When life’s getting you down, sometimes a PEP Talk is all you need. Ken Hancott is the author of PEP Talk, which provides readers with proven psychotherapy techniques for readers to work with themselves in order to improve their positive mental health performance. Here, Ken shares his thoughts and top tips for positive mental health:

PEP Talk

PEP Talk

Everywhere you look we’re surrounded with bad news, negativity and grumpy people! If you don’t believe me then just take a look at the miserable face of the person in the car next to you when you drive to work or home, or pop the TV news on this evening and you’ll see what I mean.

We Brits are a great bunch of people on the whole but in all honesty, we’re world class moaners.

Also a lot of this negativity is in our culture, we grow up with it. From the earliest age we’re told things that don’t help our positive mental health, “Stop showing off!”, “Stop being silly!”, “Don’t be a cry baby!”, or “Don’t speak until you’re spoken to!” All of these things were said to us at the time may have seemed benign, but now we know that in order to build psychological resilience they were profoundly wrong.

The problem with all of this negativity in our environments is that it psychologically prepares us to notice ‘every’ single negative thing around us, our minds become biased to think that that’s the correct ratio of good to bad in the world.

Thankfully, there is an answer to this!

Almost everyone would agree that good physical exercise helps to keep your body fit. However, it always surprises me that so many people don’t apply the same principals when it comes to mental well-being. It makes sense that if physical exercise keeps your body fit and healthy then positive exercise of your thoughts helps keep your mind fit and healthy too.

So, by taking time to notice more of the positive things going on in your world it is possible to train your brain to not only become more positive but also helps improve your performance in all aspects of your life.

Here are a few tips to help train your mind to look for more positive outcomes, build mental resilience and push your mental scale more to the happier side:

DO – Show off! In a world where a lot of the positive things we do go un-noticed we all need to recognise the good things we do for ourselves. I’m not suggesting you go dancing down the High Street the next time you cook a nice meal, help out a stranger, or successfully complete a piece of work that nobody could have done as well as you. But it’s important to take time to celebrate a little and allow yourself to feel good about your achievement.

DO – Be Silly! Be honest, do you ever do silly things at home when you’re all alone? It makes you feel good and helps diminish some of the seriousness of many other aspects of life. These little silly moments release chemicals in your body that support positive mental health. So embrace your ‘singing into the hairbrush’ or ‘talking in a silly voice’ moments, they’re good for you.

DO – Be A Cry Baby! We know that bottling up negative emotions causes stress and the negative effects of this is well documented. It’s OK to allow yourself to have ‘down moments’. So yes, allow yourself some time to recognise when you’re feeling down and release your emotion. This is OK for a short period so long as you can get back on an even keel, but if you find yourself with persistent negative thoughts then…

DO – Speak Before You’re Spoken To! Talk to someone! Talking therapies are increasingly in demand, because they work! Seek out a supportive friend or family member and explain how you’re feeling. You might be surprised to hear that you’re not the first to feel the way you’re feeling and hearing words of support can really help.

So remember, exercise your mind in positive ways, look out for more of the things in the world that make you feel good and don’t feel guilty about taking time to support yourself. You can only do the best for others if you’re looking after yourself first!

“If only I had read Ken’s PEP Talk before I started ski jumping!” – Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards

Ken Hancott is the owner and principal trainer of Tarragon Training, who specialise in Positive Psychology training to improve team motivation, working environments/ culture, performance and communication. Further details can be found at tarragontraining.co.uk.

PEP Talk is available to buy from Amazon, The Book Guild and all good bookshops.