Put your hand up if you have ever worried about the need to live the perfect life. It seems that striving to have it all is the modern person’s syndrome: the need to do everything, be everything and somehow manage to keep sane. This might account for the huge, and still growing, self-help book industry, many of these focused on how to find happiness – think Gretchin Rubin’s The Happiness Project for instance.
The notion of what it means to be happy and how we get there is growing more and more complex, having to juggle all those things that we are supposed to be able to cope with: having a thriving career, successful relationships, money, children, regular social commitments and fitness regimes…you get the drift. It is exhausting just thinking about it, let alone achieving it.
Louise Thompson, a journalist and yoga teacher, knows all about the pressure to do it all. She suffered from Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome, which caused her to give up a high paid media career after she was unable to carry out even the most basic of daily functions. Her book, The Busy Woman’s Guide to High Energy Happiness, stemmed from her determination to beat an illness that, even specialists said, didn’t exist and was only in her mind. She not only came out the other side, but has now also made it a mission to ensure that others don’t suffer the same thing.
The Busy Woman’s Guide to High Energy Happiness is not necessarily for people suffering from Adrenal Fatigue, but also for those experiencing tiredness, anxiety or the pressure that comes from a busy lifestyle. Early on in the book, Thompson provides a template that can be filled in to help you work out where along the continuum you might fall, a useful way of preventing yourself from succumbing to the consequences of trying to do too much.
This book is, by Thompson’s own admission, light on science and medicine, and deliberately so. While she does spend some time outlining what Adrenal Fatigue is, she is clear that if you are suffering any symptoms of being unwell, your first call should be to go to a doctor. The Busy Woman’s Guide to High Energy Happiness is not for diagnosing, but offers different and/or complimentary approaches that worked for the author. Thompson shares her story and there are many of her own experiences throughout the book as well as those of those of people she has come across through her work as a life coach and yoga teacher.
The book is divided in to different sections like “Understanding Energy and Fatigue”, “Empowerment” and “Honour your Body”. It is all presented in a common sense way – there wasn’t much that I didn’t respond to by thinking “yep I could be doing that.” Of course what Thompson reminds us of is that, although we know it, what it really comes down to is actually doing it. Sitting on our butts visualizing how a good a run might make us feel isn’t going to provide benefits. Getting off the couch and putting one foot in front of the other might
I didn’t find all of the sections to my style. I’m not convinced that some aspects of the meditation and the yoga are really my “thing” but they might suit somebody else. I think you can quite easily read this book and only take what you need to from it. You do need to be prepared to have an open mind though. While Thompson’s relaxed style is one of the most appealing features of the book, she is quite blunt in her assessment – unless you are honest with yourself and actually want to change, then nothing will.
Reading this book isn’t going to suddenly provide you with a panacea or quick fix. Unless you face up to some of those tough questions and make those difficult choices, then nothing is really going to change. But rest assured, Thompson isn’t telling you anything that she hasn’t done or been through herself. Maybe this book is the starting point for your turn around?