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How to be Happy: Simple ways to build your confidence and resilience to become a happier, healthier you

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Title: How to be Happy: Simple ways to build your confidence and resilience to become a happier, healthier you

Author: Liggy Webb

Publisher: Wiley

Reviewer: Jenni Middleton, editor, Nursing Times

What was it like?

This book takes us by the hand through 12 approaches to life – including how we can manage change, build positive relationships, bounce back when we face challenges and cultivate kindness. Each chapter starts with a tale that is a relevant fable for the topic that the chapter is about to cover. It sets the tone with either a funny or touching story and this really grabs the readers’ attention. Liggy Webb, the author, is a motivational speaker and life coach who specifically wants to show people how to cope with the strains of modern life, especially getting work done or managing a good life despite the constant distractions of mobile phones and emails. It focuses on how we handle stress and gives advice on how to change our mindset to help us cope more effectively with daily pressures.


What were the highlights? 

I like the vast number of quotes littered throughout the book from famous people such as John Lennon and the Dalai Lama, which show you how to consider life’s challenges from a new perspective. I also really enjoyed the section at the back, which details resources that will instantly uplift the reader’s mood, such as websites, films and songs. The book isn’t just a fluffy overly optimistic canter through life, it’s realistic in identifying that everyone will be sad at some times and that is acceptable, but it teaches us how to get a sense of perspective.

Strengths & weaknesses:

I think the book comprehensively covers most subjects well and gives lots of advice on difficulties that will make most people stressed or anxious. In particular, there is a section encouraging us to perform random acts of kindness and it gives an example of one woman who carries around a spare umbrella to give to a stranger just in case it rains.

There is a wealth of little tips and examples of things like this to encourage the reader to get into good habits. It is practical and helpful in the inspiration that it offers.

The book is well-written and easily accessible, but if there is one weakness, then it is the chapter on healthy eating and exercise, which is probably not going to be news to nurse readers. However, as it is written for a general audience, the inclusion of this chapter is understandable. I’d advise most nurses just to skip that section, though, as they should know all about the power of good nutrition and exercise.

Who should read it?

There’s some good sections on cultivating empathy, kindness and developing positive relationships, and these will be useful for all nurses who want to strengthen their interpersonal skills to improve the way they relate to patients and colleagues. I can imagine the sections on active listening would be particularly useful for managers too.  Anyone who wants to feel more positive in the face of adversity will get something out of it.




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