The Positive Habit by Fiona Brennan – book review

The Positive Habit: 6 Steps for Transforming Negative Thoughts to Positive Emotions
Image from Goodreads

Synopsis (from Google Books)

Love, calmness, confidence, gratitude, hope and happiness: the six emotions that tip the balance of our mindset in favor of a positive outlook rather than a negative one. Wouldn’t it be great to feel more of these positive emotions? Now you can with Fiona Brennan’s ultimate manual for the mind.

With a chapter on each emotion, and practical steps on how to cultivate them, the plan utilizes mindfulness, habit loops, positive psychology and neuroscience to help soothe anxiety and stress. It will show you how to train your brain to embrace negative thoughts with courage and love before transforming them into positive ones.

Accompanied by audio-hypnotherapy meditations that take just a few minutes a day, split between morning and evening, it will transform your mental health as you doze off peacefully to the sleep-time audio and start the day happy with the seven-minute morning ritual. Take control of your emotional health and build your ladder to happiness so that you flourish as you develop The Positive Habit.

Overall Plot

Written by clinical hypnotherapist, Fiona Brennan, this self-help book includes all the steps in the form of a ladder to change your mind to a have a positive mindset. Included are free audio-hypnotherapy meditations which you can download on her website.


While I was sceptical as I don’t usually meditate, I found both the morning and nighttime audios really good as they brought both a positive start to each day and ensured that you slept anxiety-free. This book has definitely been a major contribution in my journey of living life remaining positive, present and happy.


A practical, easy to follow self-help book from Irish author Fiona Brennan. Would recommend.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Quotes from The Positive Habit

“Catastrophising is crippling, it burns a hole deep in your sense of self and it causes continuous self-doubht”

“Without love our hearts harden to the point that we become like the living dead”

“Feeling calm is the ultimate expression of empowerment”

“Never be afraid to hope. Let love guide you not fear”

*Buy The Positive Habit here !

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How I learned to cope with my anxiety and how you can too!

I’ve had anxiety since I was in 2nd year so I was first diagnosed around 4 years ago. I’ve had it a long time but over the years I’ve learned different ways to cope with my anxiety and make it easier to live with. In today’s post I’m going to share with you some ways you can also learn to live with your anxiety.

Deep breaths/going outside for a walk

Sometimes if I’m really anxious I’ll listen to some soothing music or guided meditation. I usually just take some deep breaths for a few minutes or go for a 30 min walk to relax.

Remain positive    

I’ve tried my best to give up the whole negative thinking and while I do get bad days, by embracing positive thinking and being grateful, it has drastically changed my mood and indeed my outlook on life.

Accepting that I’m not perfect

I might always have anxiety because it’s genetic but that doesn’t mean I can’t keep being myself. So what if I get anxious at the till or my hands start shaking if I’m speaking in public? I still exercise, watch my favorite 80s movies, laugh at funny vines. I’m still me.

Showing people the door

Let’s face it, lots of people suffer from anxiety. While you will meet people who are understanding of your disorder, you will also meet people who might judge or criticize you because of your mental health. In that case, show them the door.


Sometimes when I get a bit overwhelmed I just want to escape for a while so I read a book. It helps me leave reality for a little bit until I’m feeling better.

Listening to music

This one pretty much speaks for itself. If I listen to calming music or even songs about anxiety, it helps me cope with it.


Whether I’m walking in the fresh air or gone for a late night swim, exercise instantly improves my mood and is an important factor in reducing my anxiety.

So there you have it. How I learned to cope with my anxiety and how you can too. Thanks for reading x

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4 mental health pet peeves you might relate to

Mental health issues are hard enough to deal with on their own but combined with stigma and discrimination, it can be difficult to be yourself for fear of being judged. Some people just don’t understand but are supportive and that’s okay but sadly, others maybe do/don’t understand your diagnosis but stigmatize you or define you based on your illness. Here are 4 mental health pet peeves you might relate to …

“Other people have it worse than you”

“Think of those who are less fortunate than you”. I do but I can’t save the world if I’m battling with my own mind.

frustrated ryan gosling GIF

When someone uses mental health as an adjective

“OMG that celebrity I like got engaged, I’m like so depressed.” “This homework is making me so anxious. ” Try being anxious/depressed every day.

unimpressed beyonce GIF

“You don’t look depressed”

Why, that would be my mask I wear occasionally #fakesmiletohideoverwhelmingamountofsadness

jim carrey GIF

Defining someone by their mental health issues

This one is unfair in so many ways. Don’t judge someone because of their mental illness. Period.

kate winslet ive had this in my drafts too long to remember which interview it comes from GIF

Despite the stigma, here’s one last piece of advice:

quotes be yourself GIF

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Mentalhealth-athon review

Hello June! May really did fly. May was a very eventful month filled with everything from mental health awareness, to Eurovision and various readathons. I took part in the mentalhealth-athon for the month, a readathon dedicated to reading about characters with different mental health issues.

While I didn’t get to read all of the books as they were unfortunately unavailable in the library, I did manage to learn about a few mental health disorders. A very interesting readathon or as Josh from Clueless would say, It was a good learning experience for me –

paul rudd GIF

Those eyes though 😍 Anyway, back to the post, here are all the books I read during mentalhealth-athon and their ratings ….

Under rose-tainted skies by Louise Gornall

Prompt: Own Voices

Disorder: Agoraphobia

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Prompt: Anxiety rep

Disorder: Anxiety

Rating: ⭐

Turtles all the way down by John Green

Prompt: OCD rep

Disorder: OCD

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Marbles by Ellen Forney

Prompt: Hosts Pick

Disorder: Manic Depression/bipolar disorder

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Liar & Spy – Rebecca Stead

Prompt: Phobias rep

Disorder: Agoraphobia

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

So that’s all the books I managed to read during mentalhealth-athon. I’m currently half way through The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones and I’ll put up a review when I’m finished reading it. I hope you guys liked this post and thanks for reading x

Turtles all the way down by John Green – book review


Sixteen–year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Picket, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

Overall Plot

In the beginning of Turtles all the way down, Aza is struggling with her intrusive thoughts and OCD. When an opportunity arises for the girls to possibly become rich, Aza and her best friend Daisy decide to investigate the disappearance of a billionaire.

Aza has regular therapy sessions and tries to come to terms with her thoughts and to stop constantly cleaning the Band-Aid on her finger with the help of Dr. Karen Singh. Her friend Daisy is a massive Star Wars fan and writes on a fan site. She’s actually pretty famous. Aza also meets an old friend while investigating Pickett’s disappearance.


I absolutely loved this book! I’ve already read quite a few of John Green’s books and he has gradually become one of my favourite authors. I could relate to Aza quite a lot especially when she was talking about the thoughts in her head. “like invasive weeds, these thoughts seem to arrive at my biosphere from some faraway land, and then they spread out of control.”

Aza’s friend Daisy is a character I would love to have met in real life. She’s obsessed with Star Wars but even though she sometimes finds Aza annoying, she loves her a lot and supports her.

I like how Green talked more about the girl’s friendship and about Aza learning to deal with her OCD rather than focusing entirely on romance. I also liked Davis’s blog entries as it was an insight into Davis’s own thoughts and was a nice addition to the novel.


A really well written, enjoyable novel featuring a character whom many can relate to with OCD. Would recommend.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is the first book as part of the Mentalhealth-athon which covers the OCD rep.

Let’s talk about phobias …

According to Wikipedia, A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder, defined by a persistent and excessive fear of an object or situation. There are various types of phobias some of which we have heard about from books, TV etc. and others, not so much. In this list I will be discussing the symptoms, causes and treatment of 10 different phobias.


The most common phobia in the world is Mysophobia – A fear of germs.

Symptoms: washing hands obsessively, avoiding crowds, nausea

Causes: genetics, as a result of anxiety

Treatment: medication, psychotherapy, exposure therapy


Fear of open spaces

Symptoms: Unable to leave the house, excessive sweating, dizziness, feeling shaky

Causes: depression, other phobias (claustrophobia), have had one or more panic attacks

Treatment: antidepressants


extreme or irrational fear of confined places

Symptoms: sweating, nausea, feel like you’re having a panic attack

Causes: dysfunction of the amygdala (part of the brain that controls how we process fear), as a result of a traumatic event such as being stuck in an elevator

Treatment: desensitisation/self-exposure therapy


-Fear of heights

Symptoms: dizziness, heart palpitations, sweating

Causes: thinking you might fall or be injured, as a result of a traumatic experience

Treatment: Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT)


-fear of spiders

Symptoms: overwhelming fear of spiders, intense anxiety, panic attacks

Causes: a result of evolutionary selection (we associate spiders with infections and disease)

Treatment: Counselling, CBT, medication


-Fear of clowns

Symptoms: nausea, anger, fast heartbeat

Causes: brain function, genetics,

Treatment: CBT


-fear of the dark

Symptoms: racing heart rate, chest tightness, light-headedness

Causes: fear of what the darkness masks

Treatment: desensitization, anti-anxiety medication, therapy


-Fear of dogs

Symptoms: increased heart rate, nausea, shortness of breath

Causes: may have been bitten by a dog in the past,

Treatment: Psychotherapy


-The fear of bees

Symptoms: breathlessness, sweating, detachment from reality

Causes: Have been stung by a bee in the past or have seen someone else get stung

Treatment: CBT, understanding facts about bees may help in overcoming the fear of them


-Fear of talking on the phone

Symptoms: Feeling terror, dry mouth, nausea

Causes: many factors such as negative experience, electromagnetic fields, or OCD

Treatment: Directly confront the fear/talk to a therapist

There are hundreds of more phobias all of which I can’t possibly list on this post – If you would like to learn more about other phobias check out this top 100 phobias list.

Thanks for reading x


About Mentalhealth – athon

Mentalhealth-athon is a mental health based readathon hosted by @beaut1fulchaos_ and co-hosted by @chaptercviii and @__rachael_marie. Each participant is shown a bingo board featuring 15 mental health prompts. The goal is to read and become aware of various different mental health illnesses by reading about characters with these illnesses. If you’d like to know more about mentalhealth-athon, check out Nicole’s YouTube video which explains everything you need to know.

Here is the mentalhealth – athon bingo board:

Note: I am a HSP (highly sensitive person) which means I can’t watch or read about violent or triggering events in films or books. Due to this, I have skipped 3 prompts, group book, eating disorder rep and PTSD rep.

And these are the books I plan on reading:

All book covers are from

Own voices – Under rose-tainted skies by Louise Gornall
Non-fiction – Owning it by Caroline Foran
Anxiety rep – Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Schizophrenia rep – Everything here is beautiful – Mira.T.Lee
OCD rep – Turtles all the way down – John Green
Intersectional rep – Darius the great is not okay by Adib Khorram
Bipolar rep – An unquiet mind – Kay Redfield Jamison
Hosts pick – Marbles by Ellen Forney
Personality disorder rep – The Mortal Instruments(Book 1) by Cassandra Clare
Phobias rep – Liar and spy by Rebecca Stead
Other – Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking by Susan Cain
Depression rep – The silver linings playbook by Matthew Quick

Other bloggers taking part in mentalhealth-athon!

Are you taking part in mentalhealth-athon? Comment below x

I hope you all liked this post and thanks for reading x

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Mental Health Awareness Month

Happy Friday! Today we’ll be talking about Mental Health Awareness Month.

Where did it all begin?

Mental Health Awareness Month was started in the United States in 1949 by the Mental Health America organization which was then known as the (National Association for Mental Health).

What is the purpose of MH Awareness Month?

It’s purpose is to raise awareness and educate the public about: mental illnesses, such as depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder; the realities of living with these conditions and strategies for coping with these illnesses.

The green ribbon represents mental health awareness. The hashtag #breakthestigma is commonly used across social media during mental health month.

2019 Theme

2019’s theme for MHAM is explained in a statement by MHA :“we are expanding upon last year’s theme of #4Mind4Body and taking it to the next level, as we explore the topics of animal companionship (including pets and support animals), spirituality, humor, work-life balance, and recreation and social connections as ways to boost mental health and general wellness”.

This will be Mental Health America’s 70th year celebrating Mental Health Month! Themes in the last few years included mental illness feels like, risky business and fitness #mind4body.

Why it’s important to spread awareness about mental health during MHAM

Mental health advocates are constantly bringing awareness to mental health all year round but during mental health awareness month , it is a chance for everyone to join together to try and break the stigma of mental health.

Mental Health Around the World

450 million people worldwide suffer from mental health issues. Wikipedia state that “mental health is a level of psychological well-being or an absence of mental illness – the state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioural adjustment”.

Different types of mental health problems include anxiety and panic attacks, depression, bipolar disorder and eating disorders.

By looking at mental health throughout the world, we can see how countries deal with mental health problems. So is there still a social stigma attached to mental health issues? Read on to learn more…


In Ireland, 1 in 4 people suffer from MH. Depression affects around 1 in 12 of the Irish population.

Some 18.5 % of the population was recorded as having a MH disorder in 2016. Ireland has one of the highest rates of MH illness in Europe. It ranked joint 3rd out of 36 countries that were surveyed.

Out of 1000 Irish residents surveyed, 48% of Irish people admit that they should make more time to talk about their mental health.


1 in 4 people are affected in the UK. 67% of people are more comfortable talking about their Mental Health than 5 years ago. However, the NHS are struggling to cope with rising demand for MH care. Around 8% of the UK population are suffering from some form of depression.

In 2006, there were a total of 31 million antidepressant drug prescriptions prescribed. In 2016, there were 65 million antidepressant drug prescriptions prescribed in the UK.

In terms of stigma within England, 9 in 10 people who have had MH problems report that they have suffered stigma and discrimination.


In 2014, 2.6 million people were suffering from depression in Italy. Depression was the most common mental illness in Italy between 2005 and 2013. Over 2.8 million people aged 15 and over suffered from chronic depression in 2015.


Around 3 million people in France suffer from a serious mental illness.


44 million American adults have a MH condition. 8.7% of youths (over 2 million) suffer from severe depression. 56.4 % received no treatment. Anxiety is the most common mental health problem in America and affects 40 million adults ages 18 +.


Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in Latvia. Almost 90% of depressed Latvians don’t seek treatment. Only 10% seek treatment for depression. In 2018, Latvian students displayed a higher prevalence of anxiety, depressive and physical symptoms.


Despite being named one of the happiest countries in the world, 13.2% of adults have MH issues in Denmark. 19% of women and 13% of men receive treatment for anxiety while 16% of women and only 9% of men receive treatment for depression.


People with a mental illness in developing countries such as the Philippines are often seen as dangerous and aggressive. In 2004, there were over 4.5 million cases of depression. Latest reports show that 3.3 million people suffer from depressive disorder while 3.1 million suffer from anxiety. There are only 2 mental health workers per 100,000 population.


In 2007, anxiety disorders such as panic disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder were the most common mental health issues in Australia affecting 14% of people. Around $9 billion was spent on mental health related services in 2015-2016. 1 in 5 Australians aged 16-85 experience a mental illness in any year.

So from this post you can see that there still seems to be a stigma surrounding mental health. However, you can also see from this post that if you suffer from a mental health issue you are certainly NOT alone. People from Ireland all the way over to Australia suffer from a mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

I hope you enjoyed this post and thanks for reading x

5 ways employers can help employees with mental health issues

Listen to any concerns/questions they may have

If an employee has any questions or just needs to talk about their mental health (e.g they have been feeling overly stressed or anxious lately), listen attentively and try to come up with a solution to the problem so that they can continue to concentrate on their work.

Regularly check in with them

Make an appointment or organize a quick meeting and let employees know about looking after their health (E.g powerpoint on how to reduce stress ).

Organize mental health events in the workplace (E.g coffee morning )

Get the whole workplace to come together for a coffee morning in aid of a mental health charity such as Pieta House or Mental Health Ireland. Employees can chat with others, drink tea/coffee and eat scones in aid of a charity of their choice. Also don’t forget to donate!

Time off

Employees should be entitled to some time off due to intense anxiety/other mental health issue. The employer can request a doctor’s certificate or otherwise and note the number of working days missed. It is imperative that employees are in good health in order to work to their full potential.

Ensure workplace is safe and friendly

Employers should make sure that no bullying is taking place in the workplace. In the event that an employer is notified that bullying may be taking place, it is their responsibility that the matter is quickly dealt with.