Friday 9 October 2020

Happy Anyway by Jane Hanford (Sent for review) Young Adult Book Review

Happy Anyway is a self-help book especially suitable for young people with anxiety. Author Jane Hanford has sent me a copy for review, and although I'm a little older than the main target market, I can certainly appreciate the problems anxiety brings. Managing worries and fretfulness are also something that at least one of our children has really struggled with.... 

Happy anyway by Jane Hanford  book cover plain with rainbow coloured writing

The book starts with an introduction, and you can instantly feel the enthusiasm of the author. She wants to tell you everything, and has a friendly, easy to read style that won't be off-putting to a teenage reader. The main body of the book itself is split into 'chapters' or what the author refers to as "40 short insights into how your mind works". 

The insights are short, cheery and to the point. Each one only takes 5 minutes to read, and although they become more in depth, there isn't an obvious 'difficulty' progression. You can read them in any order, dip in, dip out, or just pick one with a title that takes your fancy. It's very accessible, even to a young person who isn't a big fan of reading a lot of text. 

My immediate reaction to looking at a couple of the insights, is that the first message you get from this book is that you are normal. Whoever you are, whether you are really struggling or just feeling like you can't sparkle, you are normal, and everyone feels like this at times. It's how you then react which makes the difference. This book helps you find the more positive coping strategies, the ones which won't weigh you down further. 

There's a focus on making time for yourself, paying attention to the moment, and resting your brain. Ms Hanford had her own battles with anxiety as a teenager, and is bringing experience, wisdom and learning, including Western and Buddhist Psychology. It is a very calming book to read. You automatically find yourself chilling out a bit and relaxing. 

Happy anyway by Jane Hanford anxiety self help book for teenagers inside page with text example

One of my favourite sections is no.18 - Freeing Yourself From The Pressure Of Time. Time is something we never seem to have enough of, so we should enjoy it while it's here. Reading the section reminded me of a quote I heard a long time ago, and I've never forgotten it since. I can't say I've minded it every second, but just remembering it can bring you back to Earth, and release you to enjoy whatever you are actually doing... 

"We all spend so much time worrying about the future that the present moment slips right out of our hands, and so all we have left is retrospection and anticipation, retrospection and anticipation. In which case what's left to recall but past anticipation? What's left to anticipate but future retrospection?"
          David Leavitt. 

Happy Anyway is really easy to read, and very easy to dip into and begin reading. It pulls you in. Straight to the point, with familiar feelings and situations relayed in a very calm matter-of-fact manner. Happy Anyway shows us that our own reactions, feelings and behaviour can be our worst enemy. We aren't kind enough to ourselves, and we judge ourselves too harshly. It's a message all young people need to hear regularly... 

Happy anyway by Jane Hanford back of book blurb

A really fascinating book, which is a bit like sitting chatting with someone comfortable and familiar. I will definitely be passing this on to the most anxious of my own brood. I can say "that isn't important" or "that is plenty good enough" a million times, it'll always have more gravity whenever someone else says it... 

Happy Anyway is written by Jane Hanford and self-published. Available now on Amazon (affiliate link below) 168 page, rrp £8.99 paperback/£4.99 Kindle

I was sent my copy of Happy Anyway for review. Amazon links are affiliate, as I do not charge for book reviews. If you buy through my link then I earn a few pence, it helps keep the site running. 

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