Good reads - General
Stress less: Proven methods to reduce stress, manage anxiety and lift your mood
Johnstone, M. & Player, M. (2019). Australia: McMillian.
Wow what a read! This book is beautifully illustrated and holds valuable techniques to help with stress and anxiety...
Hanson, R. (2018). Harmony.
If, like me, you’ve ever found yourself wondering why there isn’t a practical guidebook for navigating life’s challenges, then you’ll be as pleased as I was to learn that Resilient is just such a book...
Mindset – Changing the way you think to fulfil your potential
Dweck, C. (2017). Random House.
Initially I thought this would be yet another “self-help book”, but I was pleasantly surprised when I read this book.
Happy City: Transforming our lives through urban design
Montgomery, C. (2014) Farrar, Straus and Giroux
What if designers and policy-makers focused their outcomes on achieving the wellbeing of the people who live, work and play in their cities? These are the big questions that Charles Montgomery wrestles with in Happy City.
Emotional agility: Get unstuck, embrace change, and thrive in work and life
David, S. (2016). Penguin Random House.
This book provides simple, practical advice to allow people to make changes in all areas of their lives. It’s clearly and concisely written by renowned psychologist Susan David.
A Mindfulness guide for the frazzled
Wax, R. (2016). Penguin.
If you’re a big Ruby Wax fan and you’re interested in mindfulness, then you’ll love this book. If you’re not interested in either then it will be a tough read.
Sanctuary: The discovery of wonder
Leibrich, J. (2015) Dunedin: Otago University Press.
Sanctuary: The discovery of wonder is generous, beautiful and rich with wisdom. Personally, it left me with a deep craving for quiet...
How to raise a wild child: The art and science of falling in love with nature
Sampson, S. (2015). Mariner Books.
How to raise a wild child is a toolkit for how to foster a love of nature in children, despite the obstacles modern life can place on this goal...
The nature fix: Why nature makes us happier, healthier, and more creative
Williams, F. (2017). W.W Norton and Company Inc.
In this informative and entertaining book, journalist Florence Williams sets out to uncover the science behind the feel-good factor of nature...
An ecology of happiness
Lambin, E. (2012) University of Chicago Press.
How does a close and daily contact with nature influence your perception of happiness? This book deepens your understanding of how the natural world is an essential part of your happiness.
Unseen city: The majesty of pigeons, the discreet charm of snails & other wonders of the urban wilderness
Johnson, N. (2016). Rodale.
Readers are asked to zero in on their surroundings – notice, observe and look for nature. Even in a city, there’s wilderness all around, waiting to be seen.
Presence: Bringing your boldest self to your biggest challenges
Cuddy, A. (2016). Orion Publishing Group Ltd.
Before my next big challenge, you might find me in a corner somewhere doing my two minutes of power posing before bringing my true presence to the situation...
The book of hygge: The Danish art of living well
Brits, L.T. (2016) Ebury Press.
A book about taking pleasure and comfort in the small and ordinary things.
10 keys to happier living: A practical handbook for happiness
By King, V. (2016). Hachette.
A Practical Handbook for Happiness explains how anyone can unlock the secret to a happier life and take action to make that their own reality.
The happiness track: How to apply the science of happiness to accelerate your success
Seppala, E. (2016). Harper Collins.
Author Seppala argues that happiness is actually the key to success, not the other way round as we are taught from a young age.
The marshmallow test: Understanding self-control and how to master it
Mischel, W. (2014). Transworld Publishers.
Is self-control something you are born with, something you either have or you don’t have?
Better than before: Mastering the habits of our everyday lives
Rubin, G. (2015) Crown.
This book presents a practical, concrete framework to allow readers to understand their habits – and to change them for good.
Super better: A revolutionary approach to getting stronger, happier, braver and more resilient
McGonigal, J. (2015) Penguin Press.
This book is a creative way to use some of the concepts of gaming to build resilience and a happier, stronger you.
Seldon, A. (2015). Yellow Kite.
A book which has a combination of theory, personal experience and how-to steps, providing layers to the conversation about reaching personal joy.
Hardwiring happiness: The practical science of reshaping your brain and your life
Hanson, R. (2013) Harmony.
This book helps to build resilience, and provides the psychology as well as the emotional explanation of how the brain works
The big little book of resilience
Johnstone, M. (2015) Australia: Pan Macmillan.
The big little book of resilience explains how to accept things that life throws at us, complete with useful ideas to build resilience.
Whenua is the place where you stand. It is your connection to the land – a source of life, nourishment and wellbeing for everyone.
Whenua includes soil, rocks, plants, animals and people – the tangata whenua. We are linked physically and spiritually to the land – it is the earth through which you are connected to your tūpuna/ancestors and all the generations that will come after you.
You can also think about whenua as your place of belonging – that means the spaces where you feel comfortable, safe and able to be yourself. It could be around your friends, at home with whānau, as part of a sports team or even at your place of study or mahi/work.
Why is whenua an important way to wellbeing?
Everything in the Māori world has a life force, the mauri, and when our natural resources are not looked after, this life force is weakened. This has a direct impact on mental health and wellbeing.
Exploring your way to wellbeing through the whenua:
Korihi te manu/ The bird sings
Tākiri mai i te ata/ The morning has dawned
Ka ao, ka ao, ka awatea/ The day has broken
Tihei mauri ora/ Behold there is life.
Photo Credit: @the.mint.trip
Just like your physical health, your taha hinengaro/mental and emotional wellbeing needs to be taken care of. Taha hinengaro is your mind, heart, conscience, thoughts and feelings. It’s about how you feel, as well as how you communicate and think.
Taking care of taha hinengaro is important for everyone, regardless of whether or not you’ve experienced mental illness or distress.
When your taha hinengaro is strong, you can better cope with the ups and downs of life. You can express your feelings and reach out for support from friends, whānau and hoamahi/colleagues if you need to.
Taha tinana is your physical wellbeing. It is about how your body grows, feels and moves and how you care for it.
Taha tinana is just one aspect of health and wellbeing and cannot be separated from all others.
Trying to nourish and strengthen your physical wellbeing will help you to cope with the ups and downs of life. Feeling physically well helps us to feel mentally well. Having strong taha tinana means we can be there for our whānau and take leadership in helping our loved ones live longer, healthier lives too.
It’s important to acknowledge that sometimes your taha tinana may not be as good as you’d like it to be, and this might be beyond your control. What’s important is that you take care of your taha tinana and do what you can to nurture it, regardless of your current physical abilities.
• Make a commitment with your whānau, friends or hoamahi/colleagues to pick one thing you could each do to improve your physical wellbeing. It could be supporting one another to quit smoking, drinking more water, having regular lunch breaks or eating more fruits and veggies. Start small and encourage each other to keep working at it!
• Look at how accessible your surroundings are people who may be using wheelchairs or other mobility supports to get around. Visit www.beaccessible.org.nz for more information on how you can make life easier for people living with a disability.
• Make physical activity fun and social. Get the whole whānau together for a walk after dinner, hold a whānau dance-off, play tag with your tamariki after school or kura, take a bike ride to your favourite park for a picnic with a friend or try out an online yoga or tai-chi course.
• Challenge yourself and set a goal! Ever wanted to run a half-marathon? Start slow and build up from a walk, to a jog to longer bursts of running. If running isn’t your thing there are heaps other activities you could try – swimming, waka ama, dancing – choose something that makes you feel your best!
• Try a body scan meditation. Notice where you might be holding tension and learn how to breathe deeply and release the tension from your body. This is a great practise to do at the end of the day.
• Been to the doctor lately? If not, you might like to consider visiting your local GP or hauora for a general check-up. It’s also a good time to ensure you’re up to date on things like free screening programmes.
• Take time to learn about any health issues that may run in your whānau and what steps you can take to prevent or manage it.
• Kai nourishes your body. Take some time to prepare some healthy meals for the coming week. Check out YouTube for recipe ideas and demonstrations. You could hold a MasterChef competition with friends or whānau!
Photo Credit: @fleuresqueandco
Taha whānau is about who makes you feel you belong, who you care about and who you share your life with.
Whānau is about extended relationships – not just your immediate relatives, it’s your friends, hoamahi/colleagues, your community and the people who you care about. Everyone has a place and a role to fulfil within their own whānau and whānau contributes to your individual wellbeing and identity.
Spending time with whānau, doing things for them and getting involved gives you a feeling of purpose, connection and wellbeing. It benefits you and builds the strength of your whole whānau. As a core source of strength, support, security and identity, whānau plays a central role in your wellbeing.
Photo Credit: Toni Touche
Taha wairua explores your relationship with the environment, people and heritage in the past, present and future.
Your spiritual essence is your life force – your mauri. This is who and what you are, where you have come from and where you are going.
The way people view wairua can be very different. For some, wairua is the capacity for faith or religious beliefs or having a belief in a higher power. Others may describe wairua an internal connection to the universe. There is no right or wrong way to think of or experience wairua, but it is an important part of our mental wellbeing.
As part of exploring your way to wellbeing we encourage you to think about what wairua means to you and the things you can do to strengthen your wairua.
Feeling comfortable in your identity, values and beliefs helps you feel secure in who you are and what you stand for. When you are content with yourself it is easier to cope with challenges, build strong whānau relationships and discover the things that uplift you.
Photo Credit: Chaney Manuel