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Happiness and its causes conference 2019 - Part 3

Part 3 - Jane Mathews - Author of The Art of Living Alone and Loving it; Costa Georgiadis - Get in touch with nature; Jocelyn Brewer - Digital Nutrition – how much is enough? Or too much digital use?; Jill Stark - Anxiety & managing your inner child’s needs; Ross Menzies - Anger: we need to let go of anger and Toni Noble - The rise of Perfectionism

Jane Mathews

Speaker Jane Mathews, author of ‘The Art of living alone and loving it’ resonated with me most, probably because of my life stage right now – like her, and 1 out of 4 households (fastest growing demographic in Australia and global trending), I live alone. She questioned why marketers rarely feature single people in advertising, focusing on couples and families despite the growth – perhaps a strong stigma still persists for single people and or people who live alone.

Health implications of living alone are that it could be worse than smoking or obesity on immunity, so it is more important to focus on developing networks and friendships in these households.

Its important to realize that feeling lonely is normal, that it will pass, be kind to yourself, build self worth by learning/achieving something and in turn resilience. Reframe living alone to ‘solitude’, a time for reflection and discover/rediscover who you really are.

Tips for those living alone and staving off the feeling of loneliness:

  1. Have hobbies – learn something new

  2. Marie Kondo your friends – keep the radiators, ditch the drains

  3. Make new friends

  4. Help others

  5. Get out of the house – go exploring, socialise

  6. Lonely proof your house – have pics of your friends, artwork, things to do

  7. Have things to look forward to – eg. plans, magazine subscriptions

  8. Have things you wear that give you strength

And most of all, love yourself. Fiercely.

She wrote this in the book I bought and I almost instantly burst into tears with gratitude.

“we want predictability to have a sense of control…we need to make peace with unpredictability and uncertainty, its ok not knowing…”

– Dr John Maddocks, author of Against the Odds

Costa Georgiadis - Get in touch with nature

Costa Georgiadis, Gardening Australia presenter says “there’s nothing wrong with being analog in a digital world”, coming on stage with some notes copied and glued onto his pages. Who knew people still used gluesticks?! As humans we cannot live without plants, we often take them for granted – reconnect with nature, get out and go observe nature.

“Give more, take less. Produce more, consume less. Collaborate more, compete less…”

Jocelyn Brewer - Digital Nutrition – how much is enough? Or too much digital use?

Jocelyn Brewer, psychologist, of the need to monitor and manage our digital consumption.

As more and more of us are glued to our phones, filling waiting time or empty space with devices – it’s important we stay human in a digital world. And being human, we are ‘awake’ and try to remain kind, authentically connected to others, empathetic and conscious of our actions.

The addiction to devices, and social media in particular, reflects our desire tobelong and survive socially.

Her 3 M’s for digital health:

  • Mindful – be present here right now

  • Moderate– are you getting enough sleep? How do we react online?

  • Meaningful– choose meaningful news to consume

Jill Stark - Anxiety & managing your inner child’s needs

Refreshingly honest, authentic and outwardly vulnerable Jill Stark, award winning journalist and best selling author of Happily Never After and High Society, spoke of her childhood anxieties and how they carried through to her adult life.

“I felt I wasn’t enough” and despite all the achievements, looking at the end point the New York Times spoke of ‘the arrival fallacy’, that happiness will spring from the arrival of success or milestone met. There is “too much focus on the wedding, not the marriage, or the birth and not the pregnancy…”, when we should be enjoying the process of getting there.

She spoke of the ‘fairytale filter’social media often overlays on people’s lives, and that we are getting jealous over filtered photos or altered photos that aren’t real!

When she was a child her parents were preoccupied looking after her very sick brother and felt neglected or abandoned, and thought perhaps when she reaches success she would get all the attention she finally wanted, and when it didn’t...

“I had a best seller…thought it would bring happiness…felt a void in my life”

Jill spoke of self compassion, giving love to yourself and reconnecting with your inner child (what do they want and need). Take yourself on dates to do this – ‘play just because, like you did when you were little’ and ‘go back to that little girl and give her love and compassion’

Other great quotes she mentioned:

“I’ve had panic attacks on stage a number of times…my heart’s racing right now but you’d never know would you?” – appearances aren’t all what they seem

“everyone is struggling … no one has a perfect life”

“try to be kinder – everyone is holding an invisible battle”

Embrace the full range of emotions, not just happiness

‘telling our kids that happiness is the ultimate goal is going to get them into trouble, we need to teach them we need to embrace a full spectrum of emotions and feel comfortable with them” – Jill Stark

Ross Menzies - Anger: we need to let go of anger

Ross Menzies from UTS and co-author of The Anger Fallacy explains why we get angry and that it comes at a cost. “You get angry of the view of the events rather than the event itself – when you think it shouldn’t be this way”

A startling statistic about domestic violence he reported:

  • 6% of males die by the hand of their partner

  • 66% of females die by the hand of their partner

The NHS reports a 36% increase in domestic violence when the World cup is on and it increases when England loses. Anger is costing us lives.

It doesn’t have to keep making you angry if you change your belief system, that things aren’t expected to run perfectly every time with predictability and certainty. Anger tends to beget MORE anger, and expressing it creates more anger. He suggests we need to learn to express it more calmly.

Toni Noble - The rise of Perfectionism

The is a perfectionism epidemic growing since the 1980s, especially with social media growth. Meritocracy is on the rise and it is making us more competitive. Professor Toni Noble, leading psychologist in student wellbeing says mistakes are ok, in fact lots of great discoveries were made via mistakes eg. The post it, white out, slinky, and we learn from them.

Unhelpful thinking makes us more upset! We must rethink of how we are thinking. With 70,000 thoughts a day, observe which are helpful and those which are not.

We should aim high, but not for perfection as we are setting children and adults up for failure.

A lot of our clients work incredibly hard, train intensely – we want to make sure you are taking action for recovery. At least we know you’re getting treated by us, but what else?

In Kristen Neff’sSelf Compassion book sold at the conference, she lists a bunch of things aim to recharge your battery:

  • take time off

  • have a nap

  • do a yoga/stretch class

  • take a bath (add 1-2 cups magnesium chloride/Epsom salts!)

  • see a comedy show

  • go for a walk in nature

  • get a massage

  • go to a sauna/steam room

  • do an exercise class that you like

For my birthday this year I think I did all of these in one week! My sister says I’m perhaps too good at this self-care business…


So there you have it, my takeaways from the Happiness and its Causes conference 2019. I would highly recommend going next year - you can use this code to get a discount for next year:

Visit - use VIP code ONSITE for 50% off (its about $600 for 2 days after discount- trust me, worth taking time off work for)

If you have any questions about my experience or more about the speakers, feel free to email me

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