05 Jul 2022

Operation Transformation Watch: 12 steps to wellbeing

In his weekly column for the Leinster Express, Portarlington psychologist Dr Eddie says Dr Eva went ‘over-the-top’ and also sets out a 12 step plan to well being.

In his weekly column for the Leinster Express, Portarlington psychologist Dr Eddie says Dr Eva went ‘over-the-top’ and also sets out a 12 step plan to well being.

The blow up on Operation Transformation has thankfully settled down. In the immediate aftermath of the over-the-top strong reaction of Dr Eva myself and Karl supported Charlotte. Telly being telly this wasn’t included.

Wow what pressure, thankfully the relationship between Dr Eva and Charlotte is on a healthy footing, they have danced hugged and moved on.

We are coming to a close and the 5k is looming, registration was filled within 2 hours.

I really look forward to the day. It’s very exciting, but what I like is the non-competitive element. For many people it’s their first serious venture into running. I am keen that it’s not their last. This 5k needs to be a launch pad.

Why not sign up for the Run Kildare 10k, half or full marathon on May 12, see

My own training has fallen a bit to the wayside. I was hoping to complete the full marathon but am verging on the half again. Maybe I need one of those Dr Eva verbal missiles!! No way. My belief is that in fact a more encouraging voice is what’s required and a good plan.

Where did the Operation Transformation leaders journeys take them? For some it was about health for another personal liberation, for another shifting into a new future and for some burying some old ghosts for good. You can guess who I am taking about and I will elaborate next week.


12 Steps to Wellbeing

1. Be kind to yourself

Our culture, genes, religion, upbringing, education, gender, sexuality, beliefs, and life experiences make us who we are. We all have bad days. Be kind to yourself. Encourage rather than criticise yourself. Treat yourself the way you would treat a friend in the same situation. Find that compassionate voice, dump the unhelpful parrot.


2. Exercise regularly

A wealth of really good research is showing us that 40 minutes of exercise thee times a week can significantly shift mild to moderate depression. Being active helps lift our mood, reduces stress and anxiety, improves physical health, and gives us more energy. Get outside, preferably in a green space or near water. Find an activity you enjoy doing, and just do it.


3. Take up a hobby or skill

Increase your confidence and interest, meet others, or prepare for finding work. Women are really good at this. For men I recommend the Men’s Shed. What is a Men’s Shed? The Community Men’s Shed is an updated version of the shed in the backyard. If you looked inside one you could see anything! From a number of men restoring furniture to perhaps restoring bicycles for a local school, or maybe fixing lawn mowers. You might also see both young and older men learning new skills from each other and maybe also learning something about life from the men they are working with. Check out


4. Have fun

Having fun or being creative helps us feel better and increases our confidence. Enjoy yourself!


5. Help others - Volunteer

Get involved with a community project, charity work, or simply help out someone you know. As well as benefiting others, you’ll be doing something worthwhile which will help you feel better about yourself.


6. Relax

Make time for yourself. Allow yourself to chill out and relax. Find something that suits you – different things work for different people.

Breathe… (imagine a balloon in your belly, inflating and deflating as you breathe in and out, breathe in for 5, hold for 5, then breath out for 5 …..


7. Eat healthily

Eat regularly, eat breakfast, eat healthily, eat fruit and vegetables, drink water. Each year on Operation Transformation a big repeated pattern I have seen is how fat people skip breakfast. Fire up your metabolism early.


8. Sleep Well

Get into a healthy sleep routine –including going to bed and getting up at the same time each day.


9. Connect with others

Stay in touch with family and friends - make regular and frequent contact with them. Only if they add to your battery. Some can be battery drainers, if so reduce the time spent with them.


10.Beware drink and drugs

Avoid using alcohol (or non-prescribed drugs) to help you cope – it will only add to your problems. We have a significant alcohol problem in Ireland. Increasingly it’s hidden in the home. Do you know anyone drinking a bottle of wine a night and then complaining about low mood, being irritable – go figure!!


11. See the bigger picture

We all give different meanings to situations and see things from our point of view. Broaden out your perspective and consider the bigger picture (‘the helicopter view’)

What meaning am I giving this? Is this fact or opinion? How would others see it? Is there another way of looking at this? How important is it, or will it be in a year’s time? What can I do right now that will help most?


12. Accepting: ‘It is as it is’

We tend to fight against distressing thoughts and feelings, but we can learn to just

notice them and give up that struggle. Some situations we just can’t change. We can

surf those waves rather than try to stop them. Allow those thoughts and sensations just to be –they will pass.

Believe me, as a practicing clinical psychologists, nothing shocks me and I have heard of all sorts of weird, strange, unusual, violent, sexual, distressing thoughts from the most normal of people.

Remember we all get these thoughts try not to be distressed by them often they can act as a warning that there is an area of stress in our lives that needs addressing.

Remember a thought is a thought not a fact.

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