Sweet Distress – Book review

One of Wayne Dyer’s affirmations is “I am completely responsible for what happens to me”, implying that difficult things happen but it is our reactions that ultimately determine outcomes and allow us to apply what agency we can to situations.

This came to mind whilst reading recently Sweet Distress by Gillian Bridge ISBN 13:978 – 178583467-7, Crown House publishing.

In a pragmatic, experienced but informed way, the writer outlines the absolutely vital importance of emotional resilience and how we cultivate this in our young people in a world that has increasingly developed an over-focus on feelings and emotions as opposed to facts and the management of perceptions and reactions. For somebody who works constantly on enabling individuals and organisations to function better, it struck several chords with me.

Repressed emotion can be a terrible thing, as anyone with reasonable personal awareness will know. The unbridled and unregulated release of emotion however, can, without other supports to our emotional ‘repertoires’, often run the risk of being a recipe for ‘affect without effect’. The news, social media and other social phenomena increasingly seem to have an overemphasis on people’s emotional experience. This book echoes some of my own concerns that some may not be legitimising the expression of emotion as much as causing far deeper problems in the formation of identity, agental capacity and resilience skills.

This is an interesting read for anyone interested in mental health and should appeal particularly to those involved in the education field. The book, for me, emphasises a key central tenet needed in modern mental health practice: mental health support is not just a specialist, “outsource” response that requires “expertise”. It beholds everyone to develop an awareness of its importance and be part of sensible, considered policies that support our young rather than simply virtue signalling its importance and referring on!

Dr David Cliff is a leading-edge coach, business mentor and personal development specialist. He was awarded mentor of the year by the North East Entrepreneurs Forum in 2017 and has an office based in Houghton-le-Spring. Website: www.gedanken.co.uk