Thanks to everyone for the kind words on this recent post. I swear, sometimes reader comments make all the difference. I also received a handful of emails (I read and respond to them all!) asking me about specifics of what I did that I feel really helped, so I wanted to put together a short list. The items below have really made a world difference in my mental health and well-being. Do what's right for you, but if you're looking for some real change I highly recommend you give these a try.
If 2018 is the year you’d like to start feeling better emotionally or spiritually, these are the five books that had the most profound impact for me.
5 Books for Emotional Healing
Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How it Can Help You Find (and Keep) Love by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller
This is the book that kind of kick started the entire “journey” for me so to speak. I'll be honest…my entire life I've struggled in relationships – romantic, with friends, and with my own family. This book finally put words to some of the difficulties I was having, the feelings I was feeling and (best of all) how to deal with them. Although it's been a minute, I can still clearly remember spending each day of (most of) my twenties walking around feeling like this big, gaping open wound that everyone could see. I used to feel very weak, vulnerable, and exposed. All day, every day. At work, online, when I went out and most of all with my boyfriends.
This book helped me learn that it isn't about me, it's about my attachment style and I shouldn't feel guilty or ashamed of it.
This book also helped me be more successful in the relationships I do want to foster. I'm now in a healthy relationship, we're getting married, and when we fight it's in a healthy way. If what I'm writing sounds familiar to you, you need to get your hands on this book – ASAP.
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
Before I made the decision to go back to work last June, this is the book that really, really made a difference in how I felt about the decision and why I felt it was absolutely necessary for my own well being. For anyone in a creative professional who feels stuck or in a rut, this is a great book.
I recently finished this one and while it covers a lot of topics (death, money, confidence) I love the biggest message in the book, which is this: if you love yourself, amazing things will happen. I've taken this mantra to heart and have seen unbelievable shifts happen in my own life once I began truly loving and understanding who I really am. Also, there's this newfound sense of confidence and even other people have noticed. Read this and you too will start walking around like you're a badass.
The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith by Gabrielle Bernstein
This book builds on something my good friend Carrie always says to me and spent years trying to get me on board with believing: the mantra “things are always working out for me.” I would say the mantra, and sometimes I'd almost – almost – feel it working. But reading this book helped it to sink in, and best of all, helped it to stick. Perhaps the biggest difference vs. a year ago is that I have actual spiritual beliefs now, one of those being that I do (quite firmly) believe the universe is working for our personal best good and will.
As an added bonus, this book has lots of meditation exercises which are a great place for beginners to start.
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
Sensing I was a bit adrift, my dearest friend Mo sent me this book saying how much it had helped him and he thought it would be useful for me too. I read this after I read “Universe” and I have to admit, I found the book itself to be rooted in a bit of restlessness and sometimes it triggered me. However, I loved the month where she focused on her money habits (and they weren't around saving vs. spending on better budgeting), it was a profound and honest conversation around our attitudes towards our money.
I also found it inspiring how small shifts, even for just thirty days, can make all the difference. This book is inspiration fuel at it's finest.
Deep down, I can feel that I'm different now than I was a year ago. In short, the last 18 months have been a long, amazing journey. Every day I'll do something differently, or react to a potentially triggering situation in a way “Old Lauren” would never, and I realize just how far I've come since I made taking better care of myself a priority. I feel a lightness of being that I've never had in my entire life.
Cheesy, but true. Hope you enjoyed this list!