Wow, what an incredible week. Last Tuesday night in Dubray Books in Dublin my book ‘Becoming Your Real Self – A Practical Toolkit for Managing Life’s Challenges’ was launched by RTE’s John Murray.
It was a humbling night and as I write this I am still overwhelmed. Over 100 people turned out from all parts of the country to show support. John Murray said some lovely words about how the book is accessible, jargon free and has powerful tools to help address common mental health issues.
I was frustrated looking at US and UK self-help material, and while I advised some clients to get these books I felt there was something missing in them.
I set out that ‘Becoming Your Real Self’ would capture the everyday stories that come into my therapy room.
I provide practical tools to change; Stress to relaxation, Depression to hope , Anxiety to freedom, Anger to calm, Social anxiety to confidence, Low self-esteem to self-worth, Emotional eating to self-control , Caring for yourself and family members, Tackling toxic people in your life, Dealing with the issue of suicide,
Communicating assertively, Tackling bullies and building self-esteem in children.
There is no big secret. It’s about understanding the pattern of your thinking and behaviour. This is critical to the process.
Particular problems have unique thinking and behavioural patterns. With depression its like people wear glasses that only see negativity in the past, present and future.
In anxiety the glasses that the person wears only see threats. These thinking and behavioural patterns keep your problem going, perpetuate fear, sadness, worthlessness and anger.
The good news is that if you are part of the problem, you are also part of the solution. Indeed you are the most important part.
I am going to show you the tools to firmly kick these patterns out of your life for good. You will also find good advice about smart caring – that is caring for someone in ways that doesn’t make their problems worse or continue on.
As to the book title; how often do you wear a mask and hide your true feelings? Many times people work hard to present a mask that they think will help them get through. Are you exhausted putting on this mask? Are there times in work or at home when people have said something to you and you have ‘bit your lip’. I bet it’s happened. If you put your energy into the mask and neglect your real self, a gap will be created between the self that you present to the world and the person you really are inside.
That space will become filled with negativity: fear, anger and sadness; or, worse, panic attacks, anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. Inside, the real self is neglected, malnourished and weakened. Too often people try to numb their emotions and fill the gap with alcohol, overeating, no exercising and hours in front of the TV. Their bodies send signals – aches and pains, stresses and strains.
With any emotional difficulty such as stress, depression and conflict it’s important to listen for the solutions – the stepping stones out of the problem. I am always trying to answer this question: ‘What is keeping this problem going?’ This question is critical.
If you are reading this article to get insight into a problem that you can’t shake off, or if you are trying to understand the experiences of someone you care about, or if you’re simply looking for greater understanding of how your emotions work, being able to answer this question is the point at which change starts to happen. What is keeping my problem going right now? What is sustaining it?
‘Becoming Your Real Self - A Practical Toolkit For Managing Life’s Challenges’ - Penguin Ireland, is available in local shops.