FLIP365 Newsletter (4). A week in the life of a contrarian psychiatrist

What a week in the life of a contrarian psychiatrist!

Now, hop-skipping to work.


1). Began on Sunday by  meeting outdoors with good friends, Mientjie and Morne Van Der Merwe at the Mindfulness Area (Huddle).

Both are senior professionals in Johannesburg and own properties at Walkersons Estate, outside Dullstroom.

Also, blessed with their beautiful adjacent game farm, full of healthy, fertile animals, a river running through, trees, magnificent views of the Low-veld, and walking trails.

Mientjie and Morne dream to build an executive Retreat on the estate; for adventures in wellness.

My role is to implement a scientific based outdoor curriculum, emerging out of my life long stress/burnout research and brain health interventions.

We have settled on initial weekend retreats from Friday afternoon to mid-morning Monday. The first begins on Friday 12th October.

Maximum 12 participants per group, with opportunities for long silent strolls/walks up to four hours at a stretch.

Opening all your senses (read: multipotential brain neuronal networks) to nature.


2). Then this Monday the Discovery Group appointed me their Brain Health Consultant.

The first project is the Young Doctors Program, aimed at improving the lives (in multi-dimensions) and Resilience from first years and Doctors until age 35.

It is a wonderful entry point to introduce the online teaching program about Building Resilience.

This program is a first in the world!

I am honored, and admittedly a bit nervous, but that low edge anxiety is the essence of all adventures.

Looking forward to the challenge, the effort required to stretch to the edge of my comfort zone, lessons to be learnt, and open to feedback.

Dr Sule Burger is the dynamic driver of this needed project.

Discovery are brilliant at incentivizing the desired behavior.


3). Huddle Park is looking better and better.

All of the seven ponds can now be circumvented by walking around each of its perimeter.

Next to Huddle Bridge, we have installed a deck, where you can stand sit or recline and watch the weavers weave, or the wind in the willows, or the sun setting.

Early spring is here as new growth of leaves are clearly evident.

Huddle is my place of refuge, but also a training ground for future guides of the Mindfulness in the Park events.

The pond at Huddle Bridge will be called Walden Pond, made famous by the works of Henry David Thoreau, who took years off from his life to live in a simple hut, a simple. His writings are profound on the magnificence of Nature on the human psyche.

Jason Bagg is the overall groundskeeper at Huddle, starting to have long chats under forest canopy, and we share a sensitivity to natural ecosystems.

A healthy sustainable green lung in an urban setting available to the public is our strategic vision.


4). On Tuesday evening, Shirra and I attended the annual Albertina Sisulu lecture at Wits Faculty of Health Sciences.

The speaker, Thuli Madonsela, was inspiring and insightful.

My overall feeling was here in front of us, a few meters away, speaking for 90 minutes, was a woman representing the very best that South Africa can offer.

Her moral compass is so clearly pointing in the right direction, where so many of the leaders in government and business have lost their own moral compass (presumably that they ever had one).

My take home message: always ask oneself: what is the right thing to in this situation.

That what (personal) leadership is all about. Management is doing things right.

Keep thinking whether the Thuli’s of the world are born or bred?

Dr Jonathan D Moch

Mindfulness in the Park. Sundays 90 minutes before dusk (August 4:15pm)

Chief Operating Officer, Samantha Bole.

Online teaching platform.
Building Resilience in the Digital Age

Website www.flip365.co.za
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FLIP365 Newsletter (3). A Week in the Life of a Contrarian Psychiatrist

On Monday 23rd July, I drove to Pretoria to speak to a full house of medical students eager to learn about brain Health. It was part scientific, part personal journey, part lessons learnt along the way.

The interest hook was that I was in their exact positions, over forty years ago. 1977, to be precise.

No death by PowerPoint; no notes; just speaking for an hour from the heart of medical experience and current views on well-being; providing a life map to improve quality of life; of making better decisions; about mitigating risk; and possible strategies to reflect upon.

Med school teaches you how to heal patients; and assumes you will look after yourself. That is a very, weak assumption.

Overall, most medics self-care is meeting basic needs, not optimal health.

Physician, heal thyself, daily, in many ways, throughout your career, so you can best treat your patients.

It was a week that began the big clean up of the seven ponds, and surrounds at Huddle Park; and all the tensions that a project manager endures.

I fell and bumped a couple of times; a double parallel gash to my forehead, and abrasions to wrists and shins. It looks great (that is is the ponds) and is a world class site, ready for launching my shinrin yoku (“forest bathing”) project.

In over thirty years in psychiatry I have never felt so excited, my belief in its value add never deeper, its potential to heal relationships in all four directions, profound and intuitive.

I sourced a major review article published in an international accepted scientific journal about shinrin-yoku.

Confirmation of my reading and experience of how nature calms and restores.

Longitudinal studies are still required as in all decent research – about lifestyle interventions: exercise, food, sleep, relationships, stress reduction, brain challenges.

But the evidence is clear! Go for it! Powerful healing mechanisms released when you deliberately front the natural; consistently, continually. Letting be. Letting go. Letting in.

It is time to launch the Mindfulness-In-Nature project.

When I reflect back on my life, precipitated by so many good questions asked by the varied audience of people I meet at talks, or places I visit (internal and external), there are three interconnected personal themes that combine to make a formidable three ply cord:

– my intense curiosity about the brain, nature and teaching.

Over sixty years worth of contemplation clearly inform my passion, skills, and solving problems. Trying to make the world a better place.

For there is so much negative stress, burnout, suffering, disconnection; all around.

It is time to launch shinrin-yoku (forest bathing), locally. It is about healing relationships through a slow deliberate reconnection with nature: the breath of air; the warmth of the sun; the firmness of the soil; the texture of water.

Nature is just above your lips; fragrance on the tip of your tongue; a smorgasbord of smells in front of your nose; birdsong in your earlobes; the wind touching your skin; your feet standing firmly on the earth.

It is about activating all your senses in hundreds of ways, tech-free. It is about stimulating your embedded DNA resilient genes. It is about you being in control of your destiny. It is about personal responsibility.

It is, seriously, about linking your inner forest to the outer one. It is all concerns relationships. Inwards. Outwards. Upwards. Downwards.

Let me help get you started on the most adventurous journey of yourself!

Dr Jonathan D Moch
Contrarian Psychiatrist
Special Expertise In Optimizing Brain Health

Mindfulness in the Park. Sundays 90 minutes before dusk (July 4:15pm)

Book of the week






FLIP365 Newsletter (2) A Week in the Life of a Contrarian Psychiatrist.

A busy week, no doubt the exploration and discovery of another pond at Huddle Park, being the central highlight. Completely overgrown with bush, trees, reeds, grass. This week is going to be a massive cleanup. Then I will begin to unfold walking-talk therapy at this beautiful site  – for both individuals and small groups.

Monday 16th July

Book of the week.

Resilient (Find your inner strength). By Rick Hanson.

Rick Hanson, author of Hardwiring Happiness, writes about how to build a strong foundation by harnessing the power of positive experiences to create a solid core. Twelve practical strategies.


Tuesday 17th July
Talk of the week.

A brilliant lecture that covers geopolitical tensions, current events, and a will to do good.

WATCH: Barack Obama delivers the annual Nelson Mandela lecture in Johann…

Wednesday 18th July
Science of the week.

The kind of science that talks to me. How immersion in nature changes specific brain regions, spotted by functional magnetic resonant imaging (fMRI).


Thursday 19th July
Idea of the week

A series of ted.com talks that will help  give permission to yourself to unplug from the technological grid, and connect to all things natural.

Copy and paste for more.



Friday 20th July
Connection of the week

Met with Jeffrey, a professional tree feller, who will help clear the seven ponds at Huddle Park. It will become a world class site for teaching and training Mindfulness in the Park events.

Volunteers always welcome.

Mindfully yours,

Dr Jonathan D Moch
Contrarian Psychiatrist
Special Expertise In Optimizing Brain Health

Mindfulness in the Park. Sundays 90 minutes before dusk (July 4:15pm)



(20). In praise of wasting time!

I thought this essay maybe of interest to you. The argument is clear: we all need time out from the noisy outside world and turn inward, briefly, attentively and mindfully. Who knows what riches lie within?

Your comments (via email) are welcome.



Why we owe it to ourselves to spend quiet time alone every day

(16). Mindfulness in the Park


This Sunday, 1st July, 4:15 pm sharp, at Huddle Park, Club Street, Linksfield, Johannesburg, until dusk. And Sundays thereafter.

Starting point.

Meet at Dog trails parking, by AcroBranch. Can safely park there.

Park at main gate at Huddle Park, at and pay daily walking rate at Golf Shop. About R30. They will give you a ticket or wrist band.
Then drive to meeting point (AcroBranch. Well signed). No extra costs. Ie free from thereon.

Please note that this is a most wonderful way to switch off all screens and experience Stillness, Silence and Mindfulness.

So no cellphones allowed. Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a jersey, as it gets chilly towards dusk.

Bring along a small back pack that you can wear, then arms are free. To keep safely a small sitting cushion, keys, phone, jersey, bottle of water, …

NB. No talking will be allowed from beginning to end.

We do a mixup of slow walking, standing, sitting, listening, looking, being.

You can arrive earlier and do a walking warmup on the blue or green trail.

Ps its sounds easy, but can be very challenging if you are dependent on screens for noise or other distractions. Silence is priceless.

Your guide,

Dr Jonathan D Moch

Seven common sense lifestyles to build a child’s brain.

Imagine you could optimize your brain health as you could to a child’s brain!?

From Sarah McKay.

All children differ in their biological susceptibility to life experiences in a -for better and for worse- manner.

Some kids are particularly sensitive to both highly stressful and highly nurturing environments.

Like orchids, such children bloom if lovingly cultivated, but wilt and wither if neglected.

In contrast, adaptable, resilient children who do not get easily stressed are like little dandelions; they will grow and thrive anywhere.

The seven influential lifestyle choices are.

1). Attachments and relationships

2). Language development

3). Sleep

4). Play

5). Physical movement

6). Nutrition

7). Executive Function skills.

Read more…




Your breath is your remote control of your brain.

Dear Mindful Readers,

The breath is a powerful tool that can impact our emotional health and decision-making

— research suggests that deep breathing can help manage our emotional responses and improve our memory.

During the day, we can use the breath as an anchor to cultivate focus, tap into deep relaxation, and mentally recharge.

Read more…


Give your creative mind a boost.

Doing Something Creative Can Boost Your Well-Being
By Jill Suttie
Dear Mindful Readers,

We often prioritize work over play, toiling away at a desk or whiteboard, waiting for that spark of inspiration on a big project, or how to forge ahead on a problem — but it’s those moments when we’re singing in the shower that everything can come together and that big idea dawns on us. Research suggests that moments of creativity bolster our well-being — learning a dance move or trying a new pottery class might be fun ways to fill our calendars, but it also generates energy and enthusiasm that we can bring into the rest of our week.

Here are three simple ways to practice mindfulness while engaging your creative side.

1) Sing like no one can hear you. If you’re the kind of person who cranks the tunes on the drive to work, you could be onto something. Singing is a gesture of self-compassion, and it can prime the brain for meditation. Here are four reasons to try mindful singing, and reap the full benefits of your next karaoke night.

2) Embrace your inner Shakespeare. We’re all writers — our fingers constantly tapping out texts and sending emails. We can redirect some of that energy into a freestyle mindfulness practice: try this five-step writing practice to acknowledge your emotions with each sentence you pen.

3) Be your own muse. Waiting for inspiration to strike before embarking on a special project? There are many paths to creative epiphanies. Explore these five rituals from successful artists like Stephen King and Maya Angelou to spark your imagination and find a routine that works for you.

Here’s hoping you all find moments to enjoy being mindful this week.

The Mindful Editors




Addicted to your phone? Three ways to break free, even whilst it is in your hand

Dear Mindful Readers,

Our phones keep us connected — but if we stay plugged into apps and social media, and snap selfies of everything we’re doing, our phones can become a powerful tool for avoidance and distraction.

Explore these simple ways to make the time you spend on your phone more mindful.

1) Re-organize your home screen

Beeps and buzzes from the various apps on your phone can interrupt unnecessarily — do you really need an alert when a new podcast you subscribe becomes available?

Often, people respond to notifications or click on their favorite app on autopilot. Here are five simple ways to cultivate a less distracting relationship to your phone.

2) Cut down on mindless scrolling

Social media has a way of overloading your emotions by constantly feeding you photos and stories that align with your interests in order to keep your eyeballs on the screen.

Friends’ posts can inspire joy, sorrow, envy, or all three—often in a matter of minutes.

Noticing these emotions as you experience them can help you recognize your expectations and intentions when sharing on social media. Explore this social media practice before, during, and after you’ve logged in.

3) Focus on friendships, not followers

Your phone helps you keep in touch with those who are far away, but it can distract you from the friends you see daily, and even pleasant chats with a barista or cashier.

Small changes, like putting your phone down when you’re with other people, can help you strengthen old connections and foster new ones.

Strike a balance between online and in-person relationships with these six tips.

Here is hoping you all find moments to enjoy being mindful this week.

The Mindful Editors