Book review: You can heal your life by Louise Hay

Book review - You can heal your life by Louise Hay

Louise Hay first published You Can Heal Your Life in 1984, when she was aged 55, and it is still in print to this day. This is a great self-help book, with a metaphysical underpinning. Louise Hay has also written a number of other books including Heal Your Body, Meditations to Heal Your Life and The Power Is Within You. She has sold over 40 million books worldwide. Louise Hay founded Hay House publishing in the mid-1980s, she passed away in August 2017 at the age of 90 years.

You Can Heal Your Life is written in clear and simple language. It´s the type of book that you can pick up and read sections or sit down and read all the way through. It´s more than a self-help book that might tell us to simply focus on positive thinking and all will be well. Louise challenges to go beyond “positive” thinking, to look deep inside, to question ourselves and our beliefs about oneself, to bring about positive change. There are some useful exercises to complete as you work through the book to help you do this.

Core messages from You Can Heal Your Life

At the core of this insightful book is the belief that our thoughts create our lives – what we think about ourselves becomes our reality. She believes that through our habitual thoughts we create our illnesses, so therefore we can create our own health. Louise asserts that by looking within and understanding ourselves we can come to find our own inner power for healing. Following this logic, we can choose what we think, so therefore we can create a new, healthy, reality.

The book is in four parts. In part 1 Louise explains her philosophy about health, disease and the links to our habitual thoughts and beliefs. Part 2 is “A session with Louise”, where she looks at what the problem is and what you can do about it to help yourself. In part 3 you “Put these ideas to work” and in the final part of the book Louise shares her story. In 1977 she was diagnosed with cervical cancer, which she believed stemmed from childhood resentment about abuse. Louise cured herself without medical intervention and she shares this story to give you inspiration. The book also includes many stories from people Louise has worked with to help to illustrate her points.


Hay uses affirmations to help to bring our thoughts back to health. Affirmations are short positive statements in the present tense. You say these statements to yourself a number of times throughout the day. Louise Hay believes that affirmations can help to override the negative mind-chatter that we might otherwise focus on. If you start to focus inside you might start to notice that we can have an internal monologue running throughout the day. Often this monologue is negative or focusing on things that are not working or are somehow “wrong”. By using affirmations we can choose to focus on a more healthy message.

Mirror work

One exercise that I think is powerful to practice is standing in front of a mirror and looking at yourself – in the eyes – whilst saying something positive or healthy to yourself. If you find this difficult Louise helps to explain why and what you can do.

Health issues

In the second half of the book (chapter 15) Louise lists many common health conditions, ranging from bad breath to callouses, heart disease, HIV, depression and menopause. She lists what she believes are the thoughts or beliefs underlying these conditions and then provides us with some simple affirmations to help to change their beliefs. For example, for depression Louise suggests that the probable cause is hopelessness, an anger that you feel you do not have the right to have. Her suggested affirmation is “I now go beyond other people´s fears and limitations. I create my life”. For more tips on how to help yourself if you experience depression, read this months article here.

Personal note

I came across Louise Hay´s books many years ago when I first started exploring the links between my thoughts and my health. Some of the ideas in the book were challenging for me to accept at first. But I worked through the exercises and it helped to bring understanding and compassion towards myself (and others). You Can Heal Your Life has been a source I return to often, for myself, my family and friends and also for our guests here at the retreat, if they are interested in exploring this area.

Throughout the book there are some lovely affirmations and passages to read and use. “All is well in my world” is one phrase that I find really helpful, particularly when I´m experiencing something that is challenging me! I find that this phrase reminds me to step away slightly from the challenge and remember that, even though I might be finding something difficult, there is also support around and good in my life.

You can heal your life

The fact that this book is still in print is testimony to the useful content contained within and the fact it is so easy to read and apply.

You can purchase You Can Heal Your Life from all major booksellers and it is also available in Kindle or as an audio book. It has been translated into many different languages.

This month our focus is on how you can help yourself. For me, this is one book that can help us to do that. At La Crisalida Retreats our aim is to provide you with space and time to explore your own health and wellbeing path. We offer a range of workshops so that you can explore your own beliefs as part of our Life Makeover retreats. I wish you all the best in your health and wellbeing journey.

Read it for yourself

You can order your own copy of You can heal your life by Louise Hay here (external link to Amazon).  Let us know in the comments section below if you’ve read this book and how it inspired you on your health and wellbeing journey.

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About the author

Lisa is one of the founders of La Crisalida Retreats. She is an Epidemiologist, therapeutic hatha and yin yoga teacher and also teaches mindfulness meditation. Lisa has studied NLP and hypnosis, as well as nutrition (she designs the menus).