April 17, 2024


Health know-how

Our 8 Favorite Books in 2021 for Healthy Living

How 50 Inspiring Poems Can Heal and Bring Joy to Your Life
By Dr. Norman Rosenthal

Dr. Rosenthal is a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine and is best known for pioneering the use of light therapy for seasonal affective disorder. He also believes that in a year of crisis and unrest, poetry can be a great source of comfort and healing. “Poetry opens up spaces in the mind in which other things can enter, whether it’s about just seeing good in the world or finding someone who understands,” he told me this year. “I prescribe medicines when needed. I prescribe therapy, empathy, exercise and meditation and light in winter. I prescribe a lot of things. And yes, I prescribe poetry as well.”

A Roadmap to Resilience in the Pandemic Era
By Dr. Jennifer Ashton (with Sarah Toland)

Dr. Ashton, an obstetrician-gynecologist and chief medical correspondent for ABC News, explores the psychological toll of the pandemic and shows us how thinking like a doctor may help us to build resilience and strengthen our overall health. “The approach that I’ve taken to covering this pandemic has been that of viewing the country as one big patient, and the first step in healing or recovery from any illness is accepting the current situation,” Dr. Ashton said. “When you stop looking back and start focusing on the present and the future, you can have an incredible healing and recovery.”

Adventures in Downward Mobility
By Annabelle Gurwitch

In this surprisingly upbeat memoir, Annabelle Gurwitch writes about the financial curveballs that can hit you in midlife. For Ms. Gurwitch, it was a series of unfortunate events — losing her insurance, a divorce, the death of her parents, a child in rehab and getting dropped by her tennis teacher for lack of progress — that made her reckon with the fact that despite years of hard work, life had taken a wrong turn. Anyone coping with financial insecurity, rising health costs, aging parents or the “gray ceiling” at work will relate. Somehow, Ms. Gurwitch manages to find humor in these setbacks. Ultimately, this is a story about harnessing resilience and learning how life’s disappointments can teach you about the things that matter most. “There is no upside to downward financial mobility,” she writes, “But there is value in reassessing priorities.”

New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind
By Dr. Judson Brewer

Dr. Brewer, the director of research and innovation at the Mindfulness Center at Brown, is my go-to source for insights about anxiety and stress because he always has simple, science-based hacks to help calm the mind. When you feel anxiety rising, for instance, take a moment and focus on your feet by wiggling your toes, and feeling the ground beneath your soles and heels. It’s a simple way to ground yourself. Dr. Brewer’s innovative approach in his new book is to view anxiety as a habit that can be broken — or at least interrupted, and he offers a step-by-step plan for how to do it. “It has been critical for helping my patients understand and work with their own anxiety,” he says.