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Unlocking the secret of eternal happiness

Dave O'Connell

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Maureen Gaffney: How To Be Happy.

TV Watch with Dave O’Connell

Now that Luis Suarez has paid a huge price for interrupting his World Cup for a bite of Italian, he might check out the RTE Player to have a look at Maureen Gaffney’s two part RTE series simply entitled How To Be Happy. The irony is that he’s probably closer to happiness than he realises – not because he earns £200,000 a week or is acclaimed as a fantastic if flawed footballer – but because he has a smile that could light up a planet … unless you’re Italian and see his smile heading for your shoulder.

But smiling – in its more traditional sense – is, apparently, the first secret to happiness.

Researchers at Berkley University tracked a group of women in a College Yearbook over the next 30 years – and found that the ones with the warmer, more genuine, full smiles meant a life less anxious and less distressing.

The women were examined at 27, 42 and 52 – and they were by and large more successful, happier, and at 52, they still saw their husbands as the love of their lives.

Breda is a middle-aged woman from Thurles who doesn’t like to smile because of her slightly prominent teeth – but now she’s doing more of it and finds it’s sending off what she calls a transmission to the interior and now she’s happier.

So now she’s grinning like she’s had ten Mojitos at a hen party.

And even if smiling doesn’t come naturally to you, Welsh psychologists point out that you can train to smile by holding a pen in your mouth to force your lips upwards.

Just remember to take it out afterwards or you’ll have difficulty talking, or you’ll swallow the ink.

Maureen Gaffney is one of those rare psychologists who talk in everyday language – and makes sense – but even she can resort to trite stats once in a while.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

CITY TRIBUNE

Charting the changes in how we use language

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Not many people these days would be able to point out a ‘collya’ in the Claddagh. PHOTO: JOE O'SHAUGHNESSY.

Galway Heritage with Peadar O’Dowd

Nearly three years ago, one of my columns appeared under the heading, ‘Words Are a Crucial Part of Our Heritage’.  The passing of time has only served to highlight the importance of this.  Not surprisingly, as 2020 closed to the disconcerting sound of fireworks going off across Galway City, the lack of clarity around words only added to the hardship and confusion already suffered by the population during the unforgettable first year of Covid, and all it entailed.  Some of the confusion came from issues around identifying the pandemic itself in its early stages, as well as naming it.

From its appearance at the start of the year, when it was classed as another virus to add to a long list that predated it, we seemed to have settled, initially at least, on calling it the Coronavirus, a title still it seems, much used in the USA.  We were told from ‘on high’ in that country that it would be over perhaps by Easter!  We in Ireland got to know the pandemic as Covid-19 – but even now, with new variations of the virus coming onstream, we may be off on the word game yet again.

More confusing were new words used in explaining its spread, such as ‘asymptomatic’, a mouthful, if ever there was one.  Then, there was the initial confusion about the usage of the words ‘positive’ and ‘negative’, as given to describe the results of testing for Covid-19.   Normally, the former is the good thing and the latter the bad outcome, but not here.  Think of it!

As well, a whole plethora of unfamiliar words came into general use, such as ‘pandemic’ itself, (often pronounced ‘pendemic’ in the States), as well as ‘mitigation’, just to mention two.   Here in Ireland, where we have the ‘gift of the gab’, we were soon indulging in such delights as ‘staycations’, as well as ‘wet pubs’, and we even brought back ‘shebeens’ yet again into general conversation.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Cake on the menu as popular Over the Edge series turns 18

Judy Murphy

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Poet and animal lover Kathryn Slattery.

The popular monthly open reading series, Over the Edge, marks its 18th year in existence this month and, in spite of the restrictions caused by Covid-19, there will be a celebration to mark this milestone.

The first ever Over the Edge: Open Reading took place in Galway City Library 18 years ago and that was its venue until March 2020, when the first lockdown was announced.

Since then, Over the Edge readings have taken place on Zoom, which is what will be happening for the 18th anniversary event, next Thursday, January 21, from 6-8pm when the Featured Readers will be Ciaran O’Rourke, Kathryn Slattery and Stephen McNulty.

There will be an online celebration and it may even involve cake, according to the event’s co-founder Kevin Higgins.

It will also be business as usual and the regular open-mic session will be held after the Featured Readers have finished. New readers are always especially welcome to take part in this, Kevin says.

The first of the Featured Readers is Stephen McNulty, a radiographer at Galway University Hospitals. A regular attendee of the poetry workshops that Kevin runs at Galway Arts Centre, Stephen’s poems have appeared in publications including  Boyne Berries, Drawn to the Light, ROPES and Vox Galvia. He is also an avid fan of Mayo football.

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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Connacht Tribune

Poetry courses from Galway Arts Centre

Judy Murphy

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Kevin Higgins

Galway Arts Centre is offering aspiring poets a choice of three online poetry workshops, all beginning the week of Monday January 25.

They are being facilitated by Kevin Higgins, whose best-selling first collection, The Boy with No Face, published by Salmon Poetry, was short-listed for the 2006 Strong Award for Best First Collection by an Irish poet. Kevin has published several books with Salmon in the intervening years and his next full collection, Ecstatic, is due from the County Clare based publisher this summer.

His work also appears in the anthology Identity Parade – New British and Irish Poets (Bloodaxe, 2010) and The Hundred Years’ War: Modern War Poems (Bloodaxe April 2014).

Kevin’s poems have appeared in journals and newspapers in Ireland and abroad and have been broadcast on RTÉ Radio, Lyric FM, and BBC Radio 4, while he has read at events supported by the Arts Council and Culture Ireland in mainland Europe, the USA and Australia.

His workshops at Arts Centre will begin the week of Monday January 25, and be conducted via Zoom.

They will take place on Tuesday evenings, 7-8.30pm (starting Tuesday, January 26); on Thursday afternoons, 2-4pm (starting Thursday, January 28) and on Friday afternoons, 2-3.30pm (starting Friday, January 29).

Each week Kevin will give participants a poetry-writing exercise for the following week and will offer each person constructive suggestions about to how make their work as good as it can be.

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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