“The secret of living a life of excellence is merely a matter of thinking thoughts of excellence. Really, it’s a matter of programming our minds with the kind of information that will set us free.”
(Charles R. Swindoll)
The selection of books below are all available to buy via Amazon.co.uk. Please note that the links will not always show you the cheapest option to buy. So, it’s worth checking, if there are kindle, paperback or second hand copies available, if you would prefer those. You can also consider looking for these books on other websites or bookshops, as Amazon is not always the cheapest source.
The Power of Focusing: Finding your inner voice by Anne Weiser Cornell – An easy to understand introduction to a self-healing practice called focusing. The principles of focusing was developed from research about what helps people to get better in therapy. You can learn a helpful way to turn toward your inner experiences without making instant judgements and learn to just listen to and learn from your deeper layers of knowing, wanting and understanding. The impact of developing this more accepting and attentive relationship with yourself is profoundly healing and makes changes become possible you could only dream before.
The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You by Dr.Elaine N. Aron This is the seminal book about highly sensitive people, a must-read for anyone, who suspects that they have a more sensitive nervous system than the average person. It is alas not widely known yet, that 15-20% of people are born with a more finely tuned nervous system that brings with it its advantages (ability to notice subtle details, ability to think and process information deeply, high levels of empathy, flourish in positive environments) and disadvantages (can easily feel overstimulated and overwhelmed, can have very intense emotions, deeply hurt by negative environments). If this sounds familiar to you, you could be a highly sensitive person, who could learn a lot from this book about how your needs are different from the average person and what kind of life would suit your sensitive nature.
The Art Of Effortless Living by Ingrid Bacci – An eye opening book that writes about steps toward creating a successful life that requires less effort and struggle. It helps you to break free from the idea that only hard work achieves anything and paves the way toward a more authentic life that fits more to who you really are.
Hold Me Tight: Your Guide to the Most Successful Approach to Building Loving Relationships by Dr. Sue Johnson – An essential book that everyone should read who wants to understand what brings love back for couples who are struggling to communicate about their needs to each other and locked in futile arguments or silence that pushes them apart.
Dancing With Fear: Controlling Stress and Creating a Life Beyond Panic and Anxiety by Paul Foxman – Learn helpful techniques from this book to manage your anxiety and healthy ways to calm yourself.
The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy: Engaging the Rhythm of Regulation by Deb Dana – This excellent book can open your eyes to the physiological impact of trauma and how to retrain your autonomic nervous system, if it is stuck in constant fight/flight/freeze or emotional shut down. An important guide written for therapists working with the effects of trauma and it is just as helpful reading for anyone effected by trauma. It creates an an easy to understand framework of learning first to recognize the states of your autonomic nervous system (socially engaged – calm, relaxed)/ fight or flight – active mobilization (stressed)/ dorsal shutdown – passive immobilization) and then learning about ways to bring yourself from shutdown or stressed states to the calm and socially engaged state. There is also an excellent free downloadable begginer’s guide to the theoretical framework on Deb Dana’s website.
Accessing the Healing Power of the Vagus Nerve is a practical guide to understanding the cranial nerves as the key to our psychological and physical wellbeing. Drawing from the polyvagal theory of Stephen Porges–one of the biggest new developments in human neurobiology–Rosenberg explains in easy-to-understand terms how the vagus nerve, in particular, has a strong role in determining our psychological and emotional state, especially when it comes to how we relate and react to other people. By understanding the physiology of the autonomic nervous system and practicing simple exercises to restore proper vagal functioning, we can learn how to improve our emotional state within minutes. Those suffering from anxiety, depression, panic, and trauma will find much that is useful here, as well as those with physical ailments such as chronic pain and digestive problems. Additionally, because the vagus nerve is a key regulator of social interaction, therapy for proper vagal functioning has great potential for helping those with autism spectrum disorders.
Healing Trauma: A Pioneering Program for Restoring the Wisdom of Your Body by Peter Levine – Traumas are fragmented memories stored in our body of overwhelming experiences that our nervous system could’t process properly. To avoid these disturbing memories often we learn to avoid paying attention to the signals of our body. When we disconnect from the wisdom of our body that informs us what feels good and essential to us and what is hurting us – we loose a powerful inner guide that can direct us toward a life that works well for us. This self help book has a step by step program to restore safety with your inner experiences and improve your relationship to your body.
8 Keys to Safe Trauma Recovery: Take-charge Strategies to Empower Your Healing (8 Keys to Mental Health) by Babette Rothschild – Learn some essential tools from this book for recovering safely from trauma and PTSD. Babette Rothschild is one of the most highly regarded therapist and author in the field of working with trauma, who wrote some key books about it for professionals (The Body Remembers, Help for the Helper). She summarises her extensive expertise about healing trauma in this small and easily accessible book, to give readers some simple key strategies that anyone can understand and do to heal from trauma.
Dr. Gabor Mate: When The Body Says NO – The Cost of Hidden Stress – Drawing on deep scientific research and Dr Gabor Maté’s acclaimed clinical work, When the Body Says No provides the answers to critical questions about the mind-body link – and the role that stress and our emotional makeup play in an array of common diseases.
Why Love Matters: How affection shapes a baby’s brain by Sue Gerhardt – An illuminating book that explains how the quality of our relationship with our mother (or primary caretaker) shapes the development of our nervous system.