Hello all and a very warm and Happy Christmas to you! I’ve just read a book within two days and realised that Christmas has allowed me to sit back and do just that and it’s been lovely. I don’t often read fictional books and most of my reading energy goes into articles and books which educate, inspire and nourish me as a therapist. However, reading is so therapeutic and relaxing in itself, escaping into another world, challenging my thoughts and perceptions. I thought I would share with you some books which have inspired me both in my work as a therapist but also personally in my own life in 2016. So if you are poised for a new book that might nourish your soul and increase your self knowledge in 2017 then these are my top three recommendations.

The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

This book is based on research from Harvard about what makes people happy. We have spent years trying to work out what makes people unhappy and this book is a breath of fresh air. The great news is that yes we can increase our own personal happiness and help to change our environment at work and the way to do it is simple- learn from the research and then apply it and try to increase the methods into your daily routine. Neuroscience tells us that if we do things over and over again our brains follow and it becomes easier. This is good news! I love what it has to say about the power of practising Gratitude in our lives and how infectious we can be in a positive way to those we live and work with.

Emotional Intelligence By Daniel Goleman

It has been said that ‘Knowledge is Power’ . I have found this to be very true when it comes to understanding ourselves in order to move forward with acceptance. This book is totally my favourite book of the year for readability and the science behind our brains and emotions. This book is incredibly ‘Human’ and helps us to realise that emotions are actually part of our survival and that we can use them to understand ourselves and others better. If you love this book then a great follow on book is ‘Destructive Emotions and how we can overcome them’ by the same author. In this book we learn about how research linking mindfulness and emotions proves scientifically that we can strengthen our brains to overcome difficult emotions through the practice of mindfulness and meditation.

Start where you are by Pema Chodron

This book teaches us about compassion- ‘Unconditional compassion for ourselves that leads naturally to unconditional compassion for others. If we are willing to stand fully in our own shoes and never give up on ourselves, then we will be able to put ourselves in the shoes of others and never give up on them. True compassion does not come from wanting to help out those less fortunate than ourselves but from realising our kinship with all beings’

This is a beautiful book full of infectious compassion. Self acceptance and compassion is something we can all embrace.

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