Everywhere I look, it’s obvious that January is upon us. The ads for weight loss programs, meal delivery services and fitness apparel seem to follow me wherever I go! This New Year’s Day, however, I resisted the temptation to make a bunch of easily broken resolutions and instead focused my mind on gradual, mindful changes that will lead to lasting improvements in my life. And fortunately, for every quick-fix diet out there, there’s a resource to guide us in a more gradual evolution too—and the below books are a great place to start!
1. The Lost Art of Conversation. I noticed over the holidays what a terrible listener I am; I tuned my family out constantly! It’s definitely lead to some conflict, and it prevents me from building the deep connections I’d like to have. I’ve ordered this book on how to increase my attention span and pay better mind to the words of people around me, and my mom will be reading it too!
2. The Art of Stopping Time: Practical Mindfulness for Busy People. One of my most constant refrains is, “I never have enough time!” Yet what if the problem isn’t time itself, but rather my relationship to it? This book explores an ancient Chinese practice that shifts us into a mindset of ‘Time Prosperity’, and that leaves us with a new set of tools to be masters of our own time.
3. Barking to the Choir. I read this author’s previous books (Boyle is a Jesuit priest who works amongst gang communities in Los Angeles) and found them to be sobering yet uplifting accounts of the strength of the human spirit. His latest promises to be just as inspiring!
4. Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics. Could this be the year that I finally form and stick to a meditation habit? I’m not putting too much pressure on it, but I will be reading Dan Harris’ latest, as his first book on meditation was both relatable and laugh-out-loud hilarious!
5. Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection. This book is full of thought nuggets, real-world examples, and practical exercises, all of them designed to help us cultivate more open and understanding relationships with everyone in the world—including ourselves. Given the specter of fear we seem to find ourselves in these days, this book is a must-read for each of us.
6. The Craving Mind. The more I learn about the brain, the less critical I am of myself when I try to make changes. Knowing that I’m hardwired a certain way allows me to gentle when that hardwiring proves difficult to reprogram! This book’s information on how habits are formed provides insights into how we can break them and reform new improved ones!
7. Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind To Yourself. Usually when I’m unkind to someone, it’s driven by my own insecurities. Learning to treat ourselves with compassiono truly is the secret to making our own lives better so that we can better the lives of others too—and this book contains a psychologist’s tips on how we can break the cycle of self-judgement for good.