As I washed my teeth tonight

Written by Olly Bridge:

Now that I’m back home and Willow car is washed, polished and safely tucked up in the garage, I reflected on what an amazing day it had been…as I brushed my teeth. 

I met so many incredible people and can’t put into words just how special it was, and I was honoured to share some of my wellness thoughts with the Drive Against Depression crew.

Throughout my career it has become very clear that it is the little things, the ‘one per centers’ that add up to changing people’s lives.

When Athletes improve their performance it is not something big they found under a rock somewhere, it’s the consistency of doing the little things a little bit better every day that makes the difference. And that doesn’t stop when you get off the sports field.

It’s the same for you and I. When I brush my teeth, making sure that I think about the great things that have happened to me or that I’ve been able to do for other people that day enables me to ‘prime’ my brain to look out for more positive things tomorrow. 

For thousands of years our brains focusing on threats and negative things kept us alive, but sabre-tooth tiger is not hiding behind the sofa!

However our brains are still wired to focus on the negative, so practices like journaling what you’re grateful for aim to counteract this and prime our brains to notice the positive things that are around us.

When you start out, if you struggle, start small…did someone smile at you when you walked in a shop, did you get to go for a walk and feel the sunshine on your face or did you have the chance to make someone a cup of tea and make their day? All these things add up and over time you’ll find it easier to identify and remember all the positive things in your day. The research is clear; gratitude rituals have a significant positive impact in people’s feeling of wellbeing. 

Another ‘little’ thing that adds up is my ’10 marathons a year’ approach.

I’ve never run a full marathon (and I never will) but my alarm going off every 20 minutes during my work day to remind me to stand up and walk around ensures that I will gain the benefit of 10 marathons this year (without the physio bill). I split my day into 30-minute chunks: 20 minutes sitting, eight minutes standing and two minutes walking. Our bodies evolved to be moving and there hasn’t been enough time for our bodies to evolve to be sedentary and still retain good health.

These are just two examples of the little things that add up to have a big impact and I’ve seen it time and time again, both in and out of the sporting arena.

Over the last 20 odd years I’ve created, what I believe, to be the eight keys to peak performance and the two examples above of physical activity and gratitude are just two of them. I’ve seen these work in the sporting arena and translated them for the everyday athlete like you and I.

I’ve loved chatting to the DAD community this year and I’m seriously looking forward to many more of these conversations in the drive days to come.

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