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How to Stay Sane (School of Life)by Philippa Perry
Synopses & Reviews
Everyone accepts the importance of physical health; isn't it just as important to aim for the mental equivalent? Philippa Perry has come to the rescue with How to Stay Sane — a maintenance manual for the mind.
Years of working as a psychotherapist showed Philippa Perry what approaches produced positive change in her clients and how best to maintain good mental health. In How to Stay Sane, she has taken these principles and applied them to self-help. Using ideas from neuroscience and sound psychological theory, she shows us how to better understand ourselves. Her idea is that if we know how our minds form and develop, we are less at the mercy of unknown unconscious processes. In this way, we can learn to be the master of our feelings and not their slave.
This is a smart, pithy, readable book that everyone with even a passing interest in their psychological health will find useful.
"Lumping the insane into two broad groups — those who 'lurch from crisis to crisis' and those who 'have got themselves into a rut and operate from a limited set of outdated, rigid responses' — Perry (Couch Fiction) explains how to 'stay on the path between those two extremes.' Right off the bat, it's clear her intention is not to transform the clinically crazy into functioning members of society; rather, this brief book is aimed at everyday folks struggling to 'remain stable and yet flexible, coherent and yet able to embrace complexity.' Perry, a psychotherapist, explains that people who maintain sanity have changed in four areas: 'self-observation,' relationships with others, coping with stress, and telling stories. The author addresses each in as many chapters, wherein she discusses related topics as diverse as biology, learning styles, the effects of exercise, and a Wagner opera, as well as illustrative case studies. Folks seeking further guidance will find more than 30 pages of practical 'exercises,' as well as a list of suggested reading. Though Perry's approach can sometimes be difficult to follow, her inviting tone (complemented by lighthearted illustrations throughout) and friendly prose make this an accessible addition to the School of Life publications. Illus. Agent: Caroline Dawnay, United Agents (U.K.)." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"The School of Life offers radical ways to help us raid the treasure trove of human knowledge." The Independent on Sunday (London)
"Using stories from her therapy practice to illustrate her points as well as numerous exercises to conduct alone, with a loved one or within a group, Perry brings new light to a well-visited subject." Kirkus Reviews
"Perry offers guidance that is both revelatory and achievable." Booklist
One of The Economist's Best Books of 2012
Everyone accepts the importance of physical health; isn't it just as important to aim for the mental equivalent? Modern life places us under immense stress; it can be really hard to feel calm, content, or open to new experiences. Here, psychotherapist Philippa Perry demonstrates that it is possible to become a little less tortured and a little more fulfilled. She describes how our minds work, and then takes us through a number of exercises designed to strengthen our resilience, bolster our sense of perspective, and increase our creativity. This book is at once a brilliant explanation of our minds and a profoundly useful guide to facing up to the many challenges life throws our way.
About the Author
Philippa Perry is a psychotherapist and writer who has written pieces for The Guardian, The Observer, Time Out, and Healthy Living magazine and has a column in Psychologies Magazine. In 2010, she wrote the graphic novel Couch Fiction, in an attempt to demystify psychotherapy. She lives in London and Sussex with her husband, the artist Grayson Perry, and enjoys gardening, cooking, parties, walking, tweeting, and watching telly.
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