Books that helped my mental health
Reading and writing has massively improved my mental health and overall happiness. Interactive journals have worked best for me because I personally function best by communicating all my thoughts and feelings onto paper and thus clears out my mind. I also enjoy reading quotes because they usually spark some form of motivation in me.
1. 5 minutes in the Morning: a focus journal - this journal really does what it says! It's about taking 5 minutes out of your day to focus on how you're feeling and spending time in the moment. Having that focused period in the morning will set you up for a good day by being present, expressing your thoughts and not looking at your phone! It also means that you won't forget to have that special time later on. Often, if I start the day well then, I end it well too. While you're waiting for the kettle to boil or eating your breakfast - try spending just 5 minutes with these prompts to get in touch with your mind and soul. I'm really trying to remember to take 5 minutes for this journal rather than scrolling through my phone so that I can have some sort of routine and hopefully, it will give me some sort of positivity for the day!
2. Calm the Journal by Fearne Cotton - I adore Fearne! Like I said, journals work best for me hence why I have quite a few. This little book comprises of a writing prompt for each day of the year. Its purpose is to be a safe and fun space to write down your feelings. Both Fearne and I believe that letting yourself feel your emotions, both good and bad will help you grow as a person. I find it so therapeutic to express my thoughts because it allows my worries to fly away with each letter I write. Also, the little prompts often provoke something in us that we hadn't even considered!
3. Kindfulness by Padraig O'Morain - this book aims to teach you all about the art of self-love and being kind to yourself with mindful self-compassion. With little exercises and doses of wisdom, this book will arm you with daily affirmations to combat anxieties, stress and comparison. By accepting and loving yourself, not just loving your body, but truly accepting who you are as a person both in weakness and faults - you will lead a more positive life. I encourage us all, above else, to be kind. What I particularly love about this book is the different topics it covers so that we get a complex discussion and exploration into the process that goes on.
4. How to be Happy by Anna Barnes - if you don't want to read too much text then this is great for you. The illustrations convey so much meaning and lift my mood without even having to read. It's got little quotes, tips and advice on being happy. It's a little jumble of joy and I quite often pop it in my bag for some light reading or a pep talk if I need one with food for thought. Thank you, Amy, for suggesting one of my favourite and most helpful books!
5. Happy by Design by Victoria Harrison - this book contains information about how to make your home happy and healthy. It includes chapters on colours, scents, flowers and decor etc and how these impacts can maximise our happiness in the home. I think our environment and surroundings have the power to massively impact our feelings. When my room is tidy, full of light, colour and flowers I feel much better than when it's cluttered. Don't you think it's mad that certain colours and product placements can impact how we feel? Not only is this book beautifully presented, it has given me so many ideas for future house ideas and furthered my knowledge of well-being.
6. Being Beautiful by Helen Gordon - a little anthology of what it means to be beautiful from so many various angles and perspectives. The illustrations are beautiful, and the words are ever so thought provoking. The different chapters are defining beauty, finding beauty, living beautifully, inner beauty and outer beauty. Each section includes multiple quotes discussing beauty, some are pages long and others are only a couple of sentences. In a world that idealises beauty and has such a complex meaning - it felt grounding to remember that beauty means so many different things. It's really easy to flick through and for simply a jumble of different texts, it holds such power. It was £16 so not cheap, but I absolutely love it and was worth every penny for me.
7. I am here now by The Mindfulness Project - a guide and creative journal. It has little exercises and practices inside to enhance well-being. It aims to teach us to enjoy life instead or rushing through it and taking the time to notice and pause. Specifically, it wants to increase our senses and awareness of our feelings and the world in general. I've flipped to two random pages in the book to give you a sense of what's inside - 1) it lists 10 ways to make your day more mindful and 2) an exercise establishing if you're actually hungry and observing how you eat. You don't have to complete the journal all at once - what I like is being able to pick it up when you need it.
8. The last one is actually four different books but they're very similar...
The little book of meditation by Golly Pickup
The little book of positivity by Lucy Lane
Live! Laugh! Love! a quotation collection by Helen Exley and Juliette Clarke
Believe in yourself a quotation collection by Helen Exley and Juliette Clarke
These 4 are pocket size books that you can carry around easily as a daily reminder and boost. They're mostly full of quotes about happiness, confidence and life in general. They're always on my bedside table to pick up and flick through. Of course, I particularly like the Helen Exley books because they are illustrated by Max's mum.