I know I haven’t posted in a while, but a good friend of mine had just recently spent some time in the hospital. At first, the desire to write simply wasn’t there, but because he’s feeling much better, I decided to try.
This article is not meant to give you a full description of any particular book, but to maybe convince you to grab one of these books through my observations and analysis of each after reading them.
Emotional First Aid: Most mornings, while I am making coffee, I enjoy watching Ted Talks. Ted talks tend to give me inspiration by simply listening to the tremendous accomplishments of others, especially during the days that I am feeling down. One morning was a little rougher than the rest; I stumbled upon Guy Winch’s Ted Talk, Why we all need to practice emotional first aid. He makes the argument that everyone has the basic knowledge for treating physical wounds, but we all seem to lack a fundamental understanding of how to treat emotional wounds. I couldn’t agree more. Personally, I use two tactics for treating all emotional wounds; I typically try to compel the person to talk about it, or I distract them. In this book, he goes over multiple emotions, including examples of situations that cause these emotions, why people may experience these emotions, and most importantly, several key strategies to help heal the wounds caused by these emotions and experiences. Each strategy presents its own challenges in various ways, but most of them seem to work. No matter what your current mental health is, something like is always worth a try.
Water For Elephants. As manly as I try to be, I still enjoy a true love story. Yes, I realize I am a sap. There is just something about two people who will look to do anything for one another that means a lot to me. Water for Elephants takes place during the great depression and tells the story about a young guy, Jacob, who recently goes through a traumatic event. With the initial shock still pumping through him, Jacob hops onto a moving train. He realizes quickly that this random train is a moving circus. Jacob is pulled into a world where he works with the circus’ animals, but after some time, he begins to fall for the performer of the main act. However, there is just one major problem, she is married. And not just married to one of the workers, but the second man in charge of the circus. I am sure that every guy reading this has had a crush on a girl that is not available, but I find the writing of this story incredible because it allows the reader to see the circus through his eyes, while also trying to battle with his emotions for this women. You feel every ounce of his frustration as he hides his feelings for her while trying to take care of the animals of a dying circus. Go to your local bookstore to buy it; you could probably find it used for around 8 bucks.
The Wisdom of Insecurity: While reading the first half of this book, you may feel quite uncomfortable, but after spending some time with it, you’ll be able to breathe more clearly than you have before. I’ve mentioned this book in a previous post, but not as in depth as it deserves. The overall theme of the book is remembering to be present and at the moment completely. Now, even that sentence alone also doesn’t give this book justice. Most people think that focusing on the present moment is equivalent to avoiding worrisome thoughts that most people have, like dreading the future. Alan Watts, however, argues that allowing yourself to be fully present at the moment, even throughout rough times, is beneficial. Picture this: when your room is messy and you don’t feel like cleaning it, you shouldn’t just leave your house to go do something else. Instead, be in the room and figure out the best way to clean it. I promise you, this has been a daily struggle for me; taking the time to feel emotions. However, it has helped tremendously with my overall mental health.
The Night Circus: This is a special one for me. Erin Morgenstern welcomes you into her version of a circus that also serves as an arena for a magical duel. It is another love story with many challenges that the characters encounter with every turned page. Again, you can feel the frustration of this couple as they try to bring themselves closer. Morgenstern is incredible with her descriptive way of talking about the circus. She allows the reader to smell the aroma, tastes the treats, and imagine the site of these grand acts. When I first read the book, I had to stop and buy one of the snacks that she kept talking about. Obviously, it wasn’t as good as her description, but it was necessary. Even though this world doesn’t exist in our world, Erin does an amazing job of tricking your imagination enough to be able to create this world in your mind. At the time I was reading this I was in a long distance relationship. This book seemed to do an amazing job of capturing every moment you feel when you are away from this person while also putting words to the feeling when you are with them. A must read if you are in a long distance relationship.
Tuesdays With Morrie: Simple but necessary; Tuesdays With Morrie is a memoir about a previous student who reconnects with his college professor, who has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Mitch, the author, visits his old professor every Tuesday to bring him his favorite foods. As Morrie and Mitch, talk they begin to list life’s greatest lessons. While some books tend to make these lessons complicated, Morrie makes it easy to understand exactly what makes people happy, just how a true professor would do. One of my favorite chapters is “We Talk About Emotions.” You may be noticing a certain theme that I keep bringing up in my articles, is that you must experience all emotions. Now I am not going to explain Morrie’s theory but there is a line in this chapter that may be one of my favorites “When you learn how to die, you learn how to live.”
I still grab one of these books from time to time to read a couple of pages. I know you won’t regret buying one.