I was delighted when I found this book during my Master's studies, as I recognized the names of the authors from many of the scientific articles I was compiling at the time for my final thesis project.
Smits and Otto, both PhDs, do a great job offering an incredible amount of clinical knowledge in an easily accessible, helpful format. Reading this book feels much like a conversation with a personal coach, walking you through some great research on the science of exercise and mood as well as a plan for setting up and maintaining the motivation for your own exercise routine. There are short, fill-in workbook style exercises for you to complete about your own exercise journey, and snippets and anecdotes about "regular Joes" and professional athletes -- many of whom struggle with mental health and motivation, too. They explore the science of motivation, warn you about excuses that come up and problem-solve ahead of time for how to avoid them:
When you are down, blue, or sad, it is sorely tempting to skip a workout. But, as you hear yourself say, "I don't feel like it," remember that this is the very time at which exercise is most likely to help. Choosing not to exercise because you are feeling down is like choosing not to take an aspirin because you have a headache. (91)
MHWFA students will recognize a combination of psychoeducation, cognitive behaviour, and "solution-focused conversation" techniques in a book that is nicely practical as well as theoretical. And for those of us who work seasonally, this may be just the right tool to help you develop your awareness for how the changing seasons can affect your own mental health, and put together a plan for the coming year.
Note: I don't use affiliate links, and the Recommended Resources section is not sponsored. I (Daye) only tell you about books I have actualy found useful professionally or personally.
Daye Cooper Hagel is a clinical counsellor, veteran wilderness guide, and director of the Mental Health Wilderness First Aid program on the west coast of British Columbia, Canada. Read more about her and the MHWFA on the About Us page!