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10 books to help you start feeling better right now

By Kobo • August 21, 2020The Bookish Life

Everyone feels down sometimes, and we all have different needs when it comes to turning grim feelings around.

These books were selected to give you a sense of clarity and purpose, whether you want a mood lift, an anxiety tamp-down, or a goal to focus on.

Canadian readers can access all of these eBooks by subscribing to Kobo Plus Read. Start your FREE 30-day trial.

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Our inner monologues never seem to stop asking questions and finding things to worry about: what if this doesn’t work out? I’m so embarrassed about what just happened! what should I be doing? Eckhart Tolle’s now-classic book walks the reader towards the ever-present now through a simple question and answer style, written to calm a worried, anxious mind. It’s a book that’s an ever-welcome companion, but is especially helpful in troubled, confusing times.

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Soap and water and Common Sense by Dr. Bonnie Henry

As the world creeps back to a sense of normalcy amidst a global pandemic, how can we keep ourselves safe? What’s a virus? What’s bacteria? How does disease spread? Is soap really effective? What does hand sanitizer actually do? Dr. Bonnie Henry, a specialist in epidemiology and public health, lays out the science in clear laypersons’ terms. If everyone read this book, the world would be a safer, cleaner place, and scientifically sound common sense about germs would be a lot more common.

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Visual Intelligence by Amy E. Herman

We spend a lot of our waking hours looking at things -- but what do we really see? What if we could better use our vision to gain a greater sense of understanding and empathy? Art historian Amy Henry guides readers through the science of visual perception and teaches how to really see and recognize opportunities, dangers, and a wealth of information staring us right in the face.

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Change Your World by Michael Ungar, PhD

There’s only so much we can do to keep from getting knocked down, but there are changes we can make in our lives that will help us get back up. Psychology researcher Michael Ungar looked into how different people cope with stress and hardship and discovered that the most resilient had little in common as individuals, but their social situations, the support systems they relied on in times of difficulty, were very similar. The lesson he wants us to take away is that every single one of us is in this together.

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Tiny Habits by B J Fogg, PhD

How do you make a big change to your habits? B. J. Fogg says it’s all about starting small -- really, really small. Want to get stronger? 2 push-ups every day is better than a long gym session you struggle to repeat. Want to be calmer and more mindful? 5 deep breaths every morning for a week beats an hour-long meditation practice you never do. With that attitude, every second is an easy-to-seize opportunity to nudge ourselves toward the path we want to be on.

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One Small Step Can Change Your Life by Robert Maurer, PhD

Similar to Tiny Habits, this book looks at change through the lens of the Japanese concept of kaizen: the practice of incremental improvement. The only habit you need here is the drive to see the smallest parts of problems, and the determination to solve them with small solutions -- one after the other after the other…

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Let the Elephants Run by David Usher

What if the whole idea of “creativity” as a force that somehow sits apart from normal day-to-day functioning is wrong? What if it’s something everyone has, and nobody can truly claim not to be creative -- though perhaps some of us need help finding that force inside ourselves? Musician and lecturer David Usher makes the case for seeing creativity as a skill like any other that can be developed with practice and called upon when needed.

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Expectation Hangover by Christine Hassler

If disappointment is just a shortfall between outcomes and the expectations we held, how can we lessen its sting? Christine Hassler suggests that freeing ourselves from expectations we held in the past is an effective way to get over disappointment and move on. After all, if there’s one thing we can control about the future, it’s what we expect from it.

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Take a Nap! Change Your Life by Sarah C. Mednick, PhD and Mark Ehrman

Neuroscience and sleep researcher Sarah C. Mednick cautions that every good thing you can get from every book above (plus your bodily health and sense of well-being) can be thwarted or undone by insufficient sleep. If you’re not able to get a solid eight hours (and who can?), hopefully you can find time in the day to grab a little sleep snack: in this book Dr Mednick helps you find out when to get the most benefit from a few minutes of shut-eye, as well as providing tips on how to fall asleep quickly and wake up feeling refreshed.

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Brain Changer by David DiSalvo

Doesn’t it make sense to know as much as we can about how the human brain works if we want to make sure ours aren’t getting in the way of feeling as good as we can? Science writer David DiSalvo explains the “feedback loops” that govern a lot of our thinking, and how we can adjust those loops over time to produce the outcomes we want.

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Canadian readers can start reading any of these or 500,000 other titles with a Kobo Plus eBook subscription

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