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Lifestyle and Books: Literature to Live Your Life By

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Lily Pickard – The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

Never have I sobbed so much at a book than I did reading The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. Yet this novel, the first of many I have read by the wonderful Mitch Albom, gave me hope for what may exist in the beyond.

Aside from the deep emotional reaction it caused, though, this novel really picked me up at a time when my mental health was extremely low. Thinking about death, and what happens after you die, is never a pleasant feeling – especially not when you have lost people close to you as I have sadly done.

I try to remind myself to not wait until the afterlife to try and realise my worth, but to do that in the time I am alive

I gained a newfound appreciation for how even minor actions in your life can massively impact people around you, even those you do not know. The Five People You Meet in Heaven reminded me that everyone has value and a purpose.

Even when you are at your all-time low and it really doesn’t feel like it, you are positively impacting someone, somewhere. I try to remind myself to not wait until the afterlife to try and realise my worth, but to do that in the time I am alive. I thoroughly recommend this to anyone needing to learn, or remind themselves of, the same lesson.

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John Butler – Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig is a mixture of things: part biography, part self-help guide. It tracks Haig’s experiences with depression and anxiety from a breakdown at the age of twenty-four, shedding light on the many challenges he had to face along the way.

For me, this book will always hold a special place in my heart. It has helped me not only come to terms with my feelings and experiences of depression but also usher me through some pretty low points in my life thus far.

To anyone struggling with their mental health: read this. To anyone hoping the grasp an idea of what suffering from a mental illness is like: read this

Its structure can come across as a little odd and at times even seeming random. Despite this, it reads perfectly naturally and cathartically. Haig jumps seamlessly from describing the terror of a corner shop visit to reeling off coping mechanisms he found for himself, and the product is a staggering piece of writing.

Reading Reasons to Stay Alive always moves me due to its personal tone: it feels more like a protracted letter from a close friend than a book I bought at Waterstones.

To anyone struggling with their mental health: read this. To anyone hoping the grasp an idea of what suffering from a mental illness is like: read this. It might not solve your problems or answer all of your questions, but it’s the best support I’ve found yet.

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Lily Pace – Bloom: Navigating Life and Style by Estée Lalonde

Written by blogger and vlogger Estée Lalonde, Bloom: Navigating Life and Style is the book that every young adult needs.From happiness to finding yourself to following your heart, this is the book that I needed in my last few months of being a teen.

In the introduction, Estée establishes that “Bloom is the idea that anything is possible when you put your mind to it.” It sounds incredibly cheesy and clichéd, but the honesty with which Estée writes about her own experiences  is powerful enough to make anybody think, whether or not you’ve read her blog or watched her videos before. Plus, the book itself is beautiful and incredibly aesthetically pleasing.

I’ve never been one for preachy books, but this is different. It’s like reading the diary of your closest friend.

I am a generally positive person, but I do have a tendency to over-think. The experiences both of reading this book cover to cover and paragraphs in isolation have left me feeling empowered. I have goals, passions and ideas, all of which this book has helped to revive. My mind has re-found its purpose.

I’ve never been one for preachy books, but this is different. It’s like reading the diary of your closest friend. Estée finishes her afterword wanting to know her reader’s story and I’ve been thinking about my Bloom ever since. This book will be my companion as I embrace my 20s.

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