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Welcome To Get A Grip

It didn’t seem like the best time to be retiring from cybersecurity, even though I was closing in on sixty years old. The industry was on fire, I had one of the longest and deepest resumes on the planet, and a pretty enviable bunch of technology firsts and industry awards under my arm.

But my brain had other plans. Forty years of doing the same thing, and getting the same results, more or less, every day, was tough, and enough. Yet nothing compared to the fifty years of struggling under the weight of a handful of untreated mental illnesses that in turn resulted in 30 years of chronic stress from trying to hide my conditions from an intolerant industry. And from my family, who to this day still don’t know much about that mayhem.

A final burnout, complete mental and physical exhaustion, and a close call with suicide, all flipped the cards.

It was time to take on a new challenge, time to learn to protect a much more critical infrastructure. Time to get better acquainted with my own brain, get a grip on the chaos:

  • What really causes things like depression, anxiety, and stress, and what hormones and chemicals are responsible?
  • Can we really control those hormones and tame all that chaos, and just by thinking about it?
  • How can things like mindfulness, breathing, even exercise, permanently rewire our brains and turn us into healthier and happier people?

Get A Grip is the result of that exploration, a three-year tour of neuroscience, of the mind. The result, so far, is collection of 12 short video episodes, each an average of just six minutes, and covering almost everything you need to know about your mind, your mood, and your brain.

  • Why Einstein believed that the most important thing for humans to pursue is happiness.
  • Why things like kindness, gratitude, giving, and purpose can not only change the world, but they can completely change the structure of your brain.
  • Why learning and music can make your brain grow in different ways, and even help ward things like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
  • How mindfulness and breathing have been scientifically shown to help with nearly a dozen physical and mental health challenges, tame anxiety and stress, make you happier and more focused, and help you live longer.
  • Why neuroscientists believe that the easiest path to success in life is kindness.
  • Why Alexa and Siri could be the next generation of personal therapists.
  • Why your doctor could soon be prescribing LSD, magic mushrooms, or even toad venom to help with your depression.
  • Why certain types of exercise can make your brain grow more of itself.
  • What are the best foods for mental wellness, brain health, and longevity?
  • What just five places around the world can teach us about living the longest, the healthiest, and the happiest.


My hope is that the final result will be one of the largest collections of educational videos on mental wellness and brain health, dozens of them, more than five hours of content, and all in short, usable bites to help everyone get a grip on what matters most – that three pounds of fat, water, and sheer bloody magic lodged between your ears.


Check out Welcome to Get A Grip – Episode 1, and links to all the other episodes.


View All Episodes Here



I’m not a medical or mental health professional, so none of these videos should be construed as medical advice. They are based on my own 50 years experience dealing with a multitude of mental illnesses (depression, social anxiety with avoidant personality, ADD, and suicidal ideation, yay for me); the years I’ve spent studying mental and brain health (I started exploring the subject in 1987); the results of personal experiments and techniques I’ve tried (hint, they all work); and current thinking from leading mental health experts and neuroscientists.


I’d love to know what you think about these videos. I’m a cybersecurity guy, so video is pretty new to me. All the videos are written, recorded, and edited by me, and hopefully they’ll get better. So please share your reactions, good and bad, about the content, look and feel, my presence and delivery, the lighting sound, background, anything you can think of.


If you’re struggling with any kind of mental health or emotional issue, need to talk, or would just like to learn more about these important topics, please reach out to me at emailme(at) or use this contact form.


“Neal’s honesty and self-reflection on his experiences helped remove any stigma around the conversation; resulting in excellent audience participation including sharing their concerns, stressors, and coping mechanisms. Thank you Neal!”


“Thank you for your amazing and truly relevant content in today’s environment which is heavily impacting Mental Health.”


“I really enjoyed Neal’s presentation about Taming the Emotional Chaos in a Disrupted World. Lots of useful ideas with backed science behind them. I look forward to attending his talks again in the future.”


“The information is EXCELLENT! I am delighted at how the presenter openly and unapologetically discussed his personal experiences with mental health. So many people suffer from anxiety, depression, etc., and this just helps to reinforce with people that they are not alone. THANK YOU!!!!!”


“Wonderful! Great presentation!”


“Neal has the courage to broach a difficult topic, leveraging his own experience, and make potentially complex content very easy to understand. Neal also provides some basic and helpful guidelines on how to manage stress and reduce its harmful side effects. His delivery is compelling, and he had my interest throughout the entire presentation.”


“What a much-needed self-improvement session! The content covered all aspects in improving difficulties in your life including stress management. “


“Incredibly interesting and relevant topic, especially in today’s Covid world. The “DAM” piece (Dismiss, Accept, Manage) related to stressors was highly useful. And always remember to BREATHE!”


“Great communicator, found the information that Neal shared to be very relevant and practical. Only complaint was that the one-hour session was too short. Highly recommend!”


“The event today was extremely beneficial and provided awesome information with immediate action steps to reduce your stress levels.”


“Neal has again hit it out of the park by making the mental health topic personable with his storytelling skills. His dry humor also helps! “DAM”, Dismiss, Accept, Manage will definitely help me cope when I feel overwhelmed next time. Thank you Neal.”


“I love Neal’s story and how he’s been able to pivot to find joy in his life again. The content and information he shared made it seem easily adaptable to my life and working through challenges I face. Great presentation!”


“Neal O’Farrell is great presenter and he helped give me great tips on how to better myself!”


“Attending Neal’s talk was very enlightening and hit the spot on ways we endure stress. Mindfulness is such a great reminder on how we can eliminate our daily stress. I look forward to following Neal to learn more ways on how to deal with work fatigue and the unknown.”

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