Ultimate Reading List for 2020 : 10 MUST READ Non-Fiction Books

After completing my Goodreads Challenge 2019 with 40 books, here are the MUST read non-fiction books. Hope this inspires your reading list for 2020!

Successfully meeting my target of reading 40 books this year from the GoodReads 2019 Challenge, here is my reading list for MUST read books in the non-fiction category.

Continuing from last year’s recommendations, I have decided to make this a year-end ritual of sorts.

I know, I know, I write enough about Spiritual books already, so I’m promising you a list outside the core Spiritual genre, yet true to the non-fiction hall of fame.

Bringing you a bright concoction of genres this year, from undercover agents, comedy, mental health, memoirs, self-helps and more. Read on!

#1 – Atomic Habits by James Clear

If I could recommend only one book to you, it would be this one.

With 2020 around the corner, and the potential to BREAK most of your “new year resolutions”, this book will teach you how to commit to yourself this year, for good.

As the author emphasizes, we only need to change ourselves 1% everyday, and by the end of the year, we are 37 times better as a person! The tips and tricks in Atomic Habits are suitable for all walks of life, and I continue to use this book as a guideline to refine my own habits, even after 6 months of reading it.

This is also the book that influenced my post 7 Daily Self-Love Habits that You Will Thank Yourself For Doing.


#2 – Why We Sleep by Matthew Kneale

If you’re a victim of sleep deprivation, you’re not alone.

Fairy Tale, Night, Music, Fish, Sky, Fly, Sleep, Non Fiction, Dream

Why We Sleep will tell you EVERYTHING there is to know about sleep, like :

  • how dreams work,
  • why we experience jet lags,
  • sleep-deprived driving versus drunk-driving,
  • how much we should sleep,
  • the impact of caffeine on our sleep, and much more!

Informative, but not overly. The stories and research is astonishing and will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading. This book is the right blend of self-help and psychology genres.


#3 – In the Skin of a Jihadist

I’ve always been inclined to learn more about whistleblowers and anti-terrorism stories. For me, this year, In the Skin of a Jihadist really stood out.

undercover, journalism, jihad

The story of an undercover journalist that went to extensive lengths to debunk much about the Jihadists and their plans, ultimately leading to life-threatening circumstances for herself. Bone-chilling and very different from anything else you’ll usually read.


#4 – Becoming by Michelle Obama

In the category of memoirs, Becoming along with #5 have been such good reads this year.

I was fortunate to hear it read by Michelle Obama herself, thanks to my latest love for audiobooks. Through her works, you will realize that she is a brilliant mother, wife, woman and human being.

I’m sure you don’t need much more introduction to this book, and you’ve probably seen enough reviews in favour. So just take one more positive sign – you SHOULD read this!


#5 – This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay

Very few people know, that I wanted to be a doctor while I was growing up. Being steered into engineering by my very practical family, was not a decision I got over for several years!

adam kay, this is going to hurt, must read memoir

I’m happy to be where I am today. But if there was anything left within me, this book brought me the closure I needed. But don’t get me wrong, This is Going to Hurt is the opposite of sad.

If you’re looking for something hilarious yet meaningful, look no further. This book comes with a power-packed message and lots of smiles.


#6 – Essentialism by Greg McKeown

If you’re a workaholic, read this.
Or, if you want to learn time management, read this.
Or, If you have a tough time saying no at work or in relations, read this.

Essentialism is an essential book for anyone that wants to understand how to set up boundaries in their life, and in a very practical way. The book uses a lot of references from other books and can seem worded at times, but it is relevant nonetheless.


#7 – Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

With me going on and on about Mental Health and happiness, it became almost mandatory to have this book on the list. It’s a classic, but I feel like it was written way ahead of its time.

bell jar, sylvia plath, mental health, must read

For anyone having any inclination and searching for some enlightenment on subjects of mental health, depression or suicide, please add the Bell Jar to your cart. I truly felt like this is as real and deep as you can get with experiencing such subjects, without being in that position yourself.


#8 – The Circadian Code by Dr Satchin Panda

This year was a blessing, with back-to-back books that brought inner transformation. With diet-culture and intermittent fasting in extensive discussion, this is the book that nails every theory and myth with terrific scientific backing.

Clock, Plate, Intermittent Fasting, Must Read

Dr Satchin’s research proves that calorie-counting can go out of the window, if we make very small changes in our daily habits. His theory being, it doesn’t matter what you eat, as much as it matters when you are eating.

In turn, these changes will reverse the effects of chronic illnesses like obesity, diabetes, ADHD, as well as regulate your mental, hormonal and physical health on the daily basis!

In his book, Circadian Code, the doctor backs up his evidence for 6 weeks of his recommended practice to see results, and at this point, I am over 8 weeks into practising intermittent fasting. The outcome is so amazing, I am compiling a post about my story. Stay tuned!


#9 – Quiet : The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

I was today years-old, when I discovered that half the things I do, are not a personality flaw, but the essence of an introvert personality.

The book Quiet talks in great detail about introverts in all kinds of social and career situations. There’s wonderful insight on raising introvert kids, and how to cohabitate with an introvert or extrovert partner.

Woman, Read, Sit, Person, Literature, Must Read, Non-Fiction

I can’t thank the author enough, for putting this incredible work together. She’s gone above and beyond, searched high and low to put this insightful work together.

Whether it was her experience at Tony Robbins workshop, a study at Harvard Business School, or countless other studies of CEOs and other influential, introverted personalities, she’s shared EVERYTHING. And then some. Absolutely fascinating!

If you are an introvert, considered emotional or sensitive, this book is going to empower you and make you feel so good about yourself, you will wear the label with honour, as I now do. Thoroughly researched, witty and pushing your mind to break the stigma about who you are.


#10 – Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

As someone who has gone through several episodes of depression, and continues to deal with anxiety, Matt Haig has nailed everything there has to be said about the state of our planet.

Sadness, Depressed, Woman, Girl, Alone

Notes on a Nervous Planet looks at everything that affects our mental health from a practical, easy-to-understand but tough-to-digest perspective. This could be the book that shakes you awake.


* BONUS READ – Make Your Bed by Will McRaven

While this didn’t make it in my top 10 non-fiction favourites, it definitely made a good read.

Military, Usa, Marines, Drill, Silent, Navy, Seal

I’m sure you’ve already seen the inspiring speech about making your bed every morning, but the author put together a fantastic book revealing what the life and struggle of navy marines are, in a rather unique and comical way.

What I liked about this book was, no fluff, lots of stories that make great analogies, and how crisp it was. Perfect if you need a short and motivating read.

Conclusion

How many of these have you already read? I hope some of them make way into your To-Be-Reads for 2020! Happy reading 🙂

P.S. Thank you, if you are able to purchase any of the books through the Amazon links above. At no added cost to you, your purchase brings a small commision to this blog and helps it grow! 🙂

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10 must read non-fiction books

5 Tips to Overcome Anxiety with Present Moment Awareness, by Iman

A meaty post about dealing with anxiety, with a variety of techniques for present moment awareness. Bookmark this for later!

This is going to be a meaty post about dealing with anxiety, you might want to bookmark this!

Anxiety is something everybody experiences. It is normal to feel anxious about certain situations in life. Be it family problems, work, school or a crisis you’re facing. Anxiety is also your body’s natural reaction to impending danger, so it can serve to protect us. 

When the symptoms of anxiety becomes constant, however, to the point that you’re fearful, worried and stressed all the time, It could be that you’re dealing with a medical disorder for which you can receive treatment. 

When dealing with anxiety, it can be difficult to imagine a way of what you’re experiencing. It traps you and makes you feel like you’ve lost control. But you haven’t. Believe it or not, it is possible to release yourself out of the tight grip of anxiety. 

In this article, I am going to share with you six ways in which you can ease your anxiety. These steps involve calming yourself by pulling your attention away from your worries and to the present moment. 

#1 – Accept that the past is gone and that the future doesn’t exist yet.

Anxiety is often triggered because of worries we have of the past or fears of the future. In both cases, it is pointless to feel anxious. 

past, anxiety, future, choice

The past is in the past. Accept that what has happened, happened. You can’t change events, all you can focus on is what you are doing now.

 If you made a mistake and you feel guilty about it, worrying won’t change a thing. Instead, learn whatever that experience taught you and resolve never to do it again.

The future doesn’t exist. Think about this fact for a moment. 

Ask yourself, why am I worrying about a tomorrow that isn’t guaranteed? Take any action necessary now towards making your future easy, but you don’t stress about it.

#2 – Silence the voice in your mind.

“You don’t have to control your thoughts. You just have to stop letting them control you.”

– Dan Millman

Negative thoughts can sometimes be the main trigger of anxiety. You may not have control over a stressful situation you’re in. But you do have control over how you think about that situation and your perception of it. 

When a negative thought creeps into your mind, stop it in its tracks. It’s impossible to entertain two thoughts at once. So shift your attention towards something else. 

positive, affirmations, peace, stress

This is something you have to practice regularly because this inner voice will constantly come knocking. But the more it does, the more you have to train your mind to shut the door. 

You can practice this in four ways:

  • Change your thoughts from something negative, to positive. For example, if you’re worried about something that will happen in the future, such as an important interview, instead of thinking: “this is going to go horribly wrong” try “this is going to go extremely well”
  • Recite positive affirmations to yourself.
  • Distract yourself by focusing on something other than the thoughts in your mind. Do something practical like exercising, cooking or painting. Anything you enjoy. 
  • Speak to someone. The conversation doesn’t have to be about your problems if you don’t feel comfortable sharing that. But speaking with a friend or family member is an effective way of pulling your mind away from negative thoughts.

#3 – Practice mindfulness exercises for anxiety

Practising mindfulness exercises is a good way of being present, and easing your anxiety. You’re turning your attention away from your thoughts and feelings, towards something else which you are doing now.

mindfulness, meditation, present moment awareness

Here are some mindfulness exercises you can try:

a) Meditation 

Meditating is simple. Find a comfortable place to sit, this can be on your bed, chair, floor, anywhere you want. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Don’t breathe consciously, let your breath flow in and out naturally. Be conscious of how your body moves as you inhale and exhale.

Read more : Everything You Need to Know About Meditation

b) Breathing exercises

If you’re in an environment where meditating isn’t an option, you can practice breathing exercises. Just take a deep breath in through your nose, and out through your mouth. Focus and breathe consciously, you’ll quickly notice a difference in how you feel. 

c) Being mindful of your surroundings

Life moves fast. So fast that we often forget to pause and live in the moment fully. A great way of easing anxiety is to be mindful of your surroundings by  using your senses. 

Try this:

  • Look around you and focus your attention on what your eyes see, absorb all the details.
  • You can then use your auditory sense, what can you hear? 
  • Use your sense of touch, place your palm against anything around you, that can even be an object like your phone. How does it feel?
  • Step outside and inhale the fresh air, how does that feel? 

#4 – If possible, SOLVE the problem that is stressing you.

If your anxiety is triggered by a specific issue in your life which you have the ability to solve, do so now. For example, you might have a lot of work or revision for school which you need to do. Start doing it. Even if you don’t complete everything, starting will give you a sense of achievement. 

solve rubix cube, anxiety, stress, resolve

If you have crippling debt, despite how scary it seems, start taking the necessary actions towards paying it back. 

Whether you can solve your problem now or in the long-term, taking the actions towards solving it will help to ease your anxiety now.

#5 – Journal your anxious thoughts

Journaling is an effective way of reducing anxiety. Grabbing a pen and jotting your worries down on a piece of paper can help you to gain clarity. 

journaling, diary, notebook, self awareness, anxiety, calm

You don’t have to worry about making sense or writing a structured entry, just write whatever is on your mind. If you’re stuck and you don’t know how to begin, here are some journaling prompts:

  • Why am I feeling this way?
  • What is the root of my fear?
  • How can I solve this problem?
  • What can I do to take back control?
  • What strengths do I have which will help me get through this?

If you rather write about something besides anxiety, here are more positive journaling ideas:

  • Gratitude journaling – write three things you are grateful for.
  • Describe your favourite memory
  • List five things that make you happy and why
  • List all the things your strengths and skills you have

#6 – Leave the situation that is making you anxious

Some people experience anxiety if they’re in certain situations they don’t like. If you’re uncomfortable in social gatherings for example, and your anxiousness is debilitating, leave that place. If you can’t leave for whatever reason, then excuse yourself for a few minutes. Practice some of the mindfulness exercises listed above, then go back when you feel calm again.

If you’re scrolling through social media, and it’s triggering your anxiety, log off. Your mental health comes first. You don’t have to force yourself to stay somewhere you feel uncomfortable.

Final Thoughts On Anxiety & Present Moment Awareness

There you have it. Six pieces of advice to help you connect with the present moment, and ease your anxiety. 

Here’s a recap:

  • Accept that the past is gone and the future doesn’t exist yet
  • Silence the voice in your mind
  • Practice some mindfulness exercises
  • If possible, solve your problem now
  • Journal
  • Change the situation you’re in

Is there any other way you can use the present moment to ease anxiety? Comment down below and let us know!

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5 Tips to Overcome Anxiety with Present Moment Awareness

Telepathy : Is Mind-Reading Real? And How Does It Work?

Is telepathy a coincidence or real? How does mind-reading work? Can we choose our thoughts? And more.

The corniest example of ‘telepathy’ is seen in couples that seem to know what the other is thinking, even before something is said.

Some other hopefully relatable examples of telepathy, that personally happened over the last couple of days are :

  • Wanting to eat a specific food, and my mom preparing it for dinner, without me mentioning it to her!
  • Walking with a friend, and thinking about ending the walk, only to find them saying so too.
  • On a long drive, thinking about halting for a pee-break, and another friend immediately saying the same thing aloud.
  • Thinking about drinking water and my roommate handing my a water bottle in the very next moment.

It makes you wonder – did we get lucky in the moment, or is something deeper happening which we can’t explain because we don’t understand?

telepathy, couple, relationships, mind reading
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Is Telepathy a Coincidence or Real?

Let’s take a step back and talk about the origin of our thoughts.

Have you ever noticed where your thought originated from? Sometimes, we latch onto a thought and begin creating more thoughts generated from this original thought.

For example, one day, you might wonder what you will have for dinner, and then immediately remember you haven’t met your friend in a while, so you should plan dinner together sometime.

So then, you wonder why your friend hasn’t talked to you in a while.

And then, you create your own conclusions about how they’ve ‘changed’ or that they’re probably mad at you. BAM!

Broken dinner plans for tonight.

Photo by Netaly Reshef on Pexels.com
Now you’re in a bad mood, perhaps even experiencing a trigger of abandonment issues. You may continue to think more disappointing thoughts now.

It’s an endless cycle, you see? And in this case – a downward spiral.

But here’s where metaphysics kicks in. As Buddha says, we are not our thoughts. Thoughts come and go. So what is happening?

Based on the frequency that we are functioning on at a given point of time, a Thought Bubble (as Eckhart Tolle calls them) will be interpreted accordingly. So these thoughts that Buddha called ‘coming and going’ are really just bubbles of energy with ideas in them.

When they pass through our inner filter, we experience them as good or bad. So if you’re already in a bad mood, no matter what thought bubble you catch, your inner filter will make you feel worse.

What is the relation between Thought Bubbles with Telepathy?

When two people spend time together, and are getting along well – their frequency is beginning to align. Therefore, amongst the different thought bubbles present in a space, sometimes, two people may catch the same one at the same time, and look at it in the same way.

In that moment, they experience a telepathic connection and think, oh my, you can read my mind!

Dark, Fireworks, Hands, Lights, Macro, Connection, Spark, Telepathy

When we are REALLY in tune with somebody’s thoughts, we can even experience our neurons involuntarily echoing their behavior. It looks like this:

  • Our body language might change to mirror theirs’,
  • We will feel their emotional response to the situation and soak it up,
  • We might use the same vocabulary as theirs’,
  • And so on…

This is called Mirror Neuron Effect. Or as we empaths like to call it – the Emotional Sponge Effect.

Which leads me to the next question.

Can You Choose Your Thoughts?

While in meditation you are asked to observe your thoughts, it is difficult to continue observation throughout the day when you’re more actively involved in activities.

What you can do, however, is to stay conscious of the frequency you are in.

Brain, Mind, Psychology, Idea, Drawing, Thoughts, Telepathy
Don’t monitor your thoughts. Instead, monitor your response to your thoughts. Your body language, your mood, your inner turmoil should be very obvious indicators of the frequency you are operating in.

That’s how people that practice gratitude are more likely to find something good in everything. And when crazy or negative thoughts arise, they’re able to transmute them and think, hey, this isn’t ME, I don’t need to believe this.

Closing Thoughts (pun intended)

An original thought is neutral. Your inner filter is what makes it positive or negative. Therefore, you should and can be in absolute control of your thoughts, by being mindful of the filter that processes them.

And now we know, there’s nothing woo-woo when two people share the same thought bubbles.

Telepathy is infact a beautiful form of the Universe’s synchroncities. So, just be grateful for these little winks from the cosmos, telling you, you are in alignment with existence. 🙂

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Telepathy - is mind reading possible?