The global pandemic and associated lockdown is an extremely stressful time for everyone. During this difficult period, I found this book helpful. The Book of Knowing is written by Gwendoline Smith, a New Zealand-based clinical psychologist. It provides strategies on how to change your thinking to change the way you’re feeling.
This book is aimed at teenagers and young people who are feeling overwhelmed and anxious, but it is suitable for anyone going through difficult situations. Smith makes the point that you cannot change reality. As Smith says, “Reality just is and shit happens!” You may not be able to change reality, but you can change how you feel about reality and change the way you think. Smith gives tips and strategies on how to do this, including firstly how to identify thought viruses, or negative ways of thinking, which go on to affect how we feel. Your feelings towards any situation are based on your beliefs and the way you think. So if you can change your thinking, it will help you feel better.
Smith’s writing is based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Her writing is straightforward and also funny. It is an easy read with illustrations that make the content accessible to everyone. Overall, it was a helpful book during a stressful time.
The Book of Knowing by Gwendoline Smith. Allen & Unwin Book Publishing, February 2019.
Reviewer bio: Chang Shih Yen is a writer from Malaysia, seeing through the pandemic in New Zealand. She writes a blog at https://shihyenshoes.wordpress.com/
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