Ep253-5 Books to Improve Your Mental Health During Quarantine for COVID-19

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What if you could gain control in the exact moment you feel like you’re losing control?

COVID-19 is still in full swing. What we are dealing with is unprecedented. Chances are, while you’re reading this, you’re under quarantine. There are still many questions left unanswered which can lead to many feelings of uncertainty. With that uncertainty, taking care of yourself has never been more important—specifically, taking care of your mental health during this pandemic.

Amidst the uncertainty, if we can find a sense of personal control, forward progress, and a clear headspace, we’ll be setting ourselves up for a huge advantage once this storm clears.

Below are 5 books to help you do just that.

1. Barking Up The Wrong Tree by Eric Barker - The surprising science behind why everything you know about success is (mostly) wrong

This is my favorite book I’ve ever read on success. It’s straight-talk. It’s to the point. It’s nuanced. It’s well researched. And it’s entertaining. It puts you in a powerful frame of mind and puts you in control.

My favorite takeaway: “Self compassion is better than self confidence.” Learning to have compassion for yourself is one of the greatest skills you could ever develop.

2. Ultralearning by Scott H. Young - master hard skills, outsmart the competition, and accelerate your career

What if you could become fluent in a new language in less than 3 months? Or learn how to paint like a pro in less than 30 days, or even build your own video-game? In Ultralearning, you’ll discover you can do just that. Scott H. Young not only shows that you can master very difficult skills, but provides the framework to become an “ultralearner.” (PS, I’m practicing the techniques in the book right now to learn how to play Fur Elise on the piano—even though I’ve never taken piano lessons and I don’t know how to read notes)

My favorite takeaway: The quickest and most effective way to learn is through “directness”—being in the game. Getting on the court. And being okay with messing up.

3. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield - break through the blocks and win your inner creative battles

For any creative-type, this book is a MUST read. It helps you break past the limiting beliefs and BS your brain sneaks into your head space. The core concept Steve Pressfield talks about that holds us back from getting our work done is a little thing known as “resistance.” Resistance is what gets in the way of our most important things, and you break it by “turning pro.”

My favorite takeaway: The professional knows that success, like happiness, comes as a byproduct of work. Do the work for the sake of the work itself. And let the success (or not) come of its own accord.

4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer Stone by JK Rowling

Yes, I just barely dropped Harry Potter in a list of nonfiction books. But trust me on this, it is deliberate. Through stressful times, I think it’s important to have some sort of release valve. Harry Potter could represent any fiction, but, particularly, I love how Harry is the underdog through so much of the story and how he gets many uncertain situations.

My favorite takeaway: At a meta-level, the writing in Harry Potter is so freaking fantastic! The opening of this book is my favorite opening of any book I’ve ever read. Just read the first page and see how much information JK Rolling is able to portray in a few sentences. It’s incredible.

5. Feeling Good by David D. Burns

As I asked at the beginning, what if you could gain control in the exact moment you feel like you’re losing control? This book is for just that.

Feeling Good has had more impact on my mood than any other book I’ve read in years. It is an amazingly practical book for feeling, well, “good,” regardless of the wild external stimuli we deal with (aka, the things that come from “life”).

It is filled with tools and techniques to help you stay mentally and emotionally sharp.

My favorite takeaway: The key to changing the negative self-talk isn’t through forcing positive thoughts, it’s in first recognizing the thought, and then practicing talking back. It’s not just in “thinking happy thoughts.” It’s noticing the thought, and then literally calling it out. Recognizing why it’s BS.

In times of uncertainty, health (both physically and mentally) is more important than ever. I hope one or all of these books help you a ton.

In closing, what amazing books have you read recently? What book would you add to the list?

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