Book Review – Constructive Living

Book Review #14 –  Constructive Living (David K. Reynolds) 


This is a book about Japanese psychology. Written by a white person who lives in Japan, it integrates Morita therapy and Naikan into an approach to live called constructive living. The basic premise of constructive living is simple — in any given moment, identify the best action you can take, and then take that action regardless of your state of mind.

So if you feel depressed — acknowledge and recognize the depression and think about the best and most constructive action to take in that moment. It likely is going for a walk, drinking a cup of tea, or calling a friend and not laying in bed crying.

Or, if you are feeling lazy at work and spending all of your time on the internet, acknowledge your mind state (lazy, unmotivated) but don’t let it prevent you from taking the action.

It some ways, the philosophy is entirely straight forward. Focus less on your feelings, and more on your actions. In many ways, we want to get the feelings “right” before we start the actions, but actions themselves can influence feelings.

Definitely worth a read for anyone interested in psychology and wanting to get a non-Western perspective, or anyone prone to rumination.