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Looking to change your life? Whether it’s physical, emotional or spiritual change you seek, these books may have some answers. If you’re seeking to enlighten, enlarge or explore your mind, check out our Mind & Body section for a more comprehensive range of books.
We plan, as the old proverb says, and God laughs. But most of us don't find it all that funny when things go wrong. Most of us want love, a nice home, good work and happy children. Many of us grew up with parents who made these things look relatively easy and assumed we would get them, too. So what do you do if you don't? What do you do when you feel you've messed it all up and your friends seem to be doing just fine? For Christina Patterson, it was her job as a journalist that kept her going through the ups and downs of life. And then she lost that, too. Dreaming of revenge and irritated by self-help books, she decided to do the kind of interviews she had never done before. The resulting conversations are surprising, touching and often funny. There's Ken, the first person to be publicly fired from a FTSE-100 board. There's Winston, who fell through a ceiling onto a purple coffin. There's Louise, whose baby was seriously ill, but who still worried about being fat. And through it all, there's Christina, eating far too many crisps as she tries to pick up the pieces of her life. The Art of Not Falling Apart is a joyous, moving and sometimes shockingly honest celebration of life as an adventure, one where you ditch your expectations, raise a glass and prepare for a rocky ride.
This book is in a word: brilliant. In many more words, Lost Connections is an insightful look into the causes of anxiety and depression. However, the book is not written by a preacher or self-help guru, but someone with the first-hand experience of anxiety and depression who is trying to work out his own place in and amongst all of the research. Lost Connections is partly a tale of Johann’s own journey of understanding about his mental health. It is also partly a summary of research that connects to depression and anxiety from experts in a wide range of fields. And finally, it is partly an attempt to offer effective solutions to those in despair. I was left astounded at a number of points in this book - mainly at the dates of the studies mentioned, and why I (and no doubt so many others) hadn’t heard that one of the most talked about “causes” of depression may not really be a cause at all. As someone who feels like they constantly have to manage anxious thoughts I found this book a breakthrough and I was enthralled from the first chapter, never wanting to put it down once I started reading. Johann Hari’s easy, almost colloquial writing would appeal to anyone with a professional or personal interest in psychology. It is a spectacular and groundbreaking look at two of today’s most significant mental health issues.
Read, Learn, Improve
We all need a little direction sometimes and this section is crammed full of great ideas for ways of improving your outlook, in all aspects of your wellbeing. Help from the shelf. From tips for good nutrition and taking care of your body (Optimism: Reflections on a Life of Action by Bob Brown) to coping with all the emotional situations in life, relationships, bereavements, stress, depression (Mind Whispering: A New Map to Freedom from Self-defeating Emotional Habits by Tara Bennett-Goleman). Discover the potential you have for being the ‘you’ you’ve always wanted to be or the ‘you’ you had no idea was in there.
Take a look at our monthly recommendations to find exactly what you’re looking for. Bear in mind though (and even ‘body and spirit’ too …), that just ‘reading’ them may not be enough. There’ll be homework!