Since I have reached my 40s, I have started to think that people need to stop trying so hard to constantly improve themselves and instead, simply relax. Valuing life as it is, without relentless pursuit of betterness, brings its own joy. But then, I am not so sure what life experiences and literature have helped me reach a point of general contentment. And what if this current feeling of contentment is temporary? Who knows when you may need to consult the bookstore for a little life guidance.
Knoxville Moms contributors highly recommend the self-help/mindfulness books listed below; they are exceptional reads that will sit well in a beach bag, on a bedside table or on the floor of your car (so you have it with you when you are waiting in a parking lot to pick your kids up from something). You never know when a good book will change your life.
1. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
This #1 New York Times Bestseller argues that society dramatically undervalues introverts and how people lose out by looking past them. Ms. Cain artfully describes how extroversion has been increasingly represented as an ideal in the 20th and 21st centuries. People who have felt ashamed of being called “shy” or have spent a lifetime viewing their quietness as a flaw or as a characteristic to overcome, this is the book for you! It will permanently change your perspective on the power of introverts and possibly change your life.
2. Supernormal: The Untold Story of Adversity and Resilience by Meg Jay, PhD
Dr. Jay blends together science and personal accounts to weave a story of how ordinary people become extraordinary through experiencing adversity. Whether it’s death, divorce, bullying, alcoholism, drug abuse, physical and emotional abuse, neglect, mental illness or domestic violence, these compassionately written tales are paired with well-researched support to reveal the link from enduring secret pains to gaining superhuman strength. People who are struggling with adversity and want to learn how others overcame struggle (and how they felt along the way), will surely benefit from reading this book.
3. Get Out of Your Head by Jennie Allen
The author discusses how to combat toxic thought patterns/thought distortions that we buy into using an interesting mix of both science and the Bible. It’s especially helpful in the midst of this pandemic with all of the negative thinking and tendencies to panic — Jennie really helps you to think about what you’re thinking about (and why!) and work on forming new neural pathways to start thinking differently.
4. Boundaries Updated and Expanded Edition: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
This book is an oldie but a goodie. It’s one that is worth keeping at your bedside and dog-earring the pages. Boundaries is a great read for people who have difficulty saying “no” to others and feel like they tend to get bulldozed by strong personalities. If you feel a lot of guilt when you tell people “no” or if you just feel like you’re getting pushed around or manipulated by people, Dr. Henry Cloud walks you through how to set reasonable and healthy boundaries and stick to them consistently.
5. Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones by James Clear
This book contrasts with The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. They are really two sides of the same coin in terms of discussing the science behind habits, how we form them and how we can break them. It conveys a fascinating viewpoint that may dramatically change your perspective on habit forming. The author combats the same old advice you hear, “It takes X number of days to form a habit.” This book is a game-changer for those who are trying to alter their current habits or create new ones for themselves or their children.
All of these books can be found on the shelves at Barnes and Noble (Kingston Pike) and on Amazon. Another great Knoxville location where you are highly likely to find some of these bestsellers for under $4 is McKay’s Books on Papermill Road.