Happy Not Perfect app founder Jamie Poppy
Happy Not Perfect app founder Jamie Poppy

In the Age of the Burnout, Poppy Jamie Helps Us Find Our Happy

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Ever wanted a British best friend? Poppy Jamie is your girl. The TV and social media personality turned tech entrepreneur possesses an infectious energy that nods to her London roots—she oozes earnest positivity and a real-talk attitude. Poppy’s current resume is pretty stacked: she’s the co-founder of millennial-favorite accessories brand Pop & Suki with BFF Suki Waterhouse, and recently launched Happy Not Perfect, a mindfulness app that focuses on breath work, journaling exercises, and mantra practices. (It’s our new favorite way to unwind after a long day.) She shares with Good Times all things mental health, how to combat burnout, and her favorite ways to recharge.

Photo Credit @POPPYJAMIE

Photo Credit @POPPYJAMIE

How did Happy Not Perfect come to be? Where did your passion for and interest in spearheading a project focused around mindfulness and mental well-being come from?


Happy Not Perfect came from wanting to share my mum with the world. Growing up with a physiotherapist mum meant that when I was experiencing stress and anxiety, I could call her and be talked into a calmer mindset. I wanted to make sure everybody could learn about the brain, as I had done, and also have tools and resources available to empower them to choose how they want to feel rather than be stuck or swallowed by negative thought patterns.


I started a very intensive research project into mindfulness and the brain just over 3 years ago. I found a neuroscientist at UCLA, Alex Korb particularly inspiring and through his book, The Upward Spiral: Using neuroscience to reverse the course of depression one step at a time - I really started to learn how all our brains are like plastic, meaning, we all have the power to shape them just like we could develop abs with sit ups.

What aspects of the app have you found users to find most applicable or useful?


I think the Let Go step which asks the user to write down anything that’s worrying them, any feelings of anxiety and after they have journaled… the user can blow up the whole screen, like having their own little burning ceremony. This visual helps users feel a sense of release.


Breathing is a big one too. Nine out of ten people breathe badly, so it’s helpful that the app teaches people to breathe correctly…using the belly!

Photo Courtesy of @POPPYJAMIE

It is SO easy to focus on everything we haven’t got so working on practicing a perspective of gratitude for all the good stuff we do have in our lives, is a proven hack to a more balanced mindset.

Millennials have been called the most stressed generation. Why do you think that is?


My main belief is technology. Just over 10 years ago, we all accumulated the most addictive weapon that’s ever lived, a mobile phone, and we lost so many mindful moments. Not only are we stimulated 24/7 with constant emails, texts, news alerts, but also our self-esteem and self-worth dangles on a thread of how many likes our last picture just got. External validation has become so important, our sense of inner fulfillment has taken a back seat. We are now all comparison overload as we observe everyone’s shiny filtered life. No wonder our minds are feeling frazzled and self-esteem is at an all-time low. We’ve forgotten to prioritize our own reality in favor of the digital life.

Do you think there are unrealistic or unhealthy expectations in 2018 helping to cause this stress?


Completely. Men and women are expected to be super heroes. Look amazing, be super successful, have a happy relationship, stay healthy—essentially be perfect. We push ourselves more and more and more to achieve these crazy standards culture and our own selves endorse and perpetuate and it’s no wonder we’re left stressed, anxious and burnt out.

How can young women work to maintain mental wellness amidst so many triggers, stressors, and expectations in their outside lives?


Self-care is self-love. We all need to take better care of our minds. That ranges from basic things like, getting more early nights, moving our bodies, eating nutritiously, spending time by ourselves allowing our fight and response to calm down to find some equilibrium. It is so easy to focus on everything we haven’t got so working on practicing a perspective of gratitude for all the good stuff we do have in our lives, is a proven hack to a more balanced mindset.


Meditation is brilliant but not for everyone. The Happy Not Perfect app has so many science-backed tools built specifically to help us maintain mental wellness in this crazy, demanding world. Breath work, journaling, gratitude, self-compassion and random acts of kindness are all essential daily practices.

 

Your mind is like any other muscle in the body… it requires daily exercise to become stronger and healthier.

Why do you think we have a hard time making our mental health a priority?


Because we can’t see the mind…. If you had a broken leg, we would all say, “Oh no, you poor thing! How can I help? Do you need some food brought over? Drinks?” We have become so good at hiding our mental health that most of us continue until we hit rock bottom and only then do we start making it a priority. Your mind is like any other muscle in the body. It requires daily exercise to become stronger and healthier. This is a relatively new idea to some, so it takes some effort to turn mindful care into a healthy habit.

What are some of the physical and mental signs that point at being burnt out?


Tiredness, feeling low or sad, weight gain, trouble sleeping, loss of energy, social withdrawal, reactive responses, feeling highly sensitive…

What advice can you give to help keep women from getting to that point?


Start building a mental well-being practice into your daily routine. As regularly as you brush your teeth, we should all be looking after our mind.

Do you have steps you take when you’re feeling anxious that keep that anxiety from spiraling out of control? Any features on the app to help with that?


Download the Happy Not Perfect app and try out the Refresh practice. It’s a less than 5-minute work out for your mind. We have over 250 meditations and breathing exercises that are incredible for anxiety. The “Anxiety Killer Breath” by leader Will Schneider is a particular favorite!

How do you recharge?


Yoga, early nights, and daily walks in the morning.

What are some things that you do or have at home that help calm you?


Face mask, podcasts, and probiotics, which are critical for gut balancing and thus mental balance.

What role has friendship played in your journey to happiness and wellness?


So, so, so important. I have many mentors and a few really best friends who I call up, rant, rave, cry and just really get my feelings out. It’s so important to release and process feelings and thoughts. When we suppress our feelings, the emotional part of the brain actually becomes more activated which can make things worse. By expressing, you can actually move on quicker. My friends help offer support, acceptance and most importantly a perspective shift. “Hey Poppy, but how about looking at the situation like this? At least this happened so that could happen etc.” I truly believe there’s a reason for everything that happens to us and it’s nice to have friends to help you rationalize it.

Recently, I spent my entire birthday crying because I was feeling a bit overwhelmed, home sick and having one of those weeks where you question everything. Thank god my friends stayed on the phone for hours just listening until I felt a bit calmer.

What are some things that you do or have at home that help calm you?


Very important. The first thing I do every morning is a walking meditation. Before I brush my teeth, I wack on my trainers and walk for 15 to 20 minutes, breathing slowly, observing all the things I see, hear…the movement really helps me to clear my mind before I start the day.

I also love yoga. It calms me down and through bio-feedback, when you stretch your body, your mind actually enjoys a calming stretch too.

Any advice for women thinking about starting therapy?


Yes! It’s the best thing ever. Whether you think you need it, you don’t think you need, I honestly think every single person can benefit from it. Our brains are so busy these days. We have between 40-60 thousand thoughts a day so having an hour a week to explore them, find a greater sense of peace and quiet is just brilliant and incredibly beneficial. Talkspace has virtual therapists or find someone local to have that hands-on experience.

What makes you happy?


Working on things I feel passionate about. Going on adventures or just hanging out with best friends Suki and Jazzy, listening to great podcasts. I love Oprah’s Super Soul Sundays. Dancing, yoga, helping people understand their minds better and, if I’m being honest, getting eye lash extensions and a blow dry. Yep, I love a good bit of grooming!

For more Poppy Jamie, follow her on Instagram, discover Pop & Suki and download Happy Not Perfect.