Wednesday, September 14, 2011

healthy habits: read

Change is a funny thing. It's a funny thing that I crave, and dread.

I always have two reactions: excitement, and anxiety.

When we arrived at our beautiful hotel for vacation this summer, I jumped up and down and squealed with delight. But a few hours later, a little naggy creature climbed onto my shoulder and whispered, "But it's not home..." Before I could start whimpering, J was there to swat it away.

With the start of the new school year, that little naggy creature is finding its way back, tugging on my hair and saying things like "You can't handle such a flexible schedule...you'll never get everything done!" and "Don't you miss your co-workers?" and "It's only a matter of time before it gets old."

I really dislike that naggy creature.

Because most of the time, when I think about the changes that the new school year brought, I am elated. And he is really killing my buzz.

So I have a simple remedy.


Books.

There are so many cures for anxiety, but none are quite as reliable or easy as reading. Reading takes me to a different place. I can read things that make me feel like a different person, things that make me focus on the positive, things that make me realize what an enormous place the world is. And while I'm so immersed, the naggy creature usually gets bored and hops away to bother someone else.

And then things seem so much more manageable.

Besides the relief that a page full of words can bring, reading is a great way to get informed about so many things that can make us healthier. So I decided to share some of my favorites for promoting a healthy state of mind. Some address the issue directly, some indirectly, and some just happen to be favorites for making me feel good.


Left to right, top to bottom:

1. The Book, by Alan Watts - Philosophical and faintly spiritual, after reading this, I just felt like there wasn't much point to thinking too hard about anything.
2. Clean, by Alejandro Junger - All about the toxins that surround us, this book promotes a positive message about using our inner resources to heal our bodies.
3. Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling - I really don't think I need to explain this one. All.time.favorite.
4. Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser - This was the first book that got me thinking about the food industry on so many levels. I can promise you that fast food will be much less tempting when you're done.
5. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien - Another that I'm not sure needs explaining. No fantasy world is easier to get lost in than Middle Earth.
6. You are Here, by Thich Nhat Hanh - Though fundamentally Buddhist, this book is much more about practice than philosophy. Whenever I am feeling tense, I can feel the author smiling at me and reminding me to breathe and stay in the moment.
7. A Little Princess, by Francis Hodgson Burnett - This book creates a world that I have escaped to over and over again since I was a little girl. The cold streets of London are at their best in this story.
8. Eat Pray Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert - This book has gotten a lot of flack for many reasons, but it's still a favorite, because while reading, I couldn't help but feel that it's ok to be confused sometimes. And it's clear that one of the best ways out of confusion is through food, prayer, and love.
9. The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss - Any of Dr. Seuss' books will always make me feel wonderful, but this one is particularly poignant, as it's a reminder of the beauty that needs protection in the world, and our inescapable connection to it.

2 comments:

  1. i love reading, too. i grew up on a steady diet of nancy drew (and wanted to be a detective for the longest time, haha) and haven't been able to stop since then. i recently read the harry potter series, and anything jonathan safran foer is amazing.

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  2. Ah! I've seen Everything Is Illuminated but now I have to read the book!

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Thanks for making me smile. =)