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Book Recommendations

The Big Little Book of Resilience by Matthew Johnstone

February 2023
— Reading Time: 2 minutes

Matthew Johnstone is a passionate mental health and wellbeing advocate. He is a best-selling author, illustrator, photographer, and for many years was the creative director at the Black Dog Institute. Matthew is also a long-term friend and we have so much admiration for the inspiring messages and images he brings to life and shares with the world. For those of you who would like to delve further into Matthew’s work and any of his other nine books, please visit

As a former advertiser and creative director, one of Matthew’s skills is his ability to distil complex mental health and wellbeing messages into accessible images and memorable phrases. In The Big Little Book of Resilience, you are in for a delightful 100-page journey that gently inspires you to appreciate and understand life, with all its ups and downs. Matthew acknowledges that we all have a story, a journey, that contains good and bad. Through his images and messages, you can literally feel your ability to successfully navigate life grow. Matthew gives us confidence to overcome difficulty and to grow from our experiences.

Our suggestion is for you to read Matthew’s big little book slowly and purposefully, which will likely take you under an hour. Read the words carefully and allow the images to speak to you. You may then like to return to several key pages that particularly resonated with you. Consider propping the book open on a particular page in a place where you will see the image and message on at least a daily basis. You may wish to take a photo of one of Matthew’s images and place that on your phone screensaver or maybe you want to put an image on your fridge.

The book opens with a creative image of the crucial resilience element of being flexible and adapting to change, in contrast to being rigid and fixed. Matthew then gently explores the concept of acceptance, the hills and dales of life, the value of progress, and the importance of seeking help. One of our favourite phrases (and images) in Part 1 is “It is perfectly OK….. not to feel OK…. the trick is not getting stuck.”

In Part 2 of the book, Matthew explores ways to help us build, develop, and nurture resilience. He creatively touches on the importance of sleep, nutrition, and exercise. He discusses mindfulness and the importance of our breath. Along the way, Matthew encourages healthy practices such as a digital detox, listening to music, staying connected, learning something new, expressing gratitude and more.

We suggest it is impossible for Matthew’s images not to speak to you. Keep this book handy and we hope that it will gently inspire and nudge your wellbeing in a healthy direction.

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