Those who do not have power over the story that dominates their lives, power to retell it, to rethink it, deconstruct it, joke about it and change it as times change, truly are powerless because they cannot think new thoughts.

Salman Rushdie
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There are 4 small colour themed books: A Little Book of Smoke & Mirrors; The Body Book; The Golden Notebook; A Little Black Book of Catharsis (with a handy match on the spine).

They aim to inspire new ways of diary writing, writing the self and re-writing the self. Each book is small so that you can carry it around in a pocket.

Evidence shows that writing can be essential for our sense of self and improving our mental health. There are four small colour coded mental health diaries in the box set that includes concepts and themes from the project. Each has suggestions about how we might re-organise our perceptions of self, and our stories for our future selves with space for you to add your own ideas. 

How to purchase a copy of the box set

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The uniformity of a single self is a lie. We create ourselves again and again.

Smoke and mirrors are used as emblematic concepts, using mirrors to discover new ways to see ourselves, and learning to see what is behind the smoke in recognising ways in which we hide, distort and change who we think we are. We often trick ourselves with illusions about ourselves. Gazing in a mirror we imagine a coherent, unified individual self, yet we are of course multiple, and contradictory – and constantly changing and evolving.

Enjoy some creative time in your head, aspire, create versions of yourself, and be your stories. Turn your life in on itself and be whatever you want to be.  The consolation of narrative psychology is that we are the story we tell ourselves and that we can create what that story is.

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Mind and body correspondences – your story and your body

What is your brain doing when you have nothing in particular on your mind? It turns out that when you pay attention to yourself; the default state activates brain areas that work together to create your sense of self.

Just think of all the brain-body connections we make in language like ‘you make me sick’ or  ‘my heart sank’, we feel all our strong emotions through the body. Finding ways of looking after our body that re-synch it with our minds re-establishes ownership and helps us to be ‘present’. This book is to remind you to make a bridge between your mind and body that brings your body stories and inner experiences together. 

Quotes from Bessel Van der Kolk, The body knows the score. Reference in endnotes. Bibliography.

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Complete with handy match on the spine: The meaning of catharsis is ‘cleansing’ in Greek, and refers to a literary theory first developed by Aristotle, who believed that cleansing our emotions was the purpose of a good story.The purpose of this book is to write down stories you don’t want to keep, light the match (somewhere safe) and watch it burn.

Yet sometimes just writing things down or telling someone is cathartic enough. If there are things you don’t want to tell anyone, write them down here, then let time pass. Read them again. Are they really that bad? Perhaps you can now see things in a different light? Stories can be changed – or seen from a very different angle.

Catharsis is not a quick fix. Take time over it, and once you have used this book, use the other small books to transform and utilise new perceptions of the past. Savour the destruction of this book if, or when you feel ready to let it go.

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Be the author of your own life, the creator of your own possibilities

The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing is a novel about is the story of writer Anna Wulf and the four notebooks in which she records her life. The gold-coloured notebook is the one in which she attempts to bring all of her lives together. Similarly use this book to collect all of your best bits and put all of them together so that you can see, feel and be –  your best authentic self. 

This book is about becoming – recognising that you are many people and have the potential to be who ever you want. 

This book is about our best and happiest selves. Take your time, use your best handwriting and write it all up with your best pen when you are happy with it. 

LOOK INSIDE: some sample pages will be available to view after the 15th January 2021

Because writing  – or even talking is not always enough – there is more information about  mental health services.