Tag Archives: Mindset

Group of singers enjoy singing together in a yurt

When ‘out of tune’ works wonders for wellbeing

We already know from the vast array of research that singing does wonders for our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. We also know first-hand how fantastic belting out a power ballad in the shower feels!

Singing releases endorphins and oxytocin, our feel-good chemicals known to relieve stress and anxiety. Studies show that regular singers have reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol and a stronger immune system. The controlled breath helps us take in more oxygen and improves circulation. More O2 elixir reaches our brains boosting how awake we feel, our ability to concentrate and remember things.

That’s without even leaving the shower. Bring people together to sing and magic really happens.

Oxytocin also enhances feelings of trust and bonding so can really glue a group to combat feelings of loneliness and depression. The sense of ‘being in it together’ and the achievement that comes from working towards a common goal also taps into our human desire for purpose and meaning in our lives.

Where there are people, there is singing – why not at work?

Compare a map of UK singing groups with a map of UK population; where there are people, there are choirs. Over 2 million people choose to sing in over 40,000 choirs (Voices Now UK Big Choral Census, July 2017).

The evidence presents a strong case for singing not only supporting individual wellbeing but also strengthening engagement and performance. There are huge numbers of people at work but you don’t often hear much singing.

If you ask 10 people, “Can you sing?” For every person who humbly responds, often almost apologetically, “Yes”, there are another nine… read more

Full blog featured on Mad World News, 11 September 2018

In need of some G.D.P.R. light relief? We’ve just the thing…

Life is full of challenges.  Right now, for many G.D.P.R. is top of the hit list. Dominating many a conversation as we’re a week away from 25th May.

On talking to friends, business contacts, clients and suppliers alike – if the dreaded phrase comes up, it’s often accompanied by a heated cheek flush and an almost imperceptible steam that starts to rise in comedy cartoon fashion.

Creating a culture of data privacy is a serious matter, we take that seriously at Light Mind (how many times have you read that recently?) Yet as with any challenge in life, they don’t have to be as challenging as we sometimes make them, we can choose to be more ‘light minded’.

Some things in life we can’t change. G.D.P.R. falls in that camp. What we can change is the way we approach how we think and feel about it.  That’s our choice to make.

To quote Victor Frankl as he put it so eloquently:

“the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances”

With one week to go, we’ve done our homework, put the legwork in and we’re G.D.P.R. ready AND best of all, we’ve had some fun along the way.

Enjoy a minute of light relief – even better if you sing along…

Special thanks to:

Chris Lunn, Digity for the creative concept

Tuneless Choir Maidenhead for their continued exuberance (we had a pre Royal Wedding celebration on Wednesday – we can confirm that no members of the Royal family were harmed in the making of this video).  As is the nature of Tuneless Choir, we ‘sing like no one is listening’ and although this may have been ‘take two’ it was only because I forgot to hit record the first time.  Sorry for that folks, thanks for being brilliant sports. 

Tracy James, Bright Yellow Coaching for her continued support and guidance on getting G.D.P.R. compliant 

The Village People for Y.M.C.A. which enabled us to enjoy our G.D.P.R. preparation experience 

Large conference room with people at tables listening to speaker in middle of room

Breaking down corporate barriers with laughter

Originally written for Laughter Yoga leaders to help break down perceived barriers to delivering laughter sessions to a corporate audience.

My previous life involved a corporate career in HR and Learning until I realised my need to hit the ‘reboot’ button. That’s when I found Laughter Yoga, through choosing to ‘do more things that made me smile’.

I recently attended an USPIRE leadership conference, exploring what future challenges leaders will face. Taking a day to learn and reflect, I sat back to enjoy some brilliant speakers. First up was Malcolm Smith and ‘Leading through Technology’. Pleasingly about how leaders will benefit from focusing more on what makes us human and how to spend time in our right brain (the more intuitive and creative side). It’s our humanity and creativity that can’t be automated or optimised by robots and incidentally, the right side that activates when we laugh.

Male speaker in room of conference attendees

Malcolm Smith talks technological change at USPIRE conference

Second, the importance of dealing with ambiguity and developing emotional resilience with David Wilkinson (another laughter light bulb moment!) There I was, reading ‘Fight – Flight – Freeze’ on screen and hearing the speaker explain our physical stress response when I get a tap on the shoulder. It’s Amanda Downs, one of the organisers (who I met when delivering a ‘Life Hacks to Live Lighter’ workshop – Hack #1 being to ‘laugh for no reason’).

The stress response in action

Aware the energy had dipped in the room, Amanda asks if I’m up for leading a short energiser. The stress response is no longer theoretical; I’m painfully aware of my flushed cheeks and heart beating like the clappers. I’m no stranger to standing up in front of large groups – but usually, I’m prepared.

Too good an opportunity to miss, I agreed (even though the fireworks going off in my body were trying to convince me to choose differently). From zero to laughter, I gave the context that ‘change is coming’, but we’re human, and we don’t like change. The unknown makes us feel uncomfortable, unsafe and threatened – not great news for business going through change!  But when we’re willing to take a risk, we take the chance to grow and fully experience life. In today’s world leaders must ask teams to navigate change, and one way to prepare and build resilience is to practice getting comfortable with uncomfortable. I gave the room an invitation to spend the next few minutes making a choice to feel a bit uncomfortable.

Laughter lightened the room

Diving into a laughter handshake as a new way to network, we blew laughter sounds into a stress balloon, bursting them to release our laughter along with the message that we have a choice of how to respond to any given situation. If we practice responding in a more ‘light-hearted’ way, it helps build resilience. We really pushed comfort boundaries by jumping in laughter cars and taking a drive.

Man with beard smiling and shaking hands with someone

Business leaders embrace a laughter handshake as a new way to network

A few individuals chose not to engage, but my brief was to shift the energy. An obvious ‘job done’ as people sat back down – you could see the smiles, feel the energy and see that they were more open to learn and receive the next agenda item. Laughter magic in action!

Sitting down, adrenalin pumping, I remembered all the things I’d meant to say. I’m glad I didn’t choose ‘safe’ – I felt uncomfortable and invited the room to feel something similar. Sharing an emotional experience enabled the group to connect on a more human level. The corporate audience can seem scary and unreachable, so it’s good to remember that we’re all people, with emotions and the same biological feel-good response to laughter. As long as you’re clear on the ‘why’ and lead the way, let the laughter do the hard work.

Photo credit: Jodie Humphries, Freelance Digital Marketing Extraordinaire


With Light Mind, Tabitha is on a mission to help people make new choices to feel better through laughter, carefree singing and encouraging playfulness.  Because when we feel better, we do better. 

Light Mind delivers ‘You’re having a laugh‘ which works as a positive addition to a Wellbeing day or Wellness event, or a team-building or team offsite event that enables attendees to feel good, connect as a team and realise we have a choice in where to invest our energy and the impact of this on personal wellbeing, performance and organisational culture.

“When a control freak loses control, all you have left is the freak”

This quote has stuck with me since my wife put it to me in a moment of my own freakiness.

It’s a great quote – it beautifully nails the human endeavour – it’s all about control.

In my experience as a coach, the surest way to lose control is to purely focus on ‘winning’.  Winning involves too many variables outside one’s influence, let along control.  The day Lehman’s collapsed, a friend of mine lost 75% of his business.  Yes, a recipe for a ‘freaky’ day or two in the aftermath.  But to bounce back from a setback, the focus isn’t on winning; it’s on acting like a consistent high performer.  It’s the consistent high performer that has the presence of mind to take a deep breath, step back and assess the situation, identify opportunities and have the courage to step forward again.  It’s the high performer mindset that gives you the required control in order to be successful.

Ask yourself, what would be different in your life if you had 10% more of a high performer’s state of mind?

Guest blog from Adie Shariff

“Thinking problems makes you an expert in problems; thinking possibilities makes you an expert in progress”

Now that really is worth thinking about.

The more senior you become, the next birthday that passes, the more complex things seem to get – more stakeholders to satisfy, greater consequences of failure, higher expectations, shorter time frames, a few health gliches etc.  The list goes on.

As a committed human being, what options do you have beyond hiding under the duvet?  You can try and be clever – look for the causes of problems – ask WHY?  However when we look into problems, we find more problems and become ‘problem saturated’.  Now, that can’t be good.

The lines between real, perceived and completely made up problems become obscure with helplessness a close companion.  A different option, rather than looking backwards into problems, is to look forward to possibilities.

Ask yourself, what does success look like?  How would I know things were moving forward?  What would life look like if the problem wasn’t there, how would I feel?  Suspend judgment and answer these questions – come up with at least 30 bullet points (50 if you’re feeling adventurous).

Then step back – what you’ll start discovering are the clues and signposts to make progress into possibilities around which you can design your own way forward.

The moral of this note?  Thinking problems makes you an expert in problems.  Thinking possibilities makes you an expert in progress.  Sit with this sentiment for a while and see if it makes sense.  Better still, experiment with it and see what happens.  What have you got to lose?

Guest blog from Adie Shariff

(Thanks to Evan George for the title quote)