Ease the treadmill of life – with help from author Dr Jenny Brockis

Jenny Brockis
Jenny Brockis

Jenny Brockis was a busy Perth GP when she suffered burnout which left her exhausted, depressed and demoralised. Friends encouraged her to write about her experiences which led to her new book Thriving
Mind, How to Cultivate a Good Life
, aimed at helping people put their lives in perspective.

“I was very unwell, I lost my practice,” Jenny tells Have a Go News. “I wrote the book to share my story so that people won’t have the same experience. The incidence of burnout, anxiety and depression is rising and getting worse by the day.

“The pandemic has brought these issues to the fore, people recognise something is wrong but don’t know how to do things differently. My book outlines what it takes to be fully human, to tap into what gives us joy and makes us happier and to know self-care is fundamental to being the best we can be.”

English-born Jenny embarked on a nursing career at London’s St Thomas Hospital later becoming a doctor. Her husband John was offered a position in Perth with oil and gas company Woodside and the couple moved here in 1985. In 1983 as a medical student Jenny had visited Fitzroy Crossing in February, experiencing the rigours of a hot climate.

People get exhausted trying to keep up with everything

She is the founder and director of Brain Fit and the author of three previous books: Brain Fit! Brain Smart and the best seller Future Brain that was translated into several languages and released in a second edition as Smart Sharper Thinking.

“People get exhausted trying to keep up with everything,” Jenny says. “How can you have a successful career and a successful life?

“My new book is essentially divided into three parts – answering the question what does it take to feel happier, what does it take to truly thrive and what are the unique human traits which make us feel human, which include kindness, compassion, trust, respect and empathy. 

“My book doesn’t have to be read from cover to cover, people can dip into the area that interests them most, what is relevant to them as an individual and what suits them. For instance, the chapter giving advice on music and dance might not appeal to some.”

Jenny says she has had an extremely positive reaction from both men and women to her book since its release last August. 

“One woman reading it said, ‘it is about me, how did you know?’ The book is relevant to us vulnerable humans, we know we make mistakes, but there is much we can do to make our life better and make better choices.

“As a consequence, I’m recognised as someone who speaks about burnout and mental health challenges. I want to get rid of the stigma still there.”

“Workplaces are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of caring for their people. It’s more than yoga and fresh fruit and vegetables in the canteen; people need to feel safe when they go to work. They often stay quiet because they are scared of losing their job, they can’t do their best or feel their best.

“I am encouraged more business owners and companies want to know how to nurture a positive workplace. A successful business is not all about profits but the people who work for them.”

Jenny says in an introduction to her book: “I wrote this not just to share my holiday itinerary but to provide you with a guide to what you can do to increase your own happiness and wellbeing in order to truly flourish as the best human being you can be.

“Think of it as a resource of reminders to help prevent you from getting caught up in the melee of overwork, burnout and poor health, because none of us are immune.

Thriving Mind

“I knows this to be true because I chose to wear my superhero cape for a while until, like Icarus, I flew too close to the sun and plummeted back to Earth.”

Until Covid hit, Jenny was busy with her work travelling interstate talking with business, government and academia helping people live, richer, fuller lives. In WA she does talks face-to-face, helping spread the word of the importance of taking care of ourselves psychologically and physically.

Thriving Mind (Wiley), $27.95, is available from good book shops.

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Josephine Allison started her career in journalism at 18 as a cadet on the Geraldton Guardian newspaper. She realised her ambition to work on a daily newspaper when she later joined The West Australian where she spent almost 34 years covering everything from police courts to parliament, general news, the arts and real estate. After moving on from The West, she worked on several government short-term media contracts and part-time at a newspaper in Midland before joining Have a Go News in 2012. These days she enjoys writing about interesting people from various fields, often unsung heroes who have helped make WA a better place.