Take time to study and know the power of your mind. It is important to know that the brain is capable of great change (neuroplasticity). We are a lot more powerful than we give ourselves credit for, but to do this we must ensure that mind training becomes part of our daily fitness regime.
As a part of my series about the “5 Things Anyone Can Do To Optimize Their Mental Wellness” I had the pleasure of interviewing Camilla Sacre-Dallerup. Passionate about inspiring and teaching others to live their very best life through her work as a best-selling author, NLP Practitioner Coach, Certified Hypnotherapist, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Instructor and Meditation Teacher, Camilla is a fresh up-and-coming star on the mindful living world stage. Prior to beginning her life-coaching and motivational speaking journey (www.zenme.tv), Camilla was part of the inaugural stellar cast of Strictly Come Dancing (the UK’s version of Dancing with the Stars), gracing the dance floor for six years and winning the mirror ball trophy in 2008, before becoming Head Judge on New Zealand’s Dancing with the Stars ten years later. With two best-selling books, Strictly Inspirational and Reinvent Me, under her belt, Camilla has just released her third book, It’s Not You, It’s Me to glowing reviews.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
When I was very young, I had a fascination with the workings of the mind. Growing up, I always felt it very deeply when people around me were in distress, and as a young person, I had a real desire to understand why it was that some people felt great sadness, and yet others seemed to be eternally happy.
My great love of dance started when I was two years old. In fact, I loved it so much that I became a competitive dancer at just six years of age, which was pretty much unheard of at that time. A big turning point in my dance career came when I was 13 years old. I was introduced to a coach who practiced visualization and taught me the importance of the power of the mind. The impact of using visualization as part of my training was almost immediate, culminating in my partner and I becoming Danish Champions. More than that though, it had awoken my curiosity of the workings of the mind and from then on, I explored every coach and tool possible, such as sports psychologists, energy coaches and hypnotherapists, alongside my dance teachers to develop that ‘winning mindset’. I learnt very quickly that training my mind was just as important as training the steps when it came to producing a winning performance.
Later in life, when I went through a tough time personally, I decided to put the mind tools that had supported me in my dancing career to the test. I wanted to see if they could help me find happiness and contentment within, and the rest, as they say, is history. The mind tools were so effective that I decided to pursue a career as a Life Coach and Hypnotherapist myself.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
Honestly there have been so many, although one that sticks in my mind is when a client came to me in a moment of complete despair. She had hit rock bottom and was in danger of losing the company she had worked so hard to create. We discussed her options openly and honestly. I decided to align her both energetically and emotionally, anchoring her in hope and the belief that with one more try she could, action by action, bill by bill, get back on her feet. It was wonderful to see her walk into my office completely defeated and walk out with the confidence and hope that she could turn her situation around. What was most powerful was that she changed nothing except her mindset. She simply reframed the situation, chose to focus on hope and self-belief, and ultimately trusted herself to save her own company. And I’m delighted to say she did just that! If she had not chosen that day to shift her focus from one of “I’m defeated” to “I’ve got this,” her story, and her life, would have been very different. We often still talk about that today. It was such a huge life lesson for her, and a reminder to both of us of the power of reframing our minds.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
Well that would involve technology, in particular my cell phone. I learnt a valuable lesson that when you are taking a meditation class and playing music through your phone, it’s a MUST to switch your phone to airplane mode. I discovered that not everyone loves it when your mum calls in the middle of a meditation! It was a valuable lesson learnt actually. I discovered that I needed to completely shut out the outside world and be fully present with my clients when I am with them. It’s one of the things I love so much about my work, in the healing space we are both committed and present with not a phone in sight.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
As I mentioned before, my ballroom coach and former Norwegian dance champion Tor Floysvik has played a huge part in life journey, particularly through introducing me to the art of visualization and the mind-body connection. Tor has a reputation for thinking outside of the box and getting his students to do the same thing, with great success. Before I met him, I’d never heard of visualization — literally creating powerful images in our minds that would improve the way we performed. When he was training us, if he’d see I was struggling with a step, he’d say, “Sit down, close your eyes and imagine yourself doing that step perfectly over and over again.” Once I’d done that, I’d stand up and believe that I’d done it better, and the very next time I performed the step I DID do it better! I find it extraordinary how the mind apparently doesn’t know if you are actually doing something or just imagining it. This is how powerful visualization can be, and, thanks to Tor, I now use it all the time.
What advice would you suggest to your colleagues in your industry to thrive and avoid burnout?
Burnout is something I can talk about from personal experience. At age 35, I found myself headed in that direction, and learnt the hard way that I needed to prioritize my own physical and mental health better. Daily meditation became non-negotiable, I believe it is just as important as having my morning coffee and brushing my teeth.
Luckily most of my colleagues prioritize their self-care, being in the industry we are in; however, my advice would be to listen to your body because it tells you when you need to rest. None of us can give from an empty cup. Make sure that you schedule in the one thing that is non-negotiable in your life whether that’s exercise, meditation or a daily walk. If you don’t schedule it in, it’s too easy to skip it, so it is essential that you make one thing part of your daily routine. Make sure it is achievable, because there is no point in promising yourself you’ll do twenty minutes of something, when deep down you only have five minutes each day spare. Don’t set yourself up for failure, instead stick to the five minutes a day, and then build on that when you can. For me, self-care is so vital for my physical and mental wellbeing, that I have dedicated an entire chapter to it in my latest book It’s Not You, It’s Me.
What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?
I would say that a great leader needs to walk the walk, and not expect others to live by standards they are not prepared to live by themselves. As a leader, if you practice mindfulness and meditation, you will create a work culture based on empathy and kindness and most particularly inclusiveness, which will encourage your team to be much more productive. Know that to get the best from your team, they may need a power nap or a meditation at 3pm, but ultimately be flexible and remember that humans are not robots. I always reflect back to my clients, whether they are leaders of a company, or stay-at-home parents, you must lead by example. When you are oozing joy, kindness and love, others will want to be around you and feel inspired to learn how to vibrate like that too.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Mental health is often looked at in binary terms; those who are healthy and those who have mental illness. The truth, however, is that mental wellness is a huge spectrum. Even those who are “mentally healthy” can still improve their mental wellness. From your experience or research, what are five steps that each of us can take to improve or optimize our mental wellness. Can you please share a story or example for each?
The five steps I believe that each of us could take to optimize our mental wellness are:
1. Take time to study and know the power of your mind. It is important to know that the brain is capable of great change (neuroplasticity). We are a lot more powerful than we give ourselves credit for, but to do this we must ensure that mind training becomes part of our daily fitness regime.
2. Practicing gratitude can reduce the symptoms of depression. We need to be reminded of all the things we are thankful for in our lives, that we often don’t take the time to acknowledge. I go through my gratitude list in the shower in the mornings and find it really helps put me in a great mood for the day.
3. Make mindfulness part of your day. My morning coffee is a sacred mindfulness for me, I actually say I take care of me when I give myself that time to really enjoy it and taste it. Mindfulness helps you become more present in everything that you do, and simple acts like enjoying that coffee or simply walking to work and enjoying the scenery can be all that’s needed.
4. Practice meditation. Meditation is an essential part of my daily regime. It helps me to be less reactive in my life and to really be present in all that I do. I also find meditation helps me feel less stressed and have a more focused mindset.
5. Exercise is important for our mental health too. This is important because both go hand-in-hand when it comes to our overall wellness. Exercise works in synergy with the mind as it releases endorphins, the happy hormone, from the brain into the body. Exercising regularly lifts our mood and can help us navigate through a challenging week in a more positive mindset.
Much of my expertise focuses on helping people to plan for after retirement. Retirement is a dramatic ‘life course transition’ that can impact one’s health. In addition to the ideas you mentioned earlier, are there things that one should do to optimize mental wellness after retirement? Please share a story or an example for each.
There is abundant and wonderful research out there to show that meditation can help preserve the aging brain. I see it in my clients every day, that will to really use their minds and keep educating themselves appears to be key in helping them to preserve that youthful mindset. Staying active too, as we know, is vitally important for a healthy mind. During my dancing career, I witnessed many people in their retirement years dancing their way to not only a healthy body, but also a healthy mind. An example of this is a wonderful woman in her 80s that I gave dance lessons to. She was so full of energy and very agile; she wouldn’t miss her dance classes for anything in the world. Now I teach my clients to exercise their minds, which is equally as beneficial and rewarding.
How about teens and pre-teens. Are there any specific new ideas you would suggest for teens and pre-teens to optimize their mental wellness?
I would say that practicing meditation and visualization, as well as including positive affirmations as part of their daily regime is such an important part of taking care of themselves and ensuring their mind is healthy and aware. It really will help them navigate through life with less suffering. I would also like to tell them that sometimes we are teased or bullied by friends or family who don’t necessarily share our positive outlook. When all we really want is for the people close to us to be jumping up and down with excitement, they say negative things like. ‘Do you think that’s a wise idea?’ or, ‘That’s not really possible for you.’ What we must remember is that comments like those are actually due to the limited beliefs of the people who make them. We can protect ourselves from them — the negativity not the people — with simple exercises and tools I have used throughout my career and that I also share in my book It’s Not You, It’s Me.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield changed my life. I read that book at a time when I was about to make a very big decision regarding my career. As I turned the pages suddenly everything became very clear. The book connected me deeper to the understanding of energy, and to the principle that the people we meet on our journey come into our lives for a reason, so we can share information with each other. It opened me up to believing that both the people and the wisdom or guidance that I required, would appear in my life when I needed them, however I’d have to notice them, and ultimately be open to accepting them as well. For me, when I meet a stranger now and start chatting, I always think “I wonder what information we are meant to share.”
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
That would have to be the “I take responsibility for me” movement, and it is the intention behind my latest book, It’s Not You, It’s Me. I wrote the book specifically to inspire people to take responsibility for themselves and their actions. People can be quick to blame others or point out their shortcomings, but they fail to notice the ripple effect, bad energy and hate and divide that occurs as a direct result of negative actions such as gossiping, judging others, shouting at people or cutting them off in traffic. Instead when you choose kindness, compassion, love and forgiveness, you are adding to the peace and harmony in the world. We have this belief that somehow, we are supposed to fix others yet change really begins with us.
I’m not saying it’s going to be easy but it’s definitely a revolution I’d like to be a part of. It can be challenging of course, when people shout at you or are rude to you, but that’s when we need to dig deep and tap into our compassionate selves, because we never really know what it is that others are going through and what is causing such angst in their lives. With more people being treated for anxiety and stress in the world than ever before, we really need to take responsibility for our part in how we respond to everyday situations and whether, by our words or our actions, we add to that too. We actually have such power as individuals to change our own and other’s circumstances than we give ourselves credit for.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
The words “Energy Follows Thought” changed my life, and really helped me as a professional dancer excel in my career. They are words that I often revert back to in my business and daily life. They are such helpful words to live by, because they remind you of the importance of choosing where and what you give your energy to. For example, if you are comparing your journey with someone else’s, you are wasting valuable energy that could be better spent taking important action in your own life. It is vital to me that I place those words in a prominent place in my office to remind me daily to bring my thoughts back to me, and to focus on what positive action I can take on my journey.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Your readers can follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CamillaDallerup/
Or via Instagram or Twitter: @camilladallerup
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!
About the author:
Beau Henderson, editor of Rich Retirement Letter and CEO of RichLife Advisors LLC, is a best-selling author, national tv/radio resource, and retirement coach/advisor, with over 17 years’ experience. Beau is a pioneer in the strategy based new model of holistic retirement planning. He can be followed on Facebook here or on Instagram here