THE IRISH DAILY STAR, Tuesday July 16 2013

The self-help book that will change your mindset forever I
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These short-lived effects come down to the fact that because many self-help books simply give you the techniques for improving yourself and your life, without explaining the science behind them. That’s exactly what Suzanne Hazelton’s Great Days at Work sets out to avoid. A business woman and psychotherapist, Suzanne wants to help people to improve their lives at work, by explaining the more useful aspects of popular positive psychology — and how to implement them. “I’ve found some of what’s ‘common knowledge’ around positive psychology a little saccharine sweet, and occasionally inaccurate,” she explains. “Some of the books are a little too obscure for the business professional, which undermines some of the enormous value from the field. “I want to bring some of the useful nuggets from the field to a broader readership of business professionals, that have strong evidence for their effectiveness and are not based on wishful thinking.” So, what does it all entail? Read on...



F YOU’VE ever read a self-help book, chances are it made you feel new, energised and empowered — for all of three seconds.

By Eva Hogan
Many self-help books encourage the use of visualisation, typically encouraging you to imagine you have achieved everything you ever wanted, to luxuriate in the feelings of success. But it’s not that simple. A study in 1998 did an experiment, in which one group of people visualised just the outcome — what they wanted to happen. The control group, meanwhile, visualised not just the outcome, but the steps they’d need to do to achieve it. The control group were the ones who achieved higher levels of success in achieving the outcome. That’s because the value of visualisation comes from anticipating problems and being able to handle them.


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The key to great days at work is to begin to unlock your purpose. To do that, you must ask yourself a) What do you do that you enjoy? b) What do you do so that time passes both in an instant and yet lingers? c) If you knew you’d be doing ‘this thing’ tomorrow, then would you bounce out of bed? Answering these questions will help you to get some direction and purpose, without which UNDERLYING you can’t be happy at work. If your answers to the above questions seem to BELIEFS go against your current job, perhaps it’s time to Many people struggling at work have a fixed consider a career change or simply working in a mindset, which is keen to maintain the status quo. similar role elsewhere. For instance, the work of a They believe they’re no good at something, and they librarian at a university would be quite different to that seek out evidence to support that idea. of a librarian who drives a mobile library. But For example, they may do a presentation which n POSITIVE: Suzanne whatever you do, you must be motivated to do it. doesn’t go to plan. They’ll then use this ‘failure’ as If you’re continually trying to be something that Hazelton and her book evidence that they’re not cut out for presenting, you’re not, it’s likely to be draining and ultimately and will avoid doing it again. In other words, they dissatisfying. won’t progress. To change this, it’s important to take a look at your underlying beliefs. Whenever you find your MINDFULNESS internal dialogue is not supportive — “I’ll never Mindfulness seems to be everywhere these days, get that job,” from magazines to the doctor’s surgery. “People like me never get promotions” — take But there’s a reason for that — it works. Basically, notice, and start to think about the effects, both it means living in the present, rather than focusing positive and negative, that such dialogue has on on the past or worrying about the future, and can you. Make an effort to reduce the negative be carried out via meditation or just by sitting thoughts, focusing instead on the positive ones. down in a quiet room. You’ll notice a huge difference in your attitude While we all let our minds drift at times, it’s instantly. important to focus just on the here and now from time to time, as it alleviates stress. In fact, meditation has been found to contribute to a broad range PRAISE YOURSELF of benefits from memory and intelligence, creativiWhile it may initially feel unnatural, praising ty and interpersonal functioning, to improving yourself is really very simple. self-esteem and well-being. As you take action to rid yourself of limiting To increase your mindfulness, set a timer. Sit beliefs, it’s important to be supportive of yourself, upright in a chair, close your eyes and take some the way you would with a good friend. deep breaths. There is a scientific basis for this ‘self-talk.’ In Let thoughts come and go, but if you notice your the 1970s, a psychologist, Meichenbaum, piothoughts wandering to the past or future, bring neered encouraging ‘self-talk.’ This approach them back gently and refocus on the present. focuses on changing what people say to themselves, both internally and out loud. n Great Days at Work by Suzanne Hazelton is Andy Murray attributes positive self-talk to his out now, e21.50 first grand slam win at the US Open.


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