Tag Archives: #mindfulness

Books to help you get your act together

Last week we offered some ideas on how to spring clean and declutter your belongings; this week we turn inward to look at how we can declutter our minds.  Do you ever feel exhausted just thinking about change?
It’s easy to procrastinate when we feel anxious about the amount of disruption and effort we’ll need to make lasting change. Decluttering our minds means letting go of these preconceived ideas and anxieties, which can then help us welcome in fresh thinking and opportunities.  These authors are here to guide you towards greater clarity, focus and calm:

 

Declutter Your Mind by S J Scott and Barrie Davenport

Do you feel overwhelmed easily? As if your mind is spinning from too many thoughts?  Do you find it hard to get motivated? Or feel there is too much negativity around you? If you answered YES to any of these then you may be experiencing mind clutter.  Mind clutter gives rise to anxiety, stress and frustrations – issues that can only be solved by changing mindsets and behaviours. S J Scott and Barrie Davenport show how to use mindfulness techniques to declutter our thoughts, obligations, relationships and surroundings.  Declutter Your Mind is concise and readable, packed with ideas and advice.

 

 

Unstuffed: Declutter your Home, Mind and Soul by Ruth Soukup

Unstuffed helps with spring-cleaning of both our physical and mental spaces. Following Ruth Soukup’s bestseller Living Well, Spending Less, Unstuffed continues to help us reduce those cravings for more of everything – possessions, relationships, responsibilities. She encourages us to think deeply, identify our most important values and prioritise accordingly, shedding unimportant stuff in the process. She also advises on how to deal with the guilt associated with letting go! For those interested in faith and spirituality, there is also a unique section on decluttering your spirit. Unstuffed comes with an app that offers further tips and support on this decluttering journey.

 

The Life-changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k by Sarah Knight

Sarah Knight penned this irreverent but heartfelt anti-self help guide when she realised her perfectionist “good girl” tendencies were the cause of her constant stress and anxiety. So she learned to give fewer f**ks – to feel OK about not being perfect, to say yes only to things she cared about. The result is letting go of everything except the things that actually matter.  With a decluttered mind and fresh focus, Sarah Knight then takes us to the next level in Get Your Sh!t Together, which shows how to “win at life” – start prioritising and doing the things you actually want to do, while still managing all the sh*t you have to do.

 

Let it Out: a Journey through Journaling by Katie Dalebout

Journaling can be as simple as jotting down a To-Do List, or as complex as expressing your innermost feelings.  In either case, it is a powerful way of relieving a load from your mind. Let it Out is both an inspirational story and a how-to guide to Journaling.  Katie Dalebout has been journaling since her teens, discovering that her writing can be a plan, a review, therapy as well as life coach.  She credits journaling in helping her to recover from an eating disorder.  After sharing her life story in the Introduction, Katie sets out a range of journaling topics / exercises to suit different moods and purposes.  Katie’s young age and experiences make this a great book to share with the teens / young adults in your life.

 

Mindset: the New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck

When Bill Gates writes a detailed (glowing) review of a book then you know it deserves attention.  Carol Dweck is a psychology professor who popularised the idea of fixed mindset versus growth mindset. A fixed mindset assumes ability is innate and thus success is largely predetermined; while a growth mindset believes that ability is the result of effort and persistence, and thus can be attained by anyone.  A growth mindset makes us more resilient and helps us maximise our potential.  I’ve included Mindset here as inspiration of what can be achieved when our minds are unburdened by anxieties, bad habits and negative self-talk, which tend to contribute to a fixed mindset.

 

Smiling Mind

S J Scott advocated mindfulness in Declutter your Mind, but, if you’re like me, you might prefer to learn mindfulness while listening – this is where Smiling Mind comes in.  Smiling Mind is a non-profit organisation aimed at making mindfulness techniques accessible to all ages.    They have two excellent free apps (one for smart phones and a web-based app for computers) co-developed with psychologists and health professionals.   These apps offer something for everyone – there are guided practices of different lengths, separately aimed at kids, teens as well as adults.  My local school uses Smiling Mind in the classroom and I know many parents who use it in their children’s bedtime routines. The Smiling Mind website also offers tips on how to use mindfulness meditation at schools or in the workplace.

Great family board games to try

When it comes to spending time together as a family, the habit is often to jump in the car and get ‘out and about.’  Children want unhurried time with their family where you can just take pleasure in each other’s company.  Quite often, the actual activity isn’t that important.  Bearing that in mind, board games have come back into vogue and also have a secondary benefit of teaching social skills such as how to win, lose, take turns and comprehend rules together.  Some board games are particularly useful in boosting number, shape and letter recognition, as well as hand and eye coordination in children.

We may have been brought up on old favourites such as Monopoly, Cluedo and Scrabble as children, but there are a fantastic range of new board games on the market that you can play together, all available on Booko.  Here are some of our recommendations:

https-covers-booko-info300ticketTicket To Ride – Europe

The aim of this game is for players to claim train routes between European cities in turn-of-the-Century Europe.  There are different coloured routes linking cities such as Paris, Moscow and London .  Players must collect train cards that match the colour of the route to win it.  A light-hearted family game, this is best played with 4-5 players.  This game is fun and easy to understand for younger players.

https-covers-booko-info300hillCarcassonne Over Hill and Dale Board Game

Part of the larger series of Carcassonne games, ‘Carcassonne Over Hill and Dale’ allows players to be farmers who care for animals on their large farms and cultivate the fruits and vegetables in their fields. Players must take turns selecting tiles and fit them with the current landscape.  Players can claim control of roads or fields and win points when these are completed.  This game is more of a relaxing, thinking game than high energy.

https-covers-booko-info300pandemicPandemic Legacy

Pandemic Legacy has been reviewed against hundreds of board games and crowned ‘The Best Board Game Ever Made.’  Such an impressive title, but the subject matter is slightly depressing: the game is based on a fight between four disease specialists who travel the world trying to find a cure to four different diseases that threaten to bring the world to the brink of disaster. Each month will bring new surprises and your actions in each game will have repercussions on the next. The game is played co-op style and is won by curing diseases.  The thinking man or woman’s board game.

 

https-covers-booko-info300timelineTImeline: Music & Cinema

A card game played using 110 cards, ‘Timeline: Music and Cinema’ is based on players placing their cards in the correct chronological order of an historical event.  The winner is the person who places all of their cards in the correct date order.  Great for lovers of pop and historical culture.  Ages 8+.

 

 

https-covers-booko-info300mysteriumMysterium

Mysterium is a cooperative game involving ghosts, a psychic and a murder.  All players bar one are psychics, spending time in a haunted house after a murder has taken place.  The ghost must guide the psychics to the correct murder weapon, crime scene and culprit as quickly as possible.  The final round involves psychics deciphering a single dream to tell them who committed the murder.  This game is loads of fun and an easy to play card game.

https-covers-booko-info300dixitDixit

Dixit Memories is the latest offering from the Internationally best-selling Dixit series. A card-based game for 3-6 players, there are 84 cards to the series.  Each of the cards contains surrealist images from artists Carine Hinder and Jerome Pelissier.  The cards contain images of exotic landscapes and beautiful creatures.  The active player must provide a clue to what their chosen card is.  The remaining players must then select one of their cards that best represents the clue from their pack.  The players must then vote on what they believe the active player’s card is.  We were enchanted by the beautiful artwork on the playing cards.

For more options on the board games available through Booko, visit our Pinterest page.

 

 

 

 

 

The best mindful eating cookbooks

As we are packing more and more into each day, the act of eating is simply another task that is completed while we are online or engaged in another activity.  As a result, we’re not fully aware of what food is being consumed.

The practice of mindful eating is about focusing and minimising distractions so you are paying full attention to the foods you are eating: by taking this more slowly you can really savour the food and pay attention to how much of it you are consuming.  Reports indicate that many consumers base their food choices on taste first, followed by the price and finally the health benefits of the food.  There are many resources that can support the practice of mindful eating, including cookbooks and guides that help us slow down and engage with our food.  Here are some of our recommended reads for this genre:

https-covers-booko-info300biteEvery bite affects the world by Catherine Verrall

Every Bite Affects the World is a guide that helps connect our bodies to the external world around us.

Verrall’s book helps us to be mindful of the connections between what we eat and the health of our bodies, as well as the health of the soil, water, climate, communities and farmers both here and far away.

Featuring many vegetarian recipes, ‘Every Bite’ also contains the imperative for meat eaters to obtain their food locally and from humanely raised sources.

 

 

Mindful Eating by Jan Chozen Bays

Ever feel that you really taste the first few bites of a meal and then, seemingly on auto pilot, find that your meal has been eaten and you have not even tasted the rest?  This book is for you.

Drawing on recent research and integrating her experiences as a physician and meditation teacher, Dr. Jan Bays offers a clear presentation of what mindfulness is and how it can help with food issues.  Particularly interesting are the 7 different types of hunger and how they impact your food choices: eyes, nose, mouth, stomach, mind, heart, and cell hunger.

 

https-covers-booko-info300mindlessMindless Eating by Brian Wansink

This book is based around common sense thinking with respect to our eating but backs it up with research, which makes it a comprehensive read.

Every day, we each make around 200 decisions about eating. But studies have shown that 90% of these decisions are made without any conscious choice. Why?  Wansink explains the hidden ‘persuaders’ that are used by restaurants and supermarkets to encourage you to eat more.  Even music choice and the colour of a room can influence how much and how quickly you eat.  ‘Mindless Eating’ will change the way you think about your next meal.

 

The Alkaline Cure: The remarkable 14-day diet and anti-ageing plan by Dr Stephan Domenig

Want to lose weight, improve your health and look younger, all in 14 days?  Who doesn’t??

Our bodies function best with a pH balance of between 7.3 and 7.5.  According to Dr Domenig, our modern lifestyles upset this balance by making our bodies too acidic.  His book aims to rectify the balance.

‘The Alkaline Cure’ is a clinically tested fourteen-day plan designed to help establish acid-alkaline balance in the body.  It includes daily menus and more than 40 recipes to give your body a kick start.

The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat by Tal Ronnen

A former steak-lover himself, Chef Tal struggled for years on a vegan diet that left him filled with cravings for meat and dairy. Frustrated by the limited options available and unwilling to sacrifice the delicious flavours he associated with eating meat, he created vegan meals that could hold their own at the centre of the plate. Chef Tal found that by applying traditional French culinary techniques to meatless cuisine, he was able to create delicious meals full of rich flavour.

https-covers-booko-info300ohsheglowsThe Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon

‘Oh She Glows’ was written after Liddon struggled for over a decade with an eating disorder and ate predominantly low-calorie processed foods.  Seeing the benefits of changing her diet to whole foods, she spent time perfecting cooking and eating the right foods in the right way.

‘Oh She Glows’ contains over 100 vegan recipes that are easy to perfect.  Whether you are a vegan or you simply want to incorporate a few vegan meals into your week, Angela’s recipes are a must-have for anyone who longs to eat well, feel great, and simply glow!

 

What we can learn from the Slow Books movement

source: www.huffingtonpost.com

Are you a booklover who struggles to find time to read?  If, like me, your answer is yes, then the Slow Books movement is for you.

Slow Books is the extension of a philosophy first appearing as Slow Food. It encourages people to rediscover “old-fashioned reading” – sit down and read a book, uninterrupted, for at least 30 minutes each day. Such reading should be deliberate and reflective, not simply trying to finish as many pages as possible.  Slow Books devotees suggest that slow reading reduces stress, as well as improve people’s ability to think, concentrate and empathise.

Slow Books ties in with digital detox; an opportunity to reduce mental clutter and to re-develop our attention spans and comprehension – known negative effects of our increasing reliance upon online reading.   The Internet’s effect upon changes to our cognition is explored in Nicholas Carr’s provocative book The Shallows: how the internet is changing the way we read, think and remember.

Besides Slow Food and Slow Books, the Slow philosophy can also be applied to activities including travel, education and relationships.  Carl Honoré’s In Praise of Slowness offers a compelling overview of the Slow ideal, including how it can be applied to daily life.  This subversive book also spawned a popular TED talk.   The guiding principle of the Slow Movement is the rejection of the “faster is better” mentality ; instead it advocates a mindful approach where we slow down to do something properly – savouring the process along the way.   

And if you need any more encouragement, just remember that a recent study from Yale has found that regular book-readers live almost two years longer than non-readers.

        

How to get started: Ingredients for enjoying books, slowly 
  • Create a comfortable reading spot – beanbag, armchair or in bed?  An internet search on “reading nooks” will reveal gorgeous examples, from cosy to quirky to elegant.  
  • Make time for reading – before it becomes a natural habit, use reminders to help you set aside a regular timeslot.  You can even join a Slow Reading Club if you prefer to read in a social environment.
  • Find a great book – a gripping story that will draw you in and help you forget the passage of time.  Start with a genre you enjoy, or try some current bestsellers such as The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, and Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty.

Books to help our children slow down

I had a chat with an older lady in the supermarket today and she was telling me about her childhood.  One of eight children, they foraged or trapped their dinners most nights.  Whether it was mushrooms, blackberries or catching rabbits, they went out with dad to find their ‘tea’.  After lunch, which was a weetbix with butter, they were told to go and play, just be home by dinnertime.

If you have a think about your childhood and compare it to the children of today: what are the main differences?  My childhood was definitely slower, we just did….less.  While we didn’t trap rabbits for dinner, there was a simple mundanity: dinners were meat and 3 veg and we spent most of our days outdoors playing on our bikes.  When I was growing up, there were less activities, opportunities and sources of information.  There were far less choices when I was a child, but there was a beautiful simplicity that went with it. Many behavioural issues that children are experiencing are said to come from our modern frenetic lifestyles.  As a result, authors have penned books to help us help our children to slow down.  Here are some of our favourite titles:

https-covers-booko-info300bearA Boy and a Bear by Lori Lite

‘A Boy and a Bear’ is a very simple story that can be read to children who might find it hard getting to sleep.  Through the story, a very simple technique called ‘circular breathing is taught.  This aims to bring calmness and well-being to both the child and the parent.  It’s a nice calm read to promote an easier bed-time routine.  Lite has written a suite of stories focused on bringing calm, visualisations and affirmations to children.  There have been positive reviews from some of the children, too: ‘I liked the story because it makes you feel relaxed and sleepy.  Every muscle in my body felt still.  I felt as relaxed as I could be’.  (Mandy, aged 8).

 

https-covers-booko-info300rabbitThe Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep by Carl-Johan Foreseen Ehrlin

The groundbreaking #1 bestseller is sure to turn nightly bedtime battles into a loving and special end-of-day ritual. This child-tested, parent-approved story uses an innovative technique that brings a calm end to any child’s day. Do you struggle with getting your child to fall asleep? Join parents all over the world who have embraced ‘The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep’ as their new nightly routine.

 

https-covers-booko-info300turtleA Boy and a Turtle by Lori Lite

Children love to visualize or imagine filling their bodies with the colors of the rainbow. This effective stress-management technique also known as guided imagery is widely accepted and used by both traditional and holistic communities. These gentle but powerful visualization techniques stimulate the imagination. Visualization can have a positive impact on the health of children, improving creativity and performance. It can also lower stress and anxiety levels and is used to control anger.

https-covers-booko-info300childrenRelax Kids – How to be Happy: 52 positive activities for children by Marneta Viegas

‘Relax Kids: How to be Happy’ is packed with ideas focused on children spending quality time with their families.  At the same time, it helps children manage their worries and emotions and encourages them to grow up happy and contented.

The aim of the book is for families to spend time together completing activities and creating memories.   There is a different activity each week and each of the activities is explained with diagrams, which make it easy to follow.  Children experience confidence and increased self esteem from their ability to complete the activities.

 

https-covers-booko-info300imaginationsImaginations by Carolyn Clarke

Winner of the San Diego Book Award for Children’s Non Fiction, ‘Imaginations’ teaches children to relax and meditate as a means of slowing down their minds.  The ability to relax is an essential skill in our hectic world today.  Kids are shuttled from home to school to after school activities and home again, often without transition time or down time. ‘Imaginations’ contains stories to help children learn to calm their bodies and relax their minds.

 

https-covers-booko-info300quietA Handful of Quiet by Thich Nhat Hanh

A Handful of Quiet presents one of the best known and most innovative meditation practices developed by Thich Nhat Hanh as part of the Plum Village community’s practice with children. Pebble meditation is a playful and fun activity that parents and educators can do with their children to introduce them to meditation. It is designed to involve children in a hands-on and creative way that touches on their interconnection with nature.

How to choose the right colouring book for you

Adult colouring books are now ubiquitous: you can find them everywhere from specialty bookstores to your local Coles or Kmart.  The question is: are colouring books for grown-ups a trend or have they morphed into a mechanism for adults to cope with their increasingly busy lives?  Psychologists have found that some of the qualities of adult colouring books prompt positive neurological responses in their patients: namely those of repetition, pattern and detail.  If you haven’t joined the wave of this trend yet or you’re looking for some different options, here are our recommendations for colouring books for adults:

https-::covers.booko.info:300:birdAnimal Kingdom by Millie Marotta

This is a colouring book to keep and treasure forever. The wonderful illustrations from Millie Marotta’s Animal KIngdom are reproduced here on the thickest paper yet (180 gsm) on one side only, including  five additional prints that can be pulled out of an envelope at the back of the book. This is an edition for all Millie fans and even those new to her work who want something special to record their creative outputs.

https-::blog.booko.com.au:wp-content:uploads:2016:08:https-covers.booko_.info300londonColour Me Good London by I Love Mel

Perfect for London lovers or global travellers, this colouring book captures the key landmarks and the madcap culture that is London life.  Over 16 pages, you can enjoy colouring landmarks such as Piccadilly Circus, well-known faces like Will and Kate and common sights such as a black cab and fish & chips.

 

Fill Me In by Moose Allainhttps-::covers.booko.info:300:fill

Perfect for both adults and children alike, ‘Fill Me In’ invites people to draw, imagine and complete the dense line drawings.  Why not complete your own city or draw your own comic book?  Perfect for the doodler as well as the colouring-in fan, this book is fun to share with a friend, be they big or small.

 

 

https-::covers.booko.info:300:dreamDream Cities by Rosie Goodwin and Alice Chadwick

Fancy going on a journey around the world in black and white?  From the huge domes of Moscow to  the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, choose your colours, unleash your creativity and lose yourself in a wonderful coloured universe. As you focus on colouring in and forget the stresses of everyday life, you’ll find calm returning.

 

https-::covers.booko.info:300:animorphiaAnimorphia by Kerby Rosanes

Welcome to this weird and wacky colouring challenge. There are pictures to colour in, drawings to complete, spaces to scribble in and lots of things to find in these super-detailed doodles by artist Kerby Rosanes. This book features unique and intricate ink drawings of incredible animals, shape-shifting aliens and breathtaking scenes. Readers will have to keep their eyes peeled for hidden treasures and creatures scattered throughout the pages.

https-::covers.booko.info:300:doodleDoodle Invasion by Zifflin and Kerby Rosanes

Described by some as a colouring book on steroids, this book is another great option for those that love doodling.  Doodle Invasion is filled with 50 unique and extremely detailed works of art by the master of doodles Kerby Rosanes.  With thick, single-sided pages perfect for markers, this book is perfect for the serious doodler.  The intricate artworks are spectacularly drawn and will keep even the most serious doodler busy for hours.

 

 

 

If you’re interested in more of our colouring-in picks, check out the Pinterest board!

Books as a gateway to a simpler and more fulfilling life

The act of reading a book is a time-honoured way to connect us to the simpler things in life. It helps us make sense of the world in which we live. The age-old habit of sitting down in a quiet place, perhaps with a cup of tea or coffee, and opening the pages of a book is in itself conducive to relaxing, learning and, as a result, relieving stress.

But what about going one step further? How about reading books that inspire you to engage in mindfulness and the slow life? Books, ebooks and audio books teach, inspire and help us to find our way to a simpler, more fulfilling life.

One of the surest ways to relieve stress is to opt for a simpler, happier lifestyle; one closer to that led by our previous generations. All of these books help teach us to slow down, to practice stress-relieving activities, such as meditation, minimalism and mindfulness. In other words, to take time out to smell the roses!

Here are a few titles to help you learn and practice methods of reducing stress in your life and reconnect with the simpler things in life.

https-::covers.booko.info:300:dalaiThe Art of Happiness: a Handbook for Living

His Holiness the Dalai Lama is possibly one of the most respected spiritual leaders on our planet. His gentle lifestyle guidance and teachings are directed, not just at practitioners of Buddhism, but the whole world. In The Art of Happiness, His Holiness — in collaboration with psychiatrist Howard Cutler — teaches us there is a path towards happiness. The key is being able to recognise what in our lives causes us to be happy and then, by cultivating the right mental practice, we can achieve a balanced, contented state of mind.

Through stories and meditations, he shows us how to beat daily insecurities, anxieties and stress, leading us gently towards what he describes as “the purpose of life”, that of true happiness.

https-::covers.booko.info:300:mindfulnessThe Miracle of Mindfulness

Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh’s classic guide to mindfulness is still considered one of the classics in its field, over thirty years after its original publication. Originally written as a letter to a fellow brother suffering under atrocities during the Vietnam War, Buddhist monk Thich uses stories and allegories to urge his brothers to continue on the mindfulness path.

The book has served as an instruction manual for the now widespread practice of meditation and has become recognised as a powerful guide to (in His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s words) “show us the connection between personal, inner peace and peace on earth”.

The Miracle of Mindfulness is full of thought exercises, allegories and wonderful examples of how to practice mindfulness in everyday living in commonplace acts such as washing up and drinking tea.

https-::covers.booko.info:300:chickensZen and the Art of Raising Chickens

Clea Danaan’s book Zen and the Art of Raising Chickens is a quirky, entertaining and informative book about how raising chickens in an urban or suburban environment can help get you back to the simpler things in life and reduce stress.

Written to make you smile as much as inform, the author nevertheless points to a few truths about chickens. Namely how their personalities, habits and idiosyncratic ways slow us down to their rhythms. Chapter titles such as “The Sound of One Wing Flapping” and “The Mind of the Chicken is Ungraspable” underline the way their “chickeny” characteristics can make us relax and laugh. Anecdotal evidence is (thankfully) abundantly documented by the author who also shows us the practical, healthy side of raising chickens in your own backyard.

Original and full of wit, yet containing a central truth about how keeping chickens can help ground us in a healthier, less stressful, more mindful lifestyle; Zen and the Art of Raising Chickens inspires and teaches as well as entertains.

https-::covers.booko.info:300:actionMindfulness in Action

Interested in learning more about simplicity and the power of meditation to change lives? Mindfulness in Action takes you to the very core of simplicity and awareness through meditation exercises and teachings. The author uses wisdom and insight to teach us to simply sit still and reconnect with the very concept of being human in our ever faster-paced world.

The book is edited by Carolyn Gimian, a longtime student and expert chronicler of Chogyam Trungpa’s teachings. This remarkable book offers something for everyone, whether a novice or experienced meditator.

 

 

https-::covers.booko.info:300:joyThe Joy of Less

The art of minimalism revolves around doing more with less. In this fascinating account, author Francine Jay points to the benefits of decluttering your home or workspace, in a way that brings us back to simpler, more satisfying living.

Not only does the author give tips on how to save money by ridding your space of excess material, she also demonstrates how living with less can be a path to greater happiness and simplicity.

Reading is the ultimate activity in enjoying “quiet moments” that centre our days and help to reduce the stress in our lives. In doing so you are joining the generations of people before you, from mystics, to learned scientists, to poets and professors, to just lovers of a good book, all who have used the written word to learn, relax and relieve stress.

Join them and find out how books can change you to appreciate a slower, more relaxed and fulfilling life.