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Real Talks

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The well-being hub will promote positive mental health and feature mental skills masterclasses with former Cavan goalkeeper Alan O’Mara, who now works as a performance and well-being coach with sports and business leaders around the world. 

The well-being hub also includes powerful conversations with leading figures such as Rory O’Connor (Rory’s Stories), David Balfe (For Those I Love) and Leanne Kiernan (Liverpool FC and Ireland). They share important life lessons and explore various aspects of well-being such as depression, grief, resilience, confidence and more. 

To make sure you don’t miss out, please follow SOSAD Ireland and Alan O’Mara on all social media platforms and follow Real Talks below: 

Episode 1 - Rory O’Connor (aka Rory’s Stories)

Rory O’Connor explains how he worked through his mental health struggles to become an online sensation, a stand up comedian and a published author. We talked about failure, fear, self-awareness, authenticity and much more.

Full Conversation with Rory O’Connor:

Episode 2 - Self-Awareness with Alan O’Mara

What is self-awareness? Why is self-awareness important?How can you develop self-awareness? 

Self-awareness helps us monitor our thoughts, feelings and actions. It’s taking a pause, and getting into a state of self–focused attention. Self-awareness allows us to have better control over our emotions and behaviors. 

Listen to Rory O’Connor talk about the importance of self-awareness below. 

Episode 3 - Resilience with Alan O’Mara

What is resilience and why is it important? How can you develop resilience? 

Resilience is a crucial mental skill at the center of the well-being journey. Life challenges us all in different ways but resilience can help us to both survive and thrive.

Episode 4 - David Balfe Teaser (aka For Those I Love)

David Balfe is a renowned musician that has featured on some of the world’s biggest stages. His self-titled album, For Those I Love, won Irish album of the year.

In this episode, David talks about self-worth, depression and panic attacks. He talks about the power of counselling and the long and winding process of learning to cope, survive and live again after mental health challenges.  He talks about the good and bad of growing up in Dublin and the power of music.

Listen to Part 1 of the full episode below.

Episode 5 - David Balfe Part 2 (aka For Those I Love)

This is the second part of our conversation with award-winning musician David Balfe (aka For Those I Love). 

David discussed how he struggled with grief and depression. He talks about the importance of therapy and reaching out for professional support.

David also talked about the power of love, friendship and creativity. He talks about creating the award winning album, the self-titled 'For Those I Love', and what it is like to perform emotional songs linked to complex parts of his past.

Episode 6 - Self Compassion with Alan O’Mara

Life challenges us all in different ways but self-compassion can help us to be kinder to ourselves when experiencing hardship. 

In this short video, Performance and Well-being coach Alan O’Mara looks at why self-compassion is important and how to develop it in day to day life.

Episode 7: Dealing with Panic Attacks 

A panic attack can start with a sudden and rising feeling of fear and distress.There are a number of things that cause panic attacks. Some of the triggers for panic attacks are too much stress and anxiety, phobias, bad breathing habits and emotional worries. During the attack people might have a tight sensation in the chest, feel dizzy, faint, shaky, confused, sick or weepy.  They can also suffer from chills, sweating, pins and needles and hyperventilation (when you feel as if you can’t breathe). Panic attacks can last from a few seconds to 10 minutes.

The clip below is a short extract from the recent episode with David Balfe (aka For Those I Love). During the conversation, he gave some fascinating insight into his experience of panic attacks and talks about the practical strategies he learned in therapy that have helped him to cope, deal and control panic attacks.

Episode 8 - Authenticity with Alan O'Mara

Authenticity is matching what is going on inside of us, in our thoughts and feelings, to what we express outwardly through our words, actions and choices. Being authentic supports holistic well-being and encourages happiness, fulfilment, and high self-esteem.  Being authentic makes us more likely to pursue our passions and believe in ourselves.

In the video below, performance and Well-being coach Alan O’Mara looks at how you can develop authenticity in day-to-day life. 


The Importance of Mental Skills

“MENTAL SKILLS IS something that entered my life the hard way,” Alan O’Mara explains.

“I’ve always been very open and honest about my journey, that I didn’t have these skills. I didn’t have things like self awareness, resilience, self compassion.

“The good thing about them being a skill… I grew up playing football all my life — taking kick-outs, for example, I only got better if I practiced them. I couldn’t tell you how many hours I spent kicking a football through pillars in my garden, just practice, over and over. But I never did that from a mental skills perspective.”

Performance and Well-being coach Alan O’Mara explains the importance of the Real Talks with SOSAD Ireland well-being hub to the42.ie  

Episode 9 - Growth Mindset with Alan O’Mara

What is Growth Mindset and why is it important? How can you develop Growth Mindset in your day to day life? 

A mindset is a mental attitude that determines how we understand and respond to situations. In a growth mindset, people believe that what they are capable of can be developed by putting in time and effort. Growth mindset empowers us to move through setbacks, develop resilience and improve our capabilities, rather than dwell on mistakes or be consumed by negative self-talk and self-doubt. 

Episode 10 - Leanne Kiernan

A brilliant footballer from Bailieborough in Cavan, Leanne Kiernan has represented Ireland at the highest level. She is also the reigning player of the year for Liverpool Football Club.  

Leanne reflects on the ups and downs of her journey so far and explains how tough times have helped her to build resilience and confidence. Leanne also shares her experience of grief and discusses the importance of friendship, family and reaching out for professional support. 

Listen to the full episode below. 

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