If you’re lucky enough to have never experienced adversity, you’ve also never been given the opportunity to know quite how resilient you are. It’s only when you’re faced with obstacles and stress that resilience—or the lack of it—emerges.
Do you view problems as catastrophic or as opportunities to learn and grow?
How do you face tension in your friendships? Shortcomings in your parenting? Stinging words directed at your identity or appearance?
Thankfully, studies have found that we can train ourselves to better regulate our emotions. We can teach ourselves to reframe negative moments in positive terms. And at the very least, we can use perception to challenge, forgive and accept what cannot be changed.
Here are some must-reads to ease into your journey towards a stronger, more resilient you.
#Chill: Turn Off Your Job and Turn on Your Life by Bryan E. Robinson
Studies show that five minutes of meditation a day is cumulative and, over time, builds a state of peace that boosts the immune system, improves memory and clarity, and raises confidence and output.
In #Chill, Robinson explains how to use meditation to break the work addiction cycle by reframing your priorities and cultivating mindfulness in your daily life.
He provides a month-by-month guide with meditations that help center and soothe, allowing you to step back, close your eyes, take a long breath, and focus on the moment at hand. If you struggle to turn off work and perfectionism, his practical (and comforting) advice will help establish balance.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson
There’s nothing understated about Manson, but at its core, his book is about finding what’s most valuable to you and letting go of the rest.
Be positive? Manson doesn’t mince words about the harsh realities we most often have to simply accept.
Be happy? According to him, there’s no such thing. At least not without embracing your fears, faults and painful truths.
Instead of aiming for an unattainably perfect, problem-free life, it’s most valuable to ask which problems are worth sacrificing and working for. His brand of hopefulness is in a person’s ability to be resilient amidst the complex and ugly.
Forgiveness in Practice edited by Stephen Hance
This eclectic collection of reflections on forgiveness offers a wide range of viewpoints, from prisons and medical practices to the spiritual work of clergy.
Even though the contributors write unique—and sometimes inconsistent—versions of forgiveness, they have one thing in common: forgiving, being forgiven and self-forgiveness are complicated.
The book offers real-life examples of forgiveness even against hard issues like abuse and addiction.
You won’t find any self-righteousness in this book. But you will find courage to face taboos and challenges surrounding forgiveness.
How to Stop Feeling Like Shit by Andrea Owen
Some self-help books like to posit that what you put out into the universe mirrors what you’ll get back. That your energy dictates your reality.
But sometimes life just happens.
The “answers” you look for might just lie in connecting past behaviors with current ones and choosing new ways of being for the future.
Owen’s personal story works to outline the 14 habits women can fall into that sabotage their happiness: isolating, numbing, neverending comparison, people pleasing, perfectionism, and overachieving to name a few.
If you’re looking to take action, to stop catastrophizing and live life according to your values, Owen offers no-nonsense and insightful advice to wake up to your own potential.
Girl Talk: What Science Can Tell Us About Female Friendship by Jacqueline Mroz
Mroz, an acclaimed journalist who often writes about reproductive and family issues, investigates the science behind female friendships—why both vulnerability and tension often characterize these relationships.
From an evolutionary perspective, women have consistently been relocated among strangers after finding a mate or husband.
Vulnerability and submissiveness were learned behaviors suited to winning over strangers.
As a result, women’s friendships today tend to be more intense than men’s—but also more fragile. We don’t tolerate breaches of trust and understanding why can strengthen the connections that matter to you most.
Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis
The conversational, friend-to-friend tone that marks Hollis’s blog is apparent from the opening pages, and she doesn’t waste time getting to her point: “This book is about a bunch of hurtful lies and one important truth.”
Which is to say, only you are responsible for who you become and how happy you are.
Religious critics have discredited her call to self-reliance. And cultural critics have criticized her failure to address the structural disadvantages facing women of color.
But each chapter faces a different self-deprecating put-down that are nothing if not lies we’ve all told ourselves at some point— “I’m Not Good Enough,” “I Am Defined by My Weight,” “I’m Not a Good Mom.”
Criticisms aside, when you finish reading, you’ll be able to sit down and write the list of lies you’ve believed. You’ll be able to see yourself honestly and start fighting back with courage.