A few little changes to our daily routine can make a big difference in helping our resilience and stress levels.
Mary Darby Byrne: Hello and welcome to the brain train Mary Darby Byrne and today’s guest in the studio is Celine Mullins, welcome.
Dr. Celine Mullins: Hi Mary
Mary: You work on training and inspiring change.
Celine: Yes we worked with organizations and with individuals and groups around getting people to take responsibility and get awareness around the things that are holding them back and the things that might be holding them back in having a relationships that they’d like to have, with having the success that they’d like to have and getting rid of, of the things that are in the way of actually moving them forward.
Mary: Okay so is this what you’re everyday resilience program is about?
Celine: Yes, we have a number of programs and everyday resilience is around kind of getting a lot of techniques into your day, every day that will actually make you feel happier, will actually get some control over what’s happening in your brain, the kinds of thoughts that your having, where your focus is going. Really, really easy techniques that you bring into every single day from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to sleep. And so getting these things and every day, because there’s a lot of people in the moment in a states of frustration, very unhappy, very stuck with everything that’s been going in the economy and you know there’s been a lot of change taking place recently and all these different techniques bring control over what’s happening in the mind and make people feel much more resilient, can actually make people feel happier, stronger and more able to deal with the moment-to-moment things that happen around us.
Mary: Okay so, what inspired you to set up adaptas in the first place?
Celine: Well my background is I’m a psychologist and I’m also an actress and a producer. Really I wanted to bring all of those things together, because I could see the strength of what I was learning as an actor and producer, bringing all those things together with the psychology and also coaching, and I have studied various other things as well. So I bring everything together and have a looked for the best ways of moving people forward, and for myself personally there’s a lot of moments in my life where I felt very, very stuck and when I started studying all of these things, say with the psychology it made me much more aware of what was going on in my own brain, and my body and where I could actually make changes myself, around the kinds of thoughts I was having, say negative thought patterns, etc and then with the acting believe it or not I used to be a very, very shy little girl and when I started acting, it totally brought me out of myself, gave me this new found confidence and suddenly I was, I was almost like I kind of went from you know the cocoon to the butterfly within a few years of starting drama and I just always could see the strength in both of this things and bringing them together, I always wanted to work with other people, to help other people and I wanted to find a way that I could work with people and so also having studied the coaching and various other areas I looked for the best techniques to help people change quickly, rather than having to be say in therapy for 5-6 years, which is sometimes what happens. Sometimes people can have very negative experiences as children which set them up badly for life and even people who’ve had very happy childhoods, there’s all sorts of things that go on; all the habits, the patterns, the biases that we develop as children are what stick with us for the rest of our lives and often the patterns we’ve developed as children although, they worked for us when we were children when we reach adulthood they’re no longer working, but we’re still in those patterns and so it’s trying to get people’s awareness around this patterns, these biases, these habits and helping them change them.
Mary: What’s what would be a common denominator you see in people, or is there?
Celine: One of the biggest things for me is a lack of awareness for people around what their habits and patterns and their biases are and how this things impact on how they feel about themselves, and how they impact on other people and how their affecting their relationships. So their family relationships, their relationships with her friends and relationships in work and so that’s one of the main things for me is helping people become more aware of the things that are getting in the way of themselves and their relationships, and so it’s back to, you know the negative thought patterns and even positive thought patterns, you know it’s all these thoughts that keep going on in your head and your repeating them over and over and over again and they might not necessarily be the right ones to actually get you to where you need to be. A thing I’ve noticed I guess in the last couple of years, in Ireland we’ve always in Ireland had a predisposition towards you know, ‘oh! Sure you know tomorrow or whatever sure it’s grand, everything’s grand’. But in the last couple of years I think it just got worse. The rates of suicide have gone up, the amount of people on antidepressants has gone up. Obviously people are feeling quite beat down and again around awareness, people have to take individual responsibility for actually making changes themselves. You can’t expect a government or a bank or church or whatever to actually make the changes to your life, you’ve actually got to take responsibility and make changes every single day yourself, if you want your life to be the way you’d like it to be.
Mary: But It’s like, I think I find it strange when people go to, if they’re feeling depressed they go to a doctor to get a tablet, as opposed to trying to find out where the depression is coming on. That’s what I have found. The strangest thing is why don’t you do detective work on yourself, find the source of it and let it go.
Celine: The thing is a lot of people think that, well first of all they don’t have the tools to go and do the detective work. Secondly they don’t have the, well we haven’t been taught in school or college or by our parents a lot of the time how to identify the tools or the techniques to even ask ourselves the questions on, on what we should be doing differently. You know in school we learned geography, history, English, all brilliant stuff, but how useful is that for us in our everyday lives as adults in actually having positive relationships. The thing is that the happiest people in the world are people you live in communities with close-knit relationships, and if we’re going through our lives not having close relationships, it’s very, very difficult for us to be happy, to be content and to be resilient.
Mary: So tell me, your everyday resilience, these are just little techniques, as such. So this is like building a Muscle.
Celine: Yes, yes the thing is that what we’ve realised over the last couple of decades with the brain is that the brain is plastic. So you can change what’s happening in the brain, you can change the neural pathways. So if you imagine you’re walking down a road and there are all sorts of paths going everywhere and you’ve got a load of brambles in the way, and all these brambles are the upbringing that you’ve had, the relationships that you’ve had as a child, the and the biases, the patterns, the habits, all those things that have been created, I mean you know, even as teenagers and adults the relationships that you’ve had, the experiences that you’ve had in, in work etc. the experiences that you’ve had in the school. All this things that impact on how you feel about yourself how you think about yourself, and if you can imagine that there’s certain things that you can do for yourself every day, where, basically you can clear those brambles, that are in the way and you can create new pathways going in different directions. So the brain can actually, just, I won’t get too technical, but just with the neurons, basically you can actually get neurons firing in different ways, if you actually train the brain. And it’s interesting that your programme is called the brain train, because it’s so true, you can actually re-create those pathways in your brain and you can create new beliefs about yourself, new patters, new habits. So if we can actually take the time. People first of all don’t realize that we can do this, so it’s only beginning now to get out to the mass populous that actually the brain is malleable. Because up until a few decades ago scientists believed, that whatever way the brain has developed as a child, that’s the what you’re stuck with for the rest of your life. But actually that’s not the case. Does that make sense?
Mary: It’s a bit like a hard disk that you can wipe and re-program as such because you’ve out grown that particular program.
Celine: It’s not hard wired. So you can replace all the negative thought patterns and all the negative habits with positive ones, or ones that are better for you. It takes a little bit of work, you’ve got to put in the little bit of work every single day. But as I say there’s a lot of little techniques that you can implement very single day and after a certain amount of time those new patterns are formed.
Mary: They just kick in automatically.
Celine could you also do training in offices, you go out to schools, you travel around, but you where saying here and just in your brochure you say that70% of problems in organizations are due to poor communication. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, because one of the things I have discovered, is it wouldn’t occur to one person to pass this information on to that one. Or you have a communications board and people won’t even look at it.
So what do you, go in with a stun gun or something? What’s your approach?
Celine: I mean it’s just back again to bringing awareness to people around the fact that they aren’t communicating information. You know, I’m working with a lot of organisations who, a lot of staff within them say “I don’t know what’s going on half of the time”, “I don’t know what’s going on at the top”, “I don’t know what decisions are being made”, “sometimes I don’t know what decisions are until two weeks later and I heard it from somebody else rather than from the person who should have told me”, and I think a lot of the time it’s just, it’s back to, you know, we’ve got so much information coming at us every day, so much information coming at us from the thoughts that are going on in our mind. It’s so difficult to keep up with all information, you know with all the ads all around us, the flashing lights, the traffic lights etc. and so again the brain has shortcuts and these shortcuts it creates to be able to manoeuvre to help you manoeuvre through the world without being an insane mass with all this information coming towards you!
And so the thing is that, as individuals we’ve all created different shortcuts and so, we often forget, we have assumption around communicating the information. So I might assume that, ‘oh you know you don’t need to know that’ or ‘you’ll find out when you need to’ or ‘someone will tell you’ or ‘I’m just too busy doing what I need to do here to be going and having a chat with people’. Everybody’s very, very busy in their daily life at work. So, again it’s just around bringing people’s awareness to: ‘how am I communication this information?’, ‘Am I actually letting people know around me know?’, ‘Am I talking to my colleagues?’, ‘Am I talking to my customers and what do people need to know?’ It’s the assumptions we make, we make assumptions all the time, that people don’t need to get this information or that it will be communicated. And so a lot of the work that we do with organisations is around getting people clear themselves on how they communicate, because of those assumptions that we make, such as ‘If I looks at a person this way, they’ll know that means this, that, and the other’. But that’s not always the case.
Mary: It would make perfect sense that basically you have to have a little meeting in the morning, just to talk about what the plan is today. Because really it brings me back to school, when we had a timetable. You know you had forty minutes per class, forty minutes per class, of math’s or whatever and that structure worked very well.
Celine: It did yeah
Mary: So really in a way something like that in the workplace or in your life as such.
Celine: Yeah, well some of the most successful organisations, they have team meetings every single morning. Now a lot of people say ‘meetings, we don’t have time for meeting’s!’. However meetings can literally be 5 minutes long. All you have to do is ask ‘what’s working well for you this week?’ and then ‘Are there any issues?’ and then if there are any issues you can take them out of that meeting, and sort them out with the people involved. Five minutes for everybody to get-together, looking at what’s working well?, what’s not working so well?, what do we need to do here?, rather that people needing to get stuck sitting there for an hour with everybody having to be have involved when they don’t need to be. The top organisations in the world have little team huddles.
Mary: But it would make sense: here’s the plan for today, what’s on the agenda for today?
Everybody would know what going on, and then you can, move forward
Celine: And any updates, you know this is where sales are at and this is what’s been done in marketing, tor his is what needs to be created here.
Mary: What do you think are some of the improvements that you’ve seen in people who’ve applied your methods?
Celine: You know, again it would be very much around people becoming aware of the things that they do that are negatively impacting on themselves and on others. And once they get this awareness then we help them with, how can you improve this and what daily changes do you need to make? So it’s that awareness and learning the behaviors that will match it. We’re not talking about changing people into something that they are not. It’s just finding the best version of them, the best version of how they can operate in order for them to be more successful in what they’re doing and to be more content in what they’re doing so that they get the end of every day going thinking, ‘yes, I’m happy with what I’m doing’.
Mary: And do you find people end up taking a different career path as a result?
Celine: It happens, because sometimes people will realise ‘actually this is not where I need to be, this is not getting me where I need to, or where I want to be’ and it’s tough at the moment in this country and I think in a lot of places in the world, because people feel like they can’t go and look at another career or another job, because they’re not necessarily out there. It is very frustrating for me to see, people in a job, where they have to be everyday where they don’t like what they’re doing, where they are frustrated or they are angry and then they’re taking that anger one way or another on the work that they do and the people that they work with and also the people that they live with. There’s a lot of people who are falling out with friends, relationships breaking up left, right and center, because people are so frustrated. And the thing is if you’re not clear on why you’re doing something, you’re never going to be content, you are never going to be productive. We were talking earlier about people getting older and putting on a lot of weight, aging very quickly. A lot of this is down to people not doing what they enjoy doing everyday. Even if you’re in a job that’s not making you happy, at least find things in the evenings and weekends to do, with friends or with family. Make sure that if you love going for a run, really work that in to your day. Because that is going to serve you no end, it gives you a break, it clears your mind and also it helps the aging process as well. I’m going off in a tangent here but it help to keep you intact and it keeps, getting back to the neural pathways, it keeps your brain fresher, if you’re out doing the things that you enjoy.
Mary: Well it makes perfect sense. It was interesting was reading a book called the “Magic of thinking big”. I can’t think of the writers name at the moment, but he was saying in America, one of the execs, when he was picking, their top sales people he only picked the ones were happily married. He picked only the ones who were happily married and who do things with their family, because he said at the time they may be on the same par with their sales, but the guy who isn’t happy and doesn’t plan his weekend with his family and his kids and himself, is going to get bored and not be happy. So then he is coming to work, and is not performing well, whereas the other guy is constantly working and putting time into his family and is happy, is going to grow. He was saying, this is what this particular guy did which makes perfect sense.
Celine: Actually I know a couple who are both 60 yrs old recently, who both lost their jobs. They have worked, 12 hours a day, six days a week, never taking a holiday. All the money that they have was buying ‘stuff’. This ‘stuff’ is just sitting there, this ‘stuff’ is not getting used. They’ve lost their jobs and they don’t know what to do now. They haven’t developed any hobbies. They’re life has just been work. What’s the point? Yes, we have to work to survive. Don’t live to work, enjoy your life.
What’s that book, ‘On your deathbed, the five disappointment that most people have on their deathbed’. Something like that!
I can’t remember the main five. But one of biggest, what’s the word I’m looking for, disappointments was that they worked: I worked too hard work, too much, I didn’t spend enough time with my friends and family. I have this conversation with a lot with people, who are very goal oriented, achievement oriented, they really want to be a success and they say “well you know that’s what makes me happy; I work, I work, I work”. Really? You know if you’re on your deathbed are you going to look back going, yeah, I wasn’t born just to do this.
Mary: I remember, Richard Branson was being interviewed by Gay Byrne, I think on the late, late show at the time and Gay was saying to Richard, he said “you are doing so much, how do you have time, how do you have time for this interview?” and Richard said,” It’s quite simple I employ dynamic people, and I pay dynamic wages, which frees me up to do interviews like this and to live,” And then Gay asked him a few time, and Richard said, “but Gay, I pay dynamic people and I pay dynamic wages and if the people stop being dynamic, they move on’. And he said that is one of the keys! So he has all these people who love doing what they do, they get paid well, they got respected and that is that.
Celine: Richard Branson is a really good example of somebody who’s recognised what he is good at, and he spends his time doing what he is good at. He gets all the other people in and as you say, to do the things that his not good actually and that he doesn’t enjoy. He loves talking to people, he loves having new experiences and that’s what he spends his time doing and look how well it has worked for him.
Mary: What about of people doing volunteer work, and maybe just helping them, you know if they want to get out of a job or do something different?
Celine: Two points on that. I think I’ve been very lucky and also I’ve made some decisions in my life around marrying what I work at and my hobbies and the things that I love doing. I managed to bring, as I was saying earlier, the acting with the psychology together and also the producing. I say I’ve been lucky and also that I’ve made decisions because I guess I’ve been lucky enough, I managed to recognise, that I love doing those things and the benefits of those things and the marrying of them all. And, I have a lot of conversations with people who are working in jobs, who don’t like their jobs but haven’t recognized what they would like to be doing instead, or even what their hobbies are. And, so for people who don’t recognize what they would like to be spending their time on, I would say, go out and try lots of different things. Write a list of all the things that you’d like to do. Would you like to go, do a parachute jump? Would you like to learn how to tango dance? Would you like to be able to do thirty laps without stopping? Whatever it is, would you like to learn to sing? Recognize those things and start actually looking for ways to bring those things into your life. So even for something like a parachute jump, there are ways to get to do a parachute jump by helping a charity out, and so volunteering your time to help some sort of group or charity out is a brilliant thing, because you’re ticking boxes for yourself. You are getting to learn new things and you’re getting to help other people out, and as you work, and you volunteer your time helping other people, you also start recognizing how lucky you are, and what you have that maybe those people don’t have. One of the biggest things for keeping yourself feeling content and resilient is actually being grateful for and recognizing the things that you are grateful for. One of the things I do every single morning and every single evening is I tell myself three things that I’m grateful for. Every morning its ‘I’m grateful that I have legs, because I can get out of bed, I can go about my business because I have legs’. If I didn’t have legs, some people don’t, some people can’t use their legs, how lucky am I that I can?!, and so this is one of the things that I’m grateful for. That very thing..reminding myself that every day it, it feeds into the rest of my day and once I’ve identified those things that I’m grateful for. Like this morning I started making a list in my head before I got out of bed about the things that I’m grateful for and there were about eight of them that came into my mind immediately. Now if something was to happen to me later today. You know as in a car crash or something and I have got my brain in a positive state of mind, from knowing that I’m grateful, that’s going to bring me through whatever happens later today. I will be able to bring myself consciously back to the things that I’m grateful for. Okay, maybe I do lose my legs, but I still have those seven other things that I thought of this morning, and that will bring me through to the next day. What’s really interesting is that people who go through something really Harrowing or something really amazing, you know like win the lottery or something like that. Somebody who loses both the power in their body or wins the lottery or gets that massive promotion at work or whatever. You have a few days or a few weeks or a few months or even a few minutes of a high or a low, but eventually everybody comes back to the state that they started out. So if I’m reminding myself what I’m grateful off every morning, then I’m already at a higher state of being than if I hadn’t. So whatever happens to me this afternoon, if I’ve managed to get myself into that state every morning, I’m going to be way better off because whatever happens to me, if I go way down, I’m going to come back into that state, does that makes sense?
Mary: That makes perfect sense, which links into your everyday resilience, which is building your muscle and if you keep building that, that makes perfect sense.
Celine: You need to do it every day.
Mary: Well you get up every day!
Celine: How much effort is it to think a few of those thoughts ever day?
Mary: Yeah one, two, three things, gosh that what’s what I do have.
Celine: Another thing that’s brilliant actually is, when you wake up in the morning make yourself smile. The brain doesn’t know the difference between a real smile and false smile, so if you make yourself smile, you are getting yourself into a happier state getting out of bed and that will carry you through, and regardless again if anything happens this afternoon or tomorrow, just make yourself smile. It will be much easier to react to whatever that thing is.
Mary: If you have just joined us, today’s guest in the studio is Celine Mullins and Celine is from adaptas and we are here talking about basically, Everyday Resilience. How to change your old ways of thinking, to bring in a new way of thinking, to help you move forward basically and there are different ways of doing that and also getting hobbies, doing volunteer work. So Celine if people want to contact you, if they want to get in contact with you, if they want you to go into their business, or their school, would you call out your website and your number for people please?
Celine: Sure yeah it’s www.adaptastraining.com and if anyone want to e-mail us its firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mary :OK, and where did you get the name Adaptas from?
Celine: Adaptas is a Spanish word and obviously, it means to adapt. What I love about it is, a Spanish friend of mine, when I asked what she thought of it, as a name, she said it means, ‘get on with it ‘and I think that’s a really good thing, because, you know it’s back to what I was saying about when you wake up in the morning, it’s all about getting on with it, it’s all about choosing how you want to live your life, how you want to react to things. You know because so many people are so stuck right now and if you don’t take control of your own thoughts and your own reactions to things, and take responsibility, then you are going to remain stuck. We are so lucky, because as a species we have these incredible brains, we can change, we can adapt to whatever’s going on we adapt to our environment. We can choose how we adapt to that environment and I guess for me, it really only hit me even though I’ve studied psychology and coaching and everything. It was about four years ago that I really recognised “hang on, every single thing that happens to me, it comes back to me. It’s not somebody else’s fault that I had an argument with them, or we had an argument. It’s not somebody else’s fault that something didn’t go the way I planned. It’s my fault. I have to take responsibility and, and if I take responsibility, everyday is easier. I have much more control over what happens to me and, and what doesn’t happen to me.
Mary: So if somebody wants to start to change things and improve their life, what advice, or where would they go? What would you recommend? A starting point for people? Besides going to you!
Celine: You know, as a say I just think, look at what is working for you and what isn’t. Are you achieving the things that you want to? are you having relationships you want to? are you taking the time to learn the things that you want to? Learning new things is really, really important for keeping the brain young and there’s been a huge amount of research that’s been done on the memory. Memory skills can be improved through learning new things. So they’ve taken people who were in their 60s, 70s and 80s (years old) and got them to learn new technical things. Learning a new language or learning a musical instrument or learning how to use a technical computer program, it can actually rewinds the memory ability back to when it you were 20 or 30 yrs old. So if you are constantly learning things through your life, you are going to keep your brain younger and therefore you are going to be able to respond to things better. You’re going to be able to adapt to whatever comes your way, and so, I would, I guess say, that’s the biggest piece of advice; to make sure that you’re doing the things that you enjoy doing, and keep challenging yourself, keep asking ‘what can I do every day or eat every week?’ or you know whatever amount of time you have, because it will keep you young, will keep you alive, keep you fresh and also. You know the things I was saying earlier and obviously there’s still loads more techniques, but do things like reminding yourself what you are grateful for and then even at the end of every day, (again because I know that a lot of people are feeling very stuck right now, because of the situation and their recession etc) think about the things that you’ve achieve that day, ask yourself ‘what did I achieve today.’ ‘Well I smiled at a stranger in the street and they smiled back and you know that made me feel happy’, or ‘I managed to drink two more glasses of water instead of coffee or beer or whatever…just recognizing those little things you’re doing for yourself every day.
Mary: It’s just a little isn’t it? Just tweaking you don’t have to have the full monty all in one day.
Celine: That’s the thing. A lot of us think, and I used to think this as well, ‘oh if I really want to do the things, that I want to do, I’m gonna have to make massive changes in my life!’ But, actually it’s just a few.
Mary: It’s a little bit very day, isn’t it because otherwise you get overwhelmed,
Celine: And if you manage to do those things for a few days and then you fall of the wagon and you forget to do them, that’s fine just get right back on. If you’re trying to get fitter, and you’re doing exercise everyday and then three days into it, something else comes up and you don’t get to do it, don’t beat yourself up, do it again. Because you’re going to be strengthening the neural connections, you’re going to be learning the new thing, you are going to be keeping yourself happier and healthier, more alive and vibrant.
Mary: And tell me, what do you think is the biggest, if you can answer this, what was the biggest wake up or awareness that you got when you have been going into these different companies and working with these people?
Celine: Oh yeah, that’s another thing that I love about my work, is that I get to work with different individuals and groups every day, and I am constantly learning new things about myself. It’s very funny, because the word expert, I kind of don’t really like the word expert because, I don’t think we are really ever experts in anything. There’s always so much to learn and every group I work with, I learn new things about myself. The day that I don’t think I’m learning something new about myself or other people or communication or relationships, is the day I would stop doing what I’m doing. You know because life is for learning and it really makes me sad when I meet people who don’t value learning or don’t recognize the value of learning. Because life is very short. We don’t know what’s going to happen next. We don’t know what’s going to happen in two hours time. It could be over you soon so you might as well make the most of it.
Mary: Yeah I, I suppose maybe some people have the old, school was dreadful, so they don’t want to, and maybe they associate learning with that. But you know, if they went into college and you know it’s pretty good or I’m not doing that anymore. I suppose you can unplug.
Celine: There’s a lot to be said for, I mean we could get stuck on “oh! That was terrible”, “and this was terrible” but what you want to do? Move forward going “ah nah everything is rubbish” or do you wanna go “hey, let’s get on with it!”.
Mary: Ok, well speaking of getting on, call out your website and your number again for people
Celine: Ok sure, its www.adaptastraining.com and the e-mail is email@example.com
Mary: Celine Mullins, thank you so much for coming in today. It’s been really enjoyable.
Celine: Thank you Mary.
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