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MAKING POSSIBLE REAL Alison Canavan is passionate about human potential and helping others to reach theirs.

Ahead of her wellness day in Westport, Alison Canavan talks about her struggles, her journey to wellbeing and her philosophy

Maggie Gibbons

Alison Canavan is a model, an award-winning author, a health and wellness coach, a master neuro-linguistic-programming practitioner and a motivational speaker. She’s passionate about human potential and helping others to reach theirs. I spoke with her recently about her inspirational and action-packed holistic living and wellness event, the Full 360 Series, which she’s bringing to Knockranny House Hotel, Westport, on Sunday, September 30, from 10.30am to 6pm.
The event will showcase a large variety of natural products and simple everyday self-care tips to help attendees take control of their own health. Expert exhibitors and speakers will give attendees the opportunity to learn a wide range of tips and techniques designed to help them to lead more productive and positive lives.
There will also be talks and demos on a large variety of subjects, including gratitude, meditation, mindfulness, healthy eating, juicing and stress reduction. There will even be a financial expert on hand, who will share tips on how to manage your finances for good health.
Attendees will also get a fresh, healthy lunch, as well as a goody bag of natural products worth over €100.
“People are more stressed and busier than ever,” Alison explains, “and we all put enormous pressure on ourselves to be everything to everyone, often treating ourselves unkindly and negatively. It’s time to practise self-care to cope with the demands of our busy world.”

The journey
Alison was catapulted onto the international stage at the tender age of 15, when she represented Ireland in the Supermodel of the World competition in Las Vegas and presented ‘Entertainment TV’ for the event. This spawned a 22-year career in the fashion industry, which has taken her to the main fashion capitals of London, Paris, Milan and New York and to South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Asia. After spending seven years in London, she moved to New York, where she was based for eight years working all over the US. Her career diversified into TV, film, and voice-over work and most recently into writing, motivational speaking and life coaching.
So how did Alison come to dedicate her life to the pursuit of wellness? Well, she was always a spiritual soul-seeker, but the road to enlightenment was a rocky one. “For many years spiritual teachers kept telling me to look within, but in a world where success is perceived by what you have and what you do this can prove difficult.”
She struggled with self-confidence, and anxiety and depression grew, eventually leading to self-soothing with addictions.
To turn her life around, she focused on self-discovery, study, growth and wellbeing, leading her to life that would have been unimaginable to her in years past.
Alison has a great sense of peace now, and says she now has a box of ‘tools’ to help her cope with anything life throws at her. “Life can be challenging, and we are not taught coping skills at school; skills on how to move forward with courage and confidence knowing that we all have the power to change our lives no matter where we are or how stuck we feel.”
Mindfulness – paying attention to present-moment experiences – is a huge part of Alison’s philosophy. “Very often we long to feel different, and focus all our time and energy on what is gone or is yet to come,” she explains. “Using mindfulness skills, we learn to be with ourselves in the present moment. Through practise we can also begin to accept fully who we are and be a little kinder to ourselves each day. This way we can stop being so judgmental and harsh with ourselves. As a result, health and wellbeing improve.”
 
Join the dots
Alison is also an advocate of the idea that achieving wellness means paying attention to all aspects of your life, not just one or two. It is this idea that she hopes to convey during the Full 360. “The Full 360 is a unique event that encourages you to join the dots with your health and wellbeing. Wellness is a lot more than food and fitness. If your mindset, motivation and sense of self is off kilter, then food and fitness will only sit on the surface of a very rocky foundation.”
Each guest will receive a workbook full of articles and tips on how to implement what you learn on the day. The idea is to help you become more aware of mindful eating, gratitude, mindfulness, meditation, breathing, sleep, stress, anxiety and negative self-talk.
Alison is also keen to highlight the toxic load that most of us carry, both in our homes and bodies. (I was shocked to hear that most women put between 170-515 chemicals on their skin daily.) To help us navigate this minefield, guest speakers at Full 360 will address non-toxic skincare and products to use at home.
The Full 360 day will finish off with a kundalini yoga session with sound healing, suitable for all ages and abilities. This ensures a full wellbeing journey over the course of the day, and ensures everyone leaves both relaxed and grounded.
“The whole concept of the event was built around giving people back their power,” says Alison. “We expect doctors and therapists to fix us when we have health issues, so maybe it’s time to take back some control when it comes to our overall health. You will learn numerous ideas that you can implement straight away to enable you to lead a much healthier and happier life.”
This day, which emphasises fun and laughter throughout, is highly recommended for everyone who feels they are too busy to take care of themselves – and God knows that’s most of us!

Early-bird tickets cost €99 and can be booked online at www.alisoncanavan.com.