These 5 books will help you realign with yourself

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Reading is a practice that contributes immensely to our mental, emotional wellbeing both of which are intricately connected to our physical health. However, there are too many of us who are not taking advantage of this amazing source of information and collective wisdom. In this post, I have encapsulated a collection of books that have personally contributed tremendously to my own personal growth and wellbeing especially in terms of bringing clarity to what gives my life meaning and what is important to me.

Those who know me well know that I am a voracious reader. I truly believe that reading is an extremely effective way of gaining insight into other people's experiences and wisdom. We can be inspired and motivated by others who have led a rich and meaningful life on their own terms. This post, in particular, is about books which will help you to realign with yourself and your purpose. With that, given below are five books that you can pick up today that will change your life in one way or the other.

(This is the first in a series of posts that I will be writing every month or so on books and resources that you will likely benefit from)

The Power of Meaning by Emily Esfahani Smith

This book is a powerful guide to finding meaning in our lives. It gives a different perspective on what we know about happiness. Social scientists are now proving what philosophers have known all along; that the pursuit of happiness actually makes people unhappy. Emily Esfahani Smith identifies four pillars upon which meaning rests: Belonging, Purpose, Storytelling and Transcendence.

In this book, the author gives an insight into what determines a life lived purposefully. She stresses on the fact each of us has different strengths, abilities, insights and talents and we will need to be aware of these and have knowledge about ourselves to live a life filled with purpose. She goes on to show that those of us who have a purpose in life, contribute towards the goal that we set for ourselves, ultimately lead lives which are more satisfying and meaningful. A must read for anyone who is looking to find ways to incorporate purpose, belonging as well as happiness in their lives. The Power of Meaning  by Emily Esfahani Smith (October 2017)

 

 

Essentialism by Greg McKeown

This book is one of the books that I tend to read again and again. This is the book which first brought awareness to the fact that rather than focussing on how we can do more and more, we need to focus on doing the right things. So rather than trying to fit everything in our to-do list and our life and suffering from overwhelm, overscheduling and stress we can learn how to say "no" to things that are not important and start focussing on the right things.

In this book, the author writes about the staggering choices that we are forced to confront on a daily basis which keep us stuck as we battle decision fatigue. The information overload in the digital age and the myth that "you can have it all"  is contributing to the stress in our modern life. As an alternative, the author shows us ways to apply more selective criteria to understand what is truly Essential and saying "no" to what is not.

Personally, this book has helped me to revaluate the decisions that I make on a daily basis and helped me to focus on what is really important in my life. This book will help you to discover your priorities and provide you with a template to "do less, but better." Essentialism by Greg McKeown (April 2014)

 

 

The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware

This book was initially written as a blog post by a palliative nurse taking care of terminally ill patients. After working with such patients her life was transformed. She wrote about it in a blog post which encapsulated the most common regrets of those whom she had cared for at the very end of their lives. This struck a chord with people all over the world and it was read by over three million people.

This encouraged her to write her own personal story as well as the top five regrets of those at the end of their lives. At the end of the day, this book is not so much about dying but about how to actually live a life with peace, clarity and purpose. Read this book to gain an insight into finding out what truly matters to you, what you want from life and how to garner the courage to walk your own path.

This book has brought immense clarity to my own life and has taught me just how precious my life truly is. While the writing style may be a bit difficult for some of you, do continue with this book and read it to gain an insight into how you can live a life that is well lived and worthwhile. The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware (May 2017)

 

 

Mindset by Carol Dweck

This book is written by a professor of psychology at Stanford University and is the book on "growth mindset". The author and her colleagues did a groundbreaking experiment with a group of students which showed that contrary to popular belief, their mindset played a key role in their achievements and motivation levels. They also found that by changing their mindset they were actually able to improve the outcomes.

This research showed the way in terms of how success in school, work, arts, sports and many other areas in life can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our skills and abilities. This book can help us to change the way we think about failure, foster resiliency and transform our life.

This book has helped me to change the way I think about effort, failure and my own abilities. I have been able to apply these principles in different areas of my life including parenting, work, business and relationships and have seen firsthand it's transformative power.

Read this book to learn more about "fixed" vs "growth" mindset and how you can work on your own mindset and build the right mindset in children in particular.  Mindset by Carol Dweck (January 2017)

 

Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Hector Garcia and Fransesc Miralles

Ikigai is a word that is used to describe our reason for "being." I came across the word"Ikigai" a couple of years back and it has stayed with me ever since. It is a Japanese word/concept which means "a reason for being" and has a profound effect on longevity and the quality of life.

Our Ikigai may be different for each of us, but we are all searching for something that gives meaning to our life. Knowing that what we are doing with our life is at the intersection of our values, our passion and contribution to society give us the strength and the conviction to carry on even during difficult and uncertain times.

I am truly blessed to be one those fortunate few who is in the centre of this convergence in my own life and I urge you to make an effort to work towards your own beautiful whole. Read this book to find begin your search for and discover your own "Ikigai". Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Hector Garcia and Fransesc Millares (September 2017)

 

These are the 5 books that I would like to leave you with at this time. I will be sharing such books and resources on various topics which will contribute either directly or indirectly to your health and wellbeing. Books are a major part of my life and help me to learn and grow in more ways than I can count. I hope that you will take advantage of what I have shared and give yourself the "gift" of reading.

As someone had said wisely..

A book is a gift you can open again and again

Health and healing

Reading Time: < 1 minute

What would it feel like to be truly alive and healthy? How is that most of come to lose sight of what it means to be “healthy”? It is very different from being “cured”. Many health conditions do not have any cure or a person might be so far gone that treatment is not possible. But that does not mean that a person cannot find a way to heal themselves and indeed many of them do. There are some beautiful books on this subject and my favourite is “The four things that matter most”  by Dr Ira Byock. I have written a synopsis of the book here.

Book review – Kitchen table wisdom by Rachel Naomi Remen

Reading Time: 2 minutesBook review – Kitchen table wisdom by Rachel Naomi Remen

Rachel Naomi Remen is an amazing doctor but more importantly a healer who has touched many lives and healed countless of people through her work and writings. Her own suffering from a then incurable and painful Crohn’s disease taught her much more than her medical degree had ever done. Her grandfather, a rabbi, had a huge influence on her even though he died when she was only seven years old and contributed much to what she became later on. Over time she also learned through her experiences what life is really about even in the face of great difficulties and pain. Through her close proximity to death due to her own health and that of her patients she realised she had a choice when it came to closing off from life to deal with her pain or to embrace it all and live fully. She has written books like Kitchen Table Wisdom and My grandfather’s blessings.

This book is a celebration of life and our connection to others through their stories of love, joy and happiness, pain, suffering, freedom and letting go, the  mysteries of life and especially death.

Kitchen table wisdom is collection of different stories about healing and love, resilience, strength in the face of pain and suffering. Telling each other stories around the kitchen table is how wisdom used to get passed along from one generation to another and through families and friends. In our modern hectic pace of life we have lost a lot of what used to be our way of life and of connecting with others and. This book is a celebration of life and our connection to others through their stories of love, joy and happiness, pain, suffering, freedom and letting go, the wonder as well as the mysteries of life and death.

Book review of “Four things that matter most” by Dr Ira Byock

Reading Time: 2 minutes 

This one of my all time favourite books in the “life and living” category is “The Four Things That Matter Most. While this book has been written by a physician, Dr. Ira Byock, dealing with terminally ill patients, this book is first and foremost a book about living. This book’s main tenets are 4 important phrases-

Saying these Four to friends and families has been life altering for many even at the last stages of their lives. The Four Things That Matter Most have helped people heal their relationships with their families, friends and even with themselves. Others have found closure in relationships which were bitter and possibly beyond redemption, releasing them from the burden of carrying a grudge and anger for the rest of their lives. Badly broken relationships due to past lies, separation and divorce, betrayal, broken promises and even abuse have been mended or healed with some people even coming closer than ever before.

The act of forgiving others (and even ourselves) is one of the hardest things to do and often the one that is most required

The act of forgiving others (and even ourselves) is one of the hardest things to do and often the one that we require to practice the most. It is a choice that a person has to make consciously for their own sake rather than the person being forgiven. This lessons learned from this chapter I keep close to my heart.

In the end this book is about a celebration of the bonds that we have with others. It helps us forgive, appreciate, love and celebrate one another and live a complete and fulfilling life.