NEW YEAR, NEW MIND: The Reality Slap and four more must-read guides to strengthen your mind in 2021 - Exisle Publishing
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Over the coming weeks we will be featuring some of our expert guides on mental health and resilience.

This week is the newest edition of Dr Russ Harris’s The Reality Slap.

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We probably don’t need to remind you that 2020 was a year like no other. All humans simultaneously experienced blow after blow of immense global trauma­­­; from a pandemic and mass unemployment, to climate disasters and political unrest­. A lot of us are still left reeling and – similar to many physical traumas -some of us are left with mental scars.

Now we are embarking on a new year and while there are some things we cannot control; our mental and emotional wellbeing doesn’t have to be one of them. The team here at Exisle have compiled just a few of our titles that will help equip you with the tools you need to take on the new year, and rebuild your mental resilience stronger than ever.

The Reality Slap

How to survive and thrive when life hits hard

Dr Russ Harris

“The truth is, most of us don’t cope well with reality slaps. We easily get ‘hooked’ by all those painful thoughts, feelings, memories and physical reactions; they jerk us around and pull us into self-defeating behaviours … But the good news is, we can change this state of affairs; we can learn new and more effective ways of responding to grief, loss and crisis.” – Dr Russ Harris (The Reality Slap)


As 2020 well and truly proved, it can sometimes feel as if reality is continually slapping you in the face and causing pain that you aren’t equipped to handle. If you yourself have experienced a ‘reality slap’, and don’t know where to turn, The Reality Slap is the essential guide to finding happiness and fulfilment.

Ten years after the release of its first edition, this fully updated and rewritten edition of The Reality Slap contains a new wealth of advanced expertise from the mind of Dr Russ Harris – a medical practitioner, psychotherapist, and psychologist and bestselling author The Happiness Trap.

Dr Harris uses Acceptance and Commitment Therapy exercises such as ‘A kind hand’, to teach readers how to practice self-compassion in their daily life. Helping them reconnect with both themselves and others.

A Kind Hand

Find a comfortable position in which you are centred and alert. For example, if you’re seated in a chair you could lean slightly forwards, straighten your back, drop your shoulders and press your feet gently onto the floor.

Take a few moments to drop anchor. Do this in your own manner, acknowledging your inner experience, connecting with your body, engaging in the world around you, until you have a sense that you’re grounded.

Now bring to mind your reality slap. Take a few moments to reflect on what has happened, and notice what thoughts and feelings arise.

Be present.


That’s all you need do: just pause.

Pause for a few seconds and notice what your mind is telling you. Notice its choice of words, and the speed and volume of its speech.

Be curious: is this story old and familiar, or is it something new? What time zones is your mind taking you into: the past, present or future? What judgments is it making? What labels is it using?

Don’t try to debate with your mind or try to silence it; you’ll only stir it up.

Simply notice the story it’s telling you.

And notice, with curiosity, all the different feelings that arise in your body. What do you discover? Guilt, sadness, anger, fear or embarrassment? Resentment, despair, anguish, rage or anxiety? Numbness, emptiness, apathy? Pay attention, like a curious child, to what is going on inside in your body.

And name these feelings as they arise: ‘Here’s fear’, ‘Here’s sadness’, ‘Here’s numbness’.

And say something compassionate to yourself: acknowledge your pain and respond with kindness. If you’re not sure what to say, try ‘This is difficult. Hold yourself kindly.’

Four more guides for stronger mental health and emotional resilience:

Your Anxiety Beast and You

A compassionate guide to living in an increasingly anxious world

Dr Eric Goodman
“It’s easy to falsely believe that whenever anxiety shows up in your life, that you are not living your life right — that you are not feeling the right feelings” – Dr Eric Goodman

Getting to know Your Anxiety Beast blog post

The Changing Man

A Mental Health Guide

Dr Cate Howell OAM, CSM, CF & Alex Barnard
No shame. No silence. No anger.

Blog post arriving soon

Purposeful Breathing

Reset your Mind; Improve Your Energy; Enhance Your Health

Dr Gregg Smith
“Breathing has always been linked to the energy of life.” – Dr Gregg Smith

Reduce Your Anxiety with Purposeful Breathing Blog Post

A Well Mind

(Releasing March 2021)

Tools for attaining mental wellness

Lisa Parkinson Roberts (PhD)

(Coming Soon) A Well Mind – Lisa Parkinson Roberts PhD

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