Required Reading for the New Normal

Some inspirational reading to help lift spirits, optimism, and personal growth after challenging times

Anybody can tell you these past few months have been a challenge. The national shutdown came upon us very quickly; and it’s been socially, physically, and emotionally disorienting to say the very least. But that’s just the start of it. The impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the global economy has been nothing short of devastating. Tens of millions of Americans are out of work and millions of businesses have been shut down—many permanently. If there was ever a time for some spiritual uplifting, this is it.

On a personal level, our daily routines where shattered by the imprisonment of shelter in place. Being stuck in the house, and out of work, has created unexpected and significant health challenges to mind, body, and spirit. The concern among experts now, on a macro level, is that the health impacts of shelter in place may actually exceed those of the virus itself.

One way to keep your mind off this depressing state of affairs is to bury yourself in a good book. In fact, a recent study conducted by the University of Sussex suggests that reading a can actually reduce stress by as much as 68 percent. And we can certainly all use a little stress relief right about now.  But it goes beyond that. How do we heal our demolished sense of optimism and rebuild our shattered lives?

The reality of our societal situation is what it is. And there is no time better than the present to start healing our lives. Carpe diem. There is no place to go from here but forward.  To that end, we’ve selected a few books that can help the transition back. Enjoy.

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found a Self-Help That Actually Works by Dan Harris.On June 7, 2004, before 5 million viewers on Good Morning America, ABC anchor Dan Harris had a full-blown panic attack on live TV. He began gasping for air and struggled to even complete a sentence. This was a wake-up call, causing him to seek help for his anxiety and depression. He ultimately stumbled upon meditation and it turned his life around.

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama XIV,Desmond Tutu, andDouglas Carlton Abrams. The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu get together for a talk about something very important to them—joy. Both winners of the Nobel Prize, and both great spiritual masters and moral leaders of our time, they are known for being among the most infectiously happy people on the planet. To have joy yourself, you must bring joy to others.

Big Potential: How Transforming the Pursuit of Success Raises Our Achievement, Happiness, and Well-Being by Shawn Achor. Success and happiness are not competitive sports. Rather, they depend almost entirely on how well we connect with, and learn from, each other. Just as happiness is contagious, every dimension of our potential is influenced by those around us. When we help others improve their lives, we reach new levels of potential ourselves. Rather than fighting over our piece of the pie, we can expand the pie to benefit everyone.

Surfer's Code: 12 Simple Lessons for Riding Through Life by Shaun Tomson. In Surfer's Code: 12 Simple Lessons for Riding Through Life, world champion surfer Shaun Tomson shares the life lessons he's gathered from decades of surfing-from his boyhood adventures in South Africa to the world tour in the late 1970s to the business world today. For Tomson, surfing is a hobby, a sport, a religion, an obsession and more-it is a way of life.

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