Self help books can really be a hit or a miss.
Granted, some are amazing. I’ve read ones that have changed my life for the better. But many are filled with woo advice that has never actually been proven to work. These end up being more frustrating to read than genuinely helpful.
I’ve become a bit of a skeptic the past few years. I take most advice with a grain of salt, and generally take a lot of time to process things before putting it into action.
Admittedly, I’m naturally pessimistic. Constant joyful optimistic can grate on me, because it makes me wonder- what’s the catch?
For that reason, I should not enjoy Jacqueline Pirtle’s self help books. She’s everything I’m not (in my own biased by depression perspective). But damn it, I really really do.
In this post, I’m going to share my book review of her latest work, Life IS Beautiful. I’ll talk about the things I enjoyed the most, and give you some helpful tips on how you can find happiness in your own life.
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Also, I am not a doctor or mental health professional. Just someone who has lived with depression and anxiety for many years who is passionate about sharing her experiences and tips for success. If you are in crisis call your doctor, then click here for some good mental health resources.
Who is Jacqueline Pirtle?
Jacqueline Pirtle is the mind behind FreakyHealer, and is an author, speaker, and a holistic practitioner. A constant sunshine seeker, she advocates for a mindful approach to happiness and parenting that I’ve found massively helpful.
She’s written 4 books about mindfulness, and finding your own joy and strength:
- 365 Days of Happiness
- Parenting Through the Eyes of Lollipops
- What It Means to BE a Woman
- Life IS Beautiful
(Click any of the links for more info)
You can also follow her on:
Life IS Beautiful book review
There were a lot of things I really enjoyed about this book! Here is a brief snippet of all my favorite nuggets of wisdom.
She talks about energy
“The essence of all- you and your life too- is a changeable matter and, actually, rather famous for its flexibility, changeability, and shift-ability— clarifying deeply that you are never stuck, even if it seems that way.” (JP, Life IS Beautiful)
This is something I’ve been exploring in my own mental health journey. There’s certainly evidence available that suggests that our brain is incredibly elastic. It might not seem like it, but with patience and effort, we can change the way we grow and think. Whether you call it energy, or neuroplasticity, or something else, it’s an interesting conversation to have.
6 steps to finding happiness
In Life IS Beautiful, she shares 6 steps to happiness- or creating a beautiful life, as she phrases it. I will only share the first few, but you can read the full book for more details.
- Step 1: Choose a beautiful life. This can pretty easily be misinterpreted, so let me share what my takeaway from this is. Personally, as someone who lives with depression, anxiety, and currently, a host of delightful pregnancy symptoms- I cannot choose how my brain and body choose to treat me. I didn’t pick to live with a mental illness. Why would someone? BUT. I think someone can choose to seek beauty and purpose in all the chaos life presents us.
- Step 2: Commit to a beautiful life. Even if, like me, you live with depression and anxiety, you can still take small steps daily to living a life that brings you joy. I will talk about that more in a coming section.
- Step 3: Practice a beautiful life. As with any coping strategy, you can’t just try something once, and say “That was BS! It didn’t work.” Healing in your mental health journey takes time. So, if you want to live a happier life, commit to it, and keep on fighting for it on a daily basis.
We’re on an incredible journey!
I love how she talks about the journey we’re on! “Your physical body, your host to make this wild ride of a life possible- a masterpiece living the energetically guided masterplan- by serving the physical journey that is put in motion by your energetic essence.” (JP, Life IS Beautiful)
Your energy and physical body combined are sending you on the ride of a lifetime. It might be filled with challenges. That’s true for many of us, myself included. But that doesn’t mean that life can’t ultimately be a very beautiful thing.
How you can find happiness in a dreadful year
After you check out Jacqueline’s latest book, Life IS Beautiful, I recommend implementing the following the 3 action steps.
Figure out what you want your life to look like
Everyone is different, and we’re not going to have the same goals. That’s perfectly okay. Much of happiness is a subjective experience. And by now you should all know my favorite Don Draper quote on the subject.
But it’s important to figure what the heck you want exactly. If you were to embrace the Life IS Beautiful principles that Pirtle shares, what would it look like for you?
- Have more energy?
- More focus?
- More financial success?
- A better love life?
It might take some hard work (and heart work!) to really dig deep and figure out what you want out of life.
Come up with a plan
Once you’ve identified what you want to achieve, you need to figure out a way to make it happen. What’s really important for those of us living with depression and anxiety is to break it up in as many bite sized chunks as possible. Overwhelm will get you nowhere!
For instance, if you want to get in better shape, but have been largely bedridden due to depression or another condition, I do not recommend the goal of: I will run a marathon next month.
I mean, running a marathon is an amazing goal, but take it easy, sport. Start by saying, “Every day this week, I will get out of bed for 10 minutes a day (other than for showering, bathroom, getting food, etc.)” Once you master that, move on to the next step!
Eventually you will be able to reach whatever goal you set, but it can take a lot of time and dedication. So don’t give up!
Focus on things that matter to you
There are a lot of things that end up on our to-do lists that don’t really matter. Scrub the baseboards for the 3rd time this month. Anyone else guilty of that?
When you’re trying to get your goals on track, it’s important to have laser sharp focus. And sometimes that involves really honing your list of tasks until it more accurately reflects the things that truly matter to you.
Don’t waste energy on things that are making you unhappy, or outsource them if you can!
Life is beautiful- if you give it a chance
In short, I really loved this book like I loved all of hers. It’s full of small (and HUGE!) nuggets of hope in a year that invites nothing but pessimism and frustration.
Definitely check out Life IS Beautiful by Jacqueline Pirtle and feel a little bit sunnier!
What are your tried and true happiness tricks? I would love to hear about them in the comments. Also, make sure to share this post if you liked it!