Updated: Jan 9
Pardon the pun...but I thought it was really important to share my message. How did I get to the point where I could do a TED Talk? What was the secret to my success?
I used to be labelled at school ‘the quiet and conscientious child’ the one who ‘doesn’t put her hand up in class but works hard’. This probably wasn’t particular useful being labelled like this and later in life being labelled as an ‘introvert’ and is probably a blog for another time, anyway! The point is how did the quiet shy mouse get to the point of doing a TED Talk?
I used to be unable to even speak up at meetings at work, team ‘huddles’ used to fill me with fear and dread and I would sweat, my heart beating until it was my turn to speak. I felt like there was no way out from the daily fear and anxiety that life brought me.
Everything started to shift for me when I studied Positive Psychology in 2014, it not only built on my studies I'd already completed in Psychology but it gave me the tools and techniques to change my life. I didn’t realise how dramatic these shifts would be and how they would lead me to ultimately doing a TED Talk!
Positive Psychology is the latest science and research which shows that increasing the moments of joy and happiness in our lives creates more fuel for our brains, enabling us to think better, perform, better and be more creative as well as a whole host of wellbeing benefits. It recognises both positive and negative emotion and whilst it shows that focusing on creating more positive emotion in our lives can help us be at our best it all very nicely entwines Mindfulness and this can help us deal with the more negative emotions we may experience in a logical and more emotionally intelligent way as we build our awareness.
Positive Psychology and this science of happiness is not about a positive thinking, yellow smiley faces type approach, its science based and backed by a whole heap of research to show the effect it has on the brain, organisations, schools and communities.
The effects were dramatic right from the beginning. As Positive Psychology was a new field I had to travel to London to study with an Australian company The Langley Group who had just become approved by the Australian Government and British Psychological Society. There wasn’t anything comparable in the UK at the time.
Even being in central London I still managed to find calm and happiness and it opened my eyes to so many things, I think the most dramatic change was actually I had a choice? There were so many things in my life that I could be grateful for and I just wasn’t thinking about it in that way and then secondly Mindfulness! This was my first window into the world of Mindfulness and it was amazing, I remember crying in my hotel room after the first day...realising that I could make a change and these tools would help me and I could feel the benefits already.
Coming back from the course was a huge shock....I could suddenly see all these people around me that didn’t realise they could think differently and it was very hard to not jump in and try to rescue them all. I did try on occasion and was met with hostility or people thinking it was some ‘positive thinking’ fad, which we know its very clearly not.
I’ve been practicing what I preach with Positive Psychology and Mindfulness since 2014, I went onto become a Mindfulness teacher so I could help others. Going through my Mindfulness teacher training was tough as I had to lean into some difficult emotions and experiences including severe anxiety but I’ve since been able to keep up a habit and a practice which enables me to keep and build on this awareness daily.
So what were the key things that enabled me to change and do my talk?
- Well firstly as you can imagine as with this Mindfulness practice I have been able to enable my brain switch focus more easily between calm and relaxed states. This means I sleep better and we all know how important sleep is for our brains and performance such as standing on a stage (without coffee!). I was also able to use it on the day to take time away and meditate, even if this did mean hiding in the car at times!
- I also have stayed true to my strengths since I discovered strengths in 2014 using my realised strength of Growth knowing that the situation would feel uncomfortable but it would grow me.
- Then I also pulled on some of the other happiness habits I recommend, so I have a daily habit of writing down 3 things I’m grateful for, this helps train my brain for gratitude and I was extremely grateful for doing the TED Talk, random acts of kindness so on the day I focused some time on helping and congratulating the other speakers and making sure they were ok too.
- All of these habits also give the brain more fuel through the positive emotion, enabling it to do more, so I could remember my talk and perform better as a result of having these habits as well as staying (relatively!) calm.
Would you like to change your life and do things you never thought you would be able to do with more focus and calm? I would love to help you with Positive Psychology and Mindfulness tools.
Join our popular Mindfulness course at https://www.thehappinessbranch.com/mindfulness