Happy.. Are you happy?

Recently I wrote a blog about happiness and physical activity, so when I heard about Fearne Cotton’s book on happiness I had to check it out.  I think she is a great character, good role model.  I enjoyed her cookbook and after hearing about her struggle with depression I was intrigued.

Book cover FC.

The book was a pleasant surprise when it arrived through the post.  The colours’ give a fresh feel.  It definitely didn’t look like a depressing read, which I had joked about prior to reading it.  Thinking about it now, I think I was a little nervous to open the book, which was a surprising reaction.  The thought of reading about someone’s journey with depression does not sound like a light read.  It is very personal.  With 1 in 4 people in the UK experiencing mental health issues every year, it is a subject that is close to everyone, so the thought of reading about someone else’s journey forces you to reflect on your own experiences, which can be tough for some. 

Well I can reassure you, Fearne is sharing her experiences in her pursuit of happiness, but the approach is a lot softer.  The chapters reflect on the ideals Fearne has adopted to help with depression rather than her personal story through the dark days.  It focuses on the ‘after’, the light at the end of the tunnel. 

The book has notes from friends and family who have contributed their stories.  With such a judgmental and hard world, it would take a lot to communicate your personal thoughts through depression and share it with the world in a book.  She avoided it well, however, in some cases I think it is what is needed to understand mental health further? The difficulty is protecting the vulnerable individual.

There are activities to engage the reader, to encourage you to review your current situation and figure out what happiness means to you.  Are you on track to this happiness?  Do you share this happiness with others and value the people around you?

There was quite a bit of drawing, which for me and my poor drawing skills meant I had some very dodgy (or could I say abstract) pictures, pushing my creativity to the max.  It did get me thinking though, and I will go back to some of these tasks when I am maybe having an anxious day or lost my way.  There are pages where I couldn’t think of anything to write or draw on.. blank pages.. Is this a good sign?!

Reading the book has left me with the following questions:

  • What have I got out of the book though apart from hearing what Fearne did? 
  • Have I and how can I utilise the skills?
  • Am I happy?

Since the book I have smiled at a stranger every day, I have appreciated my current situation and been conscious of my health.  I have noticed how much time I spend on social media and have struggled to reduce the time spent on it.  Social Media usage was in the media last week regarding how it has encouraged loneliness and low self-esteem.  People are comparing themselves to others and feeling left out.  How has this happened?   

I listen more.. I don’t want to spoil the read but I enjoyed a comment from Fearne’s great uncle Haydn about listening.

I’ve consciously listened to my colleagues and noticed a whole lot more.  I even have a few things in common with them, that I may not of fully heard before.

When reflecting on these tiny changes, I must have enjoyed the read.  I could have done with a little less drawing and more meaty content but for a light read, to look at your life from a different perspective and to make even just one change, you will notice a difference, for the good.  I would recommend this to both males and females.  Regardless of your current health status, you may not have suffered from depression. This doesn’t matter.  I think it is always good to look at your current situation to help you recognise the signs.  Sometimes it is nice to know you have it sorted, sometimes change is needed.  This book will help you figure that out and prioritise what is important to you. 

If anything, more people need to talk about their mental health to help individuals through their dark journeys.  You are not alone..

Thank you Fearne for sharing #whatmakesmehappy A good tune, the beach, smiling in the sun with my family

Katie Horsley-Page Tutor/Assessor/IQA for Ad-Lib Training

Ad-Lib Training educate fitness and community leaders in Mental Health.

Go Buy!

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