Books for the Mind, Body, and Spirit
In one of Brene Brown’s books on vulnerability, she writes at length about the
breakdown spiritual awakening she experienced several years ago. And she writes it just like that, which makes me laugh every time.
It was a long year. I lovingly refer to it on my blog as the 2007
Breakdown Spiritual Awakening. It felt like a textbook breakdown to me, but Diana called it a spiritual awakening. I think we were both right. In fact, I’m starting to question if you can have one without the other.
Well, my own
breakdown spiritual awakening of sorts has been going on for 10 months (NOT THAT ANYONE IS COUNTING…Lord, what I wouldn’t give to be blissfully unaware of my emotions on some days), and yes, I can agree with Brown. It’s been a long year. It’s been hard, but so incredibly essential, you know? Why am I here? What brings me joy? Why do I hurt? What is my purpose? THE QUESTIONS, PEOPLE. I’ve delved into some serious soul work, and am learning so much about myself and human nature in general.
I’ve always loved to learn, and research is just about my favorite thing in the world. I love to fill my brain to the brink with information. (This is a good and a bad thing.) So, as you can imagine, when trying to understand how these strong emotions and physical symptoms just seemed to pop up out of nowhere (or so I thought), I looked in many different directions for help. To make a long story short, through a multitude of appointments and therapy sessions and all sorts of biznass (you name it, I’ve tried it), my core belief regarding how humans heal themselves has only grown stronger and stronger.
In order to truly heal, the mind, body, and the spirit need to be addressed. Yeah, I’m getting ready to go all woo-woo on you.
The whole package, people. You can put band-aids on problems all day long, but if you don’t get to the true root of your (physical or mental) pain, you will never truly heal. You just won’t. Which means going really, really, uncomfortably deep down into the pit of your being and possibly making massive life adjustments.
Geez, this is heavy. Let’s take a 15-second dance break.
Okay, that’s better.
I’ve read a tremendous amount of books on the subject of the mind, body, and spirit. Here are some that really hit home with me in one way or the other. Maybe they will with you too.
Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself – This book seriously rocked my world. If you only buy one book from this list, let it be this one. I had seen a few of Dr. Rankin’s interviews about her personal transformation, but never picked up her book until last week when I received an email from a reader. I want to read it again and again. Powerful proof that your positive and/or negative thinking directly affects your health. Also, great Ted talk here.
21 Days to Master Affirmations The first of three books on this list by Louise Hay, who is one of my favorites. This one is filled with helpful affirmations to assist you in getting out of your own way. I repeat several on a daily basis. “I trust the process of life” is always a good one.
You Can Heal Your Life – Another Louise Hay gem, this is such a resource for those that have trouble with repetitive negative thought patterns. “The only thing we are ever dealing with is a thought, and a thought can be changed.” Think about that! The point of power is in the present moment.
Heal Your Body A-Z – Hay shows you that, if you are willing to do the mental work, almost anything can be healed. You can look up your specific health challenge and you will find the probable cause for it, as well as the information you need to overcome it by creating a new thought pattern.
Clean: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself – I’ve changed my eating habits completely, and this book has some great information on how food affects our bodies.
Gift from the Sea – A classic. Anne Morrow Lindbergh shares her meditations on youth and age, love and marriage, peace, solitude and contentment.
Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers – “If you are like me, you’d like to able to understand and describe life better. Then you could manage and control it and maybe realize a small profit or advantage. But that would be death.” PREACH IT, Anne Lamott.
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead – Brene Brown’s wildly popular book about allowing yourself to be vulnerable.
Get Some Headspace: How Mindfulness Can Change Your Life in Ten Minutes a Day – Remember the Headspace app that I raved about? This is the founder’s personal story of finding meditation, and how it transformed his life.
Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy – “Every bad feeling you have is the result of your distorted negative thinking. Illogical pessimistic attitudes play the central role in the development and continuation of all your symptoms.” Dr. David Burns outlines scientifically proven techniques that will help you develop a positive outlook on life – I liked reading this book, but didn’t do much of the “homework.”
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are – Even though Daring Greatly seems to be the Brene Brown fan favorite, this book really resonated with me. She explores how we can cultivate the courage and conviction to wake up and think, “No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough,” and to go to bed at night thinking, “Yes, I am sometimes afraid, but I am also brave. And, yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am worthy of love and belonging.”
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom – Healer Don Miguel Ruiz exposes self-limiting beliefs and presents a simple yet effective code of personal conduct learned from his Toltec ancestors. The concepts are simple, yet you still are able to chew on a lot.
Change Your Brain, Change Your Life – Finally, this book by Dr. Daniel Amen is a little (lot) less woo-woo, but I was fascinated by his work with brain imagery and mood disorders. (What can I say, I was a psychology major.) Very compelling read, and you can also check out his Ted talk here.
What are your thoughts on the mind and healing? I’d love to hear any and all opinions, as well as any other great books on the subject.