A strong defense of self help books can be found here: On Self-Help Books | The Book of Life.
Essentially the argument is that the genre has been overtaken and is associated with people like this:
And not associated with this:
We need a list of good self help books, classic and current. Unfortunately, even lists with the so called best self-help books of all time are lacking in literary qualities. That’s a shame.
I think we need a new list of self-help books then, a list stretching from the classics such as the Dhammapada and the Bible and the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, all the way to present day books like In Search of Meaning. A new list of books that help us live better lives but that are good as books themselves. It’s time for such a list, and time for the current list of self-help books to take a backseat to this new list.
This is a good piece: How to Be Thankful For Your Life by Changing Just One Word. I have thought about it often since I read it. You can get to read it too, but in short, write down all the things you “have to” do or “should” do and think differently. Key passage:
You have to wake up early for work. You have to make another sales call for your business. You have to work out today. You have to write an article. You have to make dinner for your family. You have to go to your son’s game.
Now, imagine changing just one word in the sentences above.
You don’t “have” to. You “get” to.
You get to wake up early for work. You get to make another sales call for your business. You get to cook dinner for your family. By simply changing one word, you shift the way you view each event. You transition from seeing these behaviors as burdens and turn them into opportunities.
Get. You get to. Better still, you are lucky to get to. Write down the inner dialog in your head and see if you can edit it this way.
The cliche, you don’t know what you got until it’s gone, holds here. Know what you got. Think about it in a new way.
And what is it: Say nice things – to yourself
It sounds ridiculous, and you may feel ridiculous if you try it. If so, consider this:
- you likely say terrible things to yourself all the time. “I can’t believe I did that…that was stupid…I am an idiot…etc”. You get the picture. If saying nice things about yourself is dumb, that is dumber. So get over yourself.
- athletes, from amateurs to the elite, talk positively to themselves ALL THE TIME. Indeed, when I played sports in school, we were admonished to “Talk it up!” all of the time. It made the team better: it made us better. Great athletes are great partially because they are always talking positively to themselves
- I mean, you are already standing there in the mirror brushing your teeth. Put that big brain of yours to work. Do better with it. Talk it up! 🙂
One way is by getting a copy of Molly Cantrell-Kraig’s new ebook: Amazon.com: Circuit Train Your Brain: Daily Habits That Develop Resilience eBook: Molly M. Cantrell-Kraig: Kindle Store.
It just came out, and it can just be the thing you need if you are struggling through a difficult time.
A gentle program to get you out of your rut in 30 days can be found here: NYT Programs – 30-Day Well Challenge.
Recommended especially for people who are a) in a rut b) overwhelmed with other things to do.
If you are struggling with adversity, then read this: Read This If You’re Going Through Adversity – Darius Foroux.
There are four rules in it:
- Do something good. By this, do something that makes you say, “I love life”.
- Ask for help. You know you need help when you are getting to the stage it all becomes “too much”.
- Write down your biggest fear. Get it out of your head and on paper. Write about it. You will be surprised how it shrinks on paper.
- Create a plan. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. It can be: I will do A and then based on that I will do either B or C. There! You have a plan to deal with things.
- Shorten the timelines. This is one I am adding. Often when we think of adversity we imagine it never ending. But it will. Don’t believe me? Go over past adversity. Even long running adversity. It always ends. It ends sooner than we think. This doesn’t mean you should passively wait it out. Write down how long you think this adversity will end, then make a plan, ask for help, tackle your fears and do something good.
Good luck. Need more help? Read the article linked above. And congrats. You were likely facing adversity when you searched out and read this, and you decided you needed to get help. You’re already on your way to doing something about it. Well done!
A small, handy guide to dealing with your emotions: