The Reality Slap

2013-09-20 12.53.28

I wrote a blog recently on the importance of surrounding yourself with the right support people as you progress through your wellness journey. Just as important are the other resources that are in your life, and in this blog l am going to introduce you to a wonderful book that l found useful earlier in the year when l became unwell. The Book “The Reality Slap’ is written by Dr Russ Harris who is the author of a very well known book called ‘The Happiness Trap. Dr Harris is a Medical Practitioner and Psychotherapist and has written this wonderful book to help people cope with the many challenges that come our way, either big or small. Dr Harris discusses a mindfulness based approach called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy which aims to help us accept and process the big reality slaps such as the death of a loved one, the diagnoses of a serious illness or losing your job, as well as the smaller reality slaps that we may face on a more regular basis. Dr Harris shares his own personal reality slap which centres on his young son being diagnosed with autism and reflects throughout the book on his professional and personal life journey.

When l first read this book l was hurting a lot. I was diagnosed with a serious illness but l was also carrying around trauma from several years before when my second daughter was seriously unwell and we thought she may not live. Reading this book and using some of the thinking and reflection strategies helped me to come to terms with many things and to let them go so that l can enjoy my life and think about today. There is a focus in the book on self compassion and being kind to yourself and this has helped me recently as in the past few weeks l have had a serious reality slap as a very close person in my life is unwell. During this time l have had to be very strong emotionally as l have been supporting the many family members who are deeply upset and also providing support to the person who is unwell. I have reflected on how this reality slap can be handled in a way that supports my wellness journey and l have used my learning from reading The Reality Slap to remain calm and balanced throughout this time.

The reality trap can support your thinking when there is emotional stress in your life, great pain or just too many things going on at once. Many times our heads are busy with thoughts coming and going and this book provides some useful techniques for managing these often unwanted thoughts and Dr Harris talks about his own experiences with this mental traffic that at times can be difficult to manage. l find it refreshing when a Medical Practitioner can reflect on their own weaknesses or life challenges and share their learning journey with others. There are many practical tips in this book that can help you to come to terms with ‘the reality gap’ that sits between the life you have and the life you want. This book sits proudly in my book collection and is one of those books that you will be drawn to over and over as you progress through your life journey.

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