Positive Psychology

Positive Psychology

Book: “Positive Psychology for Overcoming Depression– Self-Help Strategies to Build Strength, Resilience and Sustainable Happiness” by Miriam Akhtar

Book Review by Mary Mikawoz

This books is relatively short for a self-help book. It is 254 pages on a digital copy. It is full of good information some of which is common sense but others that are the result of research studies. Miriam Akhtar suffered being “visited by the black dog” but no more based on practices she has implemented in her life.

Miriam spends a good portion of the beginning book explaining what “depression” is and is not. It is rather exhaustive and I wonder when you truly deal with depression, do you need such a lengthy explanation. Depression is a lengthy and continuous feeling of being hopeless, helpless and worthless. It is much more than a passing fancy. It is intense. There are psychological, physical and social symptoms to depression but too many to list here. It is the black hole that you simply can not get out of. There are various spirals you can take down with you from psychological, social to physical and pessimistic spirals.

She starts off the book about the ‘Tale of the Two Wolves.’ The grandfather is explaining to his grandson that there is a struggle going inside each person. A wolf that is evil and mean and a wolf that is good and positive. The grandson asks, which wolf wins to which the old man responds “Which ever one you feed?” It is very important then to feed the positive part of yourself and with determination, deny the negative of any feeding to the evil or bad one.

Miriam suggest doing positive things each day even if it is small and for example involves simply walking in the mall. Many approaches involves using your mental capacity to make changes and as this is the case, it will take time and constant repetition to do so.

Some of the arsenal in the positive kit are: Gratitude, Savouring, Acts of Kindness, Connecting with Loved Ones, Using your Strengths, Mindfulness Meditation, Loving-Kindness Meditation, Physical Activities, and Visualizing Your Best Possible Self (seeing your future positively).

Miriam Akhtar highlights many books that offer further insights into the positive parts of the kit. She references these book as places to get more information to deal with depression.

With gratitude, it is dependent upon the senses you relate to most as to what you are most thankful for. With visual, it might be seeing beautiful art and with touch, it might be a massage or hot bath. With smell, it might be smelling flowers and with auditory, it might be listening to good music or a listening to a choir.

French author, Albert Camus, speaks of “In the midst of winter, I found there was inside me an invincible summer.” We all need to see the beauty and positives in the negative and the cold.

With Loving-Kindness meditation, there are three aspects available – a Visualization of imagining a person smiling at you, of Reflection – reflecting upon positive aspects of a person or yourself and Sound – repeating a sound or mantra such as “Loving Kindness.”

Some tactics for dealing on worrying are: distract yourself, write down your fears, avoid the triggers that set you off and taking one small step towards solving the problem in a s positive way.

These are some of the methods that Miriam has used in dealing with her depression and it can help you too. I recommend this book to people who deal with depression. There is more in the latter part of the book.

Tags: Positive Psychology, Depression, Self-help, Strength, Resilience, Happiness, Visited by the Black Dog, Anxiety, Gratitude, Savouring, Acts of Kindness, Connecting with Loved Ones, Using your Strengths, Mindfulness Meditation, Loving-Kindness Meditation, Physical Activities, and Visualizing Your Best Possible Self

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Until Today

Until Today Book

“Until Today” By Iyanla Vanzant

Book: “Until Today: Daily Devotional for Spiritual Growth and Peace of Mind” by Iyanla Vanzant

Book Review by Mary Mikawoz

This book will take you a year to read; at least, it should. It is daily devotional book dated each day for an entire year. I read the book at a number of sittings because I did not know if I could wait a year to read all the amazing insights that Iyanla has to offer.

Iyanla’s insights are so incredible and in depth. Her wisdom is of sage advice. I enjoyed reading her book and think it would be very good to focus on one aspect each day. Each month has a different focus. From January to December, the devotee is supposed to focus on different elements such as the following: life, love, awareness, acknowledgment, acceptance, forgiveness, understanding, faith, trust, worth, service and peace.

It is difficult to discuss everything Iyanla goes over so I will keep my comments to a minimum by quoting a couple of days in the book. On July 30, the beginning of the day starts with “I will gain more understanding when I realize…there is a place called home where I am always welcome.” There are four paragraphs that follow expounding further on this concept. It ends off the page with a focal point. In this case, it reads, “Today I am devoted to finding my way back home!”

Other example pages have poems or quotes or sayings in it. One of my favourites is found on December 29 where the following is given.

“You are here:

To gain character as you lose ego

To gain integrity as you lose dishonesty

To gain strength as you lose fear

To gain compassion as you lose disappointment

To gain discipline as you lose willfulness

To gain equality as you lose separation

To gain appreciation as you lose resentment

To gain enthusiasm as you lose hostility

To gain tenderness as you lose rigidity

To gain boldness as you lose bitterness

To gain generosity as you lose selfishness

To gain optimism as you lose inadequacy

To gain excitement as you lose embarrassment

To gain gratitude as you lose greed

To gain love as you lose ignorance.”

The book in my estimation is fantastic. Iyanla puts down in writing many of her inner peaceful secrets and understandings of God. This a a great spiritual book that could be read first thing in the morning each and every day for years to come with new insights being found all the time. I highly recommend this book.

Tags: devotional, book, 365 days, year, life, love, awareness, acknowledgment, acceptance, forgiveness, understanding, faith, trust, worth, service, peace, character, ego, integrity, honesty, strength, fear, compassion, disappointment, discipline, willfulness, equality, separation, appreciation, resentment, tenderness, rigidity boldness, bitterness, generosity, selfishness, optimism, inadequacy, excitement, embarrassment, gratitude, greed, love, ignorance.