As part Of Limerick Mental Health Week I attended a talk on the 9th of October, on ‘Managing your Life by Managing your Mind’ by a psychologist and psychotherapist, Dr. Fergus Heffernan. The talk was truly inspirational.

Dr Heffernan explained that research has revealed that we are the most physically and mentally unwell generation there has ever been.  He clarified that the reason for our unwellness may be attributed to the lack of education we receive about learning about ourselves. 

He informed the audience that the Irish educational system fails to equip the child, teenager, student and adult, in learning about what it is like to be human.  He explained that we as a society are not encouraged to talk about our psychological well-being, and so, fail to acknowledge our vulnerability. 

He enlightened that Irish society is destination driven.  Children are sent to school and their future is driven by the exams they sit and the results they receive, instead of being thought to enjoy the journey along the way and learn about the self.  In order to learn about ourselves, Heffernan advised that we must recognise our spiritual self, take time to write problems down, exercise, eat correctly and breath! 

HOW DO WE LOOK AFTER THE SELF?

Firstly, in order to take care of our psychological well-being, Heffernan explained, that we must find our SPIRITUAL BEING.  He claimed that our spiritual being can be determined by a faith that we come from somewhere, that someone is looking after us and that we are ultimately going somewhere.  Our spirituality does not have to have religious connotations, but must be motivated by a faith, a connection or hope.

Heffernan advised that in order to rationally sort out our problems, it is important that we take the time to WRITE THOUGHTS DOWN

He concluded that writing is a very powerful tool to monitor our thoughts.  He instructed that if we want to REWRITE OUR SCRIPT or to change an undesirable behaviour we must persist for 45 days until it becomes a conscious habit.  We can reprogram ourselves!

He also proposed that in the promotion of our psychological well-being we must take 45 minutes for EXERCISE each day.  Heffernan left the audience with the final thoughts that where nutrition is concerned it is important to have a little of what you fancy and everything in moderationLastly, he reminded the audience to concentrate on our BREATH.  

He recommended that we set our phone alarm 6 times a day for 2 minutes and take this time to breathe or meditate.  This is our healing time, in this time, it is important to realise that everything will be ok.