Happy Mind, Happy Life: 10 Simple Ways to Feel Great Every Day. A science-backed guide to a calmer, happier you.
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Have you ever thought about going into space? What it might be like to be there, how you might deal with the fear, the uncertainty, the pressure? In this week’s conversation, I speak to Tim Peake, a real live Spaceman, who can answer those questions and more. Tim was the first British European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut to visit the International Space Station where his work captured the hearts and minds of millions. He is an inspirational communicator of science to audiences of all ages and he’s also a best-selling author of multiple books. His latest book, the Cosmic Diary of our Incredible Universe, is written for children and in it, Tim takes the readers through a fascinating adventure through space, time, and the diary of our truly incredible universe.
Our conversation today starts with a dramatic first-hand account of the closest near miss in the history of the International Space Station. When a thruster on his spacecraft failed, Tim and his crew did what their years of training had prepared them for: they stayed calm, they took control and they averted disaster. In this conversation, we discuss exactly how they managed to do this and what we can all learn from them about dealing with stress and becoming more resilient.
I ask Tim about the tipping point where stress and fear stop being motivating and become dangerous. Part of being an astronaut is living with underlying stress because you need to be on high alert at all times – and he insists this is a skill we can learn. We discuss the importance of structure and routine, essential on a space station, but equally beneficial to all of us. And we talk about the power of reflection, as well as stepping out of your comfort zone to increase your resilience.
Of course, I ask Tim all those questions we really want to know about life in space: what it’s like to eat, sleep and yes, use the toilet in zero gravity. We also talk about why exactly Tim was the one who got picked to be an astronaut above 8000 other applicants. And interestingly, it was not just about physical skills and capability, the soft skills such as teamwork, communication, and conflict management, were also what ultimately made him the right ‘ambassador for space’.
I think for me, one of the major insights from this conversation is about perspective. So many of us get caught up in the small stresses of day to day life but when we take a moment to zoom out of our lives, we really can start to see things with a lot more clarity. Tim had the great privilege of doing this from space, something that fewer than 600 other humans have ever done. But I think that big picture perspective is available to all of us every single day, if we choose to take it.
This was a fascinating conversation, full of insights that we can all start applying into our own lives immediately. I hope you enjoy listening.
Disclaimer: The content in the podcast and on this webpage is not intended to constitute or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.*
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*DISCLAIMER: Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have heard on the podcast or on my website.
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