When I feel anxious, I know I need to step back and take stock but the truth is, I don’t have ability to do that straight away. My strategy is to pick up a book, take a little time and gain some perspective.

Here are 15 that I recommend:

 

1. Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: an American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

E.M. Forster wrote, “Only connect.” That sentiment underpins Rankine’s essays and imagery, she tells us that, in recognizing and connecting with others, we come to know ourselves.

Source: Amazon
Source: Amazon

2. Essays of E.B. White by E.B. White

A calming collection of essays on everyday life from the writer of Charlotte’s Web. As comforting as hot chocolate on a cold, drab afternoon.

Source: Amazon
Source: Amazon

3. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

Allie Brosh’s graphic novel/memoir will make you laugh and sigh in recognition at how messy life really is.

Source: Amazon
Source: Amazon

4. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

Reading Mindy Kaling’s memoir is like being best friends with one of the funniest women on the planet. She also happens to have a great way of putting things into perspective.

Source: Amazon
Source: Amazon

5. It’s All Absolutely Fine: Life Is Complicated So I’ve Drawn It Instead by Ruby Elliot

Ruby Elliot makes me laugh and cringe – her cartoons are so truthful. I mean who hasn’t said, “It’s fine, it’s all absolutely fine” when it clearly wasn’t?

Source: Amazon
Source: Amazon

6. Letter to My Daughter by Maya Angelou

Wondrous, generous Maya Angelou – we are all her daughters – so this is for all of us. Her essays are full to the brim with the art of living.

Source: Amazon
Source: Amazon

7. The Antidote: Happiness for people who can’t stand positive thinking by Oliver Burkeman

Oliver Burkeman takes us on a witty journey through the joys of not thinking positively. That might sound odd but it does makes sense and when you read about John Keats’ concept of ‘negative capability,’ I guarantee your heart will sing.

Source: Amazon
Source: Amazon

8. The Art of Asking How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer

Generosity and honesty run through Amanda Palmer’s work, whether she’s on stage or on the page. She is also an astonishingly talented writer.

Source: Amazon
Source: Amazon

9The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

You might think this a strange choice, especially as the opening references the execution of the Rosenbergs. Set in the age of Mad Men, and presaging the age of Sex and the City, Plath’s masterpiece is honest, and raw and ultimately uplifting.

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Source: Amazon

10. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Books about journeys always free my mind, and what better journey than a road trip through the Galaxy, with Douglas Adams as guide?

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11. The Lion and the Peacock: How I Conquered Anxiety by Jennifer Peacock-Smith

Jennifer Peacock-Smith sought help for her anxiety with an open mind and an open heart and this short book details her struggle towards understanding and ultimately managing her attacks.

Source: Amazon
Source: Amazon

12. The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot by Robert Macfarlane

For me, walking is a good way to deal with anxiety, even if it’s just a turn around the block. Macfarlane goes further afield to places such as Palestine, Tibet and the northern-most reaches of the Scottish Isles. This book is as much an inner journey as an outer one by a traveler who has a keen eye and a way with words.

Source: Amazon
Source: Amazon

13. The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Sometimes escape is my only option, and where better than Florin where my friends Buttercup, Wesley and Inigo Montoya are waiting to wrap me up in love, laughter and lots of swashbuckling silliness?

Source: Amazon
Source: Amazon

14. Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl Strayed, aka Sugar, is the advice columnist we all need in our lives. In Tiny Beautiful Things, she reminds us what is really important.

Source: Amazon
Source: Amazon

15. When Strangers Meet: How People You Don’t Know Can Transform You (TED) by Kia Stark

The thought of talking to strangers has always made feel a little sick. Kia Stark inspires bravery. At first, she explains, you don’t need to say anything – a smile is recognition, enough to tell the other person you know they exist. Next step: strike up a conversation and connect.

Source: Amazon
Source: Amazon

When you feel anxious, it’s hard to think straight. Sometimes you shouldn’t even try. Instead, pick up a book — you’ll find empathy, inspiration and a few precious moments to catch your breath.

YouTube Channel: BaySunday

 

Featured image via Seohyeon’s Blog

h/t Bustle