • A tool for working with someone who feels stuck (50:35)

  • The emotions of fear, grief, anxiety, and anger that so many of us are feeling during the coronavirus pandemic are normal (55:03)

Learn more about Susan David at

Get your copy of Emotional Agility here.

Take the free Emotional Agility Quiz here.

Watch Susan’s TED Talk, The Gift and Power of Emotional Courage here.

Listen to Susan’s podcast, Checking In with Susan David here.

Follow Susan on Facebook @SusanDavidPhd, on Twitter @SusanDavid_PhD, and on Instagram @susandavid_phd.

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