You may have heard of terms like mindfulness, meditation, self-care, self-compassion. These might be concepts you already use, or you want to find out more about what they are.
You might think those words, and ‘nurturing your emotional wellbeing’ is all airy-fairy.
The fact is, we all need a bit of time out from our hectic lives, a bit of emotional comfort every now and then. We all need to nurture our emotional wellbeing to help recharge the batteries and prevent us burning out.
You are likely to find the books listed below in the ‘self help’ section of the bookshop. I don’t like the term ‘self help’ very much though; it implies there is something ‘wrong’ with you, something that has to be fixed. It’s more about fine-tuning. Many self-help books can be guilty of navel-gazing, too. That’s why I prefer to call them ‘words that are good for our emotional wellbeing’.
Mindfulness means different things to different people – to me, it means taking the time to appreciate the flowers and the birdsong; to make time for self-care; to be compassionate to myself when I am having a bad grief day by acknowledging the strong feelings are part of grief and do not make me a bad person; to clear my mind of racing thoughts. It is not, and can never be a cure for grief or emotional troubles – it helps me cope – and therefore find more joy and happiness in life.
I found most of the books below as a result of my grief journey, but they are not specific to grief. Anyone interested in finding a bit of emotional time out will find them useful.
The Little Book of Mindfulness by Tiddy Rowan is a good place to start exploring the concept. The book is full of information about the benefits of mindfulness, and suggests ways to practise mindfulness, and meditation too. The suggestions are easy to integrate in to your everyday life – it’s not an ‘extra’ thing to have to do. Mindfulness should be a bonus, not a burden.
It’s perfect to dip in and out of, and find something that resonates with you – you don’t need to read it cover to cover.
As the title suggests, the book is little which means it’s easy to carry around and have a read when you have a few moments to spare.
The Alphabet of the Human Heart by Matthew Johnstone details the A to Zen of Life. A psychiatrist suggested the book to me, and I am glad she did; I have now become a big fan of Matthew Johnstone’s books!
The concept of the book is simple: it contains beautiful illustrations alongside some words of inspiration and encouragement, from A to Z. At one end of the book are positive words and concepts; turn the book around, and there are words and concepts that can be harmful to your wellbeing.
Again, it is a good book to dip in and out of when you have a moment. It is also effective when you are having a ‘moment’ – I find it helps calm me, and the simplicity of the text means it’s good for a foggy brain.
Become The Best You by Renee Davis. My lovely blogging friend Renee (Mummy Tries) wrote this account of how she broke the cycle of a dysfunctional early life to be the person she wanted to be. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to make positive changes in their life, whatever their background or whatever those changes are. You can read more about the book in my review.
The Little Book of Resilience by Matthew Johnstone – this is the book I read last week that led to my lightbulb moment (I am pleased to report that I am keeping true to the promises I made!).
Resilience is understanding that life will not always go to plan, that life does not always play fair, and finding ways to get back on your feet again. Like all Johnstone’s books The Little Book of Resilience is very visual, with humorous illustrations accompanying tips to help you build up your resilience. I love this picture – it pretty much sums up the book!
I discovered Flow Magazine while browsing in WH Smith. It is quite unlike any magazine I have ever read: it focuses on encouraging creativity, imagination, imperfection, and mindfulness.
The magazine’s ethos reminds me of a BBC Horizon programme a few years ago, which was about how the best ideas come when you are not trying to think of ideas, but when your mind is relaxed and open to things. It makes sense: sitting at your computer trying to write a post when you are feeling uninspired doesn’t work, as I have discovered! Going off to do something else instead helped inspire me to write a post from the heart – the lesson for me was don’t force it.
The magazine is full of pretty little things like little ‘poetry pictures’ and a journal. Priced at £10 it seems expensive for a magazine, but being quarterly it is good value, especially considering the quality of the contents – and the potential for giving a boost to your creativity, leading to more ideas and inspiration!