7 Books to Help You Stress Less | #BookBreak


Welcome back to Book Break! And did you know that the whole of April is
Stress Awareness Month? So I’ve got for you in this video seven tips
for reducing your stress. And I have come here to tell you about them,
in the beautiful semi-open air garden right at the top of Crossrail Place. It is such a lovely calm place to come in
the middle of the city, so I thought it would be a perfect place to come and talk about
how to keep your stress levels down, something that is so important for all of us is our
working lives, or at school or university. We’ve all got a lot of stress. But hopefully these seven tips will help you
keep feeling calm. Tip number one: start meditating. So I have been reading the book Stress Less,
Accomplish More, by Emily Fletcher. And this is all about her Ziva technique of
meditation, which people have been absolutely swearing by. So Emily Fletcher recommends just 15 minutes
of meditation twice a day. This is meditating for busy people. I promise you can make time for this. The thing that I so fell in love with in this
technique is that, unlike the pictures of meditating that you’ve probably seen, of people
in kind of unnaturally perfect yoga positions, this is actually meditation where you’re allowed
to get comfortable. So the book recommends – you know what, let’s
actually try this out and I’ll show you. OK, so I’m sitting down on the floor now,
because this book recommends that to meditate you have to start by getting comfortable. The only requirement is that you have your
back supported against something, and your neck is free to move around. You can have your legs crossed, you can have
your legs curled up, however is comfortable for you, as long as you’re feeling supported
and relaxed. Then you close your eyes, and begin. But of course, to find out the rest of the
Ziva techniques, you will have to read this book. OK, I’m going back up to my seat for tip number
two. Tip number two is to practise mindfulness,
so Ten to Zen is a ten minute routine by Owen O’Kane, that is all about calming your brain
down and recharging. And it is really really simple to do. So the first minute of this routine is just
about checking in with yourself. Ask yourself how you’re feeling, and really
give yourself the chance to respond, even if some of the emotions that you’re feeling
are negative. Just acknowledge and accept them. Even just one minute of that will already
have brought you so far in terms of calming your brain down, but I really do urge you
to pick up this book and look at the rest of the routine, because it goes on to help
you find calm spaces within your brain, use breathing to reduce anxiety, and even use
some CBT techniques to ease your worries. It’s really really good, I recommend it. Tip number three is to remember that it is
thoughts, and not events, that make you stressed. So I got this one from Mo Gawdat’s brilliant
book Solve for Happy. So to explain what he means by this, he encourages you to spend
a minute thinking about a time recently that made you unhappy or angry. So for example, maybe a friend was rude to
you. Spend a minute really dwelling on that, and
getting all worked up about it. So I’m thinking about a customer service call
I had recently where they were really rude to me, and I still feel really annoyed when
I think about it. But after you’ve done that, then spend the
next minute thinking about something completely different. Maybe sing a song that you like, or plan what
you’re going to eat this evening. All of that pain and anger that you felt a
second ago, is it still there when you’re not thinking about it? No. Because an event itself can’t make you unhappy. What makes you unhappy, and what makes you
stressed, is turning that event into a thought, and then dwelling on it. Obviously it’s more complicated than that,
and Gawdat talks really movingly in this book about his process of grief after the death
of his son. So he’s obviously not expecting anyone to
resist feeling pain, but the book goes into really incredible detail about the illusions
that we use to trick ourselves with. Everything from our sense of self, to our
sense of being in control. And the book then replaces them with a formula
that we can use to literally engineer ourselves a happier and less stressed life. It’s incredible. It’s a whole new way of thinking about our
thought processes, and I think it’s completely life-changing. Tip number four is a really simple one, and
that is to laugh at things that go wrong. And this came from a really sweet quote that
Ian Frazier contributed to O’s Little Book of Calm and Comfort, and it’s a really short
quote so I’m actually just going to read you the whole thing. The tap water hits a spoon in the sink and
sprays you. You pull a window shade and it just keeps
going and going. You can’t roll up a garden hose in any dignified
way. You have to become a connoisseur of these
events. Wow, look at that, that’s great. You have to hope that a higher power is saying,
That was a good one. And that you’re sharing the divine pleasure
that it’s taking in your misfortune. Tip number five is to choose a mentor who
can help you. And Russell Brand has a whole book about this,
called, surprisingly enough, Mentors. So Russell Brand came across this concept
as part of his drug addiction recovery programme, which suggests that you choose a mentor to
sponsor you and help guide you through the process of recovery. And he then found that this was really effective
in loads of other areas of his life as well. So the book is all about the different mentors
that have helped him in various ways throughout his life. So Russell Brand’s advice to us is that we
look at our lives, and think about the areas where we want to improve, and then think about
who we can look to for guidance. Because the important thing is, we don’t have
to do it all on our own. Tip number six, this one’s my favourite, is
give yourself unconditional permission to eat. And this one is going to be relevant to so
many of you, because so many of us let food become one of the biggest sources of stress
in our lives. And the book that I’ve read recently that
massively reduced my stress in this area is Just Eat It by Laura Thomas. We have a whole video talking to the author
which I will link to so you can go and watch that, because this book, I’ve found to be
really really life-changing. Just Eat It basically tells us to ditch the
diets, ditch everything that we’ve been stressing about around food for our whole lives, and
just eat what our bodies want us to eat. Should be so simple, but of course it isn’t,
and that’s why so many of us still struggle with it. But Just Eat It is a whole book full of guidance
and exercises to help us get in touch with our body, and really understand our own hunger
and fullness cues. But step one, before you can do any of that,
is you’ve got to give yourself unconditional permission to eat. You don’t have to earn food, you don’t have
to deserve food, you don’t have to do anything to counter food. You can have food unconditionally, no questions
asked, no deals struck. And it’s only once you truly believe that
that you’ll actually be able to get in touch with what your body wants to eat. And I think my body wants a cookie, so on
the way home I’m going to get one. And finally, tip number seven is another one
from this book, O’s Little Book of Calm and Comfort. This time it was a quote contributed by Lise
Funderberg, and it’s really stuck with me, because I think it’s really lovely. So she talks about attempting new things that,
in the grand scheme of things, don’t really matter. So it might be copying a recipe from Pinterest,
or watching a YouTube video on a new craft and then giving it a go. The point being that if it doesn’t work, it
doesn’t matter. So instead of stressing about the result,
you can just really focus on the enjoyment of learning and of doing. And I think she puts it best, so I’m going
to read out a bit in her own words. The whole while, I forsake doing things flawlessly,
and instead just do them. For the joy of learning something new, for
the pleasure of thinking with my hands, for the sweet delight of merely trying. I think that is so lovely and something that
we should all do a bit more of. So I hope you’re all feeling nice and destressed. Do give this video a thumbs up if you liked
it, and leave a comment below if you’ve got any tips of your own for reducing stress. Something that we all need so much of at the
moment. And just to get your stress levels back up
next week, coming up next week on Book Break, we’ve got a video all about the scariest horror
books. And I’ve been giving myself nightmares all
week reading those in preparation. So do hit that subscribe button below for
new videos every Thursday, and in the meantime you can follow us over on Instagram @bookbreakuk
for lots of fun, behind the scenes content and bloopers. See you next time.

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