Create an Optimal Life
Interviewing Poppy Cross
Fulfilment in mind, body and soul is the key to good mental health and happiness. I chat to Poppy Cross about how life coaching and nutrition can support you and what measures you can take, to recognise and positively impact your mental health.
In times of hardship and happiness, it is valuable to have the ability to connect with your body and open your mind. The brain is our most powerful muscle, in the words of Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right.” By learning how to utilise the power of your mind, you can push through any reasonable obstacle.
How can a Life Coach have a positive impact on my mental health?
Unlike traditional counselling in unearthing the past, life coaching is about excavating your personal barriers, limiting beliefs and behaviours. Life coaching helps to amplify your talents and set clear destinations and goals for the present and what you want to happen in the future. Find what you are dulling down that could really help to propel and realize the tools inside you.
Humans evolved to have a negative bias, simply to keep us safe from danger. But as communities grew into a civilised society, this part of the brain is still to catch up.
Humans evolved to have a negative bias, simply to keep us safe from danger.
Society also plays a role that encourages you to be ‘realistic’, especially with british culture, making you think you’re dreaming too big and to aim lower. This means, people end up in jobs they don’t like and take a good wage as enough, but are actually unfulfilled.
The voice of the saboteur is real, you have nine that are limiting beliefs and behaviours, put simply, the human brain is wired with the ‘negative bias’.
By changing your behaviour and retraining the monkey brain you have, in nutrition, fitness and mindset, you can ultimately have a profound effect on your mental health. It’s understanding if those fears are in fact valid.
How did you establish that wellness affects your mental health?
I’ve always been interested in psychology throughout my journalism career. I was lucky to be writing about health and wellness for major publications but something just wasn’t quite fitting and it wasn’t making me come alive.
My fascination into how humans are wired and how to live optimal life quickly grew. Shortly after I got into meditation and focused more on nutrition and wellness, I then realized there were no drawbacks to being mindful, why on earth wasn’t everyone doing it?
The benefits are amazing and helped me so much to gain perspective on my own personal grievances. It was something I was fascinated with that I wanted to share.
I read an article by Fiona Buckland, which ultimately became a game changer in my life and motivated my training into becoming a life coach. It’s incredible how another person’s insight can give you a new focus on the missing element in your life.
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Simply, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Stated by Albert Einstein which encompasses the philosophy of behaviours, setting intentions and being accountable for them. You will only get a different result by putting in a different input.
This is where I come in, the relationship with my clients is unavoidably, hugely personal and by understanding an individual’s needs in physical or mental health, guides their upward curve to a better life.
Where does good nutrition fit in?
Thousands of people have previously stated, ‘you are what you eat’ and you don’t have to be a dietician to understand that biochemistry has a direct impact on your mental health. From simple self motivation to serotonin release, the fundamentals of sustenance adversely affects brain engagement and optimal energy to focus on your goals.
I’m really fortunate to have been brought up on a good example of a healthy diet. Similar to sleep, you can’t function properly if you haven’t had adequate amounts of both. The best you can be, is being the best you can be.
For instance, I always make sure to eat lunch before my afternoon client calls as I physically and mentally engage better. I’d rather be well nourished and late than hungry and on time.
If you are curious and have the desire to know how you would feel with positive cycles in your life, you can take small steps such as having a wholesome breakfast to start each day. Nothing drastic and overwhelming that will set you up to fail, just keep in mind the end goal is to be happy and healthy. The rest will follow.
Good nutrition is about enjoying the balance and having those comfort foods. By registering the effect and questioning the physical changes on your mental health when you don’t eat as well, can result in profound motivation to improve your diet habits and overall wellness.
If you want to change and perform better just set a little goal each day. Simply grow from there, giving yourself gentle objectives that are achievable, offering a better prospect to be long lasting changes.
Remember, there is no downside to living a healthier life. Note all of the areas it’s going to change, how you think and feel, your relationships, your balance of hormones and keep the understanding of how exciting those changes can be.
What are your top affirmations and/or behaviours daily?
Being out in nature everyday – your nearest park or even a walk out into your garden can reset your mind. Breathe in the fresh air, let your blood flow and listen to the outdoor world. This very simple step gives me a release from daily stresses and lets me shut the door when needed.
Breathe in the fresh air, let your blood flow and listen to the outdoor world.
Gratification – I always end my day by thinking of at least three things that I’m grateful for that day.
Movement – I love running, outdoors and in nature. It fills me with endorphins and releases the built up stresses from the day or motivates me for the challenges ahead. If I feel I need to be more gentle for myself I will just go for a walk.
Mind and Soul – Breath work is something I build into my day, even just 10 mins breathing exercises a day at home or during my walk can bring my anxieties back in check and calm the mind. If you want to try breath work I’d recommend the podcast Breath Pod which has had a significantly positive impact on my mental health. At the moment the Goop series on Netflix has an episode on the Wim Hoff method which is just fascinating. A captivating and quick insight to the benefits of breathwork.
“What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract .What you imagine, you create.” This quote by Buddha encompasses good mental health and the power of positivity, a thought I carry with me continuously and refer to in those moments of feeling overwhelmed.
What are your top recommendations of places or resources that offer support for your mental health?
One of the popular trends in the past couple of years has been a focus on retreats in the UK and abroad. These are a great space to reset yourself but with the current pandemic limiting travel and the expense involved, it may not be an option for many.
Accessible information is so easily available now, at literally an arms length.
Accessible information is so easily available now, at literally an arms length. Your app, Wholesome World is a perfect example of this as it offers a wealth of links and resources surrounding nutrition, scientific insight and digital health links.
Other apps I love include All Trails which offers routes suitable for running and walking to discover right on your doorstep. Also, House Party to keep in touch and video call friends and family couldn’t be more valuable at this time, alongside Breath Pod as previously mentioned for tips on meditation and breathwork.
I’m a big fan of podcasts and couldn’t praise Mind Valley more, which is full of prestigious thought leaders, behaviour scientists and well being companies inspiring good health. The great thing about podcasts is that you can incorporate them to your daily exercise and get inspired in a positive environment, I often listen to them whilst out walking or running.
My favourite blog to read is by Brene Brown, this place is my school of life. I find her words resonate with me, I consume what I love for personal growth.
Everyone’s education is personal and it’s the trick of finding what interests you and grasping it with both hands to live a fulfilled life in this wild and wonderful world.
You can find Poppy on Instagram @poppycross or find out more about her life coaching services here.
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