Do you live or work in west London?
I live in west London
What’s your favourite thing about the area?
Well at this time of year, I love the blossom trees. Nothing makes me feel happier than walking down the beautiful streets of west London with all the blossom trees flowering.
Describe your perfect day and evening in west London… Any favourite haunts?
My perfect day would start with an almond milk coffee from Granger & Co on Westbourne grove, they really are the best lattes I’ve ever had.
I would then meet a friend and run around Hyde Park or post-covid, drop in for an exercise class at Core Collective.
Have lunch at Pharmacy – I am obsessed with their menu.
Pre-dinner drinks at The Electric.
Dinner at this wonderful Spanish place called Cambio De Tercio.
Dancing at a friends nearby.
You’re the founder of Happy Not Perfect app (which we’ve tried and absolutely love!) Was there a particular moment that inspired you to start this journey?
The deterioration of my own mental health and also noticing that I wasn’t alone in my struggle. 5 years ago I realised that nearly everyone I spoke to was trying to manage the stress of an accelerated world and the pressures of social media. My mum is a psychotherapist so I was inspired to find a way to democratise therapy and turn the experience of understanding your thoughts into an app.
The app provides short combinations of accessible activities and meditations, which are based entirely on how the user is feeling. How did you go about developing this?
I teamed up with mindfulness experts around the world and leading neuroscientists in the fields of positive psychology, ACT therapy, performance mindset coaches to see how we could take the research and turn it into a game-ified digital experience. We created the “happiness work out” first which is based on the 7 core pillars behind the science of happiness and then went on to launch the “sleep wind-down” which is a small ritual you can complete before bed, based on the research behind what helps our mind slow down to get a better quality nights sleep.
We most recently launched, “The manifesting workout” based on the science behind goal setting and performance optimisation. This work out includes visualisation techniques to prime your brain into creating the future you want.
We also partnered with world experts in mindfulness to create mediations and audio courses to learn about your mind and emotions better.
You also host the Not Perfect Podcast. What are some of the most interesting things you’ve learnt from your guests?
My guests are world experts across psychology, nutrition, physical health, spiritual health, human performance, brain health and so much more. Each week is a 45-minute lesson and I have to say that hosting this podcast has fully changed my life!
I recently had Peter Crone (A.K.A The Mind Architect) on who educated us about how to free ourselves from outdated, old coding and step into a place of harmony.
The legend that is Bryon Katie taught us that suffering is optional and how in isolating just one thought, you can dive into yourself and find a place of truth and joy.
Stefanie Stahl encouraged all of us to befriend our ‘inner child’ as she believes it to be the most powerful tool in improving our relationships.
Tara Swart taught us all about neuroplasticity (the ability of the brain to grow and change throughout your life) and how we can rewire our brain’s pathways and create lasting positive change.
Molly Howes also taught us one of the most valuable lessons – how to become better apologisers. She walked us through her four-step approach on making things right when we know we’ve done wrong.
You’re about to release your new book Happy Not Perfect: Upgrade Your Mind, Challenge Your Thoughts, and Free Yourself from Anxiety. What can fans of the app and podcast expect from the book?
My book is about my journey into the mind and readers will learn how I totally changed my mental health through the power of flexible thinking. I went from chronically anxious to feeling like I could confidently manage life, and actually enjoy it at the same time. Of course set backs can create stress for me, but I no longer need to spiral or stay stuck in the stress any more. Readers will learn how flexible thinking can upgrade your perspective, change the connection you have with yourself and shift the way you interpret life.
The book is the most personal piece of work I’ve ever created. I include old diary entries so readers can see how our childhood beliefs can affect our thoughts and behaviour for life if we don’t take deliberate action to challenge them.
If you have listened to the podcast, then the book combines all the wisdom from that and turns it into written form.
What is ‘the Flex’?
The Flex is a method I created to let go of the past and redesign the future. Most of our life is run on auto-pilot, with our subconscious running the show. We spend 90% of our day on auto-pilot and that means we are all vulnerable to reacting to life in the same way we first learned to. The problem with this, is we end up living out Einstein’s definition of insanity, doing the same thing, expecting a different result and wondering why we end up getting into the same dilemma’s and experiencing the same stresses. The Flex is about snapping out of zombie mode and embracing our feelings, challenging our thoughts and actively deciding how WE want to respond to life.
The Flex is made up of 4 steps, the 4 C’s, and the book breaks down each step so then can become habitual. The method is based on extensive research into Acceptance Commitment therapy, mindfulness, CBT, DBT and many more. I practice the FLEX daily and even hourly when I need to! The 4 C’s will change your life and help you become a pro at regulating emotions and start making better, decisions based upon the wisdom you hold but cannot always access.
Why do you think anxiety is increasingly common in young people today?
For many reasons and I can’t name them all now but I will say, social media is destroying our sense of self. Every human being has three basic needs, to feel loved, enough and safe. We live in a world whereby our identity is up for external judgement daily and superficial values like appearance and wealth are so over-proportionately celebrated, it is unsurprising so many young people are left feeling uncertain. Face filters make us feel inadequate even though they may temporarily make our digital identity feel “safe”. Social media does have positives, don’t get me wrong, but research proves there is strong data to show that time spent online deteriorates self-esteem and real connection. When we develop more confidence within, anxiety lessens because we can fall back on a self trust and inner certainty. Anxiety is just a message of unease and fear that usually stems from a lack of self-appreciation. We are currently not taught to value ourselves, but instead to value the validation of others more. My book goes into this in much more detail.
Can you tell us about your daily routine for keeping grounded?
Yes! The Flex. The first step is connection. The mind body connection is essential. My morning starts with a mindfulness skincare ritual using Erno Laszlo Hydro-Boost serum and the Erno Laszlo firming cream.
I then dance for 5 minutes to upgrade my energy and establish that mind and body connection.
I finish my morning completing a happiness workout on the Happy Not Perfect app!
Tell us something positive you’ve learnt from the last year..
SO many but learning to slow down has been life changing. Better decisions are always made at a slower pace.
Have you got anything else coming up that you’d like to tell us about?
We’ve just launched a new work out on the Happy Not Perfect app: The Manifesting Work-out. We combined all the science behind goal setting and visualisation into a short digital game that Happy Not Perfect users can play every morning to help them manifest their greatest wishes and dreams. I truly believe everything and anything is possible if we focus and take action, but that’s easier said than done! This digital Manifesting workout in the app helps users with both. I have been religiously using it and really noticed a difference.