CHANGE by Maggie Whittle and Sylvia Goddard

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Reviewed by Laura Sholtz, PhD, RSHom, CCH

CHANGE is a book with a different kind of focus on health and healing; it empowers by teaching how to transform different kinds of common negativities or difficulties that can seriously impact most of our lives: stress, worrying, lack of confidence, unhelpful life views, dealing with confrontation, feeling threatened, simply dealing with human beings, and problems in general. By using the achievable life skills and resources presented, each person can follow techniques for self-improvement, and heal negative habits that hold people back from living full, happy lives. This is an easy book to read, approachable and welcoming, but the results that are felt when the exercises are followed can be life changing.

There are two parts to CHANGE. Part One covers 24 topics such as “How to Recognize Stress in Yourself,” “Create a More Optimistic Attitude,” “Face Your Worries,” “Know Your Rights–Assert Yourself,” and “Self-Esteem–Your Key to a Happier Life.” CHANGE can be considered a kind of workbook for health. It is small enough to carry with you throughout the day, to be referred to as needed. In times of crisis, or simply to get through a difficult situation that may arise, simply refer to the section indicated; the reader can cross-reference “…to particular Resources in Part Two where you will find more in-depth methods…” (p. x), using easy techniques to bring about powerful, quick, and lasting change. Both authors are known for their self-development workshops, and they share their significant knowledge in this little book.

Here are a few of the common human experiences that are covered in Part One. Chapter 1 is titled “Get to Know All About Stress,” and discusses not only what happens to our bodies when stress builds up, but also suggests that “Short-term moderate stress…is good for you and for a healthy balanced life.” (p. 5) Chapter 12 deals with “Face Your Worries,” and tells how one’s “…unresolved problems can drain us emotionally and physically.” (p.63) We all know that, but what can we do to stop being drained? CHANGE offers techniques to turn this around, to resolve problems. Chapter 20 is surprising: “Increase Your Emotional Intelligence”; presented here is a metaphorical story that will make one think, and, as the goal, also increase one’s emotional intelligence.

Part Two offers resources for making the change happen, from altering one’s cognitive distortions to changing unhealthy and untrue core beliefs; it also presents three different kinds of meditation practices to “Balance Your Busy Mind.” One of the most useful chapters is Resource 7, “Reduce Your Worries & Fears.” In a short two pages is given information about how to reduce anxiety; it does take some work, but if one’s goal is effecting change, then be prepared to committing time and effort, using time-tested, non-threatening, and sometimes “…light-hearted and humorous…” (p. viii) techniques. The benefits are well worth the effort involved. “This is a book you can get great benefit from right away. It is a book that can benefit you throughout your whole life. It may well be the best gift you can ever give yourself.” (p. ix)

At a fraction of the cost of seeing a psychiatrist, you can buy this book and set about changing what is holding you back from feeling better about yourself and living a happy, fulfilling life by using simple and effective techniques that anyone can learn to do. Isn’t a book focusing on that worth reading?

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