5 Reads for a Happy 2016

 

5 reads

It’s amazing what we can accomplish in a year; in our relationships, in our careers, and in our state of mind. I think that last one is often overlooked when it comes to setting resolutions for the New Year. It’s only natural that we reach for goals that others can see, or that we can cross off of lists like errands.

For this reason I like to draw a distinction between my intentions and my goals. I spoke with my podcast co-host Steph about our intentions for 2016 here. This year, I’m big on those state of mind intentions.

Here are a collection of 5 things you can read right now to support a happy 2016. Some are books, some are blog posts, some are lists, and some require more of a commitment. Some are feel-good. Most of them ask you to shift your perspective.

AND, I’d love to know what you’re reading for a happy 2016! Please share your books and blogs below.

 

57 Easy Ways to Be Happier and More Successful

You know when you’re reading something online so spot-on that you’re looking for the Share button before you’ve even finished the article? That was my experience with this list of 57 Easy Ways to Be Happier and More Successful. Geoffrey James, if you’re reading this, thank you for your article. I’m a generally happy person; I’m still in creation of a life and of work that I love, but the day before reading this, I was a bit of a dark cloud. I don’t know why — it happens to all of us. But as soon as I read #1 Assume People Have Good Intentions, I realized that I had picked a fight with a loved one, because I had failed to do that. I wish I had read this article a day earlier. These are good rules for a happy, emotionally healthy life.

I’m also guilty of #14 Don’t Try To Win Every Argument (I get that from my mom), and I’m obviously a big fan of #41 Stretch Regularly.

 

Rising Strong

I listened to Rising Strong on audiobook, which in retrospect made no sense because I wouldn’t listen to it without a notebook and pen in hand. I really took pages of notes. You can borrow them! You may know Brené Brown from her writings on vulnerability and shame, or from one of her TED Talks. In my experience, the best yoga teachers are ones who are vulnerable in front of their students. As a student, I’ve learned more, empathized more, and related more with teachers who shared challenges, fears, and mistakes from their own lives. Brené Brown has written a strong book on vulnerability by sharing from her own life; where she’s judged, where she was quick to react negatively, and where she was hiding from her emotions. I believe that what I learned from Rising Strong has helped me become more effective in my relationships with my students, with my family, and with my partner.

Ask yourself, What’s the story I’m making up? I was so intrigued by the science behind our brains releasing dopamine when we feel as though we’ve figured out a pattern. Let that sink in: our brains reward us for coming up with stories as to why somebody could have acted in a certain way, even if that story is wrong.

Rising Strong is your reminder that our stories can trap us and hurt us more than someone else would have ever intended. When we’re vulnerable with our feelings, we give others the chance to be vulnerable too.

 

31 Perfect Things

If you aren’t familiar with Leo Babauta, he writes a beautiful blog called Zen Habits. The minimalist white and grey posts are a calming contrast to everything else we see online, just as his post on perfect things is a calming contrast to all the gift guides, hosting tips, and New Years resolutions floating around this time of year. Maybe your list looks slightly different from this, but mine is pretty close. Take time to consider all of the things in life that are perfect, just so.

 

Journey to the Heart

I’m not fantastic at meditating, but when I commit to doing it, my routine goes:

  • Flip to a random page of Journey to the Heart. Read the reflection on that page.
  • Set a timer, and sit quietly for 5 minutes.

The reflections in this book are short, clear, and often exactly what I need to be reading that day.

 

Expectations

About 40 minutes before I came across this blog post by Seth Godin, I wrote in my journal about needing to adjust my expectations in my career. Seth wrote it better. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or, like me, are still trying to find your career footing, you’ll benefit from reading Seth’s short post on lowering our expectations when it comes to short-cuts and easy-way-outs, and raising our expectations for what we can contribute and actively work at. I think I ought to print this one out.

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