After a short spell at teacher training college, Hugh joined the Irish army.
“Loving the idea of the outdoors, I got a cadetship at 17 and stayed for 23 years. I had a whizz time!”
During that time, Hugh got qualifications for cookery and as a sommelier, so at 40, he and his wife set up a food bar in West Cork, serving unusual and exotic food. They won awards, but sold out after two and a half years.
After a spell in the Himalayas, Hugh returned to college, studying sociology, then organisational psychology. He’s interested in the way thinking influences people’s behaviour and performance.
“The connection between emotions and behaviour is a profound one,” he says.
Seeing the benefits of cognitive behavioural therapy which helps people confront their thoughts, Hugh then began exploring Mindfulness. But that alone, didn’t help all his patients.
“It’s a bit fuzzy. Some patients needed taking away from their thoughts. That’s where Mindful Walking comes in.”
Who is Hugh O’Donovan
Date of birth: 1955 in Bishopstown, Cork.
Education: Colaiste An Spioraid Naoimh; St Patrick’s Training College, Drumcondra, (for a few months.)
Home: Bishopstown, Cork
Family: Wife, Michele, daughters Aoife 27, and Jean 25. Minnie, West Highland Terrier.
The Day Job: Psychologist, and work performance coach.
Interests: Hill walking, travelling, fishing, cooking, exploring archaeological artefacts, listening to music.
Favourite Writers: Daniel Kahneman; Jon Kabat-Zinn; Bill Bryson.
Second Novel: I have an idea; I’m thinking of exploring Mindful Cooking.
Top Writing Tip: Write down what you want to say, then stand back and see does it make sense, and how can you make it better.
Web: www.hoda.ie Twitter: @HughODonovan
The Debut: Mindful Walking. Hachette Books Ireland: €17.99. Kindle: €6.55
By bringing talking, mediation, and walking together, this book teaches us how to better manage our thoughts and behaviour to find our way to happiness and better fitness.
“Some people find confronting their thoughts difficult. Mindful walking takes them away from the thoughts in their head. First they engage with silence. They look at a new vista and see a wider perspective. There is a shift from being constantly ruminative.”
The Verdict: A clear, well written guide, with case histories and easy to follow exercises on how to incorporate Mindful walking into our daily lives.
Published in the Irish Examiner, 6th June 2015.
© Sue Leonard 2015