Book Review: 14 Steps to Happiness, by Kristian Hall

Having suffered from depression and anxiety myself, I was very interested in this book. It lays out a step by step program with summaries at the end on how to cure yourself of this disease along with very informative discussions on how our emotional health is related to the mechanics of the brain and the body.

It’s an easy read with a personal touch. The summaries are great to go back and read when there’s no time to go through a chapter again. Sometimes I found it to be a little repetitive, but that is probably necessary to make information stick. Learning about the author’s own trials and miseries makes it almost feel like you are talking with a friend, which is more encouraging than a conversation with a complete stranger to whom you are just a paycheck, and whose office you leave feeling like you got nothing. After all, we learn more from our peers than anyone else, right? Moreover, his desire to help others suffering from depression is free of the arrogance and judgmental attitudes found in so many, and rings true.

The most important advice, I thought, was the one to take baby steps to recovery. Growing up with an overachieving parent who expected everything to be perfect right away, I can attest to the fact that that approach fails. I was also excited to read the “Eat Yourself Happy” chapter, because I turn to ice cream when I’m feeling sad. But alas his advice followed that of other health experts and left out my favorite tranquilizer from the list of foods that help depression!

14 Steps to Happiness, by Kristian Hall

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