The Blurb On The Back:
If you can change your thinking, you can change your life.
Positive thinking – and positive actions – can bring about significant shifts for the better in many areas of your life. But what are the practical steps to achieving an optimistic outlook?
Over 100 tips and techniques for thinking positively in every situation.
Following on from her bestselling book Positive Thinking, personal development expert and bestselling author Gill Hasson distils the power of positive thought into practical activities and suggestions that will really help you think and act positively. IN the Positive Thinking Pocketbook, you will learn to:
– Recognise negative thinking and make the shift towards positivity;
– Transfer positive thinking into positive action and outcomes;
– Avoid getting stuck in negative patterns by making positivity a habit;
– Employ positive thinking to manage feelings in difficult situations.
Positive thinking is a skill anyone can learn. The Positive Thinking Pocketbook can become your constant companion as you work towards confidence and optimism in your everyday life. For any situation needing a dose of positivity, flip through these pages and find a technique, activity or suggestion to inspire you and propel you forward.
The Review (Cut For Spoilers):
Gill Hasson is a UK-based personal development expert and in this useful pocket guide to positive thinking she sets out what negative thinking is, why it’s damaging and includes exercises and practical techniques for recognising negative thoughts and countering them. Particularly good is that Hasson recognises how difficult positive thinking can be, which I found easier to engage with than American writers who generally suggest you’re not trying.
Let me begin by saying that I don’t think there’s any point in picking up a book about positive thinking unless you are genuinely interested in the subject and are looking to rethink your approaches to how you deal with problems and your personal situation. This is because unless you are genuinely prepared to engage with what the writer says and suggests, you will get very little benefit from it (and I say that as someone who has been guilty of precisely that). I ended up engaging with books like this more after having had some counselling a number of years ago so I believe you need to be open minded and at the same time recognise that although the core principles behind positive thinking don’t change, different writers on the topic have different exercises and comments to make about how to apply them. Therefore you are going to find that some writers work for you and some don’t, e.g. some engage with the topic on a pragmatic level, or, maybe a writer will look at the topic mechanically in terms of personal behaviour or maybe they are more spiritual and emotional in terms of the topic (which you might find easier to embrace). There is no harm in trying out different books and different authors because there is no universal panacea for the topic.
Okay, so that said Hasson’s approach to the topic was one that really chimed with me. I found she wrote clearly about the topic and I recognised a lot of what she said about negative thinking and negative traits as things I tend to do (although, obviously, I am working on it). Particularly important for me was how she draws the link between negative thinking and how it can affect your self-confidence and what she has to say about catastrophising (i.e. imagining the worst possible scenario) and blaming (i.e. placing all responsibility for something going wrong on someone else) was something that specifically resonated with me. Her section on adopting patterns of behaviour and routines was also something that I tend to do – not least because of a fear of leaving my comfort zone – so doing some of the exercises (e.g. changing my walk home to take a different route) did have an impact for me (and, to repeat, I recognise that would not be true of everyone).
The book is divided into 4 sections: Positive Thinking Vs Negative Thinking; Positive Thinking And Positive Action; Making Positive Thinking A Habit and Positive Thinking For Difficult Situations. Each chapter is very short (no more than a couple of pages) and deals with a specific point (e.g. dealing with being bullied, having goals, identifying options, and rewiring your brain). To be honest, the inspirational quote that opens each chapter didn’t do anything for me but the points themselves are straightforward and I found easy to absorb. I had several ‘aha!’ moments reading the book as I recognised things about myself (e.g. catastrophising). Plus the points she makes about giving compliments as a way of crystallising positive thinking by focusing on the best in other people are easy to do in practice and genuinely have made me change how I evaluate and think about other people.
What I really like about Hasson’s approach is that she recognises the difficulties people will have in applying some of the techniques (e.g. in the giving compliments chapter she acknowledges how people feel awkward about saying the compliment wrong) and then tells you why it’s important to move past that (this is in contrast to some American writers who focus on why you should do something without acknowledging the emotional/psychological barriers that can make you hesitant). The final section where she deals with specific situations such as bullying, managing envy, experiencing regret, was really interesting for me – not least because having been bullied at work at one point in my life everything she said really chimed with me and I did wish that I’d seen it at the time (although I cannot say how receptive I would have been).
The book can either be read from cover to cover or you can dip in and out of it as you need to. If you’re new to the subject of positive reading (either because you’re working with a counsellor to change your behaviour or you’ve recognised it as an issue yourself and want to know where to start on the topic) then I think this is a good introduction and a really useful personal guide and on that basis, is worth checking out.
POSITIVE THINKNG POCKETBOOK was released in the United Kingdom on 4th January 2019. Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.