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Happy Mondays by Carole Ann RiceCarole Ann is regularly featured in the top glossies from Psychologies and Woman and Home to Glamour and Red magazines.

She is the only coach in the UK to have her own weekly column in a national daily newspaper - read her Happy Monday column each week in the Daily Express


Happy Mondays: Our desire to control the future hurts and can lead to depression

Monday 22th January 2018

WHAT are you waiting for? No really, where are you right now in the waiting room of misery? Are you waiting for your staggering genius and talent to be discovered, for the phone to ring with offers of opportunity, advancement and loads of lovely lucre?  Perhaps you are biding time for the moon to be in the seventh house before starting that diet/exercise regime which will rid you of the daily podge-poke and raise your self-esteem levels.  Some of us are hanging around for a sign that the time is right, a certain person to be The One, the market ripe for a brilliant business idea or...

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Happy Mondays: We all need to lean in to all those we deem different from ourselves

Monday 15th January 2018

IT’S SOMETHING that comes with age like developing a taste for marmalade and seeing the benefit of comfort over style that is an over-sized cardigan.  To sigh and say, “Back in the day...” and with down-turned mouth state we made our own entertainment with a pebble and cave painting.   To shake our heads and tut in disdain at the younger generation’s uselessness, cluelessness and don’t-know-they’re-born-ness.  We don’t get their music, their addiction to social media and their dress sense seems designed to annoy us.  Naturally our post-war parents said the same about us having near aneurysms when watching David Bowie...

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Happy Mondays: Small changes can lead to great results

Monday 8th January 2018

HAPPY New Year to you. I hope your Christmas was joyous and harmonious and no doubt your thoughts are now looking forward to a year ahead.  Fresh hopes and new beginnings can feel an exciting prospect as the festive juggernaut has us catching our breath and reassessing the past, the present and what we might do differently.   To improve and learn is a fundamental part of the human condition but a word of warning for those of you thinking of taking up a punishing exercise routine, giving up an addiction or embarking on a new hobby or...

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Happy Mondays: Small Changes Can Lead To Great Results

Monday 1 January 2018

HAPPY New Year to you. I hope your Christmas was joyous and harmonious and no doubt your thoughts are now looking forward to a year ahead.  Fresh hopes and new beginnings can feel an exciting prospect as the festive juggernaut has us catching our breath and reassessing the past, the present and what we might do differently.   To improve and learn is a fundamental part of the human condition but a word of warning for those of you thinking of taking up a punishing exercise routine, giving up an addiction or embarking on a new hobby or direction in life.  These next two months are cold and bleak. John Cleese once said...

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Happy Mondays: Being single at Christmas can be tough

Monday 18 December 2017

FESTIVE glee everywhere.  Happy, smiley faces, children’s eyes bright buttons of wonderment, a sparkling jewel in a box from one lover to another, bountiful feasts shared with family and friends.  It is tinsel and magic, good cheer and togetherness. For some anyway. If you are on your own this time of year can only highlight this fact.  The elderly need care but spare a thought too for the single for whom togetherness can seem like a VIP club for which they’ve failed to make the guest list.  If you are a swinging singleton it can be a time for...

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Happy Mondays: Christmas can be a nightmare, here is advice to get through it

Monday 11 December 2017

THERE’S A kind of collective groan that descends when you ask folk are they set for Christmas.  Of course you will always get the manically organised minority who boast of having done all their festive shopping in the January sales and have cooked and frozen everything from canapés to gravy months ago with time to stuff their own crackers.  More likely than not you’re with the rest of us, slightly trembling as the juggernaut of Christmas descends and Eau d’Anxiety and Tension Truffles will be on Santa’s list whether you like it or not...

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Happy Mondays: A great cold snap is coming, and you should enjoy it

Monday 4 December 2017

IN THE middle of a row of seats beams ghoulish Uncle Fester apparently relishing with glee what is on the screen while all about look aghast and tearful.  Are you, like me, the Uncle Fester amongst a sea of despair when it comes to winter?  The headlines may holler that a “horrific” cold snap is coming to the UK and “sub-zero temperatures” is a lurid statement bound to make many turn up the collar.Am I the only one who rubs her hands with delight and prepares to hunker down into deep cosiness and cocooning?  There are riches to behold. Looking forward to...

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Monday 27 November 2017

SHOPAHOLICS and gamblers will know what I mean when I say it’s the next purchase or bet that will sate the need.  You buy the dress, but now the big problem is getting the right boots. You get the boots and it’s the jacket that will complete the look.  You’re convinced you have backed an odds-on winner in the next race. So it goes on.  We all search for the things that will be a life tweak – an upgrade, an improvement or another step toward “the answer”.  For some of us it’s the desire for a fast fix, something to give us ...

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Happy Mondays: How to write a novel in 90 days

Monday 20 November 2017

WRITING IS the new black. Or maybe it always has been, as putting pen to paper or paint to cave wall has been a primal human need for self expression since the dawn of time.  In my 15 years as a coach among the most common desires my clients express is to write – and there have never been more available outlets for our creative scribblings.  No need to secure an agent or a publisher as in days gone by, now you can blog or self-publish and there are...

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Happy Mondays: We should all find our happy place

Monday 13 November 2017

ON A SMALL break to Norfolk in the summer I found myself in the charming town of Hunstanton.  With a floral landscaped promenade, manicured bowling greens and sand dunes galore for old-fashioned picnicking and childhood adventures it is the quintessential English seaside escape.  A lone butcher’s shop, tea rooms untouched by a designer’s hand and a fish and chip shop boasting “no bones in our fish”, this is an unpretentious destination for those ...

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Happy Mondays: Being a shoulder to cry on can emotionally overload you

Monday 6 November 2017

IT IS one thing – and a good thing – to have enough empathy to feel someone else’s pain on a metaphorical level.  If you nod and smile in the right places, make the universal “that sucks” face at the right intervals and have a ready supply of tissues for their issues you will be a good pal and the go-to gal/guy that everyone has on speed dial.  However it is quite another thing – and not a good thing – to feel someone else’s pain so strongly and with such immediate identification that you’re the one with...

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Happy Mondays: Share annoyances not hobbies with your partner

Monday 30 October 2017

THEY SAY you can’t buy love but just look at the rise of dating agencies and matchmaking websites and you will hear “kerr-ching” quicker than the twang of Cupid’s bow.  Having a GSOH (Good Sense Of Humour) is often flagged up as a desirable trait, though how do you measure mirth when one person’s Benny Hill is another’s sexist, outdated claptrap that should be filed in Room 101? If you want to find a soulmate then...

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Happy Mondays: Listening to Bianca Jagger's antics at Studio 54 relived my youth

Monday 23 October 2017

AND SO to the New York club Studio the 1970s I used to read a cool magazine called Nova.It was different – sassy, saucy something more real than Honey or 19, which were our go-to tomes of the times.I looked forward to this monthly shot of style and attitude with pictures from across the Pond, which was about as accessible as Xanadu back then.Most of all I loved poring over the society pages – shots and scenes from Studio 54 that to a crazy mixed up mid-teens girl...

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Happy Mondays: Pull the plug on that debilitating mind muck

Monday 16 October 2017

“HOW CAN anyone fall asleep in public?” moaned a commuter looking at her fellow passengers who were riding a one-way ticket to the Land of Nod.  “After all, don’t they have thoughts?”  I’m in her camp but I would add, “Don’t they have stressful thoughts?” Falling asleep in bed, at night, with the lights off and entombed in a silent room can be the equivalent of horizontal mental gymnastics if you are an insomniac.  If you have thoughts that are always on loud-speaker...

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Happy Mondays: The world is not black and white

Monday 9 October 2017

C'MON let's be honest here - do you take umbrage? Are you a serious sulker, a wild wound-licker or a door-slammer and throw-away-the-key-er? I'm no slouch when it comes to the flounce, a twist on the heel and nose in the air, a sharp exit in a flurry of talc and sequins. It feels so good at the time...

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Happy Mondays: Don't tolerate the Monday blues

Monday 2 October 2017

CAST YOUR mind back to yesterday. When did it come on?  Was it after lunch when relaxing with the Sunday papers it suddenly went dark? Did it descend as the evening drew a curtain across the peace and happiness of your weekend?  The gut-rolling dread of that primal “back to school” feeling as Monday beckons is a downer to our wellbeing which we bear with philosophical gloom.  Dreading work on Monday...

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Happy Mondays: It's time for you to turbo-charge your life

Monday 25 September 2017

SEPTEMBER’S almost through and summer has long ago officially lost interest in us – but have we?  Scroll through hundreds of social media posts, camera peering between toned and tanned thighs to a glorious sun, sand and sea view and you would be within your rights to think everyone except you had a fabulous summer and now it’s the slow descent into the dark months.  The school-age children of our friends...

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Happy Mondays: Unprocessed feelings demand care and attention

Monday 18 September 2017

OUR MINDS are battlefields we seek to conquer, then set up some form of civilised society there with a coffee shop on every corner. Our thoughts dictate our moods, affect our health and create our reality. We are but one think and blink away from gratitude and plenty or misery and deficit.  Choose your thoughts and you...

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Happy Mondays: Happiness is always waiting for you to claim it

Monday 11 September 2017

THERE are many things we humans routinely do to make our lives just that little bit more painful. Not that any of us would willingly choose to walk around with a pebble in our shoe or sandpaper in our pants but often we can choose a path in life that chafes, cuts and hurts us on a deeply psychic level. It’s not even that we are wantonly masochistic, it’s that we don’t even know that the ...

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Happy Mondays: Princess Diana's greatest legacy are her two Prince sons

Monday 4 September 2017

THERE CAN be no greater legacy bestowed by Princess Diana than her two emotionally literate sons, Princes William and Harry. Bringing a breath of fresh air to the Royal Family, as their mother did, they demonstrate an intelligent attitude to grief and mental health issues which is a relief from the stitched-up stoicism and repressed pain of previous generations.  In remembrance of their mother’s death, they marked the 20th anniversary by talking openly about their bereavement and...

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Happy Mondays: Making a good first impression has never been so important

Monday 28 August 2017

WE ARE urged not to judge a book by its cover but few of us have time to read the blurb let alone plough through the whole story or the critical reviews. Image consultants who know about these things say we make a judgement when we meet someone in less than five seconds - so no pressure then. It's not that we are all deeply superficial fashion gurus, checking out style, hem length or a nod to the season's colours but....

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Happy Mondays: Children need to learn how to fail

Monday 21 August 2017

WHO HAS not been enthralled by the Child Genius series on Channel 4? The distress and the tears, those tight, pinched mouths and the hair-pulling tantrums and disappointments - and (yes, you saw the punchline coming) that was just the parents. It was a modern freak show of naked ambition and lives lived vicariously. There was love and support but it all seemed conditional and thinly stretched. Especially the wild-eyed insistance that the parents wanted the very best for their talented offspring as they mercilessly drove their children to compete with...

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Happy Mondays:  We have yet to embrace the exclusivity of the elderly

Monday 14 August 2017

AS THE sun sets over the ancient ramparts of the 11th century fort of Alcazaba the old city squares of Malaga fill with evening crowds. Love-struck young couples with hopeful smiles, beautiful women with gleaming hair in wisps of dresses and families with newborns to great-grandparents head for tables and the gentle art of people-watching. My eyes are not focused on the tourists studying menus with clueless confusion nor the exotic...

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Happy Mondays:  Summer holidays can be a drain on finances and good humour

Monday 7 August 2017

ASK your average middle-class mother what she will be doing over the summer holidays and you can forgive her if she answers, "Botox and Prosecco". Anyone with school age tots to teens will know that these six weeks can be a drain on financial resources and good humour. If you have to work there are expensive holiday clubs, or you have to be in eternal gratitude to friends and family who will shoulder the load. Then there are the endless weeks stretching ahead to fill with....

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Happy Mondays:  We need to to mental sit-ups to keep us in good 'psycho shape'

Monday 31 July 2017

IT IS time to start thinking. It is time to start creating a "mind gym" for your grey matter. Just as we would exercise our body and feed it well to keep it healthy, so we need to do mental sit-ups to keep us in good "psycho shape". According to medical journal The Lancet one in three dementia cases could have been prevented if the brain had been taken care of better. Contributing factors include...

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Happy Mondays:  Everything comes down to what we believe and perceive

Monday 24 July 2017

IT TAKES some of us longer than others to grasp that life doesn't have to control us. We have within us choices and the most powerful one is the decision on how we perceive any given situation. Are you victim or victor? Top dog or dogsbody? In abundance or deficit? It can feel as if we are born with a certain disposition or set of gifts instead of deciding to develop them. Sometimes clients say they weren't....

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Happy Mondays:  Optimism is a powerful tool that improves lives

Monday 17 July

IT USED to be only Doctor Who that that had us watching television through fingers or from behind the sofa. But switching on the news today has become such a grim experience it needs an advance warning of its violence, sadness and horror. If the top story is not about the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower blaze or the terrorism threat, it is odds-on it will be some morale-sapping morsel implying that Brexit means we are all off to hell in a handcart. Television networks' wallowing in misery every single night is sapping the nation's morale and obscuring the many...

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Happy Mondays:  Tips to turn that creative dripping tap into a wild brainstorm

Monday 10 July

YOU ARE sitting around waiting for the big idea - the one that is going to change your life beyond your wildest dreams. Then some irritating wag quotes Thomas Edison; "Genius is one percent inspiration, 99 per cent perspiration". Remember, Edison invented the lighbulb, not the lightbulb moment. He never had a flash of inspiration but instead...

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Happy Mondays:  Holidays rarely deliver what they say on the tin

Monday 3 July

HOLIDAYS - why do we do it to ourselves? The adverts promise quiet beaches, couples rediscovering their marriage mojo via mojitos on cruise liners and that most rare and precious gift of all: family harmony. Holidays don't always deliver what it said on the tin. We travel in blind hope and the excitement of perhaps making new friends or finding romance, to kick back and relax, lose weight, get fit or detox. The reality is often holiday bloat, sleep deprivation due to sunburn and snoring, 3am pool dive bombers and the desire for wine at 11am. Those of us...

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Happy Mondays:  Knowing why you are here is all about knowing yourself

Monday 26 June

THEY are rarer than mermaids' shoes and as about as easy to find as a needle in Simon Cowell's chest hair but we dream of being like a career unicorn. Once seen, these fabulous beasts rock our worlds. These are beings so rare yet they walk among us and reduce our sense of self with their purpose, passion and certainty. At some point in your life career unicorns will cross your path. Folk blessed by a good with at birth, to know and follow their career path as soon as they could chow down on solids, leave the rest of us floundering like the...

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Happy Mondays:  Helping others boosts your own wellbeing

Monday 19 June

IT IS hard not to be moved by recent events. Moved indeed not just by the horror and suffering but by the public's kindness, generosity and speed to help. The countless acts of courage and selflessness stir the heart and salve the soul. Ordinary people performing heroic acts without a moment's thought for their own safety is the true spirit of our nation. When it comes to tradgedy we are united in outrage and grief as we gather to offer our empathy. Despite our busy lives and our cosmopolitan communities where we don't know our neighbour, it is reassuring to know that...

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Happy Mondays:  Sometimes we all need a motivational and inspirational guide

Monday 12 June

WHEN someone says "another day living above ground is a bonus" you tend to sit up and take them seriously. Sally Bee, a motivational TV chef, should know what she is talking about. At the age of 36 she suffered three heart attacks in one week caused by a rare heart condition. Against the odds she recovered and thrived until 12 years later she suffered another two attacks. You will know her as the ever-smiling and all glowing TV chef who is testament to her own healthy eating philosophy and mindful lifestyle habits which keep her counting her blessing and seizing the day. Michelle Obama is a big fan of her book...

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Happy Mondays: There is no right way to deal with grief

Monday 29 May

SOMETIMES you just don't know what to do with yourself. Or more specifically your feelings. When trauma happens our brains can go off in countless directions like a bag of ball bearings dropped on a marble floor. Panic, blame, anger, grief, sorrow, lock down, rage or benign numbness as we struggle to make sense of an unbelievable truth. There is no blueprint for life but we do know when things are so wrong that it makes us draw deep into ourselves to find answers and...

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Happy Mondays:  Learn to laugh at life

Monday 22 May

IF you were a fly on the wall in the house of Lisa Sturge you might have to rub your many millions of bug eyes with your hairy foreleg. It's quite a sight. She may be blowing raspberries into thin air, bursting into song at any moment, uttering strange but humourous grunts or emissions and perhaps striking some peculiar poses which would allow her a lifetime's membership into the Ministry of Silly Walks. You see, Lisa is a laughter coach. She uses laughter to help move her clients on to....

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Happy Mondays:  Exercise for the vintage vibes of swing

Monday 15 May

"I AM an experienced stripper and I am comfortable with my nakedness," says the woman in front of me. How many women can claim that their nakedness is a source of power. However, this is not the type of stripping that involves sequins, feather boas and flashing the flesh. Instead, for Maria Hocking, stripping and nakedness refer to losing things that you used to take for granted. This stripping means letting go of...

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Happy Mondays:  Pay no attention to your friends' 'perfect' Facebook lives

Monday 8 May

SOMETIMES it can feel like you are feeling at this thing called life. Struggling to be happy for your friend's perfect lives on Facebook, it can make us all feel like a mean-spirited toad growing humps of envy and bile as we view their good times, quickly clicking the "like" button lest our resentment leaks out. You can view tables of 20 friends in pizza joints, perfect broods of children in high chairs: smug pre-midlifers all high-fiving bonhomie and the air resonant with laughter and tales of ski trips, university reminiscences and forthcoming villa holidays. This is when you feel like the...

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Happy Mondays:  Learn how to cherish yourself

Monday 1 May

"CAROLE ANN, how do I learn to cherish myself?" was the plaintive cry of my client. It took me aback as it's not a simple answer, no "take two every four hours" remedy. I wondered first what not cherishing oneself would look like. What are the signs when we aren't taking due care of ourselves. Dental and eye check-ups get missed. Our trousers are a little harder to zip up, a low level headache is never far away, nor is a fast food, chocolate or wine fix. There are many external signs of self-neglect; like the first window smashed in an empty house, pretty soon the rest of it starts to degrade and fall apart. We have the homes of the hopeless and the hoarder presented now as ...

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Happy Mondays:  Sometimes we are so busy we forget the right now

Monday 24 April

TODAY is the oldest each of us has ever been and the youngest we will ever be again. Quite a sobering thought, isn't it? We are so busy looking ahead or looking back that we forget where we are right now. We forget that we have come a long way and have accrued knowledge and wisdom that have become the blueprint for our lives. Sometimes we have limiting or fear-based beliefs which keep us small or which corrupt our thinking like a virus in our software. Thoughts such as"It's too late...

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Happy Mondays:  Change your thinking and ditch the resentment

Monday 17 April

THE, "Why do I bother?" sigh is that of the unsung hero. It is the cry from the heart of every mother whose unseen and unnoticed acts of kindness leave her weary and resigned. It is the lot of the quiet diligent worker who does above what is required while someone less talented but more voluable gets the professional breaks. It is the frown that says it would be nice to be thanked when you send a gift on a loved one's birthday. It is the shrug of resignation that you are the only one in the house....

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Happy Mondays:  Being self-conscious can feel like being a lighthouse come foghorn

Monday 10 April

DOES it seem sometimes that your thoughts are turned up to Motorhead concert level? The sheer loudness of some passing notion is so deafening you're not sure if you thought it or said it. I share this problem when someone with a particularly large bottom walks past and my thoughts, aghasted, holler some Tourette's-like exclamation that would have the Political Correctness Constabulary marching me to the cells. Thankfully I just thought it not said it. But having your thoughts on loud speaker and your every move feels like they are being...

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Happy Mondays: It is never too late to start your own business

Monday 3 April

WHAT'S your excuse? Not enough time? Might be too old? You've got an idea but isn't it a flooded market? What if it were never too late to start your own business? We are, as Napoleon once said, a nation of shopkeepers and increasingly a country where independent enterprise can flourish from the comfort of your armchair. Having your own business can be one of the most creative and rewarding pursuits and now, with the internet, pop-up property lets and crafts and farmers' markets you can get a foothold without a major investment. Taking the first step is always the hardest and that is where Glenda Shawley comes to your aid. Glenda is the guru you need as she has had ...

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Happy Mondays:  Shops make me smile in my sleep

Monday 27 March

ARE you in a shopping mood? This was a question posed in a radio phone-in last week. A crofter rang in to bemoan the superficiality of others and that his superior lack of need made him somehow better than those who like the shops. I don't like shops. I absolutely adore them. I dream of shops. I really do. Lying under canvas in a rain-lashed campsite I found succour thinking of the brass, mirror and golden glow of changing rooms and racks and rows of gorgeous clothes and shoes. Shops make me smile in my sleep. I deliberately plan routes to go past shops and feel a thrill in advance of the names of yummy outlets when I am in an area I know. Airport shopping is all part of the...

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Happy Mondays:  Why shouldn't International Happiness day be every day?

Monday 20 March

IT'S official, today is the real Happy Monday! It's International Happiness day which makes one wonder whether the rest of the 364 days of the year are ones of gripes, groans and gloom. Who needs a special day to celebrate the ephemeral butterfly of bliss? Well maybe we all do. Happiness to me is like a magical kind of spiritual fuel; a bit like water or fine white sand it slips through your fingers and needs to be topped up regularly in order for us to find meaning and purpose in our daily haul. We know that happiness is an inside job despite...

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Happy Mondays:  Theta healing is a fast, easy and successful technique

Monday 13 March

IN THE interests of research I find myself walking to yet another healer's door like a condemned woman. In my relentless pursuit of the holy grail of happiness and a lighter heart I arrive well armed with a healthy dose of cynicism and dread. "Not another session of shifting energies and boxes of tissues," I frowned as I entered a beautiful studio drenched in sunlight and glittering with blue glass. Deborah Talalay is a "theta healer", NLP master and one-time actress and was ready to shake up my consciousness. It was after being plagued by continuous chest infections years ago that drove Deborah to seek alternative routes to recovery other than anticiotics and steroids. For more than 30 years...

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Happy Mondays:  Forget regret, give life a go

Monday 6 March

THEY say one in three people regrets having a tattoo. Among them are singer Britney Spears and actor Johnny Depp, who once  had Winona Forever (an ode to ex-girlfriend Winona Ryder) tattooed on his arm.  It was later changed to Wino Forever. According to recent court papers, he might be able to stand by that claim with confidence. Victoria Beckham regrets her breast surgery and many a celebrity who has sunk into the abyss of reality tv wishes they had never listened to their agent. Regrets? We've had a few. We were not born with a user's manual for life and what seemed like a good idea at the time when...

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Happy Mondays:  Taking a run at positivity

Monday 27 February

Is somebody living the life you dreamed of? Are you living someone else's life and unbelievably it belongs to a character in a David Lynch drama instead of the Disney ideal you'd predicted? Occasionally we can look up with wonderment and pride and witness our own reality or inwardly groan at the faulty meanderings of our psyche sat navs. We can feel we're living the dream but we can also wonder: "How did I get here?" Have you become a supporting actress or a bit part player in your own life? I received an email from Portugal from a potential client who said plaintively...

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Happy Mondays:  Is it the month, the moons or just your age?

Monday 20 February

IS IT a February thing, your age or those three super moons last year? Whatever it is there seems to be a lot of it about at the moment. Everyone appears to be suffering - friends are ill, tumours are cropping up, people with dementia are having to go into care homes. There is at least a low level ague hanging over most folk I know. The headlines cause internal groans and as we pitch our tents in misery we pretty soon find the return on investment turns negative. It does not help to think of the philosophical line that "pain is inevitable and suffering optional" when you are viewing life through a veil of antibiotics and grief. A recent pneumonia-type virus pulled the....

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Happy Mondays:  Why am I single?

Monday 13 February

HOW do you know if you are attractive? Or more importantly how can you tell if you are deeply unattractive? A friend looking for love on dating websites found in her area a motley crew of men, few had their own teeth, none smiled and one called himself "Mickey the Maggot". Nice. Whether your shopfront is Prada or Primark it's worth having a good hard look at the face and the form you are showing the world. Feedback is often a painful gift in disguise but after all we would want to know if we had the equivalent of an unsightly wad of cabbage stuck on the...

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Happy Mondays:  'Finding joy is something nobody can do for us'

Monday 6 February

SOMETIMES a life coach can't help some people: those with trust issues, who need a shrink or who are mired in blame and negativity. There's also a sad other. Those who want me to help them find love. It's a big industry these days with dating and introduction agencies promising the perfect match. Someone who will segue into your life with effortless ease. The dating game can almost be a full-time job with online flirtations, dates and hook-ups becoming an all-consuming pursuit. The disappointments are huge, the expectations vast and the despair inevitable. If you have a single friend seeking a significant other you will know...

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Happy Mondays:  Insomnia is all in the mind?

Monday 30 January

ANOTHER bad night? Sleep eluding you yet again? Tell yourself you slept like a baby and see if it changes anything. Insomnia is all in the mind. A study published by The Journal of Experimental Psychology tested the results of placebo sleep on participants and found it an effective way to reduce tiredness. Volunteers were wired up to some false equipment and were told they had enjoyed a deep sleep, which included...

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Happy Mondays:  Have you checked your drains and radiators recently?

Monday 23 January

HAVE you had your drains and raditators checked recently? No, not your household essentials but the people in your life. You will know the raditators - the ones who emit goodwill, fund and kindness towards you and with whom you feel at home, warm and comfortable. Then we have drains, lost souls, life passengers or fretful folk who are defined by their victim status. You know of whom I speak. They are the ones who make your heart sink when you see their name and number come up on your phones. A friend in need is a friend we would pay good money to avoid if we had the option. There are some people you just can't help but they so want your counsel, your aid and your ear, and you being the good-hearted soul you are, give it to them again and again but to little avail. Not only do you apply your...

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Happy Mondays:  How to get through the worst day of the year

Monday 16 January

BEFORE you read on just note this is officially Miserable Monday. Frankly a moveable feast for anyone who struggles with day one of the working week any time of the year. This very day however is the time when the cold weather bites, the New Year's Eve good intentions seem like a boozy brag fest and your bank account is so red it's sore. Going alcohol-free didn't deliver the Nordic clear skin and eyes nor high kicking energy burst you thought it would and you're suffering with deep grey Jan-ennui. It's hard to keep one's chin up when the sofa looks like a silk draped pavilion of such sensual sumptuousness it's lure would have Hercules weakening. For some of us sadness, disconnection and a feeling of...

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Happy Mondays: How to unleash your creative side in 2017

Monday 9 January

PICASSO once said: "Every child in an artist. The problem is staying an artist when you grow up" - which makes one sadly ponder when did we ditch the creative play? Was it when the harsh world of work suggested accountancy or a shop job was a more serious pursuit? When did being an artist go into the store cupboard of dreams alongside teddies, dollies and being an astronaut or princess? Just as we have an individual DNA coursing through our veins, so it is, I believe, that each of us is a creative human being. It may not be via a pencil or paint representation...

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Happy Mondays:  Festive blues? Why not start loving yourself just the way you are right now

Monday 2 January

IF YOU are feeling all you got for Christmas is fat and broke and the year ahead seems to beckon harsh regimes, self-denial and a bit of self-flagellation thrown in, then stop right there. In the coldest and bleakest season of the year now is not a time for hardship and self-recrimination. There is so much to change and knock into shape - and frankly who relishes such a prospect? So here's a radical thought - why not start loving yourself just the way you are right now? Sounds crazy doesn't it, especially coming from a personal development expert. But try it on. What if...

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Happy Mondays:  This week is for slowing down and resting

Monday 26 December

UNDO that top button and let it all hang out. In fact let it flop, flow and roll with it. Not just the plum dufftum but everything, really. Kick off your new slippers, slide down onto the sofa and let it go. So many people are sighing "It's been quite a year" and it's true that it feels as though a juggernaut of change has barrelled past us while we shudder with the repercussions on the hard shoulder of life. It's hard to make sense of a lot of things in retrospect. We can't always...

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Happy Mondays:  It is that stressful time of year

Monday 19 December

THE queen of all expectations prepares to tie boulders around our happiness and oblivion taps her eager fingers via the sherry bottle and chocolate box. Yes, it is that time of year where stress is passed back and forth from family and friends like an unspoken agreement to crowd fund high blood pressure and anxiety. Some smug folk have had presents bought and wrapped since the January sales last year and are sitting cosy with the mince pies watching It's A Wonderful Life with carefree glee. The ideal is that family and friends gather, the meal makes Jamie Oliver look like a slouch and we sip fine wines by the golden glow of firelight united in love, good will and holy benevolence wrapped in novelty knitwear. And herein lies the rub. Quite often the reason you don't see some folk all year is...

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Happy Mondays:  Stylish wear designed for those suffering chronic illness

Monday 12 December

"IF I'd known I was going to live this long I'd have taken better care of myself," is a quote attributed by many from Mark Twain to baseball athelete Mickey Mantle and it hits a home run in my heart any day. All that wine, those artery-clogging meals and stressy days that push my blood pressure through the roof - well it's all bound to mount up one day. The men in white coats claim we are living longer but therein lies the rub. As Indiana Jones once quipped, "It's not the years it's the mileage" and if your chassis has gone and the engine is lurching it can be a long and uncomfortable ride. The quality of our lives as we stack up the years can depend...

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Happy Mondays:  Deal with disappointment effectively

Monday 5 December

WE are all feeling it at some sort of level right now. Disappoinment is a hard fact to swallow. It gets stuck in your craw. It is not the outcome you wanted. You had only just pulled yourself together after one shock, then whammo! Another one comes along and pulls the Axminster from under you. Many of us are walking around with a huge exclamation mark hovering over our heads not knowing where to put outrage and frustrations. It triggers that tantrumming inner child who goes wild at the injustice of lunatics not only taking over the asylum but getting the collective thumbs-up too. You want to kick your heels and rend your flesh and let out a blood-curdling...

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Happy Mondays:  Stop the negative thoughts

Monday 28 November

YOU have got to love pessimists. They are sensitive souls who once ran into life with an open heart, bluebirds at their shoulder and the sun beaming off their smiles. Then life hit them hard and removed their zip-a-dee-doo-dah. The tooth fairy failed to deliver, not all good boys get the breaks and good girls can morph into dog's bodies. It's a shame. A little frost forms around their tender tickers and before you know it their mouth droops and life turns grey as if viewed through seen-better-days net curtains. "Yeah but..." becomes a verbal tic and it appears to the pessimist that everything in life is designed to conceal some kind of secret catch in order to make it a journey of wariness. Then it would not only be wise but necessary to ...

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Happy Mondays:  Ranulph Fiennes can teach you to face your fears

Monday 21 November

AS WE live longer it is essential that we don't have regrets as part of our retirement and pension plan. We will have many years in which to reflect on our lives and our choices. We will have plenty of time for the reverie of a life lived well or a sad time to look at the missed opportunities, the times we played safe and should have stepped up. Hindsight offers cool and cruel clarity when the emotions that had us foggy and stuck at the time are removed and we see things as they really were. If only fear had not played a part in keeping us stuck and unable to take a risk. If only we had had a go. It is like fear is a divine blessing and ...

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Happy Mondays:  You have to love your job in order to be happy

Monday 14 November

JOSE Mourinho once said "For me the most important thing in my life is love....If you are not in love with your job, you must change your job." Or someone might just do that for you, eh Jose? Work for some of us feels like a life sentence. Something you endure not enjoy and get through until the weekend, your lottery numbers come up or redundancy packages are on offer. I have had my fill of dismal jobs that had me wasting my life straightening paper clips, watching the seconds of my life tick away via the office coffee machine and energy-vortex atmospheres that would have had Einstein struggling to have an inspired thought. That dread Sunday night "work tomorrow" slump that drains life of joy and the heartfelt despair on the killer commute as you sigh...

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Happy Mondays:  Growing up in an era when shops closed on a Sunday

Monday 7 November

ONLY people of a certain age will understand the remnants of the "am I allowed" mindset. When you have grown up in an era when all shops were closed on a Sunday, did half days on Wednesday and pubs would shut at 2.30pm each day you will know true suffering. Even though we are well used to 24-hour shops and restaurants and the internet providing opportunities to gamble, bank and find a life partner 24/7 I'm sure that I'm not the only one left feeling this way. These thoughts are not limited to commerce and entertainment but to one's likes, dislikes and emotions too. It always feels like I've tortured a teddy bear if I confess to a genuine dislike of chocolate (so awkward when presented as a gift), prefer prosecco over champagne (it's a migraine thing), have a dread of weddings (12 hours around a table with people you run out of conversation with in 20 minutes) and have never watched Strictly or Bake Off (just haven't). It's like I have killed Bambi to say...

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Happy Mondays: Overthinking is a curse - stop it and take action

Monday 31 October

AS a life coach one of my roles is to help people clean up their language. We get our clients to drop their "oughts" and "shoulds" which are verbal sticks in which we beat ourselves. "I ought to go to the gym" (but you'd rather wear wire wool pants) or "I should phone my mother" (but eating coal seems preferable). Coaches seek out diminishing words such as "just" as in "I'm just a mother". Another phrase I am beginning to get a psychological klaxon horn of wariness about is the seemingly innocuous - "Hmm interesting. I will think about that". Now if you are a professional academic or a poet in residence this can be legitimately strung out for some time and is totally acceptable behaviour for the dissertation or thought piece it will produce. For most of us however it is a halting mechanism, avoidance. I may set a client homework and checking in a week later on progress if the response is...

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Happy Mondays: Ditch other people's opinions and learn how to praise yourself

Monday 24 October

BUYER beware was once the mantra urging us to take responsibility for our shopping glee or consumer remorse. But now we want a second, third or five hundredth opinion. Are you one of those people who relish those online consumer reviews that give rating for anything from a clothes line to a bias-cut wrapover dress? "Disappoining. I give this clothes line one star as it basically just went from pillar to post." "Dress looked great on model but my size 28+ came up a little skimpy. Sent back." Who knew we had the critical insight of acerbic art critic the late Brian Sewell when reviewing a clothes horse or loo brush? It seems it's good to have a second opinion when we are not sure of our own estimation and this applies to us as people too. Feedback is the new opium of the masses. We ...

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Happy Mondays:  Finding the key to your energy will reward you

Monday 17 October

THERE is a lot of talk about energy at the moment. Switching providers without paperwork and fuss is a must. The fact we have three supermoons coming before the end of the year, the astrologers tell us, is going to create some weird energy and then there is that slump that comes at 4pm that has you reaching for the biscuit tin and a cuppa. We seek it here, we seek it there, energy is everywhere. It is the difference between progress and wearing sweatpants on the sofa. It can make us punch the air and tear into the future or sigh and hide under the duvet. Some days we can zip through our to-do lists ticking off the tasks with infinite smugness and other times it is like our pilot light has gone out and the repair engineers have gone ex-directory. In short, we often...

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Happy Mondays: Key to happy life is defying self-aggrandisement

Monday 10 October

AMERICAN author Mark Twain said: "When we remember we are all mad the mysteries disappear and life stands explained." We can adapt a Rodin's The Thinker pose and muse on the meaning of life, we can retreat to a Tibetan monastery or tune in to Towie and hope to find the answer there. As humans we have always sought explanations for life and our part in it. Religion, philosophy or even shopping (if that's your [designer] bag) can be a salve for our psyches, or we can simply enjoy the bliss of ignorance by staying busy to keep life's big questions from flooding in. Asking ourselves, "Are we there yet?", "Why am I here?" or "Am I happy?" can only cause...

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Happy Mondays: Introducing Brave New Girl - a magical illustrated book of happy

Monday 3 October

THERE is a chill wind blowing across the nation. Not everyone is feeling it. Only those who have had the pleasure and privilege of bringing a new life into the world. Those who have had the years of weaning to solids, of walking and talking, to first days at school and developing their social wings - the empty nest echos with a chilly silence. Braver parents prepare to clear away the debris and ponder on the whirlwind of life landmarks and the tears, fears and rainbows it delivered. We look and take stock of what is left behind - of our homes and of us. We will be alright. There's a spare room to tidy and new hobbies to take up but ...

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Happy Mondays:  Tackling awkwardness - what's the worst that could happen?

Monday 26 September

DON'T know about you but I no longer do "awkward". It's one of the bonuses of ageing - like developing a taste for marmalade and Neil Diamond, embarrassing your teenagers and groaning audibly when you reach the top of the stairs or flump down on the sofa. The awkward gene, like my gums, has receded. Humour or complete indifference usually cover the graceless silence when a painful silence might pervade. It's OK to say "no" and it can be a complete sentence on its own - no need to qualify certain actions or decisions to others. A desire to speak to strangers is also a part of maturing, like hair loss and wittering. Supermarket queues, bus stops and lifts are a good starting point. I try an opener such as....

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Happy Mondays:  Meditation can help give you clarity

Monday 19 September

IT USED to be that our Great British stiff upper lip not only showed stoicism but it also came with a built-in zip. There were conversational minefields that we dodged and danced around with a nimble ease that would make Darcey Bussell look like a cart horse. We bottled it all up and held our tongue and so what if our blood pressure went through the roof and we popped our hernias with the strain of holding it all in?  At least we were polite and socially acceptable. Now people don't mind sharing the sort of details that were once best left to a therapist, doctor priest, exocist or gynaecologist. There is even a website for the...

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Happy Mondays: Strawberries, ice cream and holiday snaps. I'm glad to see summer's end

Monday 12 Septemb

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I wouldn't be where I am today

While it sounds over-dramatic I can honestly say that without Carole Ann I wouldn't be where I am today. I always wanted to set up my own business but never knew what I wanted to do. She helped me find the answer which was to become a photographer. The prospect of changing careers was overwhelming but she explained how to break it down into manageable steps and start working towards my end goal. Whenever I recount the story of how I started my new career her name is always mentioned. I would highly recommend Carole Ann to anyone facing a major change in their career or personal life and I would like to thank her for helping me through this transition in my life.

Kerry McNair -

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