Mental health advocate Rob Hosking shares his steps to a happier life

Virgin Radio

13 May 2024, 10:51

Rob Hosking talks to Chris Evans at Virgin Radio

Credit: Virgin Radio

At the start of Mental Health Awareness Week (13th to 19th May), motivational speaker and ex-police officer Rob Hosking spoke to Chris Evans about how “the little steps make the biggest difference when it comes to our happiness.”

Ahead of delivering a talk called Choosing Life at SpaFest at CarFest this August, Rob joined the Chris Evans Breakfast Show with webuyanycar to speak about his seven steps to happiness. 

The trauma and stress that Rob experienced as a police officer had such an impact on his mental health that they resulted in physical ailments. He hit “rock bottom” and contemplated taking his own life. He told Chris: “I felt that I’d wasted five years of my life in the police force, living an unaligned life. I was just so angry about how I lived my life. 

“But once I let go of the anger, once I let go of that resentment, I realised, ‘Wait a minute, this was only ever impacting me. Nobody else, nobody in the police force, nobody in the world, this was only impacting me.’ So by letting go of it, not only that I helped myself mentally but also physically.”

Talking about some of the steps you can take towards a happier you, he said: “There's three steps that we need to do in regards to our mental health. We need to notice it, accept it and heal it. First of all, we need to notice our emotions changing. That's probably the easier one. But the next stage is the hardest one, probably. And that is the ‘accept it’ stage. When I was in the police force, when I hit rock bottom, I noticed that I was sad. I noticed I wasn't me, but I didn’t get to that ‘accept it’ stage for a long time. I didn't accept it to myself, I didn't accept it to my family, I didn't accept it to my friends, colleagues, whoever. I didn't accept it. So by not accepting it, I wasn't able to open up about it.

“We need to get to that stage before we get to the ‘heal it’ stage. The ‘accept it’ stage is the main stage. Because we can't heal anything by just noticing that you're sad or unhappy, Accept it, and then heal it.”

Another step is to understand your core values. “It's so important to understand who you are as a person,” Rob said. “You might think, ‘I know who I am’. Well write them down, write down the words that actually describe who you are. Because when you can do that, everything that you do in your life, you can go back to those key words you've put down as your values and be like, ‘Wait a minute, is that decision aligned to that core value?’ For me, freedom and spontaneity, joining the police force was not giving me freedom and spontaneity. Like, the exact opposite.

“I went through rock bottom. I wanted to take my own life in 2018. I went through all the difficulties. Why? Well, I wasn't living a true life.”

He added: “It feels like you've got a straight jacket on. And that's what I felt like for five years of my life. I was too busy protecting everybody else. Talking people dying from bridges, saving people's lives. But instead inside, I wasn’t protecting me. I was very conflicted.”

Speaking about understanding what makes you unhappy, Rob said: “When we remove these things that make us unhappy, guess what, you've got room to explore things to actually make you happy. Now, unfortunately, you're going to still have to do the dishes and things like the housework, but in terms of real life, things, the big things in your life, what makes you unhappy? Remove it. And then you can start focusing on what makes me happy.” 

Regarding the step of being an optimist, he said: “Research has actually shown that people who are more optimistic have lower chances of heart attack strokes and death. So just find a way to look at the positives.” 

Another step is, make you a priority. “People think it's selfish. It's not, it's the most selfless thing you can do,” Rob explained. “That thing of, you can't pour from an empty cup. You need to focus on you, make you a priority in your life, because nobody else will. And then focus on what makes you happy that way. And you do little things each day that make you happy. The little steps make the biggest difference when it comes to our happiness.” 

Rob also explained: “The three principles to a happier life too, is eat well, sleep well and exercise.” 

Read what authors of Unstressable, Mo Gawdat and Alice Law, told Chris about how to limit stress.

SpaFest at CarFest 2024. Tickets are available now at Find out more about Rob at rob

For more great interviews listen to The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with webuyanycar weekdays from 6:30am on Virgin Radio, or catch up on-demand here.

At Virgin Radio, we are committed to improving the wellbeing of our audience wherever possible. Whilst we ourselves are not Mental Health experts or qualified to directly assist those in need, we have compiled useful resources to help point you in the right direction, should you need help, at .