Feeling happy?

Posted on: 7th April, 2014

Category: A West Cork Life

Contributor: Tina Pisco

The world is not a happy place at the moment, if the news is anything to go by. From natural disasters to political scandals, from economic woes to social unrest, every day brings a litany of stories each one more shocking than the other. And yet, it can’t be denied…we’re happier.

In fact, there’s a whole lot of happy going around these days.

Maybe it’s the change in season. Maybe it’s hearing Pharell Williams song ‘Happy’ every day for last few months. Or maybe it’s the fact that the UN recently celebrated the second International Happiness Day (March 20). The lovely long stretch in the evenings has me definitely feeling more upbeat. The dark days are gone. The storms have passed. We’ve come through it. The sun is shining. The cherry trees are starting to bloom. In the words of songsmith John Spillane: “Well done everyone!”

Happiness is very popular these days. Magazines are full of articles on ways to be happy, the 10 habits of happy people and how our wellbeing affects our health and longevity. Happiness books have become very popular and you only have to watch all those happy people being happy in advertisements to know that happiness sells.

Psychology has been slow to study happiness, or wellness for that matter. For the first hundred years or so, scientists only studied mental illness, not mental wellness. In the 20th century most psychology studies focused on what makes people miserable. 21st century science wants to know what makes us happy. This new area of study is called Positive Psychology.

It’s a tricky business to try and study happiness. How do you define happiness? One person’s happy can be another’s wretchedness. Some see happiness as an exhilarating explosion of unbridled joy, while others define happiness as quiet satisfaction. When positive psychologists talk about happiness, what they mean is a sense of deep contentment. It is a Universal trait recognised by all humans on the planet from the Sahara desert to the Mongolian Steppes and every bustling city in between.

I recently got an insight into happiness from an unlikely source. I was watching a young, brash African-American comedian. He was commenting on his recent and unfamiliar state of general wellbeing. He said that he knew he must be happy, because he went for a walk. “You’ve got to be happy to go for a walk.” He then found himself feeding some pigeons: “and you’ve really got to be happy if you’re in NYC in the middle of the afternoon and you’re going for a walk and feeding pigeons.” As a former urban dweller, there was a ring of truth to his comments that made me, well, happy. My life changed drastically when I moved from being a city dweller to living in the countryside. Over the years that has changed my perspective. The most fundamental change has been what makes me happy.

If I’ve learned one thing after living in West Cork for over twenty years it’s that my happiness is definitely linked to the landscape and the people that surround me. A few sunny days, a walk on Inchydoney, or a potter around the garden and I’m a happy camper. Sighting a heron, a fox or a sparrow hawk is like being handed a glass of champagne to celebrate the day. I saw all three this week and it feels like I won the lottery (bonus points if I spot a stout, an owl, or a badger!). I’ve also learned to appreciate the solace of a fire on a wet and windy day. In other words, it doesn’t take much to make me happy. Friends, family, and the feeling of belonging to a community makes the whole so much more than the sum of its parts.

Recent data seems to confirm that most people feel the same. The London School of Economics asked 22,000 people to log their emotional states throughout the day. They also logged in their location. One million entries were collated in the study and here’s what they found: “Being outdoors, near the sea, on a warm, sunny weekend afternoon is the perfect spot for most. In fact, participants were found to be substantially happier outdoors in all natural environments than they were in urban environments.” People recorded the highest levels of happiness on coastal locations, followed by mountains and moors, forests and farms. Being active in an outdoor setting, or even just birdwatching, also raised happiness levels.

Maybe that’s why Ireland consistently rates so high on the Happiness Index. Despite the economic downturn, Ireland has scored in the top ten happiest countries for many years. The most recent data covered 2006 to 2011, in other words from boom to bust. Ireland still ranked third in the world for average life satisfaction, behind Costa Rica and Denmark, and tenth overall. The fact is that no matter where you are in the country, you can always get on a bus and go for a walk by the seaside. If the sea is too far away, there’s sure to be hills, bogs, fields or mountains in the area. Better yet, should the weather turn, there are many congenial spaces to meet up for a drink, a chat and a bit of a sing song. Welcome back Spring!


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Visiting restrictions in place at Bantry General Hospital due to Flu Presentations

Strict visitor restrictions have been put in place with immediate effect at Bantry General Hospital due to the number of patients who have presented with flu like symptoms.

In the interest of patient care and in order to restrict the spread of the flu virus within the hospital, it is necessary with immediate effect to ban all visitors to Bantry General Hospital, with the exception of following: critically ill patients are restricted to one visitor per critically ill patient and confined to visiting times only, and attendance at the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) and Local Injury Unit (LIU) should only take place if absolutely necessary, only one relative per patient attending these areas.

The elderly, children, pregnant women or young adults, those with chronic illnesses or vulnerable others are advised not to visit. Outpatient, Day care services and routine hospital admissions are not affected.

All infection control measures are in place and every effort is being made to manage and contain the spread of the flu virus.

People with flu like symptoms are advised to contact their GP by phone in the first instance and avoid presenting at the Emergency Department at Bantry General Hospital.

Bantry hospital staff are asking people to think about all their care and treatment options and keep ED services for the patients who need them most. Others with a less serious illness can be treated by their GP or out of hours GP service where their GP can refer them to an Assessment Unit the following day if required.
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8th January, 2018  ·  

West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork shared Cope Foundation's Happy Christmas from Cope Foundation. ... See MoreSee Less

What makes Christmas special? Children and adults we support, our incredible staff, families and supporters - these are the people who make our organisation so special every single day, but especially at Christmas! Meet some of them here... Thank you to the wonderful team at AV3 Media who kindly produced this video for us as a Christmas gift! To make a Christmas donation today, go to www.cope-foundation.ie/donate. We believe that together we can do great things and with your support we can do so much more! Please SHARE our video so that more people can learn about the amazing things that happen at Cope Foundation! Evening Echo; Irish Examiner; The Southern Star; The Avondhu; Cork Independent; West Cork Times; West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork; Bandon Opinion/The Opinion; Vale Star; East Cork Journal; Cork Chamber - Faces of Cork Business; Cork City FC; Cork Institute of Technology - CIT; University College Cork; Corks RedFM 104-106; The KC Show Corks 96 FM; Cork's 96FM; Cork's Best; C103 Cork; Cork Airport; Cork Opera House: The Everyman; Cork County Council; County Cork; Cork City Council; CorkLike; CCCahoots; Cork On Ice; Glow Cork; CIT Cork School of Music; RTÉ Today; Ciaran Bermingham - Actor; Rob & Marian Heffernan; John Spillane; Ger Wolfe; Eimear O'Brien PR; Jack O Rourke; Theo Dorgan; Mahon Point Shopping Centre; Blackpool Shopping Centre & Retail Park

18th December, 2017  ·  

This is the real spirit of Christmas at Caseys of Clonakilty. ... See MoreSee Less

Are you alone or do you know someone who will be alone this Christmas? If so, then we here at Casey’s would like to make your day that little bit easier. We are offering a full Christmas dinner on us! Christmas dinners can be collected Christmas Eve from 12:30pm - 8:30pm. Wishing everyone a very happy Christmas from everyone at Casey’s

15th December, 2017  ·  

RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta’s has just announced its Christmas schedule and it features several programmes of interest to listeners in West Cork.

On New Year’s Day at 12.08 pm we’ll hear highlights from the Éigse Dhiarmuidín Festival that took place in West Cork in early December, remembering musician and broadcaster Diarmuid Ó Súilleabháin. An Nollaig ar Oileán Chléire is an archive show presented by Mícheál Ó Sé on Wednesday 27 December at 5.30 pm about Christmas on Cape Clear and on Friday 29 December and 5 January at 7 pm, Peadar Ó Riada will bring us very special editions of his Cuireadh chun Ceoil programme from Múscraí. Keep an ear out!
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15th December, 2017  ·  

West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork shared Garda Síochána - Cork, Kerry & Limerick - Southern Region's photo. ... See MoreSee Less

REMINDER: An Garda Siochana are hosting a Retail Crime Prevention Meeting, to be held at 7pm on Wednesday 29th November 2017. This meeting will be held in the Munster Arms Hotel in Bandon. This meeting is one of a series being held across the West Cork Garda Division, in association with Operation Thor, the Garda National Anti-Crime Strategy. The purpose of the meeting is to increase the cooperation between Gardai and the retail sector, ensuring that the current low levels of crime in the locality extends past the busy approaching Christmas season. The meeting will be addressed by the local Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Ian O’ Callaghan, who will discuss burglary prevention, shoplifting, fraud, and cybercrime. There will be a particular focus on cash handling and cash exposure of businesses in the run up to the Christmas shopping period. All aspects of commercial crime will be discussed, and we would strongly urge all businesses to make a special effort to attend on the evening.

28th November, 2017  ·  

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