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My Top 5 Self-Help Books

Stress is something most of us deal with on a regular basis, and sometimes it can be a little difficult to manage. Life gets in the way and it can be a lot for anyone to cope with. There are plenty of ways to reduce the stresses of our everyday lives and everyone is different when it comes to coping strategies. If you’re like me, then sometimes all you need when you’re feeling stressed out or anxious is to sit in a quiet room with a cup of tea and a good book. Books can often help clear your mind of negative thoughts and feelings, so why not read a book that is meant to help you be the best you can be? I’ve compiled a list of my five favourite books that have helped me learn to cope with symptoms of stress and anxiety, and have helped improve my overall mental and physical health!

1. Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis

“Believe in your dang self!”

Rachel Hollis provides a little bit of a wake-up call in this book, and her goal is to make sure that her readers are living to their fullest potential. She understands that sometimes women can feel like they’re not good enough and that can keep them from being the best they can be. Hollis challenges women to take control of their lives and learn how to own who they are. The book identifies excuses to let go of, behaviours to adopt and skills to acquire in order to grow with confidence in yourself. Throughout the book, Hollis emphasizes to her readers that they are strong and bold and capable of getting whatever they want out of life – and you are too!

2. Calm the F*ck Down by Sarah Knight

“Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life.”

This one is as real as it gets in the sense that Sarah Knight forces you to face your problems head-on and assess whether what you’re freaking out about is something you can even control. If it’s not, then she tells you to accept that and move on. Plain and simple. Of course, sometimes it’s easier said than done, but the first step is facing the reality of your problem(s) and prioritizing your thoughts so you can focus on dealing with the problems you can control. She doesn’t invalidate your anxieties, but she tells you how to deal with them. It’s all in your state of mind.

3. Let That Sh*t Go by Nina Purewal and Kate Petriw

“Life can be stressful AF, but it doesn’t have to be.”

As Elsa would say, let it go, be one with the wind and sky, all that jazz. Sometimes life gets in the way – we’ve all been there. Sometimes it’s like a never-ending list of deadlines and things to do and if you’re like me, the more stuff on your plate, the less inclined you are to want to do any of it. Authors Nina and Kate have been there too, and with us they share their wisdom about mindfulness and finding your peace of mind no matter how busy your life gets. By practicing mindfulness, we can reframe our perception of life and implement some kind of peace – no matter how many things you have to do. Let your hair down, free your mind and be the queen we know you are!

4. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

“This is the most simple and basic component of life: our struggles determine our successes.”

In this wildly popular book by internet blogger Mark Manson, nothing is sugar-coated and the bottom line is that once we embrace our fears, faults and uncertainties, we can start confronting the painful truth that all humans are flawed. Some battles are worth fighting and others might not matter as much but it’s up to you, and you alone, to decide. Nothing is worse than feeling anxious about being anxious because in the end, that doesn’t help anyone. The goal is to be able to think more clearly about what is or isn’t important to you in life. This book reminds you of what you should value as a priority – and that is yourself.

5. 101 Simple Truths for a Better Life by Humble the Poet

“The only reason you’re not good enough is because you’re thinking it.”

Nobody ever has the answers for us (although, we wish they did) but this book comes pretty darn close. The truth is that we acquire our own wisdom through our experiences, but sometimes we just need to be reminded of what we’ve learned. The layout of this book is great because it is simple and straightforward, and you can dedicate time to reading just one or two “reasons” and still walk away feeling accomplished without taking too much time out of your day. It’s a good choice for those who find that their lives are too busy for them to stop and read for longer periods of time. It can provide you with a quick reminder to stay focused on the things that really matter, and to let go of the things that don’t.

In my experience, these types of books feel more like you’re sitting down with a friend rather than spending time reading, and they can really provide you with a sense of comfort. They can help you learn how to prioritize your thoughts so that they are not affecting your day to day life. Anxiety and stress do not define you, they are simply side effects of growing up and the older we get, the more complex life seems to be. These books don’t tell you “it’s all going to be okay, you’re really fine, it’s all in your head” in a way that undermines what you’re feeling. They are simply providing tips on how to take control of your own life and prioritize yourself and your feelings – the rest will come no matter what.

Giulia Orsino

Wilfrid Laurier '21

3rd year History and English student who can usually be found eating pasta, napping, binge-watching Friends and snuggling with the cat.
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