Happy Cafe Ely is being given the best possible start with author and mental health campaigner Rachel Kelly visiting us in Ely to give her 'Walking on Sunshine' presentation at the Cathedral Conference Centre on July 10th at 2pm.
So why Rachel Kelly? I am an unashamed fan of her books and, as well as being an ambassador for Sane and Young Minds, she is also a huge supporter of Action for Happiness. Rachel is the perfect guest to speak to us and we are thrilled to have her support.
If you would like to know more about Rachel's own story, here is a little bit of background to her three best-selling books and my personal views on them. All will be for sale on the day from a bookstall being provided by Topping and Co. and Rachel will be happy to sign them after her talk.
'Black Rainbow' is her first book and Rachel describes the extent of her depressive episodes with detail and honesty, but she balances this by sharing how the power of the written word helped to heal her. I love the quote from psychologist Oliver James: 'Kelly turns the lead of depression into the gold of emotional health'. For those who find comfort in reading or for those who gain support hearing about somebody else's experience, this is a perfect book. It struck me as being one of great generosity: through sharing her traumatic experiences in the first place but also in offering hope and encouragement - because the rainbow isn't behind black clouds at the end.
'Walking on Sunshine: 52 small steps to happiness' is Rachel's second book and is described as offering '52 tips, tools and positive ideas (one for each week of the year) to manage the pressures of everyday life. I find this little book really accessible and charming, and because it's so compact I've been known to carry it around with me in case of need! The 52 ideas range from 'habit-tacking' and 'the magic of baking' to 'secret breathing exercise' and 'the 60 per cent rule'......all ideas Rachel shares and which help her to maintain some equilibrium during the course of a year. You can read it all at once or dip into it as you choose and I've found myself returning to my favourite pages over time. I think this book also makes a great present and the humorous cartoons only add to its appeal. It will form the basis of her talk when she visits us of course, so it would make a lovely memento of this special occasion.
Her most recent publication is ‘The Happy Kitchen: Good Mood Food’, published here in January of this year. The idea that diet could play a part in supporting mental wellbeing was intriguing and a completely novel idea to me. Who knew for example, that our gut is responsible for producing a large proportion of our neurotransmitters, the chemicals that communicate information throughout the body and brain? Apparently the science behind this concept is relatively new but it is explained in a way which I hope will convince you, like me, to put it into practice and to give it a go.
Well, I'm sure you have worked out by now that I'm a complete fan of Rachel, her books, and the work she is doing to reduce stigma around mental health and to support positive mental well-being. I freely admit that her writing helped my own recovery - and it would be wonderful if her messages helped more people as a result of her visit to Ely. We look forward to seeing you on July 10th !