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Published by Harmonia Norah, 2017-06-28 07:29:58

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Experts agree that constant, low levels of anxiety are a scourge on our wellbeing,
affecting more and more people every day. Jessica O Sullivan investigates how we

can escape this modern malaise.

TRAIN OF THOUGHT cause faint stress responses whose cumulative effect are detrimental to
our mental and physical health. Today, anxiety is one of those catch-all
Close your eyes. Imagine you live near a set of busy railway tracks. All words that people use to explain away all manner of stress-related
day long loud, heavy trains trundle by. At first the noise disturbs you, ailments. But what exactly is it? On a basic level anxiety is the mind’s
but eventually you are so accustomed to the sound that it becomes a natural reaction to danger, also known as the ‘Fight or Flight’ response
background noise. That doesn’t change the fact that the trains are still and it’s a normal feeling that we all experience. And while anxiety
there, making noise – you’ve just learned to live with it because after disorders are a very real and prevalent mental health issue in Ireland
all, it’s not like you are in any immediate danger from the trains. Now (it’s estimated that one in nine people will suffer from an anxiety disorder
imagine that those rumbling trains are actually the low rumblings of at some point in their lives and women are twice as likely as men to
everyday anxiety caused by our modern lifestyle – daily habits that


be affected) there is a marked difference can give you a feeling of constantly being on edge or uncomfortable
between an anxiety disorder and the low- in your own skin.”
level feelings of anxiety that many people
suffer as a result of living a demanding PREVENTATIVE MEASURES
lifestyle ruled by electronic devices.
The most important thing is to understand that this feeling that can be
HIDDEN PITFALLS nipped in the bud with a little work.“The brain is very flexible, which
means that you can actually rewire your brain.We call this neuroplasticity.
Dr Harry Barry author of Flagging But just like consistently going to the gym to keep fit, you need to devise
Anxiety and Panic (Liberties Press) says a wellness self-care programme that can be maintained.”Firstly, Brennan
that none of us are strangers to being advises that anyone with feelings of anxiety limit the kind of information
anxious. “Anxiety is a word we all that they expose themselves to. “It’s not that you should become
commonly use. But just as depression with uninformed about the world around you but do you need to hear or
a little d is an emotion we all experience, read a negative story 10 times a day? When you have anxiety, your
while depression with a capital D is a mind starts to make connections as information is processed, and
significant mental health condition, there catastrophises the conclusions. For example, if your husband is late
is anxiety with a little a, the normal home and you begin to worry unnecessarily about his safety. These
emotion, and anxiety with a big A – the thoughts are irrational consciously, but rational subconsciously because
condition and it’s important to know the you’ve been exposed to worrying stories in the news all day.” Brennan
difference.”The world of everyday anxiety is also a big believer in the power of mindfulness, in particular self-
can be hidden and shadowy, to the point hypnosis as it allows you to choose the information you feed to your
that we might not even realise it’s there, brain as opposed to just being present.“Affirmations are very important
as it’s possible to function relatively too, for example: ‘I am calm, I am confident’. You might not feel them
normally despite it. In other words, you in the moment but consistently repeating them gets the message into
might not experience an obvious symptom your subconscious.” Research has also shown that taking the time out
like a panic attack that could alert you to of your day to pamper yourself as part of your daily beauty routine
seek help, so more subtle symptoms can has huge wellbeing benefits. The Unilever Personal Care 2016 Report
brushed aside – insomnia, emotional revealed that in a survey of almost a thousand respondants over half
eating, IBS, poor relationships, poor said that their daily grooming routine had as much influence on their
performance at work, holding back in daily sense of wellbeing as diet and exercise. More than anything,
social situations for fear of being judged. Brennan says that awareness is key.“When you first feel any little signs
Does any of this sound familiar? “At the of anxiety, that’s when you need to stick to your wellness self-care
heart of anxiety is worry, and more programme. Go for a walk or listen to a mindfulness app sooner rather
worry,”explains Dr Barry.“This can cause than when it’s too late. The more in tune you are with your body you
a mental and physical fatigue that can be are, the sooner you’ll recognise the feelings of anxiety creeping in.When
underestimated. We can begin to accept it’s not causing obvious problems people tend to just ignore, ignore,
the symptoms as normal and live in a ignore until inevitably it results in burnout.That doesn’t need to happen.”
twilight world of worry and exhaustion
that often worsens with age, as the MAKE THESE SIX LIFESTYLE CHANGES TODAY:
mounting stresses of life build up.”

If constant low-level anxiety is a modern 2. TAKE B VITAMINS/OMEGA-3 FISH OIL
ailment, then the causes must lie in our SUPPLEMENTS TO HELP FIGHT FATIGUE.
modern lifestyles. Fiona Brennan, a
Clinical Hypnotherapist and founder of 3. USE YOGA, MEDITATION, SELF-HYPNOSIS says that OR MINDFULNESS APPS AS WELL AS
information overload has a lot to answer for. Brennan compares the RELAXATION AND BREATHING EXERCISES.
need to constantly check our social media feeds, our emails or the news
is linked to our primal hunt instinct. When we find what we’re looking 4. COGNITIVE BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY CAN
for, say a notification on our timeline, it activates the reward system in RESHAPE MENTAL PROCESSES AND TEACH
our brain, which releases the happy hormone dopamine. Once that YOU TO PROBLEM SOLVE.
runs out, we look for our next hit immediately, not allowing ourselves
a rest period in between. “Thanks to our phones, TVs and the general 5. TAP INTO POSITIVE EARLY NEURAL
prevalence of technology, we are always plugged into the mainframe PATHWAYS BY DOING AN ACTIVITY YOU
so to speak, therefore we are always on the hunt. Our brains are not LOVED WHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER.
actually able to process the level of information available to us, so we
experience information overload and a sense of being overwhelmed.” 6. SET SCREEN TIME BOUNDARIES AND
Brennan explains this is because our brains are formed to know what’s COMMUNICATE THEM TO FRIENDS AND
in our immediate vicinity, but now we’re tapped into what’s happening COLLEAGUES. FOR EXAMPLE, THAT YOU
all over the world, resulting in a constant barrage of information that DO NOT CHECK EMAILS AFTER 8PM.
is overwhelming, especially today with so many terror attacks occurring.
Brennan also explains that this information overload can happen on
a smaller scale as social media keeps us constantly updated with what
other people are doing which in turn can make us feel pressure that
we’re not quite keeping up in our own lives. “All of this can lead to
this low-level anxiety, which drip feeds the stress hormone cortisol to
your body, which can lower your immune system, make you tired and



Pump up


Ever wondered if your online profile is doing your skillset
justice? Sharon McCooey, Senior Director of International
Operations and Site Leader of LinkedIn in Ireland, shares

her top tips for representing Brand You online.


Online communities like “SOME BUZZWORDS HAVE
LinkedIn provide a way BECOME SO COMMON THAT
to get noticed and stand THEY LOSE THEIR MEANING,
out as a leading professional. By
building a strong personal WORDS LIKE ‘CREATIVE’,
‘brand’, you can boost your level ‘EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE,’ AND
of visibility to all the right
people, as well as increasing your ‘TEAM PLAYER’ ”
potential to unlock opportunities
as you create more meaningful use this space to set out your goals. Use the Summary and Experience
connections. sections of your profile to expand upon who you are and what
you can do, including everything from experience to awards
IN ORDER TO STAND OUT FROM and achievements.
ONLINE PROFILE, REMEMBER M a k e i t e a s i e r f o r p e o p l e t o f i n d yo u Listing your skills on your
THESE STRATEGIES profile makes you 13 times more likely to be viewed. Your skills
are a visual overview of your professional brand – an easy, digestible
A picture speaks a thousand way to show what you can do. You’ll want to include a mix of high-
w o r d s Your profile image is one level and niche skills to ensure you show up in search results and
of the most important features on showcase your range of talent.
your profile. Not only is it
important in terms of first S how off you r exp erti s e Show that you’re tuned into your field, that
impressions, our data shows that you know what’s happening in your industry, and that you have an
profiles with pictures can also have opinion on it. Extra ways to increase your visibility include sharing
up to 14 times more views than relevant and interesting content such as articles, news, or videos – or
those without. Make sure you even by writing your own publisher post. Your network will appreciate
choose a good quality, professional reading content that’s valuable to them, and you’ll be on your way
picture. An interview starts the to establishing yourself as an expert that your network will turn
moment someone searches for you to for insight.
online and your first impression is
your profile photo. So opt for a S how that you c are What better way to show you are a motivated
head and shoulders-style shot person than by including your volunteer experience and the important
against a plain background to causes you support? It can also help you get hired. A survey we
make sure that you are the main commissioned revealed that 42 per cent of hiring managers stated they
focus of the image and are in your consider volunteer work equivalent to full-time work experience and
best light. 20 per cent said they’d hired someone because of their volunteer
B a c k u p yo u r c l a i m s With over experience. It’s one of the reasons why we launched Volunteer
one million LinkedIn members in Marketplace, which connects Irish charities with skilled professionals
Ireland, you need to make sure that who want to donate their expertise to a good cause. Volunteering is a
you stand out from the crowd. fantastic way to demonstrate your experience in a new sector, in
Sharing tangible examples of your addition to expanding your professional network.
work is invaluable as proof of your
capabilities and expertise, and they Be social Build your relationships and try to establish new connections
also provide the opportunity for with like-minded professionals and potential future employers. Joining
more people to engage with you. groups is a great way to interact with people in your industry. You can
Upload work you’re proud of, such build vital contacts and also keep up-to-date with the latest news.
as presentations, images, articles People active in groups also increase their visibility on LinkedIn by up
and so on, to your profile to let to five times.
people know that you can walk
the walk as well as talk the talk. C l ai m you r U RL Customise the URL below your headline to increase
your search results and make it easier to direct people to your profile
L e t o t h e r s c h a m p i o n yo u r c a u s e Our research shows that the top (particularly useful if you have a common name). A customised URL
method for Irish job seekers to find a new position is through their also looks great in email signatures and on business cards.
personal contacts. Identify people that you have worked with in the
past who might be willing to be your champion now. When you’re Avoid buzzwords Some corporate buzzwords have become so common
looking for a job, be sure that these people know you are on the that they lose their meaning, words like‘creative’,‘extensive experience’,
market, as a strong personal recommendation from someone who and ‘team player’ appear on so many profiles that they’re almost
knows you well is the best endorsement. If you see job opportunities meaningless. Find different ways to talk about yourself so you can
that your contacts are connected to, go one step further and ask for stand apart from the competition.
introductions to the right people, and if they come through for you
don’t forget to say thank you. With these simple updates to your profile, you can set yourself apart
G r a b at t e n t i o n w i t h yo u r h e a d l i n e Write a strong headline that and help position brand you in the best light for your next opportunity.
makes people want to learn more about you and your role. For some
people the job title can be enough, but earlier in your career you can






Are you a slave to your inbox? Do your email habits prohibit
productivity? It’s time to take back control of your working day.
Jocelyn K Glei wants you to kill email anxiety, avoid distractions

and get real work done.

Email can take up as much or as little of your day If you must conduct it is rarely productive to check your email first thing in
as you choose. How much time you spend on it your meaningful the morning. In fact, it’s usually counter-productive to
is really a question of self-control, which is why work in the start your day by letting other people’s demands set your
it’s crucial to devise a daily routine for checking afternoon due to priorities. Instead, devote the first 60–90 minutes of your
email and to understand the obstacles that can throw day to a task that advances your meaningful work goals.
you off course. immovable morning This way you are doing your most important and
Once you have a system in place that works with your obligations, try challenging work when your brainpower is at its peak
natural creative rhythms and sets expectations for those doing a “reboot rather than later in the day, when you’re harried and your
you work with, it becomes exponentially easier to stay energy is depleted. It also means that when you do turn
focused and execute the tasks that really matter. Here’s ritual” to clear your your attention to email, no matter what you find there
how to get started. mind before you – what fires you have to put out, what unwanted questions
Start your day with meaningful work. Despite the fact begin. Ten minutes you have to respond to – you’ve already gotten some good
that one in two people look at their email before breakfast, of meditation, a work done that day.
brisk walk around
the block, or a
power nap are all
good options.


Don’t check your email more than two to three times a “IT’S COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE TO START
day. There are two types of emailers: Reactors, who rely YOUR DAY LETTING OTHER PEOPLE’S
on notifications and near-constant monitoring of their DEMANDS SET YOUR PRIORITIES”
inboxes to nibble away at their email throughout the day,
and batchers, who set aside specific chunks of time to power EXTRA anxiety or urgency — feel more distant and less pressing.
through their email so they can ignore it the rest of the day. CREDIT The more clear your primary work screen is, the more
Not surprisingly, batchers are significantly more effective serene your mind is.
when it comes to getting shit done, and according to recent I would also
research, they’re also less stressed. To get yourself into the recommend carving Mind the switching costs. Every time you stop doing
groove of batching, I recommend setting aside 30 to 60 out blocks of time a task you are working on to check your email, you incur
minutes in the late morning and a similar amount of time on your calendar for what researchers call a “switching cost”. Particularly if
in the mid- to late-afternoon for checking email. Depending you’re doing any kind of work that requires deep
on the volume of email you receive, you might want to add meaningful work, concentration (aka creative flow) such as writing, coding,
a third and final email processing window at the close of even if it’s just once or assembling a presentation, it typically takes at least
your workday to tie up loose ends and leave work with a a day first thing in 25 minutes to get properly back into the task after you’ve
clear conscience. the morning. If we interrupted yourself. Even worse, multiple studies have
don’t explicitly plan shown that the more frequently you check your email,
Specify blocks of time for batch processing your email to do the work that the less productive you are and the less happy you are.
and put them on your calendar. By setting aside time on matters, it tends to That’s a huge price to pay for a quick glance at
your calendar you explicitly commit to devoting a certain fall by the wayside. your inbox.
amount of energy to email. Because you have time set aside Putting something
to process your inbox, it’s easier to move forward with Be aware that willpower declines over the course of
other tasks, knowing that you’ll have time to tend to your on your calendar the day. We do not have an infinite supply of willpower.
email later. More importantly, it also requires you to commit means you are Every time you exert your willpower during your
to blocks of time when you are not checking email. committing to it. workday, you have a little bit less left over.When it comes
to email this means it becomes more difficult to resist
Treat your calendar time blocks like actual meetings. ACTIVITY the temptation to check it as the day goes on. It also
That means you show up, you start on time, and you finish becomes more challenging to make good decisions and
on time. There may not be other people present at this Map two weeks compose messages as your best self.As willpower wanes,
“meeting”, but the point is to respect your time just as you of work into your our email weaknesses loom large, and we risk giving in
would respect someone else’s at a meeting. If you’ve calendar. Include to our penchant for gossipy remarks, cutting sarcasm,
scheduled a block of time for meaningful work, give it all time blocks for dictatorial language, or a good old-fashioned flame war.
of your attention and effort. Don’t give up if it takes 10 to checking email, The good news is that once you’re aware of the rhythms
20 minutes to get in the zone, and don’t be afraid to lock doing meaningful of willpower, you can use them to your advantage: try
yourself in a conference room if necessary. Exercise the using your late-morning email block to respond to the
same discipline with your email blocks: when your scheduled work, and any messages that demand a maximum of craft and
time is up, stop checking your email and move on. This other activities, like composure and your afternoon block to reply to relatively
forces you to prioritise who you respond to and at what meetings or client mindless emails.
length – a useful skill.
calls, that are an Set expectations publicly. Once you’ve defined your
Use VIP email notifications. If you’d like to stick to essential part of email schedule, tell people about it. I cannot stress how
specific blocks of time for checking email but you have a your workday. helpful it is to openly discuss communication ground
special someone who will freak out if you don’t tend to Make sure you rules with bosses, co-workers, and clients before problems
their email within five minutes of receiving it, compromise don’t schedule arise. Ask your boss how swiftly you need to respond
by using VIP notifications. On an iPhone you can designate everything back- to their emails – within 15 minutes? 60 minutes? 24
certain people as VIPs so their emails go to a separate VIP to-back; instead, hours? Outside of work? You may be surprised by her
inbox. You can also configure your notifications to play a answer or you may be disappointed, but at least you’ll
special tone when that inbox gets a message. If you have deliberately know. Share your work practices with co-workers so
an Android phone, you can use the Gmail app to set up a build in some they understand how to best communicate with you and
similar system for notifications when messages arrive from slack time each you with them, such as asking them to email you with
pre-designated priority senders. This method helps you day so you have non-urgent questions and come to your desk with urgent
ignore your email when you need to without worrying windows to rest ones. Tell your clients upfront what kind of response
you’ll miss something crucial. and recover, deal time they can expect from you – for example, a same-day
with unexpected response on emails before 3pm while their project is
Avoid leaving your email open in the background. interruptions, or active – before they come to a different conclusion on
Research has shown that just having your email programme react to urgent their own. If you don’t want to be available on email at
open in the background of your computer screen as you situations on the fly all hours, you need to proactively set expectations with
focus on another task, even if the window is minimised, without sabotaging others and stick to them religiously.
can decrease performance. Even if your email isn’t front your routine.
and center, your brain still knows it’s there in the background You’ll also want to UNSUBSCRIBE: HOW TO
and devotes a certain amount of energy to monitoring it, account for the KILL EMAIL ANXIETY, AVOID
which takes away from your ability to truly execute the fact that willpower DISTRACTIONS AND GET REAL
task at hand. Avoid such distractions by quarantining your and focus typically WORK DONE BY JOCELYN K GLEI
email in a separate area from your main workspace. This wane as the day IS PUBLISHED BY PIATKUS IN
might mean setting up a separate monitor just for email or goes on. Scheduling PAPERBACK. AVAILABLE NOW.
checking your email only on a mobile phone or tablet. demanding tasks
Checking your email in a physically separate space can for earlier in the day
actually make your incoming messages — and any attendant and easier tasks for
later on is ideal. Try
to adhere to this
schedule for the
full two weeks, and
see if you aren’t
significantly more
productive in the
work that really
matters to you.







Can you be true to you when you’re not in the right career?
Stephen Joseph, author of Authentic, gives a crash course

in deciding your most genuine route to career success.

Many of us spend the majority of our adult lives at work. If that sounds like you, it’s time to think about how to change that.
Even when we are not actually at work we spend You may already have dreams of doing something completely different
large parts of our evenings and weekends thinking and but when you look to the future it seems overwhelming. The journey
worrying about work. Put like that, it makes sense that we ought to to get from where you are now to where you want to be seems insur-
make sure we are in the right career. We desire jobs that allow us to mountable. Or it may be that you don’t know what sort of new career
be ourselves, to use all of our talents, strengths and abilities in such you would aim for and feel lost in knowing how to find the answer.
a way that we are able to be the best versions of ourselves that we It is easy to feel defeated before you even start.
can be. Sadly, too few of us end up in careers that really allow us to
be our authentic selves. It is at this point that people often feel so stressed by the challenges
that they stop thinking about it and just get back to what they were
THINK ABOUT YOUR ANSWERS TO EACH OF THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS. doing. But the secret to leading a more authentic life is to start now
and do whatever you can, no matter how small, and with no other
1. What are your passions – the things you enjoy doing, that excite intention than simply to be true to yourself in the moment.You don’t
you and give you a sense of flow? need to know all the steps ahead and have all the answers to get going.
2. What is important to you – what are the values you hold and the
things you prioritise? Big changes in life take time. Like changing the course of a huge
3. What are you good at – your abilities, talents and strengths? ship, it takes you to tilt the rudder only slightly to take you to a vastly
different location. Small steps in the right direction will eventually take
Now think about how you actually spend your time at work. How you to where you want to go.
much of the time are you engaging your passions? How much of the
time do you spend on activities that are important to you? How often Think about the questions above and the ways in which you can
are you doing things that you are good at and that make the most of add more passion to your work, do things that are more important to
your abilities, talents and strengths? Now think about those times you, and use your talents and skills more often, even if only in little
during the working week when you are doing all three things together ways. What’s that one thing that you have been thinking about doing
– when you are engaging your passions on activities that are important but keep putting off? Whatever it is for you, make a commitment that
to you and fully using your abilities, talents and strengths. For many you will do at least one new thing next week that feels like you are
people this will only account for a small portion of their working week. being truer to yourself. Take the first step.

138 IRISH TATLER SEPTEMBER 2016 You may not know where it will take you, but little by little you will
be redirecting the course of your life.


IT Academy Logo FINAL.indd 1 4/3/14 4:11:12 PM “ Check all of your activities and choices in
life – if they are aligned, you feel good; if
they are out of sync, you feel not so good”

teacher, or counsellor...Purpose is never negatively limiting of our

actions in life; it is, rather, positively corrective of our actions.

Do you have to leave your job if it doesn’t sit perfectly with

your Purpose? Not at all. There are 168 hours in your week – if

I assume you work 37 and sleep 56, then you still have 75 hours

for Purpose-related activities. If there are aspects of your current

role that can help you to work towards your Purpose during

those 75 hours (money, security, general peace of mind), great.

Once you make that conscious decision, you remove work’s

power over your emotions. There is now a bigger picture.

How do you define your Purpose? Firstly, switch yourself out

of ‘school mode’. Nobody is going to tell you that your answer

is right or wrong, and nobody is pushing you to decide your

Purpose in the next hour, week, or even month. Secondly, you

grab a pen and paper and keep it near you – now that you’ve

asked yourself the question, all sorts of words, phrases, people

and situations are going to be noticed by you and may well

contribute to your final statement. Your Purpose should not chop

and change from month to month, but you may find yourself

refining the odd word here and there as your perspective sharpens

with time and experience.

Some people’s Purpose is very broad and could relate to the

PURPOSELET’STALK ABOUT: whole world (like mine); others may be so narrow as to relate

It’s hard to move forward if you don’t know only to themselves (‘to live an extreme life’ could perhaps be the
why you’re doing it, says Davina Greene.
Purpose of someone who intends to spend every day travelling the
Have you ever taken the time to contemplate your
Purpose? Beyond the bigger questions of ‘Who are world, hurling themselves off bridges and out of airplanes).
we, and why are we here?’, have you ever sat yourself
down to decide the meaning of it all for you? Always remember: you cannot tell another person what
I see so many people suffer increasing – but
unexplained – anxiety and negativity, yet as soon as we start their Purpose is. You can
discussing Purpose, things suddenly start making sense. They have
perhaps heard of Vision, but talk of Vision is so often talk of desired encourage and display both
bank balances, home sizes and locations, partners and kids. Purpose,
on the other hand, seems to force people to dig a little deeper. I love Values and Purpose, and KEY POINTS
the concept of ‘soul’, and I really think that’s what it reflects. hope that the combination

Many people live on autopilot; knowing your Purpose can change in some way inspires 1Purpose is a statement of your
that. What is a Purpose? It’s simply an overarching driver against (think of Princess Diana’s overarching driver in life
which you can check all of your activities and choices in life – if they impact on Princes William
are aligned, you feel good; if they are out of sync, you feel not so
good. Mine is: ‘To help people make the most of life, mentally and and Harry’s activities and 2 Purpose may take time to
physically, leading by example’. attitudes today), but that’s finalise, but is unlikely to
about all. On the negative change significantly once set
A very short version of my story: after 13 years in the corporate side, where there is no sense
world, out of nowhere my talk in coaching sessions turned to themes of, or understanding of, 3 Consider, if there was no
of ‘helping and educating people’, my coach pointed out I had a Purpose, we are seeing how such thing as work, how
whole new hyper-enthusiastic personality when I spoke on these terrorist organisations are would you spend your time?
themes, and I then realised that I was entirely unaligned. So, now I’m
a coach and trainer. But I could also be a doctor, nurse, fitness instructor, so easily stepping in to fill 4Consider what makes you
that gap for young people. extremely happy, sad, or
Let’s work to avoid that. angry – what you passionately
react to
So, off you go…start the
process of defining your 5 Do not try to tell a person
Purpose. When you know what their Purpose is – just
it, why not come visit me on lead by example
Twitter @PureRocketFuel
and #stateyourpurpose. I’d

love to hear them all!

Davina Greene is The Personal Strategy Coach. To devise or
boost your personal strategy, or for in-house coaching or

business training, visit

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