Chris and Rowan discuss how to overcome some of the main barriers to exercise in the context of cold-water swimming, an activity that Chris has started recently. We speak about some ways of getting past the barriers to exercise and accessing the many benefits that it brings to exercise regularly.
Episode 81 – Exploring the Evolution of Exercise – Let’s Get Physical
Chris and Rowan look back at the history of physical exercise to see how the ideas around exercise developed over time. We look at how cultural attitudes and perceptions towards exercise changed in the past and how that has influenced our attitudes towards exercise today. In understanding this, we can hopefully learn more about our exercise habits, including some of the barriers that stand in the way of exercising more.
Episode 80 – Ease Agitation with Bilateral Stimulation
Chris and Rowan discuss a very handy therapy technique called bilateral stimulation. It can be used to manage stress, anxiety or pain and is an easy-to-use, accessible tool that is worth having up our sleeve as a strategy to reduce arousal.
Episode 79 – A Rewarding Release: Autobiographical Writing
Chris and Rowan discuss the benefits of autobiographical writing, which can help us further develop our thoughts and process our emotions about events that have been important to us in our life. We talk about the importance of the stories that we tell ourselves and how important it is to the way that we frame those internal narratives.
Chris and Rowan discuss the topic of mentors and how having a mentor can benefit our mental health. This episode begins a short series of episodes that focus on the theme of what we can do for our mental health outside of therapy.
Chris and Rowan look at the topic of effective therapy and try and unpack exactly what makes effective therapy. What makes a therapist a good therapist and what responsibility does the client have in the relationship?
Episode 75 – Effective Empathising with Mentalising
Chris and Rowan discuss the topic of mentalisation, which is about how we can best empathise with others. It supports healthy relationships, leads to greater wellbeing and is a process central to psychological therapies.
Episode 74 – Encouraging Emotional Intelligence in Kids
Chris and Rowan discuss the topic of emotional intelligence in the context of children. It can be helpful to speak about emotional intelligence in the simplified terms we do with children. This episode is packed full of strategies for parents to help their children manage their emotions and adults who want to understand emotional intelligence better.
Chris and Rowan discuss the topic of emotional intelligence and how improving our emotional intelligence can improve many aspects of our life. Plus, we talk about some strategies for improving our emotional intelligence.
Chris and Rowan ask whether there is any psychological benefit from complaining. We look at how to find the balance between the positive benefits that come from expressing our grievances and the harm it can do to our mental health if we get stuck with negative thinking.
Following on from last week’s episode about the midlife crisis, Chris and Rowan discuss the topic of a late midlife crisis, where these feelings can reemerge in our 50’s. We also look at other life stages that can involve a sense of discomfort relating to a sense of time running out and what we can do if we confront these feelings.
Chris and Rowan discuss the topic of a midlife crisis. We look at what a midlife crisis is, why it happens, what we can do if we find ourselves experiencing these feelings and the positive side of dealing with a midlife crisis.
Episode 68 – Beginnings, Middles and Endings – When Timing is Telling
Chris and Rowan discuss the topic of timing and how it relates to change. Whether it be starting a new job, starting therapy, changing a habit or completing a project, some common patterns appear around the beginning, the middle and the end of something.
If we can understand these patterns, we can better overcome the obstacles they present and will be more likely to achieve our goals.
Chris and Rowan discuss the topic of energy management and how good energy management affects our productivity and well-being. We talk about how to manage the natural peaks and troughs that come throughout the day and how we can best come up with our own recipe for energy management.
Plus, we look at the daily routines of some famous people, such as Mozart and Maya Angelou and see if they can give us some tips for what might work in our own routine.
Episode 66 – Reducing Our Screen Time with David Cherry
Chris and Rowan are joined by clinical and forensic psychologist David Cherry to discuss how we can reduce our screen time and the screen time of our children. We also discuss some other ways to help build positive habits if we want to spend less time on screens and replace that time with more productive activities.
Episode 65 – Building Better Habits (and Overcoming Bad Ones)
Chris and Rowan are joined by clinical and forensic psychologist David Cherry to discuss how we can introduce good habits into our routine. David gives lots of actionable tips and strategies for changing our behaviour, plus we look at how you can overcome a bad or unwanted habit.
David Cherry is a Clinical and Forensic Psychologist who has worked as a psychologist and trainer for over 40 years.
He has a great deal of experience in working with adults who are troubled by issues relating to depression, anger and anxiety as well as working with children, adolescents and families.
As a trainer, David has run over 4000 training events, ranging from brief presentations to small groups and public speaking to groups of up to 500 people.
Episode 64 – Fortifying Our Focus in the Age of Distraction
Chris and Rowan discuss the topic of how we can maintain our focus and attention amongst the many distractions in modern life. These include digital media, social media, advertising and others that compete for our attention and want to distract us from our broader goals. This week, we speak about how this can lead to problems for our mental health and what we can do to gain some control back over some of the forces that compete for our attention.
View the episode pagehttps://www.chrismackey.com.au/fortifying-our-focus/https://www.chrismackey.com.au/fortifying-our-focus/
PART 2 – in our second episode on creativity, Chris and Rowan discuss how we can be more creative. We talk about the process that the world’s most creative people went through to become more creative and how we can all tap into that same process.
PART 1 – today’s episode is the first in a two-part series on the topic of creativity. Today, we talk about how creativity benefits and encourages our well-being, as well as the elements that make up creativity. We look at the work of Hungarian American psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who wrote the book Creativity and apply that information to benefit our mental health.
Next week, we’ll look at how we can be more creative and discuss the creative process of people who are recognised as having creative genius.
Episode 61 – Synchronicity Supporting Life Choices
In a follow up to last week’s episode, Chris and Rowan discuss the role of synchronicity in affirming and directing our life choices. Last week’s podcast focussed on the rationality and psychology involved in making choices, but this week we discuss the more intuitive elements of making choices, of which synchronicity is an element.
Chris and Rowan discuss the topic of decision making and how recognising the way that we make decisions can help our well-being. It seems a bit paradoxical, but when we are presented with too many options, it can stand in the way of us making a choice and sticking to it. We look at some of the ways that we make decisions and why having too many choices can sometimes be a bad thing.
As a follow-up to last week’s episode about flow, Chris and Rowan discuss the topic in the context of our relationships and friendships. Although many of the elements of flow are individual, we can tap into flow with those around us to enhance our relationships.
Chris and Rowan discuss the topic of Flow, drawing from the work of renowned psychologist Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi. The concept of flow can help us to optimise our well-being by identifying the activities that most engage us.
In preparation for talking about flow in the next podcast, Chris and Rowan discuss the benefits of completing the character strengths exercise. An awareness of your character strengths can significantly improve your well-being and enhance your problem-solving capabilities.
We discuss the character strengths, particularly in the context of revisiting them, as we spoke about them right at the beginning of the pandemic.
In our first podcast for the new year, Chris and Rowan discuss some ways that we can best preserve our mental health as covid becomes more prevalent in the community. We talk about some ways of minimising and dealing with the uncertainty that we’re all facing in the year ahead.
In our final podcast for the year, Chris and Rowan discuss Polyvagal Theory, which relates to the way we respond to threatening situations.
We discuss the impacts of the freeze-submit, the fight-flight and the social engagement systems and how they are each called upon to address threat in different ways. We also talk about how things like trauma can disrupt our ability to balance these responses, as well as some things we can do to help restore that balance.
Chris and Rowan discuss the work of Albert Ellis, one of the most influential psychologists of the 20th century. Ellis, along with Aaron (Tim) Beck, who we spoke about in a previous episode, created Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
In this episode, we discuss Ellis’s Rational Emotive Therapy (RET), particularly around the core fears and irrational beliefs that Ellis identified. We discuss the 10 primary irrational beliefs that Ellis identified and how recognising their impact can benefit our mental health.
Mark Grantis a clinical psychologist with over 30 years of experience in the treatment of stress, trauma, and pain. Mark’s main interest and experience is in the role of negative emotion (resulting from stress) as a cause and an effect of health problems.
In addition to his clinical work, Mark has studied and written about the problem of stress and pain, and his ideas have also been cited in the New York Times. Mark is the author of the book “Change Your Brain Change Your Pain” and has published several articles on the subject, including in the Journal of Clinical and Consulting Psychology.
We are incredibly lucky to have Mark share his expertise on the podcast to discuss how to manage and overcome pain, the relationship between pain to trauma, the role of medication in pain relief and much more.
Chris and Rowan discuss the importance of our social connections for our physical and mental health. We talk about some of the benefits that can come from social support and also some of the problems that can arise from loneliness and social isolation.
Episode 50 – Psych Spiels Celebrates its 50 – A look back at the key themes
In celebration of 50 episodes of the podcast, Chris and Rowan look back at some of their favourite themes and topics that have come up on the podcast so far. Plus, we speak a bit about how we’ve best utilised the podcast material and how it’s come up after we’ve recorded the episodes.
Chris and Rowan discuss a number of concepts from quantum physics and how they relate to psychology and our mental health.
What quantum physics teaches us is that the world is not black and white and there are some spooky notions that present themselves in the quantum world. We discuss what this means for our ability to choose our own circumstances, even if we seem stuck in a situation.
Chris and Rowan are joined by grief and resilience expert Dr Lucy Hone. Lucy is an author, researcher, Co-director of the New Zealand Institute of Wellbeing & Resilience and presenter of one of the best Ted Talks on the internet.
Lucy’s best-selling book, Resilient Grieving, is seen as one of the pre-eminent books on grief and we are incredibly lucky to be joined by her today.
Chris and Rowan discuss a topic from Hindu philosophy, the three Gunas. We discuss the three Gunas of Tamas, Rajas and Sattva in the context of benefitting our mental health. We have found these ideas to be a good way of explaining many of the concepts that relate to Western Psychology.
Chris and Rowan talk about an important topic, self-compassion. We discuss some reasons why people may not be particularly self-compassionate and then talk about some strategies for boosting your own self-compassion and restoring more inner balance.
Chris and Rowan discuss the idea of encouraging personal agency in a mental health context. How can we gain more personal agency in order to achieve heightened wellbeing? This podcast episode was motivated by a presentation from Martin Seligman, a pioneer in positive psychology.
We talk about ideas that have been explored for thousands of years, right through to the Centre Court at the most recent Wimbledon final.
Episode 44 – Demystifying DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder)
Chris and Rowan discuss dissociative identity disorder, which used to be known as multiple personality disorder. We dispel some of the myths around DID and talk about ways of treating such a complex psychological condition.
Episode 43 – Dealing with the Disruption of Depersonalisation
Chris and Rowan discuss some strategies for dealing with depersonalisation, derealisation, and other dissociative disorders. We discuss a number of cases of people developing dissociation and share some of their tips for managing their experiences.
We discuss the symptoms of depersonalisation and derealisation that can occur with panic attacks. These symptoms are often under-recognised as being associated with panic and can lead people to feel as if they are losing their mind.
In this episode, we discuss why these symptoms are not inherently dangerous as well as some strategies for managing symptoms of depersonalisation and derealisation associated with panic.
Episode 40 – The Mystery of the Mind – Beyond Conventional Healing
Chris and Rowan build on the topic of placebo and talk about some of the stories related to the healing power of the mind.
There are many stories of people miraculously healing themselves such as when they’ve been told they will never walk again. In this episode, we explore some of why that is, and also how we can harness these seemingly mystical capacities for ourselves.
Chris and Rowan discuss the placebo effect and how we can best use it to benefit our mental health. We also look at what the nocebo effect is and what the implications are for traditional treatments for mental health.
Episode 38 – The Sustenance of Spiritual Experience
We discuss the psychological benefits of having spiritual beliefs. We discuss some of the research that has been done into the link between wellbeing and spiritual beliefs. This includes the work of Ken Pargament and others, whose research suggests that spiritual beliefs shouldn’t be dismissed or minimised, particularly when they’re providing clear benefits for mental health.
Episode 37 – Separating the Psycho-spiritual from Psychosis
We speak about one of Chris’s favourite topics, facing a spiritual crisis. In this episode, we discuss what a spiritual crisis is, and how other mystical experiences and trans-personal phenomena can be of immense benefit to our mental health. We also look at the difference between psychosis and satori, an irregular state of consciousness recognised by nearly all cultures across time.
Understanding our own individual response to stressful situations is one of the best things we can do for our mental health. In this episode, Chris and Rowan discuss the benefits of being able to recognise when your stress is building up and how you can find your own personal recipe for alleviating stress.
As with physical health, exercise is one of the best interventions that we have available for mental health. In this episode, Chris and Rowan discuss some of the benefits of exercise to our mental health and cognitive function as well as some ways of ensuring that you’re able to follow through with an exercise routine.
Episode 34 – The Helpfulness of the Hero’s Journey
In what is one of both Chris and Rowan’s favourite topics, we discuss the hero’s journey and its relevance in psychological therapy.
We go through some of the different stages of the hero’s journey and discuss how we can all relate to them in different ways.
This episode is particularly relevant after the recent Royal Commission into Mental Health Services in Victoria and in this episode, we discuss an optimistic attitude to mental illness that addresses some of the Report’s findings.
How can you boost hope? What is the relevance of hope? How can you tell if someone has lost hope? This week, Chris and Rowan discuss the topic of hope, both from the angle of restoring hope, but also the positive side of hope as a character strength.
In the first podcast for 2021, Chris and Rowan discuss the topic of goal setting. Many people will have made new year’s resolutions for 2021 and so we discuss some ways to help set goals that are most authentic to us and also some strategies for helping to fulfil those goals.
With waiting times for appointments with psychologists growing all across Australia, Chris and Rowan discuss some of the other options that are available when we cannot get in to see a psychologist or are waiting for an appointment.
Chris and Rowan discuss what it means to be a psychopath and how they most often show up in our everyday life. It’s estimated that as much as 1% of the population are psychopaths, so it seems that they are a lot more common than the most extreme criminal type of psychopath that we most often hear about.
We look at some of the warning signs that someone might be a psychopath, as well as what we can do to best protect ourselves from harm.
As a follow-up to last week’s episode about finding the right mental health professional, this week Chris and Rowan discuss approaching the subject with a family member or friend who may be in need of some support.
Episode 25 – Positive Psychology, Science and Synchronicity
As a follow-up to last week’s introduction to the topic of synchronicity, Chris and Rowan look deeper into the wellbeing benefits of acknowledging synchronicity. We look at some stories of uncanny coincidences and how they have benefitted those involved, as well as what can be lost by ignoring our intuition. We also look at how synchronicity relates to our modern understanding of science including positive psychology and quantum physics.
In this episode, we explore some of the theory laid out in Chris’s book, The Positive Psychology of Synchronicity: Enhance Your Mental Health with the Power of Coincidence.
Chris and Rowan discuss synchronicity and how it relates to our wellbeing, the topic of Chris’s book. We share stories of meaningful coincidences and how they’ve helped people to form some sort of deeper understanding or meaning in their lives.
Episode 23 – Past, Present and Future – Talking about Time
Chris and Rowan explore the second aspect of mindfulness to last week’s podcast on arousal management, which is living in the present moment.
We look at the idea of living in the present both from the aspect of experiencing our immediate surroundings, but also to not overwhelm ourselves by placing too much emphasis on painful memories or worries about the future.
Chris and Rowan give some strategies for arousal management. Arousal management is one of the fundamental skills that a psychologist will help someone to bolster as hyperarousal can cause problems related to panic, anger, stress or many other mental health-related challenges.
We also look at what some of the challenges we may face if we don’t implement practices to reduce our arousal in these ways.
Episode 21 – Drive, Soothing and Threat – Seeking a Synergy of Systems
Chris and Rowan look at the topic of self-compassion in the context of still aiming to achieve our goals and ambitions.
With many unforeseeable events having taken place this year, it can be an opportunity to reassess whether our own recipe for achievement is still working optimally for us.
In this episode, we consider the interplay between our different systems of behaviour, the drive, soothing and threat systems. We discuss how appreciating the interplay between these systems can help us perform at our best, including at times of greater stress.
Episode 19 – Not Just Genes – A Recipe for Mental Health
On this week’s episode, Chris and Rowan look at the part our genetics play in determining our mental health and how we can best use that knowledge to our advantage. In this episode, we look at some ways of boosting the more positive aspects of our genetic makeup and discuss how we can best manipulate the relationship between nature and nurture to our advantage.
On this week’s episode, Chris and Rowan discuss the topic of worry. We explore the differences between productive and unproductive worry, find ways of recognising when our worry is unnecessary or excessive and discuss some strategies for distancing ourself from our thoughts.
This week, Chris and Rowan discuss how phobias develop and how they are treated.
People can have phobias for a whole range of reasons, but in this episode we look at some of the similarities between different phobias, how to stop them developing after a traumatic event and how to treat them once someone does have a phobia
On this week’s episode, Chris and Rowan take on the topic of motivation. We explore what factors compel us to act in certain ways and try to answer the question ‘how can you get yourself to do something when it’s hard to do?’
With many of us facing the prospect of another lockdown, this episode is full of practical strategies to motivate us and get us going to ensure that we complete all the tasks that we set out to during this next period at home.
These tips and strategies are also relevant to those who just want to make a change in a certain area of their life.
On this week’s episode, Rowan and Chris look for some ways to prevent and treat burnout. Burnout is often thought of as being related to work stress, but in this episode, we explore the idea that burnout is when our demands outstrip our resources. This relates to more than work stress and is particularly relevant to those in caring roles through the COVID-19 pandemic.
This week, Chris and Rowan explore the topic of undoing addictions.
Dealing with addictions involves more than just willpower. It also involves having practical strategies which can assist a person to gain a greater return from their efforts in reducing or eliminating addictive behaviour. This episode aims to provide information and outline strategies which can be helpful in dealing with addictive behaviours, as well as explore the source of many addictions and their relationship to other psychological difficulties.
On this week’s episode, Rowan and Chris discuss the nature of obsessive-compulsive tendencies and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
All of us are unique and have individual differences in personality functioning. Most patterns of personality can have positive and negative aspects. When people have obsessional personality characteristics they may commonly aim to draw on a sense of order, rules or standards to exercise a greater sense of control in various areas of their lives.
In this episode, we explore some of the positive aspects of an obsessive personality, where it can get us into trouble, as well as ways of managing obsessive-compulsive tendencies.
This week, Chris and Rowan look at the topic of anger. Recognising that there are many situations that it’s ok to be angry, we focus more on ways of controlling your anger and being able to use it as a tool to serve us, rather than get us into trouble.
In these times, this following quote from Maya Angelou is as poignant as ever, however, we must use anger to our advantage and not let it rule our emotions.
“If you’re not angry, you’re either a stone or you’re too sick to be angry. You should be angry. You must not be bitter. Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. It doesn’t do anything to the object of its displeasure. So use that anger, yes. You write it. You paint it. You dance it. You march it. You vote it. You do everything about it. You talk it. You never stop talking it.”
This week, Chris and Rowan look at the topic of avoidance and avoidant personality disorders. Avoidance is a problem that arises when one’s fears or anxieties get in the way of them either doing or not doing something, which impacts on their quality of life.
Those with avoidant personality tendencies can experience repeated periods of depression and anxiety because their avoidance is hampering them from truly processing the root cause of their distress and stopping them from tackling the problem head-on.
In this episode, you’ll learn not only how to identify avoidance in yourself and others, but also some practical tips and strategies for how to overcome avoidant tendencies.
On this week’s episode, Chris and Rowan discuss the topic of trauma. We look at some of the more common and complex ways that trauma can present in our behaviours and ways of managing trauma reactions to diffuse their intensity.
We discuss a number of specific therapy techniques for addressing trauma, as well as the link between trauma and a number of personality disorders, including dissociative identity disorder, which used to be known as multiple personality disorder.
As always, we apply an optimistic framework to the topic to hopefully get across the idea that trauma is something that can not only be overcome, but can also provide us with an opportunity to learn and eventually prosper, despite what can often be such negative circumstances.
If this episode brought up any distressing feelings for you. You can reach out immediately to Lifeline on 13 11 14. Please also consider speaking with close friends or family, as well as your GP.
Episode 7 – Dealing with Depression
On this week’s episode, Chris and Rowan look at ways of managing with depression using general psychological techniques as well as how to use strategies from positive psychology to ensure that you’re able to keep yourself out of depression.
We also share some of our personal experiences with depression, as well as what we’ve learnt from coming through those dark episodes.
If this episode brought up any distressing feelings for you. You can reach out immediately to Lifeline on 13 11 14. Please also consider speaking with close friends or family, as well as your GP.
Episode 6 – Expunging Anxiety
On this week’s episode, Chris and Rowan look at ways of managing anxiety in our current situation and how we can help those around us if they’re suffering.
In recent years, positive psychology has changed some of the ways we think about anxiety, so we explore ways to look at anxiety more optimistically, including ways of using the character strengths to be more proactive against feeling anxious and offering support to those around us.
On this episode, Rowan and Chris ask the question, if sport is likely to be one of the first things to return, how can we best take advantage of it? We look at the importance of sport and the relationship between sport, the character strengths and our wellbeing.
This week, Rowan and Chris discuss ways of curating a news diet that’s healthy for our state of mind. We discuss why too much negative news is bad for us, how we can use the character strengths to improve our news diet with different sources, including new media, and why it’s worth taking this opportunity to reflect upon and expand the places where we seek our news.
This week, Chris and Rowan discuss ways of using positive psychology to manage the added conflict and situations that we’re all likely to face over the coming months. We discuss what conflict is and some of the main conflict styles that people tend to use, ways of using the character strengths to manage conflict with family and friends as we’re all in closer proximity and finally, ways of managing anger when tensions do bubble over.
Rowan and Chris take on the topic of exercising under the current stay at home restrictions and social distancing. We look at why it’s particularly important to exercise during this current time, how the character strengths can apply to exercise and also look at exactly how habits are formed to ensure that changes we do make over the coming months are long-lasting.
In episode one, Rowan and Chris discuss what the podcast will be about, take a broad look at the character strengths and why they’re particularly useful and look at what opportunities the COVID-19 pandemic may present to us over the coming months.
Rowan Mackey is joined by his father, clinical psychologist Chris Mackey as they discuss ways of applying character strengths and remaining optimistic during the time of COVID-19.
Rowan Mackey is a content producer and digital creative. After studying sports media and law at the University of Canberra, he found himself drawn to digital media after attending the first conference for podcasters in the southern hemisphere, We Are Podcast in 2016. He is also the principal of Easygoing Digital, where he has been involved in over 500,000 podcast downloads as a presenter and producer.
He currently produces the official Geelong Cats AFL and AFLW podcasts and is a producer of the TV show Destination Happiness airing nationally in Australia on Channel 9 and Internationally with the Discovery Channel. He has also worked with notable organisations such as The Geelong Grammar School and Lyons Construction.
Rowan is the Digital Media Manager at Chris Mackey and Associates.
Chris is also the resident psychologist for TV show Destination Happiness, where he presents the “Happy Mind” segment, involving brief tips based on the science of positive psychology. He also writes a regular opinion column for The Geelong Advertiser and is the resident psychologist on K-Rock radio in the mornings.
Chris was the recipient of the 2019 Australian Allied Health Impact Award for his clinical research and training, media involvement and for authoring a book on positive psychology and synchronicity.