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The Happy Medium Extract: Introduction

19-01-2017 14:53
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The Happy Medium Extract: Introduction


The Happy Medium is a self-help guide to swapping the weight of ‘having it all’ to having more with less. Bestselling author, Annmarie O’Connor, a self-styled ‘inexpert expert’ on the subject of mindfulness, will help you gain perspective on your personal satisfaction by using positive psychology to clear unsustainable expectations of what constitutes a life well-lived.


The middle ground. It doesn’t get much press, does it? There’s no click-bait in stability, no hedonic headline in balance, no cliff-hanger in even keel. Hearts don’t beat faster, palms don’t get sweaty, mouths don’t dry up. In fact, we do our level best to avoid its average reputation.


Why walk the path of least resistance when there’s a sheer rockface to climb? Because it makes sense to, that’s why. My name is Annmarie O’Connor. You might know me as the author of The Happy Closet, or you might not know me at all. Either way, allow me to introduce myself. I’m an inexpert expert on the subject of mindfulness. My first book, The Happy Closet, helped readers declutter their wardrobes from the inside out by using positive psychology to clear the hangups and habits that shape sartorial well-being. This book, The Happy Medium, will help you gain perspective on your personal satisfaction from the outside in by using positive psychology to clear unsustainable expectations of what constitutes a life well lived.


What makes me qualified to riff on happiness? Not a lot. Just my own outlook. I believe that happiness is found on your own terms – not the dictates of the masses or the validation of a crowd. As for me? I’m 43; I’m single; I still rent; I earn less than most of my peers; I had a cat (but he left me); and I still don’t know how to drive. By society’s standards, I’m invisible; by my standards, I’m rather happy. Admittedly, my life sounds more like a country-and-western song than that of a self-help author but, aside from the packaging, it’s exactly what I hoped for as a freewheeling twenty-something (more on that later). Are you still with me? This is generally where I lose people.

No one queues up to hear about the life more ordinary. We’ve been primed to expect more, aspire to better, nothing less than the best. The speed of modern culture combined with the hyperconnectivity of technology has shifted our perspective from good enough to never enough. With that, the story-making moments of our lives are carefully constructed and edited with social media tools to create blemish-free narratives that always end in a happily ever after. The reality? It’s making us miserable. Think about it: the very concept of ‘having it all’ carries its own burden. ‘All’ by its definition suggests ‘the whole of ’. The whole of what exactly? ‘All’ is limitless and, to be fair, that’s a mighty big ask. Being the inexpert expert that I am, my humble prescription is one of applied mindfulness – a happy medium, if you will. Let’s be clear: this isn’t a mantra of mediocrity. Rather, it’s about finding balance in a full-throttle culture, discovering what it is you need so you can get more of what you want – your very own happy medium.


The best bit? You don’t need any fancy equipment, annual subscription or special handshake to get started; there’s no diet of chia seeds, crash course in chakra cleansing or mastering a mudra required to identify your sweet spot. Self-awareness starts inside your own head, that sacred space where you can take five, tune into your radar and decide what frequency best suits you. Sometimes our aspirations are as lofty as an unfurling clifftop mansion; sometimes they’re as simple as a cup of coffee and a midday nap. Sometimes well-being is, well, well enough. And what’s so bad with that?

If you’d like to swap the weight of ‘having it all’ for a more mindful life mantra, then get ready. It’s time to discover your happy medium.


Keep up to date with Annmarie O’Connor on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and her website.


Also by the author: The Happy Closet


‘A well-written guide to balancing how you look and how you feel,’ Irish Times Magazine
‘A brilliant book delivered with O’Connor’s trademark wit,’ Sunday Business Post Magazine
‘This book will transmogrify your wardrobe and your mind to a Zen, clutter-free zone,’ Irish Tatler


About the Author

Annmarie is an award-winning fashion writer, stylist and author of The Happy Closet – a self-help guide to balancing well-being and being well-dressed.

Her editorial and styling work has appeared in publications such as the Irish Examiner, Sunday Times Style magazine, The Irish Times, Irish Tatler, Image and The Gloss. She has also styled for London Fashion Week, The Voice of Ireland and clients like LVMH, Harvey Nichols, Brown Thomas and BT2. On air, she is a regular contributor to The Dave Fanning Show, The Ryan Tubridy Show; TV3′s Xposé and RTÉ’s Today show. She is editor of the Louis Vuitton City Guide to Dublin 2012. She is a self-styled inexpert expert on the subject of mindfulness.

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