📚3 Books that flipped the script for me
Now before we get into the 3 books, I must say - I HAVE NEVER VOLUNTARILY READ ANY BOOKS. Meaning I have read ZERO books since school and the ones I have read are all because I was told to.
I was just never into sitting down, let alone reading a book. I never understood why people would want to read for fun especially when the Internet and YouTube already existed! On top of that, I have ADHD and dyslexia plus sports was already filling up all my time, so reading just never appealed to me.
Until COVID came into our lives and I gave reading a go. I was instantly HOOKED. I was lucky that I picked up a few good books to start with. It was also a time when I had serious self-doubt and had very low self-esteem and confidence, so I was only looking at self-help books which now evidently has changed my life. It gave me direction and guidance in achieving my personal goals.
So here are the 3 books that flipped the script for me.
1. I Thought It Was Just Me - Brené Brown
WOW. This book. Everyone should be reading this book.
This book talks about all the negative energy and shame we all have inside us that we don’t even know. It teaches you how to identify shame and what to do with it.
It will also help you to change the way you perceive others, empathise with others. Truly understand why we lash out at things that we are not even angry about. What the problem truly is. To speak about our feelings freely and don’t be afraid to feel pain. Sometimes pain can be our best friend.
We are in a culture of fear, blame and disconnect. These values have been passed for so long, decades, that now we just accept them with no question. It has shaped us to doubt ourselves and put ourselves down whenever we see a magazine cover.
The book also talks about how perfect doesn’t exist, it’s not real, it’s an ideal. We all have flaws and we have to accept we have flaws.
It encourages you to speak out and share experiences. No matter what you do, who you are, what your upbringing is, what your profession is or even what your hobbies are, we can help one person out there, someone in the world will be going through the same thing as you are and will find comfort in the connection.
Powerful, powerful book.
2. Why We Sleep - Matthew Walker
The book may sound very obvious but trust me it really helps, because it made me look at sleep and rest in a completely different way.
I stopped feeling bad about myself and stopped feeling I won’t be able to be successful because I physically cannot wake up early enough.
It is in our DNA that some of us are early birds and some of us are night owls. Unfortunately, our current social structure is catered more to the early birds, and the night owls get the unfair label of being ‘just lazy’ or ‘lacking drive’.
Sleep is paramount to success. Not only we are more productive when we are well-rested, but we also can ‘get smarter if we sleep well.
Now most of us turn to coffee and tea in the morning to function but the effects of caffeine is grossly understated.
Caffeine stays in our body for a much longer time than we think and sleep quality with caffeine is significantly lower even if we ‘think’ we are not affected by it.
During good quality sleep, that’s when our brain gathers all the information we received during the day and get organised and stores those memories for the long-term. Quality sleep also helps synapses grow and the more synapses we have the more our brain is able to associate or ‘pull out’ certain memory together.
Effectively being ‘clever’ is actually the ability to associate things together when they are not obvious - this is also how creativity works.
Essentially we are only really learning when we are sleeping!
3. Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain - John Ratey
It did take a while to read. It does get very technical and sciencey - which can make it a bit boring/ hard to follow - though the author does use plain everyday English. But this was a SUPER helpful book. Even for someone who has been active and passionate about sports all my life. I never looked at it as a tool for mental health.
Overall there are lots of reports on research findings, and the process of research a-lot - which really, you can skim read.
Each chapter is very interesting, it really digs deep into each aspect of our lives and emotions i.e stress, depression, ADHD, ageing etc.
It can get repetitive but essentially he hones in on the importance of exercise from a mental standpoint (as physical benefits are pretty established)
I found ADHD and stress chapters the most interesting - it really helped me to understand it and therefore be able to deal with it.
Essentially - aerobic exercise will help in producing vital protein/ hormones i.e. BDNF which will help to grow and create synapses. Which then will help us to deal with stress, depression etc.
It is proven to lift your mood instantly, working out with people also will produce more hormones like endorphins and serotonin
It also gives you a sense of self-mastery, builds confidence, opens up the capacity for your brain to have more clarity
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or hardcore. Moderate and consistent is key - like a simple 20minute stroll a day can already make a huge difference.
It also helped me to see things like stress and ADHD in a different light.
Stress is like Muscles. To build it, you need to break/ tear it down and to repair/ recover it. The same goes with Stress. A moderate amount of stress is needed for you to build a tolerance for stress - which means you will be able to handle more stress in the future. So stress is essential for growth and it’s not always a bad thing!
ADHD - see it as a Hyper Focus condition. If you can use ADHD to your advantage, it can be a superpower. People who have ADHA also need stress to operate, this is not because you are lazy or lack motivation. Our brains are just wired differently. It’s not always a bad thing either!
To conclude, working out can release more energy and generate fuels for you. It is when you are most tired/ uninspired is when you need exercise the most!
So these are the 3 books that got me started! Never thought in a million years I would do a blog AND a book review.
Which one would you read or add to the list?!