2021 is about to end and I’m willing to bet a lot of you aren’t too sad to see it go. Covid, politics, crazy weather, and an incredibly unpredictable business environment made this an incredibly difficult year for entrepreneurs (and almost everyone, too). What can you do to make 2022 less stressful and more peaceful?
There isn’t much you can do personally about inflation or Omicron, but you can bolster your optimism with the latest knowledge in the field of positive psychology. This branch of psychology examines ways to bring out the best in human beings, helping us to connect, achieve, and generally thrive in our lives.
UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center is one of space’s premier research centers, and it collects the best positive psychology books from the past twelve months each year. Their latest list just came out, and it’s packed with great reads full of useful tools and ideas to help you meet the challenges of 2022 with more equanimity and wisdom. Check them out below.
1. The sweet place by Paul Bloom
“Why do people listen to sad songs, eat incredibly spicy food, parachute, run marathons, watch horror movies, engage in sexual practices that involve pain or seek physical violence? ” asks psychologist Paul Bloom in this book exploring how suffering can make life more meaningful. “It will help you understand a lot of puzzling human behaviors, maybe even your own,” Greater Good promises.
2. Four thousand weeks by Oliver Burkeman
I’m a bit of an Oliver Burkeman fan, so I was delighted to see his latest book on the Greater Good list. A central question is at its heart: “What if we pay more attention to the limited time we have on the planet and live our lives accordingly?” Burkeman not only offers the usual time management advice, but fights directly against mortality and our need to maximize the joy and satisfaction we get from our limited time here on earth.
3. Relax anxiety by Judson Brewer
2021 has been an anxious year, and many of us desperately need a more peaceful 2022. This book can help. “There are millions and tips on what to do when you’re feeling anxious,” says Greater Good, but Brewer’s book “shows just how much anxiety exists in the habits that make up our daily lives. . Before cultivating new, calmer habits, we need to examine the old ones, observe how they hurt us, but also understand what we get out of them that makes our brains cling to them. ” You can read a quick overview of Brewer’s thought here.
4. Trauma by Paul Conti
You might be forgiven for thinking that a book on trauma sounds like heavy read (albeit sadly topical), but Greater Good insists that this book “provides a confident and accessible look at root cause research. and trauma treatment, implemented through stories from its author, psychiatrist Paul Conti, and his patients. “
5. Think about by Adam Grant
“In Think about, organizational psychologist Adam Grant presents fascinating research into what helps people stay flexible in their thinking and inspire others to become more open-minded, “Greater Good reports, adding that” reading his book is like a plan to become a more reflective person ”. Read my Inc.com colleague Lindsay Blakely’s preview of the practical and timely book here.
6. Stay sharp by Sanjay Gupta
It’s hard to have a good year if you feel like your brain is giving up on you, which is why this book on tackling cognitive decline as you get older by CNN medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta is on Greater Good’s list. “In his book, Gupta gives us five key takeaways from neuroscience research: we need to move our bodies regularly (even light exercise helps), get sound sleep, eat well, communicate with others, and find meaning. back to life, ”the site reports. Consult the book for many more details.
seven. To save us by Katharine Hayhoe
There are plenty of reasons to be anxious as 2022 approaches, but the climate crisis definitely tops my list – and many others -. In this book, climatologist Katharine Hayhoe argues that we should not be paralyzed with fear in the face of terrible climate news. “By focusing on how we can successfully encourage everyone to take climate change seriously and do their part, she offers hope of averting disasters through collective action,” notes Greater Good. Give me a dose of that, please.
8. To chatter by Ethan Kross
External issues like climate change and aging can certainly be a drag on our happiness, but so can internal processes and habits. It is this inner game that psychologist Ethan Kross addresses in his book. Kross offers advice on how to calm down any negative or intimidating voices in your head and “cultivate a calmer, kinder, and more helpful perspective on our lives.”
9. The burnout epidemic by Jennifer Moss
Another very current title (and one that I wrote a bit about on Inc.com before), The burnout epidemic explores the real causes of burnout to help individuals and organizations find better solutions than just more yoga and a few extra vacation days.
ten. Fierce self-compassion by Kristin Neff
We see self-compassion as a way to be kind to ourselves and reduce personal suffering, but in this thought-provoking book, psychologist Kristin Neff argues that self-compassion “can give you the courage to recognize when you and others are wronged. and advocate for social justice, ”says Greater Good. Although the book is aimed primarily at women, “it is also informative for men,” the site adds.
11. The end of prejudices by Jessica Nordell
The title of this book sounds like a beautiful dream, but a dream in the air, but in its pages journalist Jessica Nordell “offers hope for change, providing examples of interventions that have been successful in reducing prejudice individually. and institutionally. (Spoiler alert: Workplace diversity programs usually aren’t the answer.) ”This sounds like something many business leaders looking for better options might benefit from reading.
12. Social instinct by Nichola Raihani
The pandemic and recent politics have not always brought out the best of human nature. You could be forgiven for probing the past two years and concluding that we are often wicked and selfish creatures. The book by evolutionary biologist Nichola Raihani demonstrates the opposite. “Humans have survived well thanks to their ability to interact and work with people outside their immediate family group, organizing themselves around common needs,” says Raihani, insisting that in the long term at least, “Our cooperative nature tends to prevail.”
13. High conflict by Amanda Ripley
Exhausted from all the nasty, dehumanizing, zero-sum fights in the news (and at family reunions)? Then this book may be for you. In it, Ripley explains the difference between productive and destructive conflict, digs into the origins of our less constructive impulses, and thankfully offers “ways to avoid or get yourself out of this all-consuming mentality of us versus them.” I think we could all use a little less conflict in 2022.