Feel-good books to read when feeling stressed or bored

The book by Claude M Bristol was first published in 1948, but remains a gem till date for helping people feel positive and hopeful during low times

By Reya Mehrotra

Books have the power to uplift us even when things are bleaky. Here, we bring to you a few feel-good books which you can read if you are feeling stressed, bogged down or just plain bored sitting at home due to the lockdown.

The Magic of Believing
The book by Claude M Bristol was first published in 1948, but remains a gem till date for helping people feel positive and hopeful during low times. It shares how one can overcome sadness in their lives or any other adversity by hoping for the best and visualising one’s goals. It chronicles how Bristol applied the magic of believing in his own life during World War I to survive the period.

Happiness Becomes You
Actor Tina Turner’s 2020 memoir Happiness Becomes You chronicles how she overcame obstacles to achieve success and happiness. She advises readers on how to achieve their own dreams through her experience as she worked her way up the ladder of success. She provides spiritual tools for readers to self-empower themselves by sharing how Buddhist principles saved her during adverse times.

The Happiest Man on Earth
In this memoir published by HarperCollins, Eddie Jaku narrates how his life turned around when he was a Jewish teen at the time of the Holocaust. He recalls his experience of surviving the horrors of concentration camps that he lived in for seven years, but his will to survive did not die. In gratitude for the life he had been given and that he had survived, he promised to smile everyday.

Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life
The ultimate book of happiness is undoubtedly the 2016 book Ikigai, which talks about the purpose of life that helps one find a sense of fulfillment. It reveals how Japanese traditions encourage living a full and happy life, finding passions that motivate one to wake up every morning. It is the art of doing something with full focus and joy. The authors of the book interviewed Japanese elders, who have lived a long and healthy life, and they revealed their secrets and shared their diets, lifestyle and the goal of finding one’s ikigai (purpose) in life.

Think Like a Monk: Train Your Mind for Peace and Purpose Every Day
This 2020 book by Jay Shetty talks about training the mind. A former monk, the author has written about applying the mind of a monk to everyday life—overcoming roadblocks, realising purpose and clearing negative thoughts. He also advises exercises to reduce stress and increase focus. He talks about several other themes like distinguishing between detachment and attachment, pursuing higher values like compassion, service and gratitude, among other things, while avoiding lower values like greed, lust and envy or anger that may lead to suffering.

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
Ever since British artist Charlie Mackesy has written the book, his quotes can be found everywhere, perhaps because they speak of hope and friendship. The 2019 picture book is a simple yet moving story of four friends – the boy, the mole, the fox and the horse, who stand by each other and walk together in tough times. The quotes have also been hung on walls of hospitals, in restaurants and used widely to lift people up. “When you feel out of your depth, breathe and keep moving,” said the horse. Each sentence of the book turns out to be quoteworthy. The book has already sold more than 1.4 million copies and is a good, light read for those anxious or stressed during these times. Because of its simplicity, it can be read by all regardless of age.

Deep Kindness: A Revolutionary Guide for the Way We Think, Talk and Act in Kindness
Houston Kraft’s 2020 book, Deep Kindness: A Revolutionary Guide for the Way We Think, Talk and Act in Kindness, talks about spreading kindness and compassion through everything we do. It simplifies the need to be kind for the world needs it today. It also analyses our belief in kindness and how we practice it. It shows how the world has become lonely and divided and says we must bridge the gap using empathy.

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