As a keen follower of Jon Cousins’ website and blog at Moodnudges.com; and as one of the first to use his unique wellbeing scorecards, WellBee, I jumped at the opportunity to review his debut book, ‘Nudge Your Way to Happiness.’
To summarise, this is a great book!
It’s logical, it’s practical, and of particular relevance to someone suffering from the lack of motivation that low mood brings with it, it’s very user-friendly!
I am the first to admit that I don’t generally have much patience with non-fiction books; even less so with ‘wordy’ non-fiction books that lack pictures – yes, pictures!
As an adult with ADHD (Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder) my attention span – unless my interest is piqued – is not great at the best of times! I can however say, with complete honesty, that I had no such issues with ‘Nudge Your Way to Happiness.’ A page a day read, easily understood instructions and fun illustrations meant I wasn’t faced with pages and pages of words to disentangle and make sense of, but instead a consistent read or a ‘dip in, dip out’ book which is easily accessible to all levels of reader.
The introduction is itself a fascinating read, charting the journey of the author from his personal experience of depression; his disillusionment with mental health services; and out of his determination to improve his own mental wellbeing, the logical breakdown of positive self-help strategies into manageable ‘nudges.’ After reading the introduction, I felt I had to try the book itself!
As a sufferer of depression since childhood, I have come a long way in learning recognised strategies for identifying my own particular triggers, and intervening with appropriate responses to redirect my negative energy. Jon Cousins channels such strategies in a structured way to guide the reader gently towards a better frame of mind.
What I particularly like about ‘Nudge Your Way to Happiness,’ is the gentle graded way in which the strategies are used. Taking one of Jon’s examples from his Introduction; it’s a well known fact that people are social animals and being with others of our kind can help lift a low mood; yet Jon also acknowledges from his personal experience, that when he is depressed, he really doesn’t feel like partying with crowds of people. Instead he advises we score our mood using his questionnaire at the beginning of each day, and then, based on this score we choose the appropriate nudge. In his personal example he provides three realistic options for socialising, varying from just sitting alone, but among people (in his case at the Buttercross Tearoom!) to having a more involved social occasion, such as lunch with a friend. Times this one example by 30 days – and you have a whole month’s worth of proven, working strategies, or gentle ‘nudges,’ which, matched with your mood, you can implement yourself!
Keep the score chart as Cousin’s recommends, and you will have (hopefully, fingers crossed!) a visual representation of how your mood is steadily improving!
There is, among the 30 days worth of moodnudges, a Day 31! Surprise!
This is an opportunity for self-reflection; to explore how far you have come, what factors might influence how you feel each day, how much more work there might need to be done… and so on. Be honest with yourself. Chances are that you’re reading this because you’re exploring your options for self help; you might feel you’re in need of a mood lift; you haven’t yet found a way to work with feeling low; you want to take charge of your mental wellbeing, and so on. It’s only by being honest with yourself that you can make improvements.
I not only recommend this book; I heartily recommend this book – and have in fact just handed it over to a friend to read this morning.
An easy five out of five stars.