002 :: Alessandra Ilaria ponders it up


The first chat of The Pondercast!

I chose Alessandra because to me she’s a confident woman who knows what she wants and how to communicate that to people.

Alessandra has a PHD in cognitive neuroscience and does clinical work with people with vulnerability for psychosis. I mean, whoah! That sounds intense! In this episode she shares how she ended up doing clinical work and where she wants to go to next in her career.  We ponder about how being open to receiving signals can lead you to the opportunities you are looking for.  And as much as the hard scientist within Alessandra wants to resist it, there's no denying that there is some form of magic around us. 

There’s a form of magic that I can’t explain. That somehow I keep recognizing in my life.
— Alessandra Ilaria


In this episode we ponder about: 

  • Alessandra's love of the brain and how that led to her getting a PHD in cognitive neuroscience and doing clinical work with people who are vulnerable to psychosis. 

  • Being in tune to your body and listening to the signals it gives. 

  • Antonio Damasio and the somatic marker hypothesis which proposes that emotional processes guide (or bias) behavior, particularly decision-making. "Somatic markers" are feelings in the body that are associated with emotions, such as the association of rapid heartbeat with anxiety or of nausea with disgust.

  • How a mindfulness practice has helped Alessandra get to know herself more.

  • How mindfulness has been introduced in the clinical practice because of it's proven benefits. 

  • What confidence means to Joana and how she sees that in Alessandra.

  • Whether Joana chose to do theater because she's chasing an acceptance she might not have received as a child. 

  • How important it is to Alessandra to have her own sense of autonomy. 


Mentioned in the episode:

Antonio Damasio 

Every morning we wake up and regain consciousness -- that is a marvelous fact -- but what exactly is it that we regain? Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio uses this simple question to give us a glimpse into how our brains create our sense of self.

The Somatic Marker Hypothesis


Mindfulness and Metta (Loving Kindness) meditation

podcastJoana Ponder