Finding the beginnings of emotion

Where do our emotions come from? Janet Donnelly will help to explain at an insightful talk at the Festival of Happiness. You'll leave with an understanding of how our emotions affect our everyday lives and what we need to do to keep calm and think better.

Janet Donnelly is a retired paediatrician and trained counsellor; we caught up with her to find out what makes her happy.

Q: What is your favourite word, and why?

A: I do not have one favourite word. I will have a favourite word of the moment depending on what I hear or read. My favourite word at the moment is apotheosis which I heard last night while watching the play, Charlie Sonata at the Lyceum theatre in Edinburgh.

Q: What was the last book you read?

A: I have had 2 books on the go which I have just finished. 'A Tale for the Time Being' by Ruth Ozeki. This is a story about life and living in the moment. There is magic and mystery and even quantum theory. Very well written and a joy to read if harrowing at times. The other was on my kindle. I like to read the classic authors especially those books I have not yet read and this was one by Wilkie Collins called 'The Black Robe'.

Wilkie understands human nature and it is very much a psychological drama if a fraction boring at times. Not his best work!

Q: What is your earliest memory?

A: Being at the bottom of a street facing some houses and I think I was anticipating the emergence of a possible playmate.

Q: What, if anything, do you owe your parents?

A: A stable and loving home.

Q: What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

A: I don't think I am there yet. I have 2 lovely daughters and did get some way to achieving what I wanted for the children and families in my care but there was a lot more to go. I still want to make a difference in a positive way.

Q: What is your screensaver?

A: Currently it is a sea scene viewed through an arch of rock. I did not choose it but I like it.

Q: Do you have a guilty pleasure, and if so, what?

A: I do like chocolate!

Q: When were you happiest?

I have had happy moments in my life like the birth of my daughters and my grandchildren. I enjoy walking with my husband Geoff and we have had some very happy times together doing this activity. I also love going out for a walk on my own meandering looking for birds and flowers. I love being in the countryside. There are many more with people I love, like cooking or exploring with my grandsons. 

I like to use my brain to work out things and develop and of course, there is nothing like a really good book.


Do join us at The Emotional Brain at the Festival of Happiness on Sat 27th May - 3pm – 3:30pm at the Bell Tent in Settle. This is just one of 20 FREE events at the Festival.