Why is there such a gap between what you want to do and what you actually do? The host of Ask Science Mike and co-host of The Liturgists Podcast explains why our desires and our real lives are so wildly different—and what you can do to close the gap.

For thousands of years, scientists, philosophers, and self-help gurus have wrestled with one of the mysteries of human life: Why do we do the things we do? Or, rather, why do we so often not do the things we want to do? As a podcaster whose voice goes out to millions each month, Mike McHargue gets countless emails from people seeking to understand their own misbehavior—why we binge on Netflix when we know taking a walk outside would be better for us, or why we search for connection on Facebook when our real friends live just down the street.

In a series of discussion over the course of a week at First Presbyterian Church, McHargue addresses these dilemmas by telling the story of a year when his life nearly fell apart—an autism diagnosis at age forty, the resurfacing of childhood trauma, and a heart condition that nearly killed him. When it all started, he had been writing about how the newest findings in brain imaging and therapy can help us make sense of the competing impulses at play in every action we undertake. What began as a response to his listeners’ most pressing questions about relationships, stress, and mental health soon morphed into something much more personal. If you have ever been curious why your brain can be flooded with stress and anxiety in one moment and shift to calm or joy in the next, McHargue invites you on a journey of discovery, showing how some of our qualities that seem most frustrating—including “negative” emotions like sadness, anger, and anxiety—are actually key to helping humans survive and thrive. In doing so, he invites us on a path of self-understanding and, ultimately, self-acceptance, giving hope that we can live more at peace with ourselves in a complex world.

Sunday at 10am and 4pm in the Fellowship:
The Science of Healthy Conversations: a look into what neuroscientists tell us are the best ways to desolate ourselves and others to promote intimacy and resolve conflict.

  • Download the slides to The Science of Healthy Conversations here.

Mon-Fri at 6:15pm in the Parlor:
The Zoo in Your Skull: a look into the brain, and how all the structures and networks within it combine to make your daily experiences.
Tuesday: The Magical Suitcase: a deep dive into where feelings come from in our bodies and brains, and why they so often confuse us.
Wednesday: The Fog: digital and social media are creating an epidemic of sleep deprivation, depression, and loneliness. Here’s how to fight back.
Thursday: Puppet on Strings: addiction, compulsion, and anxiety are the triad of modern suffering. Here’s a look into how these patterns form, and how to find relief from them.
Friday: Tending Better Soil: How to cultivate a life of satisfaction.

All events are free and open to the community. Childcare will be provided.

Mike McHargue is a public educator trusted by millions to use empathy and deep scientific insights to help them navigate some of the most difficult parts of the human experience. He’s the host of Ask Science Mike, co-founded the chart-topping show The Liturgists Podcast, is the bestselling author of Finding God in the Waves, and You’re a Miracle (and a Pain in the Ass), and works as a science advisor and story consultant for film and television working with clients including Marvel Studios and Pete Holmes.

Mike has been featured in The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, The Huffington Post, and scores of other notable publications. Mike is an in-demand speaker appearing all over the world—including appearances at Google and MIT. Mike’s next book You are a Miracle (and a Pain in the Ass) comes out on April 28, 2020.

Mike lives in Los Angeles, CA with his wife Jenny, his daughters Madison and Macey, and their beloved dog, Ruby.