Resilience Reading List | Books to give your mental strength a boost
Our Editor’s picks for the Winter
Winter is a time that we can all benefit from a little resilience boost, both physically and mentally. The sickness bugs are on the rise and the reduced hours of daylight leave us feeling a little less buoyant. So what are we to do?
Well, as resilience is such a big theme in the In8 camp, we would say to use your Adaptability & Flexibility (from The Top 10 Traits of Highly Resilient People) to roll with the changes and make the most of the season.
So it’s dark and cold – let’s get cozy and catch up on rest with some good books.
So it’s the season of germs – let’s drink more ginger tea and nourish our body with some extra nutrients (see our supplements if that’s your thing).
Personally, I like to match my reading list to my current obsession, and as I’m heading for my winter half marathon training block, I’m currently obsessing about running and nutrition.
Right now I have Rich Roll’s Finding Ultra on Audible, which is great for listening to while I’m working out, or just winding down for bed in the evening. Next to my bed I have a paperback copy of Helen Rebello’s The Magical Unfolding, and (yes, I’m a scanner personality and always have tons of content on the go) Brené Brown’s Rising Strong.
All have a strong resilience theme, and have become the inspiration for this reading list post.
Both the Holidays and January are a great time to get buried in some books, and Winter seems like the ideal season to focus on resilience – so without further ado, here are a list of resilience-themed books I would like to recommend.
Books on General Resilience
Taz Thornton’s Unleash Your Awesome was a book I first read a few years ago, while I was going through a tough time.
Taz’s story of overcoming her darkest days mixed with her tips for turning life around and unleashing your full potential is just what I needed. But I won’t lend you my copy because I’m still dipping into it from time to time!
Helen Rebello’s The Magical Unfolding is one I mentioned above, and one that lives on my night stand. It first came out when I was in Venice, running the 2018 Marathon in a storm and a shin-height flood (what the locals call the Acqua Alta).
I’ve met the lovely Helen a few times, and she told me that she actually wrote some of the manuscript in Venice, so that was a lovely connection. Venice is a magical place, and the theme of Helen’s book is unfolding the magic within. It’s a must-read.
Brené Brown’s Rising Strong is another that I mentioned in my introduction. Basically, any of Brené’s book are worth their weight in gold, but this one was my most recent read from her, so freshest in my mind.
The theme of this book is resilience in it’s purest form. We fall down, we get back up, and there is deep learning and magic in that process of rising again.
Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis is another book that, for me, has resilience written all over it. Rachel shares some deeply personal stories from her own journey with love, life, family and health, including the time she worked herself into illness. Well worth a read!
The first trait that we talk about in the Top 10 Traits of Highly Resilient People is insight. There’s nothing like a perspective check to open your mind and get you looking onwards to those conditioned ways of thinking that may be holding you back in life.
For this reason, I’d like to recommend checking out Nick Haines and Rúna Magnúsdóttir’s book, The Story of Boxes. It takes a refreshing look at what limits human beings, and what we need to change.
The Real Self Love Handbook by Dr. Andrea Pennington is one you could say I’m perhaps slightly biased about, as she is our Founder here at In8Vitality – but who better to tell us about boosting our resilience through self love than the Founder of In8Vitality! Am I right?
The whole team is so proud that Dr. Andrea’s book was hitting the top of the charts from day 1, and we hope it continues to touch many more readers.
Resilience & Adventure
As I said above, I am currently obsessing over stories of resilience in running, especially plant-based ultra running (see my diary post on going vegan). Rich Roll’s Finding Ultra will surprise you with how far back up a person can bounce after a low period, which for Rich included alcoholism.
I particularly love that he re-fell in love with sport a little later in life. As I approach 40 I now feel that my athlete phase is just beginning!
Anna McNuff’s Pants of Perspective is her real-life account of running New Zealand’s 3000 KM long Te Araroa Trail. You could say that you don’t really know what you are capable of until you are alone in the wilds, trying to cross a river with a heavy backpack and no phone signal.
If you love a heart-warming adventure read featuring resilience lessons and beautiful friendships born along the way, then this is the perfect book.
Deri Llewellyn-Davies is a friend of ours here at In8Vitality; you might have seen him speak at GLÆ or learned from him at Diamond Life Design. If you haven’t read Life’s Great Adventure, then this is Deri’s story of finding himself through some quite extreme adventuring. The biggest one was his time on Everest, where he survived the famous earthquake where many didn’t make it.
Resilience & Family
Okay, where are the sleep-deprived parents at?
We’ve got a couple of wonderful children’s authors on our radar who are sure to give you some much needed relief at bedtime.
Gitte Winter Graugaard has a wonderful bedtime book, The Children’s Meditations In My Heart. The meditations in this book help kids move their focus away from their many thoughts that often keep them awake, and down into their bodies, where they can feel their tiredness and drift off peacefully.
For some extra magic, watch Gitte’s recent TEDx talk here on YouTube.
Another wonderful children’s author in our universe is Signe Rhode. WHY Do I Have to Sleep?: A Sleep-Inducing Bedtime Story about William, Inspired by Mindfulness for Children could just be the answer to your evening prayers!
Signe’s story is written to help children let go of overthinking, which is a fantastic life skill for general resilience, not just for sleep.
And I’d also like to offer this deeply heart-felt read for anyone struggling with childlessness. Author Lesley Pyne shares her own journey in Finding Joy Beyond Childlessness. The Holidays can be a tough time for people in this position. I’m sure you will find Lesley’s resilience inspiring.
Health & Resilience
No book list on health and resilience should begin without this classic from Anita Moorjani! Dying to Be Me is truly inspirational, and really shows what’s possible for a resilient human being. Already read it? Read it again!
Here at In8Vitality we place a great deal of emphasis on the relevance of the mind-body connection, and just like with Anita’s story above, we know that how you think and feel about yourself directly impacts you physically too.
Dr. Mike Dow’s book, Your Subconscious Brain Can Change Your Life, offers a groundbreaking approach to activate the subconscious brain to set yourself free from your past. A perfect start to your new year.
This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay is a darkly funny memoir of a fledgling doctor – but only read it if you are not squeamish about bodily fluids and medical talk. You have been warned! While this book may not be for everybody, I found it inspiring and humbling. We just don’t appreciate our medics enough -they are truly resilient souls.
I actually listened to Adam’s book on Audible while out on my summer training runs this year. I was laughing out loud, snorting even while running, so I’m sure most of the locals think I’m a little bit eccentric…
Dipping back into the subconscious mind again, here’s another book to take you further down the psychological rabbit hole. If you know anything about Carl Jung (see author Ofkje Teeken’s further down) then you will have heard of the concept of the ‘shadow self’.
In Bringing Your Shadow Out of the Dark, author Robert Augustus Masters explains how our shadow contains our un-faced conditioning. There is plenty of food for thought in here if you are doing some inward reflecting, and the foreword is by Lissa Rankin, which is a big tick for us!
Anthologies & Co-Authored Books
In our last section here, I’d like to recommend a few multi-authored books, as these really offer a bit of something for every reader.
So on the theme of Resilience, of course I have to be cheeky again and recommend a book from our sister company, Make Your Mark Global, which is of course our upcoming The Top 10 Traits of Highly Resilient People (head here to be notified when it goes on sale, and to take our 30 Days of Resilience Challenge).
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many of these authors personally, and even heard some of their stories told from the stage. It’s an inspiring read for your New Year’s book list.
If you love variety and would enjoy stories that run the gamut from being a first responder during 9/11, to leaving an abusive marriage, and all sorts in between, then grab two copies of Priya Rana Kapoor’s Give YourSelf Permission Anthology – one for you and one to give as a gift.
Among the 44 personal stories you will find resilience galore, and a whole lot of heart.
Ofkje Teekens is a Jungian Therapist, author and coach from The Netherlands. Together with author Mona Winbrant, they have just released their collaborative book Life-Shift Stories. Nobody makes a big life shift without resilience, and a healthy dose of bravery. This is an inspirational read for when you are looking at making a change yourself.
And finally, I couldn’t let this opportunity pass without mentioning Life After Trauma – but this one comes with a warning, you will probably ugly-cry, so don’t read it on public transport!
This was another Make Your Mark Global co-authored anthology of stories, and I’ve met some of these authors too, and yes, I ugly-cried throughout the book. But sometimes we need a good cry. It’s healthy to get in touch with our feelings in this way.
I think that sometimes society likes to perpetuate the myth that resilience is another form of ‘manning up’ or if you’re from the UK like me, having that British stiff upper lip’… but I think society has it all wrong.
I think that true resilience is about being grounded enough to feel your feelings – the good and the bad – and to work with them. To keep forging your way, while staying open and positive.
So that’s my two cents. I hope you find some new reads here to brighten up your winter. If you find a new author that you love, then spread some joy and give them a shout out on social media – we love that stuff! Hey, tag us too @In8Vitality!