The global Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on our mental health. Besides the deaths we witnessed, the viral infection has impacted the way we work with increasing dependence on isolation and work-from-home. What this new reality of life has done is that it has led to mental strain and more people today are complaining of mental health issues than earlier. Psychologists at prestigious universities have called the current pandemic one of the greatest health challenges facing humankind and remarked that it will not leave anyone unscathed—whether or not they got the infection or not. In this scenario, reading self-help books can be a guide to a better living.
In this Sunday Special edition, Rising Kashmir's sub-editor Irfan Mehraj lists out some of the best self-help books one can read this winter to combat depression, anxiety and a plethora of other mental issues that are plaguing society at the moment.
1. Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty
Jay Shetty explores his time as a monk and takes us through timeless wisdom. The book helps us to train our minds for peace and the purpose of everyday practical life. It is also a help in overcoming negative thoughts and beliefs. A perfect book for anyone looking for words of wisdom on self-discipline, how to refocus and reduce stress. It is an enlightening and empowering book in which the author puts stress on how to overcome what he believes are the roadblocks to our potential and power in turn helping us develop the skills and tools to get over negativity, anxiety, overthinking and people's expectations.
2. Make Your Bed by Admiral William H. McRaven
On May 17, 2014, Admiral William H. McRaven addressed the graduating class of the University of Texas, at Austin on their Commencement day. During his speech, he shared the ten principles he learned during Navy Seal training that helped him overcome challenges, not only in his training and long Naval career but also throughout his life. The book came years after his viral 2014 address. McRaven in his book reminisce tales from his own life and from those of people he met during his military service, who faced hardship and had to make tough decisions in life. Told with great humility and optimism, this interesting book provides ample wisdom, practical advice, and words of encouragement that will inspire readers to achieve more in life even when going through life's darkest phases.
3. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Alchemist is the story of a young Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago, who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried near the Pyramids. Through his journey, he runs into many obstacles and it quickly turns into an adventure. The story starts as a journey to find worldly goods which turn into a discovery of treasure within. The recurring theme in The Alchemist is to pursue your dreams by following what your heart desires. There are lessons to be learnt and each lesson stresses the motto that we must follow our heart, as it is the language of God. The book teaches us the value of overcoming fear and not losing hope when faced with adversity.
4. Atomic Habits by James Clear
Atomic Habits from James Clear is the most detailed guide on how to change your habits and get 1% better every day. This book offers a framework for bettering ourselves. James Clear is one of the world's leading experts on habit formation. He helps by providing practical strategies that will teach you how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master yourself to lead a remarkable life. The book helps reshape the way you think about progress and success. It is a guide that provides you with the tools and strategies that you require to transform your habits. If you want to win a championship, quit smoking, lose weight, reduce stress, or achieve any other goal in life- the book will come in handy.
5. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
This book is a guide to spiritual enlightenment and is written by Eckhart Tolle. It was published in the late 1990s. The book has been recommended by Oprah Winfrey and has been translated into 33 languages. To understand the book one needs to leave one analytical mind and one's ego behind. The book encompasses a discussion about how people interact with themselves and others. The reader moves rapidly into a significantly higher place where one breathes a lighter air, the air of the spiritual. The concept of self-reflection and one's presence at the moment are presented. Although the book is challenging, Eckhart Tolle offers simple language and a question and answer format to achieve its principles.
6. Ikigai by Francesc Miralles and Hector Garciai
The people of Japan believe that everyone has an Ikigai – a reason to jump out of bed each morning. The authors interviewed the residents of the Japanese village with the highest percentage of 100 years old, for research for this book. Ikigai reveals the secrets to their longevity and happiness. It tells about the way they eat, the way they move, the way they work, the way they nurture and flourish as a community. It gave an insight into their best-kept secret on how they find the Ikigai that brings satisfaction to their lives. The book is inspiring and comforting as it provides life lessons to unravel one's Ikigai. The book stresses leaving the worries aside and finding purpose, developing friendships and plunging into one's passions.
7. Declutter Your Mind by S.J. Scott and Barrie Davenport
Life may not seem easy and many of us experience an overwhelming rush of negative thoughts which deviate us from living our best life. Negative and disturbing thinking is what is a common scenario but it shouldn’t completely take over our minds. It can stop us from achieving everyday tasks. This book by S.J. Scott and Barrie Davenport, Declutter will help the readers to overcome those hurdles through a series of mindful exercises. Each exercise focuses on making us master how to be able to quell this negativity and on developing and healing our relationships, tossing away distracted thinking, prioritizing, and goal setting.
8. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
The Gifts of Imperfection provides strategies for letting go of the idea of so-called 'a perfect life'. It motivates individuals to look for their unique characteristics and to embrace their life with utmost pride in one's peculiarities. This book is based on a strong establishment of original research and is amazingly presented with honest storytelling. The book delivers readers with a framework for cultivating feelings of self-worth and acceptance. It vehemently stresses letting go of shame and self-destructive thinking, associated with low self-esteem. The book conveys the message of embracing the perfection of imperfection.
9. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
In the book, Covey shares seven habits that you should adapt to become truly capable in whatever you would like to achieve. The book is not an easy read. It stresses a paradigm shift, a fundamental change in how we perceive the world and ourselves and to become a better version of ourselves. The book abounds with spiritual wisdom that makes a difference and acts as a guide to help us go through the various stages to make a shift for the better.
10. Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy
The feeling of failure makes us go down the destructive spiral and this feeling is not good and constructive. It doesn't allow us to take big steps and more than often we resist doing those tasks by being overwhelmed. We aren’t sure how and where to begin and feel overwhelmed even before we start. All this leads to being distracted and full of regrets. In this book, the author advises us to break this spell of procrastination before it stupefies us and to set our priorities straight. It also teaches us how to break down large tasks into smaller ones and learn when to tackle the big frog first or to start with something else to be our productive selves.