BOOK CLUB: The Reality Slap

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The Reality Slap  – How to survive and thrive when life hits hard

If 2020 and 2021 haven’t given us a massive Reality Slap, then I don’t know how else to describe it! Life can be challenging and it’s important to build resilience, but how can we make that happen when life keeps throwing curveballs?

Thankfully, Dr Russ Harris, Medical Practitioner, Psychotherapist, and Psychologist has provided the answers in ‘The Reality Slap’. The book is described as ‘a self-help book that will teach you how to cope effectively when life hurts and how not only to survive life’s unexpected curveballs but also how to thrive, despite them.’

Resilience is one of my buzz words – an important trait. I read a lot of self-help and psychology-based books and grew up watching back to back ‘Dr Phil’ episodes, so I went into this book wondering whether it would have new advice for me.

It did! The book is written in an accessible, easy to understand way and is very practical in how you can implement what you learn.

the reality slap

I started reading the book during a difficult time, with a family member in the hospital for a long term stay. Coupled with the pandemic, and all of life’s normal challenges, I figured it was a great time to read the book.

As I read it, though, I did think it would be best to arm yourselves with these tools before you’re in a crisis. You shouldn’t wait for crisis mode to read it – read it now, and should a curveball or crisis appear, you’ll be more ready to handle it.

The book is divided into three parts: Regroup, Rebuild, Revitalise, with chapters within the sections. Each of the sections is jam-packed with useful advice, examples, heaps of useful exercises and questions. A list of useful resources is also provided. You may find yourself returning to the exercises in the book, and the advice, at different stages of your life. I know I will!

I’d previously read ‘The Happiness Trap’ by Harris, and also recommend it.

Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Exisle Publishing for a copy of ‘The Reality Slap’ by Dr Russ Harris in exchange for an honest review.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading The Reality Slap by Dr Russ Harris. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

ISBN: 9781925820911 / Publisher: Exisle Publishing

4 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Reality Slap

  1. “The Reality Slap” is non-fiction, a book that sits on the line between self help books and popular psychology. It’s a book that failed to resonate with me, although I’m square in its’ target group, but I can see that it may help others.

    A reality slap is when life whacks you one. It may be a serious illness, a death, or some other trauma. But quite unexpectedly, life slaps you. This is always painful, often traumatic, and can be difficult to deal with. This book offers a series of strategies designed to help you survive that trauma and move forward in a positive way.

    Harris is very clear that not every technique will work for everyone, so I can’t really complain that none seemed particularly useful to me. He suggests picking and choosing what will work for you, but I came away from this without any sense of having gained something.

    Harris provides clear and simple descriptions of what he’s proposing you do, and why and how these may help you. He includes specific exercises (many supplemented with audio guidance that can be downloaded for free from his website), and case studies. He acknowledges that some will have varied impacts on different people.

    I have been the victim of repeated reality slaps, including unexpected and traumatic bereavement, unexpected illness with life changing results, and some other challenges. Yet when I pictured myself addressing some or all of these things through the exercises suggested… well, I couldn’t see it. I couldn’t see myself talking to myself in the ways he suggested. I thought that a great deal of what he suggested ignored the everyday realities of life: you can’t necessarily stop an activity in the middle just because it’s not “life affirming and purposeful” and do something else.

    On the other hand, although this simply didn’t connect with me, I could see that it might work for others (particularly those without an inner cynic). Mindfulness works for many people, and there are exercises here that are closely aligned with those practices.

    The book’s tone is sensible, and I think Russ is reaching for down to earth. His exercises are very specific and easy to follow. It’s not a hard book to read or digest, so is fairly accessible to a range of people.

    If you’ve experienced a reality slap, and are struggling to deal with it, it’s probably worth taking a look at this book to see if it works for you. It didn’t for me, but I don’t doubt it would help some people.

  2. Thank you for the copy of The Reality Slap by Dr Russ Harris.
    This book is written for everybody really as we all go through hard times. It is in three sections: Regroup, Rebuild and Revitalise. It may be useful to read first time when you are not in the thick of the emotions of a reality slap.
    It provides a walk through of ways to assist in each area, and different scenarios.
    This book came at a good time as I had recently been through a death in the family.
    I feel there are some good exercises you can do to help, although some might not apply to you. The book is a useful reference tool and I think most people can get something out of it that will be of use. It would also be useful to refer back to at times as I didn’t retain everything the first read through.

  3. From the first page of starting this book, the words really hit home for me and the tears flowed as my reality slaps in life have suffered a few of the slaps mentioned in the book. I did have to take a bit of realization that I probably will need to readjust myself before actually sitting down and taking in all the words in this book. Finally found a quiet day to just read this book in peace.

    Many people will have suffered Reality Slaps in their life, some may know it but some may not even be aware that they have.

    Dr. Harris mentions the bigger our slap the greater our pain feels. That I can fully appreciate. Examples he gives are shock, sadness, anger, fear, anxiety, dread, guilt, shame, hatred. I think I ticked all the boxes for a majority of those above.

    I related to the story of Rada’s reality slap and was most interested in knowing how she dealt with her chronic pain. The book also gives exercises that you can try whilst reading or even when you have timeout from reading. I found myself enjoying doing some of the exercises that I could utilise for myself. Some I couldn’t do but Dr. Harris gives suggestions on how to manage in a different way.
    I found this book enjoyable and easy to read. I’ve never been to a counsellor to help in dealing with any of my problems but it was interesting to read this book. I think if you are dealing with grief, death of a loved one, divorce or an illness, this book will help you in so many ways. Just the exercises were meaningful to me.

    When you finish the book at the back is a place where you can actually write down your goal settings and there are tips to help you. There is also an index on what pages should you need to refer back to a particular topic.

    I will definitely pass this book onto someone close to me who is dealing with a lot of reality slaps at the moment. This book will certainly help her to thrive with everything being thrown at her right now.

    Thank you to Beauty and Lace & Harper Collins Publishers for sending me a book that is not my usual novel reading. I do like to broaden my reading to other genres too. It opened up my eyes and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one. Thank you also to Dr. Russ Harris for writing this book as it helped me in some areas and I have even photocopied some pages to keep for reference to look back on.

  4. The Reality Slap by Dr Russ Harris published by Exisle Publishing provides readers strategies and techniques to try when “life hits hard”. I found the way Dr Harris explained the concepts and “experiments” and techniques very easy to follow, read and understand. My only issue was because it is a book, it is possible to skip ahead without concentrating and practicing each technique to work out if it was of benefit to to the individual, which I feel is actually giving the content of the book a disservice. I would recommend this book to others with the idea as mentioned by Dr Harris that people may modify the exercises to suit themselves as it is not designed to be a concrete one size fits all. Thank you Beauty and Lace Bookclub, Exisle Publishing and Dr Russ Harris for the opportunity to read and review The Reality Slap.

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