Here are some books and podcasts we at Canadian Mental Health Association of New Brunswick love and recommend! Whether it’s information and education based, self-help and inspiring, or a look into another person’s perspective. We believe in the power of knowledge. If you’re looking for a new book or podcast, you’ve come to right place!
Support local. Always check with your local library, new and used bookstores, and thrift stores. But if you can’t find what you’re looking for near you, we have included links on where to find it online.
Catherine Price, author of The Power of Fun, speaks with Laurie Santos, Yale professor and host of the Happiness Lab podcast about techniques that can help us attract more fun (and joy and happiness) into our lives—even now!
“Fun” as defined in the podcast:
- Playfulness– the feeling of being outside the normal responsibilities of life. Science shows that play not only feels nice, but is also good for our bodies and brains. Studies find that people who play more often are less susceptible to chronic conditions like dementia and heart disease.
- Connection– the feelings of social togetherness. Studies show that being around other people increases our positive mood and improves our mental health.
- Flow– the feeling when you are so present and passionately involved in something that time just starts flying by.
A boundary is pushing back – it is determining that you deserve to have fun and feel happy in your life. Fight back that we deserve the space to have fun, the space to pay attention to the things that we love. Time is our most valuable currency, and society pushes us to be giving ourselves to others. We have to create a boundary to protect ourselves and give ourselves permission to have fun and create that unicorn space.
Benefits of fun
When was the last time that you had fun? Maybe you’re wondering what fun even is. Catherine compiled her research into her book “The Power of Fun,” which she shares about in this episode along with some powerful personal anecdotes.
- Increases productivity
- Helps minimize burnout
- Lowers cortisol (the stress hormone)
- Can provide a sense of meaning
The Power of Fun: How to Feel Alive Again
By Catherine Price
We often think of fun as indulgent, even immature and selfish. We claim to not have time for it, even as we find hours a day for what Price calls “Fake Fun”–bingeing on television, doom-scrolling the news, or posting photos to social media, all in hopes of filling some of the emptiness we feel inside. Price makes the case that True Fun–which she defines as the magical confluence of playfulness, connection, and flow–will give us the fulfillment we so desperately seek. If you use True Fun as your compass, you will be happier and healthier. You will be more productive, less resentful, and less stressed. You will have more energy. You will find community and a sense of purpose. You will stop languishing and start flourishing. And best of all? You’ll enjoy the process. Weaving together scientific research with personal experience, Price reveals the surprising mental, physical, and cognitive benefits of fun, and offers a practical, personalized plan for how we can achieve better screen/life balance and attract more True Fun into our daily lives–without feeling overwhelmed.
Set Boundaries, Find Peace: a guide to reclaiming yourself
By Nedra Glover Tawwab
End the struggle, speak up for what you need, and experience the freedom of being truly yourself.
Healthy boundaries. We all know we should have them–in order to achieve work/life balance, cope with toxic people, and enjoy rewarding relationships with partners, friends, and family. But what do “healthy boundaries” really mean–and how can we successfully express our needs, say “no,” and be assertive without offending others? Rooted in the latest research and best practices used in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), these techniques help us identify and express our needs clearly and without apology–and unravel a root problem behind codependency, power struggles, anxiety, depression, burnout, and more.
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
By Elizabeth Gilbert
Beloved author, Elizabeth Gilbert, digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.
Fierce Self-Compassion: How women can harness kindness to speak up, claim their power and thrive
By Kristin Neff, PH.D.
Kristin Neff changed how we talk about self-care with her enormously popular first book, Self-Compassion. Now, ten years and many studies later, she expands her body of work to explore a brand-new take on self-compassion. Although kindness and self-acceptance allow us to be with ourselves as we are, in all our glorious imperfection, the desire to alleviate suffering at the heart of this mindset isn’t always gentle, sometimes it’s fierce. Drawing on a wealth of research, her personal life story and empirically supported practices, Neff demonstrates how women can use fierce and tender self-compassion to succeed in the workplace, engage in caregiving without burning out, be authentic in relationships, and end the silence around sexual harassment and abuse. Most women intuitively recognize fierceness as part of their true nature, but have been discouraged from developing it. Women must reclaim their power in order to create a healthier society and find lasting happiness. In this wise, caring, and enlightening book, Neff shows women how to reclaim balance within themselves, so they can help restore balance in the world.
Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life
By Susan David, Ph.D
Emotional agility is a revolutionary, science-based approach that allows us to navigate life’s twists and turns with self-acceptance, clear-sightedness, and an open mind. Renowned psychologist Susan David developed this concept after studying emotions, happiness, and achievement for more than twenty years. She found that no matter how intelligent or creative people are, or what type of personality they have, it is how they navigate their inner world—their thoughts, feelings, and self-talk—that ultimately determines how successful they will become. David shows how anyone can thrive in an uncertain world by becoming more emotionally agile. To guide us, she shares four key concepts that allow us to acknowledge uncomfortable experiences while simultaneously detaching from them, thereby allowing us to embrace our core values and adjust our actions so they can move us where we truly want to go.
Wolfpack: How to come Together, unleash our Power, and Change the game.
By Abby Wambach
In Wolfpack, Abby’s message to women is:
We have never been Little Red Riding Hood. We Are the Wolves.
We must wander off the path and blaze a new one: together.
She insists that women must let go of old rules of leadership that neither include or serve them. She’s created a new set of Wolfpack rules to help women unleash their individual power, unite with their Wolfpack, and change the landscape of their lives and world.
In Abby’s vision, we are not Little Red Riding Hoods, staying on the path because we’re told to. We are the wolves, fighting for a better tomorrow for ourselves, our pack, and all the future wolves who will come after us.