Summer has arrived. There is arguably no nicer time of the year. The long evenings had been creeping in before the clocks went forward.

The birdsong is getting earlier and the kaleidoscope of colours on the cloudless mornings would do your heart good.

So much about how we feel is how we soak up the beauty around us. We can be in control of our own happiness if we try.

I am old enough to remember the 1990/91 Gulf war which followed Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. I had just completed my Leaving Cert

And it’s on a crisp spring morning that we should use the opportunity to drink in that spring tonic. These are very trying times for all our minds.

We have just been throttled with two huge tests of our composure like never before.

I am old enough to remember the 1990/91 Gulf war which followed Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. I had just completed my Leaving Cert, so for my generation, it was the first time being exposed to an international confrontation like this. It was the first “TV war”.

Twenty-four-hour rolling news was new and the likes of CNN beamed into our living rooms live pictures of scud missiles being fired every night. It was quite scary and brought us close to the frontline of war.

This time around we are watching a war through the lens of social media with minute-by-minute posts from the battleground

The second gulf war post 9/11 was even more dramatic and grotesque. Again it shone a mirror up to the world and its fragility. The current bloody events in Ukraine have reminded me of the anxiety which war injects into us. This time around we are watching a war through the lens of social media with minute-by-minute posts from the battleground. The images and stories are harrowing and a test of our mental strength to process what is happening.

It is two years since we were plunged into an extraordinary era of our lifetime, being told to stay at home and all the other many surreal unprecedented effects on our daily routine as a result of the global pandemic. When we stand back and think about how most of us managed to deal with this seismic shift in our lives, it shows how resilient we are when we need to be. There were various cohorts of society whom could claim to have been hit most.

It’s like as if we are new creatures he is seeing for the very first time smiling back at him

But the craziness of our time was crystallised for me recently when a mother cradling her smiling two year old told me how her child is reacting to seeing strangers without masks for the first time in their young life. It’s like as if we are new creatures he is seeing for the very first time smiling back at him.

Even as a journalist who eats and sleeps news, I am limiting exposure to events in Ukraine. We have had the COVID-19 panic, a global environmental crises, and now the threat of a nuclear war. For young people in particular, these layers of anxiety cannot be good for ones mental health.

In a world where rolling and uncensored news is now a click away, rather than confined to a late-night news bulletin, we need to employ filters for our own sanity.

Thankfully the brightness and colours of summer act as natural therapy to all the manmade ills of the world

It’s of little significance when compared to the sheer horrors innocent people in Ukraine are suffering but we should, as families and groups of friends, be aware of the anxiety and impact of all of these events on different people when it comes to casual conversations. I just try to stay clear of war talk.

Thankfully the brightness and colours of summer act as natural therapy to all the manmade ills of the world. Soak it up.

Humble beginnings

Interviewing Rachael Blackmore for the Irish Angus Beef Schools competition event this week, it is always lovely to hear about how growing up on a dairy and sheep farm has been very much part of her success story.

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