It’s always fun to look back on the past year as we approach New Year’s Day. Hopefully, if we made some resolutions, we managed to keep them (or at least some of them). If not, a new year is a perfect time to reset and try again.
Many include wellness goals in their list of New Year’s resolutions, so in that spirit, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite wellness books of 2019.
A fascinating look into the science behind telomeres and what they do for our minds and bodies, this New York Times Bestseller is authored by Nobel Prize-winning Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn and Dr. Elissa Epel. Blackburn and Epel’s findings, along with research from colleagues from around the world, paints a picture of wellness based on hard science.
Quality of sleep, diet, exercise, and chemistry affects our telomeres, improving our “health spans” -the number of years we live healthy, active lives. Stress, difficult relationships, and even negative thinking can damage our telomeres. Blackburn and Epel even suggest the quality of our communities and neighborhoods can affect our telomeres.
The book offers a practical blueprint, giving suggested amounts and types of exercise, diet, and psychological exercises we can do to protect our telomeres. It also provides information about how to care for our children, helping them develop a lifestyle for them which does the same.
Physician and biochemist Cate Shanahan, M.D, the science director of the LA Lakers PRO Nutrition Program, examined some trending diets (think paleo, Okinawan, Mediterranean, and “Blue Zone.” From these, she deduced four primary nutritional strategies that consistently result in “strong, healthy, intelligent children, and active, vital elders, generation after generation.”
Dr. Shanahan proposes your family genetics do not dictate your health, and DNA can actually be changed through the food we eat. Deep Nutrition is all about health, and no so much restriction, which is why it’s one of our favorites.
Split into three sections: Prepare, Practice, and Perform- this book is a practical guide to achieving balance and calm. It’s an entertaining read because he pulls from relatable stressors most of us encounter in daily life, and addresses things like our fears, what gives us energy, and how we establish habits.
Michael Townsend Williams made a 180-degree change from corporate adman to mindfulness coach and yoga teacher. He now advocates “welldoing”- that is, leading the productive, busy lives we must to achieve, but NOT at the expense of our mental and physical health. This is where the breath takes center stage.
Williams shines a light on how breathing is an honest measurement of our reaction to stressors in life- it lets us know when we’re in over our heads if we just pay attention to it. He coaches us on breathing exercises and elements from yoga, meditation, and mindfulness, to:
Reduce stress and increase productivity
Improve focus and workflow
Cultivate new good habits and drop the bad
Build courage and resilience
Who knew so many of us weren’t breathing as well as we could be?
Carla Oates, the founder of the natural beauty company “The Beauty Chef,” has been researching, writing, and teaching about organic beauty for over a decade now. She is a woman after our own hearts.
Oates teaches that beauty begins with a well-balanced gut-bacteria, an idea that, in and of itself, isn’t exactly beautiful. Numbers don’t lie, however, and the science of nutrition shows how what we eat affects how we look.
In the book, you’ll find more than 150 recipes that are delicious and nutritious, but also a pleasure to prepare. They’re all gluten-free, and most are dairy-free, and they’re all put together with your skin and gut health in mind. These are meals that help you to look and feel better- inside and out.
The School of Life Press was established in 2016, and it’s been cranking out cool content about how to understand ourselves, understand others, improve our social lives, relationships, and careers, and find calm and happiness. It’s mission: “to educate, entertain, console, and transform us.”
It’s latest installment, “On Being Nice” is just in time. It’s cover reads:
“Most books that want to change us seek to make us richer or thinner. This book wants to help us to be nicer: that is, less irritable, more patient, readier to listen, warmer, less prickly… Niceness may not have the immediate allure of money or fame, but it is a hugely important quality nevertheless and one that we neglect at our peril. This is a guidebook to the uncharted landscape of niceness, gently leading us around the key themes of this forgotten quality. We learn how to be charitable, how to forgive, how to be natural, and how to reassure. We learn that niceness is compatible with strength and is no indicator of naivety. Niceness deserves to be rediscovered as one of the highest of all human achievements.”
Nicely put, School of Life… nicely put.
Taking the time to read whatever feeds your mind and nourishes the soul is such a great way to practice self-care. If you haven’t read them already, we hope these books will help you start your 2020 off on the right foot.