Book review: Rewild Your Mind - Use Nature as Your Guide to a Happier, Healthier Life

"WAR, what is good for? Absolutely nothing!"

So sang The Temptations, then Edwin Starr, in pop songs of a former time.

And never was the sentiment more more firmly endorsed than in Rewild Your Mind by former Royal Marine Commando Nick Goldsmith who describes battlefield scenes in Afghanistan so dreadful that they could never be included in newspapers or on broadcast media for fear of the distress they would cause.

"Every day was dicey,"he writes. "We fought up close with the enemy, running through cornfields and into compounds, sometimes with our bayonets fixed - and I was often the first man in.

"My heart would be hammering in my chest at more than 200 beats per minute.

"They were fearless, emboldened by the drugs they were taking which included heroin.

"They would pull the needle out of their arms, then run straight at us through the corn with their Kalashnikovs."

It is hardly surprising that the author's experiences over four tours of war-torn Afghanistan left this brave man a victim of a complex form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The condition seriously scarred his personality, often rendering him "numb from top to toe" and taking him to a point where he "did not care whether he lived or died".

But this inspirational book describes how he has gradually recovered his mental and emotional equilibrium - partly thanks to therapy, partly through the love and support of wife Louise and family and partly through spending as much time as possible in the Great Outdoors.

The return to his old happy-go-lucky self has not been easy, and he does not claim yet to have won the race.

But what he has achieved, professionally as well as personally, is immense. Heroically so.

He has established an award-winning outdoor activities business and is in demand as a a motivational speaker.

The title of Nick's book is not strictly accurate, In a sense, he has not rewilded his mind - he has done the opposite. He has "re-tamed" it to allow him to defeat his mental demons and give new structure to a life that was at risk of falling apart.

The subtitle - Use Nature as Your Guide to a Happier , Healthier Life - is also somewhat off-beam.

Although there are plenty of intriguing insights about forest bathing, wild swimming, sleeping under the moon and foraging, there is very little about wildlife or the fabric and texture of Nature.

It is bushcraft into which he has been channeling much of his concentration because it is what gives meaning and direction to his life. But there is no mention, for instance, of birds or birdsong and what they can contribute to mental health.

This is not a criticism. Nick does not pretend to have all the answers.

The author would be the first to admit that there are other discoveries waiting to be made.

There is no doubt that, in due course, he will make them and, hopefully, record them in a follow-up book.

If it proves half as good as this one, it will be worth waiting for.

* Rewild Your Mind, published at £16.99 by Welbeck, is available wherever books are sold.