Feeling swamped? You need this book…

Posted by Liz Earle Beauty Co. August 18, 2018 | 5 min read

At Liz Earle, it’s our goal to help people achieve an inner and outer glow, and this encompasses mental wellbeing too.  As Dr Aaron Balick points out in The Little Book of Calm, life can sometimes be a struggle.

While on paper we’re living our ‘best’ lives, even the most seemingly successful/happy/sorted people can experience anxiety. Equally, because of the stigma attached many of us will suffer in silence.

But anxiety is not a fait accompli. After 20+ years as a psychotherapist Dr Balick firmly believes that anxiety is something we can all learn to control. And, while there are admittedly no quick fixes, and everyone’s coping strategy will be different, the following suggestions and techniques from his latest book are a really great place to start.

Write it down

“In psychology we have learned that ‘externalising’ – getting something out of your system – often makes us feel much better. Apart from speaking to someone about your worries, one of the best ways of externalising them is to write them down. Don’t try to solve the worries, justify or understand them. Just get them out of your mind and onto the paper. You don’t even need to read them so don’t be shy.”

Nature, naturally

“Urbanites are missing out on something pretty important: greenery. It’s no accident that the go-to images for ‘calm’ are rolling green countryside and the ocean. Research indicates that getting out into green can do you the world of good. Keep yourself topped up with regular doses of greenery by way of lunch breaks and afternoon or morning walks. When you get the chance, go for mega doses – long weekends, walking holidays – it’s a sure way to feel calm.”

GIGO (Garbage in, Garbage out)

“Since it’s up to your mind to manage your worries, your brain should be in tip-top shape to do that. As they say, ‘garbage in, garbage out’, so if you don’t nourish yourself well, you’ll feel like rubbish. These things should be on your watch list:”

  • Sugary foods (and sugar-free substitutes)
  • Too much caffeine
  • Overdoing alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Recreational drugs
  • Junk food

Me time

“I know, I know, a bath full of bubbles surrounded by burning candles, classical music, blah blah blah. Still, it’s a cliché for a reason. It works. We burn out because of the weight of demands from ourselves and others. We want to be a good employee; a good parent; or just a good person, but what do we do for ourselves?”

Immunise yourself against negative emotional contagion

“Emotional contagion is when you get affected by an emotion that’s happening in a larger group. If you cavort with complainers, you’ll see what’s wrong with stuff everywhere. If you work with worriers, well, worry you will. If you can, the best cure for negative contagion is to find an emotional culture that’s brighter and more positive. Try to hang out with people who reflect positivity and support.”


“We often get worried and anxious because we feel like something is missing. This is called a scarcity mentality. We experience it when we feel there’s not enough time, money, love, status, or something else. This anxiety is so familiar that when it goes for a moment we might ask ourselves, ‘Wait, I know I should be worrying about something – what is it?’ Don’t look for it. This is toxic thinking. STOP. Look the other way. If you focus your attention on scarcity you will continue to feel you’re lacking something inside: you’re not. Instead ask: ‘What is in my life that I can feel grateful about today?’”

Be your own supportive friend

“Often the times when we struggle the most are also the times we can be hardest on ourselves. We might say to ourselves, ‘Get on with it’, ‘Pull yourself together’ or ‘Oh how could you be so stupid’. We can talk to ourselves in ways that we’d never speak to a friend. So why can’t we treat ourselves like a supportive friend? You wouldn’t kick someone while they’re down – so why should you kick yourself? When you catch yourself doing it, stop. Then speak to yourself as you would the person you love most in the world.”

Let’s get physical

“Get out of your head and into your body. Do it like this:
Choose something that takes physical effort and control or precision: something you have to concentrate on to do correctly. It might be yoga, martial arts, or dance. Find a good teacher. Get your attention out of your head and into your muscles, your form, your breath, your body. When you’re working on a pose, movement, or routine, it takes all your concentration. Move from head-brain to body-brain. You need this, it’s good for you.”

Excerpts adapted from The Little Book of Calm by Dr Aaron Balick, available to order here.

If you or anyone you know is dealing with a mental health issue there are some brilliant charities out there working to break down barriers and bring mental health discussion out into the open, where it belongs. You’ll find a handy list of links below.