Someone asked me an interesting question in a group chat on Instagram. They asked what books I have read to help reduce negative thoughts. So I decided to make a list.
One of the first books I’ve read that helped reduce negative thoughts was How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. This helped me by reducing miscommunications with others by better understanding how most people think and how to handle disagreements. By learning key principles of human interactions, you can better prepare yourself for hard conversations or learn to avoid them altogether. This was the second book I read on my journey of self-growth and self-development and I believe set me on the track that I am currently on.
A great resource for finding these principles can be found at HubSpot.com.
Perspective Is Key
Even though understanding others can be tremendously helpful in improving your day-to-day interactions with others—and therefore enhance your overall life—without the right mindset, you can still fall prey to traps. So the next book that helped me reduce negative thoughts was On the Shortness of Life by Seneca. This book helps in creating the right perspective when looking at obstacles and hardships in life. By seeing life as something short-lived when distracted by the nuances of life, you can begin to look past them and really appreciate the time you were given.
Much of the information in this book builds on the philosophy of stoicism. If you’d like to learn more on the subject and how to become mroe stoic yourself, check out my other article on how to Live Like a Stoic.
Life in the Present
These two aforementioned books truly helped in understanding others and creating a more positive mindset. However, understanding others and having the right perspective is only part of the game. This next book helps define what actions to take in order to physically feel better. Presence by Amy Cuddy describes how we can manipulate ourselves physically in order to manipulate ourselves mentally. This is based on the concept of motion creates emotion. After giving an incredible TED Talk that had impacted so many people, Amy decided to write this book in order to further develop this idea and to share it with others. I highly recommend you give it a watch!
Body and Mind Connectivity
To dive deeper into stress relief we must look deeper into the connection between our bodies and mind. An incredible book on this subject is The Stress-Proof Brain by Melanie Greenberg, PhD. In this book, she breaks down the science behind stress in great detail. Specifically, she describes the exact physiological mechanisms that cause your stress. This teaches you the systems and hormones that causes your stress and the type of response you have. After this deep dive, she teaches you how to utilize this information to become “stress-proof”. Additionally, she explains neuroplasticity, and how we can reshape our brains to have better responses over time.
For a quick introduction to neuroplasticity, check out this video.
Human Mind Reader
To take this information a step further, another skill I recommend learning is how to read people. If you better understand what someone is thinking, you can alter your interactions to optimize the situation for the better. The best book on the subject of reading people is called What Every BODY Is Saying by the ex-FBI agent Joe Navarro. You won’t become a human lie-detector, but you’ll be able to better read situations. With this ability you can change your demeanor or actions to best suit them.
Tell Me How You Really Feel
So with the four aforementioned books, you can learn how most people think and how to best handle those situations. Additionally, you can learn to read people to better gauge your interactions and to adjust course when necessary. You’ve learned what’s happening on the inside causing these negative thoughts and how to manipulate your body to change these feelings. So what should you do if you’ve made it this far and you still have moments where you struggle with frustration? Well, one blogger gave his opinion, and personally I agree. In his New York Times bestselling book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Mark Manson emphasizes that life is short and precious. Sometimes there are things you should be gravely concerned with. However, more often than not, you you should really learn to not give a f*ck. In fact, he argues there are only a limited number of fucks to give. So use them wisely.
Reduce Negative Thoughts
My hope is that in reading these books, you too can learn to reduce negative thoughts as I have. If you have any questions or any other suggested books, feel free to leave them in the comment section below. If this article helped you at all, please share it with others =)