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Top Reads To Understand Your Mind and Soul

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

In The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: A Fable About Fulfilling Your Dreams and Reaching Your Destiny, Robin Sharma explains that self-improvement is the key to a much-needed worldwide spiritual revolution. In his 1999 fable, John and Julian are two lawyers who become drained by their work lifestyle. Julian quits his toxic life to embark on a spiritual journey in India, then comes back to teach John how to do the same and achieve peace and freedom.

Five Top Insights from The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari summary

  1. Problems that arise in your life should not be seen as obstacles, but as learning opportunities and areas of growth.
  2. Following your passions and helping others follow theirs selflessly are essential for fulfillment.
  3. You should not measure how full your life is based on how much money or property you own.
  4. Being caught up in the past will not allow you to improve. You need to live each day as if it is your last day on earth.
  5. There are no limits to what you can achieve in life, and you should always stay on the journey of self-expansion of the body, mind, and soul.

Man’s Search for Meaning

In 1946, Viktor Frankl wrote Man’s Search for Meaning, detailing both his years as a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps and the school of psychotherapy he developed called logotherapy. Prisoners were trapped in a situation out of their control, and they would have cracked under the cruelty they witnessed if it wasn’t for finding a bigger meaning to cling to. They typically went through three stages: denial, apathy, then acceptance after their release. Getting to the last stage requires an established meaning of life to serve as motivation.

Five Top Insights from Man’s Search for Meaning summary

  1. When in a very painful situation, people have to practice tragic optimism, as it allows them to be able to control their reactions.
  2. Finding meaning is the only way a person can get through a traumatizing situation.
  3. Meaning can be found in both something of importance in a person’s life and a strong response to suffering, but most commonly in love and deep human connections.
  4. Noögenic neurosis is the consequence of not finding meaning in life. It can manifest through disastrous effects on a person’s life and psyche.
  5. A greater meaning isn’t about being powerful or making a lot of money.

Hold Me Tight

Maintaining a healthy relationship is not always straightforward or easy, but Dr. Sue Johnson explains how it can be done using Emotional Focused Therapy (EFT) in her 2008 book Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love. EFT is based on the fact that adults seek comfort from their romantic partners just as children do with their parents. In order for a relationship to work out, both partners should be mindful and understanding of each other’s concerns and raw emotions. Emotional conversations rather than logical ones are key in solving romantic conflict.

Five Top Insights from Hold Me Tight summary

  1. Partners both need to be accessible, responsive, and engaged when trying to solve a conflict.
  2. If they are not willing and committed to solving an issue, partners will not get anywhere, and the relationship issue will keep escalating.
  3. Solving a conflict will let partners bond on a deeper emotional level.
  4. Forgiveness is key in any relationship between romantic partners.
  5. Tackling raw emotions is crucial in solving a conflict as most arguments in a relationship arise from similar patterns rooted in unresolved emotions.

The Purpose Driven Life

Every Christian’s goal should be to please God and understand why He put us on Earth. The Bible is the place to start, and it is packed with teachings and steps to follow. The Purpose Driven Life, a day-by-day guide to finding and following your purpose in life, is meant to take you on a 42-day journey to discover what God asks of you and how you can achieve it. This bestseller from 2002 explores five purposes designed to meet God’s expectations of us.

Five Top Insights from The Purpose Driven Life summary

  1. Worshiping God and preaching his message to more people is the first purpose we should live for.
  2. Investing a good chunk of your time engaging with a community of other Christians in a church is the second purpose.
  3. Striving to gain qualities like those of Jesus Christ and staying away from the temptation of Satan is the third purpose.
  4. Seeking God’s help in your weak spots and serving others using your gifts and talents is the fourth purpose.
  5. Seeing life as an opportunity to fulfill God’s mission for us, which keeps us working towards Heaven, is the fifth purpose.

The Brain That Changes Itself

What if you could change the way your brain functions? How would it make your life better? Scientists long thought this was impossible and brain damage was irreversible, but over the past couple decades, neuroplasticians have proved that the brain can indeed be improved. In his 2007 book The Brain That Changes Itself, Norman Doidge explains how certain exercises can help patients suffering from damage to their neural pathways and even people with mental illnesses. While some thoughts can change your brain function in a negative way, other exercises can optimize it.

Five Top Insights from The Brain That Changes Itself summary

  1. In the 1960s, scientists started figuring out that they were wrong about the brain: it is indeed capable of changing and improving if given the right circumstances.
  2. The mind was thought to be separate from the brain but they are actually linked, and one influences the other.
  3. Plasticity-based exercises can improve a stroke patient’s mobility and speech, as well as improve the life of a person with obsessive compulsive disorder.
  4. Certain behaviors can cause the brain’s function to decline, such as a pornography addiction.
  5. Thoughts have the ability to change neural pathways.

The Untethered Soul

Unlocking your consciousness is the key to achieving inner peace. Michael A. Singer explains how to get in touch with your consciousness in his 2007 book The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself. You must start by understanding where each of your thoughts come from, how you react, and why you feel each emotion. This means understanding your relationships with everything around you, as well as with yourself. Only after this process of self-exploration will you be able to let go of all negativity and fulfill your desire for ultimate inner peace.

Five Top Insights from The Untethered Soul summary

  1. You need to free your consciousness from any distraction it may have gotten attached to before you can truly experience it.
  2. Once you are in touch with your consciousness, you will realize that your inner voice has been blocking your full view of the world.
  3. Enlightenment can be achieved by anyone willing, not just highly spiritual people; you just need to master meditation.
  4. Observing yourself and others from your consciousness’ point of view will put you on the path for inner peace,
  5. You are not your idea of yourself; your true self lies in your consciousness.

Meditations

Meditations is a personal diary written by Aurelius, emperor of Rome from 161 to 180. Aurelius practiced the philosophical movement known as Stoicism. He believed that through it, he could lead a virtuous life. His goal was to have a big-picture view of the world. His diary is filled with thought exercises based on Stoicism as well as reflections on life, politics, philosophy, and death.

Five Top Insights from Meditations summary

  1. To understand the universe, you need to be able to observe nature and how the world interacts with its elements, rather than futile things such as human interactions.
  2. Death is not something you should fear. You should look forward to it, as it is a motivation to truly live the virtuous life you want.
  3. Getting distracted by violence and fear is harmful to your soul; don’t let people on a different path than yours distract you from your goals.
  4. Life and death should be approached with reason and justice, and you should strive to humbly share your enlightenment with others.
  5. In death, you return to nature, which is always something to look forward to.

Can’t Hurt Me

David Goggins is the only person to train in the special operations of three different branches of the US military. He tells his inspiring story in his 2018 memoir Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds. Goggins never thought he could get to where he is now. His achievements as a SEAL and an athlete seemed impossible to him as he grew up with an abusive father and barely any academic capabilities.

Five Top Insights from Can’t Hurt Me summary

  1. After squeaking through high school, David Goggins joined the Air Force, but he had to quit a couple months in due to a sickle cell diagnosis.
  2. After spiraling mentally and physically, Goggins went through three rounds of SEAL training, and suffered serious health complications.
  3. He kept working hard and rose up the ranks in the Navy. He went through multiple training programs, became a bona fide leader, and got into marathons and weightlifting.
  4. Goggins gained recognition for his athletic abilities, then went through two heart surgeries and kidney failure.
  5. He finally decided to retire and now works a brutal job in wildfire firefighting. He continues to take care of his health.

This Is Your Brain on Food

Dr. Uma Naidoo draws on her clinical experience as well as her skills as a chef in her 2020 book This Is Your Brain on Food. She puts her expertise to use and explains how deeply your gut health can impact your mental well-being and vice versa. Not many people are aware of the relationship between food habits and maintaining a positive outlook on life. Naidoo details how to master this connection by eating the right diet.

Five Top Insights from This Is Your Brain on Food summary

  1. Psychiatry and nutrition are more connected than most of us know, and a person’s diet should be questioned when they present with mental illness symptoms.
  2. A lot of people deal with depression or anxiety by overeating or not eating certain food, which disrupts the gut’s chemistry.
  3. Healthy bacteria such as probiotics reset the gut’s health and help absorb healthy foods.
  4. Good bacteria can be found in foods such as yogurt and soybeans, or through supplements.
  5. High-sugar, high-carb, and high-fat foods all worsen depression.

What Happened to You

In What Happened to You, the dialogue between Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Bruce D. Perry is a powerful one. Their 2021 book will teach you to delve into the deepest parts of your childhood. Your journey, like Oprah’s, will show you how your past is affecting every aspect of your life. The impact of childhood trauma should never be underestimated, as it touches and affects every aspect of who we are. The ways we behave, react, and cope with both good and bad things all are rooted in our early years of life.

Five Top Insights from What Happened to You summary

  1. The cortex is the part of your brain that controls your behavior, and it is deeply influenced by your childhood experiences.
  2. The relationships you form during your early years dictate the types of relationships you may seek later on.
  3. Childhood trauma fundamentally changes your body’s response to stress.
  4. Certain stress types can be positive, such as hunger or cold, but others can be destructive, such as drug addictions.
  5. You should seek comfort in a strong support system of people you trust in order to teach yourself how to stay away from destructive stressors.

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