All of us feel low at times, as if life in general is conspiring against us. When we are delayed in queues and traffic jams, when our customers pay late, our deliveries don’t arrive, our bills do arrive, our children are difficult and it rains continually, then we can feel angry, frustrated, or even downright depressed.
My way of coping with life at times like this is to try and change my mood. I own a library of books that I know will change my mood for the better. Here are five of them.
Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude – by Jeffrey Gitomer
This fantastic book is incredibly easy to read and has a simple but effective message. It tells us that if we change our attitude we can change our lives. It’s so simple that you feel as though there must be more to it than that, but as you read the book, you realise that adopting the right attitude is a prime factor in success and happiness.
As Gitomer says in the book “Once you figure out that attitude is a gift and a blessing, it is my hope that you give it to yourself and you bless yourself, forever.” When I feel my attitude slipping from good to bad, I pick up this book and refresh my mood.
Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy – by Dr David Burns
If you often feel angry, frustrated and depressed then this book is for you. After reading ‘Feeling Good’ I realised that most of my negative moods were caused by cognitive errors, or errors in thinking. Burns asserts that if you change the way you think, you can change the way you feel. In others words, our moods are not caused by external events, as we tend to think, but by our thoughts about them. We all face tough times but our reaction to them is what dictates how we handle it.
This is pretty powerful stuff and the whole world has opened up to me since reading this book, as I am no longer a prisoner of my own negative thoughts. See if it can do the same for you.
Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway – by Susan Jeffers
There is a perception that some people are full of confidence and bravery and that others are timid and nervous. Susan Jeffers challenges this idea in her book and states that everyone feel afraid at times. Most of us are confident in our comfort zones; that is when we are doing something that we do frequently and are used to doing. However it is when we step outside of our comfort zones and try something new that we can feel afraid.
Instead of avoiding the activities which cause us to feel fear and discomfort, Jeffers asserts that the only way to stop being afraid is to do the thing you are afraid of. Since reading this book, I have joined a public speaking club and enjoyed it, therefore tackling one of my biggest fears.
Embracing Uncertainty – by Susan Jeffers
I read this book recently and was struck by how soothing Jeffers is. When you read her work you feel calmer, less anxious and more confident. “Embracing Uncertainty” tackles change and the feelings of discomfort and worry that it can cause.
Her viewpoint is that life is meant to be uncertain and that uncertainty is a good thing because it causes us to have experiences that teach us, enrich us and make us grow as a person. If we could choose how our life was to be mapped out, like writing a play, we would write all unhappiness and trauma out of our lives, and yet it is these very experiences that make us the person that we are and which make us stronger and better.
It is a challenging but compelling view of life.
The Happiness Project – by Gretchen Rubin
This story of a year in Rubin’s life is fascinating and made me realise that my happiness (or my unhappiness) is under my control to a large extent. How many of us actually spend any time seeking happiness?
This may seem a trivial or hedonistic pursuit but Rubin points out that if we are happy, then everyone around us is happy and that we should not feel guilty for wanting to feel good. I loved this viewpoint and it has made me actively seek ways to do what makes me feel good, for I’ve realised that there is no virtue in suffering.
Resources to take Everywhere
I would recommend these five books for everyone’s bookshelf, wherever you are in the world, and whatever your circumstances. Read them often, or listen to them in the car.
Happiness is an underrated quality. Without happiness we are less successful, our relationships suffer and we cannot live our ideal lives. So take a tip from me and read these books to help you on your journey.