Emotional Detox for Anxiety by Sherianna Boyle – A Review

Emotional Detox

Emotional Detox for Anxiety: 7 Steps to Release Anxiety and Energize Joy by Sherianna Boyle
Nonfiction | Mental Health | Self-Help
Published by Adams Media
Expected Publication: December 24th, 2019
Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: 5_Star_Rating_System_3_and_a_half_stars

Note: I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my opinions.

I read a lot of self-help and mental health books because it helps me stay on track in my own life. Managing bipolar disorder and anxiety is difficult, and I’ll take all the help I can get. Which is why I jumped on the opportunity to read and review Sherianna Boyle’s Emotional Detox for Anxiety.

This book is the follow-up to Boyle’s Emotional Detox, but specifically targeting people with anxiety. She proposes that by using the C.L.E.A.N.S.E. method people can treat the underlying causes of “painful emotions in general and anxiety in particular.” C.L.E.A.N.S.E. stands for:

  • Clear Reactivity
  • Look Inward
  • Emit
  • Activate Joy
  • Nourish
  • Surrender
  • Ease

I can’t say that this is the book that has helped me the most, but there’s a lot of great advice for people suffering from anxiety.

Sherianna Boyle is very thorough in breaking down anxiety, starting with describing what anxiety is and what the underlying causes often are, and ending with step-by-step instructions for following the C.L.E.A.N.S.E. method. I appreciated that she delved a bit into the science of anxiety, such as when she discusses the connection between inflammation in the body and anxiety in the mind.

Some of Boyle’s advice is expected, such as meditations and creating a healthier environment for yourself. However, some people might find the advice in the book a little hippy-ish or “woo-woo,” so keep in mind that if you try to avoid that sort of thing, this book might not be the best option for you. Think humming, visualization practices and manifesting, and opening your third eye.

None of the information in this book is necessarily revolutionary, and most of the components of Boyle’s C.L.E.A.N.S.E. method is also incorporated in other forms of anxiety treatment, but if you’re someone who hasn’t found a way to handle your anxiety and you want to try something new, it won’t hurt to read this book and give Boyle’s method a shot. It didn’t help me personally, as I’ve found that sound therapy/meditation and manifesting do nothing for me, but everybody is different.

One slightly-weird aspect of this book that I feel the need to mention is that the author seems to bring some of her own baggage into it. I have no idea how often Boyle brings up the fact that her husband had an affair and it caused her pain, but it’s a lot. It was enough that I started to get annoyed with it. There’s nothing wrong with writing about your own experiences; in fact, it’s good to do so! She just overdid it and left me wondering if she shouldn’t practice her C.L.E.A.N.S.E. method a bit more herself.

While I did discover a lot of information in this book, it’s not going to be one that I find myself coming back to in the future. I made the effort to internalize the new-to-me information, and I feel that I have nothing more to get out of this book. As I mentioned before, however, everyone is different and copes in their own way. If Emotional Detox for Anxiety sounds like a book that might help you, grab a copy and give it a shot!




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The Transformation by James Gordon, MD – A Review

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The Transformation: Discovering Wholeness and Healing After Trauma by James Gordon, MD
Mental Health | Psychology | Nonfiction
Published by HarperOne
Release Date: September 10, 2019
Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: 5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars

Note: I received a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my opinions.

I’ve frequently written about my struggles with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder on this blog, and I always look forward to reviewing books that deal with mental illness. When FSB Associates reached out to me to ask if I’d like to review Dr. James Gordon’s new book, The Transformation, I jumped on the chance. Despite not being familiar with the author’s name, I had definitely heard of his organization, The Center for Mind-Body Medicine.

It took me a while to read through this book, but that was only because the information contained within it was so helpful, and I wanted to try out all of Gordon’s advice. I went through a whole stack of sticky notes annotating this book so that I could come back to it over and over again.

The Transformation is a book meant to help people deal with trauma through methods other than being prescribed antidepressants and other drugs. One thing to note is that Dr. Gordon doesn’t think that medications are bad, in fact, he writes in multiple places that they are useful if needed, but that the techniques in this book can be used before resorting to taking pills.

Of course, the advice and techniques contained in this book can be used if you’re already on various medications, such as I am. Medication only goes so far, and it’s always nice to have other methods for handling the bad symptoms of mental illness.

One aspect of this book that immediately drew me to it was Dr. Gordon’s definition of trauma. Whereas many people think of trauma as something rare, he defines it as something that everyone experiences – from violence and war to losing your loved ones to being fired from a job. It’s this definition that I feel should be the correct one. So many of us can point to at least one traumatic experience in our past that we are still trying to overcome, and as such, The Transformation is a book that I would recommend to everyone.

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Dr. James S Gordon

Within the book, Gordon gives us plenty of examples of how his methods have worked for different groups of people, from survivors of brutal wars, to business people, to first responders, and everyone else.

I’ll admit that I was skeptical at first of some of the advice, particular what he calls “shaking and dancing.” Essentially, this is similar to ecstatic dancing, which I’m familiar with (it was popular when I lived in Asheville) but that I’ve never done. Well, I tried it while reading this book, and let me tell you – it really did help loosen me up when I was stressed and anxious. It left me feeling more energized. My full-time job is at a call center that deals with auto insurance, and it’s the most stressful and demeaning job that I’ve ever had. This past week, I’ve taken to hiding in bathroom stalls when I feel like I’m on my way to having another panic attack in order to “shake things off,” and it has really improved things for me. While it’s not going to solve the fact that my job worsens my mental health or that I have anxiety, it is a useful method for dealing with it in the moment.

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Another part of The Transformation that I really appreciated was the chapter on diet and mental health. I’ve always been fascinated by how the foods we eat can influence our mood and mental health, and it’s a section of the book that I will definitely be referencing frequently.

I’m not going to go into detail into every technique that Dr. James Gordon discusses, because I think you should get it directly from the book. What I do want to say is that I am incredibly thankful to the publisher for reaching out to me for a review, because it’s already improving my life. I doubt I would have picked this up otherwise, but I’m so, so happy that I’ve read it.

If there’s any part of your past or present that is causing you stress or anxiety, please find a copy of this book when it’s released on September 10th. Whether you purchase a copy or request a copy from your library, just get it into your hands and read it.


Need some other mental health books to hold you over until September 10th?

Perfectly Hidden Depression | Healthy as F*ck




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Healthy as F*ck by Oonagh Duncan – A Review

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Healthy as F*ck: The Habits You Need to Get Lean, Stay Healthy, and Kick Ass at Life by Oonagh Duncan
Nonfiction | Health & Fitness
Published by Sourcebooks
Goodreads | Amazon
Release Date: September 17, 2019
Rating: 5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars

Note: I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my opinion.

As I grow older, I put more and more time into self-improvement. Especially with having depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder, it’s really important to me to stay on top of my health. It hasn’t been easy this past year, and as of this writing I’m overweight and still experimenting with medications to treat the above-mentioned conditions, but this book was a great motivator to put some new, healthy habits in place.

I requested an ARC of this book as soon as I saw it, and am so, so thankful to Sourcebooks for sending me a copy. It’s honestly the best self-help book I’ve read since starting this blog.

Healthy as F*ck is a no-nonsense look at creating healthy habits to improve your health and fitness. Oonagh Duncan doesn’t fluff up any of this book with woo-woo nonsense, which is something that I come across so often in the self-help genre. Instead, she focuses on the most important part of getting healthy – creating solid habits.

How many of us have started a new workout routine or diet, only to give it up a week later? I know I have, and I imagine most of us have at some point. Focusing on habits first is so obvious, and yet I don’t think it’s talked about enough. For that alone, I’d recommend Duncan’s book to anyone wanting to get healthier.

The other reason I love this book so much is that she emphasizes many times that you need to be happy now and in your current body before you can be happy at a lower weight. She’s completely right that losing weight won’t make you happy in and of itself. This is something I’ve lived through and can vouch for. I’ve weighed as little as 115 lbs and as much as 270. I can say for sure that in my own experience, my happiness depended on my mental health, the people I surrounded myself with, and how I chose to spend my time far more than on a number on a scale.

This book is packed with an insane amount of information. I went through an entire stack of page tabs while reading it. Since finishing it a few days ago, I’ve already found myself coming back to it over and over again for advice and to remind myself why it’s important to focus on my habits.

If you’re looking for a great book to motivate you to be happier and to make better habits that will lead to you being a healthier person, look no further. Oonagh Duncan’s Healthy as F*ck is a perfect choice.




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10 Small Things You Can Do To Make Yourself Feel Instantly Happier

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We all have days when we feel down in the dumps, or frustrated, or angry. Most of us don’t have the luxury of taking mental health days and calling out of work or canceling all of our plans when we have days like that.

There are small things you can do in the moment to make you feel happier. Some of these suggestions might sound silly at first, but I’ve tried all of these out and they really do work.

Here are ten small things you can do to become instantly happier.


1. Smile

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Studies have shown that when you smile, your brain releases chemicals that make you feel happier. So, essentially, when you smile, you’re tricking your brain into releasing those chemicals. This is the easiest thing to try when you’re feeling sad or upset.


2. Walk Outside

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Spending 20 minutes walking outside in nature can boost your mood significantly. Obviously, this isn’t convenient for everyone, but if you can, take a walk outside on your lunch break or in the morning. Back when I lived in Asheville, NC, I would spend many of my days off hiking, and my mood was always better for days afterward.


3. Breathe

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Meditation is incredible and has been shown so many times to be beneficial to our bodies and minds. Some people find meditation a little intimidating but it doesn’t need to be! At its very simplest, all you need to do is spend a few minutes paying attention to your breaths.

You can even do this at your desk. Just close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths, and try to focus on your breathing. There are also several apps you can download to your phone with guided meditations (such as Headspace).


4. Be Mindful of Your Posture

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Most of us don’t think about our posture very often, but bad posture could lead to bad moods. If you need help, Lifehacker has a wonderful guide on how to improve your posture.


5. Practice Gratitude

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When you look back on your day or week, are you more likely to remember the bad things that happened or the good? For a lot of us, we tend to focus more on the negative things around us. Practicing gratitude can help us focus on those good things we experience on a daily basis, even if those things are minuscule. There are so many things you can be grateful for: a friend texting you just to say hi, catching every green light on your way to work, your dog greeting you happily at the door, the temperature being perfect outside, etc.. There’s really no end to things that you can be thankful for.


6. Text a Friend

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This is something that I make use of whenever I’m feeling terrible at work. My job is super stressful and involves getting screamed and cussed at over the phone for hours at a time. Whenever I’m starting to focus on the negativity, I text one of my friends just to say hi or to see how they’re doing. Hearing from people you care about can instantly boost your mood.


7. Surround Yourself with Things That Make You Happy

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If you have a desk at work, keep a photo of your loved ones or your pets on it. If you work in customer service, change your phone background to a picture that makes you smile or a motivational quote. Put fresh flowers in your room. Basically, surround yourself with things that make you happy.


8. Laugh

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Much like smiling, laughing can trick your brain into releasing chemicals that make you feel happier. Also, who doesn’t like a good laugh? Ask someone to tell you a joke, watch your favorite ridiculous gif, or recall memories of something hilarious that happened to your once. Force yourself to laugh your ass off.

For me, no matter how bad of a mood I’m in, this clip from Star Trek: The Next Generation always makes me laugh. Make sure you watch it to the end.

 


9. Use Essential Oils

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I used to work in a spa, and during those years I discovered that there really is something amazing about aromatherapy. Scents such as orange, lavender, and peppermint (among others) can instantly boost your mood. Everybody enjoys different scents, so experiment and find what scent makes you happiest! For me, I enjoy a blend of orange or grapefruit extract with a touch of rosemary.


10. Remember That You Are Amazing

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After going through a rough breakup years ago, this tip really helped me. Anytime I was feeling worthless, I’d find one or two things that I loved about myself. It would instantly make me feel better, and would also serve to boost my confidence! If you’re thinking of saying there’s nothing amazing about yourself… don’t! You are absolutely amazing, and you have countless great qualities you can focus on. Feel good about who you are, and constantly remind yourself of how awesome you are!



What do you do when you’re feeling down? Let me know in the comments!




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Book Review: Invincible Living by Guru Jagat

We’re in a new trajectory on the planet. This is a new time with new challenges, requirements, and rules of engagement than even five years ago. And part of what’s happening is that the entire psychomagnetic field of the Earth is changing.

As a result of this shift in the Earth’s psychomagnetic field, there’s a pressure on our own individual psychomagnetic fields. Our own psyches, our own magnetic energies, have to change in order to keep up with the changes on the planet.

The Book
Invincible Living - Guru Jagat

Invincible Living: The Power of Yoga, the Energy of Breath, and Other Tools for a Radiant Life by Guru Jagat
Genre: Wellness, yoga, new age
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: 2017
Amazon | Goodreads
Author’s Links: Website | Facebook

What It Is

Using the power of Kundalini Yoga, Guru Jagat’s book Invincible Living is a guide to living a better, happier life. From yoga and meditation to beauty and anti-aging, this book covers every aspect of wellness.

It’s broken up into several parts, such as “Ancient Tech for Self-Healing,” “Balanced Emotions,” and “Sex is Science,” and each chapter includes directions for breathing exercises, meditations, mantras, and more.

Guru Jagat uses her own experiences to guide us through the practices and advice. She tried to write the book in such a way as to make it easily accessible to everyone. As she says several times:

“We don’t want to get caught up in fancy yogic terms for the sake of some idea and lose sight of the point of yogic technology – which is just to feel better now and into the future.”

What I Liked

(Full disclosure: I did not finish this book. I got about two-thirds of the way through it, and had to add it to my “did not finish” pile because I was getting frustrated at trying to finish it.)

The book is very well put together in terms of product quality. Beautiful glossy pages, a lot of eye-catching illustrations and typography, and a very spa-like color scheme. It’s literally a relaxing book to look at.

I also always appreciate books that include directions and information about meditation, because I’m a firm believer in how much better our lives can be with just a few minutes a day spent on a cushion watching our breaths.

Finally, she discusses the benefits of dry brushing before taking a cold shower, which is something I can get behind. I was first introduced to dry brushing when I worked in a spa, and it makes you feel wonderful.

What I Disliked

There was one glaring omission to the book that I’m shocked was never discussed: the entire book is about Kundalini yoga, but Guru Jagat never actually explains what that is, except vague statements regarding its founder, Yogi Bhajan, or that it’s beneficial to its practitioners. Some history of the practice would have been helpful.

Throughout the book, Guru Jagat makes a lot of far-fetched statements with no references to back them up, despite countless statements about her being a “yogic scientist” and Kundalini yoga being a practice with a scientific purpose. I enjoy reading books about wellness, so I’m used to some of the more woo-woo aspects, but some of her statements left me speechless and stunned. Here are a few examples (there were a lot, so I narrowed it down to these five):

  • “Hair maintains the body’s electromagnetic field and acts as an antenna for the aura (think Avatar movie). Hair is the only instrument that directly feeds vitamin D from the sun straight into the brain… This kind of concentrated solar energy also stimulates the pineal gland, the gland of enlightenment.”
  • “Your whole physical form can – and does – change based on your consciousness. And if you are consciously conscious of that, then you can have more direct control and influence over it.Now, what the priestesses of Avalon and the ancient yogis and tantrikas were doing was a little bit different. They were projecting through their auras, a special aspect of the aura called the circumvent force.”
  • “I’ve worked a lot with burn survivors. The ones who didn’t mentally and emotionally identify with the blistering of the skin healed faster and more completely. There was a study done proving this, and I can personally attest to its accuracy. Essentially, the people who had massive burn experiences but didn’t go into “burn consciousness” minimized the whelping and damage to their skin.”
  • “…you get to someone who’s going to give you something for your depression. And you figure you should probably take it because you’re really depressed. I mean, you have convinced yourself and everyone around you that you’re depressed. And when that doesn’t work, they give you an anti-anxiety pill, and then they give you the antidepressant for the antidepressant. It can be a very detrimental and harrowing cycle.”

The final two points, regarding burn victims and depression, struck a serious nerve in me. One of my family members was severely burned in a house fire (and thankfully recovered fully!), and the healing process is not as simple as “thinking yourself better.” I can’t disagree that having a positive mindset in the face of such a terrible ordeal can be beneficial to the person going through it, but it’s not how you heal from it.  And, as for the second point, I’ve dealt with depression for most of my life, and it’s not caused by repeatedly believing you’re depressed (which is what she writes). Advice like Guru Jagat’s can be harmful, as there are so many people who need the assistance anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication can provide. At least, it can help much more than her solution:

“Jump with your arms reaching up toward the ceiling for one minute. Breathe deeply….

Every time you jump off the ground – every time you try to pull your body weight off the ground – the body associates that with ‘I have to get lighter,’ so the brain and all the ten bodies associate that activity with getting lighter. When this occurs, you’re starting to dump the negativity.”

She also offers dangerous health advice like mono-diets (which can leave you nutrient-deficient), and uses un-verifiable myths as facts:

“For aeons, yogic practice has produced a plentitude of individuals called baal yogis. Baal yogis are men and women who appear eternally youthful, as though suspended in time in a seemingly ageless state. One of these yogis was a man named Baba Siri Chand. Baba Siri Chand is one of the most powerful yogis of the Kundalini Yoga lineage, and it is said that in his documented 150 years of his life, he looked forever like a boy. And Baba Siri Chand is just one of many yogis who have achieved such a feat.”

And then there’s the yogurt douching and putting ghee in your eyes. (No, I’m not kidding.)

Finally, this book feels like a lot of empty, general statements that don’t actually mean anything. There are a plethora of buzzwords like “wellness,” “bliss,” and the like, but the book doesn’t have much intellectual depth to it. I found that I had to force myself to read on, before eventually giving up on page 154 of 263.

Verdict (Buy/Borrow/Skip)

Skip. There are a lot of great yoga and wellness books out there, but there are too many problems with this book for me to recommend it.