Three Books That Can Help You to Be More Resilient

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Resilience is important not only for our personal lives but for our professional lives too.  Here are three recommendations for books than can make you more resilient and able to take on any challenge that faces you whether it shows up at home or at the office.

1. The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living by Amit Sood is a book that provides an in-depth look into the causes of stress and what you can do to alleviate it.  For example, the book provides insight into how our brains function and the fact that our negative thoughts are heavier and stickier than positive ones.  Over time those thoughts accumulate and dominate even when we do not want them to.  Our brain also tends to overestimate a stressor’s severity and probability of occurring and underestimates our ability to respond effectively.  To counter this predisposition the book outlines five key principles that we should incorporate into our lives.   These principles are: focus on gratitude for your blessings, have compassion for others, accept life’s uncertainties and let go of the uncontrollable, focus on who you are and why you are here and have forgiveness for your own imperfections and those of others.  

The book also stresses the importance of focusing on the present which you can cultivate though meditation.  My favourite quote in this book is a reference to Mark Twain who said: “I have suffered several terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened”.

2. Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson is a classic.  It offers simple advice on how to quickly move on after a setback. The book features an engaging story about four characters who look for “cheese” in a maze.   The word cheese is simply a metaphor for what we want in life which depending on our desires could be a job, a relationship, money, a big house etc.  The book’s engaging story provides great perspective on how to move on when you fall short of achieving what you want.  One of my favourite quotes in this book is: “whenever he started to get discouraged he reminded himself that what he was doing, as uncomfortable as it was at the moment, was in reality much better than staying in the [previous] situation”.

3. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin is about how we can live happier lives. Happiness is a great antidote to stress and Gretchen takes us along her quest to be even happier.  Over the course of a year she outlines the specific projects she undertakes each month in order to cultivate happiness.  In one month she focuses on reducing clutter. In another month she focuses on making three new friends.  Since Gretchen’s research showed that challenge and novelty are key elements of happiness as a way to challenge herself she decided to start a blog.  Her book offers many examples of things you can do to be happier. One of my favourite quotes from this book is “act the way [you] want to feel”. 

Tricia McKinnon