Put a record on! – It’s time for more music!

My first LP was Midnight Hustle. It was a little like a greatest hits of 1978 - a pre-cursor to the 'Now Thats What I call Music 'series

My first LP was Midnight Hustle. It was a little like a greatest hits of 1978 – a pre-cursor to the ‘Now Thats What I call Music ‘series

I found the first LP that I ever owned the other day. It’s called Midnight Hustle. Basically, it’s a collection of hits that were popular in 1978. Included are Boney M’s Daddy Cool, Substitute by Clout and Dreadlock Holiday by 10CC. Although Santa brought it to our home I was allowed a sneak preview at low volume late that Christmas Eve. There were some advantages to not believing in the white bearded man. I remember being intrigued by the artists with my ear pinned closely to one of the speakers.
My new record player - They are back in vogue!The record player was in our living room under the display press. Two speakers at both sides. Bought in the Sound Shop in Drogheda, it was a big part of our life during my teenage years. Most homes only had one television in those days. Two channels. Our record player was in the same room as the TV. You either switched it or the TV on. Never both. Often the TV offered poor competition to the records. With no headphones  it meant that when we switched it on the sound invaded the room. We listened to our albums together. The phrase that initiated a vinyl session was ‘Put a record on!’

There was something special about the album covers. Many of them have become iconic art pieces. We read or sang the lyrics from the sheet inside. We learned from the sleeve notes who composed the words and the music. Sometimes we discovered a secret poster.

FullSizeRender 2After a brief love affair with Showaddywaddy I began to assert myself with more respected choices. I Iived for Top of the Pops every Thursday night. Blondie, Dexys Midnight Runners, Human League, Simple Minds, Big Country, Talking Heads and U2 dominated our living room. At the same time I was graduating from comics like Roy of the Rovers, Victor and Tiger to glossy magazines like Smash Hits and Look-In. I remember being very proud of U2 when they qualified as a back page poster. Little old Ireland was an underdog in those days. The Boomtown Rats and U2 showed the world that we Irish could produce the hits too.

The record player fell victim to the more compact and mobile cassette and later the CD almost killed it completely. The revolution of downloads in recent years has made music something that is listened to more in our own company. People jog, share a bus seat or dart across a busy street with their ears plugged. It no longer fills rooms. I think what was special about the record player was that it created a dedicated space for listening to music. I often wonder do young people ever listen to the tracks in their entirety? Or take note of the running order of the them? Much time was spent on getting everything right by the artists. Nowadays it’s too easy to flick from one song to another. You dared not  scrape an LP in those days! Indeed, you can purchase a few tracks and never experience the album as a whole.

Psychological studies confirm that music has a very positive effect on our mood. When we listen or play music an endorphin release takes place throughout our bodies. It’s not just the distraction that helps. It goes much deeper than that. It seems that music just does us the world of good.  It has become a therapy in its own right. We could do with a little more music in our lives.

Recognise any of these?

Recognise any of these?

I dug up some of my old LPs. a few weeks ago. I bought a record player and was feeling nostalgic. They’re actually back in vogue. We have a room downstairs which thankfully has no television in it. The record player now commands a prominent position. And over the Christmas season it will keep us company. My family may think that it’s a mid-life crisis but I’ve been asked a few times in recent days- what record are you putting on? And I like that question!

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COUNTDOWN TO CORK SEMINAR

images copy 7A special one-day seminar with psychologist Shane Martin has been organised for the Kingsley Hotel, Cork on Saturday November 8th, 2014. The REFRESH YOUR LIFE SEMINAR provides people with an opportunity to create a space for themselves to get away from their daily stresses and strains. Participants will have an opportunity to reflect on their lives and learn what science has uncovered about becoming healthier, happier and more resilient. The focus will be on simple yet powerful practices that can be incorporated into your life to help break the cycle of anxiety, stress, unhappiness and exhaustion.

IMG_2846The REFRESH YOUR LIFE seminar contains the best material that Shane teaches from his Moodwatchers course condensed into a single day. It is an excellent opportunity for people who find it difficult to commit to the weekly course. It is also a wonderful chance for people who did the course years ago to refresh and recommit to the strategies learned at that time. For many others it’s an excellent introduction to the powerful material that he teaches. It is a rare opportunity for people in the south of Ireland to attend the REFRESH YOU LIFE seminar.

The seminar will not intrude on anyone’s privacy. There will be some discussion but no one will feel under pressure to talk. It is important to know that the seminar is for everyone and why people attend remains their own business. Often people working within the health profession attend for professional reasons. Sometimes an interest in psychology draws people to these events. However, most people attend because they want to take time-out from a busy life schedule to learn simple evidence-based strategies linked to a better quality of life.images

The seminar is from 10.30 – 4.00 p.m. and the fee of €50 is payable on the day. Anyone interested should book in advance by phoning 071-9152653 as soon as possible or by emailing their name, address and contact details to moodwatchers@eircom.net

Fee: €50 payable on the day

SOME PLACES STILL AVAILABLE BUT YOU MUST BOOK BEFORE 5 PM THURSDAY 6th NOVEMBER. Simply email your name and contact details to moodwatchers@eircom.net or phone 071- 9152653

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Annoying ourselves needlessly

images-2My patience was wearing thin. I had been circulating the indoor car park for about ten minutes. All floors checked. All floors full. I just wanted a space for five minutes so that I could post a letter. I decided to try once more before surrendering to the lottery system of seeking a parking spot on the streets. Sligo is truly a nightmare when it comes to parking. Slowly, I crawled and watched every move. Some people have a very annoying habit of approaching a car with bags but instead of entering their cars they open the boot, throw their bags in and walk straight back to the shops. Other people tantalise you. They hang around their cars and chat as if there is no tomorrow. Then there are evil people who open their doors and sit into their car comfortably but don’t’ seen to want to switch on their ignition. It’s as if they have parked in that spot to live there for the rest of their lifetime.

images-1As I turned a corner on the second floor I spotted a heavenly sent gap. Thank God! Patience is a virtue! Yes! But it was at the sharp corner and would involve serious manoeuvring to get the angle right. A major challenge even with a parking assist back bumper. I twisted and turned, withdrew and entered, stopped and started in an exercise that lasted about five minutes. There was great satisfaction when I straightened up into the last parking spot available. Precision. Perfection. Parking fit for a prince. But as I took the key out it clicked with me that all was not as it seemed. The car was inches from the wall but also merely inches from its nearest neighbour. Perfect parking but the driver would not be able to leave the vehicle. If I had a sunroof there may have been possibilities.  I would literally have to bore a hole into the ceiling of my prized possession to get out. Just as I was making my discovery I glanced over at the car parked directly across from me. Its driver had a bold grin on his face. It was as if he had realised my dilemma and was enjoying my plight. Or maybe watching for my next move. When we find ourselves in such ridiculous situations the one thing that we don’t’ want is an audience!NWS_20140617_New_017_31968911_I2

Pride gripped me. Would I let him delight in my stupidity? Was there any other option? I decided to pretend that I was parking for a snooze and slowly lowered my seat backwards. So there!! Maybe, I parked knowing fully that I had no intention of getting out at all. Maybe I was just waiting on someone else? There would be no satisfaction for the glaring eyes of Mister Nosey. I snuggled into the seat and waited for him to make his exit. I waited. And waited. It was a stalemate. Was he sitting me out? Was he calling my bluff? I opened one eye and spied at my subject matter with intensity. He was still wearing the bold grin but as I studied his face more carefully I noticed that both his eyes were closed. My enemy was merely someone sleeping in his car. Taking a genuine snooze. Not like me faking one. Mister Nosey was not Mister Nosey at all. He hadn’t witnessed my stupidity. But I had missed the post. We all have a capacity to annoy ourselves needlessly about things that don’t matter. Even psychologists.

© Shane Martin / www.moodwatchers.com

P.S. If you know someone who you think would find these e-mails useful, interesting or enjoyable, please help me spread the word and forward it to them with a request to sign up themselves www.moodwatchers.com

P.P.S. If you’re reading this because someone else forwarded it to you, just go to www.moodwatchers.com and join me to receive future e-mails directly.

MOODWATCHERS COMES TO SLIGO

Moodwatchers course comes to Sligo next week! Introductory talk on Monday 13th October at 7.30 pm in Radisson Blu hotel. Course commences on the following Monday 20th at 7.30 and runs for eight consecutive Mondays.  Spread the word!

MOODWATCHERS COMES TO MONAGHAN

Moodwatchers course comes to Monaghan. Free introductory talk on Tuesday 14th October at 7.30 pm in St. Joseph’s Pastoral Centre. Course starts on the following Tuesday (21st) at 7.30 pm running for eight consecutive Tuesdays. Spread the word!

CORK CITY: REFRESH YOUR LIFE SEMINAR (ONLY ONE LEFT IN 2014)

One day dedicated to the science of health, happiness and hope. Kingsley Hotel Saturday 8th November, 2014 10.30 a.m. – 4.00 p.m. Fee €50 BOOK NOW!

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Don’t miss it this time!

I am very passionate about the need for psychology to be utilised to prevent mental illness and promote a more sustainable happiness in people. Traditionally, the best psychology has been reserved to explain unhappiness and alleviate symptoms. It will always have a critical role to play in helping people who have become unwell. However, you do not have to become ill to examine wellness and you do not have to be unhappy to explore what happiness means.

Over the past decade I have dedicated myself to teaching people how to become mentally stronger, healthier and happier in themselves. I encourage evidence-based strategies and try to de-stigmatise mental health vulnerability (it’s in all of us). I have visited over four hundred schools nationwide and my Moodwatchers course has been in every county in Ireland. It has been a privilege to reach thousands of people in the hope that the material I teach empowers them towards a better quality of life. We are all entitled to the best possible life – no matter what has happened or what may happen in the future. We only live this life once. It is a very precious life.Unknown

My legs have tired with all the travelling. I only deliver the Moodwatchers course in two counties nowadays – Monaghan and Sligo. Please find details below. You or someone whom you know might benefit from the course. Don’t miss it this time!!

SLIGO

Free introductory talk on Monday 13th October at 7.30 pm in the Radisson Blu hotel, Sligo. Registration to follow. Course will run from the following Monday 20th at 7.30 pm in the same venue for eight consecutive weeks.

MONAGHAN

Free introductory talk on Tuesday 14th October at 7.30 pm in St. Joseph’s Pastoral Centre, Monaghan. Registration to follow. Course will run from the following Tuesday 21st at 7.30 pm in the same venue for eight consecutive weeks.

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Rescued by kindness: Silent heroes in Thurles

Unknown-2It was Thurles. Lunchtime. I was delivering one of my seminars. Someone wanted to talk to me for a few minutes before we broke for lunch. Those few minutes shrunk my break. There was insufficient time for me to find a coffee shop, park and then digest in comfort. So I headed for a service station to acquire a takeaway coffee and sandwich.

I was bamboozled by the choice of wraps. There was a chicken, mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes and rocket leaves warp cut in two parts begging for my attention. Beside it was some serious competition for my taste buds – a home-cooked ham, basil, roasted peppers and red onion wrap also in two halves.

“Can I help you?” the lady behind the counter asked.

“Just can’t decide which one to choose at the moment” I replied, buying myself more time to deliberate on the decision.

Unknown-4Then it just happened. You know when you just say something without thinking. It just spurts out. The lady looked to me for my decision and I said, “Could I have half of each of them?” My daughter was with me. She withdrew almost to disown me. I was rocking the system too much, especially in foreign territory. But the lady smiled. It looked promising.  “Maybe, that would leave you with two odd halves.” I said to allow her options. “It’s okay!” she replied, “All I have to do is make a few more and that would leave you happy!” “Thank you so much” I said in response to her warmth and flexibility. I’m actually an enthusiast when it comes to happiness.” She laughed and I wore a smirk on my face for my daughter.

imagesNext for coffee and to the other end of the shop. I poured my own coffee and pushed the lid down on my takeaway cup. As I approached the counter a horrendous thing happened. I was stupidly gripping the cup by the lid when the lid came free. Splash! All the coffee spluttered itself over the counter. The lady’s fast reflexes saved her. I glanced quickly at my snow-white new shirt and my favourite tie. Both survived without splashes. My daughter hurried away in a second act of disownment. It was mortifying as a puddle of coffee spread across the counter and down on the floor. The kind lady was more concerned for me than herself. “Did you burn your hands?” she asked. I grabbed some towel to help clean the mess. She stopped me on my tracks. “Leave that to me” she continued and she proceeded to fetch me another coffee.

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A little kindness goes a long way.  It doesn’t always flow. I was in a restaurant last week and asked the waitress for some vinegar. She looked at me as if I had two heads. I wonder what would have happened if I had spilled it all over the floor!

 

P.S. If you know someone who you think would find these e-mails useful, interesting or enjoyable, please help me spread the word and forward it to them with a request to sign up themselves www.moodwatchers.com

P.P.S. If you’re reading this because someone else forwarded it to you, just go to www.moodwatchers.com and join me to receive future e-mails directly.

 

OTHER NEWS:

No time to think?

Rushing and fussing?

Life passing you by?

Maybe it’s time to press the pause button?

WHY NOT TREAT YOURSELF TO A ‘REFRESH YOUR LIFE’ SEMINAR?

The seminars are organised over a series of Saturdays from 10.30 – 4.00 p.m. and the fee of €50 is payable on the day. Numbers are restricted and anyone interested should book in advance by phoning 071-9152653 as soon as possible or by emailing their name, address and contact details to moodwatchers@eircom.net

Fee: €50 payable on the day

LIMITED PLACES – BOOK AS SOON AS POSSIBLE

Booking is essential as numbers will be restricted. It is important to book as soon as possible to guarantee a place.

In order to book please phone 071- 9152653 or email your name, postal address, contact number to moodwatchers@eircom.net

VENUES AND DATES:

SATURDAY 4th OCTOBER: REGENCY HOTEL, DRUMCONDRA, DUBLIN 9

SATURDAY 11th OCTOBER: ARDBOYNE HOTEL, NAVAN

SATURDAY 25th OCTOBER: MALDRON HOTEL, WEXFORD

SATURDAY 8th NOVEMBER: KINGSLEY HOTEL, CORK

Fee: €50 payable on the day

LIMITED PLACES – BOOK AS SOON AS POSSIBLE

Booking is essential as numbers will be restricted. It is important to book as soon as possible to guarantee a place.

In order to book please phone 071- 9152653 or email your name, postal address, contact number to moodwatchers@eircom.net

 

 

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Time to press the pause button?

images-1A series of special one-day seminars with psychologist Shane Martin has been organised across various locations throughout the country over the coming months. The REFRESH YOUR LIFE SEMINAR provides people with an opportunity to create a space for themselves to get away from their daily stresses and strains. Participants will have an opportunity to reflect on their lives and learn what science has uncovered about becoming healthier, happier and more resilient. The focus will be on simple yet powerful practices that can be incorporated into your life to help break the cycle of anxiety, stress, unhappiness and exhaustion.

The REFRESH YOUR LIFE seminar contains the best material that Shane teaches from his Moodwatchers course condensed into a single day. It is an excellent opportunity for people who find it difficult to commit to the weekly course. It is also a wonderful chance for people who did the course years ago to refresh and recommit to the strategies learned at that time. For many others it’s an excellent introduction to the powerful material that he teaches.images-copy-7.jpeg

The seminar will not intrude on anyone’s privacy. There will be some discussion but no one will feel under pressure to talk. It is important to know that the seminar is for everyone and why people attend remains their own business. Often people working within the health profession attend for professional reasons. Sometimes an interest in psychology draws people to these events. However, most people attend because they want to take time-out from a busy life schedule to learn simple evidence-based strategies linked to a better quality of life.

images copy 10The seminars are organised over a series of Saturdays from 10.30 – 4.00 p.m. and the fee of €50 is payable on the day. Numbers are restricted and anyone interested should book in advance by phoning 071-9152653 as soon as possible or by emailing their name, address and contact details to moodwatchers@eircom.net

skySOUTH DUBLIN: Blackrock Education Centre, Saturday 20th September, 2014 (postponed)

SATURDAY 4th OCTOBER: REGENCY HOTEL, DRUMCONDRA, DUBLIN 9

SATURDAY 11th OCTOBER: NAVAN (venue to be confirmed)

SATURDAY 25th OCTOBER: MALDRON HOTEL, WEXFORD

SATURDAY 8th NOVEMBER: KINGSLEY HOTEL, CORK

Fee: €50 payable on the day

LIMITED PLACES – BOOK AS SOON AS POSSIBLE

Booking is essential as numbers will be restricted. It is important to book as soon as possible to guarantee a place.

In order to book please phone 071- 9152653 or email your name, postal address, contact number to moodwatchers@eircom.net

 

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Wake up to the beauty of this world!

IMG_2906Sometimes we focus all our energy on thinking all about the things that we have lost in life. Other times we obsess ourselves about the things that we need and don’t have. Scientific research into happiness indicates that a sense of gratitude is at the heart of a more sustainable inner-happiness. We need to count our blessings more. Often we take for granted all that we are blessed with. Many people fail to connect with the wonder of this world that we live in. I spent IMG_2878hours yesterday walking around Rosses Point and Strandhill. There is beauty all around us especially in a place like this. The miracle of the sea breeze that fans our faces, the smell of seaweed, the cries of gliding seagulls, the lapping waters of the ocean, the endless carpet of golden sand and the majesty of rocks that have survived centuries watching over it all.

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It would do us the world of good to go for a good long walk and take the magic of the world in – to savour it. We do not have to be in Sligo to see the beauty of the butterflies as they dart from petal to petal, to hear the humming sound of the bees, to smell the aroma of cutgrass, to look at the enigma of a sky that goes on forever. Whatever pattern the clouds make is a once-off canvass that replaces itself in seconds. I have loaded someIMG_2893 photographs with this blog and they represent me connecting with the world over a number of hours yesterday. It did my heart good. It helped clear my mind. I feel children can easily miss out on all of this magic. They need to hear the birds sing, to feel the leaves, to watch the caterpillars crawl knowing that they transform into princes and princesses and inherit this kingdom. On the rare occasions when the sun peeps out in this country, we should not be lying on the couch, watching heedless television or immersed in twitter or texts. We need to bask more in the glory of this world. We need to wake up to the amazing place that it is. And feel gratitude for the privilege of being here.

REFRESH YOUR LIFE SEMINARS SUMMER 2014

The Refresh Your Life seminar allows you a day to yourself. You will learn about managing stress but also about how to embrace a better quality of life.

10.30 – 3.30 p.m.

Suitable for everyone

BALLYMOTE (Co. Sligo): Ballymote Family Resource Centre, Monday 28th July, 2014

THURLES: Tipperary Education Centre, St. Patrick’s College: Tuesday 29th July, 2014

SOUTH DUBLIN: Blackrock Education Centre, Saturday 20th September, 2014

Fee: €50 payable on the day

LIMITED PLACES – BOOK AS SOON AS POSSIBLE

Booking is essential as numbers will be restricted. It is important to book as soon as possible to guarantee a place.

In order to book please phone 071- 9152653 or email your name, postal address, contact number to moodwatchers@eircom.net

 

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