Here are my picks to feed your brain with valuable and kickass content.
So much choice…
If you are new to personal development and self help the volume of literature on offer can be staggeringly overwhelming. On the one hand it is great to have so much choice that caters for every type of person and every stage of personal growth but on the other it can be difficult to decide where to start, especially if you aren’t sure what kind of style is going to work for you. This however is the part I love, I love discovering new influencers and new authors and absorbing what they are talking about and their take on things. Whilst this blog is about self help and motivational books it is worth mentioning some of the other avenues that you can find good content from as well.
My ‘go tos’
One of my top ‘go tos’ is Ted Talks which has an unbelievable amount of engaging and inspirational stuff from best selling authors and researchers like Brené Brown (click here for Brene Brown’s Ted Talk) to this beautifully inspiring and pretty funny talk from Jia Jiang (click here for Jia Jiang’s Ted Talk) on embracing rejection, honestly this is one I think every person should watch! I also find new people through social media and find Instagram a great place to dip my toes in the water with a new author or influencer to get an idea of what they are all about.
We have the opportunity to feed our brains with really inspiring and nourishing content. I would like to challenge you to try finding something inspiring, engaging or motivational maybe 2 or 3 times a week and see how your world and your attitudes change.
So back to the books (sorry I get easily side tracked)! The 3 offerings below are a mix of perspectives and writing styles and I believe a great place to start your personal development journey. I would encourage you to also do your own research through social media, through Ted Talks or even at your local library to find people you connect with and who seem to ‘get you’. My hope is that this opens up a new avenue to you and you begin to choose to feed your brain with valuable and kickass content.
1) Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
I first learned about Rachel Hollis around 2016 through her blogs and videos on the chic site where she shared ideas around cooking, styling, home life and parenting. I loved her energy and her ‘have a go’ attitude and I was kinda girl fanning on her A LOT!
In 2018 Girl Wash Your Face was published and I jumped at it. I actually got it as an audio book as I was doing a lot of traveling at the time and loved that it was read by Rachel herself so I could really feel what she was saying.
The chapters are set out around ‘lies’ that we are told or we believe to be true about ourselves and our lifestyles. Some of the chapters I found the most interesting were ‘Someone else will make me happy’, ‘I will never get past this’ and ‘I’m not good enough’. Rachel intersperses advice with humour so it lifts the heavy topics a little. I found the book a wonderfully way of exploring my own blocks and ideas around personal beliefs and boundaries. This is why I believe it is a great book to read as a newbie as it introduces lots of topics and ideas allowing you to find which ones resonate with you. From there you can explore more literature and content around that particular block or topic.
Buy your copy here (not an affiliate link so please shop around or even better borrow a copy from a friend or the library).
2) Get Some Headspace by Andy Puddicombe
Andy Puddicombe is a former Buddhist Monk and he is also a Clinical Meditation Consultant with an extensive understanding of mindfulness and meditation. He is also the co-founder of the Headspace brand which has going almost 10 years with over 11 million downloads of the free app launched a few years later (2017 figures), me being one of those 11 million people!
The book and obviously the app is about making meditation and mindfulness practice more accessible and more mainstream. It isn’t something that only monks do, you don’t have to sit in silence for days on end and it is not about starving yourself to reach a higher level of understanding, as trust me if this was the case I would not be on board, I love food waaay too much! Mindfulness is about quietening the mind and finding clarity and acceptance. It is a skill and therefore takes practice and dedication but the rewards are well worth the effort. If books aren’t your jam or you aren’t so interested in the whys and wherefores the by all means jump to the app and I can’t rate the app enough. Even if you choose to just use the free 10 minute meditations and not pay the subscriptions to access the deeper dive courses or longer meditations it will change your life!
Before the app there was the book which I’m sure paved the way for the apps success. I bought the book pretty early on in my foray into personal growth and found it mind blowing. My degree and interest in Neuroscience probably had a lot to do with it sparking my interest but really it is a very accessible concept. I still have my original copy of the book which has corners turned and sentences underlined. One of my favourites that I highlighted when I flicking through was this:
‘Often in life we get so caught up in the analysis, the dissection of every possible outcome, that we miss an opportunity altogether’.
There are little takeaways like this throughout the book, there are also plenty of anecdotes and real life examples which helps break up the deeper stuff. With the app you can track your progress quite easily but I would also encourage you to use the roadmap at the back of the book so you can really understand the impact regular meditation or mindfulness can have on you and the people around you.
If you want to buy it you can get it at amazon or anywhere else I suspect so shop around.
3) Happy by Fearne Cotton
This book was brought to my attention by my sister actually. I had of course heard of Fearne Cotton and knew of her TV and radio work but I suppose I didn’t know much about the person behind all that. Happy is semi autobiographical and has a lot of stories from friends and family which I quite like as it means it is honest and genuine rather than a “Hey I’m famous and so I decided to write a book on how to be happy”. Truly this book is a honest up front account of depression and anxiety on a day to day level. It is unabashed and doesn’t white wash things or candy coat them, this I like, it makes this book very approachable and easier to relate to.
Within the book there are little exercises which relate to the particular chapter which are fun and creative. For example in the ‘Happy Mind’ chapter you are asked to write down a situation that is causing you stress or sadness then pick a colour that represents the situation and colour in the box. Likewise you are invited to choose a colour that represents happy to you and again colour in the box. If and when that stressful or sad situation rears its head you can visualise breathing in your happy colour and breathing out your stress colour. We use a very similar technique in NLP and it is very very powerful for stress or anxiety states!
This book is an amazing roadmap for anyone who is dealing with depression or anxiety or even stress. It can teach you many new skills and help you get to know yourself and your triggers better. It is creative and interactive which means you can dip in a dip out as you like without feeling overwhelmed.
Whilst I generally encourage sharing and borrowing of books or audiobooks this is one where having your own copy is a real asset because you can use it to refer back to to plot progress and also because the exercises are visual. Get your copy here (again not an affiliate link so please shop around).
This is just a few of the wonderful books out there in the wide world of self help and personal development. Explore, research, dive in and start figuring out what resonates with you and make it fun!