Philippa Perry, How to Stay Sane
Wouldn’t it be cool if you knew how to stay sane? My guest today, Philippa Perry, has some helpful tips on how to do just that. She’s a U.K.-based psychotherapist and writer, and her new book, How to Stay Sane, outlines the four cornerstones of sanity. I’m hoping our talk today will point out what we can do to strengthen those cornerstones and improve our chances of being more sane, more of the time.
In this interview, Philippa and I discuss:
- The four cornerstones of sanity
- How to stay grounded by focusing on one’s breathing
- Why it’s important to ask ourselves what we want
- Why healthy relationships are essential to our happiness and fulfillment
- Which habits to avoid in relationships
- How to develop healthy relationships
(Scroll down for more in-depth podcast notes.)
Listen to my interview with Philippa Perry.
0:02:02: Michael asks Philippa to explain why she names “self-observation” as the first cornerstone of sanity. She explains that it’s hard to change behavior without being aware of what you’re currently doing, and notes that it’s more beneficial to ask “How do I make myself unhappy?” rather than “Why am I unhappy?” Michael observes that the shift from “why” to “how” brings the focus from the past to the present.
0:03:22: Michael asks Philippa to explain the grounding exercise covered in How to Stay Sane. She describes it as a series of basic questions that bring people back to the present moment.
0:04:52: Philippa and Michael discuss the importance of paying attention to breathing as a way of improving self-awareness and getting out of one’s head.
0:06:57: Philippa elaborates on what can be gained from posing the question “What do I want for myself now?” She and Michael explore the idea that people often focus on what others think they should do, rather than what they truly want for themselves. Philippa notes that it’s natural to veer off course, but that by continually asking ourselves what we want, we can correct our course before straying too far.
0:10:43: Michael asks why Philippa identifies “relating to others” as a cornerstone of sanity. They discuss the notion that people are relational beings, and that we need fulfilling relationships in order to be happy and healthy.
0:14:03: Philippa and Michael identify bad relationship habits and patterns, and talk about the “daily temperature check-in” exercise, which covers five of the main bases for relating and helps cultivate a healthy relationship.
0:20:27: Michael and Philippa continue to explore the “daily temperature check-in” exercise, touching on why it’s important to form complaints as an “I statement” rather than a “you statement,” and why being comfortable with your vulnerability is a good thing for your sanity and relationships.
0:25:00: Michael wraps up by asking Philippa to direct listeners to where they can learn more about her work and writing.