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Look beyond the pills and find a better way of living

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Dr Mark Rowe on stage with some of his props during A Prescription for Happiness.

Lifestyle –  Judy Murphy meets Mark Rowe, doctor and creator of the show A Prescription for Happiness

It’s one of the great ironies of modern life that people in the western world have never been so wealthy, yet there has never been so much discontent and depression.

And when it comes to treating illness, both physical and mental, we are obsessed by the idea that there is ‘a pill for every ill’.

Mark Rowe, a practising medical doctor, isn’t out to dismiss western medicine – it plays a hugely valuable role, he says. However, it tends to focus on illness, while he favours a different approach – one that strengthens the foundations of health in all its guises.

“Physical, mental and emotional health are all part of the same thing,” he observes. “We can change how we think through mindfulness, awareness and setting goals.”

Mark is spreading that message via his show, A Prescription for Happiness, which comes to the Town Hall Theatre this Friday, October 2, and will do exactly what it says on the tin. Among other elements, it will include 10 guidelines which, if followed, will give people a toolkit to help them live happier, healthier lives, he says.

Put simply, it’s about making choices about how we live.  Mark points out that his approach is grounded in science and statistics, and that everything he proposes is evidence-based.

He explains this approach by phone while lunching in a café at Waterford Health Park – where he is owner and medical director. This primary healthcare centre, based on the site of a former Presentation Convent designed by Pugin – of Big Ben and Houses of Parliament fame –  has been redesigned to provide the maximum healthcare experience for patients and staff. It was shortlisted as World Building of the Year at the World Architecture Festival of 2010.

To select his ‘10 commitments’ for happiness, Mark read widely and deeply, drawing from philosophers, Western and Eastern including Socrates, and Aristotle. He has also used evidence-based positive psychology and combined all these elements with his 20 years’ experience working as a GP.

Mark first performed A Prescription for Happiness in Waterford’s Garter Lane in 2013 for Mental Health Day, having presented an earlier version of it at a medical facilities conference in Chicago.

He worked with Waterford theatre director Jim Nolan (Red Kettle) to create a show that was both informative and entertaining, based on anecdotes and using some props – the dreaded PowerPoint didn’t and doesn’t feature.

Garter Lane sold out and Mark reprised the show a number of times, both in Waterford and Dublin where it was also a sell-out.

“I try to engage with the audience in a way that’s meaningful for them,” he says of its success. “It has evolved, so now there is a Question and Answer session at the end. I love doing it and the feedback is usually positive.”

Mark first became interested in this holistic approach to wellness when he was developing Waterford Health Park in 2008. He read an article in a British GP journal by an architect Dr Wayne Ruga, an expert on designing environments that enhance people’s health.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

Connacht Tribune

Vitamin D and good postural balance may help as we age

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Health, Beauty and Lifestyle with Denise McNamara

Having just turned 50 aging is particularly on my mind this month. So two recent studies about aging peaked my interest which are worth sharing. The first is a study from the University of South Australia and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. It is based on data from 294,514 participants from the UK Biobank, a biomedical database with half a million British participants.

Scientists found that in some populations, up to 17 per cent of dementia cases could be prevented simply by raising people’s vitamin D in the blood to 50 nmol/L, which is considered to be the normal level.

Dementia affects over 55 million people worldwide and every year 10 million new cases are diagnosed so the implications could be huge.

It is the first time the impact of very low levels of vitamin D are examined on the risks of dementia and stroke by using genetic analyses among a large study population.

There is widespread vitamin D deficiency among people worldwide, even in sunny regions where sun awareness campaigns, indoor living and other factors contribute to the low vitamin D levels,

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

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Rev Fr Raymond Watters O.P recites a decade of the rosary as the rain begins to pour down during the Blessing of Galway Bay on August 15, 1882.

1922

Dawn surrender

National troops operating from Galway and Athenry at dawn on Wednesday morning surrounded an area about four miles between Liscananaun village and Aucloggeen, on the eastern side of the Corrib, and after a smart movement captured nineteen irregulars, with their officers, twenty-two service and Mauser rifles, a number of service revolvers and automatics, and considerable quantities of ammunition for bombs.

The National troops were under command of Co-Commandant Austin Brennan, O.C., Galway area, and the various battalion and company officers, and the plan to surround these villages, which lie in a marshy waste between the Curragh Line, or Galway-Headford road, and the main road from Galway to Tuam, was evolved after information had been received that a number of irregulars were quartered there, and were commandeering sheep and foodstuffs from people in surrounding districts.

Slowly and silently, accompanied by a Lancia armoured car on which machine guns were mounted, the National troops moved out from Galway shortly before two a.m. on Wednesday. One column took the Galway to Headford road, the other taking the Tuam road.

The column operating on the Headford road swung to the right beyond the Cregg river, taking the road to Drumgriffin. By dawn they had taken up extended formation in the woods around Cregg Castle, and this formed a trap into which the irregulars were subsequently driven.

Trade unions position

Mr. Cathal O’Shannon, T.D., in his presidential address at the Trade Union Congress on Monday, declare that organised Labour was separate from and independent of any political party, and would take no dictation from any quarter outside its own ranks.

He strongly protested against militarism, from whatever quarter it came, and condemned the political censorship of thought and opinion, the ignoring of laws relating to the custody of prisoners, the existence of a semi-military police force, and the propaganda on both sides.

The present conflict or strife, he declared, was unnecessary and counselled the Irish workers to keep aloof from it.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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Country Living

Trying to find the time to slow down that clock

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

AS one gets older the realisation dawns that time – and not material wealth – is our greatest asset but boy does that clock fairly freewheel around with each passing year.

Anytime a conversation switches around to the question of: “How long is such-and-such a person dead,” the guesstimate answers usually need to be doubled. Looking back on time makes us all realise how fast it is flying by.

I always contend that winning the lotto – as exciting and all as that would be – would not make any of us one second younger and in all probability would not add on one day to our eventual date with destiny.  In fact it might even know a few years off if we lost the rag and went mad with the lucre.

My late father used to have a favourite saying about wealth and money namely that while it wouldn’t necessarily bring you happiness in this world it would ‘help you to enjoy your misery’.

Even a couple of Sundays back while sitting in the Hogan Stand and witnessing Galway’s gallant attempt to win the All-Ireland title, it was kind of hard to credit that 21-years had passed since we were last in a senior final and 24-years since we ended a 32-year famine with the victory over Kildare in 1998.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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