Image of the book Happier Thinking Lana Grace Riva

I recently was sent Happier Thinking* to review. In the past I have reviewed self help books such as How to make a decision and The Defining Decade and I do love a good self help book so was looking forward to reading this book. Happier Thinking is a short book (50 pages!) providing techniques and tips to help turn negatives into positives.

Happier Thinking is not a scientific book, and Lana does not claim to be a scientist. The book is written from her experience attending mindfulness classes, therapy and reading. The techniques she shares are techniques Lana has found helped her. The chapters are short and succinct, I like this, as other self help books can get so bogged down in the science you have to read half a chapter before a point is made. The book is handbag sized as well which is handy if you want a pick me up in the middle of the day or when you are out and about.

All the chapters are based on rewiring negative thoughts that may occur from everyday things such as not writing off the day if you have had a terrible time getting to work to acting on what you can change and not worrying about the things you can’t.

The don’t compare compare your life to imagined others really resonated with me. Lana talks about how you could be sitting on a train, looking at someone else and thinking they are having a great life but you don’t know them and this type of thinking is unhelpful. I am incredibly bad at always comparing myself to others to the extent that I make myself miserable, so to read what I do on paper did put it into perspective for me that I need to work to change my thinking regarding this.

The disadvantage of the book is that I found a lot of the examples to be too simplistic that they seemed unrealistic that the average person would stress over them. One example, Lana mentions, in the book is about you could get stressed over discontinued washing detergent. Another being what happens if the wrong food order arrives in a restaurant, therefore you now think the whole evening is ruined. You could argue that those examples are more relatable to everyone but it doesn’t work for me.

Overall the book didn’t tell me anything that I didn’t already know but it is useful as a starter book into self help or as a quick reminder.

*This book was sent for me to review but views, as always, are my own.

Winter scene with trees, snow on the floor and chair and table

Today’s post has got me focused on what does self-care mean.  I always saw self-care as bubble bath, candles, turning the phone off and mindfulness however I am finding more and more that self-care means different things to different people. Hannah Daisy draws a series of beautiful images on Instagram using the #boringselfcare. I think these images they are brilliant they range from doing my banking to cleaning the dishes to emptying the bins. I have to admit from doing all of my housework jobs I do feel pretty good and it has improved my mood a little bit, however is it self-care? In one instance it is self care – walking around in a filthy house is not healthy and seeing it filthy isn’t going to make anyone’s mood better. Also neglecting where you live for a long period of time is an indicator that something is going on.

However I see housework as another job and I do have the tendency to put it off to do the things that I want to do, which isn’t ideal and also the reality is that housework and other jobs have to be done and although it may not seem like it completing all of these jobs does help towards your overall self-care. Also is there a limit to self-care? Self-care ultimately means to me is doing something that you want to do whether that is reading, listening to music or exercising to make sure your mind is switched off from the world.

There are people that think that self-care is something that only the wealthy can afford, which is ridiculous. Self-care isn’t about spa days and expensive liquids it is about being able to switch off for an hour. I agree it is a lot harder and sometimes impossible for many people to do this due to their circumstances. So what do I do to relax, well reading is the best for me, completing word searches and exercising.

What does self-care mean to you and what do you do to relax?

Recently I went to a free lecture at my local university which was all about becoming a good manager. It got me thinking that these free lectures are pretty good and how many I have missed out on that could be helpful or interesting (and I work in a university, so do not have an excuse at all!). With the New Year coming up there has never been a better time to make the change for the year ahead. Here are some ways to self improve for free.
Free lectures
Universities have tonnes of lectures that are open to the public. It is the great chance to listen to some quality speakers that you may not have had the opportunity to do so otherwise.
Free courses on- line
There are plenty of mini courses run online these days. Future Learn is a popular course provider with courses run by universities.
YouTube
YouTube’s tutorials are great to watch and really useful. I use a YouTube tutorial for pretty much everything.
Ted Talks
These talks are so well known that I have been to talks that have uploaded a Ted Talk and watched them. Great if you are needing some inspiration.
Blogs
I like blog tutorials purely because I can relate back to them when I want and sometimes I just do not want to watch video.
The library
If you really do not want to watch stuff on a screen, the library is an often forgotten and underused hidden gem. I have seen many books such as cooking books that are in the latest book shops that are in the library.
Ask for advice or to shadow people
I am always asking for advice ( I always want to be the best…) and what better than learn from people who are doing the role you would like to have one day.
Have you got any tips to self-improve for free?

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