Meet Cork’s Minister4Happiness...

What are the secrets to happiness? EMMA CONNOLLY talks to Ballincollig-based Aislinn Cambridge, whose business is called Minister4Happiness
Meet Cork’s Minister4Happiness...

Aislinn Cambridge - aka Minister4Happiness’.

THE Cork woman who has been dubbed the ‘Minister for Happiness’ has urged us all to become good gardeners.

What does a good gardener do, asks Aislinn Cambridge?

“They pluck weeds the second they see them. They plant the seeds for the flowers or shrubs they want to create in a beautiful garden, and they ensure they get adequate sunlight and water.”

The 41-year-old, who is originally from Little Island and now lives in Ballincollig, wants us all to take this analogy and apply it to our minds.

“You are the gardener and your mind is the garden. The weeds are your negative thoughts and the flowers are your hopes, dreams, and visions. Remember, the weeds will grow anyway and anywhere, so when you notice a negative thought, pluck it immediately before it takes root. The flowers need to be planted in your mind, the good thoughts, and then you need to give them sunlight and water by thinking about them as often as possible.”

And, over time, Aislinn said, we will notice that we have more flowers than weeds growing.

“Your mind will become a beautiful garden, a place you like to be,” she says convincingly.

Aislinn Cambridge is training for her second Cork Half Marathon.
Aislinn Cambridge is training for her second Cork Half Marathon.

Aislinn has worked in the wellness industry for more than 13 years, and in the fitness industry for more than 20, and her business is called Minister4Happiness.

“I got the name from a client in the gym I worked in years ago. He commented that I was always in a good mood, even at 6am. He said ‘You are like the minister for happiness’.  That is the origin story for my business name and is a title I am very proud of. 

"I want to spread a little bit of joy around and give people the tools needed to have more happiness in their lives.”

But she wasn’t always so focused.

“I went to college to study sound engineering, music management, and production. I dropped out halfway through, then went from job to job with no real direction until my father became ill and passed away at 44. Come to think of it, that isn’t much older than I am now.

“It was a turning point for me. I remember, one morning my mum got up for work. She was working full time and caring for dad and my grandmother who lived next door. My sisters were still in school and one of them was doing the leaving certificate that year.

“Mum was like superwoman, and she never complained. As she was getting up out of bed, she made the comment ‘I would do anything to go back to bed’ and my dad looked up at her and said, ‘I would do anything to get out of it’. When my mum relayed that story, it really hit me.

“And, from then I started to change direction in my life. 

"I started to appreciate my health more, value life more, and change some of my bad habits, and I had a lot of them.”

It didn’t happen overnight, she admits, but the seed was planted and things started to change.

“I returned to education, studied Nutritional Therapy, and began consulting. I loved it from the get-go. I discovered that everyone wants the same thing, whether it’s losing weight, gaining weight, getting fitter, general healing, or improving their health. Everyone believes that achieving these things will make them happy. We are all chasing happiness.”

She’s worked at Motivation Clinic,

Aislinn is also a celebrant.
Aislinn is also a celebrant.

, Here’s Health stores and with Kathryn Thomas on her ‘Pure Results’ boot camps and on her online community.

“I am also a qualified celebrant. I have walked over hot coals at a Tony Robbins event, submerged myself in ice water at a Wim Hof event, attended countless other workshops/seminars/events, and read hundreds of books. Now, I want to pass on the lessons I have learned and continue to learn through my business.

“The work I do now is a pleasure. And, whether I am writing, presenting a workshop, giving a speech, coaching a client, or performing a ceremony, everything I do, I do with happiness in mind.”

Married to Brian, Aislinn is also training for her second Cork Half Marathon.

“Exercise is an everyday event for me, and I believe one of the many reasons for my positive mindset and physical health,” she said.

Aislinn will share everything she’s learned at a workshop called ‘Manifestation through Meditation’ on January 28.

“It is a fun interesting course with a fresh approach to personal development. All participants are there with a common goal, happiness!” she said.

Some things covered will be an introduction to the tools and techniques to create the future you want; how to clearly set goals for health/healing, wealth/money, relationships, and meditation to plant the seeds for your success.

“This course will help you to move towards the life you want more of,” she promises.

Spring Clean your Routine wellness morning is an event she and colleague Jennifer O’Callaghan are running on March 12. Tickets will be available on Eventbrite or through her website

Aislinn’s top happiness tips

  • 1. Gratitude - Daily gratitude will shift your attitude and will change your whole day and how it unfolds.
  • 2. Stop comparing - Comparative thinking is deadly. We shouldn’t want to be like anyone else. Be yourself! Everyone else is taken and being yourself is the only unique thing we have.
  • 3. Focus - Hocus, Pocus, Focus. This is super important because what we give our attention to grows. Remember, you can’t think more than one thought at a time, and you get to choose them. So, choose a good thought over a bad one. This also goes for what we expose ourselves to daily on radio, TV, online, in movies, and in books. Be sure to include some positive content into your day.
  • 4. Be present - Take a moment in your day, be it two minutes or 10 minutes, to be present. We are human doings now instead of human beings. Stop, slow down and take a breath. Be present where you are, feel your feet on the floor and your sit bones in the chair. Look around at what you see, the colours and shapes. Listen to the sounds around you. Notice the taste in your mouth and the smells around you. Use your senses. That is why we have them.
  • 5. Positive self-talk - Be your own best friend. You would never be nasty or mean to your bestie, would you? Then why would you speak negatively to yourself? No matter where you go, there you are. You are always with yourself so that should be the one relationship you ensure is healthy and happy. You can walk away from anyone, but you cannot walk away from your own mind.

The science bit

“Studies show that 50% of happiness is determined by our genes, 10% is determined by circumstances in which you live, and 40% of happiness is determined by our thoughts, actions, and behaviours,” explains Aislinn.

“We can do very little about our genes and circumstances. However, the 40% left over is where our power is. That is where we can take control of our happiness and therefore our lives. There are times in life to be sad, angry, hurt, and afraid. It’s all part of being human and I don’t think anyone escapes these inevitable feelings at some point.

“However, when there is nothing wrong in any given moment, this is the key point where we need to be careful not to slip into negative thinking about the past or worrying about the future,” she says.

Understanding that our brains are not designed to make us happy and that they are designed to protect us, helps us to be happier.

Cortisol, the stress hormone, can be useful to move us to get us out of bed, to allow us to take on challenges in life, or to get to up speak in public, she says.

“However, if we are releasing cortisol on a regular basis during our day, sitting in traffic or at our desk at work, that is harmful to our mental state and our immune system. We need to be aware and get some perspective when we do feel this way. Stop ourselves from becoming stressed, come back to the present, and recognise we are not in danger, we need to relax and release that tension.

“We have a responsibility to make our lives the best we can, and that won’t happen by just knowing how to change, we have to take action. As my friend says, ‘we have to show up’, you can’t just visualise the perfect body and then sit and watch Netflix. Action is the cure-all.”

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