Marian @ Krysan


Planting Golden Seeds in Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, and Durham




Inspirational friends



  • Learning from Wonderful Lives - book (2005)
  • Lessons from the study of wellbeing
  • Dr. Nick Baylis, Cambridge University Positive Psychologist



Everybody's Business



SunflowerMarian Moore (storyteller). 

I was first introduced to the study of wellbeing by Dr. Nick Baylis of Cambridge University who wrote a column on the Science of Happiness for The Times newspaper's Saturday Magazine some years back. Intrigued and excited by the new feel-good concept, I followed my nose and quickly acquired a copy of Dr. Baylis's book Wonderful Lives. It's a pretty hefty tomb to digest, but here's a smidgen of what I gleaned in those early days and where this led.



According to Dr. Baylis, 'Wonderful lives are lives that are happy and healthy, helpful and good-hearted - in ways that are profound and enduring, not superficial or fleeting.  This means leading a life that is not only good for oneself but also good for the people around us.  You thereby become the sort of person who is a pleasure to have around and who makes a wonderful difference to whatever you are part of'.  BAYLIS, 2005  

  • Think, happy.  
  • Think, healthy.

One million Times' readers were not only intrigued by the writings of Dr. Baylis, but we can surmise that many lives were changed for the better and hopefully forever.  These included the lives of patients at an old mental health hospital - only recently raised to the ground - on the outskirts of Sunderland. We too fell hook, line and sinker for the potential (and novelty) of the new wellbeing movement. To the delight of all concerned, Dr. Nick Baylis, a positive psychology professor from Cambridge University, turned out to be the consummate storyteller.  As Dr. Feelgood, he entered the conscious awareness of the nation.  Permission to smile ...

  • Think, love. 
  • Think, peace.

Ten years on and the direction of flow of the wellbeing movement is still towards the transformation of humankind by helping minds and bodies to thrive and flourish as never before.  For instance, the importance of sufficient sleep, broad daylight, physical activity, and smart nutrition is gradually seeping into the awareness of those seeking to nourish and nurture beautiful health.  Moreover, we are all learning that changing even our smallest routines can open up the routes to profound progress by breaking unhelpful habits and building rewarding new ones.  

  • Think, self-healing.
  • Think, flourishing.

Over time, I have become completely at one with a set of ideas that involves a recognition of the benefits of self-healing.  This has meant identifying, unpacking and then discarding out-worn beliefs and values that had done me more harm than good in my personal life and had once destroyed a promising career.  This was a spring-clean of 'constraints of the mind' that I had to do by myself, for myself. I then set about quietly internalising lessons learnt from the study of wellbeing and started out on a journey of will that has taken me into a new life.  This shift was no mean feat for a woman who was once completely overwhelmed by the pain of living, frozen-fast and unreachable in an alternative reality for twelve years. And all this, whilst her bewildered North Eastern family held its breath, held the space ... and prayed.



A new millennium.  A eureka moment.  A life saved.  With a book under my arm, and Qwerty at my fingertips, I set about reshaping my life by bringing order where there had been chaos, and attempting to make sense out of heartbreak and tragedy. A career as a storyteller was first just an idea, next imagined and then gradually turned into a reality. By 2008, my creation of the mind had morphed seamlessly into an emotional wellbeing business, and sharing thoughts, feelings, theories and facts has now become a way of life.  No Power Point - no flip chart - no whiteboard - just a traditional storyteller using traditional skills. And so, lessons learnt over a life-time are handed on to others. Default to joy. 

  • Think, wellbeing
  • Think, laughter

Exposure to the life-story genre has proved especially apt for young people setting out on a career in health and social care, be this as medical doctors, social workers, or mental health nurses. Even journalists in training and their editors have come onto my radar. That I have been there and got the T-shirt is something that also has currency for mental health services looking outside the box in a search for new models of care.  At long last, a determined hunt is on for treatments that work towards recovery, rather than against it; and so transformation of our beloved (but expensive) National Health Service is under-way.  As systems shudder and shift, critical friends are needed as never before. Take heart ... 

  • Think, recovery.
  • Think, transformation.  

'Innovation' has become the latest buzz word throughout the land. As someone with a vested interest in creative ageing (and a job to do), shortly I'll be exploring the related notion of 'ageing with vitality' on this website. As always, good communication is key. Helped along with a nudge here and there, there will surely come a tipping point and the distress (and loss) caused by ageist attitudes will belong to the past, to less-enlightened times. Significantly, investment in new Memory Protection Services is high on the agenda locally and nationally. Likewise, finding extra funding for dementia research has become a priority.  Even the British Prime Minister has got himself involved.  

Care. This is everybody's business.



Today, an opportunity presents itself to acknowledge and give thanks for the Wonderful Lives of three young women. I know them to be 'the sort of people who are a pleasure to have around and who make a wonderful difference to whatever they are part of'.  With their permission, the names of three inspirational women I know well are given below. All are already in the public domain.


Miriam Akhtar (writer).

Having recently published a self-help book on overcoming depression, Miriam made the news again when her book was peer-reviewed in an on-line publication of note - a global acknowledgement of excellence.  Meet my learned friend, positive psychologist Miriam Akhtar.  MIriam is a woman on a mission to help people get to know how good life can get. Currently standing at No. 3 on Amazon's best sellers' list, Miriam's book is set to change the way we care for ourselves and the way we care for others.  And not a moment too soon. This is a ground-breaking effort, born of passion and commitment to a noble cause. To learn more, go to the side menu and select GOLDEN MOMENTS/FOOTPRINTS or click on the link to her website - details at end of page.

SunflowerMary O'Hara (journalist).  

Around a log fire in a hotel in Cornwall, I listened entranced as Mary told me her story of growing up in a troubled Northern Ireland, her schooling in her home town of Belfast, her education at Cambridge University, and her career as a journalist in London. So it was that another 'Shift Team' got under-way on a mission to root-out stigma by challenging society's negative attitudes. For a year, we travelled the highways and byways of academia talking to student journalists about the (ethical) reporting of mental health and suicide in the press. Mary shared her skills as an experienced freelance journalist; I spoke out as an unintended victim of media reporting. In her role as a social commentator, Mary O'Hara writes regularly for The Guardian, New Statesman, and other 'quality' national publications.  MARY, I SALUTE YOU.  For the Guardian's page on Mary, go to the end of this page.

SunflowerLorraine Nicholson (artist). 

Dr. Nick Baylis and I are both of the firm opinion that 'a wonderful life doesn't mean a life that's trouble-free or without fault or flaw. It's wonderful because the person is still smiling and going strong after all they've been through'. Lorraine Nicholson is an inspirational woman on many counts, not least because she has picked herself up, dusted herself down, and carried on regardless - on more than one occasion. Like many creative people, Lorraine sees (and suffers) more than most. That's just the way it is.  The Journey Home is a story of recovery from depression told through the medium of art, photography, and poetry. Wonderful.  Insightful.  Courageous.  For more about Lorraine and her book, simply go to her website; details are given at the end of this page.



Inspirational women. 

My three inspirational women are all published authors, all skilled word-smiths, and all much in demand as storytellers. Moreover, they are all exceptionally talented creatives, all changing the world for the better, and all well-deserving of this accolade: 'Their deeds are written not on stone, but on the hearts of men.' 

  • Miriam Akhtar (England)
  • Mary O'Hara (Ireland)
  • Lorraine Nicholson (Scotland)
Inspirational friends. 

Miriam, Mary and Lorraine are inspirational friends, 'simply the best' and no-thing and no-one will ever persuade me otherwise. Thanks to them, and the other caring young people I meet as I go about my daily business, my heart is full with hope for the future.

'If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants'.


Inspirational friends

  • Marian Moore (NE storyteller).
  • March, 2012.


Miriam Akhtar: www.positivepsychologytraining.co.uk/ 

Mary O'Hara:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/maryohara

Lorraine Nicholson www.hope4recovery.co.uk


Smiley - typingAKHTAR, MIRIAM (2011), Positive Psychology for Overcoming Depression: Self-help strategies for happiness, inner strength and well-being, London, pub. Watkins Publishing.

BAYLIS, NICK (Dr.), (2005), Learning from Wonderful Lives: Lessons from the study of well-being brought to life by the personal stories of some much admired individuals, Cambridge, pub. Cambridge Well-being Books Ltd.

NICHOLSON, LORRAINE (2010), The Journey Home: A collection of poetry, artwork and photography embracing the theme of recovery from severe depression, pub. UK, Tooth Books.  Lorraine's book can be bought via her website: www.hope4recovery.co.uk


  • AUSTERITY BITES: a journey to the sharp end of cuts in the UK 
  • By Mary O'Hara (journalist and Fulbright scholar)
  • Pub. Policy Press, 2014


When time is running out, God is running in. COHEN

Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Seek what they sought. BASHO

Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless.  PAOLINETTI


This is a recording of "The Role of Mindfulness in Education", a benefit for Mindful Schools (www.mindfulschools.org) by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn at UC Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall on Feb. 17, 2012. Mindful Schools is a non-profit organization that has taught mindfulness to over 18,000 children (in 53 different schools) and 2,500 adults as of April 2012. 

Make it a good day.



No Greater Power

  • Somebody gave me a rose today
  • It had no thorns.
  • Somebody offered me solace today.
  • There was no malice.
  • Somebody gave me a smile today.
  • There was no judgement.
  • Somebody gave me their time today.
  • There was no grudging.
  • These people gave me the chance today
  • To write a poem about the power of compassion,
  • The greatest power we have ...

Lorraine Nicholson





This article was tweeted by the Mental Health Foundation.




7,931 hits @ 2017-05-15


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