I recently stumbled across Netflix’s docu-series The Mind Explained, which explores popular psychology topics over the course of six twenty-minute episodes. The episodes cover topics, such as anxiety, dreams, mindfulness, memory, and hallucinogenic drugs. I found the series to be educational and informative, while being simultaneously engaging and easy to grasp for non experts.
Each episode presents research from topic experts, a history on the topic and stories of individuals who have personally experienced the related topics, practices or activities. I enjoyed how these brief episodes are short enough to give you a better understanding of these pop psychology topics without boring the viewer. If you are not the type to want to read a book about anxiety or a full documentary on dreams, The Mind Explained may be the perfect bite size programming to teach you something new from the comfort of your couch or bed.
So if you are looking for something more educational than a christmas movie this week, The Mind Explained may be the perfect series to both binge and expand your mind in the process.
I don't know if I’m just now noticing, but book titles have been getting a lot bolder lately. But hey, it seems to be working because it got me to pick it up and buy Let That Sh*t Go.
Let That Sh*t Go is a self-help book written by two women passionate about Mindfulness. It’s a casual read that it easy to connect with. It’s conversational style, makes the reader feel like they are talking to a friend who has had great success in therapy and is happy to share what they have learned. I enjoyed the brief and focused chapters, providing bite sized pieces to take in, digest and easily try out for yourself. Each chapter is example focused, assisting the reader in trying out alternative perspectives and techniques like “examining the evidence” and talking to your negative thoughts like they are on trial.
Let That Sh*T Gofelt relatable and introduced mindfulness as being much more than sitting down and meditating, something that often gets lost in the general media. I also like that in addition to a focus on mindfulness-based perspectives and techniques, there is a large portion of the book dedicated to understanding and working with our automatic negative thoughts, something that borrows from cognitive and cognitive-behavioural perspectives.
I was initially hesitant and critical of the book before I started reading it due to its brash title and seemingly unqualified authors who are not regulated mental health professionals. However, I let that sh*t go and soon found myself excited to begin a new chapter and discover great use of many techniques I have already been teaching my own clients.
One of my favourite mini chapters in the book was one that discusses the analogy of “updating your software”. It reminds us that our brain can also be a spinning rainbow circle or hourglass when our mental browser has too many tabs open or we’ve been ignoring the essential updates a little too long. Sometimes rebooting our software just requires a little bit of self-care.
Let That Sh*t Go is available at Amazon, Indigo, the library, and local sellers.
I recently had the pleasure to read The Ripple Effect by Greg Wells. It was an easy read, which makes it a perfect summer option. The Ripple Effect highlighted the relationships between diet, sleep, exercise, and cognition with health. Learning how these seemingly independent domains overlap to foster health and wellness was eye opening, but also immediately digestible.
I enjoyed how Wells seamlessly integrated research with narrative in a way that didn’t feel like I was digging into a textbook. I really appreciated how he went deeply into each health domain in a manner that leaves the reader feeling increasingly motivated to implement behavioural changes as they progress through each chapter. Importantly, at no point did this process seem daunting or overwhelming.
The Ripple Effect is a great book for any age and individuals of all levels of readiness for change in their wellness journey.
The Ripple Effect is available on Amazon, Indigo and many individual retailers.
Join us the first Wednesday of each month for our Wellness Book Club, where we will introduce readers to great books or author profiles that can help you along your wellness journey. Have a book we should review? Send us a comment and we will add it to our list.
Sometimes when we self reflect with honesty we will recognize certain flaws within ourselves.
Maybe it’s the recognition that we could have responded to a friend more compassionately. Perhaps it’s the realization that we are partly to blame for the dissolution of a relationship. Sometimes we recognize that our actions were not aligned with our values, and other times we recognize that perhaps we have failed at something important to ourselves.
While recognizing our challenges and failings can be difficult, that awareness is also the first step towards growth and improvement. If we are not honest with ourselves how can we better next time?
Author, therapist, and speaker, Brene Brown often speaks of the importance of embracing vulnerability in order to be braver, more creative and more successful. She often discusses the importance of our desire to belong and how this can be conflicting with the need to fit in. She also shares how our failings in this regard can lead to shame and the impact this has on our ability to navigate our relationships with others and ourselves.
Knowing and understanding our shame may mean apologizing, taking a chance and opening up about something embarrassing, or acting in alignment with our values instead of expectations or norms. Letting shame hold us captive, however, isn’t helpful. We need to forgive ourselves and commit to being better next time. Brene has published many books, hosted Ted Talks and recently came out with a Netflix special called “The Call to Courage” that all touch on different aspects of these themes. I think that all of Brene’s work is worth checking out, but a great deep dive is her writings, and our book of the month, Braving the Wilderness (CLICK HERE to view on Amazon). If you are looking to ease yourself in to her work, consider checking out her TED Talk or Netflix specials.
Undoubtedly, like many you will be hooked and will want to binge on all of Brene’s work. Be compassionate and realistic with yourself, however, and try applying one of her principals. Once that gets integrated in to your day to day, why not revisit her work again and see what the next step is for you.
Jessica is a member of the clinical wellness and learning support team at FLEX Psychology. Jessica started Wellness Wednesday out of a desire to provide further opportunities for her clients to extend their wellness journey to all avenues of their life. You can learn more about Jessica by clicking here or by learning more about her and the clinical team at FLEX Psychology by clicking here.