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Total Health: Amy Goldberg of Push Back On How We Can Optimize Our Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing

Nature brings out the best in us. It helps to reduce stress, improves mental clarity, you feel happier, it helps to boost creativity, and you can even develop healthier behaviors — for example less interest in smoking (if you smoke), more interested in eating healthier, perhaps exercising more. The feeling of being outdoors, breathing in fresh air, surrounding yourself in nature enables you to feel more alive and energetic.

Often when we refer to wellness, we assume that we are talking about physical wellbeing. But one can be physically very healthy but still be unwell, emotionally or mentally. What are the steps we can take to cultivate optimal wellness in all areas of our life; to develop Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing?

As a part of our series about “How We Can Cultivate Our Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Amy Goldberg, founder & CEO of Push Back.

Amy Goldberg is a trailblazer in wellness, a sought-after international speaker, business creative, author, and producer. She has successfully leveraged her work in these multi-sectors to fuel her insatiable entrepreneurial spirit. She has influenced policy and attitudes, and led transformational change within government, start-ups, military, education, entertainment, social enterprise, lifestyle, community, and non-profit sectors. She has a lot of energy.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I was a curious, energetic kid. Things intrigued me. People in particular. People’s behaviour and how they responded to life seemed fascinating to me. I also remember that there were way too many rules. I found it difficult to navigate what I felt to be right, from what others told me I couldn’t do. Growing up seemed a little complicated and confusing. Then I quickly realized that most people were just trying to figure life out too. Oddly enough, this was comforting to me. It helped to reinforce my belief that my instincts and sense of, not so much purpose, but creativity was mine to explore. I could get behind that!

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

There was no one person who inspired me. It really was a collective. It was through my observing others; what and how they did things, that helped inform and move me toward things I was interested in. My underpinning was that of an entrepreneur, so I found it tricky to land on that one thing. That one career pursuit. My theme had always been that of a creative.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

It’s funny, not in a ha ha sort of way, but more of a ‘duck out of water’ feeling that I have when asked this kind of question. Absolutely, people have helped me along the way — mostly by saying ‘Yes, we’ll take a chance on you’ early on in my career — ha, whom and I kidding, it is probably true today as well, even with decades of experience under my belt! Life’s strange that way. As a creative, I’m an ‘ideas’ person with the added punch of ideas need to be moved into action, otherwise I feel like I’m spinning my wheels. I can only talk for so long. Certainly I can remember generous and kind people encouraging me when I shared what I was doing. Truly, the only one that can really encourage you, is you. Become your best friend. It helps!

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

Wow, so many mistakes. In fact, I’m trying to recall one mistake as they all seem blurred. Hmmmm, ok, I’ve got one. There was one occurrence that I can remember where we (my then business partner and I) were asked to present an idea for a contract we were wanting. We were just starting out and learning the ropes. We were outside the board room waiting to go in, when a competitor walked out having completed their presentation. They had a bunch of equipment with them — projector, projector screen, I think a laptop. I looked at my partner, my face turned red. “Holy crap, were we supposed to bring our own equipment?” Yeah, our pitch did not go well, until we turned it around and started mocking our own presentation. We absolutely left them laughing. We did not however get the contract. Until …. years later when I went out on my own, I decided to revisit this company. Interestingly, one of the original people we had presented to remembered our humorous pitch and hired me for a project! At first you don’t succeed …..

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

I was obsessed with author Tom Peters. I thought he was brilliant — he still is! He inspired me through his writings. ‘The Pursuit of Wow,’ ‘In Search of Excellence,’ ‘Thriving on Chaos,’ ‘The Tom Peter’s Seminar: Crazy Times Call for Crazy Organizations.’ He’s just so real and down-to-earth. Whip smart, and compassionate. He held the magic for me. He taught me that you don’t have to be serious to be taken seriously.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

‘Hang in until luck squeezes in.’ — My older brother, Dan said this to me once and it stuck. I love this. It is so true. I’ve noticed that we tend to give up way too soon. If we just hung in there a little longer, things would reveal themselves. Things would happen.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

With the world turn on its head it was time to infuse some extra hope in the world. My co-host and producing partner, Kevin Tibbles and I launched a weekly podcast, Believe In People, where we’re reaching out to our global community to share stories of hope, kindness, community and global initiatives, and people doing things for the common good. It feels good. We feel good being able to share a dose of hope every week. In fact, this podcast is for people with hope.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. In this interview series we’d like to discuss cultivating wellness habits in four areas of our lives: Mental wellness, Physical wellness, Emotional wellness, & Spiritual wellness. Let’s dive deeper into these together. Based on your research or experience, can you share with our readers three good habits that can lead to optimum mental wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

These 3 may sound obvious and yet they’re not always easy to achieve — and they are:

  1. Sleep. Yep, sleep is incredibly important for your mental wellbeing. A good sound sleep. That means disconnecting from technology at least an hour before bed so that your mind can reset. Getting plenty of sleep so that your body can rest. It will make a difference.
  2. Eating Healthy. Good nutrition matters. Our energy depends upon it. If you’ve ever had a sugar crash, you quickly learn that it wreaks havoc on your mind and body. You feel fuzzy. You don’t think clearly. You could make poor decisions. And overall, you feel lousy.
  3. Practice mindfulness. Try and live within your conscious self. The present. When you don’t your subconscious tends to take over — and what happens is that you fall into convenient patterns that aren’t really you to begin with — they are old records playing on repeat that other people have either taught you or shared with you. They are imprints in your brain that remind you of, and typically, the negative aspects of your thinking. They are not usually positive thoughts. This takes practice. It is worth it.

Do you have a specific type of meditation practice or Yoga practice that you have found helpful? We’d love to hear about it.

I’ve found myself in and out of yoga for years. I love the idea of yoga. Love it, and yet it doesn’t always agree with me. I’m probably way too energetic in my moves or should be taking a less vigorous type of yoga. I know my back would be a lot happier. However, I do practice meditation. I’m a big fan. By meditation I mean, it doesn’t have to be fancy — I don’t need to sit on a pillow and have candles and incense burning — although that sounds kinda nice — all it needs is for me to be present and in the moment. I find breathing really works. Try it — when you focus on breathing it is almost impossible to think about anything else. You’ll notice that your brain does quiet down when you notice your breath.

Thank you for that. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum physical wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

I’m a big fan of moving. Moving my body by running, walking, swimming, racquet sports, dance, ski, tai chi, you name it. If you don’t move it, you’ll lose it. Optimum physical wellness means that you stay resilient, flexible, and agile. These are important for optimal health and wellbeing. I used to be a marathon runner. I’d compete in 26.2 mile races. The training part was pretty time consuming, and I found myself injured due to overtraining — so there is a thing of ‘too much of good thing, can be a bad thing …’ However, it really does depend on one’s body and abilities. What I did find, was that training helped strengthen my mind and body together. It was a set and planned time for me to connect with myself. What I recommend is to set aside, every day, time for yourself to move your body. Even if you don’t feel like it (most of the time you won’t) do it anyway. Let me know if it works for you!

Do you have any particular thoughts about healthy eating? We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?

Ha, in theory it makes sense, right? But to practice healthy eating … well, that’s a whole other story. It is kind of a vicious circle because if you’re tired, bored, feeling down, a lot of the time you’ll reach for a comfort food — in most cases, the comfort food is creamy, crunchy or salty — and typically take the form of ice cream, potato chips, cookies, chocolate bars, peanuts, desserts, etc. so we need to be mindful (not easy) of what we decide to eat. It may taste good initially but wait 15–30 minutes and you’re ready for a nap. What you can do, is have a plan. Every time you feel like reaching for something you know not to be healthy, replace it with a ‘healthy’ creamy, crunchy, or salty alternative. In fact, to help combat your cravings — especially sugar, try an avocado or suck on frozen raisins. Slowly integrate these changes into your life. One day at a time. Or one bite at a time!

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum emotional wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

One good place to start when looking at optimal emotional wellness is to connect with others. Meaningful relationships where you can talk to someone about your feelings and emotions. Someone that you trust will be a good listener. Another is keeping a journal. Writing things down helps to connect you to where you are and what you’re doing. Adding what you’re grateful for boost your immune system. It increases your happy hormones! Certainly, sleep is important for optimal emotional wellbeing, along with some kind of relaxation. This is where deep breathing can come in handy.

Do you have any particular thoughts about the power of smiling to improve emotional wellness? We’d love to hear it.

Love this question because even if you don’t feel like smiling, and you force a smile, you actually feel better. Watch what happens when you connect through a smile with someone else — wow, powerful. You can actually feel the positive neurons in the atmosphere. A smile goes a long way. Smiling does improve your emotional wellness. I encourage you to smile often!

Finally, can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum spiritual wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

Spiritual wellness starts by opening your heart. When you lead with your heart, it is extremely difficult, in fact impossible to feel hate or anger. When you come from a place of spiritual openness, your body responds in a positive way. Your nervous system embraces a sense of calm that leads to a more positive energy and vibe — your mind/body moves as one. Your perspective positively shifts when you’re in a place of spiritual wellbeing.

Do you have any particular thoughts about how being “in nature” can help us to cultivate spiritual wellness?

Nature brings out the best in us. It helps to reduce stress, improves mental clarity, you feel happier, it helps to boost creativity, and you can even develop healthier behaviors — for example less interest in smoking (if you smoke), more interested in eating healthier, perhaps exercising more. The feeling of being outdoors, breathing in fresh air, surrounding yourself in nature enables you to feel more alive and energetic.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I’m excited to say that the podcast we launched has allowed us to create some inspiration and motivation for people with hope. Even if you’re not hopeful we believe that it could boost your ‘feel good’ hormones. It’s something that we hope spreads — and that’s a good thing!

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them :-)

Well, after speaking about him with great admiration, I would love to meet Tom Peters. He’s one person who would be fascinating to have a conversation with. He just ‘gets it.’

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Thanks for asking. I can be found at:

Twitter: @amygrocks

Instagram: @amygoldberg3

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.



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