Famous YouTuber, presenter, and bestselling author, Daniel Howell, published his practical mental health guide, ‘You Will Get Through This Night,’ last month, and it is powerful. It strikes the perfect balance between being amusing in tone in order to entice the reader, whilst providing helpful psychologist-led self-soothing techniques. The relatability he achieves in this book is what I believe has cemented its success; it feels as if you are listening to a very supportive, self-deprecating, and knowledgeable friend.
A Gem of a Guide
Take some time out of your busy day to contemplate your mental state with this book and you will not regret it. It is structured into three main parts that target exactly what you need based on how you’re feeling. Part One is called ‘This Night’ because it is full of advice you can implement immediately, such as an abdominal breathing exercise that can calm you down, and a self-soothing technique that engages your five senses. It also reminds you on the very first page of this section that ‘things always feel worse in the middle of the night’ and ‘feeling bad right now doesn’t mean feeling bad forever,’ which is key for readers who might be feeling suicidal. Part Two covers what you can do ‘Tomorrow,’ once you have made it through the difficult night that had you reaching for the book. This segment is for the small changes that can be made to try to improve your mental state and avoid future crises, whereas Part Three explores more long-term tools to aid on the journey to self-understanding. What I liked about this guide was how Daniel interspersed some of his own personal experiences within it without risking it becoming akin to a memoir. His passion for mental health really shines through, as does the hard work he has put into the book, working with Dr. Heather Bolton to ensure its advice is of a high standard.
Top Tips and Tricks
Progressive muscle relaxation is a game-changer for anxiety, especially paired with some deep abdominal breathing. Mindfulness is also a relaxing – almost to the point of becoming sleepy – tool for a day when your thoughts are running away with you. As Howell states, mindfulness takes practice. He says not to be discouraged if you find it tricky at first to distance yourself from your thoughts rather than let them envelop you, because he was once like that too. Here, his signature sense of humour stands out and soothes, ‘if that’s you too, know that it’s perfectly fine and expected. I won’t always say you’re perfectly fine if you’re like me, but this time it’s okay.’ It’s reassuring to know that although he once struggled to master these techniques, he has progressed, so we can too.
For a stress-pot like me, the ‘value/effort matrix’ Daniel outlines is extremely helpful as, on a low-energy sort of day, it encourages you to tackle the high-value low-effort activities on your to-do list first. He also suggests trying to do something that’s important and needs to be done but that you’re dreading for just five minutes at first. Giving permission to yourself to try for five minutes lowers your anxiety surrounding the project and you usually find you keep going long beyond the timer’s shriek – the fear has dissipated, and what felt like an impossible feat of a mission has been demystified once and for all.
These examples are just the tip of the iceberg – there are plenty of tools to help you through difficult times in this guide. What’s great about this book is how wide-ranging it is, with advice spanning many aspects that may be affecting your life, from relationships that might be draining you, to work-related stress, and much, much more which you can apply in order to break up the fog that can crowd your headspace.
The Main Mantras to Memorise
- ‘You are not your thoughts’
- ‘Having the bravery and honesty to admit what is wrong and ask for help is strength’
- ‘Mental health is something we all have. Whether you know you’re going through a tough time, or feel like you are fine – it’s always there, invisible, but influencing what you feel, how you react.’
- ‘Just because you think something doesn’t mean it’s real’
- ‘It turns out life can be slow, but it’s long and change is inevitable’
- ‘Just know, speaking as someone who has been through it all, you will get through this night’
Brew some Camomile Tea and Have a Read – or a Listen!
This is a great go-to guide to have at home. Alternatively, an audiobook version of it is now available if that’s more your style! Whichever way you prefer, I would advise taking the time to absorb some positive, can-do energy towards your mental health because, as Daniel says in the book, everyone has it and it’s up to us to take care of ourselves and give our minds the best chance to thrive.