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Essential Mental Health Reads for Every Stage of Life

In today’s world, physical health often takes centre stage, and it’s easy to overlook the significance of our mental well-being. But here’s the truth: mental health is just as crucial as our physical health, if not more. As we observe Mental Health Awareness Month, it’s essential to shine a light on the books that can serve as powerful allies in our journey toward mental wellness. From braving through the ups and downs of adolescence to finding peace and fulfillment in later years, these books are here to guide and inspire you.

So, let’s say yes to taking care of ourselves and explore how books can help us feel good!

 

 

Divorce is Normal
Divorce is Normal || Shasvathi Siva

A divorce rate of around 1 per cent is often boasted about with pride in this country, without much critical thought spared for what it actually means. When Shasvathi Siva decided to end her marriage, she realized exactly how difficult getting a divorce was in our society and legal system. Since then, she has been working towards ensuring that others have it easier, and this book is an endeavour to share her learnings with great empathy and sagacity. Divorce Is Normal is an invaluable companion for anyone contemplating separation and divorce, and a necessary reminder for everyone else that divorce is normal. Through her story, Siva brings to readers fresh insights on unhappy marriages and divorce in the Indian context, helping expand perspectives so that people can overcome societal stigma and accept a brighter, happier future. Filled with practical tips, comforting stories and endless compassion shaped by a lived experience, this book acts like a warm hug and a stern friend all at once.

 

Take Your Time & Hurry Up
Take Your Time & Hurry Up || Joey Kidney

Have you ever felt lost or alone in your thoughts, feelings and experiences?

Take Your Time and Hurry Up continues Joey’s experiences as he leaves his early twenties and heads toward adulthood. This book appeals to anyone who is navigating ‘adulting’ without a compass or a map, and who is searching for a sense of belonging.

Joey gently encourages his audience to find comfort, mindfulness, guidance and connection. A clear theme is woven through each passage: a reminder to slow down. After all, what’s the rush.

How to Win an Election
How to Win an Election || Menaka Raman

The middle school elections are coming up and everyone is in a frenzy of making posters, promises and predictions.

When Sachin is disqualified from contesting the elections, he sets out to help his best friend Mini win. But their path to victory is littered with runaway lizards, incriminating bathroom graffiti, hacked videos and dangerous baked goods.

Which candidate fears Mini so much that they will descend to such villainy? Mini and Sachin must find out—or be disgraced forever.

 

Living with Adi
Living with Adi || Zarin Virji

Adi Krishnan is different!
He is a bright student, who loves to read, and remembers everything down to the smallest details—yet he has no friends. His unusual view of things makes his classmates and teachers regard him as a weirdo.
Will the bullying ever end? Will people accept him as he is? Will he gain the respect of others, especially his dad?
Award-winning author Zarin Virji creates the extraordinary journey of an ordinary boy, narrated by him, his family, classmates and a teacher. And how, despite the challenges, living with Adi is, in fact, unexpected, delightful and funny.

 

sad glad
Sad Glad || Sidhartha Mallya

One morning, Sid wakes up feeling different. He can’t quite put his finger on why. The day seems gloomy, and Sid doesn’t feel like getting out of bed.

Luckily, Duke, Sid’s best buddy, senses that Sid needs comforting. He gently encourages Sid to accept all the different emotions he is feeling.

A helpful companion for a dull day, this assuring picture book is filled with many feelings and thoughts that offer a lot of hope!

 

The Myth of Normal
The Myth of Normal || Gabor Maté, Daniel Maté

Over four decades of clinical experience, renowned physician and addiction expert Dr Gabor Maté has seen how health systems neglect the role that trauma exerts on our bodies and our minds. Medicine often fails to treat the whole person, ignoring how today’s culture stresses our bodies, burdens our immune systems and undermines emotional balance.

Now, in his most ambitious and urgent book yet, Dr Maté connects the dots between our personal suffering and the pressures of modern-day living – with disease as a natural reflection of a life spent growing further and further apart from our true selves. But, with deep compassion, he also shows us a pathway to health and healing.

Filled with stories of people in the grip of illness or in the triumphant wake of recovery, this life-affirming book, co-written with his son Daniel, proves true health is possible – if we are willing to reconnect with each other and our authentic selves.

 

What Happened to Grandpa
What Happened to Grandpa || Nandini Nayar

Something strange is happening to Grandpa. Words and names are slipping away, and favourite faces and places are becoming distant memories.

As Grandpa’s family seems to be losing him, it is up to Neha to remind them about the things he stood for. She shares his adventures and spins his stories, but will that help them remember Grandpa and celebrate him?

In this heartwarming picture book about love, loss, and remembering, discover the priceless bond we have with grandparents and how their memories live on.

 

The Body Keeps the Score
The Body Keeps the Score || Bessel van der Kolk

The effects of trauma can be devastating for sufferers, their families and future generations. Here one of the world’s experts on traumatic stress offers a bold new paradigm for treatment, moving away from standard talking and drug therapies and towards an alternative approach that heals mind, brain and body.

 

Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?
Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? || Dr Julie Smith

Drawing on years of experience as a clinical psychologist, online sensation Dr Julie Smith shares all the tools you need to get through life’s ups and downs.

Filled with secrets from the therapy room, this is a must-have handbook for optimising your mental health. Dr Julie’s simple but expert advice and powerful coping techniques will help you stay resilient no matter what life throws your way.

Written in short, bite-sized entries, you can turn straight to the section you need depending on the challenge you’re facing – and immediately find the appropriate tools to help. From managing anxiety, dealing with criticism or battling low mood, to building self-confidence, finding motivation or learning to forgive yourself, this book tackles the everyday issues that affect us all and offers easy, practical solutions that might just change your life.

 

When the Body Says No
When the Body Says No || Dr Gabor Maté

Drawing on deep scientific research and Dr Gabor Maté’s acclaimed clinical work, When the Body Says No provides the answers to critical questions about the mind-body link – and the role that stress and our emotional makeup play in an array of common diseases.

When the Body Says No:

– Explores the role of the mind-body link in conditions and diseases such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, irritable bowel syndrome and multiple sclerosis.
– Shares dozens of enlightening case studies and stories, including those of people such as Lou Gehrig (ALS), Betty Ford (breast cancer), Ronald Reagan (Alzheimer’s), Gilda Radner (ovarian cancer) and Lance Armstrong (testicular cancer)
– Reveals ‘The Seven A’s of Healing’: principles in healing and the prevention of illness from hidden stress.

 

 

Mum in a Mess
Mum in a Mess || Sanjana Kapur

When Mum breaks a coffee jar, it does not seem like a big deal. But then, Mum starts acting very strangely. What is Vishi to do?

 

Conversations with the Career Doctor
Conversations with the Career Doctor || Saundarya Rajesh

India ranks among the bottom end of countries when it comes to women’s participation in the workforce, as per research conducted by the International Labour Organization and other reputed institutions. Despite pushing gender inclusion to the forefront and making considerable progress, it is clear that Indian women don’t have it easy today. Conversations with the Career Doctor is a ready-reckoner that women can refer to whenever they are confronted with a challenge. It provides a powerful toolkit for every Indian woman professional to lead a strong, secure and successful career.

 

Buddha in Love
Buddha in Love || Geetanjali Pandit

Geetanjali’s quest for happiness in relationships . . . failed. Time and again. A short-lived abusive marriage and its subsequent emotional, mental and social fallout forced her to question all her assumptions about romance and relationships.
Buddha in Love distils all she learnt. We are not born relationship-ready. A loving partnership takes effort, and, contrary to what you might expect, to achieve it you have to work on yourself. What does it take to be in a successful relationship? Do all relationships look the same? Does a relationship equate to happiness? Why and when should you marry?

The Sleep Mindset – An excerpt from Ritual

Do you lack motivation on Monday? Are Monday morning blues making you dizzy? While at your work desk, all you can think about is the warm cocoon of your bed, but the moment the moon is at its apex you cannot sleep. Are you also one of the many people who cannot sleep at night and feel sleepy during the day? Being an author, columnist, and podcaster who has written on beauty and wellness for more than two decades, Vasudha Rai brings a solution to your sleeping problems and others to renew your mind, body and spirit through, Ritual: Daily Practices for Wellness, Beauty & Bliss. Here’s an excerpt from her book for a healthy sleep mindset.

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Ritual: Daily Practices for Wellness, Beauty & Bliss
Ritual: Daily Practices for Wellness, Beauty & Bliss || Vasudha Rai

When we sleep well, we perform better the next day, our interpersonal relationships are better, we’re inspired to work out, eat healthy and make the right choices. On the contrary, when we don’t get enough sleep, we’re not inspired to do anything at all. The first step of sleep hygiene then is to put away your phone which will only happen when you are determined. Try replacing your smartphone or tablet with a book (especially one that is mildly academic/ slow paced). It may not be as stimulating as social media, but that is the whole point.

If you’re an overthinker, it may be a good idea to write down a list of things to do the next day, lest you forget. In Ayurveda, this is especially recommended for the ambitious pitta type. Vata types do well with a warm oil foot massage that works to ground their flight, anxious energy. Kapha types usually don’t have a problem falling asleep – for them the problem is oversleeping). But whether it’s journaling, meditation, massage, sound healing, the idea is to wind down and destress. The mind cannot run at a breakneck speed and then be expected to calm down and then help you fall asleep.

Someone like me who gets stimulated easily prefers to either read a non-fiction/ knowledge book or indulge in a sound bath before bed. Personally, I find that sometimes even reading on my phone is okay as long as I’m looking up information about beauty, health and wellness. For me these are comforting areas of interest. For you it could be language, astronomy or art history. If I get involved in an engaging conversation I stay awake longer. So even if I’m on my phone, I avoid social media because I don’t want to be faced with excitement, fear, revulsion, admiration, or any other stimulating information right before bed.

The big worry is if we will be able to sleep at all. Often the inability to fall asleep is what keeps us up all night. I remember reading an article about sleep management a while back on a particular night that I spent tossing and turning. It was almost 4am and I couldn’t bear the thought of listening to the birdsong in the morning after a night I had laid awake. So I picked up my phone and looked up ‘What can you do when you can’t sleep all night’. Among the various tips the author had given one line stood out so beautifully that I remember it to this day. A somnologist said something on the lines of ‘ultimately you will go to sleep at some point, it may not come soon enough but it will come for sure’. I felt comforted by that and have worried a little bit lesser since then.

The paradox is that when we try to stay up is when we fall asleep the soonest. So my trick when I’m wakeful in the middle of the night is to do something, instead of just tossing around in bed. I keep a heavy academic book, with difficult concepts in my bedside drawer. It could also be an old, classic novel. Something heavy and verbose always makes me feel drowsy. But that’s just me, we are all different and have different needs. Think about it like this – we feel the sleepiest when we’re trying to stay awake. So instead of tossing and turning waiting for it to come, engage yourself in something boring. You could step out of the room for a few minutes, lie down and listen to a guided meditation, journal your thoughts. If you wake up in the middle of the night and aren’t able to go to sleep, try one of these, or anything else that does not involve a screen.

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Get your copy of Ritual from your nearest bookstore or Amazon.

5 Ways in Which You Can Mickeymize Yourself to a Healthier Life

Life is all about the hustle and bustle. Between polarities, we are constantly being pushed and pulled, against our own will, which leads us to being exhausted and emotionally fraught people.
Global leading wellness coach and corporate life coach Mickey Mehta in The Shoonyam Quotient will help you discover your mind and body in a different way as he makes you introspect about the different facets of your life, to become your source of infinite potential. He will also show you how to be neither pessimistic nor optimistic, but optimized-primed to become the best version of yourself.
Here are 5 ways in which you can simplify your life and mickeymize it.
Shoonya lies within you

Set your priorities right!

Dwell on your personal experiences to look for the Shoonyam Quotient

Let your thoughts and intentions be clear

When you are watching, that’s the time, that’s the moment: transformational vortex

So, how are you going to mickeymize yourself?

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