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A modern guide to self-help

Think self-help isn’t for you? Think again: there’s a life manual for everyone

05.01.2021

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In the midst of a pandemic, we could all do with a little helping hand. If you’re not the kind to go in for endless self-improvement, however, you might be a tad sceptical of self-help. Try to put your raised eyebrow to one side, however, and give the following books a chance. From the new to the time-honoured, our pick of the best self help guides offers up something for everyone. Give it a try and who knows? You might just find yourself with a fresh perspective.

The Astrology Fix: A Modern Guide To Cosmic Self Care: For the modern mystic 

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A one-stop-shop for anyone who believes in the greater power of the universe, The Astrology Fix: A Modern Guide To Cosmic Self Care by Theresa Cheung is part self help tool, part contemporary spiritual guide. Cheung will talk you through tuning into your ‘astrological personality’ then suggest over 50 fixes to transform your life: take your pick from an Aries ritual for motivation to a full moon empowerment charm, a Gemini laughter incantation, a Leo confidence pose, a colour fix or a healing heartbreak bath. For those who think the answers to problems lie outside the logical, this is the ultimate guide to the galaxy, with a powerful index of cosmic cures.

Everything Is Figureoutable: For the one who’s always busy

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We all know one person who Just. Won’t. Stop. The ideal read for them comes in the form of The New York Times bestseller, Everything Is Figureoutable by Maria Forleo. Praised by big-hitters like Oprah Winfrey and Cheryl Strayed, it works on the principle that creative, ambitious people sometimes run into problems, but they can pretty much all be solved by accepting that everything has an answer. A guide to thinking more positively and breaking any task down into manageable steps, this covers everything from dealing with imposter syndrome to cracking progress, rather than perfection. Upbeat, bouncy and thoroughly motivational.

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: For the one changing career

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Sometimes the oldies are the goodies. Stephen R. Covey’s phenomenally successful tome, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, has been revised and updated for its 30th anniversary this year. A book credited with changing the lives of presidents and CEOs, teachers and parents, it distils the recipe for success into seven (relatively) easy principles for problem-solving. Give this one to your friend who needs a motivational boost – highly efficient, easily explained and proved to actually work, this barnstormer has also been recommended by Arianna Huffington. Do you need any more persuasion?

The Energy Equation: From The Naked Ape To The Knackered Ape: For the burnt-out one

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After a year like 2020, it’s safe to say this is pretty much all of us. If you’re struggling to find any get-up-and-go and actually just feel drained and exhausted, give upcoming release The Energy Equation: From The Naked Ape To The Knackered Ape a try. Written by NHS and independent practitioner Dr Sarah Myhill, along with editor and former patient Craig Robinson, it centres on Myhill’s studies of people with chronic fatigue syndrome and ME. A simple and readable account of the fundamentals of staying well, it’s a clever and useful guide to keeping your energy levels topped up. A January essential, we think you’ll agree.

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The Poetry Pharmacy: For the one who hates self-help

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If you’ve read through this whole list and can’t see yourself… well, anywhere, perhaps you’ll appreciate something a little more alternative. The time-honoured and ever-wonderful Poetry Pharmacy, collated by William Sieghart and full of the words of Siegfried Sassoon, Derek Walcott and Maya Angelou, is a classic for a reason. A specific poem is prescribed for every ailment, from Glumness to Defeatism to Unrequited Love, offering comfort and a space for reflection. There’s even one for News Overload – particularly helpful in these troubled times. A truly solace-giving book, it’s an essential for the shelves of poetry lovers (and self help haters).

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