As everyone who reads my blog knows I’m a huge fan of mindfulness. My first brush with meditation was in my late teens and I never looked back. I am been very lucky to have had some incredible teachers from all over the world since then including Kadam Morten In New York and Sogyal Rinpoche who wrote the beautiful book The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

As a daily practitioner for many years now I couldn’t imagine a life without meditation. It has given me the ability to really connect with myself daily, get sober, cope with stress and become more creative and focused. In my book “Minding Mum” I place a special emphasis on both meditation and simple mindful ideas for new mums. You can listen to the meditations here.

Mindful Life - Join 700 + Save $300In April I will travel to Washington to The Mindful Life Conference to speak alongside an extraordinary group of 25+ presenters including Sharon Salzberg, Fleet Maull, Wendy Palmer, Frank Ostaseski and Diana Winston.

The schedule of speakers is here. 

I will be speaking on the following topics:

– Minding mum – Why selfcare and presence is the key to real balance as a mum 
– Sitting with emotions good and bad and how understanding that part of myself finally helped me to heal

 The conference takes place on April 21-22, 2017 at Gaylord National Resort, DC Metro Area

Don’t miss out on this annual gathering for the Mindfulness Movement. Mindful Life explores mindfulness and compassion in many different areas including work life, family life, civic life, education, health & wellness, social activism and culture. There will be talks, roundtables, workshops, yoga and mindful movement, contemplative practice, social events, and optional day long intensives.

Some Topics to be explored include:

·  How to bring mindfulness and compassion into organizations and schools

·  The state of the mindfulness movement and where things are heading

·  The core skills needed for conscious living and loving

·  What’s new in mindfulness technology

·  The latest science on mindfulness – and what the research says about how we can improve our well-being and performance

So why not be part of the excitement as hundreds of people from around the U.S gather in the nation’s capital area to explore big-picture topics, learn practical tools and best practices, share success stories, make one-on-one connections, and build community.

Visit AllThingsMindful.org for more information.

In my opinion meditation is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and a very powerful tool to have in your wellness toolbox. I have been meditating for many years and have a daily practice, which enables me to reconnect with myself each day. Most of us are distracted and live too much in our heads. Very rarely do we check in and come into our bodies and notice how we are feeling. For years I focused on external things like money, career and boyfriends to bring me happiness but I’ve learnt that true happiness and contentment actually comes from creating peace from the inside out.

MEDITATION, growth, space, inner being, spiritual growth, alison canavan, mindfulness, be completeIt’s almost like reversing everything we have been told in our western culture and truly understanding that we actually have everything we need to be happy within us already, we just need to tap into it and work with it. This takes time, patience and practice but with some consistency and work its one of the most worthwhile and rewarding practices to include in your daily life.

It has been said if you want more wellbeing, inner peace, happiness and less stress in your life then learn how to meditate. Researchers at Harvard University even found that during the practice of meditation the body has what they call ‘the relaxation response’ that gives the body deep rest, which is actually deeper than the rest we get from sleep.

[bctt tweet=” Meditation is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself” username=”alicanavan”]

Now I know that beginning a meditation practice can seem intimidating and often confusing because there are so many different types and trends out there today. Trying to quiet your mind can also seem like an impossible task or if you are anything like me when I first began I thought I had to stop my own thoughts! The good news is that not only do you not have to stop your thoughts but you can let them come and go with ease during your practice after all its impossible to stop your thoughts unless your are enlightened or indeed dead.

MEDITATION, growth, space, inner being, spiritual growth, alison canavan, mindfulness, be completeI have been trained in many different types of meditation and it’s important to find what works for you because we are all so different. There is plenty of support out there today in the form of apps, websites, online courses, books and more. I personally don’t believe that one type is more superior to another and in my own practice I use different supports like mantras, visualization and breathing techniques when I feel I need them. It’s important to note that you learn to meditate by meditating and you will grow with your practice.

[bctt tweet=”Meditation allows us the opportunity to work with our mind and understand that we are not our thoughts” username=”alicanavan”]

Meditation allows us the opportunity to work with our mind and understand that we are not our thoughts and that we can change them and in time even catch them before they catch us. In a study by The University of Wisconsin-Madison they found the first evidence of specific molecular changes in the body following a period of mindfulness meditation. This is truly amazing because it shows us that your genes do not automatically determine your future. This is called epigenetics and it is actually mainstream science and not on the fringe as you might think.

Basically how you live can have an effect on your genes almost like a volume control button. Based on your day-to-day experience the dial either gets turned up or down. By including meditation in your daily life it has been shown to have a positive effect on your gene expression and this expression can be passed down through generations if you have children, which means changing your lifestyle habits today can help the next generation become healthier too.

So not only can meditation change our brain activity and structure it can also have an effect on our genes too. But wait there’s more: because we know each aspect of us is interconnected recent research is also looking at the connection between meditation and our gut health too. Because meditation elicits a relaxation response it has been shown to have a significant impact on clinical symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). 

I didn’t fully appreciate all the research until I started to experience the real benefits for myself. My life has been transformed through meditation and yours can too.

MEDITATION, growth, space, inner being, spiritual growth, alison canavan, mindfulness, be completeHere are some of my top tips and a over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing some meditations so sign up to my newsletter below if you’re interested.

TOP TIPS:

NO EXCUSES: The biggest obstacle to starting is YOU. The most frequent thing I hear is the excuse that we have no time. This is also the excuse I used for many years although I found time to do plenty of other wasteful things for hours on end! If you can scroll through Facebook for 10 minutes you can gift yourself the essential 10 minutes to meditate and practice self-care.

JUST DO IT: Don’t overthink it too much just begin. We all have to start somewhere so choose an app or a class or a guided online meditation or simply follow my easy guide below.

GOOD WEBSITES: www.10percenthappier.com www.zen12.com www.omharmonincs.com www.freemindfulness.org, www.chopra.com, www.fragrantheart.com, www.tarabrach.com

GREAT APPS: Sattva, Buddhify, Calm, Headspace, Take A Break, Mindbody Connect, Omvana, Relax Melodies, Smiling Mind

I also have weekly live meditations for mums on facebook (join here) every week and there are 3 meditations available free to download from my website in the resources section for my book.

START YOUR DAY THE RIGHT WAY: I meditate in the morning as I find it helps start my day in a positive and intentional way. It’s a great way to settle yourself before the madness begins and I find if you give yourself 5-10 minutes in the morning your ability to cope with stress and any obstacles you encounter during the day is much better.

SMALL STEPS EACH DAY: Real change happens when we are consistent with our habits. 5-10 minutes each day is far better and more beneficial than 2 hours once a week. Even though small changes might not feel like a lot, trust me they make a big difference and the kind of difference you are really looking for = REAL CHANGE.

BE EASY WITH YOURSELF: As you begin your journey into meditation be kind and compassionate with yourself. It’s too easy to beat yourself up for wandering thoughts or unwanted emotions arising but this is not the time for that, we do that too much anyway. Instead, this is your time to focus on the present in a non-judgmental way to increase awareness, which in turn helps to calm the body and mind.

MEDITATION, growth, space, inner being, spiritual growth, alison canavan, mindfulness, be complete

Please feel free to comment below with any meditation questions you have…

Shine Bright,

Ali xxx

Having an attitude of gratitude is a daily habit that has literally changed my life. It’s a key player on my wellness team and got promoted to team captain early in its career. It works hard in the winter because lets face it that when I need it most.

The thing about gratitude is that it’s fun and easy to include in our daily lives. It gives us something tangible to work with that effects real change quite quickly and it works. Psychologist and best-selling author Shawn Achor has made a career out of studying the science of happiness and it just so happens he’s one of my favourite authors too having penned books like ‘Before Happiness’ and ‘The happiness advantage’ that make me smile before I even open their covers.

Having suffered from depression for most of my life I always placed my happiness on external factors like work, money and success but real happiness is an inside job and one that needs to be worked on daily and taken seriously. I never realized that I could choose to be happier as I always thought that you were either a happy or a sad person. I had written myself off and labeled myself until I discovered the world of positive psychology and neuroplasticity (rewiring the brain). The fact that the brain can rewire itself through experiences is a relatively new discovery but a very exciting one. It basically means that you can alter the structure and function of your brain through mental training. Working with many different therapies like CBT cognitive behavioural therapy and including some mindfulness, meditation and gratitude in my day I soon discovered that it’s possible to rewire your brain at any stage in your life. The thing is though just like exercising your muscles during exercise you do have to use it or you will lose it. So you need to be consistent with your happiness habits.

Gratitude, winter wellness, daily habits, feelgood, selfcare

(READ ABOUT GRATITUDE IN MY BOOK – MINDING MUM)

[bctt tweet=”Saying thank you mindlessly and practising gratitude mindfully are two completely different things: the latter will set you free” username=”alicanavan”]

Just think of gratitude as your psychological hot water bottle to get you through winter and its great fun for the family too. The health benefits include better sleep, less illness, better mood, increased empathy, improved self esteem and it has even been shown to have anti-aging benefits too! Every evening I ask my six-year-old son James to go through his day and pick the one thing he is most grateful for. This is my favourite part of the day as not only do I get an insight into his world but it’s also an important habit that encourages him to see the good things that happen each day. When I pick him up from school I always hear the negative stories about who is in trouble or what went wrong but this way I get to hear about the good things that happen too. It can be a fun game at dinner and a great way to start the morning too.


Psychologist and author of ‘Hardwiring Happiness’ Rick Hanson says “the brain is like Velcro for negative experiences and Teflon for positive ones”. I have found that working with my brain and on my happiness has brought contentment and an energy of appreciation into my life in a more natural way. Keeping a gratitude journal has also helped me to keep my life in perspective and see beyond the seemingly bad stuff. So why not give yourself a mindful break and try keeping a gratitude journal this winter.

MY TOP 5 TIPS:

  1. BUY A DEDICATED GRATITUDE JOURNAL– Having a thankful or gratitude journal makes the practice special and it’s a lovely way to read back on the good things in your life on bad days. My mantra: On days you feel blue have a read back through!
  2. GO FOR QUALITY RATHER THAN QUANTITY– Choose 3 things you are grateful for and then expand and write why in a journal. This way you get to create a deep energy of appreciation within
  3. GET UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL– research has shown that focusing on whom you are grateful for rather than what you are grateful for can have a bigger impact
  4. INCREASING AWARENESS – The key to personal growth is awareness and keeping a gratitude journal helps you to learn more about yourself
  5. ENJOY IT – Its for your eyes only so be personal and be true

09. MM_Gratitude_v2

SHOOT AND ARTICLE WERE PRINTED IN THE SUNDAY INDEPENDENT’S LIFE MAGAZINE ON AUGUST 21ST 2016

A life without alcohol: That sentence used to cause such turmoil and internal panic I would go and drink.

Sounds stupid or maybe even funny to some of you but in reality for a lot of us the thought of “forever” (sober) can be and is quite scary.

LIFE MAGAZINE, SUNDAY INDEPENDENT, SOBER, SOBER SISTERS, HEALTH AND WELLNESS, DRINKING, ALCOHOLISM, HEAVY DRINKING, LIVER PROBLEMS, HOW TO GET SOBER,Anyway I needed drink to chat to people, for confidence, to have a personality, to be creative, to have friends, to be accepted and my job revolved around it. I would use it to take the edge off, to cope with a tough day. I would drink to reward myself after I had worked hard or worked out or just because it was Friday or Monday or lunchtime or after work! We drink to celebrate weddings, christenings, birthdays, births and deaths so as you can see there is always a reason to have a drink.

When a reason didn’t present itself I would make it up. I could convince you pretty easily that black was white or vice versa. That’s the thing with addiction it tells you lies and you repeat those lies to anyone who will listen. Addiction rips you apart at your soul level, the very essence of your being dies. Using becomes a way of being happy or at least happier than being sober which is not hard.

Overall it’s a vicious cycle that lures you in with false promises of fun and spits you out with nothing: no self esteem, broken relationships, arguments, memory loss, lost belongings, wasted days, anxiety and depression.

Today I am celebrating eighteen months of sobriety. They are words I never expected to say and mean, after all I had tried so many times before. They are words that have taken me this long to write for fear that I might drink again. The past few weeks have really tested my sobriety like never before. James was in a near drowning accident on holidays and then our luggage and belongings were stolen on the way to the airport in Spain. But the real truth is that my sobriety will always be tested by something called life everyday if I let it, as life is challenging at the best of times. Learning to live in the real world with out crutches to lean on is really the biggest challenge of all.

For most of my life I numbed myself with drink. It was easy I was a model and partying was more normal than not partying. I was in pain and it was my pain relief. I suffered from depression and anxiety from an early age and during my teen years just getting up could be a struggle. I didn’t think this was unusual though as I thought everyone had to give themselves a good push to get through the day.

When I started experimenting with drink it was blissful. I felt high and alive and all my cares and troubles just faded away. The next day was always horrible but then again my days could be horrible anyway so the high was worth it. Very often I was the one being carried home from discos and nightclubs and I would spend the next 24 hours throwing up and laughing about it with friends. We’d joke about how many shots we could drink and boast about our alcohol intake like it was a measure of our madness and the madder you were the better.

LIFE MAGAZINE, SUNDAY INDEPENDENT, SOBER, SOBER SISTERS, HEALTH AND WELLNESS, DRINKING, ALCOHOLISM, HEAVY DRINKING, LIVER PROBLEMS, HOW TO GET SOBER,‘Party Ali” became a real identity. ‘Invite Ali she’s great fun and she’ll stay out with you all night.” I was never short of friends or invitations when I was abroad modeling and it was glamourized to such an extent that it was completely normal to drink all the time – at lunchtime, on catalogue trips and backstage at shows. The industry today is vastly different to 20 years ago. Back then it was a case of anything goes!

I would have regular blackouts and although they terrified me in the beginning I’m ashamed to say I got used to them. As I got older they began to scare me, no terrify me. I lived in New Your City by myself and there were mornings I wouldn’t remember where I was or whom I was out with. I was too embarrassed to ring around and I would sit nervously waiting for a message from one of my friends that might shine a light on the night before.

I tried to stop many times and succeeded for days, weeks and even months at a time. I periodically fooled myself and I fooled those around me. I got angry when anyone commented on my lifestyle and defended it at all costs after all everyone else was doing it too. I sat in AA for years listening to other people’s stories but I was still in denial. “I’m not as bad as them” I would think and go out and get wasted again, not remembering where I was or how I got home again. It is a miracle I am here today. I lived in constant fear of having to live in the real world with real feelings. I had never done it and I didn’t know how.

I constantly tried to play the balance game and I didn’t fit the stereotype of someone with a drinking problem (whatever that is!!). I could stop for months at a time and not drink during the week but I had to ask myself was I controlling my drinking or was my drinking controlling me?

Every morning I would wake up and look in the mirror and hate what was staring back at me. I always felt dirty and guilty. I was a pro at faking it. It didn’t affect my looks enough for me to stop as maybe if it had I would have stopped sooner. I got away with it you see, I was able to party, go to work and pull of a great shoot and then go home to die. I prided myself on never ever missing a day’s work until one day I did and then it happened again. I slept it out on a number of occasions or should I say passed out and didn’t wake up.

I remember my mum and her cousin coming to visit me in New York and I went missing for a day and night partying. She was sick with worry, as a girl had been murdered on 84th and Central Park West, one block from me!! But it wasn’t the first time I had acted so selfishly and done this. I promised never to do it again and I would argue with stupid things like I was only having fun and I was with good people. As a mother myself now I can only imagine the pain and worry I caused my mum through the years and I can still remember her sad face, it is etched into my memory forever.

LIFE MAGAZINE, SUNDAY INDEPENDENT, SOBER, SOBER SISTERS, HEALTH AND WELLNESS, DRINKING, ALCOHOLISM, HEAVY DRINKING, LIVER PROBLEMS, HOW TO GET SOBER,I lost my dad 17 years ago but even back then he knew there were warning signs and he often cursed my job choice and asked me to sit down for a chat. He told me if I ever felt things were a bit out of control and I needed help that I could always come to him. The irony being that when I lost him I drank more than ever before to help get me through it.

For me alcohol was like staying in a bad relationship. There were many warning signs early on but I ignored them. Passing out, blackouts, hospital visits our relationship survived them all. “Wow you can drink a lot,” people would say, “it must be because you are Irish.” Living abroad this was like a badge of honor. The more I drank the more I needed to drink and this is the danger.

I would drink to cope with anxiety especially in social situations and in the short term this worked but the next day was filled full of fear and regrets for money spent and the embarrassing things I did and said. I ended up in relationships with enablers who told me I had a problem but then happily poured alcohol down my neck when they wanted to drink themselves.

When I became a mum I thought I had figured things out after all I only had the odd glass of wine during my pregnancy so I obviously didn’t have a problem and then I breastfed too with no drink but it crept back up slowly in fact it had probably never gone away. A glass of wine was used to take the edge off in the evening, to cope with a stressful day, to help me socialize and enjoy dinners but most of all it was used to help me escape. But behind the façade I was a scared, single mum who was lonely and drink was my friend.

But it was a friendship based on secrets and lies. It robbed me of my dignity, self-esteem, health and happiness. I finally decided I wanted to be fully present in my life as I was exhausted escaping and piecing things back together the day after the night before.

I was sick of having the fear, sick of punishing myself, sick of trying to feel better but only succeeding in feeling worse. Overall I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.

My journey into true sobriety however was only beginning and I began to realise that when life happened which it does every second of every day I had no crutch and I actually had to feel feelings and work through my problems.

There were days I used to long for just a glass of wine in the evening to take the edge off or to destress. I needed a blowout once in a while people kept telling me but this time for the first time in 20 years I didn’t and haven’t since. I spent a year changing my thought patterns or the brainwashing that I have had for my whole life, Jason Vales book Kick the Drink Easily is a horrifying look at the truth about our real relationship with alcohol. I now know that a blow out would only put me back where I started and I’m trying to move forward.

I never truly thought I could break the cycle through the years so I tried to control it but deep down I was scared that this was bigger than me. I regularly cried, beating myself up for being such a weak loser. Annoyed and guilty that I couldn’t just be normal and have a drink and a chat and go home. It’s a vicious cycle of self abuse, low self esteem and getting wasted to escape that but in the end I always ended up in tears at 3AM regularly crying in nightclubs and never wanting to go home. I was a complete nightmare to be out with.

As the years went on my friends became impatient and annoyed. Once I had one there was no talking to me they said and I wanted to party until the bitter end. I told myself it was ok as it only happened once a month but that soon moved to once a week and then the girls were calling in for a glass of wine in the evening. They could stop at one but I couldn’t. The few weeks before I gave up were a mess. I went away with my friend Karen and again went missing to a party. She was so worried but her kindness and compassion in helping me to confront my drinking has helped to stay sober and that goes for all my true friends.

In the beginning I was a hot topic of conversation, which killed me and I would hear all the gossip back, you always do. “Give her time and she’ll fall spectacularly off the wagon and end up in Lillie’s”, “She won’t survive Christmas” These same people tried to hug and kiss me when I met them at work events and they were killed trying to tell me how proud they were. I learnt a lot about people last year. I learnt a lot about friendship, truth and honesty. I was lucky enough to be studying and writing a book in 2015 because let me tell you the phone never rang. Every single time I went out all anyone talked about was my drinking.

I have spent the past few years working hard on myself and it’s a daily job but worth every second. My unexpected pregnancy six years ago not only humbled me but it gave me a life, a real life where I now understand that all we have is right here right now. James forced me to be present, to heal and to dig deep to a really scary place I would probably never have visited otherwise. I peeled off the very painful layers that I have covered up with years of addiction and pain.

LIFE MAGAZINE, SUNDAY INDEPENDENT, SOBER, SOBER SISTERS, HEALTH AND WELLNESS, DRINKING, ALCOHOLISM, HEAVY DRINKING, LIVER PROBLEMS, HOW TO GET SOBER,I feel things now I don’t numb them and as hard as that is sometimes it’s necessary. I was so scared like a frightened child afraid of everything. What will I say to people, how will I stand, where will my confidence come from and will I have a personality without party Ali?

The truth is it’s damn hard in the beginning, like becoming a baby again helpless and vulnerable learning to crawl and then walk. Not long after I gave up drink I was at the VIP style awards and my friend Karen came with me for support. To the outside world I was in great form but inside I was crumbling with anxiety. As we sat at the table I took a massive anxiety attack, my legs were like jelly, my palms were sweating and I felt like I was going to have a heart attack and pass out.

Karen talked me through it quietly telling me I had been here before and I knew it was anxiety and that I would get through it. It took her about 30 minutes of talking me around and then she said the last award is over, lets get up and leave. I did and when I got into my car I fell apart and said I can’t do this but Karen said yes you can the worst is behind you and next time will be easier. She was right the next time was easier and the time after that.

It’s incredibly important to surround yourself with people who love and support you. It is one of the most important things you can do for your confidence, self-belief and health and wellbeing on your journey.

[bctt tweet=”Deep down I had always known that the road to giving up someday leads to a town called nowhere.” username=”alicanavan”]

I have always been a spiritual soul seeker and my life had been running on parallel lines for many years. I have been meditating since my late teens and attending retreats all over the world with many great masters and teachers but my lifestyle would pull me back in and I wanted to fit in.

I never thought it was possible to feel good naturally but now I feel more alive each day than I ever have before. I wake up every day with a heart full of gratitude and appreciation for what I have and who I have become. I’m excited for my future and for what lies ahead and I feel free. I do believe James was my angel and the catalyst that really started my true inward journey of healing but what I realized along the way was that you have to make these decisions for yourself. Not for your parents, partners, children or friends, YOU. You must find that place deep inside of you that knows you are worthy and worth it. This takes time, patience, hard work and perseverance.

[bctt tweet=”You must find that place deep inside of you that knows you are worthy and worth it” username=”alicanavan”]

Loving yourself is not vain or egotistical it’s an essential part of living a happy and fulfilled life. When you fill your tank and engine with kindness, compassion and love for yourself you have so much more to give to others.

I no longer beat myself up and I can’t believe the way I spoke to myself for so many years. I have a rule now and I try and catch myself when I start a negative rant. I think, to myself would I say this to a friend? If the answer is no then I try not to say these things to myself. I’ve learnt that if I wanted my life to be better then I needed to step up to the plate, show up and bring a better me to the table each day.

I’ve also learnt to stop the blame game because I wanted to grow, face myself and live a happy life. Blame to me is not taking responsibility for your own path and your own destiny. I was always blaming my mood or actions on what someone else said or did but in reality I am the only one with that power. We’re all a bit like junkies looking for our next fix from life and when things don’t go our way we blame everything and everyone around us but rarely do we look within and work with ourselves.

We keep looking for balance in an imbalanced culture by doing things like drinking too much to take the edge off and then taking painkillers in the morning to get up and get through our day. Then we go on cleanses, retreats and holidays to fix us but they don’t because real wellness is a daily job and something that needs to be worked on everyday.

What I have learnt since becoming sober is that professionally and personally I have soared. I sleep better and I’m in control of every aspect of my life. I feel things now and although it’s uncomfortable at times I also feel the depth and feeling of positive emotions too. I’m more present in my every day life and I now know that you don’t have to drink to have fun. I’ve discovered I have a personality without alcohol and the clarity in my life is incredible.

I’ve learnt that being happy comes when you realize how extraordinary the ordinary things in your life are and that without inner peace and contentment you have nothing in this life. The richest man will still be poor.

Now I have so much light in my life I feel free. Every day I can live without feeling like I’m drowning or pushing against the tide. To all addicts out there I never thought I could do it but it is possible. It tore me apart; I was emotionally and spiritually bankrupt. I was waking around dead most days. I covered up my feelings of unworthiness and low self esteem for years with alcohol but no more. I now have freedom, passion and a life without chains.

I am only ever a very small step away from addiction and I have accepted that with grace. Today I feel free, blessed and incredibly grateful. I am a work in progress and always will be as we all are. On my card for my book launch my sister Laura wrote “strong, sober and published author” Each one of those words are words I never thought would be used to describe me but we are all capable of so much more than we imagine.

Everyday I wake up and say Thank you. Then I meditate and write in my gratitude journal. As our brains are primitive and primed for survival and not happiness, happiness is our job and one I take very seriously. I have many great daily happiness habits that work for me.

Meditation and mindfulness are certainly having their moments but I would really urge you to not view them as a temporary fad because in my opinion they need to become a natural part of our day exactly like eating or drinking.

We are moving too fast and it’s coming at a high cost for us both personally and professionally. We are distracted, uneasy, unhappy, unsettled, anxious, depressed and ungrateful. We live in a world of instant gratification wanting more and more, quicker and quicker than ever before. Round and round we go, getting dizzy from the craziness that’s called modern life.

But how do we start to change this pattern, this endless cycle that we can’t seem to break free from?

We must train ourselves to slow down and even stop at times throughout our day. I now write myself a prescription for life to replace all those pills and prescriptions from years before. It goes something like this

Be Grateful

Check in with yourself

Breathe

Live with Joy

Meditate

Eat well

Move your body

Laugh with friends and

Love Fearlessly

LIFE MAGAZINE, SUNDAY INDEPENDENT, SOBER, SOBER SISTERS, HEALTH AND WELLNESS, DRINKING, ALCOHOLISM, HEAVY DRINKING, LIVER PROBLEMS, HOW TO GET SOBER,

 My life lessons have been vast and in very different settings and very much outside of what we consider the norm but if I can change my life anyone can and today if you ask me do I believe in miracles I would say yes I do because I’m living one and I’m sober.

If you consistently struggle from low energy, crave sweet & salty foods, have trouble concentrating and experience dizzy spells; it’s possible you’re suffering from adrenal fatigue. The adrenals are small glands located above the kidneys which are involved in hormone production. They play a huge role in our stress response and over time can become fatigued if we’re not managing our diet and lifestyle well or constantly exposed to stress. To overcome adrenal fatigue it’s important to eliminate highly processed foods, sugar & caffeine. Instead try to nourish the body with healthy fats such as avocados & nuts, oily fish such as salmon and lots of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower. Lifestyle changes such as reducing stress & consistently getting lots of sleep are important. Using essential oils can also be a great way to support the adrenal glands in a natural way and speed up recovery time. Here are the top 5 essential oils for adrenal fatigue:

Basil

Basil’s regenerative and stimulant properties make it an uplifting essential oil that helps to wake up the body. Applying it topically to the bottom of the feet each morning and evening is a good way to experience the benefits consistently. Basil can help to energise the mind so is an ideal oil to diffuse in a room if struggling with forgetfulness or mental fatigue.

Grapefruit

Fresh & detoxifying, grapefruit is another essential oil that can prove really helpful for adrenal fatigue. Mixing it with basil & applying it topically over the adrenals will help support over worked adrenal glands. Grapefruit can also be added to water or placed in a vegetable capsules which will also help combat the sugar cravings that often come with fatigue.

Geranium

Regenerative and strengthening, Geranium is often used to support organs such as the liver and kidneys and to help hormonal conditions such as PMS. Applying Geranium over the abdomen or taking it internally helps to support adrenals and to balance hormones. It is also a good oil to help balance emotions and a nice floral oil that is ideal for diffusing.

Rosemary

Often used for combating fatigue, Rosemary is a great essential oil to use alongside Basil to support the adrenal glands in recovering. Muscle weakness and tension is often reported as one of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue. Applying Rosemary topically can also help to ease the pain of sore or stiff muscles. Diffusing Rosemary can help combat mental fatigue and improve memory & concentration.

Wild Orange

A popular recommendation for combating stress, Wild Orange essential oil is incredibly uplifting and energising. It can help with concentration and inhaling it is a good way to improve your mood and at the same time reduce stress levels. Wild orange can also help with insomnia and improving the quality of your sleep is an important way to aid recovery from adrenal fatigue.

 

When selecting essential oils it’s important to choose 100% pure essential oils for the safest and most effective health benefits. Only certified pure therapeutic grade oils should be taken internally or used neat on the skin. Always dilute essential oils with carrier oil if applying topically to children.

Essential oils can be used aromatically to affect mood and open airways; topically for quick absorption into the body through the skin, and internally for immune & digestive support.

Essential oils are a great way to improve your health easily and quickly. Drop me a line if you’d like to learn more about using essential oils or where to purchase 100% pure oils.…

caroline@honestabouthealth.com

Do you want to learn how to get started with essential oils? in this video Caroline from Honest about Health takes us through the initial steps and explains in detail about essential oils, what they are and their uses

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON BUYING ESSENTIAL OILS CONTACT CAROLINE caroline@honestabouthealth.com

and check out our weekly articles right here on Be Complete every Friday called Essential Health

At the start of the year at time when there is a lot of attention on looking well and eating right, we can often underestimate the importance of caring for our emotional health. Stressful environments, hormonal imbalance, upsetting relationships and traumatic events are some of the many factors impacting our everyday emotional health. Eating well to nourish the body and brain can help to balance moods and using natural remedies is another great tool to help care for our emotional health. Our sense of smell is incredibly powerful and aromas can elicit strong and rapid emotional responses. Here are 5 essential oils to help with emotional health and balance.

  1. Juniper Berry

Juniper Berry when used topically or aromatically can help alleviate tension and stress from the body. It is a useful oil to use post trauma, when struggling to overcome fears or if suffering from nightmares or night terrors. Diffusing juniper berry in a bedroom at night is a practical way to promote a tension free sleep and experience the therapeutic benefits.

  1. Patchouli

Incredibly versatile, patchouli’s antidepressant properties make it a good selection for emotional health. It can help to uplift mood and relieve tension in the body. It has also been used as an aphrodisiac for hundreds of years. It helps to improve circulation and is often used to help increase libido for both men and women.

  1. Frankincense

Used throughout history by many cultures, Frankincense is renowned for its restorative and healing properties. Often used aromatically or placed under the tongue to combat depression, it is known for its anti-inflammatory and antidepressant properties. Frankincense oil helps to promote feelings of peace which makes it an ideal oil to help balance emotions after trauma, unexpected events or dealing with grief. Commonly used for focus & meditation it is a wonderful oil to use topically and aromatically to ease mental fatigue and help balance emotions.

  1. Wild Orange

Uplifting and invigorating, wild orange is a wonderful oil to use every day to combat stressors and boost moods. The aroma of wild orange can help with feelings of anxiety and fear. If feeling nervous about a situation like flying or speaking in front of a group, inhaling wild orange can have a calming effect. Use wild orange topically and aromatically daily to feel calmer, more optimistic and less reactive to stressors.

  1. Lavender

Incredibly calming and useful, Lavender is renowned for its soothing and sedative properties. It is often used aromatically and topically to help balance emotions and in particular to improve the ability to express feelings. Lavenders calming properties can help with feelings of impatience, agitation, defensiveness and sadness.

 essential health, essential oils, caroline Jackman, health and wellness, emotions, oils, wild orange, valentines blend, lavender

When selecting essential oils it’s important to choose 100% pure essential oils for the safest and most effective health benefits. Only certified pure therapeutic grade oils should be taken internally or used neat on the skin. Always dilute essential oils with carrier oil if applying topically to children.

Essential oils can be used aromatically to affect mood and open airways; topically for quick absorption into the body through the skin, and internally for immune & digestive support.

Essential oils are a great way to improve your health easily and quickly. Drop me a line if you’d like to learn more about using essential oils or where to purchase 100% pure oils.…

caroline@honestabouthealth.com

essential oils, stress, allergies, headaches, anxiety, natural health, holistic health, essential health, caroline jackman, alison canavan, be complete, lavender essential oilOne of the most popular essential oils used around the world, people often associate Lavender with aiding a good night sleep. A wonderfully calming blend, Lavender’s antidepressant, soothing and antibacterial properties make it an incredibly versatile essential oil with a multitude of practical uses in the home. Here are my top 10 suggestions for using Lavender:

  1. Sleep

Lavender is the first oil I recommend using on children who struggle to wind down or sleep through the night. Diffusing a drop or two of lavender in their room at night is a practical way for them to benefit from the relaxing effects. Diluting lavender and rubbing it on the soles of the feet is another good application method. Add a drop to an adult’s pillow or inhale deeply to promote restful sleep.

  1. Allergies

Hay fever and allergies can interfere with everyday life and stop people from taking part in activities outdoors. A natural and effective way to help avoid the irritating symptoms of allergies is to take lavender internally with lemon & peppermint. Add a few drops of each to water or place in a veggie capsule and consume internally. Easy & natural routine to use in the springtime!

  1. Soak away stress

More than ever we’re suffering from high levels of stress and the demands of balancing stressful jobs with busy home lives. Placing a few drops of lavender in the palm of the hands and inhaling deeply, or rubbing some on the back of the neck is a good technique to use to keep stress levels down. For adults in need of a good relaxation routine, mixing a few drops of lavender with Epsom salts and soaking in the bath is a great way to benefit from the relaxing properties of the oil.

  1. Room Freshener

Lavender is a sweet smell that many people have positive associations with. Instead of using chemical air fresheners, freshen up a room by spritzing a mix of lavender & water or adding a few drops to a diffuser. Add lavender to a cotton ball and place it at the bottom of the bin or a jar in the bathroom to get rid of nasty smells.

  1. Burns

Whether it’s a burn from the cooker or from sitting in the sun, Lavenders analgesic & soothing properties can provide a welcome relief. Applying it topically to the area can help the skin to heal and at the same time calm and ease the pain.

  1. Earache

Earache, temperature and sick feelings that often come with them are distressing especially for children. Warming lavender ever so slightly, mixing it with a carrier oil and applying it around the ear (never inside the ear) can help relieve the feelings associated with earache.

  1. Cuts & Scrapes

Create a bottle of ‘magic spray’ as first aid for when children cut or scrape elbows and knees. Mix with some carrier oil in a glass spray bottle for a handy way to apply to grazes in awkward places. Lavenders disinfecting properties will help keep the area clean and soothe the skin.

  1. Headaches & Migraines

Apply some lavender to your temples and the back of your neck for a regenerative effect. Inhale from the bottle or palm of hands at the first sign of a headache.

  1. Insect Bites

Use lavender to repel insects and creepy crawlies by spritzing around windows & doors or diffusing. If you’re unlucky enough to be bitten, applying lavender topically can help to sooth the bite and reduce the inflammation and itchy sensation.

  1. Anxiety

Apply lavender topically on the back of the neck and over your heart before situations that can induce anxiety. Avoid the chemicals in perfume and apply lavender around the neck to smell great and help with emotional balance.

 Lavender protocol, fresh and diffuse lavender, geranium, bergamot, essential oils, stress, allergies, headaches, anxiety, natural health, holistic health, essential health, caroline jackman, alison canavan, be complete, lavender essential oil

When selecting essential oils it’s important to choose 100% pure essential oils for the safest and most effective health benefits. Only certified pure therapeutic grade oils should be taken internally or used neat on the skin. Always dilute essential oils with carrier oil if applying topically to children.

Essential oils can be used aromatically to affect mood and open airways; topically for quick absorption into the body through the skin, and internally for immune & digestive support.

Essential oils are a great way to improve your health easily and quickly. Drop me a line if you’d like to learn more about using essential oils or where to purchase 100% pure oils.…

caroline@honestabouthealth.com

essential health, essential oils, detox,caroline jackman, alison canavan, be complete, health and wellness, holistic health, juniper, lemon, grapefruit, detoxing, body careAt the start of the year we are often bombarded with cleanse and detox programmes. People don’t often think of detoxing as something we can do easily and on a daily basis without embarking on a strict regime. When we rid the body of toxins we feel more energised and our body performs its functions more efficiently. Cleaning up your diet is the most helpful thing you can do to decrease the toxic load on your system and essential oils can help support the detox process. Selecting specific oils can help to release toxins from fat cells and can also help with balancing gut bacteria for healthy digestion.

Here are some of the top 5 oils for detoxing

  1. Lemon

One of my favourite and most refreshing essential oils, lemon has so many day to day practical uses. Adding a drop or 2 of lemon oil to your water daily can help with lymphatic cleansing and detoxing. It is also helpful to take internally when suffering from heartburn and reflux. Inhaling it and applying it topically like a perfume will help with emotional balance and is incredibly uplifting.

  1. Grapefruit

Grapefruit essential oil is ideal for cleansing and helping to improve kidney function when taken internally. It is a good choice for supporting the body to detox and also assists the digestive system. Adding grapefruit to water or rubbing it on the soles of the feet aids an overall body detox. It is known to help combat sugar cravings so is also useful at a time when you’re trying to avoid adding sugar and toxins to the body.

  1. Lemongrass

Lemongrass is a wonderful purifier with anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It is useful for digestive issues & mixes well with peppermint. Taking lemongrass oil internally can help to flush toxins out of the body and it supports the liver, kidneys, digestive tract and bladder.

  1. Rosemary

Rosemary essential oil helps with digestive complaints and is also a great detoxifier. It supports the gallbladder and liver function, organs which are important for eliminating toxins from the body.

  1. Juniper Berry

Juniper Berry essential oil is known for its detoxing properties. Taken internally it helps with cleansing, supporting the liver and assisting with elimination of toxins. Applying it topically or taking it in a capsule is also a good way to improve urinary health and avoid water retention.

Top tip: Start your day with 1-2 drops of lemon or Grapefruit essential oil in a glass of water to help your body detox in an easy and natural way.

 Oil Pulling, essential health, essential oils, detox,caroline jackman, alison canavan, be complete, health and wellness, holistic health, juniper, lemon, grapefruit, detoxing, body care

When selecting essential oils it’s important to choose 100% pure essential oils for the safest and most effective health benefits. Only certified pure therapeutic grade oils should be taken internally or used neat on the skin. Always dilute essential oils with carrier oil if applying topically to children.

Essential oils can be used aromatically to affect mood and open airways; topically for quick absorption into the body through the skin, and internally for immune & digestive support.

Essential oils are a great way to improve your health easily and quickly. Drop me a line if you’d like to learn more about using essential oils or where to purchase 100% pure oils.…

 

caroline@honestabouthealth.com

Happiness levels, alison canavan, positive life, smile more, exercising, gratitude, meditation, life coach, wellness coach,So we all want to be happier but some days it really feels like we’re playing tug-o-war with ourselves. However, did you know that YOU actually have a huge part to play in how happy you are! According to research happiness is like a muscle that needs to be exercised daily.

“It’s a choice and it’s a practice. “according to author and Harvard trained researcher of positive psychology Shawn Achor

 

But how many people do you know who are addicted to negative thinking and why is it that negative thinking seems to be a much more comfortable space for a lot of people? Well it’s actually a bad habit that people have become very good at after all they practice it non-stop.

So according to Shawn Achor, we can actually retrain our brains to be happier and the best news of all is that it only takes 5-10 minutes out of your day.

So, if we are what we attend to in this life, here are some simple happiness habits you simply must attend to every day:

 

  1. GRATITUDE

Practicing gratitude every single day can have enormous benefits for our health and happiness. Choose 3 different things every day that you are grateful for and really feel the gratitude. I keep a “Thankful Journal” and writing in it each day is very simply just another habit like eating and sleeping for me now. In research studies even people testing as low-level pessimists after practicing gratitude for 21 days became low-level optimists. A 2-minute habit for 21 days can change and increase your happiness levels. (Martin Seligman) Gratitude has even been shown to trump your genes and environment and it also changes your vibrational frequency in the world.

 

  1. SMILE MORE

A simple smile can actually change your brain chemistry. Yes it’s that powerful so smile more today and every day for yourself and others. You never know you might just brighten someone’s day.

 

  1. STRETCH AND MOVE YOUR BODY

Build muscle and happiness by moving your body every day. Get out for a walk; take a class or just dance around your living room! Your body was made to move. Jump up and down for a few minutes and see how different you feel. As I always say its possible to shake your booty and dance your mood away!

 

  1. EAT FOOD TO FEED YOUR MOOD

Good fats feed our mood so make sure you are getting your omega 3’s daily and if you are not eating oily fish 3-5 times a week you should probably consider a supplement. I take ESKIMO OMEGAS daily because I know I don’t get enough in my daily diet and during my recovery from Post Natal Depression Omega 3’s helped greatly.

Omegas are what we call Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) The term ‘Essential’ in nutrition means that your body cannot synthesise/make it itself so you need to get it from your diet or supplement. I also love avocados and I use a lot of coconut oil daily too along with nuts and eggs. Eating fresh wholefoods in a variety of colours is also important and essential for good health and mood so my top tip is – shop and eat the rainbow.

 

  1. MAKE REAL CONNECTIONS

We have some of the loneliest people living in the biggest cities in the world. It’s imperative that we get back to nurturing our deep connections with each other. Real life relationships have a powerful affect on our happiness. Friendship and love are so important but these days some of us are so busy we forget to connect so pick up the phone to that special someone today.

 

  1. MEDITATE

All you need to do is stop, sit and focus on your breath from as little as 2 minutes a day to see a real difference. Meditation has infinite positive benefits for our health and wellbeing. Check out my beginners video right here.