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5 Inspirational Books for Troubling Times

The past year and a half has been a turbulent time throughout the globe, with the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changing the way we live, work and play. 

With all the alarming news articles and frightening pandemic statistics, you could easily be forgiven for falling into a spiral of doom and gloom. One way to combat feelings of stress and unease is to pick up a good book, particularly one with an inspirational message.

Not sure where to begin? Here’s a list of 5 inspirational books to keep your spirits up during these challenging times.

1.  Immortal Self: A Journey to the Himalayan Valley of the Amartya Masters — Aaravindha Himadra

This first book follows the spiritual journey of Aaravindha Himadra as he makes the arduous trek through the Himalyan Mountains to find the Amartya Masters. Once there, he is invited to learn and unlock their ancient teachings and embrace the art of Supreme Love. 

This transformative read will take you on your own deep dive into a more peaceful, grounded world. A must-read for all spiritual seekers – you’ll be surprised just how far your mind can travel from the safety of your arm-chair.

2. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing — Marie Kondo

The pandemic has caused many of us to spend a lot more time in our homes. With kids playing indoors and work documents spread out all over the kitchen bench, it’s easy to get bogged down in clutter, which can wreak havoc on your mental health

That’s where Marie Kondo comes in. Japanese cleaning consultant Kondo shares easy methods to declutter your home and mind in this quick read, with a little-by-little approach that isn’t overwhelming. Marie simply asks you to view items in terms of whether or not they spark joy. If they don’t make you happy, it’s time to send them on their way. Kondo’s method for cleaning need not simply apply to clothes and trinkets but can also be seen as a way to overhaul friendships and re-examine the priorities that frame our lives.

3. When Bad Things Happen to Good People — Harold Kushner

Despite originally being published in 1981, this poignant memoir stands the test of time. When Rabbi Harold S. Kushner’s young son was diagnosed with the rare and fatal aging disease, progeria, Kushner was forced to confront and re-examine his relationship with God. In this book, Kushner rejects the notion that God allows us to suffer as punishment or a learning experience, instead purporting that he is simply preserving the natural order of things. 

Kushner encourages the reader to embrace the notion that mistakes happen, people fail and hardships occur. Despite this, the world should be seen as a beautiful place where we can thrive as long as we can forgive.

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

Whether you have always suffered from anxiety or whether the pandemic has caused your worries to spike, Jen Sincero’s brilliantly blunt self-help book will help you take back control of your life. This humorous read is a tool for self-discovery, with easy exercises, amusing anecdotes and 27 chapters of great advice. 

Sincero’s book is perfect for people who can’t stomach the saccharine language or cliches common to a lot of self-help books, as she’s not afraid to drop a few swear words along the road to beating self-sabotage. 

5. Nerve – Eva Holland

Living during troubling times can often heighten our sense of unease and fan our fears. Eva Holland’s memoir, Nerve, takes us on a journey that’s part self-discovery and part scientific exploration. While Holland originally set out to deal with the grief of losing her mother, the questions she poses to scientists throughout her book are over-arching and universal, such as ‘why do we feel fear’ and ‘is there a cure for phobias?’. 

Throughout the book, Holland investigates fear by jumping out of a plane, speaking with scientists who are developing a fear disarming pill and even tracking down individuals who have a rare brain disorder that prevents them from processing fear. The result is an informative read that answers our questions around fear in an accessible and at times humorous way.

Although we are currently experiencing turbulent times around the globe, the five books listed above will help you hold thoughts of calm, gratitude and hope when the weight of the world threatens to disarm you.