Becoming undead for love: Season 2 of the 'Zombified' podcast launches on Valentine’s Day

February 11, 2020

This Valentine’s Day, Arizona State University’s Athena Aktipis wants you to think about how love can turn you into a zombie.

Aktipis, assistant professor of psychology, and David Lundberg-Kenrick co-host the "Zombified" podcast, sponsored by Arizona State University's Department of Psychology. The podcast covers everything that can secretly manipulate human behavior, from puppies to electronic devices. Season 2, titled “Undead Love,” launches on Feb. 14, and listeners can now access the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, Stitcher, Tunein and fireside. The first episode of Season 2 features evolutionary psychologist and relationship expert Diana Fleischman and ASU Professor Katina Michael, who answer questions about love and how it can zombify people, making them act irrationally and potentially in a way that is not conducive to their own self-preservation.
Zombified Podcast "Zombified" is about to launch its second season this Valentine's Day. Season 1 is available to stream now. Download Full Image

“What should you expect in Season 2 of 'Zombified?' Mind-blowing conversations about placentas, bacteria having sex and people following their GPSs into lakes. We learn so many surprising things in the conversations we have on the show,” Aktipis said.

Watch the livestream of the Episode 1 recording at 5 p.m. Feb. 11.

Zombified’s second season will cover topics ranging from the apocalypse, becoming a “mombie,” paranoia, sabotaged motives and placental hijacking. Every episode not only discusses these threats, but potential solutions to them and ways you can protect yourself.

Aktipis recognizes the need for improving the accessibility of science and having people recognize that not only is research interesting, but it can be fun as well.

“The goal of the 'Zombified' podcast is to bring conversations about science and society to everyone, including fellow academics and the general public,” Aktipis said. “The zombie angle lets us have fun communicating science by using humor and framing our conversations with guests in terms of the zombie apocalypse.”

If Feb. 14 seems like too long to wait for Season 2, Aktipis and Lundberg-Kenrick recently recorded between-season episodes called “Brain Snacks.” The most recent Brain Snack answered the question: “Is love essentially when you enjoy being exploited by somebody else?” 

Season 1 of Zombified is currently available online in its entirety.

Robert Ewing

Marketing and Communications Manager, Department of Psychology


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Be your own Valentine this Feb. 14 with self-care

February 11, 2020

ASU’s Center for Mindfulness, Compassion and Resilience director offer tips on loving and respecting ourselves

It’s 2020 and self-care is all the rage.

From Marianne Williamson to Miley Cyrus to Barbie, there is no shortage of celebrity voices touting the benefits of loving yourself first.

With the world becoming a more stressful, challenging and exhausting place, it can’t hurt to have a solid internal foundation to turn to when times get tough.

Self-care is rarely taught in school and is often a lesson overlooked by parents, which is why Valentine’s Day might be a good time to incorporate this practice into your life.

To learn more about the benefits of self-care, ASU Now spoke with Teri Pipe, ASU’s chief well-being officer as well as the founding director of the Center for Mindfulness, Compassion and Resilience.

Woman with grey hair

Teri Pipe

Question: How would you describe the concepts of self-love and self-care?

Answer: Self-love and self-care are closely related experiences. Self-care is all of the thoughts, behaviors and attitudes that support the health and well-being of the whole person. Examples include getting enough high-quality sleep and rest; eating health-supporting foods in the right amount for your current situation; engaging in physical activity that supports stamina, strength and flexibility; nurturing positive relationships; living in a way that supports financial well-being; managing stress and adversity; finding things that bring you joy and meaning; and asking for help when it is needed. Often we think of self-care as observable behaviors like brushing teeth, working out and cooking healthy foods. It is also true that self-care can involve more inward, silent or private practices such as journaling, meditating or reflecting. 

Closely related to self-care is self-love, which means cultivating an attitude of self-acceptance, respect and forgiveness when things aren't “perfect.” Acceptance does not mean complacency; it means that while we work toward becoming a better, deeper or more generous human, we recognize that there will be setbacks and imperfections, just by virtue of the fact we are human. Self-love is treating yourself with patience, kindness and compassion.

An important point about both self-care and self-love is that they aren't meant to be selfish or self-centered. Often the most successful self-care and self-love approaches are supported by an intention of becoming better able to help and serve others when we are genuinely taking care of and appreciating ourselves.

Q: Is it possible to love someone else in a healthy manner without knowing self-love? 

A: This idea is certainly part of the current social conversation, and in most situations I do agree that loving others is best approached by having a foundation of love and respect for one's self. However, sometimes it may be more complicated than this. Love is mysterious and I am not sure it is quite this linear, and certainly self-love doesn't have to be "perfect" before we can love others. It makes very good sense that in order to be fully loving of another, we must have a certain level of love and respect for ourselves. On the other hand, babies and very young children appear to have an innate ability to be loving, perhaps because they have not learned how to be self-critical or have low self-esteem yet. And I have seen situations where someone who appears to be very empty of self-respect or down on themselves with self-loathing is able to reach through that fog to help someone else, or an animal, and in that gesture it is like a window is opened so they can actually feel love themselves. And so in that instance, a loving gesture to someone or something else might come first.

I think that as we continue to develop into ourselves, it becomes more important to find ways to be loving and kind to ourselves because we are frequently just the opposite. And as we are able to be more gentle and accepting with our own faults and flaws, this naturally extends to those around us, even people we don't know.

Q: What are the ways in which we can we cultivate self-love and self-care? 

A: One of the first steps is to check in with yourself to see if your habits, self-talk and behaviors are in line with what you consider a healthy and loving lifestyle. This can be a concrete assessment of your sleep patterns, eating behaviors, how you play and have fun, how your relationships are going, how you are managing finances and how you deal with stress and the temptations to not take good care. How are you cultivating a loving friendship with yourself? After all, you will be your own best friend for your entire life.

It is interesting when we approach self-love like we would invest time and energy into a loving friendship with someone else. And of course, this isn't a one-time thing; it is important to check in with yourself even several times a day to see if you can make adjustments in the moment to support a more loving, nurturing way of living and being with yourself. I am a strong advocate for learning the skills of mindfulness and self-compassion as ways to build a lifelong foundation of self-care and self-love so that the way you show up for life is how you most want to be.

Q: Are these new concepts gaining popularity, and if yes, what is spurring this movement?

A: Yes, I think these concepts are gaining popularity. In part, I think this is because of the awareness of how things like loneliness, anxiety and depression often keep people back from living their fullest lives. It is becoming easier to talk about these things, and to find evidence-based skills that can be taught and learned that support a more self-compassionate way of being. The neuroscience of self-compassion is helping us understand how to build specific skill sets around self-love that also impact empathy and more generalized compassion toward others. In regard to self-care, there is a growing body of literature to support the correlation (and causation in some cases) between self-care behaviors and the prevention of acute and chronic illnesses. Keeping ourselves as well as possible doesn't just help us as individuals, it helps keep our communities and societies moving in a more positive direction. When we experience whole-person well-being, including self-love and acceptance, we are much more likely to be able to contribute to society in stronger, more focused ways.

Top photo: Students practice yoga at the Sun Devil Fitness Center on the Tempe campus. Photo by ASU Now