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Learning to S.M.I.L.E. Again: 5 Simple Steps Toward Joy explains my journey into and out of suicidal depression, the S.M.I.L.E. acronym that kept me happy, and the stories behind my original songs that have helped me stay positive too. Below is the book description, along with some reviews submitted through Amazon. It can be purchased here.
“I stood outside my children’s bedroom door, listening to them playing, making sure they were okay, and envying their freedom from fear. I whispered a prayer for them through the door, and one last, ‘I love you.’ Then I tiptoed to my bedroom and got a pen, a pad of paper, and a belt.” Being upbeat had always come naturally to Eva. A top student, she enjoyed a carefree childhood, was voted High School President and Homecoming Queen, and had her choice of college scholarships. After a romantic courtship and marriage, and graduating college as a double major, she thought it would finally be time to slow down and enjoy her life’s purpose—being a mom. But Eva had no idea that for her, motherhood would be like opening Pandora’s box. Plagued with extreme anxiety and depression, and without the financial ability to regularly rely on counseling or medication, Eva struggled just to survive. The smallest tasks seemed to emotionally smother her. Panic attacks came out of nowhere. Holding fast to her faith and her family, Eva prayed for relief. Her answers came through inspired song-writing and in tender moments with her children and husband over the course of a decade. These powerful experiences are now shared in this publication—part raw, honest memoir and part self-help book. Through simple changes in her thought patterns and her uplifting original music, Eva found ways to lift her burdened spirit and save her life. Today she explains these methods, song lyrics, and her new, vibrant way of living, in hopes that she can help others learn what she did—how to S.M.I.L.E. again. “Joy is found in how we think and view the world. I hope this book shows you that right now, today, even with whatever you’re going through, you can have greater joy.” -Eva Barnett
“I loved this profound and fun way of dealing with depression from an honest, caring person. I appreciated the author’s rich sharing of her journey and know that this book will help those who read it.”
“I didn’t expect to like this book so much. I usually don’t read self-help books, because I compare myself to the author and end up feeling like an “also ran”. But this book is so well-written that it’s addictive – I found myself staying up way past my bedtime, eager for the next chapter! The book begins with an account of Eva’s decision to kill herself, but if you let that stop you from continuing – ‘it’s too dark for me’ – you will be missing out on a gem.”
“Eva is very honest about her struggle to achieve emotional stability, but she makes it more of an adventurous journey than a trial. Eva uses music as a helpful tool, and as she is an accomplished songwriter, includes an original song at the end of each chapter. From my personal favorite, ‘Its A Beginning’ – No use picking up the pieces when its shattered glass, Leave it all behind you ’cause now it’s your past, And it’s not you no your past isn’t you . . .. These songs are happy and uplifting, but as is so wisely pointed out, happy songs are also helpful when life is crummy! That’s when music can be the most helpful.”
“This book is based upon a S.M.I.L.E acronym created by Eva – See the Good, Make Magic Moments, Isolate the Issue, Listen to Love, Endure to Enjoy There is a chapter for each letter, with lots of examples of how to put these principles into practice. ‘Its kind of exciting to think that we’re still discovering our best versions of us. Like a chunk of stone being chipped and sculpted, we will momentarily be surrounded by the extra materials that get carved away, the unused remnants, and all the tools it takes to create. We’ll have to get our hands dirty. We won’t necessarily want to see all the chaos that’s part of the process. That part never gets put up on a pedestal. But the mess won’t matter once we realize that beauty that’s been created.’
“I will let you get to this book and start reading it for yourselves! My copy is tattered, underlined, highlighted, and some of the pages of been bent – it’s definitely a keeper. From one of Eva’s songs, ‘Wonderful’ – You’re soda pop with some vanilla, You’re polka dots on my umbrella, You’re spring raindrops and I bet that ya Didn’t realize you brought a rainbow to my skies.”
My first book Think Yourself Healthy: A Mental Approach to Physical Health is also available by clicking here! I’m so excited to share the tools that helped me overcome my need to comfort myself with food, minimize my anxiety and depression, and led to me losing 70 pounds. All while being a SAHM and not even having a gym membership! Sounds crazy, huh? But it’s true! I used simple mental methods to establish healthy eating and exercise habits, and my whole family’s lives have been better for it. Learning to take care of myself is what allowed me to truly start taking care of others. If you want to feel better physically and emotionally, check out Think Yourself Healthy! The description and reviews from Amazon are below.
After struggling with her weight and relationship with food for over a decade, Eva knew there had to be more to health than just eating less and exercising more. She had tried that, yet the extra weight barely came off and it always came back. Little by little, food had become a compulsive comfort, an addiction. But with 70 pounds to lose and a family to take care of, Eva was not going to give up regaining her health.
“I found Eva’s Instagram account over a year ago as a suggestion…and she really is inspiring. When I found out she wrote a book about mental health, I was excited to read it. In this book, Eva shares her struggles with food, and how she overcame those struggles to lose 70 lbs. The book discusses how our mental barriers can be made positive to ensure a better outcome in our pursuit for optimal health. Whether the desire is weight loss, overcoming a food addiction, or just self-control in general, this book has fabulous advice for preparing your mind as well as nourishing your body. The mind is often left out of the equation when it comes to making big habit alterations in our lives. Eva does a great job in sharing how vital our minds truly are in all of our goals, especially goals dealing with healthy habits. There are also personal application journal prompts (something I absolutely LOVE in books that are challenging me to make changes). Highly recommend!”
“This book has some extremely helpful tools to help you approach health, fitness, and diet goals in a way that could actually help someone achieve lasting results. A lot of these strategies are ones I have personally used and have helped me a lot. There is a little bit of a religious aspect to it, and overall just many different techniques, some religious, some not. At least some of these should work for anyone.”
You can also read my personal essay, along with other wonderful, uplifting stories, in My Dad Is My Hero: Tributes to the Men Who Gave Us Life, Love, and Driving Lessons. Read more about it or purchase that book by clicking here.