During the Stay At Home order for my state I have been reading some different books than my normal mystery/thriller genre. These would all fall under the life style/self help/motivational genre. I thought under the circumstances for now and the foreseeable future perhaps a change of mindset would be a good thing.
The Little Book of Hygge is the one that I had heard the most about although all of these were readily available from my library. I found this a good source of ideas for making your home Hygge-like as well as what Hygge actually is. There is also some interesting (for me, I love data) information about happiness and activities that create it. A good introduction to the idea of Hygge.
The Secret Therapy of Trees was a fascinating discussion of nature, specifically trees and their impact on human beings stress levels, immune systems, aggression levels, memory and cognition. While I am not sure of 100% of the research, it was still an engaging read.
In the spirit of spring cleaning, I read A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House and Mind. The focus here was on being intentional, cleaning as form of mindfulness, and how cleaning your surroundings and self is a reflection or result of your mental state. The book also discusses being mindful of your possessions, how many you have and how you care for them. Not a cleaning manual by any means, more about mindset.
Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life. This was an introduction to the idea of Ikigai. The focus here was on finding your reason for living. Engaging in a flow in your life that allows you to reach a state of optimal experience. The idea being that optimal experience occurs when we are prepared, focused, in control, free of worry, etc. This is contrasted with being in a distracted state when we are bored, exhausted, time drags, our mind wanders. One interesting concept here was actions driving emotions, rather than the other way around.
American Cozy was one of my favorite of these books, mainly because it was more grounded in practical examples and geared towards life in America. There is a little bit of everything here, home care room by room, cooking, digital detox, sleep, and maintaining personal boundaries. Great practical applications to the art of coziness.
Forest Bathing was an informative read about forest bathing with specific exercises to practice. I particularly found the connection to the senses section really helpful. There is also an overall description of forest bathing around the world and descriptions of the health benefits. If I was only going to read one book on Forest Bathing, this would probably be it, as it gives you a basic “how to” to start.
The Finnish Way is the latest one I read and I have to say that the author’s personal approach and writing style resonated with me. I felt that I related to her journey and the effect that developing Sisu had on her life. This would be a book that I would read again. Not as practical for American living as American Cozy, but more memoir like with some science thrown in with interviews of social scientists such as Dweck. Very good read!
I loved the idea in the Good Mornings book of creating rituals rather than routines. I have read many organizational books and articles over the years, but this had a different feel to it with the idea of creation of rituals. The other really nice element is that there are modifications for the “time rich” and “time poor” acknowledging the people have different life circumstances. I would recommend this to anyone looking for some new ideas of how to start their day.