Episode 65: Talking Mental Health With Bev Alldridge

Show Notes


Hey everybody, Rob Cairns and the CEO and Chief Curator of amazing ideas of stunning digital marketing.com. Today before I jump into an intro for this week’s episode on how to make a special announcement, due to the last couple of weeks, not getting podcasts out on a regular basis, and unfortunately, my ongoing internet issues which I’ve talked about in the news, basically run through six major internet outages in a week, I’m gonna do something a little special this week. I’m going to release a podcast every day of the week, just for this week, only just a little bit to say thank you for listening. Thanks for your patience. Thanks for your dedication. And thanks for joining us. Now this week I have with me my good friend Beth Aldridge. And what Beth and I talked about is something really important to me. And that’s mental health and how you deal with how you’re feeling and mindset and the whole mental health issues. So do me a favor, pull up a chair, grab your favorite drink, water, Coke, coffee, tea, sit back and relax, and enjoy this great conversation. And thanks. morning, everybody. Rob Karen’s here, I’m here with my friend Beth Aldridge. How are you today?



I’m great. Thank



you. And what we’re going to talk about a whole multitude of things. But I wanted Beth to take some time and introduce herself a little bit about her and her background, please.



Alright, thanks, Rob. Well, I worked for the federal government of Canada for over 30 years after finishing a degree in communications, and that was really interesting job, so many different kinds of work in cluding. Being a manager with over 40 employees, and over a million dollar budget with very stressful, pretty much all my Jobs had that continuity of stress and high pressure, political factors involved. And I ended my career in Syria, Damascus, running the refugee program in the office there, and the embassy. And alongside my federal government work, I sort of had my creative side going because I was writing I was involved in making some films. And then late last 15 years or so I’ve been painting. And top of my painting, I’ve been writing about wellness.



And that and that’s really interesting, me, and anybody who hasn’t seen Dave’s paintings are really great. She shares them quite frequently. And I would say she does some great work. What about wellness? And that kind of leads me into my next question. You’ve created a blog to talk about wellness, and how did that all come about?



Well, I



think the need to share comes from basically just a career in service that combines with the fact that I’m the sort of person and if I go to a restaurant that I think is great, I’m gonna tell somebody about it or a book I’ve just read. So that urge to share something I’ve discovered that I find very helpful or interesting. And mindfulness came my way a number of years ago, at a really opportune time. And it helped me come to terms with a lot of things I’m finding stressful and I got so interested in actually became certified to be a mindfulness teacher. So I found writing my blog, which I decided to call less stress more calm, because who doesn’t want that? I just want to share sort of helpful practical tips. You don’t need to be a mindfulness devotee, you don’t need to be any kind of spiritual person, just practical tips, virtually all of which are based on science, that and neuroplasticity that changes how our, our brains are wired and sort of builds our resilience and sense of well being.



Yeah, and I think that’s the, the key is the practical part of it. I am, you know, people don’t understand that you don’t have to be a doctor, or you don’t have to be a somebody hierarchy to take care of your brain. Correct.



Quite so. One of my favorite people is by the name of Rick Hanson. And he talks a lot about rewiring the brain and how it’s the small things we do frequently, that take very little time. But it’s the routine of them that rewires the brain and actually physically changes our baseline of resilience.



It’s so true. One guy, and I think we’ve talked offline about just said, I’m a big fan of, and I’ve been at this workshops in Toronto in the states is Tony Robbins, and most people know who Tony is. And one of the things he talks about, it’s interesting with mindfulness, we all are cultured to be negative by trade, and you have to repattern to rewire your brain to be more positively said, as human beings. We’re actually just negative by nature. And and so I think rewiring repatterning is is actually a big deal. What do you think about that?



Oh, I quite agree. I mean, oftentimes, like just evolution, we had to be constantly scanning our environment to see if it’s something good or something bad. And we’re safety was uppermost in mind. So our starting point was this is bad unless I can prove it is good, because otherwise I could be dead. Now. We’ve evolved so many years since then. But that wiring still is there that unless I see it otherwise. And I’m convinced otherwise, my starting point is this is bad.



Yeah, I would agree with that. And we’re taught as we’re talking, you know, it’s fun. We all go to the doctor, oh, My arm hurts. I’ve got a cold they’ve sang before I got on this call. I’ve been sick the last couple days, I took care of that. But most people don’t take care of your mental health. And I think part of its stigma, to some degree, but I also think, sometimes mental health is even more important than physical health. Do you have any thoughts on that?



I have to agree completely with you on that, when, in fact, much of my career has been doing dealing with refugees. And in the two years that I’m was in Damascus, processing refugees that really left a lasting impact, which I finally acknowledged as PTSD, and gone through some counseling for that, which has been tremendously helpful. But man who thinks you know, this? older woman, she didn’t even say, senior, this older woman. You know, your basic suburban looking housewife? She’s got PTSD. I mean, how does that happen? Well, you know what it happens? Yeah. And happen in any number of circumstances in varying degrees, but you can’t keep ignoring it. That’s what I I’ve discovered is that you’ve got to sit and work through it.



Oh, it’s so true. I mean, there was a case last week in Toronto, where Toronto Police officer who suffered from PTSD actually suicide in the garage at the bottom of police headquarters. And there’s no question they’ve attributed that back to PTSD. We’ve seen it in cases of military personnel who had been overseas quite a bit, suffer from it. We’ve seen it with other people. And I think, and even not PTSD, I mean, even you need to take care of your health, and feel better about yourself. Because if you don’t feel better about yourself, nobody’s gonna feel better about you either. Like that’s the other problem, right? Yeah. Take care of yourself, don’t you?



I do agree. And I think intellectually, that most of us believe that we are quite competent and able to deal with these things that come our way. We, we have faith in our abilities. And we think, okay, I can get over this, I can power through this. And it’s not always something we can power through on our own and that it’s helpful to have someone with a little more experience in the area, being able to reflect a few things back to you just looking at things a different way. And



no, not at all. Sometimes it’s just getting somebody to listen, that’s non judgmental, or you can bounce because the problem is on our personal circles in our family, our friends, they all have an interest. So their judgments already clouded a little bit if you if you get what I’m saying like they don’t. So, um, we all have tough mental health. me included, and I’m sure you do. How do you deal with it?



Well, I think the first thing I do is I try and keep things in perspective. I remind myself that Mother mother may have never said there would be days like this, but There sure are days like this. That Chaos is normal. Yeah. So not to resist it to just say, okay, we’re here now we’re in a period of chaos. And just like anything, the chaos is going to end and I’ll be back sort of in an even keel. But right now I’m in the chaos. I recognize that it’s just part of the cycle. And I don’t resist it. I think that’s the big thing, too, is not to resist, just acknowledge that it’s there. And I also having a big fan of Kelly McGonigal in her book, the upside of stress, where she talks about how many studies have shown, our relationship with stress affects our health. And if we think stress is bad for us, and we truly believe that and in fact, our body triggers hormones that are harmful to us. Or if we have an understanding with our relationship with stress, as it’s actually enabling us, it’s pumping adrenaline to get us suited up, if you will, for the battle at hand. The body triggers hormones that are positive and going helping us think more clearly and act more forthrightly. So I’m feeling stressful on a bad day. I also remember that and everything. Okay, what is this physical feeling going on right now? Is it my giving it a bad name? It’s actually my body trying to help me out that saying, Okay, you’ve got something you got to face right now, I’m going to shoot you some more blood to your brain and get you better able to think, fact, there was a great study that she quotes in that book about football players, college football players, they get pumped up for a game, they’re psyched, you know, they’re all have been around before the game exam. They’re completely down and they’re feeling stressed. And, you know, they’re worrying about going into the exam. But it’s just their mental attitude. It’s the same thing about getting pumped up before an exam. Will you get pumped up before a game? It’s just how you approach it.



Yeah, I would agree me.



I just I keep that in mind. Thinking about I don’t automatically labeled the physical sensation I’m going through on a bad day is a bad thing. I’m thinking, Okay, it’s my body trying to help me right now. And if it is, thank you very much.



No, I I wholeheartedly agree, sometimes you have to take those bad days as they come. And there’s not much you can, you can do about them sometimes, and and you know, sometimes it’s a bad day at work. Some day, it’s a bad day at home, suddenly, your partner’s having a bad day in life, and you want to be there. It can be a multitude of things. I actually find you know, it’s interesting, I find having animals around. We’re talking, you know, before we started doing this interview, and I was saying, I’ve got three dogs and believe it or not, and they they actually help on bad days. They really, and, and taking a step back on bad days and saying you know, I’m not perfect. I’m good at what I do. And I need a break and say, okay, today’s the day for that break, and just kind of accepting it. That’s to me, one of the biggest deals is accepting how you feel and why you feel and then you can decide what to do about it.



And that’s the other component that leads right into for me what is a sort of core part of my well being gets to be being familiar with a practice that called rain. I don’t know if you familiar with the rain, meditation, it’s a rain sensor, recognize, acknowledge, investigate and nurture. And it’s a process you work through when you’re going through tough emotions, tough day, that you just go through these steps. And when you do it systematically, it brings brings you back to a better place. And the more you do it, the sort of better the muscles develop with it, but it can be just it can be your best friend on a bad day.



No, I agree. Now, we talked about mental health and managing it. Do you find that that routine works well for you? And what type activities do you do the short



for about maybe 20 years now ever since I read the artists way. I started doing morning pages. And instruction is basically when you wake up before you look at your phone or just as soon as you get your first cup of coffee and before you’re certain to mode of the fog. You just sit down and you write three pages without stopping. And if you can’t think what you just write, I can’t think what to write or blah blah blah. Okay, so three pages with judgment about it. And it is a very revealing exercise. And it’s also a very creative exercise, I have found so many solutions to things I didn’t even know I was looking for an answer for that have come out of those pages that that’s a core part of my morning routine. I tried to meditate during the day for maybe 10 minutes, sometimes up to 30. And I, I never thought I would be a meditator, to be honest with you. It’s just over time, I’ve discovered how helpful it can be. So I now practice that



I’m not and



yeah, yeah, well, you know, when I was told, I tried meditating with the idea that you’re supposed to clear your brain, I thought, Oh, I can’t do this. And I couldn’t. But when I learned the sort of mindfulness meditation, which is not about trying to clear your brain, but rather just watch your thoughts come and go, and don’t engage with them, that I found very helpful. It sort of just, it just like a allows all the thoughts that have been crowding your brain to have just a moment presence and then leave, and you’re just feel good afterwards. And then the last thing I do, I guess, in terms of routine would be gratitude practice. But the practice of neuroplasticity, that whole rewiring of the brain, because it’s not enough to just sit down and write out three things you’re grateful for, and then move on, which I know is sometimes recommended. But you’re better off just to think of one thing you’re grateful for. Could be just pick your path. you’re grateful for your pet. And those warm, fuzzy feelings that you start to feel. Just sit and revel in. Don’t look at your phone, don’t get up. Don’t end it. Just let it last as long as that lasts. If you can do that a couple of times a day, day in day out. That’s when you’re rewiring your brain.



Oh, no question. I think I think for me, one of the things I do every day is I start today with five can walk, rain shine, cold, not cold. My wife Joe will call me insane some days because I don’t care what the weather is. And I I honestly do that as much for the physical as the mental curse my head, it gets swing in a space I need to be I find routine wise, you know, the other thing I’ve done for years is every night for God a better writer journal. And I don’t type it actually write it if volumes are drones going back about five or six, probably seven, eight years right now. And and that’s the same idea she writing in the morning for me writing words. And that kind of lets me go through the day and say, Okay, did this make sense that this not make sense. And some days it’s stupid other stuff. And some days it’s really in depth stuff? There’s there’s no right answer and no wrong answer. And then, and then the other thing I always find help some routines is. And to me, it’s a big part of it is telling my wife like how much I care every day and how much and mad she matters to me. And I think that is something that many of us forget about is our personal lives, we go through life. And I was listening to a podcast last night exactly about this. And they said, your relationship becomes like a business. Sometimes you go through and you do what you got to do. You go to work, you make money, you come home, you pay the bills, you eat dinner, and it’s it’s all routine. And the problem with that is you’re not investing time in what matters, you’re just kind of going through emotion sometimes. And I think you gotta be really careful to do that as well. So that’s good. Um, so as we’re talking about this, generally Gemini good books you recommend that people can pick up and read to sort of help them along with the process or help them learn a little bit more about what matters?



Well, I think, right to pick just one I would say, it’s called just one thing by Rick Hansen. And you can open it anywhere. It’s every page is one separate activity, and it’s not sequential, that they’re all aimed at some little habit or piece of information that’s going to help your well being so that’s a great one. It’s good bedside booked. And you never feel compelled to try and get through more pages because just learning that one little thing is a big deal. Also the upside of stress, in relationship to stress. And what’s interesting too, and that is the study show that even if you open your mind to the possibility that stress can have some positive benefits. You’re already starting to change the health benefits.



And you’re gonna put some links to those on your on your website? Yep. Yeah.



Yes, I’ll do that.



And for people that I think might be helpful mindfulness or creativity, know if you’ve read that.



I’ve heard of that one. I’ve not read that one. That’s just one.



Wow, it’s so interesting because, you know, having been in business, like, for so many years, itself in terms of the sort of corporate world, we’re just sometimes just so trying to power through to get to a solution, applying all the logic we can to find the answer when that indeed is making matters worse, when we find ourselves in a situation that really requires a creative solution. And for a creative solution, you need to have different approach than just knuckle down and get it done. And this book exceeds through that process. So I found that very, very interesting as well.



Sounds like I need to add that one to my bedside reading list with the with the other. I’m an avid reader. So you know, the big joke is, if I’ve ordered something from Amazon de or discovered a house, or did I order books, and if I forget books, how many books do I have on my bedside table to read right now? Yeah, sounds like I need to read that one. Um, so let’s kind of move on. Do you have any recommended apps online that besides your website that people can use to help them with?



I’m not using at the moment, I was listening to calm, calm for the long time. And I enjoyed that.



That that’s a well known one that a lot of people talk about.



And I know people enjoy headspace and insight, not currently using them the moment but those are ones I’ve used and people quite enjoy.



If you ever really tough, is there anything you can do almost right away?



That technique of rain that I talked about? And you can Tara Brock, BR a ch. She’s well known for it. I would say although this has been a practice. It’s been around since the 70s, I believe. But she explains it really well in a meditation explanation on YouTube. So if you Google, our AI n or Tara Brock, I think you’ll find it. That is just so so helpful. Like, I can’t stress enough what a difference it makes in terms of learning to be with difficult emotions.



Yeah. So that,



that’s my big go to



know. And I find like, when I have tough days, and had a really bad one lately, I’ll go to something like listening to us your quiet music, usually music, that means something to me, that makes me Actually, I find on tough days. And I like to think that because I’ll think my way out of it, or, you know, or think about what matters. And that kind of, you know, helps quite a bit.



To that is you don’t just it you just you don’t try and ignore it. Or go away. You have to in some way, engage with it. And you’re finding that way through music is helping you do that. And for me, it’s the writing process. But certainly my big takeaway is that don’t ignore, don’t attend. It’s not there.



I would agree with on that one. Um, let’s talk about we’ve talked about some books, we’ve talked about some outs. Is there any other good resources or organizations or anything you would suggest for people?



I’m not off the top of my head in terms of organizations. I do like the mindful.org. Online there are articles are really good.



That’s a bit of a help. Is there anything else you would like to mention that we haven’t really talked about today?



Other than reinforcing the point about resistance not being a good idea.



I agree with that. acceptance is the better idea.



And even, you know, start looking through this ring process, acknowledging it’s there. And acknowledging it’s there doesn’t mean that you’re okay with it. But it’s just saying, alright, you’re here. Let’s talk.



That’s cool. How can people see your work? Get in touch with you and reach out.



Well, they want to check out my website, it’s less stress more calm.com. And my if they forget that my name Bev Aldridge is I’ve got my art website under that name, so they get a link onwards from they find it.



Okay. Thanks, Bob for joining me. I really enjoyed the discussion. I hope it gives people some food for thought on how to deal with the brain and how to deal with it, how they feel, and, and thanks for the great tips. Really appreciate.



Thanks, Rob. It’s been a pleasure. And I do hope people take away that they have a lot more control than they may realize.



Yeah, thank you. Have a great day. Thanks for joining Beth and I for this week’s podcast. As always, this Podcast is a production of stunning digital marketing, please jump on over to our website at stunning digital marketing COMM And while you’re there, subscribe to our newsletter, scroll down the bottom of the main page and you’ll see it right in front of me for tips, tricks, and help to make your business succeed in the digital world directly to your inbox. I can be reached on Twitter at Robert Cairns spelled ca IR ns or any other social media platform. On our website. There’s multiple links to those platforms, so please reach out something new. If you want to get in touch with us go to our website and you can Facebook messages for help advice or even questions about the services we offer so check that cool feature. As always, this podcast is dedicated my late father Bruce Cairns. Keep your feet on the ground. Keep reaching for the stars make your business succeed.

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