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Managing Your Mind: The Mental Fitness Guide

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Originally published in 1995, the first edition of Managing Your Mind established a unique place in the self-help book market. A blend of tried-and-true psychological counseling and no-nonsense management advice grounded in the principles of CBTand other psychological treatments, the book straddled two types of self-help literature, arguing that in one's personal and professional life, the way to success is the same. By adopting the practical strategies that mental health experts Butler and Hope have developed over years of clinical research and practice, one can develop the "mental fitness" necessary to resolve one's personal and interpersonal challenges at home and work and to live a productive, satisfying life.

The first edition addressed how to develop key skills to mental fitness (e.g., managing one's time better, facing and solving problems better, keeping things in perspective, learning to relax, etc.), how to improve one's relationships, how to beat anxiety and depression, and how to establish a good mind-body balance. For this new edition, Butler and Hope have updated all preexisting material and have added five new chapters-on sexuality and intimate relationships; anger in relationships; recent traumatic events and their aftermath; loss and bereavement; and dealing with the past.

544 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1995

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Gillian Butler

17 books20 followers

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5 stars
347 (46%)
4 stars
212 (28%)
3 stars
143 (19%)
2 stars
33 (4%)
1 star
12 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 40 reviews
Profile Image for Sue Bridehead (A Pseudonym).
593 reviews55 followers
March 30, 2012
I picked this up months ago for $1 at a thrift store. It appealed to me because of its promises to help with anxiety and time management. At the time I purchased it, I had 12 work deadlines unfurling about once every 5 days, so it seemed particularly applicable. I thought if the book couldn't help me, I could at least hold it in my arms before fainting, so the paramedics would understand my state of mind at the time of my stress coma onset.

Was it helpful? I'm still awake, so yes, I think so. To me, an occasional recreational personal development reader (I skim quickly and I don't do all the exercises) this book was a solid introduction to concepts that are likely pretty basic to a serious self-help junkie.

I thought the time management chapter in particular was aces. I particularly appreciated the "elephants on the horizon" metaphor. The concept is that big things look small when they're seen from a distance, but guess what? They're still big. If you commit to something huge and less-than-thrilling, thinking "It's a year away, no big deal," the problem is something more important or enjoyable will always take precedence on a day-to-day basis. The elephant may look tiny on the horizon now, but 11 months from now when it's only one month away and you've done nothing to prepare, it'll still be an elephant, headed in your general direction and about to crush you.

The moral of this time management story, according to the authors, isn't "Start planning sooner," but rather, "Don't say yes to commitments that don't excite you." As they point out, every time you say yes to something, you're saying no to something else.

This is wise advice, easily overlooked by those of us who have been trained from birth to say yes.

This book will get a privileged place on my bookshelf, though I'll probably hide it when guests come over. "The Mental Fitness Guide" subtitle is a mite embarrassing.
Profile Image for Sea Urchin.
34 reviews17 followers
May 25, 2010
Its a decent book, I keep it for reference purposes.

Its well organized with all the material and how to handle everything from self esteem, depression, managing time, decision making, etc. Gives you a brief overview of how to handle situations ...

Like with all self helps, you must actually TRY to do the things in the book, rather than passively read and I think if you do that, this book can be helpful..

I would give it 3.85.
620 reviews44 followers
August 25, 2009
A comprehensive guide to developing robust mental health

What you put into your body has an impact on your physical health. You are in big trouble if you live on candy, chips and root beer. Similarly, what you dwell on in your mind affects your mental health. If your thoughts are self-critical, obsessive and anxious, you will not be happy. In fact, you will probably be miserable and neurotic. Fortunately, just as you can improve your physical health with diet and exercise, you can also take specific steps to improve your mental health. Cognitive therapy experts Gillian Butler and Tony Hope show you these steps and teach you how to use them to develop a healthier, happier mind. They offer sensible techniques you can use to feel more self-confident, and less anxious, stressed and fearful. This self-help guide outlines techniques for achieving your mental health goals, including chapters on beating bad habits and building decision-making and memory skills. getAbstract suggests this exemplary book to anyone who wants to be more positive, upbeat and serene.
Profile Image for Naomi.
205 reviews13 followers
February 8, 2010

Just began reading this book, which was a gift from my wonderful, beautiful sister, and it is brilliant. I only have read a few things on relationships so far, but the information has been so timely for me personally.

It really helps to feel that we have the power over ourselves, and we have choices. There is some really useful information in this book. I think everyone would benefit from it.
Profile Image for Abdulrahman.
27 reviews17 followers
July 31, 2015
كتاب جميل جدا ...كدت القي به من صفحاته الاولى..ولكن فجاه وجدت نفسي تتحدث الي عبر الكتاب ايجابيا وتخبرني كيف اتحكم بها. كتاب مازلت ابحث عنه لاعيد قرائته
-ايضا هناك كتاب لايقل عنه اهميه وهو (إدارة العقل البشري الجديد-البرغوثي) وهو من منظور اسلامي رائع
انصح به ايضا وهو موجود اونلاين للتحميل من عدة مواقع
Profile Image for Andy.
1,377 reviews467 followers
January 8, 2023
There's so much rubbish self-help literature out there from phony gurus. Most people would be much better off looking at books like this that go over methods like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which is proven effective in clinical trials.
Profile Image for Grace Curtis.
Author 34 books11 followers
December 20, 2012
I bought this book originally in 1995 and recently purchased the most recent version for the Kindle reader. It is a book I have gone back to many times and I am not a huge fan of self-help books. This one seems well organized and extremely practical. Life is tough sometimes and I think it is nice to have a user's manual around for those times when something malfunctions or is not running as smoothly as it should.
1 review
April 22, 2012
This book is very clearly targeted to an audience who feels a loss of control within their bubble of society. It would be relevant to the elderly or those needing a self-esteem booster. Not practical for a young adult, and not what I expected in a book categorized as "mental fitness".
Profile Image for Meric S..
5 reviews1 follower
June 25, 2013
This book is both practical and profound. It's grounded in research but not too academic. It doesn't have a pie-in-the-sky approach to self-help. It's realistic. Highly recommended.
9 reviews4 followers
January 14, 2016
First of all, this book is very... CBT. So that should be noted for those who prefer to work with different or certain approaches to psychological issues.
I have some technical issues with the book, such as describing anxiety and depression as "feelings," rather than actual disorders (statements such as "when you feel anxiety," "when you are feeling depressed some days,"). As someone who suffers from both I find that a bit frustrating, as anxiety/depression/OCD/BPD are not ways to describe feelings, but genuine mental disorders that people feel they are in bondage to and struggle with throughout their lives. So it seemed like very typical language, which was a bit offensive especially considering it comes from a mental health expert. That's just semantics though.
If you are suffering from some serious mental problems, I don't believe that just reading that "you shouldn't punish yourself"will help. I see this book as a great tool to use in conjunction with your own personal therapy or counseling. For me personally, my thinking patterns are a bit more deep set that they won't change just from reading one book and not by working through narrative therapy, EMDR, or other counseling.
One of the most practical parts of the book, however, was a section where there is a way to order tasks/things in your life as urgent+important, urgent+not important, not urgent+important, not urgent+not important. I found this as a great way to manage time and I've incorporated it into my bullet journaling (another thing that's helped a lot). [sidenote: if you're someone who takes on a lot of projects, is always writing lists down, keep a messy agenda, bullet journaling is a great thing that has helped me a lot]. So the book offers a lot of different techniques, and I think you can pick and choose what will work best for you.
As a whole, it is a useful book to read. It hasn't changed my life, and it hasn't completely altered my way of approaching the world. However, there are great techniques in there that can benefit a great majority of people.
Profile Image for Charlane.
265 reviews36 followers
April 16, 2009
I read the first edition back in 1995. I particularly liked the section on How to Improve Relationships and the chapter on recognizing voices from the past. Life changing at the time since I was not sure how to sit still with myself yet I could at least start working on my reactions and thoughts.
662 reviews
March 20, 2008
I read several books about the brain, the mind, and learning in spring 2000.
6 reviews1 follower
August 3, 2011
Everyone gets into some rough mental patches sometimes, and this book has the ways to fix them
Profile Image for سلمان.
Author 1 book151 followers
October 20, 2011
بعد قراءة هذا الكتاب .. وجدت انني مختلف ايجاباً :-)
Profile Image for Emalie.
20 reviews
November 13, 2021
This book has literally changed my life. It's changed how I view myself as an individual as well as how to become a person I want to be. Still blown away.
237 reviews1 follower
November 9, 2022
So the blurb tells you that this is a book which combines self-help advice and guidance for managers in dealing with their staff! Inevitably, it's a book which falls between two stools ... and who other than the publishers would be surprised at that? The self-help advice is very clearly aimed at a middle-class, white collar readership - it is quiescent in its search for the causes of stress or distress ... a couple of allusions to the fact that work can be stressful, no acknowledgement that workplace stress is often caused by managers or business owners (bullying instantly leaps to mind), no suggestion that you should certainly join a union if your problems are caused by stress at work!
Of course, if you're trying to market your 'product' to managers, maybe it's best to keep quiet about bullying, maybe don't talk about unions. But, if you're a manager looking for a book on how to manage your staff (obviously in a caring, concerned, humanitarian manner), I really wouldn't bother with this volume.
Books like this run the risk of being trite. Publishers and writers want to sell copies, sell product, so they tend to avoid controversy, tend to aim at the lowest common denominator. This volume doesn't address people who have real problems ... you get the impression the book is one which could be left lying on a coffee table to suggest to visitors that the reader ... well, is either a caring, deep individual concerned to understand the human condition ... or else you're going to spend the next four hours listening to their problems and wishing you had a humane killer in your pocket (almost certainly for use on yourself).
We get simplistic advice. We get little cameo examples of people addressing problems: my favourite is of a lawyer, not someone you'd think who might be experiencing poverty, whose problems revolve around a lack of storage space ... did she actually spend money to hire a counsellor for this? I kept waiting for a tale along the lines of, "Cnut had always dreamed of being a professional beachcomber but he was handicapped by an irrational fear of the sea ... ."
There's no serious exploration of issues. We get 16 pages dealing with alcohol problems! Published in the USA and printed in US English, it's likely they will touch a forelock to Alcoholics Anonymous, which has enormous political clout in the USA despite the poverty of its effectiveness dealing with alcohol problems. The writers actually direct readers to AA for help, though they hint at AA's "distinct religious aspect", adopt the AA line of "one day at a time", and advise people to beware "the voice of the tempter"! They suggest 6 steps (rather than AA's 12), which somehow reminds me of Prochaska and DiClemente's 'Stages of Change'. And they instruct "evidence suggests that the majority of those who return to social drinking relapse, and start to drink too much again ... the only good advice is to become abstinent." This is not the time and place to dispute that - it's AA orthodoxy, a lot of people working in the field would dispute it!
Very middle class, very 'straight' - there are 9 pages devoted to dealing with dependence on tranquilisers ... there are none looking at heroin, cocaine, etc. Poverty scarcely gets a mention - but then the poor couldn't afford the book so they're not missing anything. All very superficial, all very cosy. There's nothing here which would frighten the horses or the servants. It's a book to be read by the comfortably off to reassure themselves that they don't really have any problems ... but maybe so-and-so at the country club has ... .
No, if you've got problems or know someone who has ... maybe the inadequacies of this tome might encourage you to search for something relevant, something helpful. But beware simply going to see a counsellor - there are good ones, there are abusive ones ... it can be a gamble. Narrow your field down to where you think your problems lie, talk with friends, read around, read half a dozen different books on the subject, check out ideas and arguments online ... and, if you do end up seeing a therapist or counsellor, don't let them bully or coerce you or feed you bullshit.
Profile Image for Deb Casselbury.
3 reviews1 follower
July 30, 2017
So great. I bought this book back in the 90's when I was undergoing therapy for depression, and kept it on my bookshelf through the years for bouts of self-doubt and emotional stress, like a mini-therapist to help weed out what I can do to fix my personal problems with relationships, and issues at my job. A simple paperback book, and yet, when used - very, very valuable.
49 reviews3 followers
December 7, 2017
It took forever to get through this book. It has a few good points and tips; however, you have to wade through thickets of wordiness and blather to get to the nuggets. It seemed like whenever I was at my bookshelf, I always wanted to reach for another book first. Had it not been here on its tenth and final renewal, I probably wouldn't have finished it.
Profile Image for Tim Bull.
22 reviews1 follower
June 18, 2020
I have bought two editions of this excellent book and used them to aid my mental health over more than two decades. This is no simplistic self help guide. It is intelligent, practical, and grounded in research and clinical experience. I would recommend it to anyone who struggles with their mental health and who is motivated to play a part in helping themselves.
10 reviews
November 22, 2022
I bought this book about 5 years ago in a second hand university book sale and I was so unwell for so long that I haven’t been able to read it until now that I’m medicated. Anyhow, I believe this is a great 101 on mental health and CBT advice, and has loads of useful help to manage one’s issues. I’m studying it and will keep it near me to check as reference.
Profile Image for Marjory Sheba.
2 reviews
January 21, 2019
This updated edition has added a wealth of additional information and guides. I loved the insightful contents of every chapter and the summaries provided at the end. This is a book every young adult should read and study to better understand themselves and be better prepared to handle life.
Profile Image for Anri.
36 reviews
July 8, 2019
A very practical guide to managing the mind. Although it is thick, letters are rather large and have lots of margins, so easy to read through and finish in relatively a shorter time than you would expect from the cover.
6 reviews
December 22, 2021
A very comprehensive and structured book to read again and again.
Profile Image for Todd Di Gasparro.
9 reviews29 followers
October 18, 2013
I really enjoyed this book, the versatility alone was enough to keep my interested.

As I said it was very versatile and even encouraged you to skip ahead. After the initial introduction which when read was very general, in layman's terms if I may, it encouraged you to either continue reading or to skip a few chapters to whatever chapter you needed. The chapters themselves were pretty in depth and definitely fundamental.

There is a general aura that I receive from this book, a very helping aura and the knowledge base that was put into it. It helped a bit.

Its definitely a go-to book for anyone.
Profile Image for hayatem.
671 reviews169 followers
November 22, 2012
كتاب مميز وهودليل للفرد في الاسرة\العمل\مع الأصدقاء والحياة عموما..حول كيفية اكساب عقله المرونة واللياقة الذهنية ليكون أكثر تجاذبا ،اتساقا وتوازنا مع نفسه ومحيطه والعالم. يحتوي على عدة امثلة وتمارين واستيراتيجيات حول المهارات المختلفة عن العقل\الذات . وكيفية تعزيز بعض المهارات الإجتماعية والتغلب على مخاوفك وبعض الأمراض النفسية كالإكتئاب. وبناء الثقة في النفس. وهو أيضا يحلل العديد من المشاكل التي قد تكون صادفتها
77 reviews
August 5, 2016
A friend recommended this book to me. I thought it might have a heavy focus on cognitive behavioural therapy, which I've already read a lot about but while it included info about CBT it covered a wide range of topics and suggestions. things that in a way seem very simple, like treating yourself right, and learning how to recognise, and deal with voices from the past. It's set up so you can pick and choose chapters, reading the ones that are most helpful.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 40 reviews

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