In the words of the great Greek philosopher, Aristotle, ‘Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence’. Cheerful, easygoing rugby television analyst, rugby journalist, charity worker, children’s book author, after-dinner speaker, founder of Outside in Art Gallery in Dublin, and the vision behind POPE shirts and shoes, Brent Pope chats to Bláthnait Ní Mhurchú about his long term journey helping others find happiness in their lives and discovering the value of maintaining a healthy mind, body and spirit.
Born in the early sixties, Pope was raised in New Zealand, but has lived and worked in Ireland for most of his life. “Galway was the first place I visited when I arrived in Ireland” Fresh off the plane almost 30 years ago, Pope took a road trip with a pal to the Connemara Coast Hotel one New Year’s Eve for a night to remem- ber! ‘I love Connemara’ Pope reminisces, it reminds me of my hometown of Ashburton, New Zealand.’
Educating people about looking after their mental health is the legacy Brent wants to be recognised and remembered for. “I get an email every day from someone telling me how I’ve made a difference in their lives.
I want to give the tools to people to change behaviours to change outcomes. The mind needs just as much work as the body for both mental and physical health.” Pope believes strongly in the power of choice.
I have genuinely thought about not going on and at that point I’ve had to say to myself that I have a choice to feel better about myself…or stay as I am. And I choose to be happy. That’s the key…the secret to real happiness is to be happy with yourself”.
Brent Pope’s simple daily habits for mental health maintenance.
1. MEDITATE ONCE A DAY
Take time to yourself to be still.
Say a couple of affirmations to yourself at the start of each day. Look in the mirror and say ‘Hey I’m OK’, ‘I’m a good person’, ‘Today is going to be good day’, ‘It’s going to be ok’
Jot down 5 things that you are thankful for each day in your gratitude journal
Get active, take the stairs, walk or go to the gym.
5. SLOW DOWN
Slow down and take time to enjoy your mom