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Five Books to Read to Make Life Better During a Pandemic

We are living in unusual times..... In my life everything seems to be accelerated, good things and bad.

I thought in March that we would be in lock down for maybe 3, maybe 4, weeks and life would go back to normal. So I took the time to deep clean the house, deal with the changing dynamics in my family, as some members started working from home, and catch up on my reading.

Well, I am still reading. 

Here are five books that I have found to be amazing and that are truly helping me thrive during this pandemic.

The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life by Janice Kaplan

This is a funny insightful book that takes scientific research and personal experience into a deep dive about gratitude. Janice Kaplan wanted to feel more grateful on what she had in life and made a New Years Eve vow to do so over the course of a year.

She explores how gratitude can change your thoughts and beliefs on everything from health, ambition, money and marriage. This is a fun easy read (with some heartfelt sad stories) that has a scientific backing to it.

Am I more grateful after reading this? Yes, absolutely, and it is a genuine gratitude that has made me happier.

Redirect: Changing the Stories We Live By - Timothy D. Wilson

As a Professor of Psychology at University of Virginia Timothy D Wilson writes about how small changes in the way that we see ourselves can lead to lasting positive changes in our lives.

We all have stories in our heads about what our lives are about and how the world works and these stories mold our personalities and how we deal with the world.  Timothy Wilson shows us how to shift these stories in small ways that make our lives better. As a world renowned psychologist he also comments on what does and does not work in the self-help industry and addiction counseling.

His advice is easy and practical to follow and really did have me revisit many of the "truths" that I had bouncing around in my head. 

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

I LOVE this book! It has been passed around to many members of our family and everyone has found something great in it. (It is also one of the reasons I have lost 20 pounds this year).

James Clear is one of the leading experts on habit formation. This is the book that will stop you from beating up on yourself because you don't have the will power to start good habits or break bad ones. Easy step by step instructions explain the why and how habits works.

It is well written in an easy style to read, gives great advice and has really, really helped me form some good habits! 

Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein

After years of everyone being told that to succeed in life you need to be a specialist David Epstein looks into the facts to see if this is really true and finds some very surprising results.  He finds that the most successful athletes, artists, musicians, inventors and scientists did not specialize when they were young but had diverse experiences through many different paths until they settled on what they wanted to do.

This is a great book to read if you have someone younger in your life that you want to encourage.

It also made me feel a lot better because I have always been a Jill-of-all-Trades and at different points thought that I should have just stuck to one thing (even though that One Thing probably would have made me miserable after a few years). This is the confirmation that I grew more as person and with knowledge because I didn't specialize when I was young.

And finally....

How to Be Miserable: 40 Strategies You Already Use by Randy J Paterson

This is book you get when a Phd with a sense of humour whose specialty is depression and anxiety disorders decides to write. We have thousands of self help books out there that claim they will help us get happy, this one guarantees if you follow all his advice you will be perfectly miserable! It is a very tongue in cheek book that advises you to do things like, avoid all exercise, maximize your screen time, construct future hells, and cultivate and treasure toxic relationships!

If perchance you decide to not follow his advice and go in the opposite direction you will probably find that you will get less and less miserable. 

I enjoyed this book because even though I consider myself an upbeat happy person I recognized in some chapters things that I was doing that was making me unhappy. 

I hope you enjoy any of these books, If you are reading something that you think I would enjoy pop over to my Facebook page and let me know!

Happy Reading!