When I was approached to do a review of Lee Crutchley's new book "How to be Happy (or at least less sad)" I was thrilled to jump on the opportunity. Although it may not be a well known fact about me - I am a long time supporter and believer in self help books and since May is National Mental Health Month there is no better time than the present to get started! As with all my reviews, this is not a paid advertisement but just my honest opinion on what I thought of this book.
As soon as this book arrived in my hot little hands I had a feeling I was going to love it. As I previously stated I have read my fair share of self help books and unlike the usual touchy/feely and often spiritual themes that I glaze over this one looks super down to earth. I love the hand written and illustrated style and similar to the last book I reviewed (All the Lovely Things) (link), this baby is a creative journal with loads of exercises to guide you on your journey to happiness. I really like how hands on the approach is and how it actively engages you to take a look at your life and the things that make it happy or sad. Here are a few samples of some of the workbook pages I found helpful:
The book is engaging and witty in its own way and even though some of the exercises seem abstract they do end up encouraging a shift towards positive thinking. I also really like the black pages in the book that offer inspirational quotes and images like these:
and my personal fave:
I may even end up ripping that page out and sticking it on my bulletin board as a reminder to slow down when I get overly anxious or stressed (a common occurrence in my life and struggle with chronic illness).
After my initial perusal of the book I dove into actually doing the exercises. At first I felt a little cheesy writing and drawing out my feelings, but the exercises are written in such an honest and laid back way that it became quite easy and strangely powerful. I have been trying for years to shift all my negative thinking into positive alternatives and this book was like a big kick in a good direction! I'm not about to reveal all the activities and drawings I did (especially the more personal sad things), but here are a few samples of quick exercises I did that left me feeling pretty darned great:
Yay! Looking back I wish I had made myself an award for being a master laundress. I pretty much always spill on myself and through years of perfecting my skills am getting really good at getting stains out! (Ok...that was a bit of a side track).
All in all I am very pleased with this book. It is a perfect place to start feeling better and being happier by actively engaging yourself through the series of exercises. It really appeals to the creative side in me and I especially loved the lack of "fluffy feel-y garbage" lots of other self help books seem to drone on about. The book comes out today (May 5th) and is a great item to pick up for National Anxiety and Depression Awareness week (also this week)! When it comes down to it - who doesn't want to be happier and less stressed out with their life? So what do you think? Do you seek out self help? What do you do to make your life less sad?