Author: Jacqui Letran
I don’t usually like self-help books, I’m one of those obnoxious infuriating types who folds their arms and obstinately goes ‘I don’t need to be told to slow down and love myself, people bleat that at me all the time. Bah Humbug.’ However, I saw this Damn Mind book had some great reviews, and I’ve been trying to open up to more things lately – so since the author was offering a book swap I thought it a perfect opportunity to try something new, and I’m really glad I did.
If I had a teenage daughter I would advise her to read it, it’s well thought out and everything is explained with metaphors so it’s more accessible no matter how you think, some of them even made me chuckle and as a visual person I was very grateful for the interjections. The first half of the book just breaks down in very conversational language how the mind works and how we recall things, and exactly where we can interject to try and improve our perspectives.
The second half of the book was dedicated to real stories from real teens (with name’s changed I’m assuming) with a short diagnosis on what exactly had happened in terms of the psychology of each case and a tip on at the end for how to alter your perspective of that particular anxiety. There was one case study for each of the main hang ups a teen may have “I’m not Good Enough/Worth/Loved/Safe” and what I liked about each of them is they’ve clearly been picked for their normality, in one of the cases there wasn’t even a trigger for the anxiety – it simply crept up on her. They were really accessible anecdotes, and I think most teens reading them could empathize and understand.
The author also shared her own less than perfect story, which I thought was a lovely touch. The reason I don’t usually go in for self-help is I find them preachy, and I didn’t think that once while reading this so big thumbs up for that.
The one thing I would say about it is the book is great at explaining, but I could have really done with some more examples of proactive exercises, because I liked the few that were there. I imagined myself being a teen reading this and just sitting there and thinking “Okay, I get it – my mind works this way – what am I supposed to do about it?!”. It’s also quite short, which is not a detriment to the book, I don’t think it would have benefited Damn Mind being any longer than it was – but depending on your perspective you might find the paperback copy a bit expensive for the length. To give you an idea I sat down and read it in a few hours.
While I’ve not been converted to self-help books this is definitely a book I will pass on and recommend – and not just to the teenage girls it’s aimed at, anyone can gain some accessible mindfulness from Damn Mind.