Read these books if you’ve been feeling stuck in a rut.

Reading a good book is a sure-fire way to get out of your head if you’re feeling overwhelmed, and definitely a healthier alternative to binge-watching 5 hours of tik-tok. Perhaps it’s a maturity thing that happens as we age– when we really start getting into books.

Before I became pregnant with my son, I was finally getting a grip on my own mental power. I was reading all of the self-hep books I had or could find, watching dozens of ted-talks and even joined groups on Facebook to help guide me into the direction that were in the best interest for my own mindfulness. Then, when I gave birth, it’s like I slowly started losing my ability to think logically. Suddenly I was constantly over thinking things, experiencing anxiety, and just worrying about things that weren’t even happening, or could happen. Reading the following books definitely helped ground my feet a bit more. A big thank you to the authors of these books.

101 Essays That Will Change the Way You Think

“Everything is hard in some way. It’s hard to be in the wrong relationship. It’s hard to be in the right one. It’s hard to be broke and miserable, it’s hard to achieve your dreams. It’s hard to be stuck in the middle, not really feeling anything at all. Everything is hard, but you choose your hard. You choose what’s worth it. You don’t choose whether or not you’ll suffer, but you do choose what you want to suffer for.”

Brianna Wiest

Readability: Easy
Page count: 448

I’m actually still working on this one, about halfway through, and I will say it’s very refreshing. If you’re looking for a book that’s light and a different change of course, I definitely recommend this one. Don’t let the word “essay” turn you off. I really like this one because the essay-styled structure of each story makes it easy to digest and retain the information. I love that there are quite a few passages that are playful and challenge the way most would normally think. I feel like I’m always questioning my own thought processes.

One of the things I enjoyed most from this book is the flow of each different essay. If you’re someone who gets bored easily or tired from reading too much of the same topic, I’d choose this bad boy. Each essay talks about a different idea and is constantly challenging your perspective. I also like that throughout the book it doesn’t use words that are too unintelligible… like that. It’s easy to digest and enjoy.

Amazon purchase link

The 4 Agreements

“If someone is not treating you with love and respect, it is a gift if they walk away from you. If that person doesn’t walk away, you will surely endure many years of suffering with him or her. Walking away may hurt for a while, but your heart will eventually heal. Then you can choose what you really want. You will find that you don’t need to trust others as much as you need to trust yourself to make the right choices.”

Miguel Ruiz

Insight and words of wisdom

Readability: Medium
Page count: 160

Most of us live our lives based on fundamental foundations and values. It’s one of the qualities that make us human, to not survive strictly from instinct like most of the animal kingdom. We can all benefit greatly from using a system of agreements as a general life-reference.

This book gives us 4 “agreements” or laws, that are good for our person in every aspect. I love the fact that each agreement here can be applied to any part of our life, no matter what it is. I like to think of these agreements as my own personal religion. When I find myself in a situation where I’m debating on how to react- emotionally or logically- I try to bring myself back to the agreements I learned from the book, then act based upon them. To be quite honest with you, I never really lived my life with much moral guidance (at least not consciously) until I met my husband and started feeling like my life was finally coming together.

Amazon purchase link

The Last Lecture

“It’s not about how to achieve your dreams, it’s about how to lead your life, … If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself, the dreams will come to you.”

Randy Pausch

Sorrow, loss, unexpected life-changing events, love and learning

Readability: Easy
Page count: 224

Sorrow, loss, unexpected life-changing events, and love and learning are all thrown together like one big story-salad. One of my all-time favorites. I’ve read it twice! Despite all of Pausch’s battles and all odds that life threw at him in his last while on earth, he stuck with a positive outlook and never forgot about his family values.

I admire how even though the general principle of the things Pausch experiences are things we all experience, he turned them into lessons without being complicated. I love when a book includes some memoirs of someone’s actual real-life scenarios. It just makes it much more personal and connectable.

I think we can all take something from this book, which is a beautiful thing. I felt like I was with Randy through all of his adventures and successes. This one really makes you think about what you’d be doing in his situation. How would you dedicate time if you knew it suddenly became much more limited? Who would you spend it with? What would you want to do?

Amazon purchase link

When Things Fall Apart

“The essence of life is that it’s challenging. Sometimes it is sweet, and sometimes it is bitter. Sometimes your body tenses, and sometimes it relaxes or opens. Sometimes you have a headache, and sometimes you feel 100 percent healthy. From an awakened perspective, trying to tie up all the loose ends and finally get it together is death, because it involves rejecting a lot of your basic experience. There is something aggressive about that approach to life, trying to flatten out all the rough spots and imperfections into a nice smooth ride.”

Pema Chodron

Wisdom, spirituality, insight, perspective.

Readability: Medium
Page count: 214

Sometimes life feels just like that… things falling apart. With pain, anxiety, uncertainty, and fear. These are all inevitable and unavoidable emotions, and trying to prevent them is pointless. But they don’t have to be something we cling to or allow to fester. We can use them as tools to better understand ourselves and true underlying problems.

The cover for this one pretty much speaks for itself. Heart-felt advice for difficult times. There are a lot of spiritual, wisdom-guiding books out there that can feel quite repetitive. Chodron has a smooth way of piecing together her own life experience with methods that allow us . She’s able to take her own convictions and make a lesson from them in a way that makes you feel invested in your own story.

She covers a lot of ground about the present moment and how to find peace and the meaning of life within every little thing around us. She teaches us how we can embrace even the toughest moments and welcome them in, rather than rejecting them. There’s something about her peculiarity with how she perceives emotions and “negative” situations that suggests we’re looking at it all wrong. Many of Chodron’s methods pull from those of Buddhism: meditation, mindfulness, awareness, etc. Sometimes books can feel like the author is trying to teach you a lesson rather “gently”, but Chodron came, and she came to tell us with all the emphasis.

There’s no advanced formula she’s teaching us here– she simply brings to light what is already the truth. Your life dones’t have to necessarily be falling apart to appreciate this book either. Whichever chapter of your life you’re in, I’m sure you’ll take away something valuable.