Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before by Dr Julie Smith is an easy-to-read self-help book, which Dr Julie describes as being filled with life skills, not therapy skills.


Dr Julie Smith is a clinical psychologist who became a social media superstar through her videos on mental health. Her short-form videos have captured the attention of her millions of followers across social media, but there is only so much you can get across in 60 seconds. This book is the detail that gets left out.

The book is structured with the goal of becoming your mental health toolbox, filled with bite-sized gems that you can access as you need them. The topics cover;

  • Low mood
  • Motivation
  • Emotional pain
  • Grief
  • Self-doubt
  • Fear
  • Stress
  • A meaningful life

I really enjoyed reading this book. The large font, coupled with each section being broken up well, made it easy to take in without the concepts flying over your head. She also ends each chapter with a great chapter summary that sums up the ideas in each section. I also related to and appreciated her balanced and practical approach, and how much value she places on how physical health and wellness can influence your mental health.

To give you a snippet of what you can expect, I’m sharing my favourite lessons from Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before by Dr Julie Smith

1. We must not wait until we feel like it, because feeling like it doesn’t come first, the action must come first. The feeling follows on after.  Motivation is a wonderful by-product of action.

It’s that great feeling you get when you are on the way out of the gym, not on your way in. 

2. You cannot change what you cannot make sense of. Albert Einstein reportedly once said,

If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend fifty-five minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.

3. The ability to check in on the bigger picture, even for the smallest moments, can have a powerful impact on the way we live life.

4. Physically moving your body can help to shift your mind when it is otherwise difficult. When your mind starts spiralling and it’s hard to shift focus, she recommends saying stop and getting up and moving.

5. It’s a human tendency to overestimate how much others are focused on us. We are each at the centre of our own spotlight of attention and we tend to imagine that others are focused on us too, when in reality, everyone’s spotlights are usually on themselves.

We can often make the assumption that others are judging us negatively or disapproving when they may not be thinking about us at all.

6. The only way confidence can grow is when we are willing to be without it. When we can step into fear and sit with the unknown, it is the courage of doing so that builds confidence from the ground up.

Courage comes first, confidence comes second.

7. The things that give us immediate relief from our fear tend to feed that fear in the long term. Every time we say no to something because of fear, we reconfirm our belief that it wasn’t safe or that we couldn’t handle it.

Every time we cut something out of lives because of fear, life shrinks a little.

8. The things you do most of the time become your comfort zone.

9. Thoughts are not facts. They are guesses, stories, memories, ideas and theories. They are a construct offered to you by your brain as one potential explanation for the sensations you are experiencing right now.

10. Simply having goals is not going to ensure that your life changes and stays changed. What does that is the everyday details of your repeated behaviours that keep you moving forward in that direction.

11. We are often sold the idea that happiness is the norm and anything outside of that could be a mental health problem.

Sometimes we are not happy because we are human and life is difficult.

Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before was published by Penguin Random House and can be purchased here.

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