‘We can flourish in recession’ urges Dr Maureen Gaffney

“You Can’t be driven crazy without your full co-operation.” These were the wise words of Dr Maureen Gaffney, one of Ireland’s most accomplished psychologists when she addressed the Network Kildare branch last Thursday, January 2, at the Killashee House Hotel.

“You Can’t be driven crazy without your full co-operation.” These were the wise words of Dr Maureen Gaffney, one of Ireland’s most accomplished psychologists when she addressed the Network Kildare branch last Thursday, January 2, at the Killashee House Hotel.

At the packed meeting, she spoke on everything from personal development to organisational, cultural and societal change in a gripping, stimulating and inspiring speech that received a standing ovation from the Network Kildare branch.

At a time of deep crisis the notion of flourishing seems unimaginable, however the distinguished Dr Gaffney believes passionately that not only is it possible for us to flourish, but in an increasingly uncertain world, it is essential that we plan to do so.

Speaking to the Leader beforehand, she spoke of her grave concerns that Ireland is not in a good place, but is in the depths of ‘recession despair’.

“Learning to flourish and helping others to flourish is the most powerful and worthwhile investment we can make in our own well-being and in our country’s future,” she said.

Dr Gaffney’s new book - which is entitled ‘Flourishing’ - is available in Barker & Jones in Naas.

“Flourishing people are not just happier - they are more productive, more innovative and creative, have better judgement and make better decisions,” according to Dr Gaffney.

“They are more realistically optimistic. They are more resilient in dealing with set-backs and frustrations. They are more effective at setting and pursuing goals. They are better at motivating and managing other people. They are quicker to see and exploit new opportunities. They achieve better balance in their lives.”

A clinical psychologist by profession, Dr Gaffney has worked for many years in Trinity College Dublin as Director of the Doctoral Programme in Clinical Psychology. Over the past 10 years she has divided her time between her own consultancy business and a number of state and other boards. She has worked with companies in Ireland, the UK, Israel, and the US. In Kildare she has worked closely with the multinational company Intel for several years.

Dr Gaffney took to the stand in the Killashee Hotel outlined her strategies to help people flourish in business and personal development.

“How to be happy – this is a realistic goal including allowing for adversity and realising what is making you unhappy. Example, your friend’s cousin is ill, her mood will affect you. Using our attention in a focused way. We can only concentrate for a short length of time each day – use this wisely and not on negative thoughts.

She also advised the audience to multitask. “Have three projects on the go – one could be a work one, one could be settling your child into school and one could be a small task. Know the positive purpose to all meetings whether professional or social ie be prepared. Build your resilience and health. Don’t be afraid of the future and for every negative thought, you need five positive thoughts to counter-act and balance.”

She received a standing ovation from the audience of Kildare women, who are involved in business, the arts, the professions and politics.

Network Ireland, the organisation for women in business, the professions and the arts was founded nationally in 1983, the membership base consists of women from all areas in Irish business.

“We welcome new members from all industries, not just women who run their own business but those in employment, such as banking, education, health, the arts, technology, engineering, the horticulture sector,” said Network Kildare chairperson barrister Eugenie Houston, who added that Dr Gaffney’s keynote speech was an outstanding success.