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Individual and Couples Counselling in Calgary

  • Writer's pictureRovena Magidin

Books about Relationships, Trauma, Spirituality and Sex that I've read in 2022

I got inspired in the beginning of the year to see how many books I can read in a year if I set my mind to it. I was wondering if I can read 50 - a book a week. I’ve read 70 (that's just professional books. I've also read for pleasure, but I'm not counting those books). I got on a roll, and I’m pretty sure that’s all I did with my spare time this year. I went to the library once a week pretty much every week. I timed it with picking up kids after school on Friday so it’s been a routine. I brought a book with me everywhere I went. I only bought a few books ( thank you library)! Professional books are $30-$50 is not a $100, so I did save A LOT of money here.

And of course the moment I read something I always had a few clients I knew I needed to share those books with.

This is NOT the list of books I recommend and I'm definitely not trying to offer comprehensive book reviews. Those are just my personal opinions.

I can’t imagine anyone reading this blog post, so it’s mostly for me, to remember and to have an easy access to find a right resource when I need it for my counselling and coaching clients.

One day I’ll have all my books organized. This is not that day

Ps. I won’t be doing this again for a while. Thai was really fun while it lasted, and I’m obviously not going to stop reading, but it’s been too much and I need a break. I hardly read at all in December, so here we are. I think next year I’d just want to read 1 book a month. The only problem - I got addicted to going to the library and have 50 really cool books I wanted to read in my “on hold” least - strategically paused so I don’t get them all at once.

Books about relationships

  1. "It takes one to tango. How I rescued my marriage with (almost) no help from my spouse - and how you can, too." By Winnifred M Reilly. This book is wise and full of wisdom, but make no mistake it’s about hard work. She’s real and she’s been there - through her 40 years of marriage and almost as many years as a therapist. What does it really take to have a happy marriage? It takes one person - just one - to make a choice. If that person is you, you’ll find this book very valuable. Trying to change the other partner is a complete waste of time. If you are choosing this partner, this marriage, then it’s your job to figure out how to live a happy and satisfying life with this person, and how to live in a way that makes you feel whole and alive. It’ll take a lot of work, will feel hopeless at time, but it’s through this work you’ll grow as a person.

  2. "Men are from Mars, women are from Venus" by John Gray. Oh, it’s a tough one. I first read this book 20 years ago and loved it. It explained so much. I thought he was right on. I think the best thing about it is that it doesn’t just explain our differences, it explains why we are different, it shows our intention underneath our actions and helps people understand each other and where they are coming from. This book also got a lot of criticism, especially in the recent years. It’s very heteronormative and, at times, patronizing. I think if a couple were to read it together and check in with each other if it’s true for them or not; it would be a start of some good conversations and help to avoid many many arguments and misunderstandings. Of course there’s more to relationship than gender differences, and even gender differences described are not necessarily based on research as you’ll see from the next book

  3. "The myth of Mars and Venus. Do men and women really speak by different languages?" By Deborah Cameron. The book thoroughly debunks the assumptions made by John Gray. Things that we now commonly assume to be true are unfounded. “Men are from Earth, Women are from Earth. Deal”. Not nearly as entertaining as the original, if you want to know the facts, get this book from the library, I don’t think you’ll read it twice.

  4. "The Betrayal Bond. Breaking free of exploitive relationships." Patrick Carnes, PhD. This is an important book to understand the nature of trauma bonding - but it’s not an easy book. I’d highly recommend to work through it with a therapist who’s trained in this type of trauma AND a support group. Half way through the book I was feeling so sad for the human race. Hurt people hurt people. We definitely need help to break free from the impact of trauma. We are not meant to do this alone. Yes, it’s possible. Yes, there are many ways to get there. Yes, it’s not easy. There’s hope and there are well tested pathways to healing - and this book can be about discovering some of them. It will help you understand your life better. And it’ll help you see that you are not alone.

  5. "Human Magnet Syndrome. The codependent Narcissist Trap." by Ross Rosenberg, M. Ed. This book is written by a psychotherapist with over 30 years of experience, specializing in codependency, narcissism and sex addiction. I just couldn’t get into this book. It came highly recommended, which proves that everyone needs to find what works for them. I really tried. I wanted to like this book. I wanted to understand the pattern and I wanted to understand how people can break free from it. I couldn’t finish. The book also doesn’t offer any solutions (that’s the promise of the author’s next book). He does mention that Self Love is the answer, which is nice, but I guess the book is intended for people to understand the dynamic and understand why they keep recreating it in their life. If I find a better resource (and I hope there are many), I’ll share

  6. "The energies of love. Keys to a fulfilling partnership. Using energy medicine to keep your relationship thriving." By Donna Eden and David Feinstein. This book is very interesting. A perfect mix of modern science( David is a PhD and a clinical psychologist) and energy medicine (Donna can see energies around people). They are also a couple, proving that opposites attract and can work together very well. If you ever doubted some of the “woo woo” techniques - turns out they have been researched, analyzed and proven to be very effective. I’ve got a few very neat insights from this book. If you like and practice energy techniques(like EFT or tapping for example), I think you’d like this book and its focus on relationships.

  7. "Us. Getting past You and Me to build a more loving relationship" by Terrence Real. Terry Real delivers it like it is. His approach to relationship is very unique, very straightforward, even blunt. But it’s real and it comes from the heart. It’s worth checking out to see if it works for you. Working with one of the therapists trained in his method might be very helpful as I think it takes a lot of courage, self awareness and self responsibility to apply it without any help.


  1. "What happened to you. Conversations on trauma, resilience, and healing" by Bruce Perry and Oprah Winfrey. Its a wonderful, profound, amazing book. It’s not an easy read. It’s probably one of the best books on trauma out here, that explains very clearly what scientists now understand about neuroscience and brain development and connection to trauma. Resilience. Nervous system. This book is also full of real people stories that are relatable and heart breaking and inspiring all at the same time. It explain what happens and why we are the way we are, and it gives people hope. If you had trauma in your life, you are not crazy, and it’s not hopeless. You are also not alone. Help is available. Understanding is available. Kindness is available! Please make sure you've got your support system while reading this one.

  2. "It didn’t start with you. How inherited family trauma shapes who we are and how to end the cycle." By Mark Wolynn. I’ve read this book in the bath and I cried and cried and then I asked the water to carry away the grief and sadness and struggle and pain. I think it’s an important book to read, but I’d say make sure you have a practitioner or a friend who can support you through it. If you’ve dealt with a lot of trauma in your life, be gentle with yourself. It’s a book about multigenerational trauma, and it shows a path to connect with your family history in a wholesome and beautiful and loving way. It’s a path of healing

  3. "Trauma stewardship. An everyday guide to caring for self while caring for others." By Laura van Dernoot Lipsky. Wonderful, wonderful book for caregivers, professionals working with trauma, or anyone who feels they are burning out working for a cause that they deeply believe in but thats not sustaining them. Deep insights and kind and compassionate suggestions for sustainability and a renewed commitment to doing what you do taking cate of others and our planet

  4. "Forward facing trauma therapy" by Eric Gentry, PHD. I love Eric Gentry. I’m biased here, I admit. I love this book and its beautiful and practical message of hope and healing. Eric treats his patients with profound respect and kindness, and he gives them hope and tools - to find freedom from effects of trauma, to live a fulfilling and joyful life. I highly recommend it. And if you need extra help, I hope you’ll find a practitioner who’s familiar with this method.

  5. "Upside. The new science of Post-Traumatic growth." Jim Rendon. This book starts where “Why zebras don’t get ulcers” end. Why is it that faced with the same traumatic event some people end up doing even better than before, physically and mentally. This book talked about many examples how people overcome tragedies and adversities. If you want to be inspired and amazed at human spirit - read it

  6. "Man’s Search for Meaning." Victor E. Frankl. Deeply inspiring and touching. You probably have heard of this book, written by a doctor (and a psychotherapist) who survived 3 years in Nazi’s concentration camps. He did not just survived, he was able to find meaning in the midst of profound suffering. He then dedicated his life in helping other people find meaning in their lives and their suffering. This book is profound. (and I'm embarrassed to say I've just read it this year for the first time)

Racial Trauma

  1. "My grandmother’s hands. Racialized trauma and the pathway to mending our hearts and bodies." By Resmaa Menakem. This book is about trauma and about healing and I’m so grateful I’ve read it. It has many tools on how to be able to heal or help heal racialized trauma (whether you have a black or a white body) - individually and collectively, not just on a thinking level but in our bodies and hearts and nervous system. Very important book to read

  2. "Me and white supremacy. Combat racism, change the world, and become a good ancestor" Layla F. Saad. This is a book for “white people willing to align what they profess to value (racial equality) with their actual practice (antiracist action). When people ask “what do I do?” - the answer is, work through the book (from foreword by Robin Diangelo. This is such an important work, heartbreaking (so your heart can grow stronger and bigger) and absolutely necessary.

Books about mindfulness and mediation

  1. "Meditation Secrets for Women. Discovering your passion, pleasure, and inner peace." By Camille Maurine and Lorin Roche, PhD. This book is delightful and magical. It talks about mediation as a place of refuge, a place like home, something that you already instinctually know and love. It’s about living in harmony, it’s about finding mediation that nurtures your body, heart and spirit. It’s profoundly joyful and freeing. I’m a big fan. While I love Zen and Buddhist practice, the discipline, the unmoving strength; this book gives us permission to explore the other side of mediation, no less valuable, the side that talks about fluidity, sensuality, instincts, that doesn’t suppress anything, but instead celebrates it.

  2. "The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook. A Proven Way to Accept Yourself, Build Inner Strength, and Thrive." By Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer. If your inner voice is not as kind as you want, and if you like working through workbooks, this is a great one. Is has reflections, journaling prompts, exercises, quizzes, practices and meditations, along with theory and shares from other people - that helps to cultivate a state of loving, kind, connected relationship with yourself. I don’t think I need to talk about benefits of that. There are so many.

  3. "Buddha’s Brain. The practical neuroscience of happiness, love & wisdom" by Rick Hanson, PhD with Richard Mendius, MD. Mindfulness and neuroscience . Buddhist tradition and modern psychology. The message of this book is: “If you can change your brain, you can change your life” and it shows you how through very practical tips. It explains how the brain and nervous system works and shows how we can rewire the brain. The person you have the greatest power over? It’s your future self .

  4. "Good morning, I love you. Mindfulness + Self-Compassion Practices to Rewire your brain for calm, clarity + joy". Shauna Shapiro, PHD. I got this book from the library because of its title of course. 😃 It felt good. Good morning. I love you. What a beautiful practice - along many others you’ll find here.

Books about sex for men

  1. "The Hardness Factor. How to achieve your best health and sexual fitness at any age" by Steven Lamm, M.D. “The 6 weeks program that will change your sex life forever”. Men don’t often ask for help when it comes to sex and erections, and yet it has a huge psychological impact on them. Many don’t recognize the connection between their overall health and their sexual functioning. This book has many answers. It’s a bit heavy on the supplements side. Do your research. Antioxidants supplements research has been showing some negative side effects lately. It’s an easy read and very inspiring. I think there’s a bit more to it, but it’s a fantastic start.

Books about sex for women

  1. "Woman on Fire. 9 elements to wake up your erotic energy, personal power and sexual intelligence." By Amy Jo Goddard. Wonderful book for women who want to reclaim their sexuality and pleasure, and know they are not alone on the journey. You’ll be supported by various practices and by reading stories from other women who’ve done this before. Very inspiring and needed book. If you struggle with low desire, it you wonder “what’s wrong with me”, give it a try

  2. "The Heart and Soul of Sex" by Gina Ogden. 2006. Gina is a pioneer in the field of sexuality, a master therapist who was not afraid to bring spirituality, soul and God into conversation about sex. Very important book for everyone who knows there’s more to sex and wants to feel not alone. She talks about sexual wholeness, merging with divine bliss, and deep healing, magical and transformative. She explores physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of sex and pathways to healing.

  3. "Taking Sexy Back. How to own your sexuality and create relationships you want." By Alexandra Solomon.

  4. "The secret pleasures of menopause." Dr. Christiane Northrup. I think all women need to read this book that promises that “Fifty marks the beginning of the best years of our lives, including the best sex of our lives.“ I’m an optimist. I believe this. It’s not easy and it’s going to take some work (lifestyle, mindset, health, even financial intelligence), but it’s possible. If anything this book gives permission and encourages women to take our pleasure. To live a passionate life (that starts within, it’s not about a partner). To feel our desire and go after what we desire. It’s a shift from taking care of everyone else - when the price to pay is stress, poor health, burnout and disconnection from our Selves, our own wants, needs and desires. Let’s reclaim it!

  5. "Still sexy after all these years? The unspoken thrush’s about women’s desire beyond 50." Leah Kliger, MHA and Debora Nedelman, PHD. How can woman beyond 50 feel good about her sexuality? This book has an answer, a roadmap to how your sex life can look like into your 60, 70 and 80ties. Such an awesome, real, inspiring book. In a culture that just refuses to talk about sex unless you are young and slim (eye roll), we need more books like this. Your body changes, your desire changes, your brain changes - and yet, here we are, sexual beings with our own needs, wants, dreams and desires. What is normal? Are other women feeling like i do? Everyone is different, and yet, as women, we can see and support each other on this journey

  6. "Better sex through mindfulness. How women can cultivate desire" by Lori A. Brotto, PhD (we need a lot more books like this. There’s a lot of information and many practices that gives hope to women who experience low desire, pain during sex, get easily stuck in their thoughts and don’t know how to change it. It shifts from purely medical approach to a mindful body - mind- emotions integrative approach, suggesting that usually if a woman experience difficulties in bed, giving her a pill is probably not the solution. This book is based on solid research that proves what neo-tantric people were saying all along, but in very different terms - presence, awareness, intention, sensory focus (non judgemental focus on all the 5 senses as well as sensations and feelings and thoughts that arise in the moment.) Neo-Tantra goes a lot further and hopefully western medicine and psychology can catch up soon

Books about sex and desire

  1. "The Heart of Desire. Keys to the Pleasures of Love." By Stella Resnick, PhD. 2012. Fantastic book for couples who’ve been together a while and wonder where did the passion and desire go; and most importantly what can we do about it.

  2. "Love Worth Making. How to have ridiculously great sex in a long-lasting relationship". Stephen Snyder. M.D. a refreshing approach to sex in long-term relationships. It’s not about positions or performance, it’s very real. Life is difficult, says Dr Snyder, sex should be easy.

  3. "Sexual intelligence. What we really want from sex and how to get it." by Marty Klein, Ph.D. Oh what an interesting read. Challenging. Marty is not afraid to get real with the readers. This book is all about redefining sex - and figuring out how to have very enjoyable and connected sex through your lifetime - once the high of a honey moon stage wears off, once you are no longer 18. How do we approach sex and aging, changing bodies, long term relationships? We want closeness, we want pleasure - all of us do. How come then in sex we are so worried about performance, and do more thinking and worrying and judging, than actually enjoying the experience.

  4. "Good Sex. Getting off without checking out." Jessica Graham. Sex and mindfulness. Sex and spiritual awakening. Sex and awareness. Sex without separation. I knew I was going to love this book the moment I opened it. Very personal and real this book is eye-opening to see what is possible in sex when we are present. If you find yourself feeling disconnected during sex, if you hope there’s more to intimacy, I highly recommend it. If you have (or want to have) a meditation practice, I think you’ll find this book delightful, like I did. If you want a spiritual approach to sex, but you are not into mediation or mindfulness, read Woman on Fire by Amy Jo Goddard. Marty Klein defines Sexual intelligence as information + emotional skills + body awareness. Jessica's book is perfect for exploring emotional intelligence and body awareness practices from a meditator's perspective.

  5. "Slow sex. The Art and Craft of the Female Orgasm." Nicole Daedone. This book premise is to “increase pleasure and deepen intimacy through the practice of orgasmic meditation”. I think it delivers. The practice is very simple, but profound. Just reading this book would make zero difference. It’s not about information. It’s about putting it into practice. It’s vulnerable, connecting, orgasmic, and it has the potential to transform your love life into what you always wanted. People want more sex, more depth, more connection - this books opens the door to all of it. Truly. (and of course there's controversy about "the cult" - If you can separate from it, I believe this book offers a very valuable practice)

  6. "Wanting sex again. How to rediscover your desire and heal a sexless marriage." Laurie J. Watson, LMFT, Certified Sex Therapist. Laurie starts with very simple changes that can make a big difference and then she goes through more and more complicated reason for why couples can loose desire. It’s very practical, eye opening and thought provoking.

  7. "Rekindling desire." By Barry and Emily McCarthy. I’m prejudiced. I adore Barry McCarthy. He’s a therapist who’s so kind and real and supportive - I’m inspired to be like him when I “grow up”. He helped thousands of people. I’ll read everything he writes. This book offers a very real look at sex - and it’s not what we think. It’s not the easier book to read I have to say. Get it from the library first to make sure it’s right for you.

Sexual Healing

  1. "The sexual healing journey. A guide to survivors of sexual abuse." Wendy Maltz. The message of this book - you are not alone, healing is possible and you can enjoy a deeply fulfilling sex life. “You can repair the damage done to you in the past. You can look forward to a new surge of self-respect, personal contentment, and emotional intimacy. When you reclaim your sexuality, you reclaim yourself. “

  2. "Treating out of control sexual behaviour: Rethinking sex addiction." Douglas Braun-Harvey and Michael A. Vigorito. Brilliant academic book for professionals, that offers a non-pathologizing approach to problematic sexual thoughts and behaviours, focusing on sex health instead of disorders. It includes assessment and treatment plans as well as case studies. It’s a very heavy read, so If you are not a professional and are looking for help for yourself, see the next title.

  3. "Living a life I love. Healing sexual compulsivity, sexual addiction, sexual avoidance and other sexual concerns." Weston M. Edwards, PhD. Fantastic book for individuals and couples struggling with problematic sexual behaviours from a non-addiction based treatment model. It’s a journey of self discovery, that doesn’t shame, blame or criticize but helps you discover what healthy and fulfilling sexuality can be for you and your partner(s). This book is very informative and is full of journal or conversation prompts that helps you have conversations that could’ve been very difficult and instead can support on in creating a great sense of connection and intimacy with your others.

  4. "Dr Sonia’s guide to navigating pelvic pain. Result-oriented strategies for better quality of life" by Sonia Bahlani, MD. Your pain is real, it’s not just in your head, and there’s so much we can do about it. There’s hope, relief and healing. Many people go undiagnosed for years, many don’t even seek treatment and suffer in silence. This book is packed with information that will help you first of all understand what’s going on and to find a specialist and treatment you need. It’s packed with medical info, as well as simple things you can do at home and also information on alternative treatments.

  5. "Heal pelvic pain. A proven stretching, strengthening and nutrition program for relieving pain, incontinence, IBS, and other symptoms without surgery." By Amy Stein, M.P.T. Wonderful little book, highly recommended for everyone dealing with pelvic floor disorders or sexual dysfunctions. Working with a pelvic floor physio therapist is best, it’s essential to get a proper diagnosis. But while you are looking for a specialist, for prevention, better understanding of what’s going on, and for better way you can support your health, this book is the best. Healthy pelvic floor is so important to our wellbeing, healthy aging and intimacy. I’m very excited about this book and will recommend it to many clients.

Books about death

  1. “A matter of death and life” by Irvin Yalom and Marilyn Yalom. I cried reading this book. I was very touched. Irvin Yalom, beloved psychotherapist and his wife Marilyn share their last journey together, through Marilyn's illness and death. They were married for 65 years. The grief, the love, the humanness.

  2. "The beauty of what remains. How our greatest fear becomes our greatest gift." by Steve Leder (I’ve started this year by reading 2 books about death, and life, by an old Jewish rabbi and an even older Jewish psychotherapist. Both books brought insights, tears, comfort, and beauty and inspiration. Highly recommended)


  1. "Your resonant self. Guided meditations and exercises to engage your brain’s capacity for healing." by Sarah Peyton. I knew I needed to have this book the moment I’ve read “The inner voice can be a flow of emotional warmth” in the first few pages. Learning to turn inwards with warmth, care and generosity that we usually reserve for others. What a beautiful concept - self-warmth. I’m in love with this book and want everyone to read it. It’s a very powerful and beautiful path to healing.

  2. "EMDR and the Universal Healing Tao. An energy psychology approach to overcoming emotional trauma" by Mantak Chia and Doug Hilton. I was excited to see a book about an eastern science behind modern western practices. It makes a lot of sense. It’s definitely not a book to learn about either approaches, just a gentle overview of some of the problems and some of the practices.

  3. "ACT with love: stop struggling, reconcile your differences, and strengthen your relationship with Acceptance and. Commitment Therapy" by Russ Harris. I think this book will be great if you are working with a therapist who is practicing Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, or if you used it in the past and loved it.

  4. "Dance of Anger. A woman’s guide to changing the patters of intimate relationships." Harriet Lerner, Ph.D. We have the right to everything we feel, including anger. How we express it is often not very helpful, to say the least. This book really helps to see the anger, to understand what’s underneath the anger and to know how we can use that energy to learn more about ourselves and to create life and relationships we want. It’s about self discovery and self responsibility. We often feel anger and want the other person to change. We see the problem with them. This book really helps us see whose problem and whose responsibility it is when our anger arises.

  5. "How Emotions are Made. The secret life of the brain." By Lisa Feldman Barrett, PhD. This book has 90 pages of bibliography and footnotes, so let’s just say it’s well researched. The author talked about a new theory about emotions - they are constructed (made) and not triggered as was thought before, in a classical view that considers emotions automatic, hard wired into the brain and universally expressed and recognized. Why is it important? We get to play a major role in our emotional life and are not just “victims” of our emotions, as they are not inevitable. Read this book to learn A TON about our brain and how it works, not just when it comes to emotions.

  6. "Why zebras don’t get ulcers. The acclaimed guide to stress, stress/related diseases, and coping". By Robert M. Sapolski. Written with a great sense of humour, this book will tell you all about stress, stress related disorders, and what we can do about it. It’ll give you more scientific details that you what to known, but, unlike most books like this that will bore you to tears, Dr. Sapolski manages to make it exciting.

  7. "Feeling Good. The new mood therapy". David D. Burns, M.D. cognitive behaviour expert, Dr Burns, talked about how people can cure anxiety and depression, guilt, low self esteem - without drugs. It’s evidence based, standard therapeutic approach and here’s how I see it. It works. Remarkably well. Sometimes. For some people. And it’s worth trying to see if you are one of those people, maybe with a help of a therapist, or maybe just with this book. And if it works - amazing! You’ll see a huge change in your life and it’s worth celebrating. And if it doesn’t - please don’t blame yourself and don’t stop until you find an approach that works.

  8. "Anchored. How to befriend your nervous system using polyvagal theory." Deb Dana, LCSW. This is a fantastic, beautiful, brilliant book. I love Deb Dana. I had a privilege to study with her and just loved her kind presence, wisdom, and compassion. If your nervous system is out of balance, this book is your map to well being

Self help

  1. "The subtle art of not giving a f*uck. A counterintuitive approach to living a good life" by Mark Manson. This book came highly recommended. I loved some chapters and I wondered why am I still reading it at others. I’ve got a couple of good ideas out of it. Would I recommend it? What a strange idea, I have no idea if you need this book or if you’ll hate it. It might inspire you, or give you an answer you were looking for. Or it might feel like just another self help book except with swears in it.

  2. "Daring Greatly" by Brenè Brown. Brene’s work is about shame and vulnerability and I’m a bit ashamed that it took me this long to get to this books. Vulnerability however is my jam, and my work for the last 10 years was all about that.

  3. "The EFT Manual" by Gary Craig. Emotional freedom technique or tapping is an energy medicine, an alternative technique for healing, processing events, balancing the nervous system. It works for so many different things, such as anxiety, depression, pain, negative thoughts, stress, trauma, performance …... It’s becoming more popular and since there are a lot more studies done about it now, it’s accepted as an efficient, proven, evidence based treatment by modern psychology. Which is really cool

  4. "Opening up by writing it down. How expressive writing improves health and eases emotional pain" by James Pennebaker, PhD and Joshua Smyth, PhD. Everyone recommends journaling as a therapeutic, healing technique. This book goes into depth of how it works, and incredible benefits it’s can bring ( for example, strengthening of the immune system and general health)

  5. "The Urban Monk. Eastern wisdom and modern hacks to stop time and find success, happiness and peace". by Pedram Shojai. If you don’t like self help books, you probably wouldn’t like this book. It’s classic self help. But it’s a nice reminder of how we get stuck in life, focusing on all the wrong things and waking up every day feeling low energy, high stress levels and not very happy, to say the least. Not very healthy either. This book brings practices to change all that, honor your body, take care of your energy, open your heart and find a “grounded sense of well being”. It has examples most people can resonate with and shows a path to mastery

  6. "My plastic brain. One Woman's Yearlong Journey to Discover If Science Can Improve Her Mind" by Caroline Williams. This is a very cool read, written by a science journalist, who spends a year trying to change her own brain by working with different scientists around the world. We all know about neuroplasticity. But can we actually “change out brain”? She works on areas like focus, positive/negative thinking, anxiety, creativity, being able to navigate better, controlling the perception of time ….. If we know how and use the most current scientific research, can we all lean to be more creative and less anxious, to focus bettter and stay in the flow? Can we actually see the changes in the brain?

  7. "Tell yourself a better lie:Use the power of Rapid Transformational Therapy to edit your story and rewrite your life." Marisa Peer. This audio program is an advertisement for Marisa’s Rapid Transformational Therapy training but it has so many insights into a nature of human suffering and many many tools for us to rewire it and live full, joyous lives. There are stories of people who did transform their lives and while everyone is different of course, we all can relate to deep feared beliefs like “I’m not enough, I’m not loveable, I’m different, I can’t have what I want”. Marisa shows how to let go of the beliefs that keep us stuck and form new ones, that can help us create a life we want to live

Books about health and healing

  1. "The Menopause Manifesto". Dr. Jen Gunter. (She is the author of The Vagina Bible) Fantastic book, great information on all things menopause, including an awesome and very real chapter on sex.

  2. "The Endometriosis health and diet program". Dr Andrew Cook and Danielle Cook. This debilitating illness affects so many women. I wanted to better understand what can we do to support healing and well being. As always, please talk to your doctor first, before embarking on any type of a program.

  3. "Healing through Yoga. Transform loss into empowerment." By Paul Denniston, founder of Grief Yoga. I loved this book. I love yoga, but I’m very particular about teachers and books and this one I highly highly recommend. It’s filed with kindness, and wisdom and it offers gentle support to those who are struggling with loss, grief, anger, heartbreak, unprocessed or suppressed emotions. “When I’m lonely and sad and longing for the past, I will nurture my heart and connect to that beautiful vulnerability within”. “Your grief doesn’t get smaller, you just grow bigger. Allow your heart to grow”. I cried reading this book, but I could feel what it offers - a pathway to hope, connection and light.

  4. "Younger next year. Love strong, fit, sexy, and smart - until you are 80 and beyond". By Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge, MD. Wonderful, inspiring, informative and fun book for people in mid life wanting to stay healthy and strong in the last third (or half) of their life. I’ll be 50 soon and I’m paying attention.

  5. "Woman Code. Perfect your cycle, Amplify Your Fertility, Supercharge Your Sex Drive, and Become a Power Source" by Alisa Vitty. Natural approach to woman’s health, menstrual cycle, hormones, emotions and libido. Connection between what we eat and hormones. Cyclical nature of being a woman. Deeper understanding of how we are wired and what we can do if things get off balance.

  6. "The Way of The IceMan. How the Wim Hof Method Creates Radiant, Longterm Health - using the science and secrets of breath control, cold-training and commitment" by Wim Hof And Koen De Jong. Friends were talking about Wim Hof Method and I wanted to read a little bit more about it. This is a very small book (120 pages) and it gives you some background information about Wim and some success stories. It describes a couple of breathing exercises and an intro to cold showers, but there’s really not too much more to it. You could probably get all this just by reading a couple of blog pots of watching youtube videos. I was happy I got it from the library. I’m really interested in mind-body connection, nervous system and potential of our human body. Wim Hof is all about that - and what I didn’t know, it’s the connection with spirituality too.

  7. "Back in control. A surgeon roadmap out of chronic pain". By David Hanscom MD. Not my usual book to read, but I was inspired by Dr Hanscom listening to his presentation during the Anxiety Conference. He talks about holistic healing approach to chronic pain. A surgeon’s approach is usually - let’s do a surgery, of course. But not his. Having been on his own healing journey for 15 years, he recognizes that a surgery is often not the answer. We can’t just treat the symptoms(such as a chronic back pain for example) without recognizing underlying causes of pain, without acknowledging the traumas and without understanding of the nervous system and the power we have to heal. This book brings hope - and offers very practical solutions, and I wanted to share.

  8. "Accessing the healing power of the Vagus Nerve. Self-help exercises for anxiety, depression, trauma and autism". By Stanley Rosenberg. Fascinating book. A gifted bodyworker with 50 years of experience - it made me wish I could do sessions with him (he’s now retired). Luckily there are very simple exercises that we can all do ourselves. I, of course, started doing exercises immediately, but like it so often happen with reviews like this, it’s just too soon to talk about any meaningful impact.

Books about productivity

  1. "Deep work. Rules for focused success in a distracted world" by Cal Newport

  2. "Digital minimalism. Choosing a focused life in a noisy world." By Cal Newport

  3. "How to break up with your phone: the 30 day plan to take back your life" by Catherine Price. I found this book very useful and immediately implemented some of the suggestions. We’ll see if I can maintain it. I go through period of times when I feel very addicted to my phone, and it’s really nice to have moments of freedom from it.

  4. "4 thousand weeks. Time management for mortals". By Oliver Burkeman I only read a 20 page summary of this book, but it was really FUN and insightful so I decided to mention it here.

  5. “Effortless. Make it easier to do what matters most” by Greg McKeown. I’ve also got his other book, “Essentialism”. But inspired by the “the disciplined pursuit of doing less” I’ve only read half or each book 😃. Loved the book. Loved the message - simplify. Make it easy. Make it fun and enjoy the process. Rituals - habit with a heart. Transform a tedious task into an experience that brings you joy. Invite joy into a daily routine. What’s not to like?

I've also read for fun :) In the bath. Novels, fantasy, my beloved russian books that I've read and re-read tens of times (if not more)


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