August is a month that either gets a lot of love or a lot of ire. It’s the last month of summer, which means some revel in its lazy days, while others see it as the inevitable end to fun, sun, and freedom. Whatever your stance, August is a great month to take a journey. Whether it is a physical or spiritual journey, it just feels right to embark on an exploration, just as we did as children when taking that last vacation of the summer with our families or preparing ourselves mentally and emotionally for safe passage through a new school year. In honor of August’s wanderlust and its nudge to prepare you for an intellectual odyssey, here are the best wellness books of the month. Allow these five amazing books to take you on incredible journeys without ever leaving your home.
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Journey to Japan to find Happiness
IKIGAI: THE JAPANESE SECRET TO A LONG AND HAPPY LIFE
By Héctor García and Francesc Miralles
What is ikigai? It is a reason for living, and according to the Japanese, everyone has one. When you have a strong sense of your ikigai, every day is happy and full of meaning and passion. In García and Miralles’s new book, they take you on a journey to a Japanese village which is one of the world’s Blue Zones (areas where people live the longest, happiest lives). Experience stories of drive, inspiration, and community; and find breathing and physical exercises, all of which will inspire you to find your ikigai.
Must stop spot: Chapter IX – How to Face Life’s Challenges Without Letting Stress and Worry Age You
“In order to keep their minds virtuous, the Stoics practiced something like negative visualization: They imagined the worst thing that could happen in order to be prepared if certain privileges and pleasures were taken from them.”
A Global Journey for Your Tastebuds
HELLO! MY NAME IS TASTY: GLOBAL DINER FAVORITES FROM PORTLAND’S TASTY RESTAURANTS
by John Gorman and Liz Crain
In his new book, chef John Gorman takes inspiration from his famous Portland, Oregon restaurants (Tasty n Alder and Tasty n Sons) where he combines global flavors to create new yet comforting food done shareable style and brings them into your kitchen. These worldly and supremely satisfying brunch recipes are complete with drink, sides, and sandwich recipes to round things out. You can visit Korea through their Bim Bop Bacon and Eggs or Korean Fried Chicken, the UK with The Whole Toad, or the Southern U.S. with some Pimento Cheese and a Fried Green Tomato BLT. Whatever your choice, the dishes are delicious, and you don’t have to have your passport handy to enjoy them.
Must stop spot: Shakshuka with Baked Eggs Recipe
Invite some buddies over and explore this Israeli dish found in the Brunch, Bigger Plates section. It’s one of chef John Gorman’s most popular dishes in the Rose City. (Don’t forget the Tasty Mary for the adults.)
Explore the Present Moment
MINDFULNESS ON THE GO CARDS: 52 SIMPLE MEDITATION PRACTICES YOU CAN DO ANYWHERE
By Jan Chozen Bays
You’re busy. We get it. We’re busy too—so busy that sometimes we “don’t have time” for self-care, like exercising, taking a bath to relax, or even cooking for ourselves. It also means we think we don’t have time for meditation—but Jan Chozen Bays has proven us wrong. Based on her book of the same name, this set of cards will make it nearly impossible for you to avoid including meditation and mindfulness into your busy life. These exercises are as simple as suggesting you use your nondominant hand (requiring you to be more aware) and that you avoid using filler words (like “um” and “well”). If you’ve been looking for a little more mindfulness, these cards can help you travel to that place faster than your commute.
Must stop spot: Filler Words Exercise
“I think you’re all enlightened until you open your mouths.” — Zen Master Suzuki Roshi
Explore the Body
STRESS-PROOF: THE SCIENTIFIC SOLUTION TO PROTECT YOUR BRAIN AND BODY–AND BE MORE RESILIENT EVERY DAY
By Mithu Storoni
Stress is a part of life—after all, without some stress responses, humans wouldn’t have survived this long (hello, flight or fight). But that doesn’t mean it’s always good for us, especially if it’s starting to take over parts of our lives. Luckily, Mithu Storoni, a Cambridge-trained doctor, has been studying stress for us and provides seven paths to fighting stress and strengthening our natural defenses in her new book Stress-Proof. Groundbreaking but amazingly practical, this guide covers common causes of stress and amazing hacks that translate cutting-edge science into easily applicable tools.
Must stop spot: Chapter 3 – Getting Runaway Cortisol Under Control
“You want to produce the right amount of cortisol when you are stressed. Not any more, not any less.”
A Journey Into Your Soul
THE POCKET PEMA CHÖDRÖN
By Pema Chödrön
Pema Chödrön is a bestselling author and beloved-by-many Buddhist nun. Her writings have informed and inspired for years. This new pocket version distills some of Chödrön’s wisdom and writings into a travel-friendly collection—even if you are only traveling inside your own consciousness. Her teachings on breaking free of destructive patterns and developing kindness and joy are some of the most inspiring out there, and you won’t regret letting her be your Sherpa as you search for inner peace.
Must stop spot: Chapter 22 – Getting the Knack of Hopelessness
“[Hopelessness] is the beginning of the beginning. Without giving up hope—that there’s somewhere better to be, that there’s someone better to be—we will never relax with where we are or who we are.”
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