Resilience, motivation and how to avoid fights with anti-vaxxers were a few of the topics covered by Kiwi psychologist Nigel Latta in the latest of Ryman Healthcare’s series of entertaining zoom presentations with residents this week.
The well known tv host and author took the time to respond to questions from residents, offering them guidance and advice, with particular pertinence to those enduring Level 3 lockdown restrictions.
He started the talk with a helpful tip: “You have to get your philosophy sorted. Find out what you believe in..
“Then you have to have intention over your thoughts and how you respond and react in that moment. Try to focus on what you can control, rather than what you can’t.”
He stressed that a lot of people start obsessing over things they can’t change during lockdowns and focus on ideals rather than realities.
“The universe isn’t out to get you. It’s out to get everyone.”
How do you keep motivated and not reach for the packet of chips?
“A lot of the things that we used to do to entertain ourselves are gone, so we have to find new normals and ideas and ways of doing things and not always reach for the chips. We have to create new habits.”
He stressed we were not the only ones struggling to find motivation.
“Everyone feels this way. Everyone around you is feeling a little bit of what you are feeling. Some people have said it’s like having symptoms of depression without being depressed.”
“You feel less like doing social things, less like going for walks. However, you must find the motivation and make yourself do things that you love. Keep exercising, keep zoom calling, keep reaching out to friends. Be conscious of that.”
How do you navigate a family member or friend that isn’t vaccinated?
“Everyone is tired and grumpy, and lockdown isn’t helping. But you have to be polite about it and just say you can’t come if you’re not vaccinated.”
“You are entitled to put down limits around your own safety and you can just do that in a polite way. Getting in fights with people over the vaccine doesn’t help.
“Studies have shown that the vaccine-hesitant who changed their minds, sat down with someone who answered their questions and they built a rapport with them.
He also made note that it was ok to acknowledge with your friends that you might have different views but that this was ok.
“Be polite, don’t get into fights, be understanding, but keep safe. Don’t fall out with anyone over all this vaccine talk. Six months, eight months from now, the world will look different again.”
How did you make the transition from psychology to TV?
“It was a series of accidents really.”
Nigel says some people plan their lives out when they are young, but planning didn’t work for him.
“I almost joined the police force. Then I got into psychology and I did that for a long time.”
His television career began after he became an author, writing books about politically incorrect parenting, and how to not let your kids drive you crazy.
“I just started doing interviews because I had written a book and I thought if I got my book on a show it's good for book sales.
“Then the next week they rang me up to do an interview on Mark Lundy of all things. I hadn’t been following the case at all.
“I sat in the TVNZ car park reading the newspaper to get the background on the case.
“I didn’t’ think it would become a career for me, so I thought what’s the worst that can happen?
“I never thought my TV career would last and it kinda did and I’m still mystified!”
What is the single biggest threat facing New Zealand at the moment?
Contrary to popular belief it’s not Covid-19, says Nigel.
“It’s climate change..
“While we are all busy over here worrying about the pandemic, climate scientists are over there warning things are getting worse.
“It’s the biggest problem that doesn’t feel urgent. I keep hearing frightening stories, but they don’t seem as urgent as we are dealing with Covid.
“On top of all that the country has terrible housing, people going hungry, and a class emerging of working poor who work 70 hours a week but still can’t afford basic items. The world is getting better though. It’s better than it was 50 or even 100 years ago.”
What are you doing now?
“I’m not practicing clinically at the moment but weirdly, I’m building a parenting app which is really fun learning to code later in life. I’m using technology to make quality help available to more people.
“We can take some of the knowledge we know about people and make it available in a really easy way that can help lots of people.”