“Today I am a coach who helps others better their mindset and find more purpose in life. It wasn’t always that way though, I spent the first 30 years of life with a poor mindset, lacking purpose and hiding behind a mask that I hoped would portray a false representation of a happy life.”
Meet Ben Bidwell – Mental Health Wellness Advocate, Trainer & Coach
IN THIS POST:
• Part 1: Ben’s Mental Wellness Journey
• Part 2: Ben on ThinkWell-LiveWell
– Ben’s Journey –
As the youngest child of three boys, I had a very fortunate upbringing – fantastic parents and a great opportunity to learn through a privileged education. Despite the wonderful foundations provided for me, I found my own challenges – as the youngest I grew up thinking my voice was of little value, and my self esteem struggled alongside that belief. By the time I was a teenager, I was fairly set in my ways, my mind firmly believed that I simply wasn’t as important as the other people I saw, it left me feeling empty and uninspired on the inside.
As I reached my late teens, my ego went to work, it told me that I needed to do something about this feeling of not being good enough. The answer, my ego said, was to get validation from other people, prove to them that I am a man and that I am important and then I’ll feel better. It started physically, I committed to the gym and went from being a skinny teenage boy into a more muscular looking man. The physical changes worked in some ways, I started to get more confidence from the validation I received from society as a whole. The problem was, I still felt the same on the inside, insecure and of low value.
Through my twenties I continued that way. I spent a lot of time and energy trying to look as physically good as I could to impress other people, whilst leaving my mind untrained. With a fresh appearance, a good job and decent possessions, life looked nice and shiny to the people around me, but I couldn’t shake that same empty feeling within.
At the age of 30, I began to search for more and a life coach came into my life. I initially wanted to work with her to help me overcome a physical challenge around sex that had I found increasingly frustrating, however the coach could see that it was my mind that needed work. Initially the teachings were hugely unfamiliar for me, I had spent the first 30 years seeing life a certain way and my ego was a stubborn thing, it didn’t want to change. I may not have felt inspired but I was alive, and that is all it wanted.
The Mental Work Required
When it came to do the work, practices such as gratitude, vulnerability and meditation were difficult to get my head around. Instead I believed it was better to be ambitious than grateful, that the last thing I should be was openly vulnerable, and that meditation was woo woo for monks in the mountains. However, a few things began to resonate and slowly but surely my mind started to surrender to new learnings and with that came new possibilities in my life.
Fueled by a more educated mind and a different perspective on life, over the next 8 years I steered away from trying to present a good life and became focused on actually feeling like I was living a good life. Through coaching and mindset retreats, my thinking methods continued to improve and I became more in tune with who I actually wanted to be and the purpose I had within; a purpose I had buried for so long. Life started to become a very different experience, no one had previously taught me about the power of my mind, but I was now witnessing it’s importance first hand.
Learning a New Way of Being
Having learned to change my life for the better, I knew as well as anyone that we could all become improved versions of our self. We aren’t stuck being the person our thoughts tell us we should be, but when we learn how to think in a way that serves us, the rest will follow from there. I am grateful for the journey I have gone on and feel way more alive now in living my truth than I ever did before in trying to impress society. One niggle still remains though, why did I have to wait 30 years to learn this vital information, where was the availability to this fundamental education before?
Whilst mental health is finally starting to force it’s way into more school curriculums, the National Health Service (NHS) is struggling to cope with the effects of modern lifestyle stresses on adults. Meanwhile, there is also a lack of affordable therapists / counsellors for everyday people, so even though humanity is waking up to the need and benefit of mindset schooling, it’s not easy for the everyday person to know who to trust or afford. With so many different types of therapy and mental wellness messages in different forms across the internet, it’s hard to know where to start.
Ben on ThinkWell-LiveWell
I was fortunate to be introduced to experienced therapist and former advertising psychologist Mick Cassell – creator of ThinkWell-LiveWell. His teachings in the mental health space resonated with me and I am grateful for him in finally providing a solution that is cost effective, multifaceted, trustworthy and easily actionable. This wonderful website / app answers the individual needs of each person that are not being met by the Mindfulness programmes currently in the marketplace. That is because ThinkWell-LiveWell tailors each individuals personal mental health needs in a practical and accessible way through a combination of mindfulness-based therapies together in one place. There is no one size fits all approach to personal development, what works for you may be different for me, we are all engaged by different methodologies, this platform provides a solution for every type of person.
The ThinkWell-LiveWell ‘Mindfulness and More’ toolkit draws on Mick’s own approach as an extremely knowledgeable therapist to add and combine leading techniques such as cognitive work, NLP, hypnotherapy, guided meditation and dream-work, delivered in both online and offline forms. The platform provides a multi-disciplinary experience to take people through a complete process of change and development at the emotional, awareness and behavioural levels – in much the same way as face-to-face counselling or coaching would do, without the costs of a one to one service. This platform brings a down-to-earth and relatable format from several leading forms of self-help to ensure it brings meaningful change to the lives of as many people as possible.)
There are several factors that have this platform stand out for me as a resource to improve your mental health.
- Firstly you can feel the love Mick has given this, no stone is unturned, I felt like every answer I want is absolutely there to be found. Clearly there is great passion behind Mick’s motives for producing this, perhaps it’s a strange thing to say but I can feel his compassion for humanity in going through his programme, he genuinely cares and that shines through. When you combine that compassion with the very evident knowledge behind his practices, you have a powerful platform that can help every individual to live with a healthier mindset.
- Lastly, the way Mick has pieced together the meditations is quite beautiful, he has the most spectacularly soothing voice and the backing music creates the perfect environment to become present to his message and install change. His meditations are truly a beautiful experience that will bring calm to the busiest of minds.
Mindfulness for the Real World
The best way I can sum up the ThinkWell-LiveWell experience is that it is mindfulness for the real world. What I mean by that is it provides practical tools presented in a clear and understandable way, applicable to the mentally challenging life so many lead in today’s world. Mental health doesn’t need to be rocket science, here is a platform to help people realise a simple proposition; when you think well, you live well.
Change for the Better
It fills me with hope that an affordable and accessible education like this is now available for every individual who wishes to better their mindset and improve as a person. We can all change for the better if we, quite literally, put our mind to it, we just need to learn how. We are all unique and all face our own challenges, but here sits an individually tailored programme that will help each person learn how to be a better version of themselves and how to live a more fulfilling life.
I often wonder what life would have been like if I had access to information like this at an earlier age, what could I have achieved in my twenties with these tools? However, I am also aware that everything happens for a reason and the time is right as and when it comes, it’s never too late to live with purpose. I’m grateful that at the age of 38 I have the possibility to help others and to have access to this programme in continuing my own self development. I hope one day this will be taught in schools, but for now I feel we all owe it to ourselves to commit to growing as people and give ourselves the best possible chance of living a healthy and successful life, that we love to live.