The Happiness Project

Mental Health blog, focused on self-care and learning to love your life!

***Possible Spoilers Ahead!***
*** Due to the fact that this is a non-fiction book, spoilers aren’t as huge of a factor. However, if you wish to read this with no previous insight, I recommend that you skip this review 🙂 **

Book Title: How To Be Yourself: Quiet Your Inner Critic and Rise Above Social Anxiety
Author: Ellen Hendriksen, Ph. D.
Main Theme: Self-Help, Anxiety, Non-fiction
Thesis: Hendriksen provides a ground-breaking way to look at your anxiety, to conquer it right in its tracks. Using humor and science, she explains how that “Inner Critic”, or the little voice in your head that strikes up whenever you are feeling that pang of anxiety, can be put down with confidence and keep you on the track of living an anxiety-free life.

What Drew Me In: So I have dealt with anxiety and depression for a huge majority of my life, starting from a young age. Now that I’m out of high school, I’ve got a good sense of who I am, and who I was back then. And boy let me tell you, I was a mess. I never realized that some of my faults were a huge portion of social anxiety, particularly with how people view me. Big crowds? No problem. But raising my hand in class, even if I knew the answer? Oh hell no. Watching the popular kids watch me like a hawk when I’m carrying my food to my table at lunch? Forget about it, I’ll take my lunch in the library, please. It was a constant problem, and even out of school, I still deal with it. What do my in-laws think of me? Do my co-workers think I’m completely stupid for that suggestion in the meeting? Don’t even get me started on if a figure of authority needs to chat with me, even though text.

My mother actually suggested this book to me, which her therapist suggested to her to read it. Like mother, like daughter, imagine that! She said it helped her and gave her understanding of parts of her that she didn’t even realize that she struggled with. So, while at work, I sent an Interlibrary Loan request to the home library.

My Thoughts: By now, I think most of my followers know that I’ve been on a “self-help” kick, giving lots of books a try. And you know, I fairly enjoyed this one. Hendriksen has a great way of incorporating science, humor, and personality into one book, making it easy to read and understand those big scary technical terms. To me, what makes good self-help books or even just a non-fiction book work out is the writer’s ability to connect well with their audience and not sound like the most boring professor drone on and on. We don’t want huge words that we need a dictionary nearby to understand, we want someone who has dealt with the same problems as we have to connect with!

My favorite portion of the book was when she pretends that anxiety (who she calls the “Inner Critic”) is on trial with the defense attorney. It is up to the defense attorney (which is yourself) to convince the jury that we shouldn’t listen to the Inner Critic anymore, and not let them ruin our lives. Essentially, take that nasty little voice in your head, the one that tells you that everything is bad, and squash it down! Ask: What is the worst that can happen? The answer is probably vague. Specify why you feel the way you feel. Who will laugh at you? What could actually go wrong? Would it actually be a disaster? Do you have a specific answer? Probably not. And that is a core part of anxiety: imagining things going so much worst then they could actually be. Her clever use of imagining it like a courtroom, filled with characters can be relatable even to the average Joe.

Would I recommend this book?: This book is great for someone who’s looking for a light read mixed well with humor, understand, science, and understanding. For some people, who lean a bit more to the serious side, I wouldn’t say this is the book for you. There are some complaints that it is TOO light. Hey, to each their own, am I right? For me, being personable is a huge benefit to shedding light on a situation, especially one like this, which can be confusing at times. I totally say give it a try.


Well, what did y’all think? What are some more non-fiction/self-help books I should read? Y’all know I love them.  By the way, I’m so excited for October, trying to plan some fun spooky/horror book reviews! Yay! 🎃 👻

The Library Lady ♡

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