Article from PEPTALK Issue #1
The emotional scale
Your brain is a supercomputer and your self-talk is the program it will run”
Reference : Emotional Guidance Scale by Abraham Hicks, from the book Ask and it is given.
This article is an excerpt from PEPTALK Issue #1 - want to read more? Get the full issue hard copy ...
A WORD ABOUT UNCERTAINTY
A conversation with any olympian in current times obviously includes the topic of Covid, that awful moment of the 2020 Olympics being cancelled, and the continued uncertainty around this year’s event.
Looking back Lisa says that right up until the moment the Olympics were cancelled, she didn’t believe it would happen, and even then it took some time to accept it.
“My momentum was rolling so much, think of a small grain of dust, then going to a small ball of mud, to a massive boulder, that’s where I was at so I didn’t know how to slow down. I couldn’t quite figure out what it meant. Then we went into Level 4 so I couldn’t paddle and there wasn’t really any proper communication around what we could or couldn't do in that first week.
It was really challenging to understand, the Olympics had been changed and then to stop training and not know when I was going to be able to. Because that was still a mega priority for me, I wasn’t stopping, that was my normal, I think if I stopped training it wouldn’t have been true to who I was just because the event had changed.”
It took her about two weeks to get her head around it,
“I thought, yeah I’m good with it, then I thought, this is not right, I must be a little upset, and then I got really angry, I got really pissed off because I was so prepared. It’s so challenging to get yourself into such an inner mode that you are prepared to run at your greatest fear, and I was getting there to do that, I was heading towards that space and then for it to be, oh you don’t need to do that anymore, I was really pissed off because man I was ready, I was ready to step into the arena.”
I was really pissed off because man I was ready, I was ready to step into the arena.”
Lisa used a process she called The 3 A’s to help her come to terms with the Olympic disappointment and to move forward.
The 3 A’s to deal with disappointment.
“I sat in that awareness stage for quite some time, I know this is not right, I know I’m uncertain... Then it took me a while to accept it. Then eventually I figured out how to action it. I moved myself through those steps.”
The next challenge
“It’s been almost a year and a half since we’ve competed internationally or on a big world stage and that’s kind of scary because the pressure and fear that’s generated when you’re doing those big performances is so unique, I guess I’m afraid I’m not going to be able to handle that pressure when I next step into that space. That’s something I’m thinking about and trying to emulate in our own domestic competitions.”
WHERE TO NEXT FOR LISA?
I guess some people stop their careers because of injury, to have a choice is a huge privilege. The older you get the more you think about the family stuff.
I remember in 2016 lots of people were asking me if I was going to retire then and I was only 27 so to think that I was even thinking about retirement then was silly because the growth I’ve had, even how much better I am now than I was in 2016, I can’t believe I even thought it was a point where I should retire because man there was so much more to go.
There’s always some sort of conflict in your life. As I get older the conflict is, when do I have a family? Because that’s really important, yet what I’m doing right now I won't ever be able to do this again.”
Education and Career After Kayaking
For Lisa sport comes first and then education, she’s continued studying ever since she left high school and is currently completing her postgraduate in psychology.
“Doing sport and working with a psychologist closely over the last 10 years, he inspired me because of what he has provided for me. I’m really grateful for that and I really respect him and how good he is at what he does. I guess I want to be able to do that. I really appreciate the mind and what it can do. It invigorates me when I get to learn new things. Working on my mental skills and working hard on self awareness and then seeing the outcome in my physical performance, that’s been really rewarding.
From a social point of view, being a sports person I feel it’s quite selfish in a way, I guess in a way we can inspire people, but to make a difference on a one-on-one level, or creating something that can make a difference socially, that’s something I’d love to be able to do.”
Learn Lisa's strategies for success, enjoying life and thriving... subscribe to PEPTALK Magazine for the full interview in Issue 4
Click the image below to print your 2021 Mantra
Do you sometimes overthink things?
Thinking is exhausting!
Especially when out of the approximately 60,000 thoughts you think in a day, a large percentage of them are negative.
Thanking is uplifting!
To feel energised and create positive outcomes in your life, here's a mantra to live by for 2021....
Saying Thank you puts your mind in a state of appreciation and gratitude. It also helps you to focus on the good. These are strategies that research tells us build mental wellbeing. Feeling thankful is also protective. When we feel good and are thriving, we are much more resilient to life's bumps and much less likely to experience mental distress.
Thankfulness is a powerful wellbeing strategy, on the surface it seems quite simple, but its impact can not be underestimated.
Click here for a printable PDF of this mantra so you can pop it on the wall or fridge for a daily reminder to think less and thank more.
If the only prayer you ever say is thank you it will be enough."
Focusing on the good is an effective strategy that helps you build wellbeing and feel good. Evidence shows that when you feel good you function well in life, your relationships, in your work and more. Feeling good also protect you from symptoms of mental distress such as anxiety and depression.
In a year such as 2020 with all its upheaval and uncertainty, trials and challenges... it's easy for that pesky thing called our 'negativity bias' (an evolutionary part of our wiring set up to protect us), to cause our attention to be constantly pulled towards the challenging and distressing events and situations that are happening around us and to us.
But no matter how deep a hole you may be in or how high a mountain you may be facing, no matter how traumatic an experience, or distressing a situation is ...
... there is always, always, always something good. If you only have the will to look hard enough, you can find it.
Next and the most important piece in all of this is to know that you do have the ability to choose where you place your focus.
Shifting your focus to what is good in your world, can have an extraordinary positive effect on your mental wellbeing and physical health.
No one is suggesting that focusing on the good is always easy to do, but it is most definitely worth every ounce of effort you put into it.
I've heard many people say things like:
"I can't wait for 2020 to be over"
"Good riddance to 2020"
Sure it's understandable why they would think and say this. But the reality is every year has its challenges - yes 2020 has been exceptional on a global scale, but adversity is part of life, and pandemic or no pandemic there will always be plenty of things for us to lament if we choose to focus that way.
Sorry to say, there's no magic that happens at midnight on December 31, that will sweep away all of the negativity in the world and paint everything rose coloured. It is and will always be up to each of us to CHOOSE to focus on the good.
Focusing on the good is a choice we
all have the power to make in each
moment of each day.
To help you in this very worthwhile pursuit, we've put together a template where you can list the good and the horrible moments of 2020. By having both sides listed right there next to each other you will be able to gain some perspective, no it wasn't all bad, there were good moments, hopefully you'll find many.
Chances are your chart may be quite balanced or even heavier on the positive right side. But even if you end up with 50 crappy things on the left and only five good things on the right, even if the bad outweighs the good 10 to one, you can STILL choose to focus your attention on those few good things.
To get some perspective on 2020 before you head into 2021... download and print the template below to get you started on the life changing commitment of focusing on the good.
Delve deeper ....
Check out our mental wellbeing magazine and the PEPTALK Book Store for inspired empowering holiday reading!
Personally I'm a huge believer in the power of our thoughts, something that ancient wisdom has been telling us about for thousands of years. I love that modern science is now demonstrating the impact that our thoughts have on our wellbeing.
Most important is the realisation that we can take conscious control over our thoughts, which effectively gives us the ability to put ourselves in the driver's seat of our emotions and reactions to life.
It's certainly not easy, but a concerted commitment to become more aware of what you're thinking and then directing your mental dialogue in helpful directions is most certainly worth the effort.
You will see the rewards from this almost immediately. Just try it for a day.
Here's a great quote from Shakespeare to illustrate this :
With any difficulty of any kind it is the mental attitude that you bring to it that matters. It's your own thought toward the unwanted circumstance or the person who has not acted as you would like, that determine its affect on you.
What matters to you is not people or things or conditions in themselves but the thoughts and beliefs that you hold concerning them.
It's not the conduct of others but your own thoughts that make or mar you.
You write your own history for tomorrow or for next year by the thoughts that you entertain today.
Today's a good day to notice and carefully select those thoughts you choose to think...
Last week we took another exciting step in our mission to transform the future of mental health by empowering people with the tools that build mental wellbeing.
After the longest soft launch in media history (2 postponements due to Covid) we proved that perseverance pays off as we officially launched PEPTALK Magazine, while bringing one of NZ's leading experts in wellbeing science and resilience research, Dr Lucy Hone, to share her insights with an audience of 500+.
One of the many poignant facts that Dr Hone shared from her research is that :
Only 24% of NZ's working population is psychologically flourishing.
Hone et al. (2015)
The goal of wellbeing science, is not only to reduce mental illness, it's to help us to really thrive and flourish.
There are things (not plucked from the latest self-help book, but grounded in research) that we can do each day to take us to that state of flourishing, but as Lucy Hone also pointed out there is a gap between knowing and doing - it's called surprise surprise - "The knowing / doing gap".
Knowledge is never enough, we must also be able to apply that knowledge.
Being aware that there is such a thing as the 'knowing/doing gap' is empowering in itself.
Now you can start to ask yourself the questions to take you from knowing... into doing so that you can start to see evidence of moving towards flourishing in your wellbeing and life.
Questions for reflection to begin to bridge the knowing / doing gap
What's your motivation for staying well and thriving?
Why do you want to feel good and function well?
What's in it for you and for those you care about?
What will motivate you to make the routine efforts required?
How can you sustain this motivation?
Who will support you?
Do you feel confident to reach out and ask for their support?
Let's apply the above questions to one of the most simple but profound wellbeing strategies...
the practice of gratitude:
Wellbeing science tells us that it's worth the effort to seek out, acknowledge and spend time appreciating the good things in life. Practicing gratitude has many benefits that help us to feel good and thrive.
There are two aspects to practicing gratitude -
Dr Lucy Hone emphasis's that language is important when it comes to motivating ourselves to do the things that will build our wellbeing.
Gratitude' may not ring your bells... so how about calling it your 'What went wells' or as they call it in the military 'hunting the good stuff'.
Finding the language that works for you is a great first step in closing the knowing/doing gap.
What other strategies can you put in place to commit to regularly practicing this life changing strategy?
Here's some ideas:
A summary of Dr Hone's presentation from our launch event will be available in Issue 3 of PEPTALK Magazine, which is released 1 December....
Each Monday I write a Monday morning PEPTALK to send to our community... Usually this 'Monday PEPTALK' arrives to inboxes first thing in the morning. Today it's a little late. The reason is, I hit a bump. A bump in the road. A 'bump' is an inconvenient, completely annoying, or infuriatingly irritating happening that can happen at any time or any day and usually results in knocking us off track or slowing us down.
My bump :
We were away in the weekend and as I sat down to write Monday's PEPTALK I realised I left my computer charger in the motel room. We have no other charger in the house for my laptop and the battery is on 14%.
My immediate response to this realisation was at first physical - breathing and heart rate sped up, feeling hot and starting to sweat. This is the body's sympathetic nervous system taking over, a threat has presented itself and I now have to get ready to fight or flight. Next comes the mental response - my brain starts catastrophizing, thinking of all of my plans for the day and to-do list disturbed, my precious time being eaten up now having to deal with this, and my brain starts to recall all of the other little stresses nagging at me and piles them on top.
STOP! Reality check!
I left my computer charger behind.
I am not being chased by a sabre toothed tiger.
I can handle this.
In fact I can learn and grow from this.
I had an entirely different PEPTALK lined up for today, but my 'bump' has given me the opportunity to share an even more important message ....
5 Things To Do When You Hit A Bump
1. STOP & BREATH
Close your eyes. Take 3 long, slow breaths into your belly, in through your nose, out through your mouth, make the exhale twice as longer as the inhale. As you exhale, relax your shoulders and allow yourself to let go. This will take you back into the parasympathetic nervous system, where it's possible to calmly and rationally deal with the situation.
2. PIVOT YOUR THINKING
Turn the bump from an annoyance to an opportunity. Pivoting is a powerful skill and we all have the ability to do it. Like any other skill, you can improve your ability to pivot through practice. ASK : How can I use this as an opportunity to practice a new way of dealing with stress?
Stress is a part of life. If you are alive, then things are going to go wrong, you are going to experience bumps in the road most days of your life. Learning to deal with the bumps calmly and rationally and minimising the level of mental and physical stress they cause, is one of the most important skills you can learn to master.
Deciding that you are going to use this bump as an opportunity to develop your skill of handling bumps, will immediately change your focus.
3. KEEP IT IN PROPORTION
In the scheme of life, how big actually is this? By blowing it out of proportion you can allow this bump to ruin your whole day, potentially your whole week if you really get on a negative roll.
It can be the start of a flow on effect of one thing after the other going wrong, or it can be a simple isolated bump that you deal with and move on. You are in control of how big this gets. A question to ask is, 'Will this matter in a year?'. Chances are it won't, so don't allow it to monopolise your day.
4. HELPING OR HARMING?
In resilience expert Dr Lucy Hone's 'Three secrets of resilient people' she shares the strategy of asking - "Is this helping me or harming me?". One example is to use this question to help you decide whether to share your bump with others and if you do, who to share it with.
Ask - Will talking about this bump with others help me or harm me?
What will they say and will that make me feel better or worse?
In my situation if I share this wee hiccup I can imagine some members in my family might say, "Oh, you are so hopeless, you're always leaving things behind!".
(I do have a bit of a reputation for this!). Will this make me feel better or worse? Probably worse!
If you feel you want to share your bump for support, then choose carefully who you share it with. Choose someone who will listen and respond with supportive comments.
Secondly consider - is talking about it helping you to deal with it and move on, or keeping you stuck in the situation? Either answer is fine, the important thing is you stop and consider your course of action so you can consciously decide what is most helpful to moving through this with minimal stress.
5. WHAT CAN I DO?
Control the controllables - This is about focusing your energy on the things you can control. Can you do anything about this situation / bump? If yes, what is it and take action. If not, you will need to find a way to let this go for now and shift your focus to some other aspect of your day. In my case, now I'm feeling calm I can start to logically think through the situation... Most of the work I need to do today is cloud-based, I could use my husband's computer to complete my tasks, not perfect but it will work.
Get over it and get on with it. The longer you sit and lament the problem or beat yourself up over it, the more time you'll waste. Further more, when your stressing and fretting you shut down your ability to think of creative solutions.
Later I thought of an idea to post on Facebook to ask if anyone has a charger I could borrow for my laptop. By 9am problem solved! I now have a charger to borrow, the motel has been phoned and my charger is on the courier.
Minimal stress, minimal fuss, minimal time wasted.
I hope this helps you the next time you inevitably hit a bump.
This morning I woke up anxious! It's been happening quite often lately. But this morning, right there in my instagram feed was a video that felt like it was placed there just for me! Following Mel's 6 steps had such a calming effect on me I had to share....
If there was ever a year that could cause anxiety 2020 is it! But the greater the challenge, the greater the opportunity for growth. The reality is life has always been rocky and uncertain, plans have often been altered or changed at the last minute. 2020 has taken something that already existed for us to a whole new level. Which means we can find a whole new level of resilience to deal with it.
Applying strategies like Mel Robbins' 6 steps may seem simple, but often the simplest of things are the most profound. As Mel says, "Anxiety is a normal part of life and by having a simple process for meeting it and not reacting to it but responding to it, you will see a profound difference in your ability to move through your life and face the road blocks and obstacles that life throws at you and just keep rolling down the highway."
If feelings of anxiety are something you've been battling lately, I encourage you to watch Mel's short video explanation below and apply these 6 steps to find calm and composure at the start of each new day.
By Daina Crosbie
I was in my early 20’s and I had just started my primary teaching career. Some days I would wake up with that delightful feeling where I felt a spring in my step, the colours around me seemed brighter, I smiled often, and things just seemed to flow throughout my day. But more often it would be the opposite. I felt like I had woken up ‘on the wrong side of the bed’, many things felt like a battle, I was agitated by everything in sight and I couldn’t wait for the day to end. I knew something needed to change.
Luckily as a part of my teaching degree I was introduced to a simplified version of a Māori framework, Te Whare Tapa Whā- developed by Professor Mason Durie. This was my first introduction to a holistic well-being.
Te Whare Tapa Whā comprises of four pillars. Taha Tinana-our physical well-being, Taha Whanau, our family and social well-being, Taha Hinengaro-our mental and emotional well-being and Taha Wairua-our spiritual wellbeing.
The framework is centred on the concept of being structurally sound. If we think of our Hauora/well-being like a whare/house, at the bottom we are built upon our land/roots, our four walls are made up of our Taha Tinana, Taha Whanau, Taha Hinengaro and Taha Wairua. All four walls are necessary to establish strength and symmetry, and when they do, we are at our best.
As the world advances, I have noticed that many of us are so busy with our jobs or our children that we forget to stop and be aware of what actually helps us to maintain a strong sense of well-being.
In my early 20s I used the Te Whare Tapa Whā framework. It helped me to look at myself through gentle eyes when I was struggling, and life just didn’t seem as bright as it used to. Fast forward 10 years, it is now a measure that always brings me back to feeling and being my best self.
When my Taha Tinana/Physical well-being is strong:
Taha Tinana relates to how well we look after our physical growth and development. Often if things aren’t going so well in our Physical well-being it can be more obvious that something needs to change. From my experience success is achieved through just starting, along with consistency. Just trying something new has been a helpful tool to finding what works.
When my Taha Whanau/Family and social well-being is strong:
Taha Whanau is the health of our family. Family can mean different things to different people. There’s that saying ‘friends are the family we choose for ourselves.’ Research shows that social connectedness is just as important for our health as eating nutritionally and exercising.
When my Taha Hinengaro/Mental & Emotional well-being is strong:
Often Taha Hinengaro is characterised as just our ‘mental health.’ In my opinion there is a lack of understanding about the term and the conecpt. I like to think of it as our mind, how it connects to our heart, our conscience and our thoughts and feelings. It’s about how we think which is directly related to the way we feel, act and communicate. This is important for everyone to consider, whether we feel as though we have had experience with a mental illness or not. Often the way we deal with daily setbacks that are out of our control, can be a measure of the strength of this pillar.
When my Taha Wairua/Spiritual well-being is strong:
Taha Wairua is known as our ‘spiritual well-being.’ This pillar is our life force. It’s who we are, what drives us, and a sense of purpose of where we’re going. It is different for everyone, and yes for some it may mean religion and for others it’s an internal connection-understanding ones values and beliefs, bringing about self-awareness and identity. Knowing who we are and having a sense of purpose are both directly related to our overall happiness.