As humans, our lives are built on the achievements of dead people. Mostly. For 200,000 years, humans have trial and errored their way through inedible food, bad weather, psychological trials and bloody cultural clashes up the wazoo.
Lots of sacrifices were made along the way. Someone had to eat the first poison mushroom; someone had to drink liquid from the udders of a lumbering mammal (thank the lord for almond milk, #veganpride); someone had to figure out that human fingers don’t grow back. We have so many people to thank for our clean and convenient modern lives.
The same goes for happiness. Lots of people have spent lots of time on the topic, and it only makes sense to garner wisdom from those who’ve been there, done that. Spiritual leaders, happiness researchers, folks who’ve significantly upped their happiness quotient — all have much goodness to share.
So, to help aid you in your journey, here are a few of my favorite books that spark the good feels and impart the wisdom of the ages. Take ’em or leave ’em (and there are tons more where these came from, if you’re interested). Call it your summer reading list.
Ask and It Is Given: Learning to Manifest Your Desires by Abraham-Hicks — This book is everything. Seriously, it outlines the law of attraction (before and better than The Secret) and offers a whole series of awesome suggestions on how to feel better in any given moment.
Excuse Me, Your Life Is Waiting by Lynn Grabhorn — This book is all about how our feelings (caused by our thoughts) are the driving force behind everything that happens in our lives. The late Ms. Grabhorn does an amazing job of schooling us on how our emotional well-being is entirely under our own control. As is basically everything else.
Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by Dr. David Burns — The definitive guidebook for cognitive behavioral therapy, this tome is a no-nonsense guide to changing the way you think and thereby healing depression.
The Power of Intention by Dr. Wayne Dyer — Wayne Dyer is the man. I totally adore this dude, and he’s written more books than I can count (all worth reading). I mention this one ’cause it’s got a hefty focus on personal mental empowerment (and designing your own destiny), and that’s insanely important.
The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche — A famed Buddhist monk unites Tibetan Buddhism, neuroscience, and quantum physics in an easy, appealing way. Thousands of years of wisdom plus modern science is a win. SPOILER: meditation, y’all.
You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay — Louise is basically the mother of the new age movement, at least in the publishing world (ever heard of Hay House?). This book is all about how your state of mind contributes to any issue you’re facing — physical or otherwise, plus gentle instruction on how you can heal.
Happy for No Reason by Marci Schimoff — The title says it all. Happiness is not about our external circumstances, but our internal conditions, and Schimoff shows that this is so by chatting with lots of genuinely happy folks. Plus, she offers seven useful steps to getting happier.