Resilience and wellbeing, at home and at work

This month in our personal development picks, there’s lots to help you survive in the office jungle and power through pressure at work. Plus, Michael Foely writes about happiness in the twenty-first century, and Kleiman and Wenzel give helpful advice for couples dealing with post-partum depression. Plus, mindfulness and reconsidering our priorities in the face of unexpected illness. Have a read!

Syndetics book coverThe age of absurdity : why modern life makes it hard to be happy
“In a world that demands conspicuous consumption, high-octane relationships and perpetual youth, we can find ourselves tormented by dissatisfaction and anxiety, fearful that everyone is having a better time than we are. This thorny problem of happiness is the subject of Micahel Foley’s entertaining and witty investigation into how fulfillment eludes us as we work, love and grow old in the twenty-first century. Drawing on a wide range of sources, from the earliest writings to the latest research in psychology, Foley sheds ironic light on the absurd nature of contemporary cultural conditioning. In conclusion, rather than denouncing and rejecting our age, he proposes a strategy of not just accepting but embracing modern life – by learning that absurdity is the new sublime.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverTokens of affection : reclaiming your marriage after postpartum depression
“Postpartum depression knocks most couples off their feet and Tokens of Affection serves as a ‘grab bar’ for regaining balance. Written with humour, sensitivity and remarkable insight, Kleiman and Wenzel have created a practical and effective roadmap for couples seeking enhanced connection and stability, not only during the postpartum period but at any phase of their lives.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverPowering through pressure : building resilience for when work gets tough
“We’re all working longer and harder than ever. Greater demands mean more pressure. Too much pressure can easily turn into stress. And stress, if not handled with care, simply leads to more pressure.
Power through pressure will show you how to build resilience, manage your stress, be at your best and still get the job done, even when the pressure is really on.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverMy manager and other animals : evolution and survival in the office jungle
“Deep down we’re just like animals. Part selfish ape, part chaotic ant. But how do the two elements clash and come together in ‘antagonistic harmony’? My manager and other animals examines the evolutionary psychology of work and the complex and fascinating tactics and instincts that we have developed to deal with working life. The idea of the selfish gene encouraged a focus on the ‘selfish’ side of evolution, and the assumption that we should ‘go ape’, and be ego-driven, aggressive, and competitive. More recently, astounding discoveries in human and animal behaviour have shown that, in all animals, cooperation and altruism is more common that we think and more useful than we could imagine.” (syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe confidence code : the science and art of self-assurance– what women should know 
“Broadcast journalists Kay and Shipman (Womenomics) address the self-confidence gap between women and men, consulting a range of experts to determine what female confidence looks like and how it can be achieved. Their sources include WNBA players, successful entrepreneurs, and senior U.S. military, all of whom admit to facing crises in confidence. They visit a neuropsychologist studying rhesus monkeys to explore nature vs. nurture theories on anxiety and the brain’s neurotransmitters that enhance or inhibit confidence. The authors discuss obstacles to self-assurance women face like “negative habitual thought,” internalized pressure to conform to feminine stereotypes, and a “hormonal tendency to avoid risk.” Studies cited suggest women are more critical of their own scientific skills and spatial reasoning, and speak up less in a group setting. Kay and Shipman provide a great blueprint for raising daughters by discouraging perfectionism, noting that perfectionism smothers achievement and is the enemy of confidence. For readers themselves, the authors include techniques for eliminating “negative automatic thoughts” with self-compassion and recommend “quick fixes” like meditation, correct posture, and healthy habits. All of this research, as well as the authors’ own recounting of experiences with doubt in their professional lives, effectively builds into a comprehensive set of ingredients for the confident woman.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe priority list : a teacher’s final quest to discover life’s greatest lessons 
“In fall 2006, high school teacher Menasche, then age 34, was diagnosed with an aggressive and deadly type of brain tumor, glioblastoma multiforme. Despite these challenges, in November 2012 he embarked on a journey-or Vision Quest, as he calls it-to recover his past by reconnecting with former students. Menasche, the son of booksellers, places literature at the center of his thinking and enlists it as a primary means of coping. A successful technique he used with students, the “priority list,” was useful in ranking the importance of different values and provided an effective tool for identify one’s own motivations. His chutzpah and quirky sense of humor more than explain Menasche’s popularity at Coral Reef Senior High School in Miami; after announcing his road trip on Facebook, former students in 50 cities agreed to meet with him and offered hospitality. By reconsidering his priorities, letting others care for him, and giving in to the “beautiful turmoil” of his illness, Menasche has been able to accept the break-up of his marriage and retirement from his job while reaping surprising rewards from his quest. Like Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture, this memoir is a rousing testimony to the ways in which, in the face of death, living fully in the present moment becomes possible.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverA private history of happiness : ninety-nine moments of joy from around the world 
“Instead of advocating the latest guide or formula to achieve happiness, A Private History of Happiness presents a wider perspective on everyday moments of joy in different times and cultures – and invites us to discover the happiness in our own lives that can be found right here and now.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverMindfulness at work for dummies
“Learn to: master your mind by making time for mindfulness in your daily routine; use mindfulness to improve your resilience and wellbeing; improve team performance through mindfulness practice.” (Cover)

Syndetics book coverYou are what you imagine
This book will “take you by the hand and guide you chapter-by-chapter through a series of practical exercises, including working with imagery, vizualization, meditation and journaling. Full of fascinating interviews, stories and wonderful insights, this book will give you the tools to help you listen to the whispers of your heart and soul.” (Back cover)