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Reading Is Believing: Five Books To Change Your Life

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They say that we should always try to read something that if we died in the middle of reading it, we’d look good. That is, it would be a reflection of what we think and who we are.

They say ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ however there’s nothing said about not judging a reader by the book.

I’ve never been much of a reader, at least not since my primary school days. The teacher would ask us to read a book per week, do a book report and then move onto the next. I can remember finding this a little annoying as a child and therefore, recognised it as taking the fun out of it so it turned me off reading for pleasure. Apart from the compulsory school assignments, I didn’t do it. Fast forward to 2016 and here I am with a list as long as my arm of books I cling to on my night-stand: reading for pleasure with (thank god) no book reports. Joyously, I often celebrate the fact I’ve got overly-packed book shelves and some instagram posts to reflect upon.

I read nowadays not for entertainment or for the laugh but rather, to better myself, learn from others and develop particular skill-sets.

Narrowing a list down to a mere five is a difficult feat however one that must be done.

*Susan Jeffers: Feel the fear and do it anyway.

After going through a difficult time with my post-teenage mental health, my sister gave me a Susan Jeffers book that would go on to change my thoughts forever. ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’ is still the best book in self-help I’ve read. It’s simple, straight to the point and has some inspiring stories including Susan’s battles with illness, divorce and her own self-doubt.

*Paul Arden: Whatever you think, think the opposite.

Having spent years working as the Creative Director at a famous advertising firm in London, Paul narrows down a bunch of short case studies of business success. He also points out the fact that often, making decisions differently to everyone else is inevitable scary however life-altering in every way. It’s short, sweet and will get you moving in all the right directions.

*Louise Hay: You can heal your life.

We are what we think. Therefore, if we become ill, have pains and are not enjoying our lives then it makes sense that this is because of our thoughts, right? This is Louise Hay’s take on life and she goes through her own life experiences that demonstrate this fact while supporting the reader on a journey of self-love, affirmations and living a real life.

*Mitch Albom: Tuesdays with Morrie.

So technically, this is a story. It is truly heart-warming, inspiring and will make you feel all warm (and sad inside). This tale of an ill man telling his past student of what he’s learned along his journey will remind any reader exactly what life’s all about. We’re here for a good time, not a long time and as such, we can make a difference to everyone we come into contact with. A must-read.

GirlBoss

*Sophia Amoruso: GIRLBOSS

It’s one of those you’ll have heard loads about. It’s funny, motivational and will get you moving towards your goals faster than you can hashtag the words #GIRLBOSS. This is one of the only books I’ve ever read in less than three days and the reason is that it’s super compact, straight to point and incredibly addictive.

Any recommendations similar to these? Pop them in the comments field below or comment on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and #jointheconversation.

Need Inspiration? Here Are Three Motivational Events In Ireland In 2017

It’s already June and the number of events that are popping up across social media and filling inboxes is off the charts. There’s the option of webinars, Tedx Events, Facebook lives and Twitter chats galore. Everywhere we look, someone wants to inspire us with their version of success and to be honest, it can be overwhelming both on our minds and bank accounts.

Time is precious so choosing where to go and what to listen to is kind of a big deal. For me, constant research and subscribing to a variety of speakers means I have more options to choose from and some of which I actually buy tickets for. Not sure which ones are for you? I’ve put together a list of three below. Maybe see you at some of them?

  1. Tedx Talks take place in Dublin on the 17th of June. Inspiring experts in their field, speakers will take to the stage to educate on their topic of choice. As an avid fan of the Ted app and general videos on YouTube (there are thousands), it’s safe to say I’m pretty excited about this one. Already sold out, it’s possible to join the waiting list for this highly anticipated event.
  2. Pat Divilly will return to Galway with his mindset workshop on the 22nd of July. This is a mixture of lectures on personal development and activities. The focus will be all about reconnecting with your best self, finding more clarity and managing your energy. This is a more concise version of Pat’s past workshops.
  3. Feeling empowered? Well even if you are already, Women’s Empowerment Summit will take place in October 2017 (later than Summer, indeed) and will comprise of a variety of talks from strong, empowering women. The likes of broadcaster Sile Seoige and best selling author Donna Kennedy will share their stories of success for a day long event in Citywest.

Don’t have the funds? No bother. There are several other options to support you in your personal development this year and thereafter.

*Crack a book open. Seriously, there are so many inspiring options out there that will cost you no more than 20 quid (less if you go for second hand). I’ve got a bunch of recommendations from last year (PM me for many more).

Aside from reading, social media is jam-packed full of inspiring pages, videos and events. Just this week, I stumbled across Heal Within where Linda runs weekly meditation and mindfulness Facebook lives.

Finally, I’ll be sharing weekly tidbits and sources of inspiration across my blog, social media and newsletter. Be sure to sign up so you can get content to your inbox first!

Mental Health Series: Vital Advice From A Psychotherapist

I’ve had the fortune of coming across and working with a range of interesting and intelligent individuals over the years – through blogging, work, family and living in various locations. Listening to their stories and what they do, I’ve learned even more so that we’re all making our contribution whether through work, our hobbies or by simply being ourselves. Meeting and staying in touch with psychotherapist Cathy Culloty was no exception.

Cathy is a psychotherapist in DCU, has a private practice and on the side works as a model while running a blog. She’s recently got married and is living her best life as a strong and influential young woman.

As it’s mental health awareness month in Dublin, I reached out to Cathy to ask her for her thoughts on a number of topics related to the stigma attached with mental health in Ireland alongside her general advice to anyone who might be suffering or needing some help. The benefits of psychotherapy, the future of mental health in Ireland and identifying the signs of someone suffering are some of the areas we discussed.

“Exercising regularly, good diet, getting adequate sleep, being mindful of alcohol consumption, talking about your feelings and not being afraid to ask for help” are some of the ways Cathy recommends that we maintain a positive mental health. Aside from these basics, she recommends taking some time out from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Whether that means a holiday abroad, trip to the countryside or a spa day – rest is what will allow the mind to recuperate and refresh.

Of course, we are all guilty of skipping some steps of what we know is good for us. A struggle with our mental health will hit any of us at some stage in our lives so, what then? There are so many possible options when it comes to getting help and support when we’re feeling unwell.  With so many possible ways of treatment out there including medication, cognitive behavioural therapy and coaching, how does someone decide what’s best?

As a psychotherapist, I asked Cathy why someone might choose psychotherapy as an option of treatment. Describing it as something everyone should try at some stage in their lives, it allows one to understand themselves fully, rewrite stories from their past, heal old wounds and decide who they want to be and where they want to go. As a pathway of treatment, Cathy cites finding a therapist you can trust as the most important element of having a positive experience with psychotherapy. Of course, having the motivation to develop and work towards a more healthy mindset is the second element to consider.

Not everyone feels comfortable talking about their mental health and this is where the stigma comes in in Ireland and probably – externally. Feeling like you’re alone and being overwhelmed are some of the reasons someone might avoid getting help with their mental health while caring what other people think pops up as a reason why one wouldn’t reach out sooner than they need to. Cathy’s advice is to remember that “you’re not alone. No matter how bad things seem, there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

Unfortunately, not everyone will say they’re in a tough place and even more people won’t have recognised it. As loved ones, it’s important that we are able to identify when someone is going through a mental health challenge. Social withdrawal, increased sadness and/or irritability and excessive sleep are some of the signs to look for when identifying a mental health problem. More intensely, significant change in mood, hallucinating and delusions can appear in more extreme cases. In any event, approaching the said person to support them will mean they don’t suffer for longer than they need to.

When we discussed the future of mental health in Ireland, Cathy expressed her hope for its acceptance and progression into a more positive light. “I have a friend in the UK who manages a team and gives them mental health days which I think is brilliant and should be implemented into all work contracts”. The lifting of the stigma, further education and increased awareness around mental health are hopefully a premonition for mental health in Ireland.

In the meantime, being aware of identifying the signs, super self-care and being as open as we can around the topic will mean we take massive strides in the right direction.