Life can be hectic for young people nowadays. There can be constant pressure from peers, parents, school or college.. However mindfulness and other calming activities can reduce everyday general stress and anxiety and eventually lead to better wellbeing. Fiona Brennan is a Clinical Hypnotherapist, Mindfulness, and NLP practitioner, Mental Health expert on Today FM, TEDx speaker Blogger and an Ambassador for Positivity in the media. Building on her success, in 2016 Fiona launched her online, five-star rated, hypnotherapy programme which now helps people all over the world. Her first book is the best-selling ‘The Positive Habit.’ It is published by Ireland’s leading non-fiction publishers and is endorsed by Jack Canfield of ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ fame. So I decided to ask her a few questions about the mindfulness and wellbeing scene in Ireland, with a particular focus on young people.
How did you get into mindfulness and wellbeing?
I trained as a Clinical Hypnotherapist seven years ago, before that I was an actress. I had suffered from my own mental health issues in the form of chronic anxiety and when I experienced the power of therapy and mindfulness to help me transform into a happy, calm and positive person, I was passionate to share what I had learned. I now run a very busy practice, I have an online programme and I am a best selling author. I am dedicated to helping as many people as I can.
What impact do you feel that mindfulness has on improving someone’s mental health?
Being mindful or what I refer to in my book as ‘The Now Habit’ is fundamental to making positive change. In order for us to improve our mental health I believe we must firstly become aware of our thought patterns that lead into our emotional habits.
Do you think schools are doing enough to promote good mental health to students (wellbeing classes etc) and what practical steps do you think schools should do to promote positive mental health and wellbeing?
We have made giant leaps forward and there is progress but I would love to see the day where every school assembly started the day with a meditation session and that the students felt truly safe to speak about their feelings with teachers who are trained in the area of dealing with mental health. This needs to be a prerequisite and not a luxury. When a student is suffering, it’s difficult to learn.
What’s one practice, mantra etc. you live by each day to keep positive and happy?
My mantra and the one that has helped me most comes from Eckhart Tolle, the spiritual guru and author of The Power of Now:
“Whatever the present moment contains accept it as if you had chosen it Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life.”
Is there anything else you’d like to say to young people in Ireland about positive mental health?
Learn the tools to manage your thoughts, practice self-acceptance, self-compassion and self-love, all will flow from there.