Stress is a fact of life, and Americans are reporting higher levels of stress than ever these days. Maybe you’re clawing your way through a tough semester or life event. Maybe you’re in a rut at work, or feel trapped by financial circumstances or relationship worries. While I wish I could offer solutions for all of these situations, I do know of a few books that may be able to offer some relief, reprieve, or respite from life’s troubles… at least for a little while.
Anne of Green Gables
By L. M. Montgomery
There is just something about Anne that heals me. She sees so much beauty around her, every budding flower or sunset seems like a miracle. Anne of Green Gables was my first read after completing my bachelor’s degree, and I felt myself coming alive again as I read her descriptions of springtime and life at Green Gables. Maybe it’s a bit simplistic, but maybe we need some of that simplicity when we’re going through hard times.
THE HAPPINESS ADVANTAGE: THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES OF POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY THAT FUEL SUCCESS AND PERFORMANCE AT WORK
By Shawn Achor
This book asks an interesting question: what if instead of thinking certain goals will bring us happiness, what if instead happiness can help us accomplish our goals? Achor points to many studies that show when we are positive, our brains become more engaged, resilient, energetic, and productive. Some parts of this book are targeted at business readers, but I found that reading it led me to think about positivity more often and to often feel more positive as a result. Sometimes orienting your thinking away from all the negatives can really help your overall outlook to be more sunny.
JOYFUL: THE SURPRISING POWER OF ORDINARY THINGS TO CREATE EXTRAORDINARY HAPPINESS
By Ingrid Lee
Designer Ingrid Lee explains why balloons make us smile, why orange creamsicles and sunsets make us happy, and why baby animals make us coo. In this book, you’ll find tips for bringing small moments of happiness into your everyday life. I found that reading this book and just thinking about small, joyful things helped to elevate my mood more than a few times.
A MAN CALLED OVE
By Fredrik Backman
Ove is the curmudgeon inside all of us! He may be a crank, but he’s relatable for anyone experiencing burnout. When some new neighbors disrupt his plans, he finds that being forced outside of his comfort zone might be the exact thing he needed. If that isn’t a metaphor for all of us burned-out, tired people, I don’t know what is! But like me, you might feel yourself coming back from the brink as you see Ove doing the same.