Typically cast as a ‘sad month’, January most definitely has a bad rap. Instead of wallowing in the blues that accompany short, grey days and cold temps, we suggest tucking in with a cup of tea or glass of wine and exploring your feelings. This period of stillness can actually be much restorative if appropriately used, as there are few moments throughout the year when we can truly slow down.
As you curl up in front of the fireplace, we suggest keeping one of these books in hand – featuring all types of advice and insight, old and new, the pearls of wisdom can help you withstand January and all of the months that follow.
Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD
If you’ve been intrigued but daunted by meditation, this foundational guide to the practice is a great starting point. With accessible tips for being mindful in the everyday, author Jon Kabat-Zinn pairs his own experiences with extensive research and medical background to help readers become present in every moment for reduced stress and a greater sense of peace.
Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? by Dr Julie Smith
A literary substitute for in-person talk therapy, Dr Julie Smith’s #1 bestselling book offers clear advice on managing emotions so they have less effect on our lives. Pulling from years of wisdom gained as a clinical psychologist, she provides digestible tips that directly help to improve mood and battle depression and anxiety.
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
Written between 161 and 180 AD, it’s safe to assume this is the oldest ‘self-help’ book ever written. Surprisingly or not, many of Marcus Aurelius’s insights are equally relevant today as they were then. In a series of 12 books likely intended as a journal, he explores topics such as confidence, the judgment of others, and rationality with sophisticated prose.
The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin
Less a traditional self-help book and more a manifesto, award-winning music producer Rick Rubin’s foray into writing explores the creative process. Asserting that everyone is creative, he removes the ‘privilege’ of creativity from artists alone. Drawing from concepts of transcendent mediation and Buddhism, he offers effectual insight into productive practice and peace as a whole.
The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm
Published in 1956, this book by psychoanalyst and philosopher Erich Fromm explores his idea of true love – in all aspects and forms. He encourages the practice of loving, a verb and action, championing that success in loving will result in a happier, more productive, and successful life. Just over 100 pages, this is a quick and digestible book that can ultimately do big things.
Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki
One of the foremost books to explain the concepts of Zen Buddhism to a Western audience, Shunryu Suzuki helps readers understand the basics of meditation and consciousness. A monk who opened the first Zen Buddhist monastery outside of Asia, in California, he reminds us to clear our minds, focus on ourselves, and remain open to possibilities and perspectives – all crucial in achieving enlightenment.
Maybe You Should Talk To Someone by Lori Gottlieb
Written as a memoir, therapist Lori Gottlieb’s book explores therapeutic relationships, stories, life experiences and anecdotes to help readers better understand themselves. Relating her own therapy interspersed with stories about her patients, it offers warm insight into the human condition and the inner workings of our psyches and hearts.
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