This week on the Beyond Busy podcast we welcome Dr Samantha Boardman. Samantha is a clinical psychiatrist and she has a Master's in positive psychology, so her work joins the dots between all those different fields. She combines years of training in medical school and psychiatry with studies in the field of positive psychology. Samantha is also the founder of ‘Positive Prescription', and the author of a new book called ‘Ready for Anything'.
In this episode, we talk about resilience being on you, how to create uplifts in your mood, and many other practical ways to deal with stress and be happier in your thinking. Samantha kindly shares her background, her education, and the way she came to positive psychology.
She also said what was the reason to turn to positive psychology:
"It was about 10 years ago, I was seeing a patient who had this. Maybe she didn't qualify for a full sort of diagnosis of depression, but she wasn't, she wasn't thriving. She wasn't feeling great. She was having issues with her husband. She had three kids. She was exhausted at home. And we were trying to minimize the conflict with our spouse.
We were trying to help her have less issues with her mother-in-law and her kids. And one day she came into my office. I'd been seeing her for about six weeks. You know what, sometimes I just dread coming here. All we do is talk about what's wrong in my life. And even sometimes I'm having a good day and I have to think, what can I complain about?
And it makes me feel worse and you know what I'm done. And it was this weird sort of wake up call to me that I had been. So laser-focused on everything. That is, you know, on her symptoms, on her issues, on her problems, on her chief complaint, in everything sort of radiated out from, from that, that I wasn't focusing at all.
And I actually hadn't been trained to focus on what actually sort of promotes well being even. Could I help her with some of these issues, find strength within her stress and find sort of meaning within the madness of her everyday life. And that got me to go. Back to school and I, and to study applied positive psychology.
That was the opposite of everything. One learns in medical school, in residency, in psychiatry, and it's really the study of, of health and wellbeing. And what are the factors that promote that and, and trying to now, I really, my, I think of myself as a positive psychiatrist and that I really try to.
Ameliorates symptoms, but also how can I sort of promote wellbeing and they're not mutually exclusive and the idea of wellbeing being icing on the cake. Oh, let's just get somebody to feel a little bit better. And then you can talk about that other stuff. And I think you can, they can really go hand in hand."
We also got an interesting insight on vitality:
"I think of vitality is this sense of this feeling of a liveliness and energy that, you know, sort of tells you that you are ready for anything. And it's the opposite of feeling sort of depleted or down. And I think people often think that happiness is the opposite of depression, but it's actually vitality and it's what we need to counter the hassles.
And it's something that then I think gives rise to little, our resilience, the idea of having resilience on a daily basis, not the big, our resilience, the are you know, the response. You know, big sort of bad stuff that can happen, but vitality is what fuels that everyday resilience. And it's, I think it's, it's really maybe undermining even our ability to feel strong.
And, and they're just little things we can do in our daily lives, like connecting and contributing something and challenging ourselves that are really the wellspring of vitality. And it's not in your head again, it's actually in your everyday actions."
The full conversation is available on the Beyond Busy YouTube channel. If you prefer listening, you can find the audio version of the episode on Podtail. Graham Allcott is the founder of the time-management training co