January isn’t a time of year when we’re known to be full of the joys so when I was given the opportunity to be a part of the blog tour for Happiness: The Inside Job by Matt Pepper I jumped at the chance. The book was delivered to my work during the first week of January and opening it at lunchtime was a brilliant pick me up.
First impressions of the book were – bold, bright and accessible and it certainly lives up to that. It’s split up in to small manageable sections with actionable advice in each one. The train running throughout the book is the “Happiness Barometer”. This is how Matt encourages us to rate our happiness and consider how various things are affecting it, whether that’s travelling up the barometer or down.
Matt outlines 7 things we should all be doing to achieve happiness including things like nurturing positive thoughts and spending the most time on the things we love. May not sound like rocket science but this is definitely things that we could all use reminders of from time to time.
The book is interspersed by punchy graphics that will make you smile as you go and at the end of each section there’s a list to sum up the steps alongside your Happiness Barometer. With such an accessible format this book would be ideal for teenagers and young people or if you’re struggling with concentration – which a lot of people struggling with low mood are.
One of the things that Matt attributes to not fulfilling your happiness potential is not being yourself.
“Dump the front
Have you ever felt you needed to put on a front for friends, family or at work, in order to get through a situation? I know I have. We create a front when at some point in our lives we decide that being ourselves is not good enough, or simply isn’t going to work. So we create a front, a persona, to do the job for us.
In one way creating a front can be a very useful tool, helping us to get through a variety of tricky situations. These fronts are often created as learnt behaviour in childhood when we may feel vulnerable. As we grow into adulthood they are less necessary to survive, but we often think that we still need them. Putting on a front is not always a bad thing, however often our lives would be much better and far happier without feeling the need to do this.
There are two main problems with this coping strategy:
- It doesn’t feel right; we can never feel totally happy when we are putting on a front
- It is emotionally draining; we can’t help but feel tired after having to put on a front
Fronts are never satisfying, they need to be dumped!
As we have already mentioned in the previous chapter ‘feeling good’ is the key guidance system here. Many of my clients have said that they don’t know who they are anymore. They have forgotten who they really are, because they are too busy concentrating on trying to be what they believe others want them to be.
These issues can be easily resolved if you remember one simple thing…
Who you actually are is never far away
Your true self is like a friendly runner keeping up alongside you, whichever path in life you take. Once you decide to step across into the version of yourself that is truly you, you will begin to feel better. Even just having the thought that soon you will be you again, can make us feel better.
Dumping the front isn’t instant, it is a process. As we go through the book we will be learning ways to get happier simply by being ourselves. The more we get happier being ourselves, the less we will need to put on a front.”
This is really good advice, if easier said than done. Being yourself and surrounding yourself with people who make you feel comfortable doing that will always be a winner. A lot of the book resonated with me, especially when Matt outlines the kind of habits people get stuck in when they are not happy. During periods of low mood and anxiety I can certainly see myself falling in to these traps and I will be using the book in future to check myself.
All in all it’s a good read. I read it in one afternoon and have referred back to it a few times since. Matt has based the book on years of work with various clients from all walks of life and what has worked for them. In that sense this is a tried and tested method. It would be ideal if you’re in a bit of a slump at the moment or feeling a little low as a result of the January blues but I’m never sure to what extent these kinds of approaches work if you suffer from a genuine mood disorder. It certainly can’t do any harm to try to implement the tips and tricks Matt recommends but try not to pressure yourself if they don’t suddenly make you feel better.
Happiness: The Inside Job was released on 18th January 2018, published by Cabin Press. It’s available to buy on Amazon. If you pick up a copy let me know what you think.
*I was kindly sent a copy of Happiness The Inside Job as part of Matt Pepper’s book tour in return for an honest review.