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Reviews: What the WellBeing editors are reading and listening to now


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Plants For The People

Book, podcast and app reviews by the WellBeing editors 

Books

Good Habits, Bad Habits: The Science of Making Positive Changes that Stick

WENDY WOOD, MACMILLAN PUBLISHERS

Here is a fascinating survey of the science of habit, straight from the leader in the field. In her signature user-friendly style, Wendy Wood distils over three decades of research into the key ingredients needed to disrupt bad habits and lay down good ones in their place. Wood offers a nuanced understanding of human behaviour, debunking the myth of willpower and cracking open the unconscious patterns that prevent us from kicking bad habits and changing the way we live. Harnessing the power of trigger cues, repetition and reward, Wood hands her readers the tools to rewrite the unhelpful scripts and automate good behaviours. A breath of fresh air from quick-fix promises, this read will take patience and work, but promises real-deal results. CH

How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy

JENNY ODELL, BLACK INC.

Is there anything harder to do than nothing at all? In her self-help manual meets political manifesto, artist, writer and Stanford professor Jenny Odell delivers a rallying cry for taking time out of your day to “do” nothing. Odell argues that in a capitalist, internet-dominant world where value is determined by your so-called productivity, doing nothing (by which she means nothing of traditionally productive value) is a powerful act, and one that can ultimately change your mindset, and then the world, for the better. By questioning “what we currently perceive as productive”, Odell unpacks how much of yourself you lose when you are absorbed in social media and the rat race. When you “do” nothing, Odell suggests in her debut book, you begin to pay attention to the here and now, and, free of conformity, discover that there are better ways of living in and engaging with the world. CH

Moon Magic: A Handbook of Lunar Cycles, Lore and Mystical Energies

AURORA KANE, MURDOCH BOOKS

Do you look up in awe at the moon each night? Moon Magic, written by herbalist Aurora Kane, will help you harness the power of the moon and bring magic into your everyday life. The moon, a powerful and prominent ancient symbol, has shaped how humans understand and track time for millennia. The moon’s magic is all around us: the movement of the moon controls the tides and its rise into the sky signals the coming of the night. In Moon Magic, detailed illustrations explore the many phases of the moon and how they can relate to the different phases of your life. You will also learn how to enhance the energy of the moon, create rituals and set intentions, and which herbs and gemstones to work with when aligning with the moon. KD

Plants for the People: A Modern Guide to Plant Medicine

ERIN LOVELL VERINDER, THAMES & HUDSON

Finally, a plant medicine book that speaks to our modern-day lives. In Plants for the People, expert herbalist, nutritionist and energetic healer, Erin Lovell Verinder, takes the reader on an in-depth voyage into plant medicine. In the beautifully photographed booked, you’ll learn to celebrate plants, understand their powers and harness their healing qualities. Weaving ancient wisdom with a modern approach, Plants for the People offers readers recipes for teas, tinctures, syrups, balms, baths and more. You’ll also find easy-to-make tonics for addressing common ailments such as bloating, low energy, winter colds and anxiety. At the back of the book you’ll discover a comprehensive materia medica: an extensive history of plants, how to use them, what to look out for and their energetic qualities. KD

Podcast

How to Fail with Elizabeth Day

ELIZABETH DAY

Divorce, debt, loneliness, career knock-backs: the biggest failures in life are ultimately what make us stronger, because learning how to fail in life actually means learning how to succeed — so says Elizabeth Day, host of the podcast series How to Fail. Day launched her series, now a bestselling book, celebrating “the things that haven’t gone right” in a moment of personal darkness. She had divorced a few years earlier having failed two rounds of IVF, spent the years proceeding in and out of relationships that didn’t last and published a second novel that “barely seemed to register”. What Day realised was that the most transformative moments of her life came about through crisis. The art of embracing failure and learning from your mistakes is the podcast’s bread and butter, which sees Day interview people about the times in their lives where they haven’t succeeded, and what came of these moments. Noteworthy names include Malcolm Gladwell, Fearne Cotton, Lisa Taddeo and Alain de Botton. CH

App

Calm

It’s all in the name: an award-winning mindfulness app that nurtures a sense of calm. In it, you will find over 100 guided meditations, relaxing music and sounds, nature scenes designed to focus and still your mind, and “sleep stories” to aid in winding down before bed. Full of practical guidance, the 3–25-minute guided meditations are suitable for absolute beginners and will convince even meditation sceptics. The calendar feature makes it easy to see how many times you have meditated throughout the month and encourages routine through a meditation streak count. There’s also a Calm Kids section with options for children including sleep stories, and techniques such as belly breaths and loving kindness, as well as an unguided meditation option for experts. CH