Can we talk about mental health?

I used to hate using the term mental health.

If I had to use it, I’d insert it into sentences under my breath, like one would a swear word.

I only recently realised why.

When we talk about mental health, we are almost always actually talking about the absence of it.

We mean ‘mentally unhealthy’.

And, no one wants to be mentally unhealthy or, worse, mentally unwell or ill.

But, can we talk about this for a little bit?

I’ll start 🤓.

I have to work really deliberately on my mental health.

Kind of like how I have to work on my physical health, or I’ll be physically unfit and physically unhealthy.

I need to eat fresh food, drink water, and move. Every day.

If I don’t, I feel very unwell, physically.

There you go.

That was easy.

No big deal to talk about being unfit, right?

It makes perfect sense.

Then, why is it so taboo to talk about needing to work on mental fitness. Why is there so much shame in it?

I don’t know the answer to that question, but, I know that it’s true that almost nobody wants to admit they need a mental health regime…or talk about what happens when we don’t feel mentally well (including me, until now).

This is how I see it…

Our minds are incredibly powerful machines, but, almost no focus is put on giving us skills on how to use it.

If you want to learn how to drive a car, you take lessons and get a license….but, our minds?

We’re just left to the wilderness. Stumble along until it all works out. Or doesn’t.

Not once during my 15+ years of education was I taught any practically applicable tools on how to run my mind and be mentally healthy.

The result is that my adulthood thus far has a graveyard of ideas and half-projects that I haven’t able to bring to life, relationships that have suffered and hours and hours of agony.

You see, if I am not focusing on my mental health regime, I am terrible to around and I get nothing done.

I am moody, volatile, angry and snappy. I procrastinate and get depressed. It ain’t pretty to be around. And, it’s even worse to be trapped in my own skin.

I’ve got big dreams and plans – but, without being mentally fit, I have no chance of achieving them.

In the last few years I’ve wasted months and thousands of dollars because my mental hygiene hasn’t been in place and I haven’t been able to show up the way I need to in order to have the life I want.

Maybe you can relate? Have you ever felt so frustrated and desperate that you’ve Googled “How do I get my shit together?”

I looked everywhere for someone else who had already created a system or product I could use, but there just isn’t one I could find.

I had to ‘scratch my own itch’ and create a system for myself.

This is what I do and it keeps me on track.

Every week I focus on and implement a new mental health habit.

I pick a new tool, habit or ritual (one that I’ve learned about from other successful “Titans” in the world. Usually from Tim Ferriss’ Tools of Titans. What’s the point of these amazing resources if we don’t actually implement them?!)

I deliberately apply it to my life for that week.

I have an accountability partner who checks in with me and whom I check in with.

At the end of the week I assess if the new tool has added value to my life and the decide to keep it or ditch it.

That’s it. Simple, but not easy.

It has changed my life completely.

If you’d like to play along, I’ve created a way for you to do that. You can benefit from the ground-work I’m already putting in.

Each week, I’ll be setting a new challenge containing a tool or habit that’s working for me, assign you an accountability partner and get us all that bit closer to achieving our goals (and becoming a more mentally healthy version of ourselves).

Keep your eyes out for when it releases. You can join this group https://facebook.com/groups/differently.life to be sure you don’t miss it.

I can’t wait to have you as part of it.

Yours in friendship and freedom,

Tamryn

Man in the arena

You know that one thing you know you will never do ‘cause you are too 💩 scared?

For me, it’s karaoke 🎤

I like to seen as ‘together’ and ‘awesome’ (it’s a thing of mine that I’m working on) and since I can’t sing to save my life, karaoke would make me appear ‘human’ and ‘normal’ or, worse, incompetent 🙈

That just wasn’t how I’ve been prepared to show up, until recently.

See, it was my fav cousin’s 50th fancy-dress karaoke birthday party and she chose me as her wing woman in the opening act. I adore Darlene and needed to show up, fully.

As I typed a reply to her ‘Yes, I will sing with you’ I could hardly believe my own eyes.

I instantly felt anxious.

Like, waiting-outside-the-headmaster’s-office level of tummy-turning.

As the days and then hours tick-tocked away and the moment I needed to ‘make a fool of myself’ drew closer, I really had to dig deep.

It was only in a last minute panic while in the car on the way to the event that I remembered a trick that I have taught other people about for years…but, never *really* had an activity that scared the bejesus out of me enough that I actually needed to use it.

It worked, and you can use it too.

As we drove and I felt my tummy flutter (and seriously considered feigning a fender bender as an excuse as to why we couldn’t make it), I *decided* that feeling was excitement, not nervousness.

That’s it.

I went a level deeper.

I imagined how fun it would actually be to giggle and laugh and PLAY the fool rather than be the fool.

I pictured Darlene’s big smile as we were having fun and I imagined how we would talk about how awesome it was to have sung karaoke…IN THE PAST 🤣🤣🤣

In an instant, I felt the sensation shift to genuine excitement.

It was fleeting, but it was there.

Anxiousness returned. So, I imagined again.

Excitement was back.

I thought to myself …”Wow, this actually does work… it is some crazy powerful stuff”.

Listen… I still couldn’t eat any of the starters and felt so tingly I didn’t dare have too much “liquid courage”. But, I was genuinely excited and I did it.

And, it WAS fun.

There’s science behind my trick (Harvard science), do some reading around it.

But, more than reading about it – try it!

The physiological state of anxiousness of socially evaluative situations is exactly the same as the physiological state of excitement and you can mentally re-frame it.

The very next time you are being assessed or judged and feel anxious .. a test, a presentation, karaoke…anything, put it into practice.

Let me know how it goes…

Your friend in freedom,

Tamryn

P.S. Mel Robbins, who I mentioned in last week’s mail, also talks about this exact re-framing in her book The 5 Second Rule. I really recommend it.

P.P.S. It’s my son Max’s first birthday today…so, I didn’t actually write this email today. I’m out having fun with him.

Yay for automation!

P.P.P.S. Did I mention I was dressed as Marylin and was wearing my 94 year old grandma-in-law’s wig👇

Crypto Queens

1000 years ago, if you dreamed of impacting an entire nation…you needed to be an empress or a queen. Today, any one of us can.

That’s a Peter Diamandis idea, and I’m really into it. 

He explains that because of exponential technologies, we all have the ability to reach and impact a billion people (or more). Something that was only reserved for royalty in the past (*Bonus* we also have aircon, electricity, clean water & regular fresh food … more than Cleopatra herself had).

For me, understanding just how powerful technology can be is a key piece of the freedom puzzle. 

We all want to be more free, right?

We just aren’t really aware of all the ways in which we are not free until we see someone else who actually is. And then, we ask ourselves: “How is she doing it?!”

That, I can tell you… I will even show you. 

It all starts with this one simple question I consistently ask myself: “How can I use technology to build more freedom into my life?”

The answer is repeatedly: “In so many ways, Tamryn!”.

Here are the top 3 that have literally changed how free the past 30 days have felt for me.

📲 Techno hack #1: 

Automate my business so that I have more free time to play with my 11 month old. (Yes, posting blogs while I am out on the grass giggling).

📲 Techno hack #2:

Using the internet to tap into other people’s genius.

(Access to an American in France who runs a cooking school in Julia Child’s summer home AND coaches kick-ass entrepreneurs – like me 😇).

📲 Techno Hack #3:

Being part of a global renaissance that is possible only because of brand new exponetial technology.

(Actively participating in creating an entirely new financial system).

Say what? That last one sounds dramatic! 

‘Cause, it is. 

And it’s got me really fired up 🔥🚀 🔥🚀🔥🚀 🔥🚀🔥

That’s what this is about, number 3.  

You can be part of the biggest shift in the financial system since the beginning of time – and, how you can exercise your power-of-a-queen (with the riches to match). 

I’m talking cryptocurrency and blockchain. Yes, that’s right. Don’t be scared. It isn’t as difficult or dangerous and you may have heard and I want to break it down for you so that you can call yourself a Crypto Queen without any confusion.

If you don’t believe that I’ve created something *that* simple… you can come and see for yourself on my crypto queens community: https://www.facebook.com/groups/cryptoqueens

I created it when I came across the unbelievable statistic that only 4% of all crypto is held by women. That means of the $217,052,962,298 industry (that’s 217 billion USD for the huge-number-challenged like me), women are only cashing in on a teeny tiny single percent piece of the pie.

And, if we are experiencing the biggest shift in wealth in the history of our financial system (yes, I believe we are), then..women are being left behind out of the wealth. Again.

I’m not okay with that. And, that’s why I made this for you. 

This you can learn in the group:

👑 if Bitcoin (& other digital currency) is for you, 

👑 if you want to build more freedom into your life by making cash with cryptocurrency and – most importantly – 

👑 if you want to free billions of other people by creating a new financial system that gives everyone access to currency, not just the people who already have money.

I’ll be teaching these 3 secrets:

🤫 How people have made big money with Bitcoin, even with only $100 to start.

​🤫 Why personally buying & controlling your own Bitcoin is key to avoiding hackers and scammers.

🤫 The #1 best time to start getting Bitcoin.

See you there!
https://www.facebook.com/groups/cryptoqueens

Self-directed learning: a current trend or future-proof method of learning?

Written by Nicole Chapman on July 30th 2018

In today’s parenting world there is a growing trend of parents selecting to home-school their children or place them in self-directed learning programmes.

Why are so many parents selecting to do this? 

Increasingly, parents are concerned that the formal education system will not prepare our children adequately for future job prospects. 

Structurally, not much has changed in the current education system in last 100 years. But, when you look at the world around us just about everything else has. Students are being forced to learn specific subjects, at the pace of the class average, regardless of where their interest or abilities lie.

Consequently, students have been experiencing a rise in anxiety levels, failure rates continue to increase and absenteeism is at an all-time high. 

Many parents will argue that a formal schooling system is necessary especially for those students who lack the discipline and motivation to do it for themselves. They believe that their children must first be exposed to a wide range of subject areas before they know enough to choose to specialise later on in the tertiary education system. These parents also believe that their children must understand the importance of hierarchies. The authority figures; grading by age, academic and athletic performance; and special status given to ‘leaders’ in the current system is seen as necessary preparation for the ‘real world’.

Many parents believe that because they themselves went through a formal schooling system and went on to live very successful lives, then the system must have worked. But what jobs will be available to our children in the next 10 – 20 years?

Yes, we will always need doctors, lawyers and engineers, but with unemployment rates increasing and Artificial Intelligence looming large, our children need adaptability, grit and critical thinking. 

Consider Elon Musk, the maverick billionaire founder of PayPal, Tesla and SpaceX. He doesn’t have just one passion. He has interests and ideas that he develops and pursues. He has had his hand on dozens of projects that range from the digital world, to futuristic space exploration and the engineering of lifelong batteries. Musk has the ability to identify bold new opportunities, devise disruptive new solutions and build the teams required to deliver on them. Musk also happens to be an advocate of self-directed learning.

Self-directed learning allows children to become ‘true learners’. 

They are encouraged to find a topic that interests them and develop that passion. If your child is interested in gaming, why not guide them into developing their own games. If your child is interested in painting, then why not let them watch online tutorials on painting methods. Why not let them paint.

There are thousands of apps available for just about every interest and then there is also our good friend Google who always has the answers.

And if your child loses interest in painting?

Well, that is perfectly normal, and we need to be there to encourage them to find a new interest or passion that they can pursue. By following the self-directed learning model you will find that your child is enthusiastic about learning because they doing something that they are interested in, they may not even want to stop for dinner on a good day.

We all want the best for our children. We want to keep as many doors open for them while encouraging them to be entrepreneurs, self-thinkers and not just followers. 

So how can we do this? 

Here are six advantages that self-directed learning has to offer: 

1. Anxiety-free: Learners are not being forced to do anything they don’t want to do and they are able to work at their own pace and level thus creating an anxiety free environment. We all want this for our kids. Seeing your child anxious on a daily basis in torture. 

2. Encourages creativity and innovation: Learners are fully invested in their projects and seek ways to improve their idea’s or talent’s. You can see your child’s face light up when they are trying to show you something they created, beaming with pride. 

3. Self-paced: Self-directed learners have no time pressures. Many students in formal schooling crack under the time limits that teachers and the curriculum enforce, causing added anxiety to an already stressful situation. 

4. Occurs anywhere and anytime: The beauty about self-directed learning is that inspiration can occur at any time not matter where you are or what you are doing. All it takes it a little idea to strike and boom you are learning and developing that thought. 

5. Developing real learners: Instead of being forced to complete an assignment or learn about biodiversity; self-directed learners become true learners in that they are teaching themselves about that topic, that way learning the content. 

6. Intrinsically motivated: Learners are driven by self-motivation because they are interested and engaged in every topic. They feel a sense accomplishment and reward when working on something that they are fully invested in. 

Think about your own learning as an adult. What interests in you? We actually do this type of learning all the time without even realising it. If you see a meal you like, you do a little research to find the best recipe, tweak it, and make it.

You do this without anxiety, without time pressure, and throughout, you are interested and engaged. If your recipe doesn’t quite work, you tweak it and try it again. This type of iterative learning and discovery works incredibly well for us, so why are we not letting our kids learn in this same fashion? 

Mostly, I believe, it is because we do not know there is another option.  We’re doing what was done for us, and what our friends and family are doing for their children.  So that’s our mission.  We’re here to help you build confidence about another option; another way of learning.  We’re here to help you future-proof your kid.

About Author: Nicole Chapman

Nicole is a zoologist by training and mother of three energetic boys. She participated in ground-breaking research on elephant herds.

For the last decade, Nicole has been both a teacher at an elite private school.

I prepared for my birth as one would prepare for a triathlon.

At 7:28pm, November 12th 2017, I gave birth in my bedroom after 3 hours of active labour and very little fear. 

It was magical. 

I’m sharing with you how I created the conditions that allowed it to happen. But, first, let’s talk about birth a little.

I never imagined I would have children, and for most of my adulthood the thing I mourned about that fact as never giving birth.

I had always viewed birth as an incredible right of passage; an ancient experience that – in our modern lives of laptops and smart phones – was one of the few opportunities available to us to participate in something that (wo)man had been doing since the beginning of time. And I wanted to do it exactly the way they had been doing it.

There is something so incredibly powerful about the chance to be so primal. And, when I finally did plan to give birth (after a long road of infertility and sadness), I wasn’t missing out on it for all the “norms” in the world.

The shiny medicalised world of birth one encounters in the 1st-world-hospitals of 2017, offers something very different from the experience I had in mind, so I went about finding out why it is that 26% of women who want to have a “natural” vaginal birth end up with a caesarean section.

(Please note, I am pro-choice when it comes to birth. If you choose to have a c-section, you fall into a different statistic. I am speaking specifically about women who choose vaginal and end up with a c-section … and usually a big dose of trauma to boot).

If you want to have an unmedicated vaginal birth – the kind women have been having for thousands of years, below is a set of resources that is going to give you the best chance of that happening. 

It turns out, unless you take courage and the active steps necessary to create the circumstances that will allow this birth to happen, it won’t.

First,

1. Watch this The Business of Being Born

Don’t skip this step. It is essential that you understand how the medicalised model of birth (i.e. just going with the current Western norm of using a obstetrician, and birthing in hospital) is very likely to leave you with a birth experience that you didn’t actually hope for.

You can rent it for $3.99 (R47.90).

2. Read Basic Needs of Women in Labour

It’s 10 pages long and will take less than 30 mins. It’s written by South African, Ruth Ehrhardt and summaries the work of Michel Odent, a French obstetrician who oversaw 1000 births a year for 23 years and captured his observations.

You can get the ebook for $5,74 (R68.90).

Once you’ve watched The Business of Being Born and read Basic Needs of Women in Labour, and idea of a natural unmedicated birth resonates with you… here’s how you proceed:

3. Begin a daily practice of Spinning Babies 

Our modern lives have left our ligaments in our pelvis tight, no matter how fit and active you are. You need to prepare your pelvis for birth through a daily practice of stretching. Gail Tully, creator of spinning babies, is an excellent teacher and will teach you how to do it.

There are many free videos available, but I recommend her paid parent’s programme for $26 (R312,50)

4. Start working through the work book, Birthing from Within

It $19 (R229) and allows you to explore all your preconceived ideas about birth, interview the woman in your family (I ended up chatting to my 94 year old granny-in-law about her birth experiences), making a plaster of Paris belly cast and learning some VERY IMPORTANT pain management techniques.

5. Find a midwife. You may need to interview a few. I did. You’ll know when you’ve found the right one. Don’t give up until you have.

6. Find an obstetrician who will back up a midwife-assisted (home) birth. This will be a challenge, it was the hardest part of my entire pregnancy and birth. But, I was uncompromising, and finally found someone. 

Supplementing these is how I ate, how I kept active and a few podcast series I listened to throughout my pregnancy. I’ll share those too, if you like 🙂

Giving birth is an incredibly intense, liminal experience. There is joy, love, fear and pain, but it is all entirely manageable.

Good luck, mama! I know you can have the birth you desire.

If you’d like to chat more, join Courageous Nature Birth Facebook group. I’ll be there to answer any questions. 

About CourageousNature

Pregnancy, birth and parenthood take courage. 

Without it, you will likely do what has always been done – and that can leave you and your baby harmed.

Following nature, the kind that science demonstrates, often leaves us with the most empowering, peaceful and harmless experience.

That’s what we are about.

AUTHOR

Tamryn Sherriffs

When preparing for my first birth in 2015, none of the stuff I had come to accept as normal made any sense. 

I couldn’t imagine myself in hospital, under bright light, on my back with a team of people peering in. I had a clear picture in mind that I wanted to be mostly left alone, preferably in my bathroom (yes, that’s what I pictured). 

I went about researching what this “deep knowing” was, and why it was so different from what I saw around me.

I share my pregnancy and birth experiences, as well as the intense parenting crash course I continue to take that are all centred around the courage to do what is closest to our true human nature (without all the weird “modern” gumf we’ve picked up along the way).