Happy Not Perfect

Though most people might cringe if their middle school diaries were ever made public, Poppy Jamie doesn’t shy away from baring it all.

“I’ve included my 12-year-old diary entries for people to see that those beliefs ran my life up until the day I began to challenge them,” Jamie says. “When I started going through these diaries, I burst into tears because it was so sad to see myself at such a young age already believing so strongly that I wasn’t enough.”

Poppy Jamie is a fashion/tech-wellness entrepreneur, mental health activist, and the founder of Happy Not Perfect, a mindfulness app. It has fans ranging from Kourtney Kardashian, Jameela Jamil, Mindy Kaling, and Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice, as well as accolades from Wired and NBC’s Today Show. She also founded the accessories line Pop & Suki with model Suki Waterhouse, and led Snapchat’s first television show, Pillow Talk With Poppy.

Jamie is also famed skincare expert Erno Laszlo’s first ever Global Wellness Advisor, and a Forbes 30 Under 30 Most Influential in 2018. Her book, Happy Not Perfect, is set to release on June 8 from Penguin/Random House.

So what does someone like this know about struggling with mental health? Turns out, quite a bit.

Growing up, Jamie was exposed to mental illness from her father’s stress and lack of sleep. Her mother is a psychotherapist and Jamie saw the positive impact these resources had on her father.

When Jamie was in her mid-twenties, she hit rock bottom, which she feels is actually a great place to be. “We’re only going to be that activated to look after ourselves when we’re feeling the most amount of pain,” Jamie says. “When things are okay, we are willing to bumble along life — things are not great but not terrible. We don’t treasure our mental health until we feel some sort of pain.”

Jamie was commuting between London and Los Angeles as a television host and an entrepreneur setting up two companies. But it was all too much. She checked into a hospital and was diagnosed with burnout, which at the time felt like a trivial name for something that felt so serious and devastating. Today, the World Health Organization defines burnout as chronic workplace stress characterized by exhaustion, job-related cynicism, and reduced professional efficacy.

Part of the issue with mental health is the lack of education and tools that people have access to. That gap is what Jamie sought to close when she teamed up with neuroscientist from UCLA and developed the app Happy Not Perfect. It currently boasts 3,600 downloads with an average rating of 4.8 stars and shout-outs from Vogue, Bustle, and Stylist.

Though Jamie herself has 96.5k followers on Instagram, don’t let that fool you.

“We think Instagram knows us better than we know ourselves, so we ask a friend or anyone we know for advice but ignore the fact that we are our own pools of wisdom,” Jamie says. “We know ourselves better than anyone but we don’t trust ourselves. The book is about helping us rediscover our self trust and that we have the tools inside.”

Jamie’s book lays out loads of science as well as knowledge gleaned from scores of self help books in an approachable, relatable way. It even includes exercises to help calm that anxious brain as well as inspiring quotes from diverse role models and thought leaders like Oprah Winfrey, Tara Brach, and Don Miguel Ruiz.

Sometimes we just don’t have the time to meditate for 20 minutes every day. Other days we don’t feel like eating our vegetables. Jamie’s approach is more gentle and compassionate. Jamie offers a few tips to help you navigate your next no good very bad day.

Quick Tips:
1) 3 deep belly breaths. The belly breath activates the computer side of the brain, and starts to regulate our nervous system. We are able to change our energy by just breathing deeply. We can do this anywhere, anytime.

2) 5 minutes of movement. Try dancing or taking a brisk walk. Even just changing our posture can help us feel less anxious. When we connect to our bodies, we’re suddenly in a completely different consciousness and energetic level. For Jamie, exercise is not about fitting into a certain pair of pants. It is for the mental health benefits.

3) Name your inner Mean Girl. “I do encourage people to name it because it reminds you that these thoughts are fictional. It’s incredible that 80% of our thoughts are usually negative, and they are running and ruining our life. They aren’t even true, but they are so convincing that it takes days to constantly challenge and get into that habit of challenging these thoughts that are running our consciousness.”

4) Remember you have a choice. “You can choose what thoughts to believe. As soon as we connect and breathe, we then give ourselves the choice on how to want to make a decision or respond.” It might not seem like it when you’re in the thick of it, but it’s true. She likes Austrian neurologist Viktor Frankl’s quote —

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

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www.christinaberke.com

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Christina Berke

Christina Berke

www.christinaberke.com

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