Holiday Reading List: Books that can change your life

As I slowly emerge from the Christmas frenzy, I dream of the holidays to come. In Australia it's a time of long afternoons, twilight swims, the sound of cicadas and beachside barbecues. If you're further North maybe it's a time for cozying up by the fireplace and watching the snowflakes fall with a hot cup of eggnog.

Wherever you are in the world, perhaps the ultimate indulgence at this time of year is to kick back in the company of a beloved book. The kind of book that feels like it was written just for you, that has you fighting off sleep to read one more chapter... and if you're lucky enough, even opens your mind and heart to see the world a little differently.

One question we hear time and time again is.... What should I read these holidays?

So, to help you find your holiday companion, we've asked a bunch of wise and wonderful wellness gurus the question:

What was the one book that changed your life?

Here's what they had to say...

What book changed/ improved/ touched/ awakened your life?

Louise Hay, You Can Heal Your Life

What did it teach you?

The connection between the way we think, talk to ourselves and feel and the wellbeing of our physical body. It taught me that our bodies (and life) can heal through the practise of self-love. It showed me that when we change our mindset and self-talk, our energy changes, and as our energy changes, our life changes. When are a connected to love, treating ourselves with kindness and practising compassion and acceptance, we strengthen our relationship with ourselves and this becomes the foundation for everything else in our life to thrive.

I would recommend this for anyone who...

Is wanting to embark on a journey of self-love and physical healing. Anyone who is craving simple, clear and practical ways to love and accept themselves more deeply and change of the old thinking that has been keeping them stuck.

Connect with Connie Chapman:

www.conniechapman.com

  What book changed/ improved/ touched/ awakened your life?    The Happiness Trap by Dr Russ Harris    What did it teach you?    How to better understand my thoughts. This has had such a profound impact on how strongly my thoughts influence me and allowed me to become empowered in choosing which thoughts I listen to (and act upon!).   I would recommend this book for anyone who...      Is interested in understanding more about their own mind and how thoughts can impact their choices and behaviours. It also contains a great variety of practical exercises based on acceptance and commitment therapy and mindfulness! It's both an interesting and insightful read, with real potential to help readers make beneficial changes in their daily lives.   Connect wit Rachael Kable:    www.rachaelkable.com

What book changed/ improved/ touched/ awakened your life?

The Happiness Trap by Dr Russ Harris

What did it teach you? 

How to better understand my thoughts. This has had such a profound impact on how strongly my thoughts influence me and allowed me to become empowered in choosing which thoughts I listen to (and act upon!).

I would recommend this book for anyone who...

 Is interested in understanding more about their own mind and how thoughts can impact their choices and behaviours. It also contains a great variety of practical exercises based on acceptance and commitment therapy and mindfulness! It's both an interesting and insightful read, with real potential to help readers make beneficial changes in their daily lives.

Connect wit Rachael Kable:

www.rachaelkable.com

  What book changed/ improved/ touched/ awakened your life?    Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes    What did it teach you?   How domestication is the dysfunctional norm, and how important it is that we access and express our inner wild woman.   I would recommend this book for anyone who...   Has a vagina, or loves someone who does.   Connect with Lauren Tober:    www.laurentober.com

What book changed/ improved/ touched/ awakened your life?

Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

What did it teach you?

How domestication is the dysfunctional norm, and how important it is that we access and express our inner wild woman.

I would recommend this book for anyone who...

Has a vagina, or loves someone who does.

Connect with Lauren Tober:

www.laurentober.com

  What book changed/ improved/ touched/ awakened your life?   There are few things that I love more than snuggling up with a book that teaches me how to live with a little more love, clarity or courage. At this time of year. I always have one book within arms reach:  S pirited by Rachel McDonald    What did it teach you?   Spirited is a game changer. It gave me the tools to clarify who I truly wanted to be and how to take steps to get there. In this book, Rachel cuts through 'ideas' and gives you the tools to put your dreams into action. Spirited reminds me of that Oprah quote "We all want to fulfil our truest highest potential - we have to know what sparks the light in us to illuminate the world".   I would recommend this book for anyone who...   Is seeking a greater sense of direction, purpose or inner connection.  Spirited gives you a roadmap and actionable wisdom to get you on a path that feel like your own. It is the perfect companion for the beginning of a year or the beginning of a new chapter.    

What book changed/ improved/ touched/ awakened your life?

There are few things that I love more than snuggling up with a book that teaches me how to live with a little more love, clarity or courage. At this time of year. I always have one book within arms reach:

Spirited by Rachel McDonald

What did it teach you?

Spirited is a game changer. It gave me the tools to clarify who I truly wanted to be and how to take steps to get there. In this book, Rachel cuts through 'ideas' and gives you the tools to put your dreams into action. Spirited reminds me of that Oprah quote "We all want to fulfil our truest highest potential - we have to know what sparks the light in us to illuminate the world".

I would recommend this book for anyone who...

Is seeking a greater sense of direction, purpose or inner connection.  Spirited gives you a roadmap and actionable wisdom to get you on a path that feel like your own. It is the perfect companion for the beginning of a year or the beginning of a new chapter. 

 

     What book changed/ improved/ touched/ awakened your life?    True Refuge by Tara Brach.     What did it teach you?   It came at a time when I really needed it, when I needed to be reminded that life is easier when we learn to accept things as they are, rather than trying to control the things we cannot. It allowed me to get peace and clarity during a time when I was struggling.    I would recommend this book to anyone who...   is finding it hard to accept something in their life, if they are struggling with wanting things to be different when they cannot control them, or if they would like to learn about meditation. 

 

What book changed/ improved/ touched/ awakened your life?

True Refuge by Tara Brach. 

What did it teach you?

It came at a time when I really needed it, when I needed to be reminded that life is easier when we learn to accept things as they are, rather than trying to control the things we cannot. It allowed me to get peace and clarity during a time when I was struggling. 

I would recommend this book to anyone who...

is finding it hard to accept something in their life, if they are struggling with wanting things to be different when they cannot control them, or if they would like to learn about meditation. 

  What book changed/ improved/ touched/ awakened your life?    The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown.    What did it teach you?   The antidote to shame is empathy. By courageously acknowledging the shame we carry and owning the attached stories, shame cannot survive.   I would recommend this book for anyone who...   is struggling to feel comfortable in their own skin - for whatever reason that may be.   Connect with Rebecca Ray:    www.rebeccaray.com.au

What book changed/ improved/ touched/ awakened your life?

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown.

What did it teach you?

The antidote to shame is empathy. By courageously acknowledging the shame we carry and owning the attached stories, shame cannot survive.

I would recommend this book for anyone who...

is struggling to feel comfortable in their own skin - for whatever reason that may be.

Connect with Rebecca Ray:

www.rebeccaray.com.au

  What book changed/ improved/ touched/ awakened your life?    The Happiness Trap   by Russ Harris  (that's two votes for this book)   What did it teach you?   That my definition of happiness was actually getting in the way of experiencing satisfaction, joy, and gratitude in life. This book (particularly the first few chapters) outlines how we often set ourselves up for disappointment and get stuck in the trap of happiness, by putting high expectations that we should be feeling ‘joy’ or ‘ecstatic' all the time. When in fact, true happiness comes from experiencing harmony with our values, life satisfaction, self compassion, connection with others, and self awareness.    I would recommend this book for anyone who...   Is struggling with understanding why they don’t feel happy enough, is constantly comparing themselves to other ‘happy’ people, or who are constantly getting trapped in cycles of stress, depression, anxiety, poor relationships and they don’t know why.   Connect with Jess McCallum:    www.confidentlife.com.au

What book changed/ improved/ touched/ awakened your life?

The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris (that's two votes for this book)

What did it teach you?

That my definition of happiness was actually getting in the way of experiencing satisfaction, joy, and gratitude in life. This book (particularly the first few chapters) outlines how we often set ourselves up for disappointment and get stuck in the trap of happiness, by putting high expectations that we should be feeling ‘joy’ or ‘ecstatic' all the time. When in fact, true happiness comes from experiencing harmony with our values, life satisfaction, self compassion, connection with others, and self awareness. 

I would recommend this book for anyone who...

Is struggling with understanding why they don’t feel happy enough, is constantly comparing themselves to other ‘happy’ people, or who are constantly getting trapped in cycles of stress, depression, anxiety, poor relationships and they don’t know why.

Connect with Jess McCallum:

www.confidentlife.com.au

  What book changed/ improved/ touched/ awakened your life?    The Upward Spiral by Alex Korb.    I read this book to help with my clinical work but I found it helpful personally to motivate me to make small changes to improve my daily mood and stress levels. The book runs through actions you can take that will help treat and prevent depression and explains positive brain changes that occur as a result in an easy to understand way. I recommend it to clients who like to read.   What did it teach you?   Small daily activities can make a big difference to brain chemistry. Since reading the book I've taken on board the message that exercise is one of the most positive steps you can make to feel happier and even small amounts count. Now I exercise most days of the week and on days where time is tight for at least 7 minutes.   I would recommend this book for anyone who...   Would like to learn more about how your brain changes in response to your actions and those who have experienced depression, especially recurrent depression.   Connect with Nadene Van Der Linden:    www.lindenclinicalpsychology.com.au

What book changed/ improved/ touched/ awakened your life?

The Upward Spiral by Alex Korb. 

I read this book to help with my clinical work but I found it helpful personally to motivate me to make small changes to improve my daily mood and stress levels. The book runs through actions you can take that will help treat and prevent depression and explains positive brain changes that occur as a result in an easy to understand way. I recommend it to clients who like to read.

What did it teach you?

Small daily activities can make a big difference to brain chemistry. Since reading the book I've taken on board the message that exercise is one of the most positive steps you can make to feel happier and even small amounts count. Now I exercise most days of the week and on days where time is tight for at least 7 minutes.

I would recommend this book for anyone who...

Would like to learn more about how your brain changes in response to your actions and those who have experienced depression, especially recurrent depression.

Connect with Nadene Van Der Linden:

www.lindenclinicalpsychology.com.au

  What book changed/ improved/ touched/ awakened your life?    The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky . This book is solid introduction to positive psychology and covers almost all main areas which are relevant to building psychological wellbeing.   What did it teach you?   Happiness is a choice. We need to prioritise happiness, value and nurture it. Nobody gains from us being miserable.   I would recommend this book for anyone who...  Anyone interested in wellbeing, living a good life, learning about happiness. It’s the perfect starter’s kit.   Connect with Natalie Barker:    www.hellohappiness.com.au

What book changed/ improved/ touched/ awakened your life?

The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky. This book is solid introduction to positive psychology and covers almost all main areas which are relevant to building psychological wellbeing.

What did it teach you?

Happiness is a choice. We need to prioritise happiness, value and nurture it. Nobody gains from us being miserable.

I would recommend this book for anyone who...
Anyone interested in wellbeing, living a good life, learning about happiness. It’s the perfect starter’s kit.

Connect with Natalie Barker:

www.hellohappiness.com.au

  What book changed/ improved/ touched/ awakened your life?   The book that has changed and improved my life on a daily basiis  Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod.     What did it teach you?   This book helped me get more aligned and connected to myself! A friend of mine offered it to me for my birthday and I hadn't read a good book in a long time. I didn't know that it was on self development and now I can say that it is pretty much a bible. I underlined the sentences and quotes that resonated with me, and downloaded the app that is suggested for daily affirmations! This book has had an incredibly positive impact on my life.   I would recommend this book for anyone who...   Anyone who is trying to find ways to keep on the right track, to stay balanced or to feel more motivated.   Connect with Caroline Pelland:    www.thefrenchienomad.com  

What book changed/ improved/ touched/ awakened your life?

The book that has changed and improved my life on a daily basiis Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. 

What did it teach you?

This book helped me get more aligned and connected to myself! A friend of mine offered it to me for my birthday and I hadn't read a good book in a long time. I didn't know that it was on self development and now I can say that it is pretty much a bible. I underlined the sentences and quotes that resonated with me, and downloaded the app that is suggested for daily affirmations! This book has had an incredibly positive impact on my life.

I would recommend this book for anyone who...

Anyone who is trying to find ways to keep on the right track, to stay balanced or to feel more motivated.

Connect with Caroline Pelland:

www.thefrenchienomad.com 

  What book changed/ improved/ touched/ awakened your life?   There have been many but I will have to go with  Shawn Achor's  The Happiness Advantage   as it's the book that introduced me to positive psychology and started me on the path that turned me into the Happyologist®.   What did it teach you?   Happiness is a daily choice - and the more you choose it, the easier it is to repeat the choice.   I would recommend this book for anyone who...   This book is great if you want a nice introduction to some of the most effective positive psychology practices and if you're looking for inspiration in taking it to your workplace.   Connect with Susanna Halonen:    www.happyologist.co.uk

What book changed/ improved/ touched/ awakened your life?

There have been many but I will have to go with Shawn Achor's The Happiness Advantage as it's the book that introduced me to positive psychology and started me on the path that turned me into the Happyologist®.

What did it teach you?

Happiness is a daily choice - and the more you choose it, the easier it is to repeat the choice.

I would recommend this book for anyone who...

This book is great if you want a nice introduction to some of the most effective positive psychology practices and if you're looking for inspiration in taking it to your workplace.

Connect with Susanna Halonen:

www.happyologist.co.uk

  What book changed/ improved/ touched/ awakened your life?    The Catcher in the Rye (J D Salinger)    What did it teach you?   Growing up can be hard; too often involves becoming “phoney”; and that we should try to hold on to our innocence and authenticity as long as we can!   I would recommend this book for anyone who...   Anyone who’s interested in self-discovery and self-development and who believes in the value of genuine individuality!   Connect with Tim Sharp:     www.drhappy.com.au

What book changed/ improved/ touched/ awakened your life?

The Catcher in the Rye (J D Salinger)

What did it teach you?

Growing up can be hard; too often involves becoming “phoney”; and that we should try to hold on to our innocence and authenticity as long as we can!

I would recommend this book for anyone who...

Anyone who’s interested in self-discovery and self-development and who believes in the value of genuine individuality!

Connect with Tim Sharp: 

www.drhappy.com.au


We hope some the books in this list land in your lap at just the right moment and touch your life with their wisdom and insight. 

We'd love to hear your thoughts on any books that have touched/opened/awakened or changed your life -- please share in the comments below. 

Warm wishes for the new year,

Kass and Alicia x