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How to Stay Sane

(The School of Life)

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  2,239 ratings  ·  206 reviews
Everyone accepts the importance of physical health; isn't it just as important to aim for the mental equivalent? Philippa Perry has come to the rescue with How to Stay Sane -- a maintenance manual for the mind.

Years of working as a psychotherapist showed Philippa Perry what approaches produced positive change in her clients and how best to maintain good mental health. In H
Paperback, 160 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Pan Publishing
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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 ·  2,239 ratings  ·  206 reviews

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Amir Tesla
Oct 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: happiness, success
Faaaar better than I expected.
Controlling and maintaining the balance of your mental being is the focus of this book which is fulfilled by examining the four following areas:
1. Self-observation
2. Relationship (quite interesting and insightful chapter)
3. Stress
4. Personal story.

Thorough review soon.
Mar 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Hilary by: Found in the library
Very nice, easy to read, straightforward book about keeping your sanity. Exercises to work through your worries and fears. This is certainly a book I would come back to if I felt troubled by mental health problems and would highly recommend giving this a go to anyone who needs some help.
Apr 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Short and surprisingly helpful.

Favorite Quotes

Sanity falls into two groups: one of people who have strayed into chaos and whose lives lurch from crisis to crisis, and ones who are in a rut and operate from a limited set of outdated rigid responses. Some of us manage to belong to both groups at once. This book is about how to stay on the path between those two extremes, how to remain stable and yet flexible, coherent and yet able to embrace complexity.

When we become more sensitive towards ourselv
Todd N
Jul 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
If I didn't know better I would say that this is Alain de Botton writing under a pseudonym. It has the same type of clear, calm prose dotted with references to the Western Canon.

But if it isn't written by him it is clearly influenced by him because this is published by the School Of Life, a London institute(?) school(?) refuge(?) co-founded by him.

This is a short, practical guide to the best thinking about how to maintain sanity. (In brief: exercise, keeping a diary, and being a good friend -- n
Marion Honey
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Marion by: Ross
Actually pretty dang helpful considering this book was found in a pub and given to me as a "joke." I read it with the intention of donating it to a charity shop, but now I'm keeping it for the killer exercises at the end.
Leo Robertson
Sep 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Great! Filled with all-too-recognisable (all me) character studies and advice to avoid negative spirals and achieve your goals!
Aug 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading the book. Still working on its helpful and practical exercises.
I guess the main purpose of School of Life which is using psychology and philosopy in daily life is the essance of this book.
Jenni Moody
Jan 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
"Part of staying sane is knowing what our story is and rewriting it when we need to" (Perry 95).

A great, small book that is easy to get into and moves quickly to avoid feelings of being overwhelmed by ways to fix destructive behaviors. I love Perry's voice, which is very conversational and friendly. She often speaks about her training as a therapist, but in a way that makes her feel more human and trustworthy.

There's an exercise section at the back of the book, and her suggestions such as keep
Jun 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is just quite simply the first so-called self-help book I have ever read or had the inclination to read. I must say it has humbled me to the point of no longer so readily writing these kind of books off my list. I have found it both eye-opening at times and comfortingly self-assuring at others. I wish I had read it earlier in life.
Jan 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
A short but very useful book, which does as the title suggests!

Philippa Perry, a psychotherapist and writer, gives us the tools to improve our mental well-being. There are four areas that she feels are important: self observation, nurturing relationships. embracing"good stress" which comes with learning new things and being mindful of the stories that we tell ourselves. I was particularly interested in the last chapter, which explained how, very often, the stories we tell ourselves are detrimen
Jun 30, 2015 added it
Shelves: non-fiction
This sanity thing demands effort and time. One should reflect, keep a diary, invest in relationships..., do excersises with their partner, do physical excersises, pick up new hobbies thus keep learning new things. Honestly, who has the time? “If you don’t use it you lose it” and “If we do not grow we shrink” are depressing thoughts on a certain level because there are so many things to work on. The day is not long enough to work only on the body, what is left for the intellect, not to mention th ...more
Feb 11, 2018 rated it liked it
A lovely read for those in need of instruction (ain't we all?) on how to observe your own feelings, actions, and work on personal growth by becoming more aware of yourself and others around you.
All very positive; in addition to the theory on self-reflection, stress, observing and recognizing own behavioral patterns, working on self-control, relationships, and other human interactions, the book includes case studies of personal change and a few exercises of self-development.

However, I will admit
Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
A friend gave me this book around eighteen months ago, and after a fairly traumatic 2015 I felt it was a good time to finally read it.

I think it's a great book. It's realistic, and accessible - not a dry, difficult non-fiction book at all. There are some truly great insights in the book, as well as a number of different exercises to help you become more self-aware, and to help create new, more beneficial neural pathways. I'll certainly be keeping this book on hand & starting to do some of the su
Laura Youngstrum
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mindfulness
Giovanni Generoso
Aug 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: therapy
I’ve grown fond of the School of Life as of lately, I must admit.

Self-Observation: Socrates once said that the unexamined life is not worth living. Examining my life, however, is my source of life—since, without it, life is paradoxically unlivable (I mean that in a figurative and literal sense). But what is this self-examination process? It’s, in short, tenderness, understanding, acceptance—of one’s thoughts, but more specifically, one’s feelings. Plato knew long ago that the human brain is spli
Aman Mittal
Jul 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction

How to be Sane written by Philippa Perry is a short, and surprisingly a good book to read. This book is a part of The School of Life series which takes a different approach to introduce self-help genre, in an intelligent way.

Philippa Perry is psychotherapist and in this book she offers some pragmatic insight on observing one's attitude, reactions or thought process. She argues that there are four cornerstones to being sane, to being conscious. Self-observation is one, other being your relations
Apr 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: patient-friendly
I thought this was a very nice, totally down to earth way to look at sanity in the 21st century. This slender little book has nothing intimidating, but it introduces in the nicest way big concepts such as self observation, the importance of relationships, continual self refinement and exploration of inherited mores and habitual patterns. There are 115 pages of unthreatening, kindly worded expository text, and 33 pages of non-exacting exercises (seven in all.) As a self help book it will not crea ...more
Jan 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is very nice. A concise, simple book that applies actual psychological research not to hyperbolic promises of being the best you or being happy, but just to staying sane. Topics addressed include benefits of mindfulness, awareness of cognitive biases, and the virtues of autonomy, pursuing competence, and feeling a sense of belonging with others. As a psychologist, none of the information was new to me -- nor was I unaware that these ideas are basic to overall well-being -- but I really enjo ...more
Aug 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 05, 2012 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this little read, and the book presentation is cute and compact. The best chapter for me was the first and second, and material related to self-observation which was very useful. I also got a lot from the recommendations to journal.
I wasn't so interested in the usual psycho-babble that psychotherapists and psychologists get caught up in to unravel people's stories and causes for emotional issues in life.. fair enough, talking helps, though theories are just theories at the end of the d
Sep 19, 2015 rated it liked it
There was nothing new except few facts here and there. I learned that a right handed person, if starts using his left hand more often can completely avert stroke possibility due to new nueral pathways. I like her advice of writing down your feelings on paper specially maintaining a gratitude log every single morning. That again I came across in many books. The emphasis on relationship with others was more than necessary, relationships go both ways. if analysing, realising, resolving and compromi ...more
May 21, 2013 rated it liked it
This book caught my eye on a library display, and I'm happy I picked it up. The author talks about sanity as the balance between hyper-rigidity and chaos and offers some practical techniques for staying in that place, particularly when you tend toward one direction or the other. The most useful chapter for me was on interpersonal relationships, as it emphasized that our actions and those around us are influenced by our past relationships -- and that they all affect how we communicate. It's a nic ...more
May 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was very nicely written, but I can't say that I found it terribly enlightening. Though, to be fair, it's only like 100 pages long, and I tend to think a lot about this sort of stuff, so of course I would find it a bit generic. Still, I can picture people I know having quite a few "aha" moments if they read this. All in all, it's compact and full of common sense - and it's a self-help book that won't make you cringe while you read it, which is a victory in and of itself :)
Dragana J.
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-help
We are all driven insane by a number of things and this book does help you step outside yourself and see things more clearly. Plus it helps to recognise when the mind and your thoughts play tricks on you.

A positive and insightful look at self-growth.
Gerta Rehfeld
Humans are imperfect, therefore everyone should read this book. Quick, easy to digest, and lots to learn. My brain feel more calm already.
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
For such a short, cutesy guide, this was far clearer and more helpful than I expected. Not an in-depth read, but the information, suggestions, and exercises are practical and concise.
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sep 09, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this book but I thought it was a lovely quick-read/listen. I 'listened' to the audiobook in one go whilst I was building a very elaborate house on Sims 4 so I didn't do any of the 'mental exercises' in the book. I might give it another read at a later date.

I didn't expect it to be that much of a self-help book. I'd chose to read/listen to the book because like many pretentious/artsy millennials, I'd say I'm quite a big fan of Grayson Perry (her husband). I
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Lovely writing style and it has exercises in the back that I believe will be helpful. There are 2 that I already know are helpful: 2 types of meditation. The author never preaches to you, and she admits in several places that she has made mistakes in her past for which, she hopes, the book will assist anyone who may be experiencing the same problems.
This was a library book but I'm buying my own copy.
Apr 23, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: _myshelf, ensaio, 2020
Self-help will not help you.
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Philippa Perry, author of How to Stay Sane, is a psychotherapist and writer who has written pieces for The Guardian, The Observer, Time Out, and Healthy Living magazine and has a column in Psychologies Magazine. In 2010, she wrote the graphic novel Couch Fiction, in an attempt to demystify psychotherapy. She lives in London and Sussex with her husband, the artist Grayson Perry, and enjoys gardenin ...more

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