Sawtell psychologist pens guide to building lasting emotional wellbeing

Nadine Rahman, Jill Hely and Bronte Hely at Jill Hely’s book launch.

SAWTELL psychologist and Repton resident Jill Hely has penned a twelve-week guide to building lasting emotional wellbeing through adopting habits shown to improve mood.

The paperback book, ‘Happiness Habits’, was launched at the Sawtell Surf Life Saving Club on Friday 8 March at a well-attended, lively event featuring a round of ‘Happiness Habits karaoke’.

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“We came up with Happiness Habits karaoke as a way of getting people out of their comfort zone and having fun; both important elements in emotional wellbeing,” Jill told News Of The Area.

“The game involved spinning a wheel which would land on one of the twelve core strategies that are covered in the book.

“Each category had a range of well-known songs you could choose to sing that were related to the topic.

“My dear friend Alex Halsted and I did a very apt version of ‘A Little Help from my Friends’ by the Beatles where I definitely sang out of key.”

A first-time author, Jill said the turning point to put finger to keyboard came after a string of challenging life events.

She realised at that point it was now or never when it came to making her childhood dream of becoming an author come to fruition.

“Writing has always been a joy for me, so I tinkered with the book over the course of a year on my days off at home in Repton, which really just felt like a lovely hobby.”

Her inspirational setting?

“A lot of my writing was done sitting at the beautiful antique ladies’ writing desk that had been my great grandmother’s and handed down through the generations to me, so that was quite special to be really putting it to good use.”

Jill said she took much guidance from ‘Bird by Bird’, a book by Anne Lamott, who writes about writing.

“There is a quote by her in the front of my book about doing the things you really want to be doing in your life and not leaving it too late, which is just beautiful.”

As a psychologist, dealing with the challenges people face in life comes with the territory, but Jill wanted her book to go one step further.

“I wanted the workbook to have a focus on increasing our ability to enjoy the good stuff in life, no matter what difficulties we are facing.”

Throughout the process, she found that writing about the strategies used to feel happier took her mind off negativity, helping her “feel happier too”.

Happiness Habits features evidence-based techniques for improving emotional wellbeing, with habit-strengthening strategies including weekly exercises, journaling and progress-tracking.

“Our beliefs about ourselves can really hold us back from making the changes we really desire in life.

“It’s worth seeing if you can prove yourself wrong about any negative core beliefs you are carrying around.

“Chances are that you are more capable than you believe you are.”


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