*This is an article from the Winter 2023-24 issue of Contentment Magazine.

Finding Contentment is the official podcast of The American Institute of Stress. This podcast focuses on stress and stress-related issues featuring interviews with healthcare practitioners, stress experts, and professionals with expertise in stress research and management. Finding Contentment is hosted by AIS Executive Director Will Heckman. 

By William C. Heckman, MS, NBCT, DAIS 

Launching a podcast dedicated to the topic of stress is a venture deeply rooted in personal experience and a genuine desire to make a positive impact. Stress is an ever-present companion in our lives, infiltrating our daily routines, relationships, and overall well-being. It is a universal phenomenon that knows no boundaries, affecting people from all walks of life. Besides my role as AIS Executive Director, my motivation to create this podcast stems from my own journey of grappling with stress and its adverse effects on my physical and mental health.

Through our podcasts, we delve into the multifaceted nature of stress, addressing its root causes, physiological impacts, and psychological intricacies. I want to provide a safe space where guests can openly share their personal stories and insights about stress, fostering a sense of community and solidarity among listeners. Moreover, by featuring experts in fields such as psychology, neuroscience, and holistic wellness, we offer a multitude of practical strategies and tools for managing stress effectively. 

The ultimate goal of this podcast is to empower people to take control of their stress levels, develop resilience, and lead happier, healthier lives. Stress is both a constant companion and a formidable adversary, but by shedding light on its various dimensions and offering a platform for open discourse, we hope to help individuals not only cope with stress, but also thrive in the face of life’s challenges. Together, we can embark on a journey of understanding, healing, and personal growth in the realm of stress management. 

Below you will find some of our most popular recent episodes. 

The Damage of Hidden Stress 

On this show, Douglas Mulhall and I have a conversation about whether we could live longer and better if the damage triggered by the hidden stress that affects all of us was reversed. 

That is the question he asks in his new book: Discovering the Nature of Longevity-Restoring the Body by targeting hidden Stress. 

Also, we discuss why standard therapies temporarily relieve heart disease symptoms but don’t repair the damage. Treatments still mostly focus on cholesterol, hypertension, age, and smoking, but the process is also driven by our body’s reaction to environmental stress. 

Douglas Mulhall’s career spans his work as a journalist, author, award-winning documentary film maker, TV network founder & CEO, academic researcher, biotech company co-founder, pioneer of digital standards for healthy products, and developer of award-winning healthy buildings. He co-founded Elastrin Therapeutics, dedicated to reversing cardiovascular damage.  He also co-founded projects in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Europe, and the U.S. He co-created award-winning buildings in Sweden & Netherlands, and co-developed healthy materials for the building, packaging & printing industries. He has published on calcification in heart disease in journals like Nature’s Laboratory Investigations.   

Stress and our Education System 

On this show, Dr. Yair Maman and I speak about a topic that is near and dear to our hearts, education, and the educational system. 

 Few people outside of the system realize the pressures put on those who are involved with the teaching and care of our young adults. As for the students, previous research indicates that unchecked academic-related stress can reduce achievement, decrease motivation, and increase the risk of school dropout.  

The longer-term impacts, which include reduced likelihood of sustainable employment, cost governments billions of dollars each year. A conversation about the impact of academic-related stress, including a discussion of the impact on students’ learning capacity and academic performance, mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, sleep disturbances, and substance use was long overdue. 

Dr. Yair Maman has been a faculty member, a dean, and a chair of programs in Education and Psychology at Touro College and University System. This included an appointment at New York Medical College. Dr. Maman holds several master’s degrees and two doctoral degrees in the fields of Education and psychology. Dr. Maman has played a pivotal role in restructuring vocational training for at-risk youth with audio/video engineering and other STEAM careers. He continues to be a voice for change in the behavioral health workforce in public schools, hospitals, and business organizations. 

Break Free From, Stress and Anxiety 

We have always strived to bring you the leaders in the field of stress and mental health on our podcast. We succeeded in this episode when we spoke with one of the best. In this episode of Finding Contentment, I had the opportunity to speak to Brett Cotter about how you can break free from stress and the anxiety it can cause. We also found out information about the Anxiety & Trauma Recovery Retreats that Brett offers. 

Brett Cotter taught in Fortune 500 companies, hospitals, schools, military bases, and disaster sites. He is a trauma expert for Meditation Magazine’s Teacher Training Program and certifies students in the Stress Is Gone Method. He is certified by The American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress; his method is certified by The American Institute of Stress and is accredited by the International Mindfulness & Meditation Alliance. 


Workplace Stress 

A great episode of Finding Contentment, our guest for this episode on workplace stress was Nick Jonsson. Numerous studies show that workplace stress is far and away a significant source of stress for American adults and has escalated progressively over the past few decades. Increased levels of stress on the job, as assessed by the perception of having little control but lots of demands, have been demonstrated to be associated with increased heart attack rates, hypertension, and other disorders.

Nick Jonsson, is an international bestselling author dedicated to raising awareness and eliminating the stigma around the phenomenon of executive loneliness. He has identified that feelings of isolation and depression—personal struggles that he, himself, has had to grapple with and conquer — are much more widespread than we think. 

The Perils of Unchecked Stress 

In this episode of Finding Contentment, Eric Kussin and I have a great discussion about Eric’s journey from a severe bout of PTSD, along with symptoms of anxiety and depression. His issues came essentially “out of nowhere” and left him almost permanently in bed, and with severe cognitive impairment, for over two and a half years. Listen as he speaks about how he found a way to climb out of his abyss, and how he vowed to spend the rest of his life focused on changing the global conversation through mental health advocacy. 

During his battle, Eric was pumped with over 50 combinations of psychotropic drugs, 22 sessions of TMS therapy, and 12 sessions of ECT “shock therapy “only to find himself worse off with each passing treatment. 

Eric Kussin is a 20-year professional sports executive. After five years with the NBA League Office, he rose to the ranks with the expansion Chicago Sky, and Phoenix Suns. He then switched over to the NHL, working with the New Jersey Devils and Florida Panthers.  

His goal is simple: to build and provide important resources and programming, as well as to support The Alliance Members already doing great things with their own initiatives, all resulting in a well-educated and more accepting global community. Eric plans to use bold messaging that changes how we all think about mental health, the term “mental illness,” and the best practices available to heal and prosper. Please continue to check their blog and #SameHere Hero Stories, as they have new content posted on a daily basis. 

Fritz and Donnybrook- Stress Relief From Nature 

Our very special guest for this episode is Fritz from Fritz and Donnybrook from @Old.Time.Hawkey. He has shown many people how our environment can help us live better, more content lives. Millions have befriended Fritz & his Loyal companion Donnybrook.

He tells us that his passion for the outdoors comes from his grandfather, who always taught him every time they went fishing, that it was just as cool to bring home a garbage bag full of trash he’d picked up next to the river or on the side of the road than it was to catch a fish. The lessons he learned taught him that we all have a responsibility to nature. That it gives us so much. Without ever asking for anything in return.  

He began creating online content in May 2020. His videos highlight the simple joys in life around their small cabin; bonfire cooking, camping, or staying in for a night of retro video games. 

I must express my sincere appreciation for the opportunity to engage with our diverse array of guests. Regrettably, I am constrained by space in this article and cannot include them all. Listening to our podcasts provides a convenient and effortless pathway to amass knowledge on stress and related issues. If you’ve been tuning in, allow me to conclude in my customary manner: 

This has been Will Heckman; I want to thank you all for joining us today. Remember your support helps us to keep making these podcasts.  I want to remind everyone, that just as stress is different for each of us, there is no one stress reduction or management strategy that is right for everyone.  

Please join us next time as we explore more stress management strategies and insights. Remember to visit stress.org to gather information, tools, and techniques to live a healthier, happier, and longer life! 

I hope the information you hear on our podcast will help you find contentment. 

Please join us next time as we explore more stress management strategies and insights.


William C. Heckman, MS, NBCT, DAIS is a nationally board-certified educator, with three decades of experience teaching Pre-K to 12th grade. As a teacher, Mr. Heckman has been trained and is an expert in Bibliotherapy to help children and young men and women overcome stress-related problems. He has also been an innovator and consultant in the use of online gaming for assistance with standardized testing and reading programs for many years. Will has published articles on the use of graphic novels and been featured on CBS News, in several newspapers, and on a national radio talk show. He has also been a presenter at technology conferences, a book reviewer for a national publication, and an award-winning photographer. A former New York City police officer, Mr. Heckman is a member of MENSA, and a former president and founder of a national motorcycle organization. 

Contentment Magazine

The dictionary defines “content” as being in a state of peaceful happiness.  The AIS magazine is called Contentment because we want all of our guests and members to find contentment in their lives by learning about stress management and finding what works best for each them.  Stress is unavoidable, and comes in many shapes and sizes that makes being in a state of peaceful happiness seem like a very lofty goal.  But happiness is easy to find once you are able to find ways to manage your stress and keep a healthy perspective when going though difficult times in life.  You will always have stress, but stress does not always have you!

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