Genre: Psychology

Book Review: This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live by Melody Warnick

Posted October 17, 2017 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

ISBN: 9780143129660
Book Review: This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live by Melody WarnickThis Is Where You Belong by Melody Warnick
Published by Penguin on July 4th 2017
Genres: Psychology, Mental Health, Self-Help, Personal Growth, Happiness, Social Science, Sociology, General
Pages: 320
Format: ebook
Source: bought
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

In the spirit of Gretchen Rubin's megaseller The Happiness Project and Eric Weiner's The Geography of Bliss, a journalist embarks on a project to discover what it takes to love where you live

The average restless American will move 11.7 times in a lifetime. For Melody Warnick, it was move #6, from Austin, Texas, to Blacksburg, Virginia, that threatened to unhinge her. In the lonely aftermath of unpacking, she wondered: Aren't we supposed to put down roots at some point? How does the place we live become the place we want to stay? This time, she had an epiphany. Rather than hold her breath and hope this new town would be her family's perfect fit, she would figure out how to fall in love with it--no matter what.      How we come to feel at home in our towns and cities is what Warnick sets out to discover in This Is Where You Belong. She dives into the body of research around place attachment--the deep sense of connection that binds some of us to our cities and increases our physical and emotional well-being--then travels to towns across America to see it in action. Inspired by a growing movement of placemaking, she examines what its practitioners are doing to create likeable locales. She also speaks with frequent movers and loyal stayers around the country to learn what draws highly mobile Americans to a new city, and what makes us stay. The best ideas she imports to her adopted hometown of Blacksburg for a series of Love Where You Live experiments designed to make her feel more locally connected. Dining with her neighbors. Shopping Small Business Saturday. Marching in the town Christmas parade.      Can these efforts make a halfhearted resident happier? Will Blacksburg be the place she finally stays? What Warnick learns will inspire you to embrace your own community--and perhaps discover that the place where you live right now . . . is home.

From the Hardcover edition.

 

I have to be honest. I am the type of person that packs up and moves every three years. I don’t know WHY I just get that itch that my life would be better if I were SOMEWHERE ELSE. I am a freelance ghostwriter, so I can live anywhere and maybe that is the problem. I never give anyplace a chance. I am currently in Cleveland, and I have been here a record of 5 years. I am starting to get that itch again so when I saw this book as a daily Kindle deal I grabbed it in the hopes that it would have some clues on how to love where I live. I am tired of packing up and leaving so this was the perfect opportunity to get some insight on how to NOT give in to that itch.

What I Liked

First of all, I loved how honest she was about that itch in moving. I could completely understand. I thought it was me and that I had issues but reading this I realized that America is the most mobile country on earth. It seems that almost half of us pack up and move every three to 5 years. I felt a LOT better after reading that.

I also loved her background information. Providing background information can be dangerous as some authors into boring you to tears. But not Melody Warnick her insights and information was highly useful to a person such as me who after three years thinks that ANYWHERE else would be the perfect place.  I feel lots better knowing that I am just one of millions of Americans who think the same

I loved her checklists on how to make roots and feel like you belong. I realized that I do that here in Cleveland more than any other place I have lived. Maybe it causes with my Cochlear Ear Implants I can hear now, and I became more involved in the community. for example I joined a book club at the library. I go to bookish events, and I frequent my favorite used bookstore, and I have become great friends at the little health food store I found near my apartment. In every other place I lived, I never did any of that. So I realize now that suppose I get married and move I know what to do to put down roots wherever I end up, but you know what? For the time being, I am staying here in Cleveland because I feel like I finally have a life here and THAT makes all the difference.

 

What I Did Not Like

The only complaint that I have was I wanted to hear more of HER story and not research facts all the time. She gives us little looks into her life but not as much as some other authors do. I can understand some people need privacy and are not as open, but sometimes it felt as if I was reading a textbook. I went into it expecting more of a memoir type thing so maybe that why that bugged me.

 

I enjoyed this book and learned a lot from it. I learned how to put down roots, and I realized that while I may not be out placemaking, I do get involved in the community in some ways, and that makes all the difference. I think that’s why I  have stayed here a record of 5 years. My friends can’t believe that I would stay in Cleveland for so long, but I do like it here. I would recommend this book to anyone feeling that old familiar itch to move..move…move…. Trust me I have moved dozens of times, and no place is “better” if you don’t attempt to put down some roots. So if you are one of the people who has a VIP to Uhaul then go and read this book…you can thank me later.

 

five-stars
Rating Report
Writing
five-stars
Cover
five-stars
Overall: five-stars

Rising Strong by Brené Brown

Posted November 5, 2015 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

ISBN: 9780812995831
Rising Strong by Brené BrownRising Strong by Brené Brown
Published by Random House Publishing Group on August 25th 2015
Genres: Self-Help, Motivational & Inspirational, Psychology, Emotions, Business & Economics, Motivational
Pages: 336
Format: ebook
Source: bought
Goodreads
five-stars

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
When we deny our stories, they define us.
When we own our stories, we get to write the ending.   Social scientist Brené Brown has ignited a global conversation on courage, vulnerability, shame, and worthiness. Her pioneering work uncovered a profound truth: Vulnerability—the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome—is the only path to more love, belonging, creativity, and joy. But living a brave life is not always easy: We are, inevitably, going to stumble and fall.   It is the rise from falling that Brown takes as her subject in Rising Strong. As a grounded theory researcher, Brown has listened as a range of people—from leaders in Fortune 500 companies and the military to artists, couples in long-term relationships, teachers, and parents—shared their stories of being brave, falling, and getting back up. She asked herself, What do these people with strong and loving relationships, leaders nurturing creativity, artists pushing innovation, and clergy walking with people through faith and mystery have in common? The answer was clear: They recognize the power of emotion and they’re not afraid to lean in to discomfort.   Walking into our stories of hurt can feel dangerous. But the process of regaining our footing in the midst of struggle is where our courage is tested and our values are forged. Our stories of struggle can be big ones, like the loss of a job or the end of a relationship, or smaller ones, like a conflict with a friend or colleague. Regardless of magnitude or circumstance, the rising strong process is the same: We reckon with our emotions and get curious about what we’re feeling; we rumble with our stories until we get to a place of truth; and we live this process, every day, until it becomes a practice and creates nothing short of a revolution in our lives. Rising strong after a fall is how we cultivate wholeheartedness. It’s the process, Brown writes, that teaches us the most about who we are.
From the Hardcover edition.

Why I decided to read this book

A book club that I am a member of on Facebook picked this as their book to read last month.

my review

I wasn’t quite sure what I would think of this book. It is about failing after all. No one likes to talk about failing and no one like the feeling of vulnerability. I know when I feel emotionally naked I hate the discomfort it brings. So to have a whole book about topics that I try and avoid. Well..

I am surprised to say I loved it! Brene Brown, hereself tells stories that I could relate to about being vulnerable. She also has good research to back up her studies.  She shows that when we allow ourselves to feel valuable that we can move up and out of the place that we feel that we are chained to. I admit I have never thought of it like that. That if I allow myself to be variable and to set boundaries that I can move out of my negative head space into a place where I can respond with love. I have even tried this a few times, and it has worked!

Another thing that I never thought about was using her “Shitty First Drafts” tow write the story of what I THINK is happening. I tell myself that x and z hates me because of whatever reason that is floating in my brain at the moment. I have a shizoeffective disorder so there can be some pretty horrible things my mind comes up with. I then get mad and before I know it my whole day has gone down the shit hole. Now I can sit down open up Penzu and write down I think this is happening then later go back and see how much of it was in my head and how much of it is based in reality. I haven’t had a chance to try this yet. But I will. I always feel better after writing down my thoughts so this will be a good exercise for me.

Overall I think that this is a book that everyone can benefit from. I encourage you to buy the book so that you can go back over it again and again.

five-stars

Book Review: SuperBetter: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver and More Resilient -Powered by the Science of Games by Jane McGonigal

Posted October 15, 2015 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

ISBN: 9780698185500
Book Review: SuperBetter: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver and More Resilient -Powered by the Science of Games by Jane McGonigalSuperBetter by Jane McGonigal
Published by Penguin on September 15th 2015
Genres: Self-Help, Personal Growth, Happiness, Psychology, General, Games, Video & Electronic
Pages: 400
Format: ebook
Source: bought
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

An innovative guide to living gamefully, based on the program that has already helped nearly half a million people achieve remarkable personal growthIn 2009, internationally renowned game designer Jane McGonigal suffered a severe concussion. Unable to think clearly or work or even get out of bed, she became anxious and depressed, even suicidal. But rather than let herself sink further, she decided to get better by doing what she does best: she turned her recovery process into a resilience-building game. What started as a simple motivational exercise quickly became a set of rules for “post-traumatic growth” that she shared on her blog. These rules led to a digital game and a major research study with the National Institutes of Health. Today nearly half a million people have played SuperBetter to get stronger, happier, and healthier.
But the life-changing ideas behind SuperBetter are much bigger than just one game. In this book, McGonigal reveals a decade’s worth of scientific research into the ways all games—including videogames, sports, and puzzles—change how we respond to stress, challenge, and pain. She explains how we can cultivate new powers of recovery and resilience in everyday life simply by adopting a more “gameful” mind-set. Being gameful means bringing the same psychological strengths we naturally display when we play games—such as optimism, creativity, courage, and determination—to real-world goals.
Drawing on hundreds of studies, McGonigal shows that getting superbetter is as simple as tapping into the three core psychological strengths that games help you build:
   • Your ability to control your attention, and therefore your thoughts and feelings    • Your power to turn anyone into a potential ally, and to strengthen your existing relationships    • Your natural capacity to motivate yourself and super-charge your heroic qualities, like willpower, compassion, and determination
SuperBetter contains nearly 100 playful challenges anyone can undertake in order to build these gameful strengths. It includes stories and data from people who have used the SuperBetter method to get stronger in the face of illness, injury, and other major setbacks, as well as to achieve goals like losing weight, running a marathon, and finding a new job.
As inspiring as it is down to earth, and grounded in rigorous research, SuperBetter is a proven game plan for a better life. You’ll never say that something is “just a game” again.
From the Hardcover edition.

my review

I am a huge gamer, and I also have been playing the Superbetter game ever since it came out. I had to admit that I really did not know HOW to play to get the most out of it, but after reading this book I feel as if I have a better grasp of the game.

She tells about how playing games can help us in real life everyday problems. I have to admit that I had never thought about taking my gaming obsession and applying it to real life problems. I mean really, How can World Od Warcraft help me when I am depressed. After reading this book, I realized that the skills in WOW like asking for help, working in a team, etc. can translate into the “real” world. I applied that to my life. I started asking for help and was surprised at how many people responded. It seems that there were a lot of people who wanted to help me but wasn’t sure how. I went back and started playing superbetter again and this time I knew HOW to play to get results. I got some of my friends to sign up for allies. And I can honestly feel that my depression and anxiety symptoms have become manageable.

I also love how she input tricks and power-ups into the book. Like for example anxiety and excitement is physically the same thing so if you feel anxious just make yourself think you are excited, and it becomes bearable. I tried this once, and it worked. I prefer to cut down on anxiety by the way of benzos but if you do not have access to them, then this is a good trick.

Another good trick is to breath in for 4 seconds and then breathe out for 8. This apparently does something to your nervous system and can stop anxiety and migraines and stuff. She admits that it is not perfect but most of the times she can get by without medication. I have wondered if this would help me. I am not to keen to try it though as even thinking about my anxiety gives me anxiety. I have learned that when I feel overwhelmed if breath like that then I can calm down.

I have added my power ups to the mix. Like I am trying to eat healthily so when I want junk food I eat a piece of fruit. When I feel horrible mediate and stuff like that. I still like all people with a serious chronic condition have bad days, but now they are fewer and farther spaced. I spend less time in bed curled into a fetal position not so patiently waiting for the end of time and more out and about and living. So the program works. I would recommend this to anyone with a  serious chronic condition. It is a great tool to make the living with your condition easier and enables you actually to make a life worth getting out of the bed.

five-stars

My Age of Anxiety

Posted January 16, 2015 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

My Age of AnxietyMy Age of Anxiety by Scott Stossel
Published by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group on 2014
Genres: Anxieties & Phobias, Biography & Autobiography, History, Neuropsychology, Personal Memoirs, Psychology, Psychopathology
Pages: 400
Goodreads
five-stars

A riveting, revelatory, and moving account of the author's struggles with anxiety, and of the history of efforts by scientists, philosophers, and writers to understand the condition As recently as thirty-five years ago, anxiety did not exist as a diagnostic category. Today, it is the most common form of officially classified mental illness. Scott Stossel gracefully guides us across the terrain of an affliction that is pervasive yet too often misunderstood. Drawing on his own long-standing battle with anxiety, Stossel presents an astonishing history, at once intimate and authoritative, of the efforts to understand the condition from medical, cultural, philosophical, and experiential perspectives. He ranges from the earliest medical reports of Galen and Hippocrates, through later observations by Robert Burton and Søren Kierkegaard, to the investigations by great nineteenth-century scientists, such as Charles Darwin, William James, and Sigmund Freud, as they began to explore its sources and causes, to the latest research by neuroscientists and geneticists. Stossel reports on famous individuals who struggled with anxiety, as well as on the afflicted generations of his own family. His portrait of anxiety reveals not only the emotion's myriad manifestations and the anguish anxiety produces but also the countless psychotherapies, medications, and other (often outlandish) treatments that have been developed to counteract it. Stossel vividly depicts anxiety's human toll—its crippling impact, its devastating power to paralyze—while at the same time exploring how those who suffer from it find ways to manage and control it. My Age of Anxiety is learned and empathetic, humorous and inspirational, offering the reader great insight into the biological, cultural, and environmental factors that contribute to the affliction.


why I read this book

 

I suffer from anxiety and I wanted to see how another person copes with it.

my review

 

I was never anxious as a child. Well I was afraid of the dark but that’s about all. Then in 2007 I was diagnosed with shizoeffective disorder and all the anxiety that I didn’t have come on all at once. I became so anxious that I became house bound and convinced that all of creation was plotting my demise.

I have tried to tell friends but their advice of just suck it up and get over it never did much good. So lately I have turned to books that have been written by people with anxiety in the hopes that they have found a way to thrive because of it.

I could relate to My Age of Anxiety in so many ways. Reading the authors account of anxiety attacks was like a peek into my own personal hell. He described it so well that I had an attack while reading. Alas like me the author has tried all the therapy and all the meds available but none seem to work really well. What we both have found works is when you feel an attack come on, cram all different sorts of meds in your mouth to hopefully pass out and when you wake your nervous system will be reset. Well, I feel less alone now that I know that at least one other person has popped Klopioion, vodka and other stuff to do this.

Also, like me, the author has tried less orthodox means. This mostly includes smoking pot. I have found that this is the holy grail of anxiety treatment. The author did not seem to have my  success with it. Just goes to show that everyone is different.

I also liked the history that The Age of Anxiety delivers. I never much thought about how people in ancient Greece handle anxiety and I really never thought about how anxiety seems to afflict people in artistic endeavors more than any other field. It was all very interesting to read. It could have been boring but the author has the skill to make even the mundane come to life.

loved-it

Buy

Amazon

five-stars

The How of Happiness

Posted March 16, 2012 by Hillary in book review, Book Reviews, non-fiction, self help / 0 Comments

how to be happier
From GoodReads:
You can change your personal capacity for happiness. Research psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky’s pioneering concept of the 40% solution shows you how

My Review: This book shows you steps you can take to increase your own happiness. It explains that we have a set point for happiness and 40 percent of that is in own power to change. She gives readers a short diagnostic test that identifies in which area they would benefit the most from the happiness boosting exercise.
It lists and goes into detail several exercises that you can do. It also explains when to do them for optimal timing. That was one new thing that I learned. I thought you did them as often as possible but the author explains that some things if you do too often in can have a negative effect.
She also explains what will increase happiness and what won’t. She explains the hedonic effect. That is where we become used to what we have and it no longer gives us the pleasure that it once did. Once I read that I realized why something’s I used to get pleasure from I no longer did. The way she put it made sense.
I would recommend this book to everyone. I believe everyone can benefit from inducing more happiness in their lives. This book gives clear and concise details on how to make that happen.

five-stars

Spark- A Book Review

Posted March 15, 2012 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

a book review of SPARK
I must admit I thought that this book was going to be about how to become more creative. Instead it is based off the radio show 360 and it talks about how famous people get their creative juice flowing.
Even though it was not exactly about what I thought I still found it an enjoyable read. I was surprised at what some of the artist went through to get creative. It seems it comes from living outside of the norm. When you experience life altering events then it stirs up the creative juices.
Reading this allowed me to get a glimpse into what creativity is in the real sense and how people use what could have been a bad experience into a creative outlet. This book would be recommended to people who want to know more about the creative process.

three-half-stars

Review: Darkness Visible

Posted April 13, 2011 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

dv
It is a short book but it packs a powerful punch.This is from the author that brought is Sophie’s Choice. This is a powerful memoir about how the author suffered and overcame depression.
There are a lot of “depression” memoirs out there today. While all give a peek into what’s it’s like to live with depression very few come with the literary quality that Styron lends to Darkness Visible. Depression is a serious illness and some memoirs can fall victim to inducing massive amounts of self pity. This book however induces a sort of felling as one is along for the ride. The reader is transported to a place where it is dark and madness resides.
Styron speaks of “tumbling in the abyss” and takes the reader along with him. he gives life to where others had painted only darkness. The memoir reaches it’s climax when he is hospitalized for suicidal feelings. From there he tells of his recovery. From this he gives hope to those who may have been trapped in the abyss. That it is possible to recover from depression and lead a normal productive life.
While not all of us can be a first person account of what it is like to live with depression this is an excellent book that will give you a good idea. It is also excellent reading alone.

five-stars

Flow

Posted November 8, 2010 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

FlowFlow by Mihaly Csikszent
Published by Harper Collins on March 13th 1991
Genres: General, Psychology
Pages: 303
Goodreads
five-stars

The world's foremost producer of personal development and motivational audio programs gives you the tools to unleash the secret of peak performance.

Remember the last time that you were so focused, so motivated that you felt at the absolute top of your form -- alert, energized and free of self-consciousness? Chances are you were experiencing flow -- an almost euphoric state of concentration and complete involvement.

Now, esteemed psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi reveals how you can achieve this state of mind at will -- and turn everyday experience into a moment by moment opportunity for joy and self-fulfillment. Drawing on over 30 years of breakthrough research into what makes people satisfied, he explains the key elements of the flow experience

The booflowk’s premise is to explain how to induce happiness. It goes by the theory that there are certain things that people do that can make their life more meaningful. His most important message was how to induce “Flow” which is the art of losing oneself completely in what ever activity one is doing.

He did research by having people wear beepers and when ever they contacted the person they was supposed to stop and record what they was doing and how they felt. From this he figured out what made people the happiest.

I found some very useful information in this book. I am not sure if it is just me but the sentence that stood out the most was the one on how chess players who is supposedly the epitome of flow exercised to better their concentration. I couldn’t help but wonder if it would work for reading also.

The second thing that stood out was that in order to keep gaining satisfaction for our activities we have to keep it interesting and challenging. If something becomes to easy we wont have the same satisfaction as we did when we first started an activity. This makes sense when one thinks about it. How many times have we started something then became bored with it then did not want to do it anymore? I know I have done that many times. We have to find new ways of doing something to keep the excitement.

It also focused on mental activities as ways of warding off boredom in the situations we find ourselves in without any physical activities. I know I could never do this. The very thought of being caught without a book is enough to induce anxiety. There are some people that apparently can do this.

He provides a number case studies so we can see each concept in action. I was somewhat fascinated. He makes his case very well. I came away eager to try some of the concepts in the book.

The writing can be dull at times but i think that is more of his being a scientist than his  writing ability. It is well written and understandable so that the lay person can understand how to implement the concepts.

five-stars

Bibliotherpy: The Girls Guide to Books for Every Phase of our Lives

Posted August 28, 2010 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

ISBN: 9780440508977
Bibliotherpy: The Girls Guide to Books for Every Phase of our LivesBibliotherapy by Nancy K. PeskeBeverly West
Published by Dell Pub. on 2001
Genres: Literary Criticism, General, Books & Reading, Psychology, Reference, Bibliographies & Indexes
Pages: 257
Format: Paperback
Source: bought
Goodreads
five-stars

Because women read books differently than guys do...
Every woman knows ... books are more than a way to kill time on the bus — they're therapy that fits in our bag. Whether we're wallowing in a sullen perennial adolescence or our biological clock is ringing and we can't find the snooze button, books are the dog-eared friends that help us deal with our baggage as we navigate life's journey.
Now Bibliotherapy prescribes the best of classic and contemporary Chick Lit that women turn to again and again — for inspiration (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn) ... for escape (Ladder of Years) ... for revenge against the patriarchy (Our Blood) ... and for bonding with our girlfriends (Waiting to Exhale).
Upper-thigh spread sparking a midlife crisis? Read A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains and remember that it's not over until the fat lady yodels. Did your pot of gold turn out to be fourteen-karat tin? Open your eyes with Awakening to the Sacred and learn to savor your rainbow. Wondering what all the fuss is about? Climb into bed with Lady Chatterley's Lover and explore your pleasure potential.
With provocative points to ponder as you read ("What is the metaphorical significance of a codpiece?"), fun quotes, and a list of books that must not be read but, in Dorothy Parker's words, "thrown with great force," Bibliotherapy ensures you'll always find the right literary prescription — no matter what phase of life you're teetering on the brink of!
Plus: Doomed but Inspired Heroes ... Books to Read When You're Sick of Your Career and Are Seriously Considering Taking Up Alpaca Ranching in Peru ... Bad Girls We'd Like to Have Over for Girls' Night ... Books That Are the Equivalent of Citronella for Men ... and much more!

I have to admit I am a sucker for books that has list of other books. Book Lust, 1001 Books to Read before You Die, I am a fan and have read all of them. When I saw this book I just had to obtain a copy.

It list different phases of a women’s life, such as When You’re Ready to Embrace Your Inner Bitch: Bad Girls Books and When You think You can change Him:Bad Boy Books among others.

It is interesting to note that books can be very therapic. I know I have some of my favorites to fall back on when I need a viewpoint on how to solve a problem. Many of my in real life friends are always asking me how can a work of fiction help me sole a real in life issue. I always respond that it can give one a different framework on how to handle issues. In the same vain this book gives the reader a list of books to help reconcile any issues they may be struggling with.

five-stars