skip to Main Content

Worry Not – Living North Magazine

A recent YouGov survey showed that 55 percent of people were worried that the relentless cost of living increases have negatively impacted their health. Life is challenging enough for many already without this additional burden. It feels like we have just jumped out of the pan, only to fall straight into the fire as the cost of living crisis looms large just as they threat of Covid-19 appears to have abated. This crisis is already having a sharp impact on people’s mental health and wellbeing. The NHS has stated the UK is facing a ‘humanitarian crisis’. This was amplified by what a friend said to me this week. ‘I feel as if what is happening around me is something which I have no control over. I am on a fixed pension which is a struggle at the best of times, but allows me, if I am diligent, to save and get some things for the grandkids. Now I am going to have to cut off the heating for most of the winter to feed myself, and will have nothing for the grandkids. I am going to have to choose between food and heat.’ So, what can we do to make…

Read More

You are the Pilot not the Passenger – Living North Magazine

Leadership is a hot topic and impacts many roles in life - work, sport, education-teachers, parents and students, family, friends etc. Many people assume that leadership is all about titles, positions, money, and fame. However, leadership is not an actual position or title. When I coach people on leadership, I always tell them there are 5 steps to great leadership. I show the first three here and will focus on Step 1 because as Jack Welch said, "Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about others." The first three steps in the Leadership programmes I teach are: Step 1 is learning how to lead yourself Step 2 is learning how to lead an individual Step 3 is learning how to lead a team Let’s focus on Step 1 as very few of us know how to lead ourselves for a day never mind a life. The challenge is our lives are like ice creams we eat. If we don’t enjoy it, it melts away before our very eyes and all we have left is regrets about what is gone forever. The number 1 regret people mention while lying on…

Read More

Self care is health care – Living North Magazine

These days it seems easier to turn on the news or scroll through social media and believe the world is ending as you listen/read to the endless updates on Ukraine, the Pandemic, energy prices, food shortages… this list is endless. In the past few decades, the fortunate among us have recognised the hazards of living with an overabundance of food (obesity, diabetes) and have started to change our diets. But most of us do not yet understand that the constant barrage of news updates is to the mind what sugar is to the body. It is bad for you! News is easy to digest but it pollutes many minds with negativity and paranoia. The constant stream of sensational or "disaster" reporting, whether we are exposed actively or passively, can elevate stress levels and trigger symptoms like anxiety, depression, and lack of sleep. It is no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic affected our mental health, and this additional daily grind of 24-hour news or social media clicks can really get you down. The consequences of this additional anxiety and stress for many people are dire. In a recent poll of 8,000 UK adults, conducted by Nuffield Health, the researchers found 66…

Read More

Put your own oxygen mask on first – Living North Magazine

 I was back on planes recently as life returns to normal and was watching the safety demonstration before take-off. I think I have worn out the example of oxygen masks on airplanes, but it does make a very important point. Yes, it is a mask with oxygen. But when the need arises you must put your mask on first. Why? You must take the best possible care of yourself so that you can take the best possible care of those you love. My question to you today is when was the last time you stopped to consider your needs, without also considering what someone else wants of you? The problem is that too often we fail to understand that we are supposed to be the authors of our own stories rather than a bit part in someone else’s. To live your own life, you must begin to identify and prioritise the things in your life that are the most meaningful to you. It is essential that you ask yourself if you are truly living the life you want to lead. So, are we making our life choices based on our own wants, beliefs, and values? Or are we living our…

Read More

Why don’t you listen?- Living North Magazine, May 22 Issue

George Bernard Shaw once said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”  The evidence is clear and unambiguous every day we miscommunicate something to someone. Almost all conflicts (fights, arguments, etc.) are caused by poor communication. I tell leaders that if you wanted to choose one skill to better your life today both professionally and personally, it is to improve your communication skills. Whether you are pitching a new idea, selling to potential clients, soliciting donations, motivating teams, or trying to influence colleagues, conveying your ideas effectively, or just getting along with your partner requires good communication skills. I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So, if I am going to learn, I must learn by listening, because two monologues do not make a dialogue. Quite often we hear what we want to, don't we? rather than what is being communicated to us. The same is also true in our relationships. Bob and Sarah are dating. Bob sees that Sarah is unhappy and asks Sarah what is bothering her. Sarah replies that she wants Bob to be more caring. Bob promises that he will be more…

Read More
Robin Hood Has No Charity Dr Maurice Duffy - Blog

Robin Hood has no charity

The cost of living is not a Robin Hood, taking from the rich to give to the poor. Poverty is the worst form of violence as it deals most cruelly with those who can least protect themselves. The rising energy prices are like a punishment for a crime we did not commit. It is lashing out and entrapping millions of us, whose incomes do not match the rise in the cost of living. Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth, these are the same fight. When prices soar, the cost of living goes up and the chance of living goes down. The impact that we see is the pensioner and the widow security undermined, critical workers savings melting away. The poor are further trapped in an endless environment of basic survival and existence and our kids go hungry. Our foodbanks become the life blood of whole communities, whilst our politicians fight and bicker with each other. Research shows that there are do-it-yourself strategies and lifestyle changes that can improve anxiety and depression symptoms. Here are ten evidence-based activities to help yourself. 1. Go outside to reduce ‘doom spiralling’ Connecting with nature and being outdoors reduces rumination,…

Read More

How to Think Successfully – Living North Magazine, Apr 22 Issue

As we all look on in awe at the amazing feats at the Winter Olympics, should we whether Olympic athletes are superhuman or just robots, or are they somehow a different species from the rest of us? What can we learn from their extraordinary endeavours? In my experience of working with great champions, from Olympians to hugely successful businesspeople, to be a champion, you must compete. To be a great success, you must compete with the best; but to achieve your greatest success, you must compete with yourself. I was watching Max Parrot achieve great things this week – three years after serious chemotherapy treatments for Hodgkins disease, during which he lost all his muscle tone and fitness and was very ill for six months. Max completed an inspiring comeback from extraordinary challenges by winning the gold medal in the men’s slopestyle at the Winter Olympics, on a course that includes replicas of the Great Wall of China. ‘I had to stop everything to fight and fight for my dreams,’ he said. ‘I felt like a lion in a cage as everything I lived for was taken away when I got Hodgkin and I had to get it back.’ And…

Read More

True Lies – Living North Magazine, Mar 22 Issue

When the mind is speaking without permission, it’s lying. When I watch Would I Lie to You on TV, I always try to work out if the story I am being told is a lie, or the truth. I have to admit that I am always just guessing. Some people are just so good at lying. We live in a world where lying has become the norm. Indeed, there are now fact checking organisations to uncover the fabrications often presented by business, politics or in press releases by organisations. I love that quote: ‘You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.’ Of course, it’s not just political figures or business leaders who have the monopoly on lying. Lies happen in most homes, whether it’s the little boy standing over the smashed vase saying ‘It wasn’t me’, or the teenager proffering a story for why they were two hours late home last night. The reasons behind many lies are complicated. Sometimes it’s to protect the liar from being punished, or to protect someone else from punishment. The lie might be to avoid being embarrassed, to hide an awkward situation, or to simply have…

Read More

Happy New Year? – Living North Magazine, Feb 22 Issue

ew Year’s Eve has become more than just a day in the calendar for many of us. We look at New Year’s Eve as not just a celebration of the passing year, but a chance for a fresh start – a reset opportunity – and that’s why so many of us make new year’s resolutions. We all have parts of our lives we want to change. We all have good intent, and our resolutions are always sincere. We all decide that ‘this is the year I am going to get fit/lose weight/find a new job/love my partner more’. Yet we often make these resolutions in the spirit of celebration, with no real thought as to how we will achieve them. You might think with just a little more motivation you can finally take control and crush your goals starting on 1st January. Well, here is a health warning for you. Although we go into the new year with the best of intentions to make good on these goals, it doesn’t take long for many people to give up on their new year’s resolution(s), or to forget about them entirely. More than 80 percent of all resolutions don’t even make it…

Read More