Episode 148: Best Bits of 2022: Part 2: Stress and Worry

The stress and worry we felt during the pandemic didn’t disappear in 2022. As medical practitioners, having a myriad of problems and uncertainties on our plate has simply become part of the job. But after over a hundred episodes, our conversations here at You Are Not A Frog have shown that we can make choices that help us to cope with and even overcome stress, anxiety and worry.

Rachel and our guests have shared valuable insights into how we can all take control of our lives. Let us wrap up another busy year by rediscovering the best bits of our podcast episodes on stress and worry. We revisit our favourite conversations on breaking the anxiety cycle, doubts and fears, and the power of ‘f**k it’.

Happy Holidays, dear listeners! Let’s end this year and start 2023 right by learning how to beat burnout and work happier.

Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:

  1. Understand that your stresses, fears, and doubts are valid.

  2. Rediscover tips and tricks for living a calmer and happier life.
  3. Recount simple techniques for dealing with work-related worries.

Episode Highlights

[02:01] Episode 119: Dealing with Stress and Worry

  • Consider yourself a bus driver, and your concerns are the passengers.
  • The older version of CBT would tell you to ‘stop the bus’ and rationalise the situation. But this also means you’re not driving and going on with your day.

[03:37] ‘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.’ – Click Here To Tweet This

[04:10] GROW

  • GROW stands for Guide, Ready for Action, Observe Your Surroundings, and Wise Mind. These steps can help you refocus your attention to the present moment.
  • What is the important thing that matters to you right now?
  • It is easier to know what to do if you can identify your experience.
  • Your worries do not simply disappear. Instead, you can concentrate on the present situation.

[09:23] Breaking the Anxiety Cycle

  • Anxiety is not a problem that you can solve cognitively. Thinking about it keeps you trapped in a cycle of worry.
  • Rather than trying to fix your negative feelings and emotions, it is sometimes better to pause.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and emotions.

[09:30] ‘When people are in high levels of anxiety . . . our cognitive processing goes all skewwhiff. We’re much less logical, and our thinking patterns are much less rational. Sometimes it’s about creating a pause, rather than trying to fix it cognitively.’ – Click Here To Tweet This

[12:21] Episode 106: Worrying Is Not Caring

  • It’s okay to acknowledge your problems.
  • It’s easier to be worried because it forces you to act. However, there are some things you can’t control.
  • Worrying can sometimes indicate the presence of underlying emotions.
  • Is there something else going on that you’re not allowing yourself to feel or pay attention to?

[13:58] ‘It can sometimes be easier to get worried. Because worry is like an active emotion, right? It gets us juiced up; it gets us active that we can do something about it. We think we can do something about it. Often . . . we can’t, because it’s not in our control.’ – Click Here To Tweet This

[15:30] Learn to Let Go

  • You can care about the outcome of something while still letting it go.
  • Consider whether it is a genuine problem. If it is, come up with a solution. If not, try other methods to stop worrying.
  • Set aside a time during the day or week to worry about things.

[15:44] ‘We can care about the outcome of something but still let go of it.’ – Click Here To Tweet This

[18:14] Episode 105: Don’t Believe All Your Thoughts

  • Everyone experiences their thought system at the moment.
  • Different perspectives on the same situation result in different reactions and behaviours.
  • Our thoughts spin a tale of problems created by our mind. The less we pay attention to it, the less it’s there.

[21:32] ‘There’s no other way to experience a problem than in the narrative in our heads.’ – Click Here To Tweet This

[23:53] When Your Doubts and Fears are Valid

  • Your fears are valid. Your brain is constantly scanning your surroundings to detect threats or danger.
  • Take a moment to reflect on your thoughts and experiences during stressful situations.
  • Calmness will allow you to deal with problems more effectively.

[28:14] The Default State

  • Our default state is one of calmness.
  • Our mental state is like water. When you throw stones into it, ripples form and then fade away. The situation will worsen if you try to remove the ripples.
  • The first step in dealing with stress is to recognise it. Stop amusing yourself with your thoughts.
  • Problem solving is hampered by our desire to entertain our thoughts.

[31:59] Finding Calmness

  • There is no such thing as a dreadful day.
  • Only the present moment is available to us.

[33:14] Episode 130: The Power of “F**k It’

  • Modern spirituality teaches us to let go of attachments and go with the flow.
  • Saying ‘fuck it’ has the same effect as practising meditation — you’re letting go.
  • The phrase is a Western interpretation of Eastern philosophies.
  • Swearing engages our right brain, which is more relaxed, playful, and uninhibited.

[37:08] Thinking Is the Problem

  • You cannot overcome stress with logic. Thinking is frequently the problem.
  • Our minds create much of our stress.
  • When you’re relaxed, it’s easier to look at problems from a different angle. Then you can find the answers you seek.

[37:18] ‘You can’t deal with anxiety, stress, and everything else by thinking it through. Because thinking is the problem.’ – Click Here To Tweet This

[41:42] Release All Attachments

  • Allow yourself to be detached from outcomes and their meanings.
  • Worrying takes your attention away from more important matters.

[42:47] ‘“F**k it” partly is about “why are you taking up so much energy worrying about [things that don’t matter so much]”. If you’re gonna worry, worry about the shit that matters. – Click Here To Tweet This

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 it is impossible to survive AND thrive in your work.

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Episode Transcript

Rachel Morris: It’s been a long year, but hopefully, You are Not a Frog has been a bit of light relief for you and giving you some helpful hints and tips to make life at work that little bit better. We’ve loved every single one of our guests this year, and judging by the volume of wonderful emails we’ve received and the conversations I’ve had with people at talks and workshops, so have you. So I thought I’d put together the best bits from some of my favorite conversations this year, and some of the most listened to episodes.

We’ll be back in the new year with more interviews, hints, tips and life hacks to help you beat burnout and work happier. This one’s about stress and worry. Now, there is some swearing in the last section. You have been warned. Right, if you’re a doctor who could do with more joy and less stress in 2023, join me for a free online anti-challenge in January. Why are we calling this an anti-challenge?

Well, everyday we’re going to share a tiny activity that will actually make your life a lot less challenging. If you know you often put your own well-being last, join us to connect to other doctors, get brilliant tips to help you make time for yourself and have the chance to win fun prizes and goodies. We start on January the third, and you can sign up now at the link in the show notes, oh, and it’s open to all doctors so invite your colleagues too.

First, we’ve got Dr. Lee David talking about her new book 10 Minutes to Better Mental Health in Episode 119.

Lee David: So we have this really lovely analogy that I use quite a bit, and 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 the bus.

You’re a GP, and you got to drive your bus, get the patients on, get them off. So 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, and then they’re sort of wrestling about it. You have to drive this bus through a lot of traffic. You have to cross lanes. You are an amazing bus driver who has to make decisions about where to go, not crash the bus, think about what the patients’ need, where they need to go, and you have to do all of that whilst you’re driving.

So now if you then stop at the next stop, and who gets on your bus, it’s all your worry thoughts. So the worry thoughts other than next in line at the bus stop, the old version of CBT would be, stop the bus and have an argument with a worry thoughts, have a decision, decide, stop bothering me because the worry thoughts start saying, you might crash. Be careful. Oh, have you gone the wrong way? Or don’t hit that, don’t go there. Be careful.

Or do you think you should go around the roundabout three times because you don’t want to miss your exit? So the worry thoughts are kind of tapping 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, rationalizing 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.

So a more act-based approach would be to say, okay, the worry thoughts are on the bus. What can I do about it? So 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, so you could do the four steps here actually.

So choose 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 with 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. I really need to pay attention to getting in there, so I need to focus on that.

So we 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 colors in the road ahead of me. I’m going to listen to the sounds. Notice my seat on the chair. I’m just going to be aware that I’m driving.

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 the 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, and they go and sit down at the back of the bus and kind of stop bothering you.

Then, W is wise mind, and 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 at the road and looking while I’m driving. So actually, what makes sense is for me to focus on driving and 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 practice as a GP.

So it really matters that I’m really focused and so on. Actually, that’s what’s important to me. So yeah, I’m going to bring my kind of reflective perspective on to how to deal with this situation and how to drive safely. So 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, I guess used to be called warped thoughts or maybe still still called warped thoughts, trying to argue yourself out, it sometimes works. Actually, you look at them, is that truth? People always actually like that. 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, and 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. 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, and it’s worth remembering that 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 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, and so you get stuck in a loop where you’re worrying. You’re trying to work 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. So, I have a few friends who are doctors and do suffer quite badly from anxiety, and they get very anxious about being anxious because like, well, 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, 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 a screw and you’re using a hammer, and 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 then we try and apply that to our own mental health and our own well being. Then surprise, surprise, it doesn’t work.

Lee: Exactly, and 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 they’re feeling very low, then actually, our cognitive processing goes all skew whiff. 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 that are actually offline anyway.

They’re not particularly effective at that point. So it’d be back to the O 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 color, you can see, and that I say, oh, I can see a green pen and a green cup and a blue bottle and a blue book.

I can say, what can you hear in the background, what’s the quietest sound and the loudest sound. Maybe 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 are really helpful.

So I would actually 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 arms at 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 stress. My toes, I’m 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 there’s much more to your experience and that one high level emotion, and 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 stabilize 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 and that goes offline when we’re stressed and anxious. So that has to be back online before you can even consider using cognitive strategies. So it’s quite late actually in the process.

Rachel: Here’s Dr. Caroline Walker from Episode 106 explaining the difference between caring about something and worrying about something.

Caroline Walker: Actually, there’s a difference between worrying about something and caring about it. So I think it’s okay to wish it was sunny, when it’s raining. It’s okay to care whether the weather is nice or not. There’s a difference in caring about it and worrying about it. So I think sometimes if we can acknowledge to ourselves, yeah, there’s this terrible things going on, right, we’ve got an awful pandemic. We’ve got staff shortages.

There’s too much work. We’re under-resourced. People are tired, anxious, uncertain about the future. All of that is real, and it’s okay to feel a bit scared, a bit sad. Any of those emotions that might be coming up for you, they’re all okay, so acknowledge them, allow a bit of space for them. Sometimes I find we worry and get anxious, when actually there’s another emotion going on that we’re not paying attention to. I think at the moment, we’re still grieving a lot.

We’re still quite sad about the loss of the life we were living, the loss of our security and our ability to make plans and trust that they were going to happen. Now, we’ve had lots of conversations this week with doctors and healthcare workers who maybe got a holiday coming up, and they’re still not quite sure if it’s going to go ahead or not. We’ve never had to live like that, really, before in our society.

Some societies have, but we’ve been very fortunate to live a life where things have been pretty predictable, relatively secure, and that still isn’t the case. I think that leaves us feeling a bit unsettled. It leaves us feeling quite sad. Those are difficult emotions to sit with. So actually, it can sometimes be easier to then get worried, because worry is like an active emotion, right, kind of gets us juiced up. It gets it’s active that we can do something about it. We think we can do something about it. Often, as we’ve just alluded to, we can’t because it’s not in our control.

Rachel: That’s so helpful. Though, yes, it’s a lot easier for us to admit to being worried about something than to be sad, and I think anger is very like that as well. I think sometimes if I feel undervalued or unappreciated or unloved and I feel sad about that, I’ll feel angry. Anger, not sadness, because sadness shows a lot of vulnerability, doesn’t it?

Caroline: Yeah. Well, maybe if we’re a bit embarrassed or a little bit ashamed about something like I get this around my parenting quite a lot. If I’ve missed something or not noticed something and then it’s pointed out to me, I’m like, oh, cringe. So I start to worry and get anxious, and it’s as I say, it’s an easier emotion. I know it’s not pleasant emotion to be anxious and worried but it’s slightly easier I think than some of the others.

Yeah, sometimes it’s worth thinking if there’s something else going on here that I’m not allowing myself to feel or pay attention to.

Rachel: That’s really helpful that there is a difference between caring and worrying because I do struggle with this idea of, and we teach this, don’t we, that everything outside your center path just got to accept. It’s really hard to accept it, and I think I’ve always thought that accepting it is just dismissing it, not caring. Actually, it’s not that. You can deeply care about it.

Caroline: Absolutely, you can care about climate change, but also have an acceptance around the limits around how much impact you might personally have around it. This is something I learned in my addiction recovery, actually, in my own personal recovery around addictions that we can care about the outcome of something, but still let go of it. So if I ask somebody to do something for me, I can care about whether they say yes or no, but ultimately, it’s not.

It’s not my responsibility, whether they say yes or no or not. It’s not in my control whether they say yes or no or not. If they say yes, brilliant, I’m going to be happy. If they say no, I’m going to be disappointed or sad or angry, or those other emotions will come up. So, yeah, we can still care about stuff, but let go of the outcome.

Rachel: That’s so important, because as you were saying with the driving. If you were driving along, you would care, you care about the fact you’re going to have an accident or not. Nobody wants to have an accident. But if you’re worried about it, conversely, the worry does the exact opposite of what it should do. The bit of worry to start off with helpful seatbelt goes o, but the more you worry, the more anxious you get you.

You go into your fight flight or freeze zone. You’ve got adrenaline racing around you in a sympathetic zone. You can’t think straight. You’re much more likely to crash.

Caroline: This is where something like a worry tree, and can be very helpful. So this is where you might ask yourself a simple question like, is this a real problem? Yes or No? If it’s a real problem, great, you go down the problem solving route. So if I get in my car, I say, oh, I might crash my car. Is that a real problem? Yeah, I might crash my car. It’s kind of real. What can I do about that? I put my seatbelt on. Okay. So I’ve taken action. I’ve kind of addressed the worry.

If the answer is, is this a real problem? No, it’s not a real problem, then you’re looking at other techniques, like worry time, that can be quite helpful. So that’s where you would set aside a time in the day or time in the week, when you’re going to specifically worry about things, might sound a bit strange and a bit fuzzy, but it really does work for a lot of people. What that does is it acknowledges this is something I want to worry about.

It’s worrying to me, it means something to me, I do want to give it some time and attention, but don’t let it take over my day. So I’m going to plan it, say, six o’clock tonight for 20 minutes. That was my worry time, that’s when I’m gonna think about it. Then when you get to six o’clock, you can worry as much as you like for those 20 minutes. Yeah. Often what happens when you get there is actually you’re not that worried about it anymore, and sometimes you are, but you’ve got your 20 minutes, right, and it hasn’t ruined your whole day.

It just manages your worries. This is one of those techniques, which says, worrying is normal. Let’s accept it’s going to happen, let’s kind of take a little bit of control and manage it, manage how we’re going to worry.

Rachel: Now, here’s Dr. Giles Croft in Episode 105 with his take on why we can’t necessarily believe all our thoughts.

Giles Croft: So when I say everyone works in exactly the same way, every single one of us is experiencing our thought system in the moment.

Rachel: Yeah.

Giles: In terms of behavior, we’re always going to do what makes sense, given our understanding of that one simple fact. Now, if we and so our behavior and we’ll see changes in ourselves as well, we’re fluctuating because our moods fluctuate all the time. When we’re in a low mood, we tend to believe our thinking. We tend to really invest in it. We identify it. We think it’s us, and we take it seriously.

So our behavior come from that place. When we’re in a much more lighthearted mood, we’re not taking off thinking seriously at all, and we’re operating from that default place of peace of mind, calm, wisdom, that’s when we’re actually connected to good ideas and creativity and wisdom and compassion. All of that stuff’s always there because that’s part of our connection to life and our connection to others. It’s only ever getting invested in that little left brain narrative.

Blah blah blah blah blah this means this, this means that, I’m this, I’m that, they mean that, this is, this is, going on duh, duh, duh, duh, constantly, it’s what it is to be human. It’s only ever so but the actual mechanism by which we experience life is exactly the same. So the difference between your friend who doesn’t get stressed about stuff is that it simply doesn’t make sense to attach to that narrative that’s going on.

Whether or not that’s something that he seen, I mean, for me, I know I just do better in life when I don’t attach to the jibber jabber in my head. It’s like I’ve seen through it. I’ve seen through its illusion. It’s not truth at all.

Rachel: Do you think he’s having the same jibber jabber in his head, and he’s not attaching to it?

Giles: I think you’ve got kids, haven’t you? So when there’s some bad behavior going on, we don’t tend to reinforce it to me, do we? When the light of attention is no longer on that bad behavior, then it tends to die out. From what I’ve seen with myself and clients is, the less attention we pay to it, the less it’s there. I’m human, so I fall for it, especially if I’m tired or hungry or something. It’s more likely that I’m going to fall for it.

But just knowing, I guess, just knowing deep down that that’s the way it works, and that even though it really, really looks like I’ve got a whole load of problems that essentially all problems are created by the mind. All problems are created by this narrative. There’s no other way to experience a problem than in the narrative in our heads. The more that we can see through that, the less insistent it gets, it becomes because you’re not shining the light of consciousness onto it.

So you’re not growing it essentially. What is it they say? What we resist, persists. If we pay a whole load of attention, it’s gonna stick around. If we don’t pay any attention, it’s not.

Rachel: So maybe he has just yet, absolutely trained themselves to pay attention to these thoughts and not the other ones, and then they’ve gradually gone down. I think we can all do that, to some extent, can’t we? But the issue is when I talk to people about is, you’re thinking about this thing that’s causing the problem. I do get that and I do believe that the problem is, it’s then the consequences of then saying no and then saying enough is enough.

Because yes, when you’re saying, is every single GP burning out? Of course not, because there’s not every single GP that burning out. Is every single GP that’s a partner running a practice spelling out? Of course not. There are some that doing really well. There are some that aren’t. They’ve all got a lot of pressure on them, some more than others.

I do think that if you put someone in a difficult situation for long enough and they do nothing about that, eventually no matter how resilient they are, how many resilience skills, eventually, their physiology with the chronic stress will cause a problem. But I don’t know, it’s just when you actually do have this stuff, you say don’t pay attention to those thoughts, but what if those thoughts are actually true.

Actually, if we don’t do this, we are going to lose the business, potentially. I won’t be able to feed my family, all those sorts of things, those consequences, actually. You say that probably won’t happen, but actually, you can see that if you made that decision to protect yourself that would happen. So you do choose to carry on doing what you’re doing so that you can still feed your family, etc, etc.

People feel then they’re trapped, and they have no choice. What do you do then, when the thoughts that you’re having actually make a lot of sense?

Giles: Oh, no, I mean, Rachel, don’t get me wrong. The thoughts that we’re having, they make total sense. They’ve evolved to make total sense. Like 75,000 years ago, when we split off from the chimps or whatever, and we evolved this ability to think about our own thinking, then it’d be no good, would it, if 75000 years ago, we had this thought that there might be a saber toothed Tiger. Is it a saber toothed Tiger?

Do I believe my thinking there and had a debate about whether or not we believed I think so it’s evolved. It’s evolved to be, to look so, so, so real and so true, but to take a step back from the situation. Yeah, I agree with you, and honestly, I would never ever, ever do this with any of my clients if they’re shook up, if they’re in the middle of a thought storm. If I’m in the middle of a thought storm, I’ve got a seven year old daughter, who will quite happily tell me, oh, Daddy, it’s just your thinking.

I’m like, oh, not that doesn’t help now, alright? It’s not gonna help at all in the thick of things. So then what we’re talking about here is taking a step back and really having a look at the nature of thought and the nature of experience. Yeah, hell, it looks real. It really looks like I’m running my own business. I have days where it’s like, oh, my god, I’m not gonna be able to feed my family in several months or something, and it’s all just a mind doing what a mind does.

I mean, I think of it as sort of a computer filing system. It’s using what it already knows. It’s using old stale data, and it’s trying to make predictions on the basis of that, so rifling through its little filing system. It goes, well, I know this, and I know this, and I know this. Okay, Giles, well, the best prediction I can come up with here is that’s going to help you and keep you safe from the modern version of a saber toothed Tiger.

You need to panic now, because you’re not going to be able to feed your family in two months. Now, because I’ve seen through that, I know it’s not helpful in any way. I mean, literally not in any way, it’s all completely made up. It’s 100% made up. It’s 100% fiction. It’s just a mind doing its thing, and I know that if I don’t pay any attention. If there are problems, I’m not saying there aren’t, there aren’t situations to be dealt with.

Those situations aren’t gonna go anywhere. They’re still gonna be there when I’m in a much better state of mind to actually deal with them. I know from experience that I’m in a better state of mind when I am in my default state of calm, clear-minded, connected to my wisdom, connected to common sense. I’ll be doing nothing in particular and a good idea. I have a good idea. I don’t get good ideas.

When I’m all stressed and believing my thinking and acting out of a place of fear and lack and insecurity, I do best. We all do best. Again, this is how we’re all made. You can look to your own experience, and see the truth in this is that we do best when we’re calm and clear-minded. That’s when we have good ideas. That’s when we solve problems.

Rachel: There’s a good neuroscience behind that, isn’t there? When you are making it as flared up and puts you into your stress zone, your fight, flight or freeze zone, when you are hyper adrenaline zone, your sympathetic zone, your blood is diverted, isn’t it? From your prefrontal cortex goes into your muscles, you literally can’t think straight.

Giles: Yes.

Rachel: It’s become very black and white. You’re not creative and broaden. Theory says that, if you’re in a positive state of mind, if you’re calm, you can be creative. You can think out of the box, which is important. What do you mean by the thoughts? So how do you talk about snowglobe, which I think has been quite helpful to explain a bit more about that.

Giles: If you imagine our default state as human beings is calm water, okay, and when it’s calm, we’re able to think clearly, and we’re able to come up with good ideas. It’d be intuitive and listen to our wisdom and all the good stuff. Then a stone gets thrown into the water. There are ripples, but those ripples, they die down of their own accord. We don’t need to try. In fact, if you tried to make the ripples go away, you’d make things worse, and it’s a bit the same with the snow globe.

Something happens to us. For instance, going back to my example, I wake up in the morning, and I’ve got racing heart. This is bad podcasting, isn’t it? Because I’m holding a snowglobe in front of the camera shaky because it’s on my desk.

Rachel: Imagine a slow globe and just shaking it in front of the microphone.

Giles: So yeah, I wake up my snowglobes shaken up, okay? Really all I need to do, the only thing I need to do is identify that a snowglobe is shaken up. I don’t need to do anything else, because the mind will come up with an infinite number of reasons why I feel the way I do. But all those feelings are telling me that racing heart, the slight nausea. I mean, first thing in the morning, I had a full bladder and was a bit dehydrated, that’s a good enough reason. So I have a racing heart. But no, no, no, my mind knows better. It’s straight off into my diary, into its little filing system. It’s like right what can be the reason for that? But it could have been anything else. It could have been,

Rachel: Patient complaints?

Giles: Patient complaints. It could have been a call that I’ve got later. It could have been a project I’m working on that I’ve haven’t come up with a solution yet. Boy, does my left brain not like having solutions. It likes to try and figure it all out and get it all down on paper and everything. So just saying that I’m shook up. I can see that I’m disconnected from that state of calm and common sense and wisdom.

If I want to see those people in the snow globe, what I have to do is to stop shaking it, is to stop entertaining that thinking, is to stop jumping. It’s like trains come into the state of thought. Trains come into the station. I can either watch the thought trains come and go, or I can jump on that thought train and see where it takes me. Well, if I jumped on the anxious about well being Wednesday’s thought train, before I know it, I’ve neglected the actual important work of the day that I’ve got planned because of running around like a headless chicken.

It’s not complicated. It’s not sexy. It’s not all, let’s do this and do that. All I do and help my clients with it is just to see the way that our minds work. Because the more that we can see exactly how we’re experiencing everything, then the less frightened we are of it. The less invested we get into trying to fix things mentally, when actually that’s what’s getting in the way of us having solutions to our problems.

Rachel: Okay, so how do you let it settle down? How do you get this , no, just settle when you’re in the middle of a dreadful, dreadful day?

Giles: Well, I suppose seeing at the level of principle, at the level of principle, there’s no such thing as a dreadful day. Seeing that dreadful is a concept. That’s all part of that left brain experience. What’s actually happening as human beings is that we have one moment after another, and we’re experiencing whatever we’re experiencing inside our perception, inside our thought system. The more that we see that, the less it makes sense.

It’s always going to be about doing what makes sense. It’s always going to be when I woke up with those anxious feelings, it didn’t make sense to me to entertain them. It’s all about awareness and understanding of what’s going on for us, understanding how the human operating system works. So in the middle of a dreadful day, it’s to see that you only ever experiencing the present moment.

Rachel: Finally, here’s one of my favorite guests, John C. Parkin, talking about how the eff it mentality can help you become ridiculously relaxed

John C Parkin: When we first understood the power of saying fuck it, and when I say we, I mean Gaia and myself, my wife and myself, we just set up a retreat centre in Italy. So we spent the previous few years setting this up, and the reason we were setting up the retreat center is because we were into meditation and Taoism, the kind of going with the flow philosophy, and Buddhism, the kind of supermarket mix, that the pick and mix version that is modern spirituality.

So we’re into a lot of alternative health and alternative spirituality, which if you can mix it up in a few sentences is about giving up on attachment, letting go, going with the flow, dropping into presence, those kinds of ideas. What we found was after having meditating every day, doing Tai Chi and Qigong every day, we found that when we were really stressed, we were saying, fuck it, and that had the peculiarly similar effect to a lot of those things that we’ve been practising as these Eastern, mainly Eastern, philosophical elements.

So when you say fuck it, you kind of give up on something. You let go on something. You drop out of this kind of world of meaning that we’re locked in, in the mind. So that was how it became this really neat, quick, very Western, it’s quickly is a tool that you can use it really quickly, and it’s a very Western phrase, obviously. It came a Western version of a whole bunch of Eastern philosophies.

Rachel: It’s just that shortcut to get you to that point of letting it go, accepting it, not having the attachment.

John: Yeah, yeah, it’s a shortcut in lots of ways. It’s because it’s very particular in our language fuck it, because you kind of know what it means. You know that your problem, the stress that you’re feeling, and the tension that you’re feeling is related to something, the it, but you’re placing too much weight on, and therefore you could do with saying, fuck it. There’s hardly anything else apart from the use of the swear word, which is very proven, scientifically proven to be very powerful in our brains.

It does a very particular thing just for the linguistic context of it, the meaning context of it, and there is that thing that they found that most of our language is generated on the left brain, and the swear words are generated in the right brain. So it looks like whenever we swear, there’s a jump, in very simplistic terms, and I know you have many scientists in your audience.

So in very simplistic terms, it looks like we jump to the right brain and right brain, again, in simplistic terms, if left brains more language, planning past, future, kind of more logic. If right, brain very broadly as more and calm, playful, uninhibited, and the spiritual connection, if that’s over there, then just saying the F word takes us into that part of the brain, which I think is amazing.

Rachel: I was reading that last night in your book, actually, and I hadn’t really got that before, even though I listened to the episode podcast that we did before. You talked about that there as well. But it suddenly just clicked for me that, ah, that’s why we need to access our right brain to deal with a lot of this stuff, because you’re puzzling it through, thinking it out works to some extent, but then you just get stoked, don’t you?

John: You’ve hit the nail on the head, really. Yeah, you can’t really sort this stuff out with the left brain, the logic brain. You can’t deal with anxiety, stress and everything else by thinking it through, because thinking is the problem. For most of these things, thinking is the problem. They know anxiety, most of it’s about Doom laden scenarios into the future. We have no idea what’s going to happen into the future, but we create a false idea world of what might happen.

Whereas it hasn’t happened yet, so it’s entirely mentally created. Most of the source of our stress is entirely mental, entirely mind that part of our mind created. So the solution is very rarely in thinking it through and certainly not thinking it through from that side of the brain. So that the solution, quite obviously really, is to go somewhere else not to try and use that to figure it out, to use something else, which is to try and let go to get into a different state, where literally, as well as the different parts of the brain being activated that we drop into a different frequency.

So the brain is at a different frequency, and the whole body will change under relaxation, so the body mind is changing. Then the problems, it’s like looking at problems from a completely different angle, a different space, and then the answers come quite more easily.

Rachel: Yeah, there’s a quote, I think it was Mark Twain that said, I’m an old man. I’ve known many troubles, but most of them didn’t happen.

John: Ah, yes. Beautiful.

Rachel: Great quote, and when I say, yeah, about the stress and the anxiety that a lot of our listeners are going through, I’m going through a lot of people working these high stress jobs. It is thinking about things that haven’t actually happened yet. There’s probably a bit of dwelling on the past, but mostly it’s worrying about the future. Yeah, you’re not going to use the same tool to solve it, and so just using the right brain, it’s gonna be helpful.

I had a quite an interesting experience the other night where I did a free webinar. We had loads of people signed up to it, and zoom has changed its settings. So yes, even though I had bought the large meeting, paid a lot of money to make sure everybody could get in, I hadn’t clicked the button to convert. It was something that happened. It changed. Normally, it had been fine, changed overnight, and only a limited amount of people could get in, and luckily I didn’t find this out until after the webinar.

Then I got messages, and I just felt awful because people have given up time to come, and they’d really want to come. Immediately, I felt this sort of weight of stress. I knew I was talking to you this week, actually, and I just I said, you know what, fuck it. There’s nothing I can say and genuinely work because even though the problem was still there, and I did what I could to make sure people had the replay and make it up to people and stuff. Just that saying fuck it, really, really helps, and it was quite surprisingly powerful.

John: Yeah. Yeah, it is. I always imagined it as acupuncture is that mod I’m used to when I have something going on. So I get some needles stuck into various bits, and it feels like the needle going into just the right spot, just the perfect thing, when the tension and the pain really builds up. Yeah, because it makes us really make a bit, bit punk parser. I’m mixing the metaphors now, but it’s puncturing the balloon of meaning, isn’t it, of massive meaning attachment to that thing.

This is so important to me. You’re also brilliant at kind of reframing it, as you say, making up to people. Yeah, it helps, no end.

Rachel: I guess when it’s something that’s happened, that you can’t change what’s happened, even though it is really important to you, there is genuinely nothing you can do to change what has happened in the past. So to me, that’s really, really helpful.

John: When you think things have gone wrong and there’s been a mistake, and then something else comes out of it, and later on, you’re able to see that oh, my goodness, that wouldn’t have happened unless that apparent mistake had happened. It does seem to be the case that when you’ve lived long enough on this planet, and you look at the big things that you went. Oh, that was awful.

When it happens, it’s awful. It’s terrible. You look a bit late or, well, I’m that wouldn’t have happened if that bit hadn’t gone wrong, or whatever it is.

Rachel: So this whole thing is about letting go of the attachment that we have to the outcomes of stuff, that right? Then the meaning behind that. I got that, right?

John: Yeah, you could argue at a real kind of basic psychological level that it’s our attachment to the meanings of things that don’t matter so much, so it’s getting perspective over things. So if we’ve got a kind of, let’s say, energy, energy in terms of traditional energy bandwidth, we use our mental energy bandwidth, and we’re using some of it to worry about. As I said, won’t worry about the bills, but at the moment, we have good reasons to be worrying about the bills, but some of its worrying about the bill.

Some of it’s worrying about whether the government’s going to change. So basically, you’re using more and more and more of the bandwidth to worry about things that in the end don’t matter so much. Then the bit that we worry about the things that we shouldn’t be worrying about which is health, kids, of all the survival stuff, really survival of us or our loved ones takes up this little bit in the corner.

So fuck it partly is about going, why you’d say taking up so much energy, worrying about that stuff. If you’re gonna worry, worry about the shit that matters.

Podcast Links

Join our January 2023 Anti-Challenge. Sign up here!
Check out the full interviews of the episodes we featured today!
  • Episode 119: How To Improve Your Mental Health In 10 Minutes with Dr Lee David
  • Episode 106: How to Stop Worrying When There’s a Lot to Worry About with Caroline Walker
  • Episode 105: The Simplest Way to Beat Stress and Work Happier with Dr Giles P. Croft
  • Episode 130: How to Say F**k It and Become Ridiculously Relaxed (Even about Stuff That REALLY Matters) with John C. Parkins
10 Minutes to Better Mental Health by Lee David and Debbie Brewin

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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 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’.

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