When a friend comes to you with a problem, it’s unlikely that you call them a loser, tell them that they’ve failed and that you always thought they were hopeless!

Why is it then, that we talk to ourselves this way? Why do we criticize and bully ourselves to always do better — to be continuously perfect?

As a part of self-care January I’m teaming up with Maureen Cooper, Director of Awareness in Action, to provide you her amazing self-care course. This online course has the answers to all this and shows how by becoming a good friend to ourselves we can find the solutions. The course starts on February 1st.

Outcomes from this course: 

Changing our habits takes time and effort—just like when we train in the gym, or learn a new language. However, as soon as we begin to work with these habits, things can start to change. By working through this course and making the exercises part of your new routine, you will learn to:

• Identify your inner critic and to take it less seriously

• Turn your inner voice from harsh critic to good friend

• Understand that kindness is a more effective way of supporting ourselves through difficulties than criticism is

• Recognise struggle and disappointment as common to all

• To separate a challenge from your reaction to it

• To understand the benefits of self-compassion

Friend - Say About the course

“Being a working mum with a 9-month-old son I have very little time to dedicate to ‘me’. Maureen’s course is perfectly designed to allow busy people to digest the lessons in their own time, and each lesson is short and focused. The course has armed me with tools to help me deal with life’s pressures and I feel great for having invested a little time in my own personal growth.” – Lucy Thornton

“Whether you are an “expert” on the matter, or a lay person wanting to deepen your knowledge and understanding of meditation and compassion, this course will not disappoint you. The course is very well structured, and Maureen Cooper is impeccable in providing constant encouragement, guidance and support. Throughout the course, there is a genuine concern of linking learning activities with updated scientific evidence, in a way that is widely comprehensible. I definitely recommend it as a worthy opportunity for personal and professional development.” – Carlos Carona

Apply your coupon for self-care January by using the coupon ‘selfcare’

For the basic course option 

For the basic course + coaching

minding mum, dreams come true, love, life, motivation , new book, mothers day, gift ideas, thank you, book launch, I spent a lot of my life thinking I couldn’t do a lot of things and being really hard on myself for not doing and being enough. I have pushed myself, studied hard and broken down a lot of my fear barriers in the last few years and let me tell you although difficult at times it is incredibly rewarding to keep pushing through your comfort zone a little each day.

I have been completely overwhelmed by all the support for my new book and I am so grateful for everyone who turned up to support me on Tuesday evening at my launch but more importantly I am so grateful to every single mum who has taken the time to write to me over the years. Often you mention that I inspire you but actually it works both ways and this book was written and inspired by your kind words of encouragement on very difficult days when I felt like giving up.

The day James was born is the day I was reborn into this world. Through the eyes of a child I learnt to see the beauty and wonder in everyday things.

On this journey I learnt to love myself but more importantly I learnt that I am enough!!!

This book is my hug, my hand and my smile that I’m reaching out to give to any mum who needs it.

Two sayings ring true to me

No man is an island


It takes a village to raise a child

We have some of the loneliest people living in the biggest cities in the world. Professor of Positive Psychology at Harvard Shawn Achor, has been studying happiness for many years now and what they are starting to understand is just how important human connection is which is what our busy lives are preventing us from having. New mums often feel isolated and lonely at home with a new baby so it’s important in the early days to have help and support.

Six years ago all I saw were broken dreams and personal disappointments but now I’m standing here doing something that some people only ever dream about and there is not a second of this journey that I have taken for granted.

Our lives are journeys throughout them we either learn or die. There are too many people walking around already dead and I did not want to be one of them, so I fought hard to learn everything I could about myself, my illness and how to be happy.

Our brains are primed for survival not happiness. Happiness is our job and a job we need to work at every day.

It’s so important that we value self care. I try to be better both professionally and personally every single day. These past few years like everyone I had some great days, good days, OK days and some very bad days but every day I tried. I initially fought because of James and for James but because of him I now do it for myself. I now value myself enough to treat myself better, be my personal best and really try and live each day no matter what it throws at me!

minding mum launch, book, james and alison canavan, house dublin, dreams, selfcareI’m so incredibly grateful for this opportunity and know that the catalyst for all change in anyone’s life is taking risks and some ONE person taking a risk on you. Deirdre and The team at gill did just that and I wanted to make them proud.

Never under estimate the influence you can have on a persons life as I said no man is an Island and we need each other to succeed and grow.

Dalai Lama:

“Hard times can build determination and inner strength. Through them we can also come to appreciate the uselessness of anger”

Enjoy #mindingmum in all good bookstores now €16.99 and send me your pics with the book to or tag me on social media



Now we are well into January are your New Year Resolutions beginning to feel a bit like this discarded Christmas tree left in the garbage? Are you struggling with the strict regime you have set up and at the same time feeling guilty and dissatisfied with yourself?

SELF COMPASSION, MAUREEN COOPER, alison canavan be complete, life coach, minfulness coach, health coach, health and wellness, self help, new years resolutions, failed resolutions, self care

The trouble is when our resolutions start to slip we tend to start beating up on ourselves, and feeling bad.

SELF COMPASSION, MAUREEN COOPER, alison canavan be complete, life coach, minfulness coach, health coach, health and wellness, self help, new years resolutions, failed resolutions, self care

How we set about making New Year Resolutions

There is nothing wrong with wanting to get the best out of ourselves, nor with using the beginning of a new year as a time for reflection on how we are living our lives. The thing is we tend to go about it in such a self-critical way.

We look at everything we think is not working so well and then make a long to-do list of all the ways we want to change. Somehow we are surprised when it is overwhelming and we cannot keep it up. We feel as if we have failed in some way and are disappointed in ourselves.

SELF COMPASSION, MAUREEN COOPER, alison canavan be complete, life coach, minfulness coach, health coach, health and wellness, self help, new years resolutions, failed resolutions, self care

The thing is that we are much more likely to get the best from ourselves if we approach any changes we want to make with an attitude of self-appreciation and kindness. We can try and be a friend to ourselves, rather than behaving like our worst nightmare of an angry schoolteacher.

Some suggestions on using self-compassion in making our resolutions

  1. Look to your strengths

Think about the parts of your life that are on track and the things you do well and then think about a way you could take that a step further.

For example: you might be good at your job but have an irritating relationship with a work colleague—your resolution could be to make them a cup of coffee whenever you can. You’ll be surprised how quickly they warm up to you and you will enjoy the good feeling of doing something for them.

  1. Choose the changes you want to make carefully

When looking for where you want to change, choose something manageable. You can see from the picture above that ‘improving self’ is a big project, as is ‘save money’. Both are too big and too general.

Even ‘more family time’ is asking a lot. Instead try to be specific—decide to call your mother twice a week; or decide to turn off all your individual screens (phone, tablet etc.) by 9pm in the evening in order to have quality time with your partner.

  1. Think of all the people

who are trying to make positive changes in their lives and struggling with them just like you are. None of us is alone in trying to find the way to get the best out of ourselves and live a meaningful life.

  1. Allow yourself to get it wrong

When you break a resolution, or find yourself slipping back into old habits instead of beating yourself up, try forgiving yourself. Focus on the effort you’ve been making and don’t give up on what you are trying to do just because you had a bit of a blip. Imagine a friend sharing with you how they are struggling with their resolution—how would you talk to them? Would you call them a looser? I doubt it. Try talking to yourself as you would a good friend. After all—if we cannot be a friend to ourselves, how can we be a good friend at all?

SELF COMPASSION, MAUREEN COOPER, alison canavan be complete, life coach, minfulness coach, health coach, health and wellness, self help, new years resolutions, failed resolutions, self care

Maureen Cooper is the author of The Compassionate Mind Approach to Reducing Stress. She combines more than thirty years of experience as a professional educator and senior manager in a non-profit organization with a hands-on education in Buddhism. In 2004 Maureen founded Awareness in Action, a consultancy dedicated to the secular application of mindfulness, meditation and compassion in the workplace.

It can be hard when we are living busy lives to make healthy choices all the time but when you feel a snack attack coming on there are healthier bars we can choose from.

Here are some of my favourites bars including Bounce Balls, Nakd, Creative Nature, Rude Health, The Food Doctor, 9 Bars and Trek.

The main reason I carry some bars around with me is so that i have something healthier to hand if I have been rushing about and forgotten to eat and as I don’t want to have long gaps between meals I find having these bars in the car and my handbag really helps!

Shine Bright,

Ali xx

Fearless friday, running from problems, procrastinating, live your dreams, self care, self worth, health and wellness, mental health, alison canavan, toxic behaviours,



If there’s one thing you do in 2016 give up beating your self up about everything big and small. I spent most of my life doing this and let me tell you its painful, a waste of time and gets you no where so take it easy on yourself and always think: Would I talk to someone I love this way? You’ll probably find that the answer is no so please don’t do it to yourself.




Another one of my many talents! I worked hard at running away and became very good at it. I also had an awesome job as a model that helped make it even easier. The day I stopped running was the day I started really living though. The longer you run the harder it will be to catch up with yourself but it’s never to late to stop. Dealing with your problems can be really hard but in the end its so worth it to breathe easy and live freely.




If you are not happy with what you have right now you will never be happy with what you want in the future. Right now is all there is. So for 2016 quit being a “when I get..” or “When That happens..” I’ll be happy person. Be happy with and grateful for what you have right now. Stop focusing on the end game all the time!




If you constantly think about what you have to do and get anxiety because of it 2016 is the year you need to just get up and get things done. Procrastinating does nothing but cause unnecessary worry and fear. So stop thinking and start doing!!




Make forgiveness a part of 2016. Start using the ‘F’ word for yourself and start healing! Your past does not define who you are today or in the future. Don’t listen to people who tell you that you can’t change. The ability to change for the better is within us all. Be the best You that you can be and live your truth.


So just do the best that you can do every day and have fun along the way. What are the top things you’re letting go of for 2016? Leave your comment below!


Shine Bright,

Ali xxxx


Welcome to #MindfulMonday and this week I’m introducing my theme for December which is #betrue to you and others this holiday season.

December is a month that fascinates me for so many reasons primarily because most of us let ourselves get so stressed, burn the candle at both ends and we tend to leave ourselves depleted both mentally and physically that by the end of the month which is the end of the year, we can’t wait to ring in the new year so that we can overhaul our lifestyle and get thin, happy and healthy!!

Sound familiar? Well the paragraph above certainly has two extremes in action but unfortunately that’s how most of us live our lives these days. But extremes don’t work and as someone who has either been too high or too low for most of my life I now realize that true contentment comes with balance.

You can still have fun, spend time with friends and family, enjoy the holidays and keep balance in your life. Having balance is not boring in fact it’s a very exciting place to be because when you have balance in your life happiness and contentment usually follow and flow.

The first step to achieving balance in our lives is to change the conversation in our head with ourselves and that’s all I want you to do this month – watch how you speak to yourself! It might sound simple but it can actually be quite challenging because we are all so used to putting ourselves down that it’s not until we pay attention that we realize this.

I promise you when you try this you will see major changes and understand just how powerful it is. Pick an affirmation and every day set alarms on your phone, put a post it on your computer, write it on your mirror and keep repeating it over and over to yourself.

I am strong

I am capable

I am worthy

I am loved

I am enough

Or choose a positive affirmation you are comfortable with and one that relates to you and your current situation.

The reason I am asking you to do this is because Christmas brings up a lot of emotional issues for people because it’s a time where we examine ourselves more deeply, reflect on our year, miss loved ones and it can also be an incredibly lonely time for so many leading us to be quite tough on ourselves unnecessarily.

We tend to be very hard on ourselves anyway in life and most of the time this is down to the fact that most of us very simply just don’t think that we are good enough.

On top of that over the holidays we spread ourselves very thin to please everyone, overspend, drink too much, eat too much and the list goes on so I came up with the #betrue hashtag because this month I would love you to try and be true to YOU and your hopes, dreams, feelings and needs this holiday season.

Try and be honest with yourself and others and take time for yourself when you need it. You don’t have to go to every party and if you can’t be in three places at once on Christmas day speak up and say so.

So this Christmas try and STRESS LESS and watch everyone around you stress less too. Take little breaks and make 10 minutes just for you each day.

DECEMBER, MINDFUL MONDAY, STRESS LESS, BE TRUE, BE COMPLETE, ALISON CANAVAN, MOTIVATION FOR DECEMBER, INSPIRATION, STRESS MANAGEMENT, **Christmas is also a really important time to give back and help those less fortunate. If every family that could afford it helped even one family have a better and less stressful Christmas imagine the difference it would make???? Give presents, toys, food, clothes or whatever you can to your local charity like Society of St Vincent de Paul or even donate your time. Every little helps and it is very much appreciated.









Dear Me,


I’m writing this letter to apologise for not treating you properly, for not wanting to spend time with you and for always speaking to you in a way that no one should ever be spoken too.


The thought of failure used to scare me into hiding from you. The fear of never being good enough led me to do anything and everything to escape spending time with you and for that I am also sorry. The poison I took and the poison I spoke; sometimes I am shocked you are still here for me.


I allowed myself to believe I didn’t deserve success and that it wasn’t good enough to just be me. I felt like giving up every day, my bed was where I felt safe especially when I was sleeping.


For all of those things I am sorry because now that I have gotten to know you I realize that you are not to be feared and that you are actually strong, capable, pretty good company and if I’m honest my best friend.


I’m sorry life kicked the shit out of you because of my actions but I promise that pain was not in vain. I will fight for you now because you are worth it. I will rise to the challenge and make you proud because now I know its possible for me to live my dreams, push the boundaries, think outside the box, break the rules, and be myself while I do it.


Now I promise to live my life with passion, power and pride. Now I realize that just because I was down on my luck it did not mean I couldn’t come back. I will do what I have to do to get to where I want to go.


Now, I’m not afraid to fail although I have many many times before. I will keep pushing myself because I now believe it’s the right thing to do. I will no longer listen to people who tell me its not possible, the people who caused me to doubt you for so long.


Realising that how much money I have in the bank, having what my peers do, being liked by the right people or being represented by the biggest and best agency in the world does not define my worth has given me more freedom and strength than ever before. Knowing that I have access all day every day to my own happiness is like being given the golden ticket.


I have already won because I can breathe with ease so

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you

From Me

AC_days_MindfulMonday4 5th oct

The word therapy can scare people sometimes. The thought of entering a room where your deepest darkest secrets might be uncovered or even worse you might find out you have problems that you never even knew about before!

Believe me I can understand these fears because I have experienced them myself and putting yourself in that position can make you feel vulnerable and insecure. What I have realised though down through the years is that therapy in that sense is not always the ultimate answer. Yes it can help you take the first step towards wellness and that first step on the ladder can generally be the hardest, but good health is something that needs daily attention and heading to a therapist once a week is not going to solve your problems if you are still living a destructive lifestyle outside of therapy.

Simple everyday things like dancing and singing are examples of great therapy that we can include in our daily life. Art is therapy, friendship is therapy, meditation is therapy and self-care is therapy. How about a bubble bath, a walk in the park, coffee with friends or if you’re a parent enjoying a cup of tea by yourself! To me therapy is anything that contributes to a positive and balanced lifestyle.

We all encounter challenges on a daily basis so we need to find tools to help us cope that work for us personally and sometimes you need to try a lot of tools before you find the one that works for you.

For example if yourself and a friend were given a box each containing 100 keys and you were told that only one of the keys could open the door. What would you do?

You would have to try the keys one by one in an effort to find the one that unlocked the door. You might be lucky and pick the right key first time round or you might have to try 99 keys before you finally find the one that works and the same applies to life.

What works for one person will not work for another and you need to find what works for you. Different things will work on different days but the most important thing is to have fun along the way.


  1. Buy yourself flowers
  2. Take a bubble bath
  3. Swing on the swings in the playground and see how high you can go (my favourite!!)
  4. Listen to your favourite music
  5. Have a disco
  6. Sing your heart out
  7. Read your favourite book
  8. Have a cup of tea and your favourite treat
  9. Organise a get together with friends
  10. Meditate
  11. Colour (yes adult colouring is wonderful)
  12. Knit or sew
  13. Laugh!! At yourself, a funny movie, a silly book
  14. Go for a walk
  15. Cook your favourite meal
  16. Take a nap
  17. Journal- yes, write down your ideas, dreams, hopes and worries. I find writing one of the greatest forms of therapy
  18. Write that thank you card to someone special (There is always someone we need to thank!)
  19. Try yoga or Pilates
  20. Give yourself a compliment