5 ways to train your brain for when the sh*t hits the fan – Exercise 1

5 ways to train your brain for when the sh*t hits the fan – Exercise 1

A couple of weeks ago I shared a photo in our private Facebook group The Tough Mothers Village of me in a pink fluffy dressing gown, eating condensed milk out of a can. #HighlightOfMyLife embarassed

Unfortunately, some sh*t had hit the fan, that stressed me out. And this was part of my way to cope with it.


Sharing that photo made me realise that we are often in situations where the sh*t has hit the fan. None more serious than what is currently happening in the world with the novel coronavirus.


Stress is so debilitating. Which is why I wanted to share with you 5 simple exercises you can do NOW (at home!) to not only reduce stress immediately, but also prepare your brain to better deal with stress as it comes up.


This FREE series of strategies I put together for you not only shares these 5 ways to help train your brain, but also explains how they work.


Whether it is small sh*t, medium sh*t or massive sh*t, these same principles apply to reduce stress.



There is no opt-in. So, please forward it to anyone you think might benefit from it, especially during this crisis. This is not just for mums, so please share the love.

Download it HERE free


Supporting mums is what I live for. If you, or a mum you know, is feeling stressed, anxious, depressed, alone, isolated or scared during this unprecedented time, please contact me for complimentary support.


I’d love some help 🙂


We are stronger together.
Please stay safe!

Jen x


Q: What is it you offer?

A: Individualised support for mothers, using self-directed neuroplasticity (the ability for you to change your own brain) as a basis.

It sounds much more complex than it is. Don’t let the science scare you, that is just the part that proves it works.        Learn more about our support


I will share each strategy one at a time, so you have plenty of time to implement each one, and start training your brain. So, be sure to check my blog regularly, or sign up to get priority access.

Sign me up!


Don’t forget to forward this to a friend you think may benefit from it.


Why you must ask for help…

Why you must ask for help…

I won’t bore you with the back story. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you’ll know that I was lucky enough to spend 10 glorious days in the Austrian alps with my family in January.

We had blue skies every day, wonderful snow and minimal people sharing the slopes with us.

It was divine!

What was not so divine was my snowboarding. While I started snowboarding about 25 years ago,  I had big breaks in between. Once even for 7 years!!! (the things we sacrifice for our kids). And most recently I hadn’t been on a board for 18 months. Needless to say, I was rusty. Rrrrrrrrusty!


In the first couple of days there may even have been some tears. Which luckily were 100% ego-related and not due to injury.

So, after 2 days of unenjoyable snowboarding, my husband suggested I get a lesson.

WHAT!?!?! *my mouth agape in disgust* How dare he. It was ok for me to say I was rusty but for him…. Well, I never….!

And off my egoic mind went: I am old now. I know how to do this. I am not going to have some kid teacher tell me what to do. I will figure it out. I have been doing this for 25 years. How embarrassing to take a lesson at my age… blah blah blah, so on and so forth.

My ego was egoing in hyperdrive, but not solving anything. Needless to say, day 3 on the snow was sub-par too.


I took the kids down the mountain that afternoon to give Hubs some alone time to enjoy his snowboarding, which was (as usual!) very good.

This gave me about 2 hours of thinking time, and for me to have a serious chat with my ego.

What’s the worst that could happen if I take a lesson?

I could fall and make a fool of myself and/or be embarrassed.

That is all that I could come up with. YAWN!

What’s the best that could happen?

I might learn something new and improve, I could have fun, I could enjoy some time on the mountain on my own (read: without the kids), I could enjoy the rest of the days we have here because I wouldn’t be as rusty anymore… the list went on.


My ego stared at me puzzled. Even it couldn’t disagree that the pro list was a lot longer (and more convincing!) than the con list. So, I took a deep breath, grabbed the kids and marched into the snowboard school.


By the time Hubs came down I was booked in for a lesson the following morning.


My teacher was a kid. In fact, he could have honestly been my child. And all I could think about was the ONE big and suddenly very convincing item on my con list.


As soon as we took off I caught an edge and fell – I had made a fool of myself. In front of the kid. And I was embarrassed.

Ok so the worst had come true. What now?

I pushed myself up and uncertainly followed my teacher….

He turned out to be a great kid. An awesome snowboarder and great communicator. He watched me and gave me some tips which just clicked and honestly within about 30 minutes I was really enjoying myself. I gained so much confidence and by the end my teacher was high-fiving me like I was one of his mates.


I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face when I caught up with Hubs and the kids afterwards (see video below for proof – it looks black but it is truly amazing. Ha ha ha!). I was literally beaming. And to think I was going to struggle through this amazing snow holiday, rather than ask for help.


Here is what happens when you receive beneficial* help: Pathways in your brain are changed!

These pathways consist of neurons that send signals to each other. As you receive help these signals get stronger and faster, which means your neural pathways are getting stronger and faster. You are learning something!


As you learn the new way (or in my case, the better way), these pathways get stronger and stronger. The pathways I had previously strengthened by doing my snowboarding style differently (laboriously!) were weakening because I was no longer using them.

When you use neural pathways over and over again they eventually become so strong that you don’t have to think about the specificities of the task anymore. Such a riding a bike, or driving a manual car. Or Snowboarding. Ha ha ha! I’m not quite there yet. But I am working on it 🙂

I always say:  

The brain is like a muscle; use it or lose it!

The pathways you use get stronger; the ones you don’t use weaken. Simple!

You can use this to your advantage, and literally change your own brain by consciously choosing what actions, thoughts and behaviours you want to reinforce, and which ones you want to leave behind.


My Tough Mothers programs centre around this phenomenon of self-directed neuroplasticity (changing your own brain), so to once again experience it myself, but this time on the snow, is just absolutely awesome for me.

All I had to do was ask for a little help to guide me in the right direction.

Jen xx

Ask yourself, in what area of your life can you ask for beneficial* help to kick-start the strengthening of new or dormant neural pathways?

I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a note HERE 

But first, please enjoy my post-lesson celebration dance below #MumDancing (just click the Play symbol in the back square) 


Want similar information and tips straight to your inbox? Simply pop your details here.

And don’t forget to forward this to a friend you think may benefit from it.


*I say beneficial because sometimes help is more well-meaning than actually helpful. Make sure you remain discerning.

Why you must step out of your comfort zone…

Why you must step out of your comfort zone…

Hi there! Remember me?

I’m the one that took a quick break to re-brand her business…….

I’ve come to realise nothing is ever quick with children in tow (except maybe their nap time. Ha ha ha!). So, it has taken the better part of 2019, but the re-branding of my business is complete. The Dr Jennifer Hacker Pearson website is live and the Tough Mothers programs are here!

This is just the beginning of the change that is coming to support women during pregnancy and motherhood. And I am excited!

Actually, excited is an understatement.

But, it wasn’t all rainbows and fairy floss. There were (and still are) times when I am absolutely terrified. My mind goes into overdrive – what have I possibly done wrong, what might I do wrong and what if this is all wrong…

It’s often quite stressful. But then most things outside our comfort zone are, aren’t they?

Did you know that the feelings of excitement and the feelings of fear originate in the same region of the brain, the limbic system?

In particular the hypothalamus, which controls the body’s stress response.

More on that fascinating topic in an upcoming blog.

The stress felt when we are outside our comfort zone is usually in the form of eustress.

Eustress is beneficial stress, that is either psychological, physical or biochemical in nature. It causes a chemical response that gives the brain the ability to create new connections. These will wire your brain in new places, strengthen your brain in new areas and even grow it (by increasing grey matter)!

The brain is like a muscle, it works on the same “use it or lose it” principle. That means, if you do the same things you already know, and feel comfortable with, you are only using the same areas of the brain that are already “strong” and neuronally well-connected. It’s like only doing a right arm bicep curl as your workout, every time…

Now that scientist have found the brain has the ability to change itself (this is called neuroplasticity), we literally have the capacity to change our brain on purpose. We just need to exercise different areas of it. An easy way of doing this is by stepping outside our comfort zone.

It is outside your comfort zone where true growth occurs. Not just neuronally but in all areas of life. So, it’s important to step outside our comfort zone often. It might be scary at the time but the reward is so worth it. Not only are you changing up your brain, but the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine will leave you energised and feeling great, as well as give you a feeling of achievement and bliss. New neurons are now wired together and will propel you to achieve again, creating a wonderful feel-good loop.

So, I’m just going to hang out here for a bit longer and enjoy the eustress. I hope you can join me on this journey by stepping outside your comfort zone too. Your brain will thank you for it, and I bet you will be delighted with the benefits too.


Jen xx


PLEASE NOTE: It is important to not create debilitating stress (i.e. distress). This can make us very sick. So, don’t step outside your comfort zone too far.

Think eustress as creating butterflies in your tummy. Cute, little, beautiful butterflies. You don’t want vultures in your tummy! They’re bad news and will activate your fight, flight or freeze response leading to distress and anxiety.


PS. Want similar information and tips straight to your inbox? Simply pop your details here.

And don’t forget to forward this to a friend you think may benefit from it.

Working or at Least Trying

Working or at Least Trying

They always find me and climb on my lap.
That’s why it’s taken almost 6 years to finish this book! I wouldn’t change a thing though. Not one distraction, not one climb, not one cuddle.

#working or at least #trying ?

Self Care Saves!

Self Care Saves!

It’s true! I know, because self-care saved me.

After I had my third baby life became too much. I had to take time to fill my own cup. I’m so glad I did because life became better than I ever could have imagined.

This year I took some time out to finish my psychotherapy studies and work on me.

Sorry I have been MIA but I am back and I have some amazing things to share with you including how I turned my fear and suffering into joy and a beautiful life.
So watch this space ?

Shout out to Lauren @mumswhowine_au who created this amazing T-shirt and from its sales raised over $12K for perinatal anxiety and depression Australia (PANDA) in 30 days. So happy to spread your important message across the ditch ?