Brain Hacks For Property Managers
Kylie Davis, CEO of the Rise Initiative, examines how our brains work in a candid conversation about how Property Managers are really feeling, and uncovers why property management can be a real challenge.
Meet our Presenters
Kylie Davis leads a discussion on mental health in the real estate industry with Chelsea Dwyer and Marc Persico from Forms Live.
the Rise Initiative
Business Development Manager and Implementation Coach
Brain Hacks For Property Managers
- the neuroscience of modern performance coaching and how to work towards better mental health awareness.
- Kylie Davis, Chelsea Dwyer, and Marc Persico
- Live Streamed
- 50 minutes
Marc: Well, good morning, everybody! Welcome to Forms Live's first webinar of 2024 - if you haven't attended before, I'm Marc Persico. I am the Content Creator here at Forms Live, and today I'm joined by a very special guest, Kylie Davis. Kylie is a member of the Rise Initiative on mental wellness in real estate and the head of the Proptech Association Australia and she has some tips that she would like to share as you dive into 2024. Before we get into it, please note that we will leave time at the end of the session for some questions and further discussion with one of Forms Live's Business Development Managers, Chelsea Dwyer - Okay, take it away, Chelsea and Kylie - I'm just going to turn my camera off so you can do your thing!
Kylie: All right, look, hello, everybody! Kylie Davis here from the Rise Initiative, and I want to thank you so much for joining us. Today, we're going to talk about how to hack your brain so that you can perform better than ever in 2024. Now, I normally do this presentation live, I haven't done it very often in webinar format! Some of the topics that we're going to talk about - I'm going to need a little bit of feedback from you - so if you do have any comments, I would love to see them popping up in the chat. Just want to check, Chelsea, you can see my screen? Okay, awesome. So, what are we going to talk about?
First of all, let's kick off with some of the stuff we're going to talk about today may be a bit triggering. So, we're going to talk about some things that are pretty open and honest and very, very human, And if at any time they make you react in any way, look...pop off the webinar, get your phone out, do whatever you need to do, don't hesitate to take a break because self-care and doing the things that we need to do to keep ourselves feeling good and safe is absolutely one of the key things that I want you to take out of this presentation, because your safety is important to us. So, that's a little bit of a trigger warning. Here's what we're going to look at... We're going to look at what this idea of 'I'm fine' actually means and how to handle it when we're dealing with someone that we suspect isn't fine, or when we know in ourselves that we're not really fine, we're going to have a bit of a chat about the elephant in the room of mental health, we're going to look at how our brains work- and this is really fun, we're going to look at how they work normally, what they're always doing that you probably haven't thought about, and what happens when they're under prolonged periods of stress! And as we know, in real estate, we're often under prolonged periods of stress.
So, what does that do? What's going on in our head when that happens? We're then going to look at this spectrum of mental health and wellness and then we're going to look at how to hack that so that we can actually understand when we're not quite right and course correct and actually then start to use those tools to maximise how we're performing on a day to day, week to week, month to month basis. It's not about pretending nothing's going on, it's not about sort of shoving it all to the side. It's actually about getting really real with it, so I hope you're all up for that conversation. So, look, why do we need to talk about mental health? When, I don't know about you, but I'm completely fine. Are you Fine, Chelsea?
Chelsea: 100% all the time!
Kylie: And this is what we do, especially as Australians, when someone asks, 'how you are going?' We often answer 'Yeah, I'm fine!' or 'Yeah, I'm good!' and 'I don't need to talk about mental health, because it doesn't affect me' but here's the thing, we all have a brain, and then the way our brains are thinking and the way we are performing, when we're thinking...it does obviously affect us. So, what do you do when someone tells you that they're fine? Or you're feeling obliged to tell people that you're fine, but you actually know that that's not really the case? Well, here's a different way to think about what 'fine' actually means. The question we need to ask ourselves is what's our cruising altitude on a scale of one to 10? What's a normal day for you? Like, how do you normally feel on a normal day? And what number would you put that at? And is that a comfortable number or not? So, if you're having a reasonable day, and if anything does seem to be cool, is that a five or is it an eight? And then what are the sorts of things to think about that might help you raise that a number or two? Or what are the things that happened in your day to bring that down? And if we think about cruising, we can be sort of going along, and everything's kind of is literally cruising, and then something can happen, that can be amazing, and it spikes you up!
Or something that can sort of derail us a bit, and we start to head back down. What gets us to that level? Sort of starting to unpick this and understanding how do we get to this level? What are the components that are making up this level? And then monitoring over time. So, for me, and this can be a different number for all of us, there is no right or wrong around what number you choose. But for me, a pretty standard day would be a seven or an eight, like I'm a pretty optimistic, cheerful person, and so for me it's pretty easy to start off there and to have good things happen that put me straight up to a 10 - I'm all there for it. But I know that if there's stuff going on that just over time starts to send me sort of down, it can happen quite sort of quietly and without you realising it, but suddenly you can sort of realise actually, you know, I've been feeling like a six or a five even for the last couple of weeks.
And it's not the fact that it might go up or down on a daily basis, it's more than if it starts to consistently head down or you feel that you can't start to get back up into cruise mode. This is the times when we need to need to think about what's going on in our heads differently. How are we tracking over time? So, when you're asking someone that you might be a bit concerned about or you're asking them how they're feeling and they answer 'Fine' say 'Hey, what's your cruising altitude?' What's the number out of 10? And how does that compare to how you're normally feeling?' So that you can start to really get a benchmark around both what how you're feeling inside and ask people once they tell you that number 'so what needs to happen to start to lift it?' And that can be a really interesting and powerful way to start to change it. What's your cruising altitude, Chels?
Chelsea: Probably not as optimistic as yours! I think mine's probably about a six to a seven, but you know, I think in real estate as well, you can, start off thinking you're an eight and then three things happen to crash sales or to go pear shaped and suddenly you're a two and then things come okay again, then you're back - like it's quite a roller coaster, and that can happen day to day.
Kylie: I'm so glad you said that because that is absolutely completely normal! It's when those three things knock you down from a six or a seven down to a three or a two and you actually can't work out how you're going to set that back. That's when we know that we need to act - so what is mental health? Because you know, you hear this word all the time now and it can be a little bit confronting and scary. Because as society, especially in Australia, we've always associated mental health with actual mental illness, and so, here's what we love at the Rise Initiative about the United Nations definition of 'mental health' they actually define it as 'a state of well-being in which an individual realises his or her own abilities, we can cope with the normal stresses of life, we can work productively, and we're able to make a contribution to our community.' So, look, this isn't about you know, extraordinary depression or mania or any of those things, it is actually about what is your cruising altitude? And can we get ourselves, regardless of life's ups and downs, back into that zone where we can cruise and deal with the stresses that are going on in our lives?
When something is going on in our lives that mean that we actually can't course correct again, that's when we're in a state of mental ill health. So, why do we need to talk about it? Well, look, as an industry, we really do need to have more open conversations around this, we need to talk through it on legal reasons, because a safe work environment, free from discrimination and real privacy around medical information is really important. But also, because there's new laws coming in that are now in place under fair work that mean our mental health needs to be part of our work health, well, we need to be safe at work from a psychological point of view, as well as from a physical point of view. 39 billion is the productivity cost of mental health related illnesses in Australia annually, like this is a really big cost! So, there are economic reasons why we need to have conversations around it.
Morally, we need to address it because while 90% of us believe a safe workplace is important, only 50% of us across Australia, across all industries, believe that we actually work in one. It's ethically important because 85% look for mental and psychological safety, do they feel like they're going to be in a good work environment that's got their back when they're considering a new job? So, we can create workplaces that are attractive to new staff - and in real estate especially, we have a higher morbidity rate from suicide than even the police have, so we have an extraordinarily high suicide rate in our industry, which is not cool. Because these are our stats...80% of real estate agents experience anxiety relating to their workload, and this is from the Rise Revive project stats from 2021, 79% have work stress that impacts our physical health. So, we feel that the stress that we're going through at work is preventing us from looking after our ourselves physically. 76% of us have experienced symptoms at some stage in our career around burnout, we understand that really well, and 72% of us are struggling to find a work life balance, and that suicide rate that we talked about is 13 people per 100,000 employees, and these are actually Victorian figures from the coroner's office, and that number is higher than police. It's actually lower than construction, though, too - so, the building and property industry is twice that, so the building / property industry and the real estate industry is one of the highest in the country. Now, when is our mental health impacted?
Because we have things that - and we're going to pull this apart now - because we all often have things in our head that we think is when mental health will be impacted, but you might be surprised. So, the first thing that can impact our mental health can be external shocks and, you sort of expect this, divorce, death, major drama or trauma, these external shocks that we can't control can impact us to a degree that we feel will obviously impact our cruising altitude and may make us feel that we can’t bring ourselves out of it. We all accept that, and it's completely normal, but here are some other normal things that might shock you. We can experience big changes in our lives and if that's an external change, or external externally impacted, yes, that kind of makes sense. But we can have big changes in our lives that we have really been looking forward to, that we have been desperate to make happen, and then things happen around that that actually it doesn't work out the way we planned, or we built it up in our heads to be something and the reality of it was really different. So, you might be with someone that you love and you're living together, and you get married, and you've been planning the wedding for ages, and you've been so excited about it and then six weeks later, it's like- God, you know, still the same bloke.
Chelsea: Forever and ever!
Kylie: We're still watching Netflix! You might have a shocker in that you might be trying really hard to get pregnant, the most important thing in life might be to have a baby and then you get pregnant, the baby turns up, and you know, they don't sleep and you're struggling with that - or you might have a new job, or you might move to a new position, and then it doesn't work out the way you expect! And these things can also really impact us, and one of the reasons they impact us is this third thing, which kind of ties into this whole triangle, which is our internal expectations. We 'should' all over ourselves, what 'should' happen, what 'should' I be feeling what, what this 'should' look like, what I 'should' be experiencing... And it's this difference between the expectation and what we're actually experiencing, and it can be the voice in our head telling us that it's not right. So, it's this internal expectation, that voice in our head, that just really trash tells us, that can actually be another way that our mental health can be impacted. And if you think about that voice in your head, and if you tried to think about that voice in your head from a bit of a third person, and stick with me on this, would you talk to your best friend the way the voice in your head talks to you about you?
And if you think that actually 'no, I'm being a little bit harsh' then actually, this might be one of the things that is kind of causing an issue, or causing an issue and that we need to look into and poke a little bit harder - If anyone's got any comments, pop them up - so, let's just park that for a bit, let's actually now start to look at how our brains work! So, why would our voice in our head be talking to us like that? Why would we be setting up these expectations that don't necessarily work out the way we expected? How do we get more resilient around external shocks? Here's what's going on in your head - there are three key parts of our brain, there are lots of parts of our brain, but we're going to focus on three as part of this. The first one is our amygdala, and your amygdala sits right at the base of your brain, and its job all the time, 24/7 without a break, is to interpret danger, it is constantly scanning your environment with all of your senses, looking to make sure you are safe, to make sure that you're not going to get eaten by a dinosaur or woolly mammoth or, you know, this is primitive brain stuff - and it is always on and you can't stop it - the big brain when we think about thinking, we normally think about this big brain side over to the right hand side, our cerebral cortex.
And this is where we think about, you know, the neurons connecting up, this is where our logic happens, this is where we think things through, this is where the grind happens when you're trying to solve a puzzle. But when we think about thinking, that is usually the cerebral cortex, that we're that we're actually thinking about what we don't understand are these other parts of our brains that are much, much older. So, our amygdala is always on the lookout for danger, and when it senses danger, real or imagined, because our brains actually don't differentiate often, or ever, real or imagined danger, it activates our hypothalamus. I'm really sorry about that noise. I've no idea what it is! Our hypothalamus' job is to activate a safety plan. So, it's received a signal from the amygdala, that is a chemical signal, it's not a thinking signal, it's a chemical signal.
And the hypothalamus goes into safety mode. And these two parts on the left-hand side are your lizard brain, which have been around and basically helped us evolve all the way through, and our logical brain, the big brain side, is what has helped us sort of start to actualize as human beings. So, what is going on? How do we think? That big brain cerebral cortex thinking looks very different to the way that our lizard brains are working, and I'm going to start on the right hand side, when our lizard brains when our amygdala and hypothalamus are in action it is basically a hormone rush flooding sections of our brain, and that impacts our cerebral cortex's ability often to think things through, but what's going on in our cerebral cortex and when we are thinking, solving a puzzle, trying to work out how we're going to get more listing leads, writing things in Chat GPT, posting listings, all of that, when thinking things through and deciding what we're going to have for dinner, this is our neurons connecting and creating pathways that we see - where the lights sort of popping on and connecting up.
Now, how do those neurons remember how to stick together? Because what we often think too in modern western society is that there is logic, and then there is 'heart stuff', and emotions and logic are very different, and they're very separate, and one is sensible and right and rational, and the other is sort of a bit unhinged and kind of out there. But here's what happens, neurons are attracted more to each other by emotion, so emotions tag our neurons to basically say, remember this, this is important - and it's why, especially in the memory department, when we have really important powerful memories, things like babies being born, beautiful birthdays, moments with loved ones, those neurons are connecting for the memory with a really strong emotional tag around it, which can sort of start to activate your brain. So that's how we think and its emotions that connect and help our neurons connect and map to each other.
So, what happens when we're stressed? When our lizard brains identify an issue and flooded our brains with hormones? What is going on? The two hormones that it's flooding our brains with is cortisol, which increases our sugars to the bloodstream and what it does is it curbs your non-essential functions and this is why they say to people, if you've had a big shock, you shouldn't drive because you actually start to lose functionality in things that you can think through, your brain is basically saying, 'No, we need to activate the safety plan, we're getting out of here' or 'We're doing something to keep ourselves safe' and it also floods your body with adrenaline, so that you can do that.
Basically, what happens is that your eyes go into tunnel vision - and think about a time when you've been really, really stressed and you'll recognise some of these fight or flight responses - you might start to hear ringing in your ears, your breathing gets fast and shallow, you tense up your muscles, your shoulders come out, your heartbeat rate gets really high, you might feel a bit sick in your stomach or need to go the loo, your hands can shake, you start to really produce an awful lot of adrenaline, because your body's trying to make you deal with it. Now, remember, this is a response that we have been doing since we started to walk upright probably even before. It's not designed for mobile phones, in extraordinary traffic, tension over zoom calls, all of that sort of stuff. It does not recognise the difference our bodies don't, our brains don't recognise the difference. It simply identifies it as danger.
So, we know about fight or flight, right? This is really common; we talk about that all the time. But did you know this actually, well- I heard the other day, there's actually now six of these things! But here are the four key ones - and some of them you might not be so familiar with - we know fight or flight, once that adrenaline is in our system, our bodies are basically deciding to do we run from it? Or do we stand and fight with it? But there are two others. One is freeze. Which means maybe if I get really, really quiet and don't say anything or stand really still the monster / dragon / dinosaurs / woolly mammoth, whatever it is...will stop, maybe they'll stop, maybe they won't see me, maybe I'll get out of this unscathed. And then the other extent of it is frantic. So, when you have a big shock, what is your immediate response? It's to start to do things that may or may not help, now remembering that your cerebral cortex is pretty shut down at this point. So, your ability to behave logically is not necessarily at its peak. And this is what we saw during COVID, when we basically went out and bought whole lots of toilet paper, because it made no sense at all!
But our brains felt better because we were doing something, and it was a response to the stress that was in our body. And so here's the thing that often differentiates to that these responses can be quite gendered, because the decision that your brain makes hormonally on how it's going to respond is determined by your perception of the threat and if you think that the threat is bigger than you and more powerful than you, and can run faster, then you will probably go into freeze or flight, you know, and so often this is quite gendered because if a woman's often feeling threatened by something that a bloke is doing, we will often freeze and try to avoid it - or if small guys are being threatened by a big guy - but we have in our heads this logic that 'well if I was a proper bloke' or 'if I was stronger' or 'if I was doing- you know, 'should' all over us. I would have fought, I would have said something, I should have, I should have, I should have. But these are the reactions to stress in our bodies, and that fight, or flight response is perfectly normal.
So, that's what I want you to get out of it, there are lots of normal ways to respond to danger and we all do them. So, what happens when we have an acute response over a protracted timeframe? This is an image that Sarah Bell found which I thought was fabulous, it is COVID Barbie or quarantine Barbie. She's got both night jammies and day jammies, we all lived this, she's got choccy, lots and lots of lollies, heaps of coffee, toast, dinner, everything! At the Rise Initiative, we were shared this extraordinary table by the psychologist that works with the Australian Defence Force at our very first Rise Conference, and so look, these are all the different ways that when we've been stressed over time, for an extended period, these are all the different ways that it can start to manifest in our lives. Look, I defy anyone to look through this list and find something that hasn't impacted them at some time.
So, it can affect how we think it can, affect how we feel, it can affect how we behave, it can affect our relationship with God and our higher selves, it can definitely affect our personal relationships, and we all know that right? It can affect our bodies and, you know, and the feelings that we have in our body - we can start to localise pain. It can absolutely affect our work performance. So, this is a really helpful list if you're wondering if you've been impacted, and again, remembering cruising altitude. We've all been impacted and done the things on this list at some point in time, but it's our ability to come back from them and course correct, that is really going to determine where we are on the spectrum. But also, you can start to see, especially when we look at the work performance list and maybe the behavioural list, or the emotional list, we can actually start to see - if we're worried about someone either at work or in our family life - you can actually start to see some of the ways that it might manifest, while they're telling you that they are fine, if some of these things are manifesting consistently. It gives you an insight into what's going on.
And look, COVID has been and gone, although it's out there again now, but what we saw as a result of COVID, and especially the lockdowns in Victoria made it so hard, but we are still coming out of this post pandemic stress disorder. So, that protracted state of acute stress of being locked down, of not having control over what was going on - and here's why our human brains are simply not designed to go through that amount of stress for that period of time - or as real estate agents and property managers we're not really designed to go through the stress that we put ourselves under for the period we are. When we can't execute a stress response of fight or flight, and we're in constant freeze mode or frantic mode, then over that time, if we don't deal with that, then we can actually start to experience trauma. We won't dwell on that because our bodies, our brains were simply not designed to work like that we need to have ways to release this trigger.
So, let's have a look at the spectrum of psychology. In the middle, so psychology isn't sort of black or white. It's not one thing it's not like you're well or you're sick or and if you're sick, you know, it's not like when we talk about feeling unwell, we immediately start to talk about dying of cancer, you might just have a tummy ache or you might just have a cold. There are all sorts of different things that you can have and our brain and psychology work exactly the same. So, in the middle, and this is our cruising altitude, and this is our coping level, like we're okay, when we're starting to head down on our cruising altitude, we start to languish, and look we all experienced this during COVID, right? Do I bother getting out of my pyjamas? Do I bother wearing pants with a waistband? Do I need to put shoes on? Should I just lie on the couch and watch Netflix?
It's not full-blown depression but you kind of think, 'oh God...should I bother?' and 'do I need to get out of it?' and if we don't deal with that at the time when we're in that space and it keeps heading down that path, that's when you start to end into depression. We want to get back to coping, when we're coping but we're doing a little bit better than coping we're thriving, we're feeling really good, we're kicking goals, we're taking things off our to do list, we're feeling on fire, we're in flow, it feels great. And sometimes that can feel so great that we just start to keep pushing those buttons and doing it more and more and more and more and more, and we start to end up in mania.
And look, I'm going to put my hand up and say it, and especially if there's stuff going on in our lives that we feel out of control in, and then we might be at work, where we do feel like we've got control, it can be very easy to lean into work, to keep trying to start to feel good, and to start taking it that way and heading into a more manic kind of space, which is where you burn out pretty quickly. But if you can imagine this not just as a spectrum, but as a bit of a circle that joins up at the top, I mean, like we can go around it. What we want to understand is that languishing is an automatic response to prolonged stress. So, if you're feeling like you're on the verge of burnout, or you're feeling like you just can't, because of what's going on, then this an automatic response, you haven't done anything wrong, this is your body telling you that your brain is tired.
Whereas thriving is a motivated response to prolonged stress. And it's important to differentiate this because a lot of us use stress. And it's perfectly legitimate, I do this absolutely too, we use stress to motivate ourselves. We use stress as our reason to get- I've got to do this, and I've got this big to do list, and we give ourselves deadlines so that we tick things off our list, and we're proactive with it. We want to be in that coping and thriving space, we can't always be there, there's going to be times when we have downtime and need to course correct. But when we are motivated, we're thriving, when we're languishing that's because we've been in a negative stress state for too long. So, here's what I really want you to take out of all of this, that mental health is not about being broken. It's not about an absence of illness. It's actually like the spectrum of physical health, we can take steps to improve our performance at any time, and really, it's about understanding that spectrum so that we understand what course correction measures we need to take.
So, how does this apply to real estate? Well, here's the thing about real estate, we are an externally motivated industry and big majority of those external motivations are not tied directly to the activity that we do on a day-to-day basis. We're bonus and commission driven and as part of that commission to get the number of listings that you need to make the sales that you need to make, you know that you probably need to make X number of phone calls, and that might be 10, it might be 100, or need to do X amount of activity, but there is an indirect not a direct correlation between the amount of work that you do around those phone calls or that activity, and the result that you get - and to just unpack that a little bit, if you need to make 10 phone calls to get one lead, making 20 phone calls will not necessarily get you two leads.
So, it's not like at work- it might get you three leads, it might get you no more leads, and it might be the 21st call, it's not like press button A and product B pops out. So, we work in an environment of constant external stresses because we're dealing with clients and we're dealing with clients who are going through, you know, death, divorce, and moving house or selling your home, some of the three biggest external stressors, right?! And so, we're dealing with people who are already in a very heightened state of stress themselves and they're more than happy to share that with you, right? And put all of their expectations and their self-talk and to project that onto you...our financial rewards around this are often outside our control and so what's going on in our brain, because of all of this? Our amygdala is constantly seeing some of this stuff and depending on our mindset and our robustness, it is very easy for it to identify it as a threat.
Therefore, we're often being flooded with hormones around that threat, and so our cognitive brains, which are telling us 'I made this decision, I want to be an agent' or 'I want to work in this industry, I love this job' it is having to do a lot of work to keep us up to keep us in that coping and thriving zone - and that in itself can be quite exhausting at times if we're not really up for it. So, what can we do to make ourselves more up for it? What is it like to feel well? When we feel well, here's what's going on in our lives, we are experiencing more positive emotions than negative emotions, doesn't mean we're not feeling negative emotions at all but it means that there's more positive stuff going on than there is negative, we are engaged with the people around us and with the community around us, we have strong relationships at its core, it might not be 100 of them, it might just be one or two, but we have relationships that are valuable to us. It might just be with our dog or our cat, it doesn't matter - we have something to love and to connect to.
There is meaning in our life, we feel like there's a reason that we're getting up in the morning and doing the things that we're doing, and we feel that in doing that and doing all these things so far, that we're accomplishing things in our lives, and we've got things heading in the right direction, and our health is good. Now if we're taking all of your stuff, and perma, if that helps to remember it, but when we've got all of these things going on in our lives, there is no way we can't be feeling well. It can also help identify what one of these areas is out of kilter that I might want to work on? So, how do we break the cycle? If there's one of these areas that is going on? What does it look like? And this is an amazing piece of framework for called a cognitive triangle that a psychologist called Bandura created - and when I learned this, as part of my MBA, it completely changed my life, and then it came up again in Rise and I thought 'Yes, it's completely make sense'.
I'm going to give you a negative example first, because this is something we've all experienced, Bandura's triangle identifies, and you have to think about these things as three separate things, the way that we think, the feelings that happen because of the way we think, or when we feel we can think certain things basically, but we have different parts of our brains that are feeling things, thinking things, and then we have ways that we behave, and so we're doing things. Now Bandura broke them into three separate key areas and said they all influence each other. But to prevent that or to change that, you need to influence one of them. So, let me give you a good example of how this works - you are having a bad day, you know? And you're cruising altitude, you're down to a three or a four, and someone cuts you off in traffic and you're having a bad day already, so you go back to the office, and you shout at your assistant, and then you feel bad for shouting at your assistant, and so you start to beat yourself up, and then maybe you behave appallingly to them, or you go home and you shout at your partner, and then you end up in a fight with them, and then you know?
So, this whole thing becomes a self-perpetuating loop, where the way that you felt basically impacts your thoughts, and then that impacts how you behave, and then that impacts how you think, and you can't let go of it, it gets too hard to let go of it. Bandura's argument was, in all of us there's always one of these things that are a little bit weaker or more powerful than the others - and so what is the one thing you can do to break that cycle? So, you get cut off in traffic and you feel angry about that? What is your behaviour at that point? Do you speed up to terrify the person that did it to you unwittingly because they just weren't thinking? Or do you smash on some music that just lets you rage and gets rid of it positively? When have you had a really bad phone call with a client and instead of emoting it or criticising the person next to you because you're feeling bad- or picking fault? Do you just take yourself out for a walk? To literally walk it off and clear it out? What are the things we can do- or do you go and meditate? Or if you're feeling just absolutely exhausted and fed up and sad, do you take yourself away and have a sleep? Like, you know, put yourself into a hotel room for three hours and have a sleep? Go for a massage, like, what can you do? How do we break that cycle? And this is when we're talking about Tom Panos- when our coaches are talking about getting up early in the morning, doing all these things, we're talking about how can we break the cycle that is making our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours start to spiral around each other? How can we actually start to pull them apart so that we can course correct faster? So, let's dive into this a bit more, because here's what Bandura also tells us, here's what we know because of the way we've just been thinking about our brain.
Yes, cortisol and adrenaline are hormones that flood our brains when we sense danger. But there is also a happy hormone squad and they are dopamine, which is our reward hormone, which gives us well-being and pleasure - so basically ticking things off your to do list feels great, mucking around on Facebook getting likes and things that's a dopamine hit, you know, they have totally gamified that and got us completely addicted to it - but that's a that's a different thing, that's why we can't put it down - when we are doing things that feel good, we get dopamine hits, and we'll look at how we can get them in a minute. Serotonin, it's our feel-good hormone it staves off anxiety, so, you know, why do we feel terrible if there's been just weeks and weeks of grey weather?
Because we haven't really seen that sunshine, so getting out into the sun can make us feel better. If we're working night shifts, it can be hard to get that serotonin. Endorphins are our natural painkillers, and they maximise our pleasure, all of these things can also be activated in our body and flood our brain with happy hormones! And oxytocin is the love hormone, when we are with the people that we love, when we're hugging, when you've got a baby and especially if you're breastfeeding, there's lots of things that give us oxytocin because it is the love drug and it makes us feel really great - that beginning stage of a relationship, you're full of oxytocin! So how can we break the cycle? When we're in that loop of behaviours, feelings, and thoughts...that inspire all together, what can we do to start to flush out the upset hormone and start to bring some of these happy hormones back into our system...now we can go outside and sit in the sun get some serotonin back into our system, like get out from under the fluoro lights and just breathe some fresh air that can be helpful. Pet the dog, hug the kids, because that's going to give you a bit of an oxytocin kick, hug partner!
Get out and beat something up, but make sure it's a boxing bag, or row, or jog, or get out and do some exercise and just literally push it out, go for power walk, or go for a walk around the block...anything like that. This is why we get told we have to exercise as part of good mental health. But even if we're feeling really overwhelmed, if the feelings that are around overwhelm, just sitting down and writing a list or writing some goals can be really powerful in breaking the cycle... cuddles and sex, they work! You know? I can't see your faces...I don't know how that went down! But look, it's the oxytocin hormone, go home until your partner 'I'm feeling really stressed, I need to fill my edges!', belly laughs are great, hopefully you're having one right now. And look, we all know in real estate, chocolate, and wine fixes everything, all right? But why? Because it's literally giving us a hormone hit - drinking too much is going down that path of excess, which starts to make you manic.
Time out with a friend, solving all the problems of the world...and here's a tip for blokes or for dealing with blokes, and I know there's some blokes out there. We struggle a lot to have conversations face to face, well women will happily rabbit onto it for hours, especially over chocolate and wine, and have a face-to-face conversation, some of the best conversations you can have with your partner. And for blokes with other blokes, try to do it side by side so you don't actually have to look at each other - going for a walk, sitting in a car, wallpapering a wall, just doing something together, you can have often better conversations than trying to do the D&M. Taking a nap or meditating because sometimes we are just too tired to deal with it, and sleep is a really big influencer in our mental health, not sleeping enough is always going to deplete us. Or having a massage, like you know?
So literally having a remedial massage, but look I'm not going to judge, as long as it's consensual! It can help get the feel-good hormones running back through your system because you are clearing out your adrenal glands, your therapist won't be doing that. So, all of those things can help us start to break the cycle when we feel like we're getting into a loop. So, here's what I want you to understand, here are some tactics for when we're in those loops and when we're identifying...the first step is to start to identify, oh- this is happening and that might take weeks or months to actually start to realise...'oh, hang on, what am I? where am I at?' what I want you to understand is that you're not alone, you're not the first person to be like that, we all do it, you will not be the last. So, just make the decision to start to observe what's going on, how you're responding in that triangle, and when you're struggling with it, reach out and ask for help, ask for time with a friend, go for a walk, or go for a walk with someone...and stop telling everyone that you're fine when you're not really feeling fine. Because you should never underestimate how much your health and potential will benefit the people around you and the world. So, there are people out there that really care for you and that care for all of us, and it is an honour to be part of your world and they want you in it! Recognise those triggers, we all have had a childhood, we wouldn't be here if we hadn't.
An even if we've had a really good one in our psychological development as humans, we go through a period when we are about two or three when our brains have developed to a point where we understand that we are no longer connected physically to our mother, and our parents - and it doesn't matter how good your childhood was, there is a little part of your childhood brain that will have some kind of issue around that, we all do this kind of thing and that will be at the root of what your amygdala is scanning for in terms of drama. So, when we sort of talk about childhood trauma, and Freud and all of that sort of stuff, this is where it gets down to, our amygdala is constantly scanning for danger and it's often looking for things that as a two- or three-year-old made you feel threatened. And then when that happens, hormone rush, brain shuts down, fight or flight response into your behaviour, feelings, thoughts trigger.
So, start to really dive into, through meditation, therapy, or just calm, quiet reflection and observation, what's activating your lizard brain? When do you feel triggered? When do you go off and what's that like? And how do you want it to change? And then start to find strategies and practice them, you're never going to get it right first off, but start to work on strategies that actually help you manage it, or diffuse it, or handle it differently. Because you know, like, you know, you've got to this age, you know what happens when you go down that path, the way you always go down it, you've tested that, and the data is there for it. So, start doing experiments to test how you might be able to change it. We need to start to connect the internal and the external. So, we need to identify more closely, especially at work, what's given us a buzz? And we need to link those internal goals to the work that we're doing to get our external goals.
So, it might be look, I really hate making 20 phone calls a day, or 10 phone calls a day, but I have to do it for my job, but over time, it really gets me down. Okay, so if this is what you know, then what can you do to reward yourself to give yourself a happy hormone buzz, after you've done the 20 calls - so doing the 20 calls isn't about how much you hate doing the 20 calls, doing the 20 calls becomes about getting the reward, it's about the hormone buzz. Create meaningful rewards for hitting your targets, don't just do stuff that you would do anyway, give yourself like really good targets and goals that you know will genuinely make you happy - and this is why in real estate, we're starting to talk about this idea of sprints - like, you know that you're going to have peak periods, you know that it's going to be hard to be a good parent or father or partner at key times in the year.
So, prep everyone for it, but then make the reward for everybody at the end of that, the things that when you're on your deathbed, you're thinking 'Thank God we did that thing, because that was awesome!' and those are the emotional moments that I will remember forever, make it about that stuff. And really look after your health, like eat, drink lots of water, move, sleep. Mental and emotional health and deeply, deeply connected and if you're having more than three days a week that are more bad than good, that means that your cruising altitude is out of whack and then you need to start to prioritise action and create good habits. So, you know, Tom Panos talks about this a lot. But you need to make time for behaviours in your schedule, that are going to give you that happy hormone boost too - whether it's exercise, or walk around the block, or connecting with friends. Because when you do that, when you prioritise that, you can improve your long-term health, both mental and physical and you can certainly improve your coping strength, so that you become more robust in that coping space and that it becomes bigger, and you start to cruise control much more easily and course correct much more easily.
This is about building resilience. This is when we talk about building resilience. And look, use the tools that are out there to help you manage your mental health and the Rise Initiative has developed the Real Care app - it's been out for a while, but it is full of tools that help you manage all the things that we've talked about today, identifying your behaviours, identifying your feelings, identifying your thoughts, and helping them get back on track and giving you some tools to fix that, or to help support that - so there are tools in there to deal with stress, there are tools in there to deal with anxiety and behaviour and it's not going to fix everything and it's not something that you would want to use every day. But here's the thing, if you find yourself logging onto social media multiple times a day scanning for like the meaning of life or something, you just feel like you're looking for something - well first of all that's a sign that you are completely dopamine addicted, and your phone's got you, which is an issue - but instead of scrolling through social media, go into the Real Care app once or twice a week, and do one of the activities in it for a couple of minutes, that's all it takes, and see if that starts to change either your behaviours, your thoughts or your feelings.
It also has access to an employee assistance programme which is offered through Domain which gives you three free counselling sessions over the phone with a counsellor, counsellors are quite hard to find at the moment, so if you need someone to talk it through...and it also has crisis support, and you're welcome to share that with anyone in your family, and certainly anyone in your team, so we encourage you to download it - and remember, mental wellness, it's not black and white, it is a spectrum, it's probably a circle. But when you change your thoughts, you can change your behaviours and you can change your feelings and vice versa. You're never stuck her alone because we're all human. We've all had childhoods. We're all triggered. This is the human condition. So, use the tools that are out there, get support, and manage your wellness to avoid ill health and start to drive it to boost your performance. So, thank you very, very much - and if you felt triggered at all today, here are some details that are also in the app that I'm happy to share...and we do have an office toolkit on the Rise website - Rise Initiative.org.au - If you're interested in sharing it more broadly with your team, so thank you.
Marc: That's awesome!
Chelsea: That was so amazing, right?
Marc: Thank you for that presentation, Kylie - I mean, you touched on so many things that really aren't spotlighted enough and I think that was great, especially the part about speaking to yourself how you'd speak to your best friend. I think Chelsea had a few things to talk about as well.
Chelsea: All I was going to say is that I hope everyone's taking something positive from this to begin the new year with...so I'd like to thank Kylie Davis from the new Rise Initiative for joining us today, as well as everyone who's taken the time to attend today's webinar. Please do take the time to download the Real Care app - it's a valuable free toolkit to help you draw from and help you day to day to stay balanced, which you know, can be easier on some days, as Kylie pointed out than others! And lastly, at Forms Live we do experience support calls at the frontlines from property managers and salespeople trying to navigate their workflows effectively to try to create and reduce the stress in their day. So, it is also one of the reasons why we work so hard to implement integrations with our suppliers reduce the double handling, save time, and hopefully free up some time so you can inject a bit more balance into your day to day...so thank you, everybody. Thank you, Kylie! And thanks, Marc for cheering and hosting as well! And we look forward to seeing you all at the next webinar.
Marc: I'll just leave Chelsea and Kylie's details on the screen if you want to learn more or contact anybody!
Kylie: Awesome, thanks, everyone.
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