Month: December 2013

Happy Christmas!!

To everyone far and wide I want to wish you a lovely holiday season.

Make sure you get some time to relax. I know the turkey needs to be cooked and potatoes mashed, but use this season to enjoy some family time. The dishes will get washed and the food will be lovely. If it’s not, at least there is a great story for next year.

If you feel like spending some time relaxing online over the holidays. I recommend you check out a website called Imgur. Full of images and funny stories it’s an entertaining time waster. Also, if you want to test your Christmas movie knowledge here is a quiz on how well you know Home Alone.


Have a wonderful holiday season and new year. I wish all the best to you and yours for 2014, who knows what adventures lie around the corner.

“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?” – Bob Hope

Feeling guilty?

Guilt is one of those emotions that can often make us do things we don’t want too. It’s usually paired with ‘I should be doing this’ or ‘I shouldn’t be doing that’.

Letting ourselves be controlled by guilt can lead to feelings of unhappiness. If you’re doing things out of obligation it’s difficult to enjoy yourself. Or if you’re beating yourself up from something that happened in the past it’s impossible to be in the present.

There are many facets of guilt, you can feel guilty because you:

  • Did something wrong
  • Think you did something wrong
  • Didn’t do something that you should have
  • Were told you did something that hurt someone else

This list goes on.


You’re feeling the way you’re feeling because guilt is linked to shame. Shame is a very difficult and vulnerable space. It’s defined as a painful feeling of humiliation or distress, caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behaviour. Shame is something we find at a young age which means it’s hard to let go of. However, there are things you can do to help you with your guilty conscience.

Wiki How has some suggestions to help you deal with guilt, including recognising if you should be feeling guilty in the first place.

If you have wronged someone then you need to accept that and try to fix what has happened. If that’s not possible then you need to learn from what you did and make sure it doesn’t happen again. If you aren’t learning from the behaviour then the guilt will stick. If you want to learn about how to deal with your guilt, there are more tips here.

I also recommend looking at the things you do in your life for you and the things you do out of guilt. Start doing more for you and less for guilt. Don’t go visit your angry father because you feel a duty too. You’re just giving the guilt the power and taking power away from yourself. Why do you deserve to be in pain to make someone else feel better?

It’s important to remember that guilt like every other emotion is a choice, a decision made. Not an easy choice but you are the only one that controls how you react in a situation. Decide you won’t let guilt call the shots anymore and untie that knot in your belly.

“There’s no problem so awful, that you can’t add some guilt to it and make it even worse.” – Bill Watterson

How to be Compassionate

It’s that time of year when we are constantly told to ‘love thy neighbour’, since it is Christmas and all. Personally I feel we should be kind to our neighbours all year round, especially the good ones. However, it can be increasingly difficult when we’re stressed, over worked or run down.

My friend Sinead Lynch over at Silver Linings, has some great advice regarding compassion over the holidays.  Being surrounded by family that you aren’t always used to sharing your space with can be overwhelming. Sinead suggests that compassion has it’s roots in empathy and recommends seeing the world from their perspective.

After you try to walk in someone else’s shoes, you’ll be happy for the moments when you can relax in your slippers.

Also…did you see that dancing cloud? That’s me, I’m that dancing cloud.

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” – Dalai Lama XIV


Quick note.

Today I was a contributor for Tabitha Magazine, looking at the importance of having a hobby. What I hope will be taken from this is having and making time for yourself.

To have a read, check it out here.

“I have a hobby. I have the world’s largest collection of sea shells. I keep it scattered on beaches all over the world. Maybe you’ve seen some of it.” – Steven Wright

Good News

In this age of information we can learn anything and everything in record time. News from other parts of the world is readily at our finger tips. Yet any news we read is often about death and destruction. I have stopped listening to or reading the news. And you know what, I’m more optimistic and informed at my own pace.

In America there are only 6 corporations that own almost every facet of the media, for the rest of the world it’s not much better. Which means what is shared with the public can be a tiny spectrum of truth. I have a hunch that sad people without hope are much more quiet then the happy, hopeful folks.

To start feeling that more hopeful I recommend the following sites:

  • Happy News – This site has news stories, videos, ideas for a happier lifestyle and products. One of the products they are recommending is a book titled: Little Things You Can Do to Make the World a Lot Nicer. Nothing about the how the newest mascara will help you bag a husband.
  • Good News Network – Filled with uplifting stories to help improve your view of humanity. One was recently posted about a man who spent $20,000 of his own money to pay off the Christmas presents of strangers.
  • Gimundo – News stories, their best picks from the web and cute videos there’s lots to make you smile. Below is a video they posted which is a personal favourite of mine.

If you do feel like getting your news, uplifting or not I would recommend checking out Democracy Now. Independently funded there is less of a chance of having news that is slated or overtly biased. At the end of the day when you read anything, do your own research and be sure to form your own opinion. Far too many people just believe what they’re being told and where’s the fun in that?

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” – Fred Rogers


Today, I’m just going to leave you with this fantastic video. Narrated by Dr. Brene Brown, it looks at the difference between empathy and sympathy.

If you haven’t heard of her I would suggest you find any Ted Talk that she’s recorded. She always has great/insightful things to say.

“All I ever wanted was to reach out and touch another human being not just with my hands but with my heart.” – Tahereh Mafi

Christmas countdown

Today is two weeks until Christmas. The pressure is building and the shops are bananas. Nonetheless, I am enjoying wandering the streets of Dublin. There is a different feeling in the air this time of year… if you aren’t swamped with the stress and anxiety.

To get in touch with that feeling, Christmas movies are a good start. I find the right one can leave me feeling all warm and fuzzy. I believe that’s due to the subject matter.

A Christmas Carol – A man who valued money and possessions sees the error of his ways. He realises that at the end of his days it is more important to be kind and revered than wealthy.

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas – He hated Christmas, he hated the Who’s who celebrated Christmas. He tried to stop Christmas by removing the gifts and decorations. But he learned that it didn’t stop Christmas at all. “Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

It’s A Wonderful Life – A man on the verge of suicide gets a retrospective on the life he has led. Although his life had been full of struggles, he impacted many and changed lives. The result is him wanting to keep living and appreciates the life he has.

Odd, I don’t hear any plots about buying the newest products and how that makes you a better person. These movies don’t push the material side of Christmas at all, in fact they push the opposite.


I recommend in the next couple days you sit down and watch one of the above movies. Feel all warm and fuzzy and remember the meaning of this season.

“It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humour.” – Charles Dickens

Holiday drinking

I was featured in The Herald today talking about my drinking habits. I explained that the way I enjoy alcohol now is different to when I was younger. As now it’s more for enjoyment and less for getting drunk.

This time of year the pressure to drink to get drunk can be overwhelming. With party after party and the 12 Pubs of Christmas there’s no avoiding the drinking push. When surrounded by all this liquid cheer there are some things to remember to keep it safe:

  • Know your limit. The holidays are a time when people who don’t usually drink may have a few. Alcohol affects each and one of us differently, trying to go drink for drink may result being left more intoxicated than intended.
  • Only accept a drink when you’re ready for one. Sometimes when rounds start there may be a drink in front of you before you’ve finished the last one. You do not have to drink that, I think even Miss Manners would understand.
  • Be respectful of those who do not want to drink. I’ve enjoyed many nights out without alcohol. What I did not enjoy was people trying to pressure me to drink. I can have fun without booze, if you cannot, maybe that’s something to be looked at.

If you want some more safe drinking tips and ideas for hosting a safe party you can read more here. If you have a past history of addiction then Psychology Today has great tips to help cope with holidays.

Alcohol can be fun, it can leave us feeling merry and full of cheer. Just remember your own limits and don’t give in the peer pressure.

“Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.” – Ernest Hemingway

How to be supportive

Whether someone has received bad news, feels they did bad on an exam, is just feeling low or recently lost someone. It can be difficult to know what to say. Many of us want to ease their struggle so will say things like: ‘I’m sure it’ll be grand.’ ‘I imagine it’s not as bad as you think.’ ‘They’re in a better place.’

The problem with all three of those is that you aren’t really hearing what is being said and supporting the person who has shared it. A lot of the time there is nothing that can be said to make the other person feel better.


What they need is support.  They need to know that in whatever they are feeling they are not alone.

The comic in this post was originally aimed at those with depression. However, I feel like it can be used as a great example of what we all need every now and then. Notice the person giving the support doesn’t say anything in hopes to make the other feel better. They are just there and that can be enough.

The next time someone tells you they are sad, mad, embarrassed or experiencing any of the possible combinations of human emotion. Before you decide what to say, ask them what they need and give them that. Being supportive is about helping the other person to feel better. It’s not about knowing what to say.

“Love would never leave us alone” – Bob Marley

A moment of being carefree

When you have a life threatening illness, carefree moments can be few and far between. This video shows individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer experiencing a moment without worry.

It’s such a powerful video because once cancer is mentioned it can often consume our thoughts and anxieties. Many of us will never have to experience what it’s like to get that diagnosis. So be grateful for carefree moments, they are in the now and they are precious.

“If things start happening, don’t worry, don’t stew, just go right along and you’ll start happening too.” – Dr. Seuss