My Search For Meaning

This is a post that has been brewing in my mind for quite some time.

It’s a reflection on past events that when looked at in isolation seem ok, but when added together paint a different picture entirely.

It’s also a reflection on the pain and suffering I had to endure and the growth and wisdom that I have gained from these experiences.

It’s also a look to the future. A future that I now feel is one of abundance, excitement and optimism.

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Reconnecting With Your Senses

We all intellectually know that we are quietly nurturing addictions to all kinds of stuff – certain foods, coffee and certain apps or technology.

I recently had a strong urge to decouple, disconnect, untether myself and my family from all technology for one whole day. Imagine that! So last Sunday, we as a family of 5 decided, we are not going to use any smartphones, tablets, games consoles, tv, netflix – nothing, just for one whole day and see how we felt about it.

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Coming Off Anti-Depressants

Around 2 years ago, I was in a bad place mentally and physically. I had been burning the candle at both ends, very stressed, eating poorly, exhausted yet always wanting to do more, more, more. I had started a new job and for the first 6 months, was on probation whereby you have very little job security and your performance is constantly being assessed for company fit.

I had reached a point of complete despair, mentally and physically, where I just did not want to continue. I tried to explain it to my wife but all that came out was actually garbage. I couldn’t even summon the ability to articulate what was wrong.

I just felt completely broken, mentally and physically.

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How to Build Resilience to Stress

We live in a very different world today than our parents inhabited. Today, both parents work, things are far more expensive including childcare and housing, jobs are more stressful, the rate of change in industries and companies is unprecedented, there is no such thing as a permanent job, social media pressures are everywhere, technology is changing how we live our lives, uncertainty is everywhere and rates of depression and anxiety are at levels never before witnessed in our world.

The level of stress that people are experiencing on a daily basis is increasing, so it is super important that you have some tools in your toolbox that you can use when you do experience this stress.

Here are my top 3 ways of dealing with stress.

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A Good Start is Half the Battle

A new year is finally upon us. This can be a strange time for a lot of people, as it’s a time of change, renewal and hopefully fresh starts. The statisticians tell us that by the third week of January the majority of new years resolutions – those commitments we make to ourselves to better our health, our relationships, our jobs and everything else are all but relegated to the trash.

Why is this? Why do so many of us fail to achieve the goals that we so positively and enthusiastically set for ourselves only a few weeks before? I believe the answer is two-fold.

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Can Facebook Make You Sick?

I’m not a huge user of Facebook or social media in general but recently I happened to be part of a thread on Facebook where the topic being discussed became very heated, a bit personalized and aggressive.

The conversation started out quite innocently and cleanly but some of the contributors disagreed with each other and the conversation descended into personal attacks and name-calling. I was part of the conversation and to be honest, the whole experience just left me really frustrated, angry, annoyed and stressed as a result.

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How Do You Get Yourself out of a Funk?

How do you deal with periods of very low motivation?

Right now, for reasons unknown to myself, I am in a state of Funk. This is my word for a feeling of no motivation, fatigue, tiredness, lack of engagement or interest with things on a daily basis. It’s a bit like an out of body experience in one sense as I do not feel like my usual self. I don’t feel like doing anything and am lacking my usual get up and go and proactivity. I find myself thinking about alternate careers and paying little or no attention to my current one.

I’m sure lots of people experience times like this so I’m curious how do you pull yourself out of this state of being?

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Paring Down Your Life

Our lives are overfull.

There’s not a single one of us who is free of that trap, in my experience. We say yes to invitations and commitments, we answer as many emails and messages as we can, we join courses and groups, buy books and take on new hobbies, get involved in new relationships and buy more stuff.

The result of this tendency to overfill is predictable:

  • We spend too much money and get into too much debt, and then have too much clutter.
  • We are always busy and always feel like we’re behind on everything.
  • We don’t have time for what’s really important — relationships, meaningful work, solitude and silence, taking care of ourselves.
  • We can’t really fulfill all of our commitments because we have too much going on.
  • We use full lives to distract ourselves from being fully present.

It’s understandable that we overfill our lives — we are usually acting on desires, and not giving full contemplation to what we want in our lives and what we don’t want.

‘You can’t act on your desires alone. You have to contemplate the details of what needs to be removed and what needs to be cultivated.’ ~Chogyam Trungpa

So how do we change that? I’d like to propose paring down your life.

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My Experience of: Bliss More

For the last 8 weeks, I’ve been reading “Bliss More” by Light Watkins. #blissmore

I first came across Light Watkins while out training for Dublin Marathon 2018 and listening to the Rich Roll podcast. If you have time, watch the interview on YouTube. The interview itself is much better in visual but this time out, I was just listening to the audio.

I have dabbled in the black art of meditation before I came across Light and this book. I’ve used guided meditations (Jon Gabriel, Sharon Salzburg), I’ve used apps (Headspace, Insight Timer, Calm) and I’ve even done a course in mindfulness. All of my previous endeavors into meditation has started in good faith, in fact, they started out of a need to manage stress in a better and more natural way but I never felt any progression with these approaches, even the mindfulness weekly course I did. I went through the motions, listening attentively to the guided instructions, anchored in the breath, same time, same place each day for as long as you can stick to it. Long story short, I never really felt that meditation held any water for me. Until now…

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How To Know If You are Having a Mid-Life Crisis

I read a funny article the other day on independent.ie about how people experience a mid-life crisis (MLC) today versus the old days.

In my experience, an MLC can kick in at any age above 30. For me personally, I think I have been in this state for at least 5 years now. Upon reflecting on this, here are the tell-tale signs that I am indeed still in the middle of the MLC…

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Sea Swimming

The internet and social media are literally awash with advice on how to live your best life. It can become overwhelming at times, depending on what apps you use or who you follow on Instagram. In amongst all of the tons of information, we have stuff like:

  • the 10 tips you need to start doing RIGHT now
  • this secret ingredient to losing your belly fat
  • 5 tips for getting better sleep
  • 6 tips for managing stress
  • 3 secret hacks for whatever-is-wrong-with-you-today

And on it goes. It is an endless stream of information of which its accuracy and origin can be questionable at times. Why should you believe the person who wrote this post? Are they qualified to give this advice? Is the article just click bait to increase views?

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Rethinking Stress

What thoughts come to mind when you think of the word “Stress”?

Worry, anxiety, nausea, junk food, no exercise, overweight, ulcers, illness, popping pills, lack of focus, multi-tasking, caffeine, sick days. For most of us, these are at least some of the things that we think of when we draw out what stress looks like to us in today’s modern society.

But what if there was a different way to look at stress, a more positive way to frame how we view stress in our lives and a way to associate differently with it.

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