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Give inner peace a chance
Give inner peace a chance - tips for a more blissful life
Dr Susan Scott tells Deirdre Reynolds the 10 best ways to live a stress-free life
Work, money, exams and relationships -- just some of the countless reasons to get stressed out.
And between yoga classes, self-help books and aromatherapy candles, today even choosing a way to chill out can be stressful.
Now, though, an international lecturer is urging frayed Irish people to give inner peace a chance.
Starting tonight in Dublin, Dr Susan Scott is set to divulge all the secrets of the Inner Peace Movement on a nationwide tour.
And she revealed how her own path to inner peace began with a personal tragedy more than 30 years ago.
"My eldest son died of cancer when he was three," says Dr Scott from Canada. "It was a hugely traumatic and stressful time for me -- but I always had the feeling that he didn't want me to be sad.
"One day I went along to an Inner Peace Movement lecture and realised that there were answers to life's most complex questions.
"Most of the people who come along to our lectures feel like there is something missing in their lives but aren't quite sure what it is," she adds.
"I don't claim to hand people all the answers -- but I can give them the tools they need to find the answers within themselves."
Here, Dr Susan gives her top 10 tips for a more blissful life:
1 Put number one first
"Putting yourself first is not the same as being selfish -- although I find people often confuse the two. A selfish person doesn't think about anyone else. But someone with self-respect takes care of themselves first so that they can better help others.
"Mums, don't save 'me time' as a treat for when you've everything done -- because you'll never get everything done. Take time out on your own to recharge."
2 Fight the frazzle
"One person's stress is another person's shrug of the shoulders -- so start by identifying your stress triggers. For example, perfectionists can get very stressed out by the little details. I have one friend who is very neat, but deliberately always leaves one thing out of place so that he doesn't get too stressed about it."
3 It's good to talk
"One of the most relaxing things in the world is just talking to someone -- in person, as opposed to on the phone or by email. Even if it's just saying 'Hi' to the person serving your coffee, human contact is very important. It would be a such a shame if we lost that sense of friendliness as a society."
4 Go with your gut
"I have a simple rule of thumb in life: if something feels good, do it; if it doesn't, don't! A lot of people are afraid to set goals because they're worried they won't reach them.
"If you have a dream, don't try to talk yourself out of it -- there will enough people there to do that for you. Above all, trust your own instinct."
5 Real men cry
"Culturally, we're taught that boys don't cry. As a result, a lot of men bottle up their feelings and suffer from stress. Emotionally, there's no difference between men and women -- and letting it all out every now and then is good for you."
6 De-stress to impress
"Whether it's to your boss or your children, don't be afraid to say 'No'. Stop stressing over other people's demands and expectations and try to strike an equal one-third balance between your work, social and personal lives. Given that your work day is around eight hours long, this should leave two-thirds for the rest."
7 Tech it away
"Technology such as mobile phones and laptops was meant to make our lives easier and give us more time -- but often it can have the opposite effect. Sometimes we get lost in cyberspace. "So when you get home from work, turn off your work email and don't take your lunch break at your computer. "When my 10-year-old grandson comes to my house, he knows to switch off his iPod and I always switch my computer off at 5pm."
8 Don't be a sponge
"How many times have you gotten up in the morning feeling energetic and enthusiastic, then after an hour in the office you start to get a headache? We pick up on other people's energy, so it's important to surround yourself with positive people. "If you do start to feel stressed, ask yourself if you're really stressed -- or if it's just somebody else's stress rubbing off on you."
9 Think 'Done' -- not 'To Do'
"Instead of making a 'To Do' list, write down everything you've accomplished each day -- even if it's something as simple as doing the grocery shopping. At the end of the day, you'll be surprised by how much you've actually done and start to feel good. "Think of it as looking at the whole doughnut -- rather than focusing on the hole."
10 Post-mortems are for coroners
"Irish people can be very hard on themselves -- they feel that nothing they do is good enough. Give yourself a break. I've stopped looking at life in terms of 'right' or 'wrong' and view everything as a chance to learn. If something goes wrong, don't carry out a post-mortem -- ask yourself what you would do differently next time. Sometimes I get even more excited when I mess up because it's a chance to do it over properly!"
Dr Susan Scott speaks at the Stillorgan Park Hotel tomorrow at 1pm and 7.30pm before embarking on a nationwide tour. Admission €15 . See innerpeacemovement.co.uk.
- Deirdre Reynolds