#BookReview BRAVING THE WILDERNESS by BRENE BROWN



ABOUT THE BOOK


“True belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are. It requires us to be who we are.” Social scientist Bren� Brown, PhD, LMSW, has sparked a global conversation about the experiences that bring meaning to our lives–experiences of courage, vulnerability, love, belonging, shame, and empathy. In Braving the Wilderness, Brown redefines what it means to truly belong in an age of increased polarization. With her trademark mix of research, storytelling, and honesty, Brown will again change the cultural conversation while mapping a clear path to true belonging.

Brown argues that we’re experiencing a spiritual crisis of disconnection, and introduces four practices of true belonging that challenge everything we believe about ourselves and each other. She writes, “True belonging requires us to believe in and belong to ourselves so fully that we can find sacredness both in being a part of something and in standing alone when necessary. But in a culture that’s rife with perfectionism and pleasing, and with the erosion of civility, it’s easy to stay quiet, hide in our ideological bunkers, or fit in rather than show up as our true selves and brave the wilderness of uncertainty and criticism. But true belonging is not something we negotiate or accomplish with others; it’s a daily practice that demands integrity and authenticity. It’s a personal commitment that we carry in our hearts.” Brown offers us the clarity and courage we need to find our way back to ourselves and to each other. And that path cuts right through the wilderness. Brown writes, “The wilderness is an untamed, unpredictable place of solitude and searching. It is a place as dangerous as it is breathtaking, a place as sought after as it is feared. But it turns out to be the place of true belonging, and it’s the bravest and most sacred place you will ever stand.”


PUBLISHED BY RANDOM HOUSE

MY REVIEW

I think this is one of those books that if you find yourself reading it then you will instantly connect with the message that the author is sharing. That lack of connection, the feeling of being alone and not knowing how to deal with the world we all find ourselves living in!

Through her own experiences, she writes with compassion about finding yourself feeling so many negative things and how we can all switch our focus and start believing in ourselves. It explores the fact that society is so fractured nowadays that we’re not programmed anymore to interact – we’re all in our own little worlds and those shared experiences are rarer, unless it goes viral via social media! And if you’re feeling alone, it’s reassuring to know that so many of us feel the same nowadays.

This is definitely a book that gets you thinking and makes you think differently about standing alone – embrace it, be yourself and make peace with it!


★★★★

#BookReview HOW TO BE SAD by HELEN RUSSELL



ABOUT THE BOOK

We live in an age when most reality TV shows climax in a tearful finale. But feeling sad – genuinely sad – is still taboo. Yet, sadness happens to us all, sometimes in heartbreakingly awful ways. If we don’t know how to be sad, it can be isolating for those experiencing it and baffling for those trying to help loved ones through dark times.

Today, most of us know intellectually that ‘sad’ is normal. But we’re not always brilliant at allowing for it, in practice. Sadness is going to happen, so we might as well know how to ‘do it’ right. And it’s time to start facing our problems and talking about them. Positive psychology may have become more accepted in mainstream culture, but rates of depression have continued to rise.

We’re trying so hard to be happy. But studies show that we could all benefit from learning the art of sadness and how to handle it, well.

PUBLISHED BY FOURTH ESTATE

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

MY REVIEW

I finished this book with tears in my eyes! Not because it was a tragic ending, but because it was hopeful and refreshing – you aren’t alone!!

We live in a world that is based on ‘being happy’, seemingly at all costs for some, and this book gives a fascinating balance to that saying we need to embrace the negative more instead of trying to shut it out and avoid it all costs! Life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns, and we need to take more in our stride and deal with the differing emotions that life throws our way in a more pro-active way, instead of trying to shut out all feelings with pills and medication.

The author delves heavily into her own life which is full of heartbreak and has led her on the path to trying to understand why she feels the way she does. From childhood, to her present life, she looks back at the different stages and events that have shaped her as a person. And how as a society we are encouraged to dismiss all the bad stuff and strive for happiness 24/7! That isn’t humanly possible! But society tells us it is as we scroll through various social media sites, seeing the happy posts of people, and this book does a brilliant job of looking behind the curtain on a number of issues of how ‘sadness’ is perceived.

She also talks to a number of well known people on their own battles with expressing their emotions in life and that was quite illuminating. The public image versus the personal battles, and that’s another way in which social media has skewered our views on people.

From the role of parents trying to suppress their childrens’ emotions – quick, buy them stuff to make them happy all the time! – to how as adults we find it difficult to express our feelings and feel ashamed to be truthful or ask for help when we are suffering. It also explores different ways of getting out of your head, so to speak, in the form of therapy, medication, reading, being in nature – and the importance of switching off from the digital world for your own wellbeing, something I always feel better for doing.

This was a really well written book, full of so much honesty and great advice and information.

★★★★

#BookReview BE MINDFUL by KATE JAMES #AudioBook

ABOUT THE BOOK

Life is full of setbacks, big and small. We don’t have control over life’s challenges, but we can control how we deal with them.


This collection from Kate James – successful coach, meditation teacher, speaker and writer – is full of easy to digest insights and exercises that will help you bounce back from unexpected challenges and changes, and will help you discover more about yourself and what will make you happy. It will boost your self-belief, get you motivated and help connect you with a more creative and inspired version of yourself. This collection includes the following from the Kate James series:


Change How You Think and Be Happier Now

Build Resilience and Free Yourself From Fear

Believe in Yourself and Do What You Love

Be Mindful and Simplify Your Life


The perfect companion in stressful times, Be Mindful with Kate James provides the essential tools that will help you savour the good times and roll with the punches when things don’t go to plan. 

MY REVIEW

I listened to the audio version of this book.

This is a collection of 4 books, all under one banner, which makes it very easy to access. Full of lots of tips, hints and analysis, it explores our behaviour during difficult times and helps to find ways to quieten our minds and be more at peace on a daily basis!

It looks at defining happiness, understanding depression and exploring self care – time to be your own best friend and take care of yourself on those days when it all seems a little too daunting and overwhelming

It’s a practical and helpful listen, full of simple ways to help try and change your mindset. I liked the smaller, achievable goals that are set throughout. It did feel a little repetitive at times with the same points being made over the course of 4 books, but maybe that will help it stick in my mind a little easier!

★★★

#BookReview THE HAPPY MEDIUM by ANNMARIE O’CONNOR #Audiobook


ABOUT THE BOOK


The speed of modern culture combined with the hyper-connectivity of technology has shifted our perspective from good enough to never enough. We are now primed to expect more, to aspire to better, and to want nothing less than the best.

The reality? It s making us miserable.

So if you d like to swap the weight of having it all for having more with less, then get ready: it s time to discover your happy medium.

This isn t a mantra of mediocrity. Rather, it s about finding balance in a full-throttle culture.

Offering a paradigm-shifting manifesto for Generation Burn-out, The Happy Medium will help you gain perspective and get rid of unsustainable expectations of what constitutes a life well lived.

You ll discover what you really need so you can get more of what you actually want, and begin to define your happiness on your own terms.


MY REVIEW

I listened to the audioversion of this book.

I found this to be a really enjoyable listen, full of lots of tips and hints to lighten the load on ourselves on a daily basis! It’s so easy to be bogged down in all that we don’t have, or what we’re not doing, instead of concentrating on what we do have and what we have achieved, and in this book the author does a great job of making you feel like you’re not alone in feeling so overwhelmed by all that life throws your way and it’s all about finding balance and perspective.

A lot of the hints seem to focus around social media and the internet! We are constantly comparing ourselves to others and there’s no escape from it with 24/7 internet, so taking time away from being online, posting less and stopping the notifications are helpful ways to break us from that almost incessant need to ‘check in’ and check others out!

She includes different exercises to try to help change your routine and outlook on life which I found quite helpful, as well as lots of little tips to make you see things a little differently instead of always feeling ‘less than’ or that you’re not doing enough.

Happiness in an inside job and this book helps you realise that no matter how much you chase that elusive feeling of perfection and ‘having it all’, it won’t happen until you are thankful for what you have.

★★★

#BookReview THE HAPPY CLOSET by ANNMARIE O’CONNOR #AudioBookReview

ABOUT THE BOOK


Get ready – it’s time to create a happy closet!

The Happy Closet will help you transform your wardrobe (and your mind) into an organised and clutter-free space, ensuring you dress for the person you are today and never again utter the ill-fated words, ‘I have nothing to wear’.

In this inspirational book you’ll find out how to move past the unconscious hoarding patterns in your personality. You will learn how to go from collecting rails of clothes you rarely wear to shopping effectively and mindfully to building a wardrobe that works for you, whatever your lifestyle. Once your clothes are in order, you will feel more confident, more in control and less anxious.

This is a book for anyone who has ever wanted to have more with less. Get ready to discover your Happy Closet, where well-being is always well-dressed.

MY REVIEW

I listened to the audioversion of this book.

I’m at that stage where I’ve got wardrobes and drawers full of clothes, but never have anything to wear! So I listened to this in the hope it can set me on a better path of clothes buying and organising, and I really loved the author and her approach to the task in hand!

She explores the different types of shoppers/hoarders and tries to analyse why is it so tough to let go of things! Why do we crave that buzz of buying something to make us happy, only for it to wear off soon after. She has a relatable and funny way of exploring the subject which makes for a fun listen, along with the more serious stuff to try and make us change our ways!

It’s a practical exploration along with quizzes to take – would probably work better in the ‘book’ form than audio! – to work out what kind of shopper you are, and tips to help you ‘let go’ and move on with your wardrobe and make it work better for you. While listening to it I did make a start on sorting through some of my clothes and did chuck out 4 pairs of jeans that I’ve been hanging on to, so if I can continue with that vigour then I say this book is a success for me! A definite work in progress but hopefully this book can help me on my way to achieve that ‘happy closet’!


★★★★

#BookReview KAIZEN by SARAH HARVEY #Audiobookreview

ABOUT THE BOOK


THE MAGIC OF KAIZEN – THE JAPANESE METHOD OF TAKING SMALL STEPS TO ACCOMPLISH HUGE GOALS – IS NOW HERE FOR EVERYONE. . .

EXPERIENCE THE MAGIC OF ‘KAIZEN’ – THE JAPANESE WAY TO CREATE LASTING CHANGE. . .

Lifestyle changes can be overwhelming: It’s hard to take on major goals without falling prey to self-doubt. But with ‘KAIZEN’, big goals become small, approachable steps. This Japanese method first made waves in the business world by launching Toyota to success; it also adds magic to Marie Kondo’s life-changing method of tidying up. As Kondo puts it: “You can take the first small step toward your dream today, and keep taking small steps to grow your passions”.

Now, Sarah Harvey unlocks ‘KAIZEN’S’ amazing potential to enhance our everyday lives. Even the boldest intention (I should run a marathon someday) begins with the simplest step (Today, I’ll research local running groups). ‘KAIZEN’ is the key to improving our health, work, finances, relationships, habits, and – yes – homes!


PURCHASE LINK


Amazon

MY REVIEW

I listened to the audioversion of this book.


This was my first introduction to Kaizen and I found it to be really informative and intriguing! It’s not a ‘go cold turkey’ kind of approach to life, but a more measured ‘slowly,slowly’ way to change habits and your outlook on life – overall, a more manageable way of changing set behaviour which often leads to more success!

The books that make you want to change everything about yourself overnight are enough to make you go running in the other direction, but I found this approach was so much more inviting! Just changing 1 thing about your routine a week – such as 5 minute mediation every morning, or once a week – is much easier to achieve and that repetition helps you reset your brain to accept that as part of your new routine!

The fact that you’re just thinking more about the choices you are making, really make you analyze that repeat behaviour that you wanted to change. Kaizen is used all over Japan in business and personal life, and the positive results there helped to inspire the author to follow suit and share her experiences and tips on helping you achieve the same.

There’s lots about sleep patterns, phone addiction, stress, morning habits, spending money, decluttering etc – and there’s some great little tips along the way that just make you eager to try them out as they appear to require little effort at all! Fascinating and I’m looking forward to keeping many of the changes I’ve already made in my new routines and seeing how else Kaizen can help me!

★★★★

#AudioBookReview CREATE CALM By KATE JAMES

ABOUT THE BOOK

With the pace of modern life it can often be difficult to pause, reflect and find composure. We all need a quiet, still space we can go to recalibrate and regain calm.

This beautiful audiobook from bestselling lifestyle author Kate James is that quiet, still space.

Practical, warm and soothingly accessible, Create Calm provides all the tools you need to cultivate a more peaceful and positive inner world.


PURCHASE LINK


Amazon

MY REVIEW

If you’re looking for an audiobook to soothe you, then look no further!! Not only does the narrator/author have an amazingly calming voice, this is also full of amazing little tips and tricks to help you cope with all that modern life throws your way!

I listened to the audioversion of this book from my local library and it was a really informative and helpful listen. How we are all feeling more connected thanks to the internet, but feeling more isolated than ever before and how we deal with that to improve our mental wellbeing and see us through those darker days when we all think the world is against us.

There are tips on sleep, breathing exercises and techniques to try and just finding out what works for you. I liked that the advice was ‘sensible’ and could easily be tried by everyone and it just made me feel calmer knowing that we’re all going through the same things and how the internet especially distorts our view of the world Time to focus inwards rather than out!!

★★★★

#BookReview THE ART OF REST by CLAUDIA HAMMOND #nonfiction #audiobook

ABOUT THE BOOK


Today busyness has become a badge of honour. We want to say we’re busy, yet at the same time we feel exhausted. Instead we should start taking rest seriously as a method of self-care and this book can help us to work out how.

The Art of Rest draws on ground-breaking research Claudia Hammond collaborated on – ‘The Rest Test’ – the largest global survey into rest ever undertaken, which was completed by 18,000 people across 135 different countries. Much of value has been written about sleep, but rest is different; it is how we unwind, calm our minds and recharge our bodies. And, as the survey revealed, how much rest you get is directly linked to your sense of well-being.

Counting down through the top ten activities which people find most restful, Hammond explains why rest matters, examines the science behind the results to establish what really works and offers a roadmap for a new, more restful and balanced life. 


PUBLISHED BY CANONGATE BOOKS

MY REVIEW


I listened to the audioversion of this book.

I found this to be a really interesting listen exploring the art of ‘rest’ and how we all interpret it, especially in this modern world where we all expect to be busy 24/7. Rest doesn’t mean sitting and doing nothing and this book explores the top 10 ways – the results from a rest test survey- of which we can all take a bit more time to rest and find a way of slowing our mind and bodies down.

I have M.E so am very aware of how rest can help me in my recovery. Whenever we are told to get some rest, I’m sure most of us think that it involves just lying down, watching tv, but this book shows that is not the case.. When is rest just being lazy? And more than ever how many of us never feel properly rested, even after a ‘lazy’ day with so many distractions.. yes social media, I’m looking at you!

I was pleased to discover that I’m doing rest right listening to this book! Just by switching off your brain you can find yourself resting, so just going for a walk, listening to music, getting in touch with nature are high on the list. And top of the list overall was reading!! And I can totally connect with that one! The world seems to disappear when you’re involved in a good book and that can only be a good thing for your mind and body

I liked the tips included throughout the book of helping you with resting and it was full of good common sense – something lacking in the world right now! Recommended!

★★★★

#BookReview LOST CONNECTIONS by JOHANN HARI #NonFictionNovember

ABOUT THE BOOK


From the New York Times bestselling author of Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, a startling challenge to our thinking about depression and anxiety.

Award-winning journalist Johann Hari suffered from depression since he was a child and started taking antidepressants when he was a teenager. He was told—like his entire generation—that his problem was caused by a chemical imbalance in his brain. As an adult, trained in the social sciences, he began to investigate this question—and he learned that almost everything we have been told about depression and anxiety is wrong.

Across the world, Hari discovered social scientists who were uncovering the real causes—and they are mostly not in our brains, but in the way we live today. Hari’s journey took him from the people living in the tunnels beneath Las Vegas, to an Amish community in Indiana, to an uprising in Berlin—all showing in vivid and dramatic detail these new insights. They lead to solutions radically different from the ones we have been offered up until now.

Just as Chasing the Scream transformed the global debate about addiction, with over twenty million views for his TED talk and the animation based on it, Lost Connections will lead us to a very different debate about depression and anxiety—one that shows how, together, we can end this epidemic. 

PUBLISHED BY BLOOMSBURY PUBLISHING

MY REVIEW

This was a really fascinating and eye opening book on the causes/remedies behind depression and anxiety. It is one of those books, I think, that will split readers based on their own personal knowledge and dealings with depression and anxiety as it puts the case across for not ‘swallowing’ (pardon the pun) the normal prescriptive advice from the medical profession and to treat the problem as a whole – what has caused the low moods?

I think the world we live in nowadays, pills seem to be put forward as the answer to everything. In this book, the author looks a bit more objectively to that market and how that some people who are continually prescribed pills to deal with their depression, soon find that the pills begin to wear off so the dosage has to be increased – and repeat the process again. The author wants people to look a little more into the actual cause of the depression in your life and to work on that rather than just hoping a little pill will change your life overnight – for some that works! for others it doesn’t so it was nice to read this book to give the different views and options for helping yourself. It puts a lot of modern life into perspective and I enjoyed the way he looks at the world we live in and sees how that affects our perception of life and of happiness. The impact of social media in this disconnected culture we live in was staggering – basically our society sucks!! It’s a never ending world of wanting more stuff, feeling unworthy and forever chasing that ‘buzz’ be it something new, or a like on a social media post and it’s only going to get worse as youngsters are growing up in this world seduced by brands and impacted on how people portray themselves on instagram. You can see why many more young people struggle with their mental health nowadays – am so glad I grew up before the internet came along!

One phrase I’ll take away from this book is ‘ see the sanity in your sadness, not the madness’

This is a book that divides opinions but I’m grateful for reading something that challenges the pill popping world we find ourselves in – it makes you look a little more into drug companies as well and their ‘claims’! Scary!!

★★★★

#BookReviews THE GREEN WITCH & THE WITCH’S BOOK OF SELF CARE by ARIN MURPHY-HISCOCK #nonfiction

ABOUT THE BOOK

Self-care and magic work together in this guide to help you become the best version of yourself. You’ll learn how to nourish your body and spirit with herbal remedies, spells, and rituals inspired by witchcraft in this unique, enchanted guide to self-care.

Self-care is a necessity for any modern woman. The goals of self-care are simple: healthy mind, healthy body, healthy spirit. This book helps you prioritize yourself with a little help from the magic of witchcraft. The Witch’s Book of Self-Care has advice for pampering your mind, body, and spirit with spells, meditations, mantras, and powerful activities to help you to keep healthy, soothe stress, relinquish sadness, channel joy, and embrace your strength. This book features such magical self-care remedies:

-A Ritual to Release Guilt: Learn to burn whatever causes you pain and process painful memories or work through heavy emotions in this therapeutic ritual.

-Green Space Meditation: Learn how to reconnect with the healing energies of nature, even in the middle of a bustling city, as part of a series of meditations based on the elements and your senses.

-DIY Body Butter: Create your own custom soothing and smoothing body butter, powered by crystal and essential oils suited to your intention, and sanctified by a ritual.

And much more! The Witch’s Book of Self-Care shows you how easy it is to connect to the earth, harness your personal power, and add a little magic to your everyday life for a better you!
PUBLISHED BY ADAMS MEDIA


MY REVIEW


This is a helpful little book for witches and non-witchy folk! It is full of information and tips on how to take care of yourself, body, mind and spirit – all so useful in these difficult times we find ourselves living in!

There are tons of ideas for you to pick and choose from in finding a way to help you cope with the stresses of life – from a 5 minute self care routine to start off your day with, to journalling, hygge, candle magic and guides to meditation. There’s even a few recipes to help with creating your own teas, sleep mists and even body scrubs and bath bombs.

I really enjoyed dipping in and out of this book for picking up little hints on how to treat yourself and how to slow down and take care of yourself.


★★★★

ABOUT THE BOOK

Discover the power of natural magic and healing through herbs, flowers, and essential oils in this new guide to green witchcraft.

At her core, the green witch is a naturalist, an herbalist, a wise woman, and a healer. She embraces the power of nature; she draws energy from the Earth and the Universe; she relies on natural objects like stones and gems to commune with the land she lives off of; she uses plants, flowers, oils, and herbs for healing; she calls on nature for guidance; and she respects every living being no matter how small.

In The Green Witch, you will learn the way of the green witch, from how to use herbs, plants, and flowers to make potions and oils for everyday healing as well as how crystals, gems, stones, and even twigs can help you find balance within. You’ll discover how to find harmony in Earth’s great elements and connect your soul to every living creature. This guide also contains directions for herbal blends and potions, ritual suggestions, recipes for sacred foods, and information on how to listen to and commune with nature. Embrace the world of the green witch and discover what the power of nature has in store for you.


MY REVIEW


Another really helpful and enjoyable book that features the magic of nature and how it can be used to help us on a day to day basis in dealing with whatever life can throw our way!!

This goes into a bit more depth about what being a ‘witch’ means nowadays and how the use of nature can help heal, and how to be more aware of natural energy.

There are lots of handy hints on how to overhaul your outlook and surroundings, and how that being more aware of the local surroundings and nature can help focus your mind.

It’s a book that looks into seasons, tides, moon, stars etc are all playing a part in our moods and experiences and I really enjoyed learning a little more, as well as being surprised at how many elements of this way of life that I already practice!

There’s more recipes, a look at meditation, rituals, moon gardening and just becoming more aware of the world around us.


★★★★