This little book is pocket-sized, packed with a punch. Nita tells us in the introduction that she “…had been locked into a downward, downbeat spiral for so long that I did not know my way out.” She admits that after a prolonged period of counselling and therapy she still did not know how to be more upbeat.
She then discovered that in order to change her life she needed to work at it, on a daily basis. She suffered from having “…too many thoughts spinning around…” in her head, something common she believes in many downbeat people. She broke the cycle and came off a high dose of antidepressants by “doing things.” And that is what this book is about – doing things, and the beauty is that many of them are simple activities which you can just do, immediately! The cost – nothing. So what is your excuse now?
Chapter one outlines the ‘bear necessities of life’, five in all. She argues that these are easy to adopt and can make you feel better easily and permanently, but you need to do them all, every day. Are you ready for these? Walk 20 minutes, smile more, get a good night’s sleep, breathe deeply and drink more water. Are you ready for the next chapter?
The next chapter is entitled the mood monitor and it is what it says. We need to think about our emotions because Nita argues that if you are a downbeat kind of a person, you are more likely to be a ‘slave to your emotions’ whereas upbeat people are more ‘in charge of their emotions.’ Nita provides you with a chart to allow you to monitor your emotions on a daily basis. In this way you get better at recognising which emotions you are more attached to and how this reflects itself in your moods and sense of wellbeing, or the opposite. This gives you an opportunity to become less of a slave to emotion and more in charge.
Once you have done this and have embedded the ‘bear necessities’ into your daily routine, you can begin to think about progressing further. How? By being kind to yourself, by devoting more time to you, by allowing yourself to become more of a priority. You need to develop ways of doing, rather than finding reasons for not doing, things that will help you be more upbeat. So Nita has set out more ways of doing, rather then continuing to think and over-analyse and get trapped again into inaction.
This means more exercise, something that you enjoy doing, and then doing a little of it and being pleased with yourself when you are done. More things to do are listed under: random acts of nurture, life’s little indulgence, good mood foods, sleep routine, gratitude and appreciation and looking forward to your future. She suggests that doing these exercises will help you if you want to be more upbeat.
So, we have lots of positives but Nita also has some suggestions as to how we deal with setbacks, so we have a chapter entitled: downbeat gremlin buster. These help us with accepting difficulties in the past and the present and recognising unhelpful patterns of thinking, amongst other things. Dealing with your gremlins, Nita argues, helps you to become stronger and more upbeat.
There are other factors that have to be dealt with too, and Nita takes us through these in turn: our beliefs, self-esteem, internal conversations and internal pictures, living in the now and goals. She provides activities to help us work our way through this list. She encourages us to confront emotions like helplessness, loneliness, guilt and hatred.
Finally Nita points out that if we want to have an upbeat life we need to make a commitment to make it happen. She made it happen for her by using the techniques and strategies in the book, she wants these to help you do the same.
I think that this looks like a very useful little book, full of common sense suggestions that are not difficult to do of themselves. The steps she suggests are small and therefore within our grasp. She uses simple language and concepts to encourage us forward. It feels like she managed it and she wants to help others achieve what she has been able to do.
A generous spirited little book.