Freeing Yourself from Anxiety

Freeing Yourself from Anxiety: 4 Simple Steps to Overcome Worry and Create the Life You Want

by Tamar E. Chansky, Ph.D.

2020 has been a mentally-draining year. In this 287-page book, psychologist Tamar Chansky explains why our minds get overwhelmed with worry and she offers advice on how to deal with it. Here are some highlights.

Anxiety is “the first-reaction of a sensitive system that is wired to keep us alert to danger and protected from harm… But today, with our best interests in mind, anxiety sometimes makes mistakes, overshooting… grabbing your attention from what you need to focus on and insisting that you instead grapple with worst-case scenarios.”  Continue reading “Freeing Yourself from Anxiety”

One Year Wiser: 365 Illustrated Meditations

One Year Wiser: 365 Illustrated Meditations

by Mike Medaglia

This book provides an illustrated thought to ponder for each day of the year.  Each page features words of wisdom from a writer, poet, scientist, spiritual leader, or other historical figure. Pages are labeled January 1 through December 31, without a year so the book can be referred to indefinitely. Below are some sample quotes and illustrations.

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anaïs Nin

“Reality is like a face reflected in the blade of a knife; its properties depend on the angle from which we view it.” – Master Hsing Yun

Continue reading “One Year Wiser: 365 Illustrated Meditations”

The Little Book of Mindfulness: 10 Minutes a Day to Less Stress, More Peace

The Little Book of Mindfulness: 10 Minutes a Day to Less Stress, More Peace

by Dr. Patrizia Collard

Dr. Patrizia Collard is a psychotherapist, stress management consultant, and lecturer at the University of East London.  She writes, “The goal of any mindfulness practice is simply to experience life as it unfolds. To stay present and calm and not slip back into thinking/worrying mode, we choose an anchor of awareness—a point of focus we direct our mind to.”

“Mindfulness is being aware of or bringing attention to this moment in time deliberately and without judging the experience. So, when we go for a mindful walk we really notice every little detail and all we encounter—trees, cars, flowers growing out of small cracks, or a cat crossing the road—rather than creating to-do lists.”

“When we procrastinate and distract ourselves with ‘busyness,’ we avoid engaging with the real thing—our lives… Living in the moment, and seeing everything afresh without judgment and worry lets us experience life rather than simply get through it.”

Continue reading “The Little Book of Mindfulness: 10 Minutes a Day to Less Stress, More Peace”

Happiness

Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill

by Matthieu Ricard

Matthieu Ricard gave up a career in cellular genetics at the Institut Pasteur to study Buddhism in the Himalayas. In this book he shares his wisdom about happiness drawing from thirty-five years of studying Buddhism and psychology.

“A change, even a tiny one, in the way we manage our thoughts and perceive and interpret the world can significantly change our existence. Changing the way we experience transitory emotions leads to a change in our moods and to a lasting transformation of our way of being.” Continue reading “Happiness”

You’re Not That Great

You’re Not That Great

by Daniel Crosby

Psychologist Daniel Crosby tells it like it is in this book about the numerous ways human nature can work against us, not the least of which is egoistic self-absorption (solipsism).

“The biggest finding to emerge from the self-esteem movement was that praise did not predict self-esteem, accomplishment did… Many of the theories about self-esteem that had impacted policy were simply junk science.” Continue reading “You’re Not That Great”

The Prophet

the-prophet

The Prophet

by Kahlil Gibran

The Prophet offers wisdom on 26 topics—about three pages on each. Gibran writes in poetic prose with a liberal use of archaic words, presumably to sound biblical. Some of the meaning is immediately clear, while other parts require some reflection to decipher the deeper meaning.

On Work. The author stresses the importance of finding work you enjoy. “For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man’s hunger. And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes, your grudge distils a poison in the wine.”

On Marriage. Gibran observes that marriage is a union between individuals, not a merger. “Let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between you… The oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.” Continue reading “The Prophet”

The Tao of Pooh

the-tao-of-pooh

The Tao of Pooh

by Benjamin Hoff

The Tao of Pooh is about “how to stay happy and calm in all circumstances.” Benjamin Hoff uses the characters and stories from Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner to explain basic concepts of Taoism. He also brilliantly integrates his own brief dialogue with the characters as segues into explanations of Taoist principles. Tao (pronounced DAO) means “the way.” Continue reading “The Tao of Pooh”

Be Nobody

be-nobody

Be Nobody

by Lama Marut

Lama Marut, aka Brian K. Smith, was a professor of comparative religion, he studied Hinduism and Sanskrit in India, he was a Buddhist monk, and he is the son of a Baptist preacher. So he presents a well-informed viewpoint rather than a myopic dogma. Fortunately, you don’t need to climb a mountain to be enlightened by this wise man; he imparts wisdom in his book, Be Nobody.

Marut writes about living in the iEra. “Our contemporary culture of consumerism, materialism, narcissism, and the worship of fame encourages the idea that we will be happy only when we become exceptional. But maybe we’ve got it wrong—exactly wrong. Maybe our deepest and most authentic happiness will be found only when we finally lay down this heavy burden of trying to be a somebody… Maybe true fulfillment in life requires an emptying, not a filling.” Continue reading “Be Nobody”

Taking the Leap

taking-the-leap-pema-chodron

Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears

by Pema Chӧdrӧn

Pema Chӧdrӧn is a Buddhist nun. She writes about “unhooking” ourselves from negative thoughts and emotions.

She tells a story about a Native American grandfather who explains to his grandson the catalyst for violence and cruelty in the world. “He said it was as if two wolves were fighting in his heart. One wolf was vengeful and angry, and the other wolf was understanding and kind. The young man asked his grandfather which wolf would win the fight in his heart. And the grandfather answered, ‘The one that wins will be the one I choose to feed.’” The author explains that emotions have very short natural lifespan, but we extend that “by feeding it with an internal conversation about how another person is the source of our discomfort… This is a very ancient habit.” Continue reading “Taking the Leap”

Quiet Influence: The Introvert’s Guide to Making a Difference

quiet-influence

Quiet Influence: The Introvert’s Guide to Making a Difference 

by Jennifer B. Kahnweiler

Jennifer Kahnweiler observes “that introverts can be highly effective influencers when they stop trying to act like extroverts and instead make the most of their natural, quiet strengths.” She points out some noteworthy introverted influencers, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Charles Darwin, Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks, Warren Buffet, Condoleezza Rice, Steven Spielberg, and J.K. Rowling. “Quiet influence is not about talking a great game to win the deal. It is a less understood approach to influence and differs from more ‘out there’ talkative methods.” Continue reading “Quiet Influence: The Introvert’s Guide to Making a Difference”