Mindfulness for Middle Age - Fiona McKinnon
Man Up / Man DownJanuary 26, 2023x
48:4944.7 MB

Mindfulness for Middle Age - Fiona McKinnon

We welcomed Fiona McKinnon on the podcast, who is the CEO and Co-Founder of the Moment Company. Originally from the North East of Scotland, Fiona lives close to where David and I live, in Sussex.

She has over 22 years’ experience in the advertising, media & AdTech industry. From building start-ups to working in large organisations, she has worked and partied hard like many people in the media industry.

However, in 2014, she suffered severe physical and mental burnout. She had no wellbeing practice beyond extreme exercise and dirty martinis. She did not believe that meditation and therapy were for her.

However, burnout led her to learn Transcendental Meditation, study Mindfulness & Breath-work and to become a Neuro Linguistic Programming & Reiki Practitioner. She is 4 years sober and it's fair to say the impact of her daily practises and purpose has been profound and life changing!

Her company Moment Company looks at how people turn up in life, at work and how we can be better people in our society. Running workshops, 1-2-1 coaching and mindfulness training are just a few things they do. Their product Moment Pebble helps to reduce stress and anxiety through a guided breathing exercise. Mindfulness is all about being focused on one thing at a time. 

We discussed how technology can be counterproductive for us, as it reminds us to meditate or take a breathing space. We are constantly picking up our phone, and get reminded about being mindful. And without technology or a meditation app, we cannot function. Which is massively counter-productive! How can we be stressed that we had a bad sleep according to an app rather than how we feel?

Technology only tells you what it measures but doesn’t understand how you feel. At the time of recording Volker was worried about turning off his phone on a retreat he went to. However, it turned out to be a relief to not be connected, and to be able to turn ‘off’ for a weekend. 

We experience 3,000 emotions and the more we practise mindfulness, the better we know how our body feels. And the body mind connection is important for us to understand ourselves and the control we have over our emotions.

Fiona also talked about her burn-out and how her time in the adtech industry led her to abuse alcohol and other substances to cover the stress she was feeling from work. Her body gave in eventually and her mind slowed down. It took her 8 weeks to recover and she quit the corporate world. She went from wanting to be the only woman in the boardroom to focusing inward.

We touched on the topic of how society is so alcohol focused in the UK, which means that people that drink a bit too much, get away with it or might not be noticed. As always, if you have any problems with alcohol, please seek appropriate help. 

In our discussion we touch on the change work life has taken. We are always connected and always online, we never finish and don’t take a pause. However, we have a choice of how to react to change and work in our life. Our body takes 90 seconds to react to stress for instance. After that, it’s our mind telling us we are still in “physical danger”, so our mind is convincing our body that we still need the flight of fight stimulus, even though “the danger” has passed. If we feel stressed, then this reaction is repeated. 

Also, 95% of our thoughts are the same as yesterday and 80% of those are negative. The (negative) storytelling mind needs reframing. Fiona recommended a daily gratitude journal. It’s about focusing on the bright sparks in your life, the positive aspects.

Sometimes it helps to put life into perspective. Whether it is the sea, the moon or nature in general. Whatever works for you, but finding your ‘happy place’ that gives you grounding and perspective is super important. Community is important and ‘magic’.

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