Healthy Living Principles

By Fr Patrick D'Mello

Published by Pauline Publications, 220 pages

The purpose of the book is to impart necessary skills to aid laypersons in managing their health, emotions and relationships. The book also aims to help the reader find meaning and purpose in life. So does the book meet its lofty goals?

One of the opening chapters in Healthy Living Principles is 'Handling Negative Emotions and Positivity'. Here the author gives a blueprint of how to shift from a negative outlook. There is also a section discussing how negative emotions have a purpose, and the difference in male and female brains with regard to negative emotions. Fr Patrick also explains how evolution is responsible for this "wiring" and acceptance is the key to moving towards a more positive mindset.

While the book focuses in depth on hot topics like Stress and Anger Management, I would like to draw attention to a superlative chapter on Empathy. This is a skill that can easily be developed by the average housewife, teacher, doctor, student, corporate employee, by just applying the techniques. An empathetic response tries to reflect back to the speaker their feelings and their content (i.e. the reason for the upset feeling). The formula for this is simple, and if applied correctly, can help in destressing a person immediately.

Forgiveness is explained as a seven-step process. Exercise and meditation for fitness is another excellent chapter. If the reader just follows the steps enumerated, they will be in a better position to manage their weight and have a healthy BMI.

Today's market is crowded with self-help books. What sets this book apart is that it stems from the author's own experiences, which he has shared without holding back his own flaws. So here is an author who has first tried the methods before advising others. Fr Patrick also runs an online course teaching the above-discussed skills to participants from several countries.

I have done the course and also read the book, so while a live course to learn skills in people and self-management is the best way to learn, not everyone can make such time commitments. For such a person then, this book becomes a handy learning tool.

A few other reasons to buy this book would be for its simple, direct language, well-organised structure and thorough research. Fr Patrick cites many authors and does not hesitate to bring to our notice videos on YouTube that teach a skill.

Ermelinda Makkimane