How to be happy in an ‘inside out’ world

We were delighted to attend Fresh Resolutions on Saturday in the RDS in Dublin. It was a fantastic, inspiring and invigorating event with a central focus on health and wellbeing. We’ll be bringing you the best insights we learned from the speakers over the coming days.

Today we’re starting with the key messages from Alison Canavan‘s brilliant opening speech.

Alison spoke about our lives today being an ‘inside out world’ – a world where things are back-to-front or inside-out – crucially, mental health being one of those things that is dealt with with silence and prescriptions rather than compassion and self-learning.

Alison talked about the fact that we all have control over our lives. Sure, we all know that, but have you ever really considered that? That we have control over our thoughts and emotions, that the world is not happening to us but that we are creating our own worlds?

Alison’s message was that we all need to choose happiness. We all need to realise that every single one of us worries about whether we are good enough. That everyone feels this way. She encouraged all of us to really feel our emotions and deal with them – and not to suppress or hide them. She used a wonderful description of a coke bottle, and said if we constantly walk around and shake it, one day the cap will fly off and it will make a huge mess – and that this is what we need to make sure we don’t do when it comes to our emotions.

Alison talked about the power of small changes over time. Especially with January here, we are all focused on resolutions and goal setting, diets and big life changes. However so many of us set ourselves up to fail because we try to change too many things at once, or really big changes in our lives. She encouraged that the biggest changes are made with small steps, over time. They become lifestyle changes or choices that you build into your life little by little. And that these changes become the ones that last and ultimately make the biggest impact.

Alison asked us all to start with taking time for ourselves. She talked about getting quiet, and going within ourselves to listen. To really listen to ourselves and our bodies, to hear what we really need, and to respond to this.

Alison talked about “self-care” being meaningless words unless we actually put those words into practise and do something for ourselves. She discussed the idea that we must learn to love ourselves before we can truly give to others. That we need to learn to know ourselves and love ourselves first.

The message that really resonated with us was when Alison talked about love being the most powerful energy and this was an insight that many of the other speakers during the day also explored. Alison talked about the idea that the universe will keep giving us what we are, and not what we think. She talked about living a life of love, even loving our enemies and that living a life like this would only bring you more love and joy. She talked about the statement ‘I am’ and that the universe would give you whatever you put after that statement – e.g. I am happy, I am content, I am well, I am ok.

Gratitude was another topic Alison talked about extensively. The power of listing the things you are grateful for in life and how it can help you re-wire your brain to thinking in a more positive way. Alison believes a simple practise of gratitude every morning or evening where you think of three things that you are grateful for that day is a small way to make a big impact on your wellbeing in the long-term.

She also talked about building time into your day for meditation and also that meditation does not mean ‘clearing your mind’ – in fact it is just the detached observation of your thoughts and pure time to just be in the present. Alison believes taking time for herself every morning for meditation gives her time back during the rest of the day as she feels more focused and more motivated because of it.

Finally Alison talked about working on you, your most valuable asset. She talked about the importance of having a great relationship with yourself, about talking kindly to yourself in your head, about realising boundaries that you need to set to protect your wellbeing and about the importance of owning, really owning, your life and your decisions and not blaming others for what happens in your world.

We thought it was all great and sound advice and we thoroughly enjoyed Alison’s talk, she was really real and raw and emotional – she really wanted to help the audience make changes in their lives for the better.

If you like the sound of all of this, you would love Alison’s Full 360 event series which she is taking nationwide this year. To find out more about it, read this post here. You can also find out more about Alison at her website,


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