Adam Sharplin talks about how hunting, training, and spending time with his family contributes to his wellbeing. He also challenges men to feel their feelings, own them, and join in on activities with groups of men.
Ian talks with Sam O'Sullivan about how focusing on his family and chopping wood contribute to his wellbeing. And together we begin to question some of the ways we were taught to think and behave as people in NZ.
Leo Murray talks about how he finds focus through connecting with people, nature, and building community. He believes that true bravery is becoming aware of unhelpful cultural norms, listening to feedback, feeling emotions as they happen and responding consciously, and aligning our behaviour with our values, even if it means becoming vulnerable to being cut down by others!
Leo is well known man in Tauranga for creating events that bring people together. He runs his own sustainability consultancy called Why Waste, which focuses on diverting organic waste from landfills to reduce methane from changing the climate of our planet!
Matt and Wendy talk about the changes they made together to improve their wellbeing and strengthen their relationship in response to Matt's breakdown. On the surface Matt comes across as a "laid-back surfer type" who has it all together, but as he points out "people have layers". Matt talks about how anxiety and stress along with an injury in his 30's pushed him over the edge. He described how he found strength through talking to mates and practicing mindfulness meditation. Wendy talks about how Matt's breakdown affected her feelings towards him, but how getting in touch with her own strength allowed her to love Matt for all that he is.
Cameron Ryan talks about how time in the bush, fishing, and open conversations with mates have improved his wellbeing. Cam is doing what he loves - regenerating native bush in Mawhitipana Valley on Waiheke Island - although as a child living in the city he was taught that the bush was a dangerous place. He overcame this fear and the bush became more than just his home and work; for Cam the natural world is a lens he looks through to understand how we can support each other to grow and change in service of future generations.
Matiu Te Huki talks about how expressing his culture though the performing arts helped him overcome his shyness, find his purpose, and progress to becoming a leader. He discusses how learning to fully feel his feelings and find support from men, as well as women like his partner, have helped him improve himself. He also offers insight into what it is to be a man, and what he does on a daily basis to nourish his wellbeing.
Carl Hammington, a multiple national champion in body building, grew up in a culture that focused on physical prowess and competition, rather than looking after the mind and body. He talks about how gym culture can be toxic, teaching us to spend hours on our own routine and image, rather than connecting with people. Carl tells the story of developing a “Superman Complex” growing up, wanting to be the best at everything, and taking this attitude to body building. As he struggled with the stress from own expectations, he began looking around him and realised that strength could be found in community and opening up about the ways he was feeling. He discovered that mindful living and rewilding are fundamental to a genuinely successful life.
Carl is a Personal Trainer at HealthFit Collective, a gym that focuses on community and holistic health, where we worked together. As I got to know him, I realised that the way he looks at movement goes far beyond a physical lens.
Devon Briggs, a good mate of mine, tells his story of growing self-confidence through skating as a kid, and then his confidence being damaged when his step-dad entered the picture, who made him feel small and like he was never good enough. As an adult his step-dad has become a shadow in his life; Devon tries to be the best all the time while also convincing himself that his best is never good enough. After a doctor told him that he was depressed, he sent a txt to me asking for support. Learning mindfulness changed his life and he’s been riding the upwards spiral ever since, the shadow is gradually fading! He talked about how he has brought mindfulness into his everyday life, which can still be busy and anxiety provoking at times, and the benefits of gaining a tool to deal with the moments he can’t control.
Devon also tells his story behind “Bandsawing”, a concept that he termed, which I’ve found to be a useful tool in my own life. It was a lesson that now serves as a constant reminder not to do things faster than he would normally do; all too often rushing has a major detriment to the outcome we’re trying to achieve and it’s simply not worth it. He also challenges an aspect of PC culture, pointing out that villainising people, particularly shaming others in public, is not a good way for us to remedy the problems that we all care about. It’s much better to approach people privately and have a discussion about why you think something they said did harm. Devon’s story came right from the heart and it was a bloody good yarn.
Henry Samia offers his experience on finding community, having a healthy partnership, finding the right people to talk to about challenges in life, and how to prioritise time.
Being a second generation Samoan New Zealander, he felt pulled between two cultures and struggled to find a solid sense of identity. He discovered his “village” at a Pacific Island church where he connected with his culture through language and a wider experience of family.
He talks about the core values his father installed in him, and how he also learnt by observing what his father wasn’t so good at – talking. Henry believes that to be strong we need to be true to ourselves and our sense of purpose, which many people may still need to discover.
Sas talks about his journey from using alcohol and cannabis to hide social anxiety and low mood, to living a fulfilling life. Over time, and though helping others as a Mental Health Nurse and Educator, he learnt that his own wellbeing improves when he expresses himself creatively, is connected with his community, and living a balanced lifestyle. He also discusses the importance of opening up to people you trust and remaining hopeful for things to get better.
He gives you insights into creating a Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP), and demonstrates how to use the Te Whare Tapa Wha model as a guide to look after yourself in more detail. He also teaches you how to access the New Zealand mental health system!
Mal Law, the Kiwi Legend who ran 50 mountains in 50 days for Men's Wellbeing, talks about the emotional and physical experience of taking on this massive challenge. Expressing his feelings during the challenge was instrumental to Mal's success: “if you are honest with yourself in your emotions, it makes it easier to tough through physically. It’s like a safety valve, I had to vent and get rid of that stuff”.