Book by Lang, D
Review by Heather T. Zeng, Ph.D.
Core Faculty, Capella University
Career Coach
Fremont, California

This abbreviated writing continues a focus on positive psychology topics that individuals embrace in these times of uncertainty. Lang’s Creating Balance & Finding Happiness is a practical workbook that provides what the author calls “real life tips and solutions” for . In an unabashed notation she affirms that this indeed is the “meat of the book.”  Through a dialogue of questions and responses along with real life vignettes she forges universal questions on the human condition and mediating change.

A particular strength is its format which is in a spiraled workbook with tear out pages. It evokes to the reader a sense of active engagement in its mere format. As counselors know, this aspect of activity vs. passivity is vital in fostering change and insight in clients. Ultimately the individual co-constructs their change with support.  From the second chapter titled Building a Core, the authors use a constructivist approach to move individuals to learn more about themselves over their lifetime.  In the midst of life changes individuals often forget themselves and get lost in the stress of work, family, and other obligations. To complement this process the author differentiates what precisely a strong core is and how to build it. One tool that has shown efficacy in changing behavior is journaling. As such, journal writing tips are shared along with tips on moving to simplify or streamline one’s life.

Another strength is a focus on self-care tips and what it means to accept oneself. Too often individuals screen things through negative perceptions or from the voices of external messages received from;  parents, teachers or others that may have impeded one’s development.  This is an exciting prospect. A complementary section on de-cluttering one’s mind is a pragmatic offering that moves individuals with further resources needed in the modern age.

Actual behavioral tools shared include mediating anger, learning relaxation techniques and approaches to forgiveness. If one were to look at the wellness wheel, this resource covers all of the components of holistic counseling from religion, social life, and budget to relationships and wellness factors. For anyone looking for a resource to make one small change in their life, this could be essentially helpful as it is an abbreviated resource that proves not too overwhelming.

This resource also would be relevant to many looking to flourish in today’s busy world. One area that could be added in an updated version would be mediating technology further. The author’s section on schedules and routines would be a natural fit for this discourse that has emerged as a challenge for individual’s as technology seems to encompass and at times overwhelm our lives.

Academic advisors would benefit from this resource in having a tangible guide that could be helpful to mediate ever increasing workloads with students often under timely conditions of response and heightened accountability. Often advisors or students who are mediating work, school, and life might also access this writing to help find resources and strength during busy times. Student affairs professionals often teach leadership courses to students on campus, and as such it is a practical resource that could be imbedded in any introductory leadership course as a tool for students to parallel process personal growth as they forge leadership roles on campus.

Overall, the reading is helpful on a variety of levels and literally can be picked up in a moment to glean a helpful insight for daily living. From the author’s initial self-disclosure of what drew her to create this resource, the reader is encouraged to also seek out their own satisfaction, happiness, and peace in life through active engagement in their own change with the support of this workbook.

Creating Balance and Finding Happiness (2010) Book by Lang, D. Review by Heather T. Zeng. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt.   65pp., $30.19 Cost, (paperback spiral bound). ISBN # 978-0-7575-9949-1
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