Reading a good book is an act of self-love, in our opinion. And reading a book that can help improve our wellbeing, expand our world view, or make us think, are real treasures for the mind. Now, more than ever, being kind to our minds is essential. Today, we’ve gathered some noteworthy titles that are sure to help you live more “care-fully” and provide new perspectives on living a life of purpose.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Ever gotten down on yourself for being naturally on the quieter side? Or maybe you’ve held the perception that your introverted-ness is a bad thing. Author and self-proclaimed introvert Susan Cain brings to light all of the strengths that come along with being an introvert. The book challenges our modern culture’s view on introverts and proposes a more valued look at their characteristics and abilities. It also calls out how we gear school and office environments towards those who are extroverts, and how we can consider the power of quietness in such a busy, chaotic world.
One of the most thought-provoking perspectives that emerges from the book is the stark difference that Cain identifies between shyness and introversion.
“Shyness is the fear of social disapproval or humiliation, while introversion is a preference for environments that are not overstimulating,” Cain writes in Quiet. “Shyness is inherently painful; introversion is not.”
From strong listening skills to heightened detail-oriented thinking, to their remarkable ability to empathize with others, this book delves into the unique superpowers that introverts naturally possess. Even if you’re a tried-and-true extrovert at heart, everyone can learn a thing or two about the power behind being on the quieter side.
The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel van der Kolk
Sometimes, a book’s title speaks for itself. In the case of New York Times bestseller The Body Keeps The Score, its meaning rings true to the findings of renowned trauma treatment-focused psychiatrist and author Bessel van der Kolk. Dedicating his 40+ year career to researching the various ways in which trauma affects children and adults on a cellular level, and how the human body and brain can miraculously adapt, transform, and heal with proper methods of treatment. Van der Kolk’s studies with war veterans in the 60s helped to discover what we know today as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and he recounts how his findings led him to identify not only mental and emotional but physical impacts of trauma on the human body. This book is a prime example of dismantling the “only war veterans can suffer from PTSD” myth, along with many other misconceptions around those who suffer from the aftermath of a traumatic event. One of the most prolific takeaways from this read is that traumatic events can affect anyone, but healing is possible as shown by van der Kolk’s extensive research.
“As I often tell my students, the two most important phrases in therapy, as in yoga, are “Notice that” and “What happens next?” van der Kolk explains in The Body Keeps The Score. “Once you start approaching your body with curiosity rather than with fear, everything shifts.”
Regardless of what you’ll take away from this book, we’re sure of one thing: this read will leave you in amazement of the level of resilience that humans are capable of in the face of trauma.
How To Relax by Thich Nhat Hanh
Relaxing seems like an easy concept, but sometimes with added stressors in our lives, kicking off our shoes and carving out the time to chill out is easier said than done. How To Relax stresses the importance of taking time to take it easy, and why it is essential to leading a healthy life. The musings of peace activist, poet, world-famous Zen master, and Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh are encapsulated in this easy-to-read, pocket-sized book – perfect for on-the-go reading. It’s a part of Hanh’s “How To” book series, with other titles including How To Fight, How To Eat, and How To Love, among others. The text puts great emphasis on mindfulness-based meditation, and even offers exercises to make it easier to get your mind, body, and soul into relaxation mode.
When it comes to relaxing, Hanh puts it best: “If we’re not calm, the image we reflect will be distorted. When the image is distorted by our minds, it’s not the reality, and it causes lots of suffering.” In short: the art of relaxing is one of the key factors in achieving personal wellness and inner peace. And in this day and age, we all can benefit from a little bit of peace and love.
Photo: Christopher Michel via Wikimedia Commons