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Spotlight on Rachel Kelly

I have had the pleasure of reading Rachel Kelly’s newest book – ‘Singing in the Rain: 52 practical steps to happiness’ and would definitely recommend it as one to read. Below is a blog post from Rachel where we can get to learn more about the inspiring author.


Rachel Kelly
Rachel Kelly

I first discovered the power of beautifully composed one-liners when I was ill with depression. I wasn’t well enough to read a chapter, let alone a whole book. Instead, I derived comfort from soothing quotations, particularly a selection from our great poets and spiritual thinkers.

One of my favourites was a line from the letter to the Corinthians by St Paul in the New Testament: ‘My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ It summed up much better than I could the idea that I would emerge stronger than before. Weakness and strength are part of one another. We cannot know one without the other, so they are both essential and are fortified for the presence of the other. This was a constructive thought when the whole episode felt so destructive. Actually, something good would come out of it.

Now I enjoy quotations from a wide variety of writers, actors, poets and thinkers, here are a few ideas on how I like to get inspired by sayings I come across.

Use a nice pen
I enjoy interacting with quotations and inspiring messages in my everyday life by keeping them close, literally. The French philosopher Michel de Montaigne used to write his own inspiring quotations on the beams of his sitting room, where they still remain today. I do not have any beams to decorate, but I like writing out quotations in nice ink in a tidy script on a card decorated with an illustrated border. Elegant stationery can be as inspiring as the quote itself.
Create a postcard
I also like propping up postcards round the house, be it on my bathroom mirror or the fridge, or collecting mugs and T-shirts and coasters with upbeat messages, I am never far from visible words which stir me. My latest favourites are bracelets, rings carved with inspiring lines and bookmarks.
Learn by heart
As I have grown stronger, I have graduated from collecting up my one-liners, to sometimes learning inspiring verse by heart. Whenever I feel uncertain or worried, I find reading about the experience of others reminds me I am not alone and gives me the words when I can’t find them. Research suggests I am not alone. Studies agree that bibliotherapy can have a role to play in treating mental illness, though this is a relatively new area of research. I loved coming across the study that says people who read live an average of two years longer than those that don’t pick up a book.
Grab your notebook
I like short poems or verses and copying them out helps me remember them. Writing slows you down and gives you time to learn the lines. I learn what the poem is made of – each word and pause and line feels special.

Recently, I copied out a short verse from a longer poem by the Australian poet, politician and former police officer, Adam Lindsay Gordon. I like it because it was written in the 19th-century, so it reminds me how what is important doesn’t change much over the centuries. It is also short; it rhymes; and I now know it by heart – as did the late Princess of Wales. Apparently, it was her favourite poem.
Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone.
Kindness in another’s trouble.
Courage in your own.

Your turn

Out of these four sayings, which one resonates with you most? Perhaps you’d like to write it out and keep it in your room or learn it off by heart for when you are in need of comfort.

  • ‘Comparison is the Thief of Joy.’ – My second quotation from Theodore Roosevelt
  • If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.’–  J.R.R. Tolkien, writer and poet (1892- 1973)
  • ‘The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.’ – John Milton, poet (1608-1674)
  • ‘We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.’ Winston Churchill, statesman, and British Prime Minister (1874-1965)

I’d love to know which one you chose – let me know on Twitter.


Rachel Kelly​ is the bestselling author of ​Walking on Sunshine: 52 Small Steps to Happiness​ (2015), ​The Happy Kitchen: Good Mood Food​ (2016) and ​Black Rainbow: How words healed me: my journey through depression (Hodder & Stoughton, 2014). ​Singing in the Rain​ is Rachel’s fourth book.

Beginning her career as a journalist on ​The Times – ​after battling with depression in early adulthood – she became interested in health and therapy. She is now an official Ambassador for SANE, Rethink Mental Illness and The Counselling Foundation and lives in West London.
Follow Rachel on Twitter @RachelKellyNet or visit​ www.rachel-kelly.net