Books Muse

Turning The Page on a New Perspective

Lily Abel discusses the merits of health and well-being literature and gives a rundown of some of the best examples.

Photo Credit: Lily Abel

The Way of the Peaceful Warrior- Dan Millman

The start of a new year can be a bit of a wobbly time for anyone. Between trying to maintain New Year’s resolutions, planning for the upcoming months, dealing with the rather dull, wintry weather, it can all become a little overwhelming and disheartening. Dan Millman’s The Way of the Peaceful Warrior highlights the challenges of a new beginning. Millman is renowned as a motivational speaker and lectures in the personal development field. There is a wealth of his inspirational audible material available on YouTube, and he has also published a number of books. This book mixes aspects of the fictional with auto-biographical elements from Millman’s own life. It follows his early life as a gymnast and narrates his journey as he meets the most unlikely new teacher. An interesting aspect of the novel is seeing Millman repeatedly tested in unexpected and unknown ways to him. Within this, he learns a wide range of new lessons. A great deal of these are applicable to and helpful in our daily lives. These vary from eating healthily in order to help your performance, or realising when you need to take a break to stop yourself from burning out. Millman’s book also has spiritual undertones. Despite this, its lessons are accessible to everyone, combining entertainment and information as well as providing guidance on how to create a more peaceful and fulfilling life. You’ll finish this book feeling inspired!

The Secret- Rhonda Byrne

There are no other quite so refreshing and wholesome means of gaining insightful knowledge than through the medium of good, old-fashioned books, whether you discover them in a charity shop, borrow them, or purchase a brand-new copy; there is something satisfying about simply turning a fresh page. Rhonda Byrne’s tome is a small book with a cover styled as an old, stained manuscript, complete with a wax stamp. It holds within it an incredibly mind-blowing change that can be immediately adopted into your everyday life and is very simple. The notion of the law of attraction is applied and explained in accessible detail to whoever is interested in attracting what they desire through changing their perspective. This book not only provides “the secret” to how you can get what you want, but also supports it with the stories and opinions of a range of people, from successful business men, to inventors, to elite sports persons, down to the everyday wants of most people. The self-help book has sold 30 million copies worldwide and has been translated into 50 different languages. It has had a resonating impact and I strongly recommend reading it to help with reaching your goals and aspirations.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear- Elizabeth Gilbert

This book, from the author of  Eat, Pray, Love, kicked up a storm when it was initially published in 2015 and maintains its influential reputation today. Grappling with the issue of creativity and the blocks, the judgements and subjectivity that come with it, Gilbert deploys the means of dealing with these issues surrounding creativity and explains how best to nurture them instead. Creativity is a valued aspect of most people’s lives, whether it is through painting, writing, wood carving, fire hoola-hooping (yes, I have done this) or simply cooking a meal. It can sometimes be difficult to maintain the positive mindset that is often cultivated by it, especially during these times of non-stop living. Gilbert emphasises the importance of living with curiosity rather than fear, high-lighting that pursuing goals and aspirations through the eye of curiosity will enable you to reap more positive benefits, rather than the fear  that’s holding you back. This book will inspire you to pursue that creative endeavour you have been too scared to face and  will change your attitude towards your everyday life.

Self Care for the Real World- Nadia Narain & Katia Narain Philips

This year has already witnessed a sky rocket in media and literature focused on helping your health and wellbeing; this particular book has become a firm favourite in popular book-shops. This book entered my life at the perfect time: my second year was well on its way and responsibilities were beginning to pile up (which were often ignored in favour of a night out), hence my stress levels were hard to mediate. Self-Care for the Real World deals with just that, incorporating tips to look after yourself, both physically and mentally as part of your everyday routine. The contents page of the book provides some key areas to focus on, many of which you will find relate to how you are feeling, such as self-love, comparison, stress, illness, losing someone you love, relationships, self-care in the work place... These may all sound cliché and cheesy, but this book is beautifully and delicately written. It is perfect for the real world, touching on topics that perhaps you have felt before, but didn’t realise were a common occurrence for most people. It is comforting, easy-to-read and navigate, and for those who are lovers of Kate Moss, she wants “to give this book to everyone” she knows, and I agree!

The Power of Now- Eckhart Tolle

Giving yourself time out to read a book of your choice (no thank you historiography, not right now) allows you to be-come immersed in your own bubble, giving you some head space away from daily stresses and helping you to relax; unless it is a gripping novel that you have taken to. Some-times what’s needed is a change from your normal choice, which Tolle’s book may well provide. The Power of Now is described as a “modern take on spirituality”, which makes it largely accessible to most, especially if you keep an open mind. Structured as an interview between the renowned spiritual teacher Tolle and a journalist, it combines the everyday views of those who deal with c o m m o n daily stresses, whether that be through their job or home life, with the thoughts and guidance of a spiritual teacher who makes his words of wisdom understandable to all. He has written many books, however this one is focused on the importance of living in the moment and how it can reduce stress, anxiety and depression. The interview format is readable and digestible; the journalist asks questions that are often relatable to personal thoughts and experiences. As a result, it’s easy to grasp Tolle’s replies and consider how to implement his suggestions. His advice is aimed at creating a calmer mind and in turn a more peaceful life.

Wild- Cheryl Strayed

Sometimes you need a real story to encourage you to take steps in the direction you want to head in your life, whether through a strong protagonist, the opinions and examples of real people, spiritual undertones or a simply structured, yet informative piece of writing can have the power to influence and inspire you for the better. Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found is a memoir that documents Cheryl Strayed’s journey of self-discovery; this book covers everything from her dealing with depression and the resorting to heroin and sex as a means of escape, to enduring a 1 100 mile hike as a solo female with no previous experience. Her narrative takes you through her personal thoughts while she is tackling the hike, as well as noting down the gorgeous scenery she traverses, mixing memories with the present. This book is brimming with emotion, yet it is truly inspiring! You may perhaps relate to her feelings or the prevailing sense of adventure that she exerts throughout the text. It is enough to make you want to pack a ruck-sack, shove on your walking boots and take to the trails (or perhaps a gentle stroll in the park to clear your head?) If you need some inspiration and a bit of a kick start to your new lifestyle, this is a good place to start.

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