Eight alternative self-help books that will make you feel good about work and life

If you've been working too hard lately, and freelancing has been getting you down, then it's time to get happy, readdress the balance and put your life back on track with these eight highly recommended books.

Image licensed via Adobe Stock

Image licensed via Adobe Stock

Tackling common issues like stress, anxiety and all the rest of it, these titles will help you remember what's important, and teach you to switch off from everyday troubles and woes. They'll give you that reassuring hug when everything feels like a struggle, and help you realise that you're going to be just fine. More importantly, they'll make you realise that happiness is attainable; you may just have to change your mindset.

1. Switch on your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking and Health by Dr Caroline Leaf

What if you could be happier if you simply changed the way you think? Allow Dr Caroline Leaf to give you a prescription for better health and wholeness through correct thinking patterns, and declare that you are not a victim of your biology. Through this most excellent book, she shares the "switch" in our brains that enables us to live happier, healthier, more enjoyable lives where we achieve our goals, maintains our weight, and even become more intelligent. She shows us how to choose life, get our minds under control, and reap the benefits of a detoxed thought life. Highly recommended.

2. Walking on Sunshine: 52 Small Steps to Happiness by Rachel Kelly

This lovely book by Rachel Kelly offers 52 tips, tools and positive ideas (one for each week of the year) to guide you through the seasons and better manage the pressures of everyday life. Written in the confidential, conversational style of a good friend and delightfully illustrated by Daily Mail cartoonist Jonathan Pugh, Walking on Sunshine will act as a constant, supportive companion through your ups and downs.

3. A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled by Ruby Wax

Outrageously witty, smart and accessible, the delightful Ruby Wax shows us how and why to change for good. With mindfulness advice for every part of our lives and a six-week course based on her studies of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy with Mark Williams at Oxford University, A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled is the only guide you need for a healthier, happier life.

4. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero

In this refreshingly entertaining how-to guide, bestselling author and world-travelling success coach, Jen Sincero, serves up 27 bite-sized chapters full of hilariously inspiring stories, sage advice, easy exercises, and the occasional swear word, helping you to: identify and change self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviours that stop you from getting what you want; create a life you totally love and create it now; make some damn money already, the kind you've never made before. By the end, you'll understand why you are how you are, how to love what you can't change, how to change what you don't love, and how to use The Force to kick some serious ass.

5. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson

For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. "Fuck positivity," Mark Manson says. "Let’s be honest, shit is fucked and we have to live with it." In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is—a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck is his antidote to the coddling, let's-all-feel-good mindset that has infected modern society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.

6. The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Living Well by Louisa Thomson Brits

The most beautiful guide to the Danish custom of hygge, the everyday life philosophy for better living. Hygge is a feeling of belonging and warmth, a moment of comfort and contentment. This beautiful little book will help you to find hygge and embrace it every day. Make a pot of coffee, relax in your favourite chair and discover for yourself how life is better with hygge.

7. The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris

Popular ideas about happiness are misleading, inaccurate, and are directly contributing to our current epidemic of stress, anxiety and depression. And unfortunately, popular psychological approaches are making it even worse. In this controversial, but empowering self-help book, Dr Russ Harries, reveals how millions of people are unwittingly caught in the "The Happiness Trap", where the more they strive for happiness the more they suffer in the long term. He then provides an effective means to escape through a groundbreaking new approach based on mindfulness skills, helping you to: reduce stress and worry, rise above fear, doubt and insecurity; break self-defeating habits; build more satisfying relationships and improve performance at work.

8. The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology that Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor

Most people want to be successful in life. And of course, everyone wants to be happy. When it comes to the pursuit of success and happiness, most people assume the same formula: if you work hard, you will become successful, and once you become successful, then you'll be happy. The only problem is that a decade of cutting-edge research in the field of positive psychology has proven that this formula is backwards. Success does not beget happiness.

Based on the largest study ever conducted on happiness and human potential (a survey conducted by the author of more than 1,600 students), Harvard lecturer Shawn Achor shares seven core principles of positive psychology that each one of us can use to improve our performance, grow our careers and gain a competitive edge at work. He reveals how happiness actually fuels success and performance, not the other way around. Why? Because when we are happier and more positive we are more engaged, creative, resilient to stress, and productive. The Happiness Advantage will appeal to anyone who wants practical advice on how to become happier and also more successful.


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