Book Reviews

Book Review “Szen Zone” by Gary Szenderski

There are two main reasons I read a book, either for escape or knowledge. On this blog I only review non-fiction books that help with personal development so I was happy to be gifted the “Szen Zone” by Gary Szenderski. It’s one of those books that you can start wherever you like. I would pick it up, read, set down and repeat the next day or a week later. I started reading it in March and am just now finishing it.

I’ll share a few of my favorite quotes, “szenippets”, from the book and let you decide if this books is right for you.

-“Reboot – When things get so piled up that nothing seems to be getting done, that’s the time to do nothing. We all need to reboot from time to time – to do nothing.”

-“Wherever we are now, we can start to move toward or dream and remember it’s never too late, once we understand “why” we want it.”

-“Seems that change can be difficult especially when what was working fine, at least in our view, is suddenly not an option. How we face new choices often determines if the new choice will work at all….Creating something new begins with thinking something new.”

-“Our world works from the inside out. This means that whatever notion we have bout our world is filtered through our belief system, which is lodged in our deepest thoughts, feelings and experience….Examine these beliefs.”

-“We cannot change anyone that doesn’t want to change. They alone have the power. No one can change us if we don’t want to. Same reason.”

So there you have my opinion and favorite parts of the book. Have you read it? What did you think?

Who should read this? Are you looking for guidance on how to create balance in your life? Read this! Do you need reminders of what you’ve learned to keep your balance? Read this. Do you want an engaging coffee table book? Buy this. Learn more at or purchase it directly through Amazon at


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Book Reviews

Book Review “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin

After years of being stuck in depression for over a decade I finally feel happiness once again. It is THE most magnificent feeling and I’m grateful to have it growing inside of me. It’s taken a lot of painful and not so painful work. I must be careful not to slide backwards into depression so it’s good to be reminded of the importance of happiness and learn about the various ways we can discover and keep it.

Gretchen was already happy, but felt like she “lost her temper” too often, “felt dejected after even a minor professional setback” and “suffered from bouts of melancholy, insecurity, listlessness and free-floating guilt”. She committed to creating a year-long project to discover a more sustainable happiness. Through research, advice from friends and strangers, and personal experiences she discovers many paths to increased happiness.

Here are my favorite highlights of the book.

-She sets a theme with specific actions to take each month and created a progress/reward chart to keep on track. A progress/reward chart is very helpful. I’ve learned that creating a To-Do List is only good if I follow through. So I do three things with my task list,  send it in an email, write it on the notepad in my purse and add it to my calendar

-We stick to our goals better when we receive intrinsic motivation from ourselves as opposed to external punishments. We are also more likely to see results if we create or join a supportive “goals group”

-By decluttering our homes we receive more mental clarity since we are no longer bombarded with the stress of a constant mess.

-Being present and fully participating in each moment brings joy immediately as opposed to the hope of waiting for something. Once we reach our goals our happiness can fade as we wait for happiness from more challenging goals. By being in the present we enjoy both!

-Happiness is not selfish. When we feel good we are more likely to help others. When we feel bad we usually are focused solely on making ourselves better.

-Negative moods are contagious and constant criticism or petty arguments take a toll on us and others. “I didn’t want to be fake, but I could make an effort to be less critical.”

-Be adventurous! Try new things, learn a new skill, be silly and do things that you enjoy without focusing only on results.

-Be aware of what you are creating. From Buddhism she learned “The most important was mindfulness the cultivation of consciousness, non-judgemental awareness. For example she had the habit of “mindlessly picking  snacks”. Each time she “felt uncomfortable twinges of self-reproach, because I knew that kind of food wasn’t healthy. Once I stopped that habit, that relentless source of bad feeling vanished”

-My favorite quote of hers is about how easy it is to get caught up in the negative. “…when I was angry or resentful, I searched for excuses to feel even more angry and resentful.” I’ve experienced this same awareness and it’s not pretty. However the great thing about awareness is we have the power to take charge and change habits that hurt us in the long run.

So there you have my opinion of the book. Have you read it? What did you think?  Please leave a comment!

Who should read this? If you’re looking for ways to be happier, if you’re struggling with depression, are stuck in a rut or curious about various forms of happiness I recommend this book.  Learn more at


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beach, trees, lush beaches
Empowering Discussions

D.I.Y. Therapy : The Importance of Movement in Healing

This photo below is my yoga spot. How lucky that for some time this spot has been on the beach though once I start traveling this will change. Maybe I will practice yoga at a park or in a bedroom. All I need is a place somewhat calm with space to move.  Getting up out of bed, away from TV and the internet, and moving my body has been an important part of healing from depression. Being depressed means having very little energy, a habit of secluding ourselves, and thus our bodies become very sedentary.

When I say movement I am talking about exercise, but that word can seem overwhelming to some of use. This is especially true if like me, you had awful experiences in P.E., physical education. Who thought dodgeball and hormones should ever go together?!?!

Exercise doesn’t mean you need to join a gym or start running 5K’s, unless that appeals to you.  It’s simply a biological fact we were made to MOVE! Our bodies have this amazing capacity to twirl, jump, walk, and zoom around! I’m not much for running and haven’t felt like playing tennis lately so I practice stretching, breathing and mediation through yoga. I’m not a pro and don’t know all the terms, but I know what feels good.

beach,  trees, lush beaches
My Yoga Spot

What type of movements do you like? Are you a hula hooper, runner, dancer, or walker? Find some movement that you enjoy and schedule the time to do it. If you’re a morning person plan on getting up early before your day, if you prefer to sleep in than pick a later time. Just make sure you move everyday.  Your movement doesn’t need to be an intense sweaty workout. Even if it’s just to stand up and twirl around your room to a great song or 10 push ups on your lunch break, you will feel better if you move and pay attention to your body.

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