By Dr Rana Al-Falaki

This is a great book for anyone who feels stuck. Written by Dr Al-Falaki, who apart from being a top speaker, researcher (and former periodontist!), is founder of Light Changes Coaching, she describes the unresolved trauma of our lives as sludge that builds up and affects our motivation and how we function. This to me seems like a perfect description of how it feels when we just can’t move forwards – the welly boot stuck in the mud, holding you back, however much you’d love to charge ahead.

Using a technique she calls core energy coaching, it’s all about connecting your goals and desires to your inner core – what makes you you. This consists of some really useful and cathartic exercises that tackle to the very things that make us unhappy – like relationships with people, work and food – and strategies to help resolve our past and issues with our parents.

There is no magic in this book, which covers lots of well-trodden paths to happiness, like mindfulness, meditation, journalling and boundary-setting. But Dr Al-Falaki does it in such a direct and compelling way. She shares strategies to let us forgive ourselves and others for the difficult events in our lives, unsticking us from that sludge. She’s particularly strong on understanding our relationships and how to improve them. And the section on finding your E-motive – the core of your motivation for doing anything that matters to you – is incredibly empowering for anyone who really struggles to stick with their intentions.

There are some slightly weird bits, like standing in front of the mirror saying “I love you I love you I love you” for five minutes a day and a routine for forgiving yourself every time you don’t go to the gym when you meant to. But hey, if it’s worked for Dr Al-Falaki – a very successful woman who’s overcome many difficult experiences to find her own sense of fulfilment – let’s throw that skepticism out the window.

Marina Gask

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