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The Weapon Of Mastering Our Minds – Exclusive Interview With Dr Pamela Stoodley

Dr Pamela Stoodley is a polymath with her range of specialities in being a general physician, child and adolescent psychologist, neuropsychologist, counsellor in addictions psychology and a nutritionist. Dr Stoodley's first book 'Cracking the Happiness Code' teaches people the way our minds work and how best to use it to our advantage. Her life's mission is to show people how they can break the myth of a hard wired brain and leap forward into the world of neuroplasticity for their own mental (health) agility. Her wish is to be able to empower every human on this planet ‒ from toddlers to retirees, the weapon of Mastering our Minds.

Dr Pamela Stoodley, Neurotransformative Coach

Please tell us about you and your life, so we can get to know you better.

I'm extremely passionate about the brain and by extension, the mind. By association, it also lends a curiosity into how the mind can simultaneously be creative and logical, rational and at times irrational. The obvious subject of my passionate study began with myself. I love all forms of art and I consider music and dance my source of life!

Growing up I was into all kinds of sports and experimented with all art forms, from theatre and dance to singing and poetry. With my study in neuroscience, I learnt that the left brain ‒ right brain myth aided in the unchangeable attitude humans had. But because I was also able to access the hidden potentials of the mind, I can safely say that where I am today is what I wish to teach all those who want to tap into their mental strengths and master their minds.

I currently live in Wellington, New Zealand ‒ with my lovely husband Luke, and three-year-old son Joshua and soon to join our family of three is our second on the way.

What is your business name and how do you help your clients?

My business Pamela Stoodley Limited encompasses a range of different services governed by a single mission – that being to help clients Master their Minds. I am a Mental Agility coach which means my focus is to teach you how your mind works, how you can experience your emotions and the best way to get yourself out of a stuck phase in life.

What kind of audience do you target your business towards?

I see people from all walks of life, who come to me with a variety of issues. However, on diving deep, most of their collective issues usually have some foundational similarities – those who feel stuck and cannot make any progress, those who are struggling to turn their lives around by either stopping or starting something and some who are struggling to understand their children. The groundwork for all starts with understanding their mind and we then go from there.

You appear to have a varied background in science, can you shed some light on that?

Sure. I initially started as a general practitioner with the everyday medical diagnoses of patients who came to see me. When I came to New Zealand, I entered the field of psychology specialising in Alcohol and other drug Addiction studies and this opened up a whole new world of the workings of the human mind from a very different perspective. I then decided that I needed to start from scratch, studying the very psychology of infants and children and simultaneously diving into the world of nutrition. The clinical child and adolescent psychology got me hooked and that paved the path for my entry into the world of neuroscience, where I specialised in Behavioural and Cognitive Neurology.

I began my journey with yoga and meditation about twenty years ago and so I am currently studying the effects of meditation in neuroscience – or what is otherwise called Neuromeditation. Why have I done this? I believe the various fields I have plunged myself into have given me an intensive all-round understanding of the human mind which if one were to just concentrate on any single field, one would be grossly limiting themselves to.

What is some advice you offer your clients that you practice and believe in?

Oh, there are plenty! I strongly believe in practising what I preach. If I were to narrow it down to just a few they would be

  • Learn about your mind and how to regulate your emotions in a healthy way

  • Get sufficient sleep

  • Pay attention to your gut health

  • Be more self-aware than living in the past or present

  • Move your body as much as you can – in any way you can

  • Reduce your time consuming non benefiting media and spend time outdoors

  • Be kind and compassionate with yourself

  • Be very attentive to the language of your self-talk

I know for those reading this, it would seem like this is already all well known, the struggle is either getting started, staying consistent and/or not giving up. This is where I step in to help.

You recently authored Cracking the Happiness Code – can you tell us about it?

So I wrote the book with a view that it can be used as a tool rather than a 'read it once and shelf it'. The chapters are short keeping in mind the average human attention span. Although it is scientifically backed, I have made a very conscious effort to speak in simple layman's language because I want people to understand their minds in a simple, not-so-daunting way that encourages them to take appropriate action where required.

The first half of the book focuses on the various reasons 'happiness' evades people. As a side note, I first go into the very usage of the term happiness – what it means to different people and how it can be replaced with any word that resonates with that emotion to get the point across. Anyway, I call the first half of the book, the WHY and more often than not people will find more than one reason that resonates with them. The second half of the book is called the HOW. This part focuses on how people can go about achieving that default state of blissfulness, once they've figured out their WHY/s.

My aim with this book other than the obvious is to also break the myth that people either believe or use in their defence, that the brain is hard-wired to be what it is and therefore they 'are what they are'. This is not the case!

What keeps you ticking forward successfully?

I'm just passionate about what I do. I know this because when I do something half-heartedly, the result is mediocre (by my definition anyway). When I consciously choose to do something, I am all in and then irrespective of the outcome, I succeed. What I mean by this is that I have fun with the process, and I go in with a hungry and curious mind – no judgment, bias or preconceived notion about the matter. At the end of it, irrespective of the result – I am always ten steps ahead of where I started and wiser than when I began that journey – that to me is a success.

This is one aspect of my life that I always share with my clients. The point I constantly drive home is that they need to be willing to make any change, and if they are, they can unleash the power of their mind and watch the magic unfold. Instead of making a mental note of their failures, I ask them to make a note of all their learnings – irrespective of the outcome.

How do you overcome situations when things don't go your way?

This is something I get typically asked to help clients with too! So in 2017, I was preparing for my wedding amidst other things. All my bridesmaids were set to arrive from overseas and that meant arrangements were all via online chat. And so was my wedding dress! I received mine in the mail and as soon as I opened the package I had a sinking feeling that it was no good! It wasn't the right colour or fabric, the design was far from the image I shared and the fit was simply inexplicable. I was shocked and disappointed and immediately texted my friend lamenting about the tragedy. I remember, exactly ten minutes later, she asked, "So now what?!" and my response was, "well back to the drawing board it is!"

That is how I am generally with everything. Sadness, disappointments and failures befall us all. Do what you have to experience the emotion that arises within you. And then, move on to the next action. Some people cannot come out of that stuck emotion and that often takes them down a path of dread. Mental agility is a real thing and it will help you in many ways than one.

What is the best moment of your life?

This! My interview with you! Every other moment is a memory and future ones are my dreams! Every beautiful moment I have had is now a wonderful memory I cherish. But any moment is only a moment you experience in the NOW. I relish everything I do and experience and that for me rarely leads to regrets or catastrophising.

Why is practising self-awareness so hard?

Awareness itself isn't hard. The fact that we are aware of the danger or threats we face, shows that we can bring ourselves to be in a state of alertness without any hesitation ‒ when every other time we find it hard or are simply unaware. And why we are this way has a lot to do with what we value, believe in and create a mindset about. We unconsciously wear multiple filters from the moment we wake up to the moment we retire to bed we fail to see that we function on autopilot. But some drawbacks of this autopilot state give rise to challenges like breaking habits or changing behaviours, conflicts based on how our mind interprets situations and people and above all, how we react instantaneously instead of responding. Awareness is a state of being rather than a habit that requires practising.

What 5 books would you recommend?

Oh my, that's a tough one! Sticking with my genre I'd say How to Think by Alan Jacobs, Atomic Habits by James Clear, The Myth of Normal by Dr. Gabor Maté, Ikigai by Hector and Francesc and The School of Life by Alain De Botton.

What would you like to achieve for yourself and your business in the future?

I want to spread as much awareness and education as possible, so each human can then do their bit and spread the same to the next one. We have so many versions of mental illnesses, struggles and diseases of the mind that while some feel there is something wrong and needs to be worked on, others feel this is how they are carrying on with their struggles, only to make their suffering more comfortable. You are only able to help or fix what you see as a problem and that usually is the issue. The denial effect is a silent killer and often goes unnoticed unless examined.

Lastly, any two tips that you feel would make an instantaneous difference if people were to start it from today?

Absolutely! One, I'd say is as soon as you're up, get some sunlight! Before 8 am step outside and look in the general direction of the sun (not directly) and if you're up before the sun is, then switch on the lights at home to allow exposure to your eyes. Of course, between 8 am and 4 pm, use sunscreen. If I had to further expand on this tip, it would be to explain the function of melatonin and how crucial a role it plays in one's sleep cycle and its relationship with hormones like cortisol. So as a corollary to this tip, in the evening (if your job doesn't entail working night shifts), lower the lights and minimise exposure of any wavelength of light to the eyes – this also includes blue light from all devices.

My second tip would be to consciously look for what you want and not for what you think! People who often go about thinking, 'Today is not going to be a good day' or 'That's it! I'm never going to be successful in life' ‒ inadvertently train their brain to only look for those aspects that will cater to making those thoughts a reality! This is because the brain doesn't understand the concept of negative thinking. The eyes only see what the mind knows so feed your mind well.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!



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