Episode 119: How To Improve Your Mental Health In 10 Minutes with Dr Lee David

What do you tend to do when you’re feeling overwhelmed by negative thoughts or stress? Most of us want to “fix” negative emotions – but in doing so, we can actually make things worse. Dealing with negative emotions isn’t always about fixing them; sometimes, acknowledging and recognising them is enough. Our guest for this episode shares how you can start managing negative thoughts and feelings — in as little as 10 minutes!

Dr Lee David joins us to discuss practical tools for managing our negative emotions healthily. She shares the GROW model, which you can use in just 10 minutes. We talk about how labelling your experience through words and images can help organise your thoughts, and Lee also shares how to be actively compassionate towards ourselves.

If you want to know why mental health matters, and how working on your mental and emotional health for a few minutes daily can work wonders, join me for this episode.

Here are three reasons to listen:

  1. You’ll learn why trying to fix negative emotions is counterproductive. There are healthier ways to address them.
  2. Discover how to manage your mental health in as little as 10 minutes using Dr Lee’s 4 part framework of GROW.
  3. Understand the importance of self-compassion and how to take action-based compassion.

Episode Highlights

[05:15] Introducing Dr Lee’s Book

  • Lee’s book, 10 Minutes to Better Health, was written with teens in mind. It’s packed with practical tips and actionable principles about CBT and mindfulness.
  • Adults can also utilise the strategies in the book.
  • You can’t do an entire CBT therapy session in 10 minutes, but 10 minutes is enough to make small but powerful changes.
  • Lee intentionally kept the book bite-sized and easy to digest, with minimal psychobabble.

[07:45] Lee: ‘CBT is about looking at how you think it’s looking at how you behave, and then making changes. The main focus really is about functional changes about improving the quality of living your life.’

Click Here to Tweet This

[08:32] How Does Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Work?

  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, or CBT, involves observing how you behave and then making changes to improve your quality of life.
  • The book also references Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to challenge negative thoughts.
  • Mindfulness helps people step back, observe the situation, and choose how best to respond.
  • Lee’s book incorporates these concepts into a 4 part framework: G for inner guide, R for getting ready, O for observing and being open, and W for the wise mind.

[10:49] How to Deal with Negative Thoughts

  • CBT isn’t necessarily about changing your thoughts; part of CBT can also be recognising and acknowledging them.
  • Imagine you are a bus driver, and the passengers are your worries.
  • Listen to the full episode to hear the rest of Lee’s analogy.
  • The old version of CBT would encourage you to stop everything and rationalise your thoughts.
  • We need to remember that our worries don’t just go away, but it’s better to focus on the mental health matters happening in the moment.

[15:23] Why You Can’t Fix Negative Thoughts

  • Feeling anxious is not a problem you can cognitively solve. Thinking about it keeps you stuck in a loop of worrying.
  • We become less logical and rational when we have high levels of anxiety.
  • It’s sometimes better to take a pause rather than trying to fix your negative thoughts and emotions.
  • Lee recommends applying O, the third part of GROW: Observe your surroundings.
  • Physical movements can also help you recognise sensations and ground your emotions. Ground yourself first before considering cognitive strategies.

[16:57] Lee: ‘That skill that we use — focus and attention — which helps you perhaps to solve a clinical problem, it’s very difficult, it doesn’t work as well, if your problem is, I’ve got difficult feelings.’

Click Here to Tweet This

[21:21] Observe and Label Experiences

  • Learn to observe your surroundings and feelings. If you can label your experience, it becomes easier to know what to do.
  • Lee shares how labelling experiences can include finding a picture or character that can depict the experience.
  • We can’t become free of our negative feelings, but we can recognise what we need.

[23:14] Lee: ‘If you can know what’s wrong, then you can know what you need to do? Is it a cup of tea? Is it you need to have a chat with somebody?’

Click Here to Tweet This

  • Images can help us observe our emotions from a different perspective.
  • You can use characters to understand your feelings better. Listen to the full episode to find out how!

[28:04] Recognising Your Wise Self

  • We all have our inner critics and wise selves.
  • Our primal selves can show up quickly in times of stress, while our wise selves tend to be slower.
  • We need to learn to wait for our wise selves to give us perspective on our mental health matters.
  • Lee recommends having an image that represents wisdom and thoughtfulness.

[34:17] Lee: ‘You kind of need the wise leader to be able to step up and, and be like a team leader who can make the tough decisions and doesn’t always listen, to the critic who’s shouting, “You need to do more!”’

Click Here to Tweet This

[35:41] How to Apply the GROW Model

  • Lee explains how to apply the GROW model.
  • G is for your inner guide. Know what you care about and who you want to be.
  • R stands for being ready for action. Think about the little steps you can take to address your problems.
  • O is observing and being open. Observation can help you focus on what’s important. It can also help us focus more on the process than the outcome.
  • Finally, W is activating your wise mind. You already have the wisdom on how to manage situations and make the best decisions that suit you.

[41:58] How to Help Children

  • You can use the GROW model in all sorts of situations.
  • If you want your children or family to apply this model, you need to use it yourself first.

[43:02] Lee: ‘I would have to say, sometimes, the best way to teach our family as well is to do it ourselves. It’s to model it.’ Click Here to Tweet This

  • Pushing ourselves and not recognising our feelings presents an unhelpful role model for children.
  • Remember, you don’t need to be right all the time. Knowing how to manage your feelings can be enough.
  • Just as you can’t fix your negative feelings, you shouldn’t try to fix your children’s negative feelings. It’s better to be with them and sit with their feelings.

[48:26] How to Be Kind to Yourself

  • Lee reminds us to be fiercely compassionate. Self-kindness is standing up for yourself, like how you would stand up against discrimination and other wrongful things.
  • Compassion can nourish and nurture your well-being.
  • Remind yourself that you are human.

[48:57] Lee: ‘It’s standing up for yourself a bit like you might stand up for if you saw discrimination or something in the world. And you might stand up and say, “I don’t think that’s right. I’m really sorry.” But could you not say that it’s actually standing up for yourself?’

Click Here to Tweet This

[52:19] Lee’s Top Tips

  • Know what you hold most important to you.
  • Think about the little steps you can take to move in the direction of your guide.
  • Take the time to observe, even if for only 10 seconds.
  • Let your wise mind be the leader in your decision-making.

[51:13] David: ‘I love that, you know, putting your hand over your heart, sometimes it’s just saying to yourself, this sucks, this moment is really tough. This is really hard. And that’s it, you and I want the best for you, I’m going to do my best to help.’
Click Here to Tweet This

About Lee David

Lee David is an experienced CBT therapist and GP. Her approach involves mindfulness, CBT, compassion-focused therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy. She currently offers remote CBT sessions and has worked with difficult emotions, including panic attacks, anxiety, burnout, phobias, worry, stress, trauma, PTSD, and OCD.

Lee is also the founder and director of 10 Minute CBT and co-author of 10 Minutes to Better Mental Health. She is also a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Hertfordshire and has been involved in several research trials involving CBT strategies.

Enjoy This Podcast?

In today’s high-stress work environment, you may feel like a frog in boiling water. The pan has heated up so slowly that you didn’t notice the feeling of stress and overwhelm becoming the norm. You may feel that it is impossible to survive AND thrive in your work.

Frogs generally have only two options — stay and be boiled alive or jump out of the pan. Fortunately, you are not a frog. You have many more options, choices and control than you think.

Learn to master your destiny to thrive even in the most difficult of situations. Your mental health matters, so it’s only right to use the best tools available for keeping it together even in high-stress situations. If you enjoyed today’s episode of You Are Not a Frog Podcast, then hit subscribe now!

Post a review and share it! If you enjoyed tuning into this podcast, then do not hesitate to write a review and share this with your friends.

Visit the You Are not A Frog website for more updates and episodes. You can also tune in on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

Sign up here to receive a link to the pisode workbook and CPD form downloads for each podcast. You can use them for reflection and submit for your appraisal.

You can also join the Shapes Collective Facebook group, where we chat about the hot topics and regularly post interesting articles.

Have any questions? Contact Rachel through these platforms:

LinkedIn: @Dr-Rachel-Morris

Twitter: @DrRachelMorris

Email: rachel@wildmonday.co.uk

Find out more about our training here.

Here’s to surviving and thriving inside and outside our work!

Rachel

Episode Transcript

Lee David: I’ve definitely found that the kind of health professionals that I work with, there’s a little bit of a tendency to quite an obsessional focus type of mindset where you can quite easily get stuck in your thoughts because people tend to be very cognitive and very thoughtful. So it can be quite difficult to step out of these thoughts.

It’s worth remembering that’s a huge quality—that attention and focus is what allows us to be doctors, for example. It’s what allowed us to pass our exams, to achieve everything we have done, and it’s a really amazing quality that we can be proud of. But that skill that we use—focus and attention, which helps you perhaps to solve a clinical problem, it doesn’t work as well if your problem is, ‘I’ve got difficult feelings.’ Then actually, problem-solving cognitively doesn’t necessarily fix feeling anxious or feeling irritable.

Actually feeling anxious isn’t a problem that you can cognitively solve. So you get stuck in a loop where you’re worrying—you kind of worry your way out of anxiety. But actually, cognitive processing doesn’t fix an emotion. It’s like apples and pears.

Rachel Morris: Have you ever tried to worry your way out of anxiety, or problem solve your way out of a difficult emotion, but the more you try to fix it, the worse it seems to get? Do you wish you had a few tools on hand to keep all that mental chatter at bay, so you could just get on with your job without anxious or troubling thoughts getting in the way? Have you ever wondered how to deal with negative emotions you might be feeling in a more healthy way than either blowing up or just burying them?

This week on the podcast Dr Lee David, a GP, CBT therapist, and author joins us to talk about just what we can do to manage our internal chatter, our anxious thoughts and difficult emotions when dealing with high stress and high stakes jobs. Let’s face it, most of us are used to sourcing out issues by problem solving our way out of them. But when it comes to our own mental health, it’s just not that straightforward.

Lee and I discuss why this is and share a simple framework to deal with these difficult emotions, which Lee writes about in her new book 10 Minutes to Better Mental Health. Her framework includes elements from CBT, mindfulness, and acceptance and commitment therapy—and is quick and easy to do on the hoof. No special qualifications required. Whilst her book is actually written for teenagers and young adults, I reckon we’ve all got just as much, if not more, to learn from it ourselves.

Listen to this podcast to find out why reasoning with your anxious thoughts isn’t necessarily the best course of action. How to label your emotions so that you can recognise them and deal with them more easily when they surface. Listen, if you want to find out all about a simple four-part framework which you can use anywhere to get you unstuck in under 10 minutes.

Welcome to You Are Not A Frog, the podcast for doctors and busy professionals in healthcare and other high-stress jobs—if you want to beat burnout and work happier. I’m Dr Rachel Morris, a former GP now working as a coach, speaker, and specialist in resilience at work. Like frogs in a pan of slowly boiling water, many of us have found that exhaustion and stress are slowly becoming the norm. But you are not a frog. You don’t have to choose between burning out or getting out.

In this podcast, I’ll be talking to friends, colleagues, and experts—all who have an interesting take on this and inviting you to make a deliberate choice about how you will live and work. Before we get to the episode, I wanted to mention that in June, we’re reopening the doors to the Resilient Team Academy, a membership for busy leaders in healthcare who want to support their teams’ resilience, wellbeing, and productivity without burning out themselves.

We know that for many leaders, escalating workload and staff shortages mean that you and your team are feeling increasingly overwhelmed and one crisis away from not coping. The Resilient Team Academy helps you to get a happy and thriving team by teaching you to use the Shapes Toolkit to support your colleagues, giving you all the resources you need. From monthly live webinars, which you can also catch up with on demand, to bite size videos, short team resilience building activities that are already done for you, and much more.

We already have several PCNs, training hubs, NHS Trusts and other healthcare organisations signed up. If you want to find out more about our special discounted packages for PCNs and other organisations, then do check out the link below in the show notes. Now on with the episode.

It’s brilliant to welcome onto the podcast this week. Dr. Lee David. Now, Lee is a GP, she’s a CPT therapist, and an author. She’s currently working for NHS Practitioner Health, and she’s the course lead for the mental health course for Red Whale GP Update. So welcome, Lee.

Lee: Thanks very much, Rachel. I’m really happy to be here.

Rachel: Really great to have you with us.

Now, Lee has written lots of books actually all around CBT, I think in 10 minutes CBT, et cetera, etc. She’s got a new book out, which is absolutely fantastic. So we’re going to talk about the book, and we’re going to think about how it can apply to families, our patients, and, I think most importantly, to ourselves. So let me just, first of all, tell us a bit about the book and who you wrote it for.

Lee: This is a bit of a change, actually, because I’ve done a lot of work with adults. But lately, I’ve been also working more with adolescents. So with a colleague, Debbie Brewin, we decided to co write a book called 10 Minutes to Better Mental Health Using CBT and Mindfulness for Teens. We just wanted to do something really practical, based on our own experience, in a way to just bring some of the key principles of CBT and mindfulness into a really accessible way—that could just make sense, and that they could get their teeth into.

In fact, what I found is that I actually use this approach now with all of my adult patients that I do CBT therapy with as well. Because actually, it’s easier for everyone if it’s kind of simpler, if it makes sense and what makes practical sense. So in fact, I now use this pretty much for everybody.

Rachel: Wow. Just looking through the book, there is so much content in here, which I think is so, so useful for so many people. But I guess when I think of CBT, I think of this very long drawn out process that takes sort of several sessions of therapy to do. Is it really possible to do it in 10 minutes?

Lee: Well, you can’t do an entire CBT therapy session in 10 minutes. But what we’re trying to get at is that, really, if you can just set aside 10 minutes here or there to make some tiny little changes – that might be enough. Because actually, it’s often about making little practical tweaks. People might do a therapy session, they go away, and actually just do a couple of really small changes, and that’s what actually makes a difference in their life.

So we wanted to make it really bite-sized, because we know that people’s attention span—young people’s attention span, all of our attention span is actually pretty short. We wanted to really keep it focused, and also where there’s quite a lot of neurodiversity amongst the population of young people. Again, keeping it short, bite-sized, and an easier-to-digest makes it just more accessible for a much wider range of the audience.

Rachel: I love the way that you’ve demystified it—that it’s actually these are the different elements and this is a really accessible way to do. In fact, I read the book without quite realising it was CBT. I was like, ‘Oh, that’s interesting. That’s a really great coaching question.’ Then I thought, ‘Oh, no. This has all been CBT all the way through.’ It’s sort of like CBT by stealth.

Lee: Exactly. When we’ve really tried to ditch a lot of the language, that kind of psychobabble that, actually, it’s just a barrier, because it’s all these words. It’s like what we mean by all that stuff. So we’ve actually tried to get rid of a lot of the stuff that stops people from really engaging with it and try to make it down-to-earth, practical language that just makes sense.

Rachel: If I could just sort of rewind a bit and just start off with CBT, because I think I’ve got an understanding of how it works. So what’s the sort of neuroscience behind how CBT actually works?

Lee: CBT is about looking at how you think, it’s looking at how you behave, and then making changes. The main focus, really, is about functional changes about improving the quality of living your life. More actually, this book is also informed a lot by acceptance and commitment therapy or ACT, which is much less about challenging negative thoughts.

You won’t see that so much through the book, and much more about just noticing if I’m having a negative thought, then choosing how to act in a way that’s helpful and moves my life forward, rather than letting a negative thought kind of derail me and lead me into a spiral of worry or something else, like negative rumination. Mindfulness is about stepping back and just noticing what’s going on, and giving you choices about how to respond.

We have wound that together into a four-step approach to understanding and then making changes in life, which we call 10-minute GROW. It’s four steps, and each one is an acronym. So we’ve got G is guide, your inner guide. R is getting ready for taking action, making behaviour change. O is to observe and be open, so that’s kind of stealth for mini mindfulness, but again, mindfulness puts people off.

As soon as you say, “mindfulness” people kind of back away. Because it seems like, ‘Oh, I’ve got to sit for half an hour and kind of empty my mind, which I can’t do. I’m no good at mindfulness.’ Again, there’s a lot of barriers. Then W is for wise mind. That comes from a different type of CBT, again, called dialectical behaviour therapy, which was developed for people with quite strong emotional swings, such as a borderline personality disorder.

But it’s about just channelling a bridge between your emotional mind, your logical mind, and finding wise, compassionate choices about what’s helpful and unhelpful. Again, we’ve really tried to demystify it, taking away a lot of the language, and just have a four-step process, which actually, there’s CBT, in a nutshell, in those four steps.

Rachel: That’s really interesting. It sounds like sort of my version of CBT is really quite outdated, which in my head, it’s working out what warped thoughts I’ve got, and then desperately trying to change those thoughts, so that I feel better and do better things. But sometimes it’s not about changing those thoughts—it’s about recognising them and accepting them, right?

Lee: Exactly. We have this really lovely analogy that I use quite a bit. I think it’s in the book, which is if we imagine you’re a GP—let’s do this based on adults—because I know a lot of our listeners are going to be medics. Actually, if we can apply it for ourselves, we can then apply it for our families or our patients who are young people as well.

So if you imagine you’re Rachel, the driver of a bus, you’re a GP and go to drive your bus—getting patients on, get them off. You get there in the morning, and there’s a big long queue of patients at the bus stop. They’re all waiting to get on. They all take ages to get on the bus. Then they’re sort of wrestling about and you have to drive this bus through a lot of traffic, you have to cross lanes.

You have to make you an amazing bus driver who has to make decisions about where to go, not crash the bus, think about what the patient’s need, where they need to go. You have to do all of that whilst you’re driving. Now, if you then stop at the next stop, and who gets on your bus, it’s all your worry thoughts.

Though the worry thoughts are the next in line at the bus stop, the old version of CBT would be stop the bus and have an argument with the worry thoughts, have a decision, decide. ‘Stop bothering me!’ because the worry thoughts start saying, ‘You might crash, be careful,’ or ‘Have you gone the wrong way?’ or ‘Don’t make it—don’t look, there’s another car there. Be careful,’ or ‘Do you think you should go around the roundabout three times because you don’t want to miss your exit?’

The worry thoughts are gonna tap you on the shoulder, and they’re really disruptive. So the problem is that you could stop and you could spend some time arguing with the thoughts, rationalising them. But all the time you’re doing that, you’re not driving—you’re not focusing on getting on with your day and driving the bus.

A more ACT-based approach would be to say, ‘Okay, the worry thoughts are on the bus. What can I do about it? I’m not going to argue with them. If I try and push them off the bus, they just jump back on at the back anyway, because my worries never go away. They can always find a way back in.so I’m just going to bring my attention.’

You could do the four steps here, actually. So G is for guide and you think, ‘Where is important for me to be going right now? What is the important thing that matters to me at this moment? Where do I want to drive to?’ Supposing for the driving analogy, ‘I really want to drive to the cinema, because actually I want to, go and watch a movie,’ or ‘I want to drive this patient to the hospital because they’re quite poorly, and I really need to pay attention to getting them there, so I need to focus on that.’

So use our guide, then ready for action, ‘Okay, well, I’m going to actually focus on taking actions that involve driving. I’m going to bring my attention to this open and observe. I’m going to bring my attention to, say, my hands on the steering wheel. I’m going to notice the colours in the road ahead of me, I’m going to listen to the sounds and notice my seat on the chair. I’m just going to be aware that I’m driving, and I’ve also got a lot of thoughts and worries.’

But my attention, I’m going to bring it back away from the worries and say to worries, ‘Look. Sorry, mate. But I’m busy. I’m driving right now, and this is the most important thing I’m going to do.’ If you keep focusing on that, then eventually they actually get a bit bored. They go and sit down at the back of the bus and kind of stop bothering you.

Then W is wise mind. That’s your perspective, which means reflecting on ‘That worry is not really getting things out of proportion. It’s not helping me with my driving to pay attention to the worry or to be looking behind me while I should be looking up the road and looking where I’m driving. So actually, what makes sense for me to focus on driving.’

‘Actually, the other thing that I have to remember is “Okay, if I take a breath, I really care about working and I care about how I practise as a GP. So it really matters that I’m really focused and so I’m actually—that’s what’s important to me.” So yeah, I’m going to bring my kind of reflective perspective onto how to deal with this situation and how to drive safely’.

You can bring those four steps into just dealing with worry there without necessarily just, ‘Oh, I need to change all the thoughts.’ So I don’t know if that kind of illustrates the difference.

Rachel: That’s really helpful. Because I know that in the past, when I’ve had some what I guess used to be called warped thoughts, or maybe still called warped thoughts—trying to argue yourself out, it sometimes works. You look at them, ‘Is that truth? Are people always actually like that? Because nobody loved me,’ or things like that.

Actually, some of them you can’t argue with and the more you argue with, the more they come back. So that idea of just looking at and going, ‘Is that helpful or not?’ It’s not particularly, ‘I’m not going to try and argue it away. But I’ll focus on something different.’ That is a lot more logical, really. You can see how that would work better than just trying to get rid of every single difficult thought which you can’t.

If something’s really bothering you, no matter how much you try and argue it away, it just won’t go, will it?

Lee: No, exactly. I’ve definitely found that the kind of health professionals that I work with, there’s a little bit of a tendency to quite an obsessional focus type of mindset, where you can quite easily get stuck in your thoughts, because people tend to be very cognitive and very thoughtful. Then, often their children are the same because, obviously, our genetics means that our children often very similar.

So it can be quite difficult to step out of these thoughts. It’s worth remembering that’s a huge quality—that attention and focus is what allows us to be doctors, for example. It’s what allowed us to pass our exams, to achieve everything we have done, and it’s a really amazing quality that we can be proud of. But that skill that we use—focus and attention, which helps you perhaps to solve a clinical problem, it’s very difficult. It doesn’t work as well if your problem is, ‘I’ve got difficult feelings.’ Then actually, problem solving cognitively doesn’t necessarily fix feeling anxious or feeling irritable.

It’s much better with problem solving. Actually feeling anxious isn’t a problem that you can cognitively solve. So you get stuck in a loop where you’re worrying—you kind of worry your way out of anxiety. But actually, cognitive processing doesn’t fix an emotion. It’s like apples and pears, so they can’t really relate to one another. Does that make sense?

Rachel: Totally. I have a few friends who are doctors and do suffer quite badly from anxiety. They get very anxious about being anxious because ‘I’ve tried everything I can do to fix it. I’ve tried doing this and this and this, and that’s not fixing it.’

In the past, when I’ve had an issue, I’m yeah, I’ve cognitively thought my way out of it and I’ve solved it. But yeah, you’re right, you’re using the wrong tool to solve the problem. This is the screw and you’re using a hammer—the hammer won’t work for a screw.

But the way we’ve been trained is just to use that logical left brain thinking the whole time to solve things, and we try and apply that to our own mental health and our own wellbeing. Then, surprise, surprise, it doesn’t work.

Lee: Exactly. The thing is: the higher the emotion, the less the tool fits. Because when people are in high levels of anxiety, or they’re really angry, or that feeling very low, then actually, our cognitive processing goes all askew with. Actually, we’re much less logical and our thinking patterns are much less kind of rational. So sometimes it’s about creating a pause, rather than trying to fix it.

Cognitively, when our cognitive tools are actually offline anyway, they’re not particularly effective at that point. It’s about using—so it’d be back to the old step of the GROW, where you just take a little bit of time out. Maybe going for a walk. Maybe doing a bit of mini mindfulness, where you move your body and you just notice what it feels like to be sitting on the chair or stretching your arms up.

I often get people to, say, ‘Just tell me a colour you can see.’ They’ll say, ‘Oh, I can see a green pen and a green cup, and a blue bottle and a blue book.’ I can hear, I’ll say, ‘What can you hear? In the background, what’s the quietest sound and the loudest sound?’ Maybe it’s. ‘I can hear the wind and I can hear some cars’ You’re stepping out of cognitive processing.

It’s not avoidance, but it’s just recognition that whilst my thinking brain is going on, at the same time, I’m also hearing. I’m seeing, and feeling physically so I use movement. I think with young people in particular, physical movements—really helpful. I would actually get— sometimes get the adolescents in my therapy room, like up and running on the spot, because it creates physical sensations that you can actually more easily recognise if you exaggerate it.

So you take big steps or stretch your body, your arms up wide, and just really feel that and think, ‘Okay. Well, my shoulders don’t feel stressed, they’re just stretching. My feet don’t feel stressed. My toes are actually okay right now. I know I’m still really angry, and I can acknowledge that it’s true. But there are parts of my body that don’t.’ So you can kind of rest in the knowledge that there’s bits that actually get as much more to your experience and that one high level emotion.

That kind of—it’s like grounding. If there’s a storm, then you sometimes need to go to ground for a little bit of time, let the storm pass, and only then do you go back to it. That’s why W: wise mind is the last one of the steps because, actually, you often need to do a lot of stuff to stabilise and kind of ground yourself before you even think about getting a wise perspective or trying to look for balance.

Unless we’re in a mental kind of place where we’re able to draw on our prefrontal cortex. That goes offline when we’re stressed and anxious, do that has to be back online before you can even consider using cognitive strategy. It’s quite late, actually, in the process.

Rachel: This is making such good sense to me. Because it’s—I find this really interesting that you’ve written this book for adolescents and teenagers. Actually you were saying, it’s aimed at teenagers, but actually, it’s probably good for anyone up to the age of 25. Looking at it, I think it’s good for everybody. I think it’s so fantastic.

It strikes me that actually, doctors and teenagers have a similar problem, but coming from different places. We just talked about the fact that the problem with doctors: we try to logically reason out our feelings, so we can’t access our feelings very well, because we try to be so logical about it.

I think sometimes adolescents, teenagers have it the other way around. They can’t really access their feelings, because they just know that they can be completely irrational, completely illogical, because their brain is busy being rewired—all those hormones flying around. For them, they don’t really know what they think or feel. So we’ve both got problems accessing our true feelings, albeit from a slightly different perspective.

Lee: I definitely agree. I think going back to the O: the observe step. I think that learning to just recognize what is going on, that noticing. I don’t like the word mindfulness. I think I’ve said already because it brings up ideas—other ideas that what it is. But if you just think of it as noticing, and asking yourself, ‘What is actually going on for me right now? What am I feeling? Maybe I’m hungry, actually, or maybe I’m tired. Maybe I’m anxious.’

Notice a name, just giving a label to your experience. Whether it’s a GP who’s just really busy in surgery, actually has got overwhelmed and feels like, ‘I just can’t take another patient. The next person is going to push me over the edge.’ You need to pause and notice, ‘What’s going on for me right now? What do I need? What do I need to do about it?’ So it’s very practical.

Because if you can know what’s wrong, then you can know what you need to do. Is it a cup of tea? Is it you need to have a chat with somebody? Are you feeling lonely? Because you’ve been in your room nine hours without seeing another person. Do you need to go to the toilet? There’s so many things.

I think adolescents also struggle with knowing what it is that’s going on for them. What I would often do with them, because they often struggle with knowing the name of an emotion, they’re not always great at giving it a name. Actually, I would sometimes find a picture that depicts it with them, so that they don’t have to have a name—we actually create characters.

For example, I worked with a young person who was feeling quite low, and we came up with some characters to represent his feelings. He used Winnie the Pooh because who doesn’t love Winnie the Pooh, and Eeyore when he was feeling quite low. Eeyore was a great concept because he’s very lovable, despite being quite sad.

I had another young person—used Inside Out, the movie, the Disney movie. Again, they have a lot of characters, so we played with the idea of having these different characters. It doesn’t have to be this very sort of static, ‘Tell me what the name of your feeling is.’ Because then like, ‘I don’t know, I don’t know what I’m feeling.’But if you can say, ‘Yeah, Eeyore’s here right now. Eeyore has shown up.’

I had somebody else who found a picture that was this really sad kind of image. It’s called Grief, I think. It was this sculpture of a kind of empty person and they were just looking really sad and lonely. For her, it just represented how she felt when she was feeling overwhelmed. Instead of saying—and think its name was Melancholy—so we said, ‘Alright, well, we’ll call it Mellie.’ Because it’s just easier to say so.

We then said, ‘Well, has Mellie shown up and when Mellie comes, where are your urges to act when Mellie shows up?’ When Mellie showed up, this person’s tendency was to withdraw, to do less, to kind of cut off from people, maybe to snap at her parents. So we could just recognise that Mellie probably needed a bit of a hug, actually. Mellie was probably quite sad and lonely.

Because there’s a sense of, ‘I need to get rid of that Mellie. Mellie’s a bright pain, and I can’t live with having a million my life. It’s too stressful. I need to be free of Mellie.’ But of course, we can’t be free of our Mellies—we have to live with them. Actually what Mellie needs is a cup of tea and a nice slice of cake, and to be kind of welcomed and said, ‘Come and sit next to me. When you feel a bit better, we’ll maybe carry on. Don’t worry, there’s no rush. Once you feel better, we’ll get back on with things. Don’t worry, I’m not going to have a go at you if you’re struggling.’

That’s what Meli really needs and that’s what we need to offer ourselves. You can use lots of imagery and playing. Rather than feeling like it has to be this very static, emotion focused language, which I don’t think young people or adults actually, particularly engage with.

Rachel:The images are always so helpful, aren’t they? Or just that’s why we love stories and metaphors, isn’t it? That metaphor of Eeyore, immediately, if you’ve grown up with him, you know exactly what that is. It’s yeah, like you said, lovable, but really looking on the bleak side the whole time.

It’s like money, or, I mean, we do that in coaching. We—I use image cards all the time. I remember when I first had my coaching, just being shown these different images and saying, ‘How does life feel at the moment? How would you like it to feel?’ I could not have described that, but I could see it in the cards immediately. Like, ‘That’s how I want to be, not like that.’ It’s helping people access their right brain a bit as well.

Lee: It is. Because when you create an imagery, and if you name it as well—so I had someone else who they’re in a “chimp”, and who’s called George. They would refer to, ‘Oh my George has shown up’ That process of just noticing, ‘Okay, here’s George. He’s telling me this, and he wants me to do this.’

But just as soon as you say, ‘I’m spotting that George is here’. You’re not in George at that moment. You’re noticing from your prefrontal cortex. You’re watching George from outside. Actually, that is mindfulness right there—that in a split second, but it’s very quick. So actually, that’s all you have to do is learn to look at it from a slightly different perspective. We need to kind of have stories, images, ideas, humour—anything that gets people reflecting and thinking a bit more broadly.

Rachel: Yeah, I think it’s not just adolescence, is it? Or children, it’s adults as well. But if anyone hasn’t read the Chimp Paradox, which Lee was referring to, I really suggest you go and read the Chimp Paradox by Professor Steve Peters. Yes, he talks about your “inner chimp” being this amygdala reaction.

Interestingly, one of my colleagues has the Chimp Paradox book for children. In the children’s version, you get to name your “chimp”, so her daughter named her “chimp”, but then made her mum named the “chimp” as well so that all the whole family have named their “chimps”.

Now, as far as I remember, in the Chimp Paradox for adults, we don’t name our “chimps”. But I think it would be really helpful. Yeah, name that “chimp”, name that melancholy Eeyore bit of yourself as well. Because like you said, the minute you can step back and go, ‘Oh, there’s Colin, or whatever. That’s that mindful moment, which shows that you are not your feelings, right?

Lee: Yeah.

Rachel: They’re not the truth.

Lee: Exactly. I try and encourage people, as I’ve spent more time kind of practising as a therapist. I’ve become very interested in internal family systems, which is not the CBT-base at all. But it looks at different parts of yourself and I really liked that idea. Because it actually—we have our inner Eeyore. We probably have an inner Tigger.

We’ve got an inner critic, and we’ve also got an inner wise, compassionate, sort of reflective, thoughtful part, who is the part that is so good at supporting our patients, our friends, which actually if we just engage that part, we don’t need to have external advice about how to deal with stuff.

Because we’ve generally speaking got all the answers already, but it’s just a bit offline because that wise part—the prefrontal cortex part, which is the wise part—is a little bit slower to step up than the “chimp” part which comes up in the face of danger or stress. Who comes first? The inner “chimp” says, ‘There’s a problem, there’s a problem.’ So immediately, that comes up very quickly and the prefrontal cortex is slower.

But if you give it time, so that’s back to the open, observe and pause, it will catch up. Actually, you don’t need to do anything very clever, except wait for the wise part, to give you some perspective. I would often get people to think of creating an image for their wise past as well actually, and give that a name.

I would often get people to think of who for you represents something really wise and thoughtful. I’ve had some people think of like, a grandparent, so like a grandma. Somebody else was like, bird, a tree, the sun. A lot of people—pets, because pets, often much more wise, I think, than humans. A lot of people are with a cat, so somebody thought of their lovely cat that they had when they were growing up.

When they were feeling stressed, it was kind of just imagining that the cat sat on your lap and the cat’s like, ‘You know what, I don’t really care about these problems you’re telling me about that. They’re not that important to me, I love you.’

I said to them, ‘Do you think the cat or your grandma loves you more if you don’t make mistakes? Do you think your cat or your grandma thinks more highly of you if you’re a perfect version of yourself?’ They’re like, ‘No, actually, no.’ It’s like, ‘No, possibly the opposite.’ They love you more when they know you need support, and they don’t just love you when you’re doing really well. That’s how you can cope with our inner perfectionist part is to just remember that the wise part is in there, too.

We get a cat on our lap curled up, give the cat a stroke, which kind of is very soothing.It engages our self compassion. When we start releasing oxytocin, we start feeling a bit more emotionally balanced.

Then, we get imagery that might come up to a what would the cat’s perspective be? What will grandma’s perspective be?, and maybe it’s like, ‘I think you’re doing your best, I think you’re doing a really good job. I know this might not be perfect, but what I think it’s—I think you’re doing really great and I’m really proud of you. I don’t expect you to never make a mistake—I kind of accept you as a human.’

We all know that, but we have to give ourselves a space to acknowledge that—giving that a name and a bit of an imagery, and giving it a story for you. Personally, I like to use a tree. Because I love the fact that trees are wise, they’re really old, and they just don’t care about the rubbish that I worry about. The trees just like, ‘Okay, nevermind Lee, that’s been going on for years. I’ve been here for 100 years, and it wasn’t—I wasn’t bothered about it, then. I’m still not.

So it kind of helps me see, to just let go a little bit of the minutiae that I’m probably stressing about. I think it really helps to have an imagery with that, too.

Rachel: I love that. I love that image of a tree. It’s about getting perspective, isn’t it? I love the metaphors. I love the stories. I love the idea of the cat, my cats are really stupid, actually though. That would work. I was thinking, ‘Oh, maybe we could do that wise old owl from Winnie the Pooh.’ But actually that owl is a bit daft and a bit critical actually, isn’t it?.

Lee: Owl is a bit critical. It’s a bit of a “I told you so” kind of approach, which we all have that as well. Maybe we need to just name that inner owl who’s a bit of a know-it-all, and a bit of a critical kind of part. Maybe that’s that part, so I suspect that would fit that as well and we need another part.

It’s worth remembering that you’ve got all these different parts, and it’s a bit like being a slightly dysfunctional team. I’ve got my own team and they are definitely a bit on the dysfunctional side at times—pulling in different directions, and they’re all arguing with each other, have different ideas about what’s best, sort of criticising each other and criticising me. It’s all kicking off sometimes when I’m feeling stressed inside.

You kind of need the wise leader to be able to step up and, and be like a team leader who can make the tough decisions. Doesn’t always listen to the critic who’s shouting, ‘But you need to do more! You need to work harder!’

Actually somebody needs to go, ‘I know you’re always going to say that. But I’m going to make the call that it’s time to stop and have a rest. Because I think for us, that’s the best thing to do. So I do hear that you would like to do more and that you really care about achievement. But I’m also recognising that if I listened to the other parts, there’s another part that will be tired, there’s another part that you know just really needs a break, and I just feel like on balance we need to go in, go for a swim rather than staying at work any longer.’

You’d need somebody to—again that back to the prefrontal cortex, who’s got a perspective and who makes kind of logical but compassionate decisions about what to do and how to lead this very complex team.

Rachel:I love that—that thought that we’ve all got our own unhelpful owl that we think is really wise but, actually, they’re just critical and driving us forward. I’m gonna take that. I’m gonna have my unhelpful owl, my wise old cat, and then the Tigger, the “chimp”. Gosh, the whole menagerie in there.

It’s really interesting doing this podcast with you now, because I had so many emails from listeners about parenting, managing teenagers. There’s been lots of emails, talking about neurodiversity in children and in doctors. And I think we’d love to get back another time to talk about some of those things, particularly the neurodiversity stuff, that I think you mentioned earlier, you had a case example. But that would just show us really this GROW Model in action that we can then help us apply it to ourselves as well, is that right?

Lee: I was thinking of a case of a 15-year-old young man, who’s lovely young man—who came to me because he was quite low, and his mom was a bit worried about him. Actually, through the process, he later went on to have a diagnosis of ADHD, which was interesting. So he was 15, he played cricket to a really high level, his county, so he was very committed and very focused on cricket. It was really important to him.

He was also doing his GCSEs, and he found those a lot harder. During lockdown, the cohort, who is having to do lots of homework. So you can imagine with ADHD, he found it really hard to focus on Zoom lessons. He just really found that hard.

Let’s just think abou whistle-stop tour through the four GROW steps and how we might apply those. I always start with G. Because actually, I think, finding out what people care about and where they want to take their life to. It’s just starting with him, so what do you care about in life? Who do you want to be?

He was obviously very motivated by the cricket, which was his real love. But actually, he did want to pass his GCSEs—that did matter to him—and his friends mattered to him as well. It was just helpful to have that understanding that those things actually were things that he wanted, and not just being put on externally, by his parents or by the teachers.

Then we’re like, ‘Okay, ready for action? What little steps can you take?’ Again, that’s thinking about what problems are you facing? He was struggling with a bit of perfectionism. That when he was playing cricket—so his critic would show up, so his low mood would show up saying, ‘Well, you’re not very good at cricket. I bet you’re gonna mess this up.’

Also,, the critic would show up, and he would say, ‘Well, you should be better than this bowler, because they’re actually in a lower team than you. You should be getting this right, so you ought to do—you should be—.’ It was a bit like driving his bus. It was very, very distracting, he’d be standing with a cricket bat, and then all this barrage of stuff will be going on around him, and it was really hard to focus.

So we went on to do the O, which was observe and open. Okay, when you’re standing at that moment, you know, to play cricket, for example. Can you just focus on your hands on the bat? Can you look at the colour, look at the sky, hear a sound? Really ground your feet, just think about the physical movement of playing cricket.

We went back to his guides, so we did a little bit of looping and just remembered, ‘What’s the purpose of playing cricket for you?’ Actually, he got—since you’ve gone to a higher level—he’s got stuck in, ‘But I need to win! I need to be good!’ Actually, that is very distracting to actually playing well, because it’s just the whole mental stuff is going on.

We’ve focused on his actual guide was like, ‘But I just love cricket, that’s why I play.’ So we focused on trying to play each match as to the best—to enjoy it and focus on having a goal to play the best cricket that you have available on that particular day. He found that really helpful actually to just reduce that kind of perfectionist performance-based, moving away from outcomes and moving on to process.

In fact, he had a very similar thing going on when he sat down to study, which he found hard. That all his critics would show up and say, ‘Why do you find it so hard? Everyone else can do it. Why are you—why can’t you get—.’ So his critic would show up big time. Again, like driving the bus—it completely stopped you from studying effectively, if all you’re doing is thinking about how rubbish you are, then it’s not an effective study technique.

For that, we did some R:ready for action really—micro steps that we would like set. Okay, plan five minutes of studying, can you plan to do some exercise before you study so that you’re actually in a better frame of mind? What structures can you put in place that make it easier for you to be able to study? Can you bring in a bit of wise minds that once you’re calmer, so a compassionate kind of perspective that everybody struggles, actually.

So noticing that: has his Eeyore shown up? Has this critic, his owl, have they shown up? Are they squawking and being very distracting? Actually, it’s saying, ‘Hello, owl. Hello Eeyore. I hear you, but I’m going to ask my wise mind to make the decision about how best to manage right now. Wise mind says, “I’m going to do five minutes of studying. Then I’m going to go for a walk.” Okay, that’s all I’m going to aim for right now. If I ended up doing 10, great.’

It was all about just creating a structure that support somebody with ADHD. That’s a lot of—a lot about neurodiversity is about knowing what structural environmental factors help somebody to thrive, and actually acting them out. So it’s enacting the things that make you more likely to succeed. It’s putting into place the brakes is creating the walks, it’s putting in time.

Then, your brain will be more able to function more effectively because it suits you. It’s recognising with your wise mind, you’re doing that because you’re worth it. But not because you’re a loser and because you need extra help, but because you what, why not have the best that you need—you’re worthy of a life that suits you, and you matter. That is why we’re doing it.

Rachel: As you were talking that through, I was just thinking of GPs and running late when we do our training. We say. ‘Can you think of a stressful situation that occurs regularly at work?’ and everyone’s like, “running late.” Everybody hates running late. Then, I’m just applying all of these to running late.

Thinking, ‘Oh, no. These thoughts’ and that unhelpful owl or that critic saying, ‘No one else runs late like you, and you must be a really bad doctor.’ and all these things. Then thinking about actually, ‘Why did being a doctor in the first place?’ going back to that guide, and just being able to stay in the moment, rather than fretting about all the patients you haven’t seen, or the ones that you’ve seen.

I just think this is so applicable to professional life, as well as, helping teenagers.

Lee: I use it on myself all the time. I do. It’s amazing. I use it with my family as well. Although it’s a lot harder to do with your own family, I would have to say. Sometimes, the best way to teach our family, as well, is to do it ourselves. It’s to model it, I think. So sometimes we need to learn it, absorb it.

I often say this too, when I’m working with Practitioner Health, with people who’ve got children, and it’s just reminding people that every time you care for yourself, you’re actually teaching your children to buy the account for themselves, because they’re learning by watching you.

Every time you ignore your own feelings. Maybe put them first but, actually, to the detriment of you—you’re teaching them that that’s really what they ought to be doing at some point. Actually, I’m not sure that’s a healthy kind of approach. So learning to care for ourselves in an open way—that matters. I think that’s actually really important.

Rachel: Oh, totally. Totally. Because yeah, people absolutely—watching you all the time, and how you’re behaving particularly at home,Yeah, believe me, I have tried coaching my spouse, my parents, my children—doesn’t work. All I get is, ‘Stop therapising me mum!’ l All I’ve asked is, ‘What do you think you could do about that?’

I don’t think we realise when we do just carry on and o, and push ourselves and push ourselves, and don’t recognize our feelings—how that is the sort of adverse role modelling for our kids and for our teenagers. They take that on board. They think that that’s actually how a grown up should be acting and that it’s helpful.

Lee: Yeah, exactly. So I think it’s really, really important. I said to give my kids a copy of the book. They were like, ‘Oh, lovely. Thanks. Looks great, mum.’ ‘Do you want to read it?’ ‘No, no. Not at all.’

But then every now and again, my 10-year-old will say to me—when I’m cranky usually, ‘It’s okay to be upset mummy. Everybody has difficult feelings sometimes that’s. Sorry that you’re upset, I’m sure it’ll be better.’ So then I think, ‘Oh, something must be—I don’t know.’

Rachel: I don’t think it’s getting through.

Lee: I don’t know what or, I don’t, because it’s definitely not overt. I think it just shows that little bit can still filter through, even when a lot of the time you’re completely not doing what you want to do. But actually recovering from not doing what you want to do is part of life, isn’t it? It’s actually not about getting it right all the time, because that’s just perfectionism. In fact, we don’t want to be, we don’t want that.

Rachel: I think the thing that I have noticed that I possibly do with my children is I struggle with negative emotions.I think most people do, don’t they? We don’t like negative feelings. I think my particular Enneagram personality really struggles with negative feelings. So when they have negative feelings, I think I have tended to try and make them better for them, or try and fix it for them.

I’m really trying to learn how to sit with those. Well, because difficult feelings are things that I don’t want or unexpected feelings, such as, such as sadness, or grief. Then, when my children experience that, rather than trying to fix it for them, just to sit with them in that. I think that’s something that traditionally, we just try and fix, don’t we? As parents, and particularly maybe as doctors, we think we can just again, like back to looping back to what we’re talking about at the beginning, we try and rationalise our ways out of it, and try and rationalise our teenagers out of it as well, which I think that’s really irritating for a teenager.

Lee: Well, I think what’s worth noting there is that when you’re trying to do that, you’re trying to fix your own feelings as a parent, because we don’t like seeing them like that. So we have a negative feeling that we’re trying to fix by fixing them. Actually, it’s a kind of proxy for managing a difficult feeling that’s come up inside us.So it’s not just sitting with their feelings, it’s hitting with our own as well.

It’s back to the cat on the lap, and it’s almost like you both need to get your cats out. Just let the cat purr. Stroke the cat and just have a moment of, ‘Let’s all sit with our cat.’ Just wait, and it might be that we’re all a bit more rational in a minute. It’s because I suspect, if you try and do it too quickly, you’re just—it’s that graph of emotions are too high, you’re just not in the space where you’re functional in.

You just need to let that come down off the top of the bell curve, below a point. Then, you can come back into the zone where your brain fires up again, and you’ve got more kind of capacity to manage complexity. I think we definitely need to know when, ‘I’m in that danger zone, and I just need to stroke the cat, so I’m back out of it again.’

Rachel:I love that we’ve got this vision of doctors throughout the country sitting there with their imaginary cats on their lap, striking them like Dr. Evil.

Lee: Yeah, I know it was like a Bond—I was gonna say, it’s like a Bond kind of thing, isn’t it? Obviously some people hate cats just to say so.

Rachel: It can be a dog or a tortoise.

Lee: Yes, exactly. Ostrich, who knows?

Rachel: Can you—can you strike an ostrich?

Lee: I don’t know, but I bet they’re somebody who would like to.

Rachel: Oh, we’re gonna have to finish in a second. In a second, I’m going to ask for your top three tips. But I just want to really briefly touch on this self-compassion thing, because I think we probably need to do another podcast about self-compassion. Because we are really rubbish at it as doctors and I think teenagers are rubbish at it as well. What are some really quick, easy wins for a bit of self-kindness and self-compassion?

Lee: I think for me, it’s what I would call active compassion or fierce compassion. It’s standing up for yourself, a bit like you might stand up for if you saw discrimination or something in the world. You might stand up and say, ‘I don’t think that’s right. I’m really sorry. But could you not say that?’ It’s actually standing up for yourself.

What I really like in compassion is that because we imagine compassion is actually this really like, ‘Oh, it’s just really nice and just be very gentle.’ A lot of people don’t relate to that because we’re quite go-getters, quite practical. A lot of people are like, ‘Well, I don’t know, I don’t want to just sit here and stroke a cat. That sounds like a load of rubbish to me.’

So if that’s you, then I would say it’s about structuring compassion—what action or actions can you take that would actually be compassionate. Does it mean letting yourself off the hook? Going home half an hour earlier? Does it mean giving yourself a break? Does it mean making sure that you don’t miss out on the self-care action?

For me, I think it’s actually an action, the quickest win would be to pick ways of living that actually nourish yourself and nurture your wellbeing. Rather than just kind of beat yourself up to do more and more and harder and tougher, and never having a break. I think that would be my single biggest tip actually, for bringing self-compassion in, which isn’t even a cognitive thing at all. But I actually think it has many cognitive sort of sequlae if you like.

Rachel: I love that. Tyra Bragg wrote about even just putting your hand over your heart. This sort of touch to remind you that you are human—almost like giving yourself a hug and going. ‘It’s okay.’ Our inner critics, our unhelpful owls; I remember somebody saying something really recently about the fact that you would never talk to somebody else, the way you talk to yourself.

So just like you said, standing up to that—that horrible voice that you’ve just talked to yourself in saying, ‘No, that’s not right’. I love that. Okay, so you go and have a bath, or just finish even though you’ve got 20 million jobs to do or doing something that actually is just going to be easy and make you feel better.

Lee: I love that—putting your hand over your heart. Sometimes it’s just saying to yourself, ‘This sucks. This moment is really tough. This is really hard. That’s it, you and I want the best for you, I’m going to do my best to help.’ So it’s kind of just giving yourself a message that this is a tough moment’s of noticing. That’s the back to the open and observe again.

I think it was Brené Brown. She’s done a lot of work on along with Tara Brach who’s also done a lot on self-compassion. I definitely recommend people listen to some of her podcasts, she’s got some fantastic ones about kind of battling shame, vulnerability, and self-compassion comes up there. She’s written a book called Fierce Self-compassion, in which she talks about this idea about kind of viewing it as being a bit more of a dynamic kind of.

I like the idea of it being more dynamic and not just kind of this namby-pamby,, lie down and wait for people to be nice to me kind of thing. But actually, it’s actively doing something that stands up to say, ‘Yes, I matter. If I matter, this is how I want to treat myself.’

Rachel: Go be nice to yourself, totally. Oh, Lee, we could just go on talking for ages, but we can’t go on forever. So for this episode, out of everything we’ve said, what was your top three tips be, when it comes to people really applying this stuff to themselves?

Lee: Well, I think I’m gonna have to come back to the thought of four GROW steps, I’m gonna say four. So it’s just remember, think about what’s important. Think about your guide, what do you actually care about? Think about what—ready for action: what little steps can you take that are going to move you in the direction of your guide? What little practical things that take 3 to 10 minutes only going to actually make a change in your kind of ingrained habit to behaviours that might not be working so well?

Then open, observe—just notice what’s going on. Just take 10 seconds to pause, and notice, and name any thoughts, feelings or urges that are inside you. Maybe, do you need to have a pause to let that all settle before moving onto your wise mind?

Let your wise mind be the leader. Let your wise mind acknowledge all the different parts—all the yours and the critical owls, the Tiggers, and all of those parts, which are kind of having a party inside us. But let the wise mind, who is our prefrontal cortex, just slowly reflect on, ‘Well, what’s the most helpful way to kind of bring this together and make decisions about what’s workable about what’s going to be kind of best for me, for other people? What’s got a perspective? Do I need to draw some boundaries? Do I need to make some decisions? Do I need to just get on with something? How do I need to cope in this situation?’

Just bring the wise mind in to make the final call about—don’t let it be Tigger or Eeyore who makes the final decision. Let it be the wise mind who listens to them, but then makes a decision about what to do.

Rachel: Brilliant. That’s so helpful. The good news in your book, there’s lots of other little strategies under each of those sections, aren’t there? That people can get a hold of and use—I’m definitely going to be using. I think for me, I just love the idea of this wise cat, the unhelpful ow, the Tigger, and the Eeyore. I’m definitely going to be doing that and checking out this strategy. So, Lee, how can people either get a hold of you, or the book, or find out more about the work that you do?

Lee: My website is 10minutecbt.co.uk and the books are available on Amazon or any other bookseller that you want to go to, so it is available, it should be available on Kindle as well. Then, it will also be having an audiobook, which is quite exciting. It’s called 10 Minutes to Better Mental Health: A Step-by-Step Guide for Teens Using CBT and Mindfulness.

Rachel: Wonderful. That’s brilliant, Lee. Thank you so much for coming on. Will you come back another time? There’s so much more in this that I want to talk about.

Lee: I’d love to, thank you. Yes. Thanks for inviting me.

Rachel: Thank you, and we’ll speak soon.

Lee: Bye bye.

Rachel: Thanks for listening. Don’t forget, we provide a self-coaching CPD workbook for every episode. You can sign up for it via the link in the show notes. If this episode was helpful, then please share it with a friend. Get in touch with any comments or suggestions at hello@youarenotafrog.com, I love to hear from you. Finally, if you’re enjoying the podcast, please rate it and leave a review wherever you’re listening—it really helps. Bye for now.

Download our Stop Start Continue Checklist Toolkit

Podcast links

Get in touch and book a slot with us for live program courses of the Shapes Toolkit. Bookings are now open for Summer 2022 and Autumn 2022!

PCNs and other organisations can get a special discounted rate at the Resilient Team Academy! Find out more here.

10 Minutes to Better Mental Health by Lee David and Debbie Brewin

The Chimp Paradox by Dr Steve Peters

Dare to Lead Podcast with Brené Brown

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown

Fierce Self-Compassion by Tara Brach

Connect with Lee: Website | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Email

Looking for advice on a dilemma? Want us to cover a particular topic? Get in touch at hello@yourenotafrog.com.

Have any questions? Contact Rachel through these platforms:

LinkedIn: @Dr-Rachel-Morris

Twitter: @DrRachelMorris

Email: rachel@wildmonday.co.uk

Find out more about our training here.

For more updates and episodes, visit the You Are not A Frog website. You can also tune in on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

Sign up here to receive a link to the episode workbook and CPD form downloads for each podcast. You can use them for reflection and to submit for your appraisal.

You can also join the Shapes Collective Facebook group where we chat about the hot topics and regularly post interesting articles.

Other Podcasts

Epsiode 121: How To Be A Happy Working Parent with Corrina Gordon-Barnes

Corrina Gordon-Barnes joins us to discuss the common struggles of working parents and the things we need to unlearn. She shares how to take radical responsibility as a parent and delegate responsibilities from housework to emotional load. We also teach you how to stay in your zone of genius and accept help when you need it. It’s time to live a life you love and enjoy, even amidst all your responsibilities! If you’re struggling to balance work and parenting, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 120: Making Online Meetings Work with John Monks

John Monks joins us in this episode to discuss designing better online meetings and interactions. We clarify the difference between a meeting, a presentation, and a workshop. We also discuss creative ways to design online meetings that energise and infuse rather than drain and demotivate. And John shares some simple exercises on limits and boundaries that can radically improve our problem solving and creativity. If you want to know how to make the most out of online meetings, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 118: How to Manage Upwards (and Sideways) with Dr Claire Edwin and Dr Keerthini Muthuswamy

Dr Claire Edwin and Dr Keerthini Muthuswamy talk about their experiences working within a hierarchical system as junior doctors and share what they have found to be essential if you want to build trust and foster good relationships with your seniors, your juniors and your peers. If you want to know how you can build trust and influence your workplace, and manage upwards and sideways this episode is just for you!

Episode 116: What I Got So Wrong About Mindfulness And How It Might Transform Your Life with Dr Steve Pratt

Dr Steve Pratt joins us to discuss what we really mean by mindfulness, and how it could work for you. He'll debunk some of the myths of mindfulness and how you can make it worth your time and effort. We'll discuss how certain techniques can help us live happier, be less anxious, and harness our resources to make better decisions. Finally, Steve shares his mindfulness practices and takes us on a quick three-minute breathing exercise! If you want to learn about mindfulness, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 114: How to Get an Appraisal that Doesn’t Suck with Dr Susi Caesar

Dr Susi Caesar joins us to talk about how you can elevate and enjoy your professional life with annual appraisals. She shares the purpose of appraisals and how they can help you choose the best way forward in your career and personal life. Dr Susi also gives her top tips on what you can do to make this process more meaningful. If you want to know more about appraisals and how you can benefit from them, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 113: What To Do When A Junior Is Badmouthing Your Colleagues with Dr Ed Pooley

Dr Ed Pooley joins us in this episode to discuss what we should do when we see inappropriate behaviour like badmouthing. He shares how we can manage difficult conversations with the intent of helping others. We also discuss the importance of recognising triggers through the SCARF model. If you want to know how to deal with difficult conversations for a better workplace, listen to this episode.

Episode 112: Why We’re Ditching the Term ‘Imposter Syndrome’ with Dr Sarah Goulding

Dr Sarah Goulding joins us to talk about imposter syndrome and why we need to drop the word from our vocabularies. We also discuss how self doubt can be helpful to us. Finally, she shares tips for overcoming wobbles and incorporating more self-compassion into your life. If you want to get over your imposter syndrome and practice self-compassion, then this episode is for you!

Episode 111: What To Do When You Start To See Red with Graham Lee

Graham Lee joins us to discuss our emotional states and ways to apply simple mindfulness techniques to change them. Most conflicts are rooted in unmet needs. When we admit those needs, we can instantly change relationship dynamics. Graham also shares tips on what to do during stressful situations where your emotions cloud your judgement and thinking. If you want to use mindfulness practice to be more aware of your emotions even during difficult situations, tune in to this episode.

Episode 110: How To Stop People Pleasing And Absorbing Other People’s Angst

Dr Karen Forshaw and Chrissie Mowbray join us to discuss how our core beliefs shape the way we respond to situations. When taken too far, empathy and helping people can be a big cause of stress. In addition, we also talk about we can learn to reframe and reassess their core beliefs. If you want to know how to help people without absorbing their emotions, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 109: Is It Possible To Have Fun At Work? With Dr Kathryn Owler

Dr Kathryn Owler joins us in this episode to share her fascinating research on the characteristics and traits of people who enjoy their current jobs. We dissect the common themes these people have in finding success in their careers. And we also talk about changes we can implement as individuals to make work more fun and enjoyable. If you want to start adopting the mindset people who have fun at work have, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 108: What We Wish We’d Learnt at Med School with Dr Ed Pooley & Dr Hussain Gandhi

Dr Ed Pooley and Dr Hussain Gandhi join us in the latest episode of You are Not a Frog. They discuss the management skills a doctor needs that you won't learn in med school, plus tips to help fresh doctors feel empowered in their workplace. Whether or not you work in medicine, these skills are crucial when it comes to working effectively and managing your own and others’ time. Tune in and listen to the experts talk about the management skills med school doesn't teach you and how to learn and develop them today.

Episode 107: Define Your Own Success In Life With Dr Claire Kaye

Dr Claire Kaye joins us to talk about the importance of honesty and clarity in defining our own success. We may think that achieving certain goals will make us happy, but evidence shows us it’s the other way around. It’s only when we’re happy that we can be successful. We also discuss how to overcome common barriers to our happiness and success such as fear, guilt, and uncertainty. If you want to know how to live a happier and more successful life, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 105: The Simplest Way to Beat Stress and Work Happier with Dr Giles P. Croft

In this episode, Dr Giles P. Croft joins us to discuss how our thoughts and emotions trigger stress signals. He shares his controversial approach to tackling stress, and why most of our efforts to cope better don’t really help at all. We also delve into the importance of pausing to allow yourself to calm down and letting go of the things you can’t control.

Episode 104: How to Cope With Nightmare Relatives and Colleagues Without Losing the Plot

In this special Christmas episode, Corrina Gordon-Barnes shows us how to create the groundwork for a peaceful and successful holiday season, even while navigating difficult relationships with relatives or colleagues. Corrina guides us to relax our expectation of a perfect holiday with our family, so we can face reality in ourselves and others. She explains a simple framework to allow you to resolve conflict, and walks us through what we can do during difficult gatherings and how to shift our responses to create different outcomes. Tune in to improve your strained relationships with relatives and co-workers through empathy and letting go of past assumptions.

Episode 103: How Not to Settle For The Way It’s Always Been Done

Dr Abdullah Albeyatti talks about improving your life and career by making changes and taking risks. He explains why settling for the familiar could be slowly ruining your life and how you can avoid this situation. Finally, he shares his top three tips to become a changemaker in your field. If you want to start doing things differently, creating change, and take more risks, then this episode is for you!

Episode 102: Why FAIL is Not a 4-Letter Word

Drs Claire Edwin, Sally Ross, and Taj Hassan join us to discuss how we can manage and deal with our failures more effectively. We explore the idea that rather than doing something wrong, failure is an opportunity to really grow and learn both as individuals, as leaders and as organisations. In any situation, it’s important to remember that we’re all human. It’s okay to be honest with ourselves and each other about our mistakes - after all, vulnerability is not a sign of weakness. If you want to know how to change your mindset around failure, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 101: Making Helpful Habits Stick with Sheela Hobden

Sheela Hobden joins us to discuss how we can harness the power of checklists to create a routine. She shares how you can approach your goals in a more realistic way and learn to encourage yourself using specific goal setting techniques. Sheela also recommends creating identity-based goals to ensure that you keep building your new identity even after completing certain milestones. Start small, and eventually, you’ll see these good habits stick!

Episode 100: Dealing With the Guilt of Not Being Okay With Dr Nik Kendrew

Dr Nik Kendrew unravels why we experience overwhelming guilt when bad things happen to us. He also shares some tips, techniques, and resources on how to deal with guilt, especially in these difficult times and circumstances. Apart from this, Nik talks about the significance of scheduling our entire day to do important things. Finally, he discusses why setting boundaries is necessary to maintain our sense of self.

Episode 99: How to Deal with Criticism When You’ve Reached Your Limit with Dr Sarah Coope and Dr Rachel Morris

Dr Sarah Coope joins me to talk about the workload of medical professionals and the benefits of setting boundaries while dealing with criticisms amidst the global pandemic. We discuss the three elements of the Drama Triangle and ways to navigate or avoid them reliably. As we dive deeper into the conversation, we explore the art of saying 'No' through acknowledging our limits. Awareness and recognition can go a long way in maintaining our boundaries. If you want to take the first step in recognising your limits, handling criticism better and setting proper boundaries, tune in to this episode.

Episode 96 – How to Deal with Difficult Meetings with Jane Gunn

We hear from the expert in conflict management and mediation, Jane Gunn. She discusses important tips to keep in mind to host great meetings. She shares some practical conflict management tips and how to make decisions that you and your team agree on. Jane also emphasises the importance of putting the fun back in functional meetings and the need to give a voice to participants.

Episode 93 – How to Delegate, Do It, or Drop It with Anna Dearmon Kornick

Anna Dearmon Kornick joins us to share the time management strategies crucial for busy professionals. She lays down tips on how medical practitioners can have more control over their days. Anna talks about how to manage admin time and imparts ways to combat distractions. We also discuss the importance of delegation both inside and outside work. For this, Anna introduces the passion-proficiency lens and knowing your zone of genius.

Episode 92 – How to Avoid Becoming the Second Victim with Dr Caraline Wright & Dr Lizzie Sweeting

Dr Caraline Wright and Dr Lizzie Sweeting join us to discuss the second victim phenomenon. They explain why patient safety incidents are occupational hazards and how they can affect healthcare providers. Caraline then shares her personal experience of being in the “second victim” role. Finally, they share tips on how to avoid second victimhood and how to provide support to someone going through it.

Episode 91 – How to Break Up With Your Toxic Relationship With Your Career with Dr Pauline Morris

Dr Pauline Morris joins us to share her career counselling advice for physicians and other professionals in high stress jobs. We discuss the common pitfalls that lead doctors to unsustainable work habits. Pauline also sheds light on why staying in your comfort zone can be detrimental to your performance. To avert this, she shares tips on how to better recognise and advocate for your own needs. We also learn about the importance of self-care and taking time for yourself.

Episode 90 – What to do About Bitching and Backbiting with Dr Edward Pooley

Dr Edward Pooley joins us again to discuss what to do when colleagues make inappropriate comments about others. We talk about why it’s crucial to consider the question behind the question in workplace backbiting. Ed also teaches us how to challenge in a supportive way. Most importantly, we learn some strategies to prepare ourselves to speak up when the situation requires it.

Episode 89 – Should I stay or should I go? with Corrina Gordon-Barnes

Corrina Gordon-Barnes joins us to share how to better relationships and take control and stay in your zone of power. She shares how to make a good decision by questioning thoughts and assumptions. We also discuss how you can change your perspective to become more compassionate, accepting, and empowered. If you want to know how to better relationships, stay in your zone of power, improve your decision-making skills, and be true to yourself, then tune in to this episode!

Episode 88 – How to Ditch the Saviour Complex and Feel More Alive with Rob Bell

Rob Bell joins us in this episode to discuss the perils of the saviour complex and the desire to keep hustling even when we’re miserable. We learn that taking time for rest and reflection only helps us get stronger. You can’t heal and help rebuild a broken system if you don’t look out for yourself first. Tune in to this episode to find out how to ditch the saviour complex, feel happier and live a more fulfilling life.

Episode 87 – Complaints and How to Survive Them Episode 5: What Should I Do When I Think a Complaint is Unfair? And Other Questions with Drs Sarah Coope, George Wright, Samantha White, and Andrew Tressider

We’re joined by a panel of expert guests to share their thoughts on how to handle complaints. Together, we discuss ways that you can adjust your perspective and respond to unfavourable situations. Most importantly, we tackle issues regarding malicious complaints and how to cope with them. If you’re having trouble managing yourself during complaints, then this episode is for you.

Episode 86 – Gaslighting and Other Ways We’re Abused at Work: What’s Really Going On? with Dr James Costello

Dr James Costello joins us to talk about his new book and the insidious ways that organisations and individuals can undermine us. They compel us to do extra emotional labour for us to cope with the workplace dynamics. We also chat about what happens when authority and power are misused. Finally, James shares some of the disastrous consequences bullying in the workplace can have and what we can do about it. Tune in if you want to know what to do if you suspect that you or a colleague are experiencing relational abuse in the workplace!

Episode 85 – How to have crucial conversations with Dr Edward Pooley

Good communication between colleagues is crucial for the success of any organisation. Dr Edward Pooley joins us again to teach us how to communicate well. He discusses the three strands present in any conversation and helps us understand how we can be more aware of each. We also share some frameworks that can help you navigate difficult conversations. Understanding the importance of emotion is crucial in being an effective communicator and connecting with your team.

Episode 84 – Complaints and How to Survive Them Episode 4: Creating a Workplace Where It’s OK to Fail

Professor Susan Fairley and Dr Jane Sturgess join us to discuss how to create a workplace that doesn’t shy away from failure. We talk about how civility can save lives and also touch on the issues around incident reporting in healthcare. Most importantly, we talk about creating a culture where people can have difficult conversations without defensiveness. If you want to know how to approach failing and speaking up in the workplace, tune in to this episode.

Episode 83 – The Ups and Downs of Being a Man-Frog with Dr Chris Hewitt

Joining us in this episode is Dr Chris Hewitt who also uses the metaphor of a man-frog in coaching professionals to have a better work-life balance. Chris talks about why we find it so hard to recognise burnout. He also shares his top tips and practical strategies to address work dissatisfaction. If you want to stop feeling like a man (or woman) - frog in a pan of slowly boiling water, listen to the full episode.

Episode 82 – Complaints and How to Survive Them Series Episode 3: Surviving the Process

Drs Jessica Harland, Caroline Walker and Heidi Mousney join us in this episode to discuss healthcare professionals’ experiences when dealing with complaints. We talk about the different emotions you may experience and practical tips on getting through. If you want to know how to survive the process after making a mistake at work and receiving a complaint, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 81 – When Soft and Fluffy Met Coronavirus with Steve Andrews

Steve Andrews, Associate Director of Leadership for East and North Herts NHS Trust shares how, through using just five crucial questions, you can check in on people, rather than check up on them. The 5 questions will help you to find out how people really are, help them look out for their colleagues, empower them to solve their own problems AND communicate empathy and support. Want to know how you can apply compassionate leadership in your organisation? Then, this episode is for you.

Episode 80 – Complaints and How to Survive Them Episode 2: What to Do When You Make a Mistake with Drs Clare Devlin and Dr John Powell

Drs Clare Devlin and John Powell join us to discuss the proper way of responding to professional mistakes. We talk about why doctors have a hard time whenever they make a mistake at work. Clare and John also share valuable advice on minimising negative consequences and getting a good outcome for you and your patient. If you want to learn a roadmap for what you should do you make a mistake at work, then tune in to this episode.

Episode 79 – How to Give Yourself Permission to Thrive with Dr Katya Miles

Dr Katya Miles joins us once again to talk about burnout and giving ourselves permission to thrive. Having experienced work burnout, Katya shares her story and discusses the red flags of burnout. We also talk about why we find it difficult to give ourselves permission to thrive and how we can overcome our own internal barriers. If you want to learn about how you can listen to your needs so that you can thrive in work and in life, then this episode is for you.

Episode 78 – Complaints and How to Survive Them Series 1: Preparing to Fail Well with Drs Sarah Coope, Annalene Weston and Sheila Bloomer

Drs Sarah Coope, Annalene Weston and Sheila Bloomer join us in this first episode in a new series on ‘Complaints and How to Survive Them’ to talk about coaching doctors and dentists through complaints made against them. We also talk about the perfectionist mindset and how changing our perspective towards failure can help us and those around us. If you want to know how to deal better with complaints made against doctors and other professionals in high-stress jobs, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 77 – Denial, displacement and other ways we neglect ourselves with Dr Andrew Tresidder

Dr Andrew Tresidder joins us to talk about how many medical practitioners and other professionals in healthcare and high stress jobs neglect their health and well-being. We're so focused on taking care of others that we forget to take care of ourselves but our well-being is vital if we want to keep doing the work we do. Find out why healthcare professionals need to learn more about health, as opposed to only learning about disease and if you want to know how to focus on taking care of your health and well-being, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 76 – Tech Tips for Happy Hybrid Working with Dr Hussain Gandhi

Dr Hussain Gandhi, or Dr Gandalf of eGPlearning, joins us in this episode. He is a GP, PCN director and host of the eGP Learning Podblast that shares deep dives into health tech for primary care. He shares his tech and time hacks for hybrid working to survive and thrive in the new virtual environment. If you want to find out how to improve your hybrid working experience, then tune in to this episode!

Episode 75 – How to Escape the Drama Triangle and Stop Rescuing People with Annie Hanekom

Annie Hanekom joins us to shed light on the different roles which interact in the drama triangle. She shares the pitfalls of taking on each role and how we can actively shift from these roles into something better, fostering healthier relationships at work. If you want to know more about how you can step out of the drama triangle, have better conversations and build healthier relationships with your colleagues, make sure you tune in to this episode.

Episode 74 – Managing your Time in a System Which Sucks with Dr Ed Pooley

Dr Ed Pooley joins us in this episode to share his take on time management techniques for busy individuals. He discusses the three types of competing demands and how to manage them. We also talk about being more comfortable holding difficult conversations about workplace issues - vital to help change the environment we work in. Tune into this episode to discover how time management techniques and communication can help you get a calmer and more time-efficient workplace.

Episode 73 – How to Find Your Tribe: The PMGUK story with Dr Nazia Haider and Dr Katherine Hickman

Dr Nazia Haider and Dr Katherine Hickman join us on this episode to discuss the importance of a work community. We talk about the inspiring stories from the online community they created, the Physicians Mums Group UK (PMGUK). Nazia and Katherine also share their tips on how to increase connections and find your own tribe at work. If you want to know how to create a network of supportive colleagues and feel more connected, then tune into this episode.

Episode 72 – Working well – from anywhere! with Dr Katya Miles

Dr Katya Miles joins us to discuss how to work well from home by creating healthy boundaries. She shares how to be more productive by using the third space hack and taking breaks. Katya also talks about how to be more active and better connect with people in the workplace. If you want to learn about working well from home and achieving a better work-life balance, then tune in to this episode.

Episode 71 – Create a Career You’ll Love with Dr Claire Kaye

Dr Claire Kaye joins us to discuss how to find a career you love. As an executive coach specialising in career development, Claire is an expert in guiding people how to find a career they love. We talk about the value of job networking and diversifying in our career journeys. We also share our tips and experiences on how to find a career you love. We do this by helping you identify the roles that best suit you and how to go about getting these roles.

Episode 70 – How Safe Do You Feel at Work with Scott Chambers

Scott Chambers joins us to talk about why we need to make people feel comfortable and safe enough to speak up in their workplace. When we create psychological safety in our team, we improve overall happiness and boost performance! If you want to learn how to create psychological safety for a better and happier team - whether you’re the boss or not, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 69 – Make Time for What Matters with Liz O’Riordan

Liz O'Riordan joins us to share productivity life hacks. These have helped her transform how she approaches work. Now, Liz can spend quality time with her family and enjoy life. In this episode, she teaches us how we too can achieve this. If you want to learn some new life hacks, beat burnout and work happier, then tune in to this episode!

Episode 68 – The Revolutionary Art of Breathing with Richard Jamieson

Richard Jamieson discusses how we can utilise breathing techniques to feel calmer, make better decisions and be more productive. He explains the different steps we can take to change our breathing patterns. When you’re in a high-stress situation, remember this: just breathe. If you want to know how to use breathing techniques to beat stress in everyday situations, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 67 – Bringing Your Best Self to Work with Dr Sarah Goulding

Dr Sarah Goulding discusses how to bring your whole self to work without leaving bits of you behind. Sarah shares her own story of experiencing burnout at her old job and rediscovering her true passion. We also discuss how applying our core strengths to our jobs can mean the difference between burnout and having a sense of fulfilment. Don’t miss out on this episode if you want to learn more about how to be yourself and how to bring joy back into your work!

Episode 65 – Passing the Naughty Monkey Back with Dr Amit Sharma

Dr Amit Sharma joins us to discuss the effects of taking on too many of other people’s ‘naughty monkeys’. We talk about why professionals in high-stress jobs so often take on the rescuer role and how to shift that mindset. Amit and I also discuss the importance of empowering patients to take control of their own health. If you want to know how to avoid being weighed down by too many naughty monkeys, stay tuned to this episode.

Episode 64 – What to Do When You’re Out of Fuel with Dr Jess Harvey

Dr Jess Harvey, a GP partner and GB triathlete, talks about what happened to her after running out of fuel and feeling burnt out. She discusses how we often ignore the symptoms and signs for too long and why resting and refuelling is as important as what we're doing in the first place. If you’re feeling burnt out, tune in to this episode to find out how you can plug the holes in your energy bucket!

Episode 63 – How to Survive Even When Times are Tough with Dr Caroline Walker

This episode is part of the COVID-19 Supporting Doctors series, and joining us again is Dr Caroline Walker. She's here to discuss why rest is crucial, especially for people in high-stress jobs. Caroline also shares key strategies that can keep us going through the crisis. The previous year has been tough, so don’t miss this episode to start 2021 better prepared.

Episode 62 – Self-Coaching for Success with Dr Karen Castille, OBE

Dr Karen Castille joins me in this episode to discuss her book on self-coaching. She shares powerful questions to ask yourself which will jumpstart your self-coaching journey. She also talks about the importance of developing this vital skill and crafting powerful life questions. Before we close the show, Karen gives her top tips for self-coaching. Don’t miss this episode if you want to learn how you can find clarity and achieve success through self-coaching!

Episode 61 – The Self Help Book Group on Happiness with Dr Nik Kendrew

In this episode, You Are Not A Frog regular Dr Nik Kendrew joins me to discuss the concept of happiness. We tackle the everlasting question of ‘What is happiness’? We also talk about perfectionism and fear and how these can hinder us from doing the things we want to do. At the end of the show, Nik and I give our top tips to being happier. If you want to know more about living a happy life, then this episode is for you.

Episode 60 – Creating a Workplace that Works with Dr Sonali Kinra

Dr Sonali Kinra joins us to discuss why people leave their jobs and how to prevent it. We talk about the importance of workplace culture and its role in creating an environment that makes people want to stay. We also discuss why you need to seek opportunities that broaden and develop your career. Don’t miss this episode if you want to find out how to keep yourself in a job you love.

Episode 59 – A Social Dilemma? With Dr James Thambyrajah

In this episode, Dr James Thambyrajah joins us to talk about social media’s subtle yet profound effect on our daily lives. We discuss the perils of being unaware of how our online decisions are influenced. James also shares his insights on how we can improve how we stay informed and inform others. Tune in to this episode if you want to learn more about how to go beyond your digital echo chamber.

Episode 55 – The One About Alcohol

Dr Giles P Croft is back to chat with Rachel about his experiences following a revolutionary read he was recommended. You might remember Giles from episode 46, where he talked about how as humans, we naturally default to happiness.

Episode 52 – A year of the frog

The week’s episode is a special one as the Frog celebrates a year of podcasting! It’s been quite a year - including charting in Apple’s Top 100 Business Podcasts in the UK!

Episode 50 – Freeing yourself from the money trap

Joining Rachel in this week’s episode is Dr Tommy Perkins, as well as being a GP Partner, and father, Tommy is one half of Medics Money. Medics Money is an organisation specifically aimed at helping doctors make better decisions with their finances. It’s run by Tommy and Dr Ed Cantelo who is not only a doctor but a qualified accountant.

Episode 49 – The Self Help Book Group No 2 with Nik Kendrew

This week Rachel is joined by You Are Not A Frog regular, Nik Kendrew. Last time Nik joined us, we discussed a book that has helped him in his professional life as a GP, trainer and partner as well as his personal life. Nik’s back this week to talk about another brilliant book and to share what insights and learnings he’s gained from it.

Episode 47 – How to Have a Courageous Conversation

Rachel talks with Beccie D'Cunha about the conversations that we avoid and the conversations we really need to have with our colleagues, teams and managers. They can be described as difficult conversations, but we can redefine them as courageous conversations - because ultimately it takes courage for both parties to listen and be heard.

Episode 46 – Default to happy

Rachel talks with Dr Giles P Croft about his take on how to beat stress and burnout. Giles  is a psychology graduate and former NHS surgeon who stepped aside from clinical practice for a decade to explore a number of career paths, including health informatics, cycling journalism, public speaking and high street retail with his wife.

Episode 45 – Rest. The final frontier

Rachel is joined by Sheela Hobden, Professional Certified Coach, wellbeing expert and fellow Shapes Toolkit facilitator. We talk about why rest isn’t just important for wellbeing, but important for productivity and creativity too. 

Episode 40 – Leading with tough love with Gary Hughes

In this episode, Rachel is joined by Gary Hughes, author of the book Leadership in Practice, blogger, educator and facilitator who is a Practice Manager by day. We chat about how leadership in the COVID-19 crisis has had to adapt, and the different roles that a leader has had to take.

Episode 37 – How to manage conflict during COVID with Jane Gunn

Rachel is thrilled to welcome back Jane Gunn – lawyer, mediator and expert in conflict resolution who has been known as the Corporate Peacemaker. This episode is for you if the thought of addressing a difficult issue with one of your colleagues send you running for the hills…

Episode 20 – A creative solution to stress with Ruth Cocksedge

In this episode, Rachel is joined by Ruth Cocksedge a Practitioner Psychologist who started her career as a mental health nurse. She practices in Cambridge and has a particular interest in EMDR for PTSD and creative writing as a way to improve mental health and wellbeing.

Episode 11 – The magical art of reading sweary books

In this episode, Rachel is joined once again by Dr Liz O’Riordan, the ‘Breast Surgeon with Breast Cancer’, TEDx speaker, author, blogger, triathlete and all round superstar who has been nominated for ‘Woman of the Year’.

Previous Podcasts

Ways to stay in touch.

Ways to stay in touch.

Reach us here

Join the community

Fill in just a few details to hear about the latest tools, services and resources designed to help you and your team become more resourceful and resilient in the workplace.

Ways to stay in touch.

Join the community

Fill in just a few details to hear about the latest tools, services and resources designed to help you and your team become more resourceful and resilient in the workplace.

Ways to stay in touch.

Join the community

Fill in just a few details to hear about the latest tools, services and resources designed to help you and your team become more resourceful and resilient in the workplace.

2022-04-29T11:45:14+01:00