You can heal your life
I first came across Louise Hay when I was on Amazon. I had been searching for positive thinking and gratitude books and in some of the reviews I read (on a variety of books), the people had mentioned Louise Hay, suggesting that she was worth a read if you were looking to improve your outlook on life. So I decided to purchase her books ‘Heal your life’ and ‘You can heal your life’ together (thinking they went hand in hand). However when I received them I began reading ‘Heal your life’ (as it was released before ‘you can heal your life’) and it soon became apparent that you don’t need to have both of these books to get an understanding of Louise’s work. If I’m brutally honest, I would suggest not even bothering with ‘Heal your life’ as it doesn’t have all the details and explanations that ‘You can heal your life’ does. (Heal your life is simply a book filled with a table/chart listing all types of illnesses, what emotions that illness links to and a positive mantra to practice to help get over said illness. It would be great for keeping in your bag for remembering the affirmations but that’s about it).
I had been looking for another book to read based around positive thinking and as someone who suffers with a chronic health condition I was intrigued to see how Louise’s work made the link between positive thinking and recovery.
When I started reading ‘You can heal your life’, I was a bit unsure at first what I thought of it, as I was expecting something more along the lines of ‘The Magic’, a book that’s light hearted, fun and laid back. This book seemed to be harder hitting, serious and required a little more self-examination. I think because it was so different to ‘The Magic’ it took me a few pages to adjust and get the measure of it. That said, I can honestly say that the more I read, the more I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think because ‘The Magic’ was such an eye opener for me (personally), ‘You can heal your life’ seemed to reinforce how changing your perception can have an impact on your life. I didn’t follow the exercises listed in Louise’s book (carrying out the tasks and writing things down) simply because I felt that I had already chewed over my past when covering some of the tasks from The Magic. However as I read through the exercises I was able to recognise how I had fallen into some of the negative habits (prior to reading the magic) and found the solution’s/ practices really easy to follow.
The book is a total of 250 pages; 145 of which are dedicated to theory, describing behaviour, negative habits and how to change them. The book starts with the author giving her suggestions to readers, her philosophy and what she believes. It then breaks down into a ‘session’ with her, where you work through 8 chapters that look at identifying your problems, how to change and daily work / tasks. It then goes on to ‘putting these ideas to work’. This section has 6 chapters that help to put the ideas into practice, whether it is in work, life or the body. The section after this is a table that fills 71 pages. It alphabetically lists all types of illness or disease, what the probable cause is of this illness and a new thought pattern to use to get out of it.
The issue: Anxiety
The Probable Cause: Not trusting the flow and the process of life
New Thought Pattern ‘I love and approve of myself and I trust the process of life. I am safe’
After the table there’s a conclusion then Louise’s own story for you to read and see how she has used these workings to overcome problems in her own life. There are also a number of recommended practitioners and natural therapies that you can look into to help you with your journey into recovery, but they are US-based so not useful for UK residents (but it’s enough to give you an idea of the types of natural therapies that are helpful).
There are exercises throughout the book for you to follow but they are not easy to identify by flicking through the book (eg. Exercise one, exercise two etc). The exercises are more integrated into the theories as they are discussed. You could easily tab pages with a post it sticker when you come across them so you can go back to them as many times as you like. I would suggest purchasing a note pad to help you with the tasks, as you can write down your answers, go back to them at a later date and see how you have changed.
As someone who did a degree in psychology I found Louise’s book truly fascinating and loved how effortlessly she translates her theory into understandable scenarios that we can all relate to. I found her personal story really inspiring and the section about parents particularly interesting. I did find that I didn’t have as much as a revelation with this book. Although I could see how some of my past experience’s had developed into some of the negative habits and thought patterns I’ve faced, they have never really been a deep-rooted issue that’s had an impact on my life. I am very confident, have copious amounts of self-esteem and accept myself very much so as a result I just didn’t feel like this book applied to me. However, I did enjoy reading it and thought it was well written. The only difficulty I can see with this book was remembering the affirmations. I did find that when I was feeling a little less positive (especially on days when I felt quite ill and sluggish) I would stop myself and try to remember the positive affirmations, but would end up making my own as I couldn’t remember the ones from the book and didn’t have the energy to source them out. As a result, since finishing the book I have purchased a pack of Louise’s positive affirmation cards. There are a number of packs to choose from and I chose the ‘Power thought cards’. It contains 64 bright and colourful cards, each with a different affirmation aimed to help ‘inner strength’. Each day or so I shuffle the pack and pick out a card I feel connected to and carry it about, propping it up next to me when I sit down or using it as my book mark when reading.
This book focuses mainly on targeting a person’s self-esteem, how they treat themselves or let others treat them and how to overcome serious negative complexes. Although I enjoyed reading it, I can’t say that I felt it really applied to me. As a self-help book it’s quite hard-hitting and has a ‘straight to the point’ format but is easy to understand. It clearly explains the theory behind each task and doesn’t put any time scale on task completion. It’s also good for having a read through before re-reading to take part in the tasks. The affirmations can be long so it would help to write them down as you go, so that you can read them when you feel like you need to distract yourself or feel like you need the support. Although this book is hard-hitting, it does feel positive and has a gentle undertone. You really get a feel for Louise’s compassion and desire to help. I would highly recommend it for anyone who is struggling with self-esteem, confidence or self-image as it has a lot of reflective work.