Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, how we approach well-being and health has made a dramatic shift. It's only fitting that this new age of health and wellness is paired with some great reads to keep your mind engaged and body healthy in this era of comprehensive wellness. Having practical, concise, and informative advice is essential to managing your health.
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Best Health and Wellness Books to Read in 2022
Below you will find a list of the best health and wellness books to read in 2022. The list has been divided into six categories: Mental Health and Mindfulness, Physical Health and Fitness, Food and Nutrition, Intellectual and Personal Development, and Public Health.
Mental Health and Mindfulness Books
Mental health and mindfulness are essential pillars of holistic health and wellness. Mental health consists of, but is not limited to, emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, act, make decisions, and handle stress. Mindfulness is a practice and form of meditation that can help improve mental health. Practicing mindfulness can help you maintain awareness of your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment.
Mental health books can be great tools to help you learn about yourself, psychology, process personal experiences, and find techniques to use in your everyday life. Below is a list of mental health and mindfulness books you should read this upcoming year:
The Body Keeps Score By: Bessel van der Kolk
This #1 New York Times bestseller focuses on the complexity of trauma and how it affects the mind and the body. The Body Keeps Scores provides dialogue and framework to allow potential exploration of the depths of personal trauma, as well as unique approaches to therapy.
Hope and Help for Your Nerves By: Clair Weekes
Dr. Clair Weeks provides step-by-step guidance to understanding and reducing anxiety symptoms by using her own experiences and scenarios from her work in psychiatry.
You Are Here: Discovering the Magic of The Present Moment By: Thich Nhat Hanh
This book focuses on the power of mindfulness to transform lives and emphasizes living in the moment. You Are Here offers a wide range of effective tools for practicing mindfulness, such as awareness of breathing, deep listening, and skillful speech.
Are u Ok?: A Guide to Caring for Your Mental Health By: Kati Morton
Morton’s book helps distinguish between mental health and mental illness, the process of seeking out professional help, and most importantly, answering the question: Are u ok? This book walks through commonly asked questions about mental health and how to go about getting help.
Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle By: Amelia and Emily Nagoski
Burnout provides readers with a comprehensive definition of burnout and the biological and physiological effects of the cycle of stress that causes burnout. The Nagoski sisters create a framework for understanding the spectrum of the biological stress cycle, differences across genders, and offer tips on managing emotions and tension.
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Physical Health and Fitness Books
Maintaining your physical health is equally as important as managing your mental health. Physical wellness includes several healthy behaviors such as adequate exercise and proper nutrition. Physical health also includes learning about your body and symptoms of diseases and making a point to schedule regular medical check-ups. Additionally, having a good workout routine can improve your physical and mental well-being. Regular exercise strengthens your immune system, boosts your mood, and helps maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.
The COVID-19 pandemic has catalyzed an entire fitness movement dedicated to at-home and accessible workouts. With quarantine, gym closures, and the desire to find an outlet to release the stress of uncertainty at the peak of the pandemic, many people turned to online workouts, building at-home gyms, and outdoor exercises, such as running and biking. Nevertheless, It's safe to say that working out in the comfort of your own home won't be going away anytime soon. Below is a list of physical health and fitness books you should read this year:
No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You A Lifetime of Fitness By: Michelle Segar
A step-by-step, researched-based guide that helps you create an effective, empowering, and motivating workout routine.
Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art By: James Nestor
Breath examines the unusual science behind how we breathe and its effects on our health and wellbeing and further suggests that proper and mindful breath has long-lasting health benefits. In this book, Nestor investigates how we have lost the ability to breathe correctly and how the world around us can teach us how to regain control.
The Fitness Mindset: Eat for Energy, Train for Tension, Manage Your Mindset, Reap the Results By: Brian Keane
The Fitness Mindset provides the mental and physical tools to create a workout routine and learn the best foods to eat pre-and post-workout, how to increase your energy levels, different types of workouts, and build better habits to feel motivated in everyday life.
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Deskbound (Standing up to a Sitting World) By: Kelly Starrett
Deskbound discusses how sitting for long periods can wreak havoc on your health, causing increased rates of chronic illnesses such as obesity, depression, and cancer. Starrett warns about the long-term effects of a society that sits too much while also providing guidance to reduce time sitting and creating a dynamic and active workspace.
The One Minute Workout By: Martin Gibala and Christopher Shuglan
This book is an excellent read for anyone starting their fitness journey, coming back after a break, or just wanting a quick and effective workout. One Minute Workout talks about the benefits of short, intense workouts and includes several intervals to jumpstart training.
Food and Nutrition Books
Food and nutrition are another crucial component to overall physical wellness and can also impact mental health. A balanced diet can improve your overall mood, decrease the risk of chronic illness, such as heart disease and cancer, boost immunity, increase digestive system function, and help you live a longer life. The new focus on comprehensive wellness has transformed a balanced diet and proper nutrition.
One of the most significant developments in food and nutrition is creating healthy yet budget-friendly meals. The books of 2021 and 2022 reflect this holistic change of integrating healthy eating and proper nutrition instead of making an entire lifestyle or diet change. Below is a list of food and nutrition books you should read this year:
Eat to Love By: Jenna Hollenstein
Eat to Love rejects toxic and pervasive attitudes towards food, body image, and dieting and provides the tools to reset relationships with food and focus on nourishing, enriching, and liberating yourself through mindfulness and self-awareness.
Gentle Nutrition By: Rachael Hartley
Gentle nutrition focuses on a non-diet approach to healthy eating through tools of intuitive eating or listening to what your body wants, without looking at labels of good and bad foods. Hartley looks at the bigger picture and provides effective strategies for building healthier habits and better relationships with food.
Good Food Bad Diet By: Abby Langer
Langer uses her years of client experience and personal trials and tribulations to provide an excellent guide on making meaningful changes and creating a healthier relationship with food, nutrition, and the world at large.
How to Be Well: The 6 Keys to a Happy and Healthy Life By: Frank Lipman and Amely Greeven
How to Be Well provides a guide for new era medicine and health through six rings: How to Eat, How to Sleep, How to Move, How to Protect, and How to Unwind. Each of these interacts to affect strength, resilience, functioning, and overall health.
Intuitive Eating: 365 Daily Practices and Inspirations to Rediscover the Pleasure of Eating By: Evelyn Tribole
Intuitive Eating is a strategic guide to creating a healthy relationship with food as it influences the mind and body.
Intellectual and Personal Development Books
Intellectual and personal development books are frequently grouped with mental health; however, the two greatly differ. Personal development books work to provide information, insights, and guidance for improving your life and ways of thinking. Personal development books can help you learn new life skills such as assertiveness, problem-solving, navigating difficult conversations, understanding how you think and interpret the world around you. Furthermore, engaging in personal development can improve your mood, attitude towards life and relationships, and overall mental health.
Over the last few years, the personal development book genre has rapidly expanded to cover many topics, from relationship guidance to starting a new season in life. Many excellent books provide advice and recommendations on new mindsets and life strategies. Below is a list of personal development books you should read this year:
7 Habits of Highly Effective People By: Stephen Covey
Meeting at the intersection of business mindset and personal development, this book presents an approach to be effective in attaining goals while remaining in line with your core values or, as Covey puts it, “true north” principles based on a character ethic and moral character.
Atomic Habits By: James Clear
This New York Times Best Seller provides tools and techniques to break bad habits and cycles and then develop, implement, and follow through with new habits that align with your goals.
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Power Hour: How to Focus on Your Goals and Create a Life You Love By: Adrienne Herbert
A mix of habit formation, advice, words of wisdom, and mindset tips; rooted in the significance of moving every day, Herbert’s masterclass book focuses on creating and seizing the life you want to live.
Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before By: Julie Smith
This book is a guide for holistic and optimal mental wellbeing and consists of great tips and coping techniques for managing anxiety, low mood, low self-esteem, and overwhelm.
The Chimp Paradox: The Acclaimed Mind Management Programme to Help You Achieve, Success, Confidence, and Happiness By: Steve Peters
Mind management tools are intended to help you break through ruts and fix unhealthy habits to become the best version of yourself. Peter’s book focuses on the process of self-sabotage and how to turn that narrative into a tool that helps you.
Public Health Books
Reading and discussing public health issues outside of an academic setting is something that developed from not only the COVID-19 pandemic but also the civil unrest and Black Lives Matter protest during summer 2020. Public health is the science of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities. Public health can range from civil and human rights issues to chronic diseases and illnesses.
Being at the forefront of global news has allowed the public health genre to rapidly expand and become one of the most popular reading categories of 2021 and the first few months of 2022. Below is a list of Public Health books you should read this year:
The Health Gap: The Challenge of an Unequal World By: Michael Marmot
The Health Gap discusses our current society of inequality, especially in health and wellness. Marmot explores health inequalities and public health crises with a broader scope, focusing on how social, political, and structural systems cause inequality, leading to decades of health disadvantages.
Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice The Shapes What We See, Think, and Do By: Jennifer Eberhardt
Biased creates a conversation about discussing and understanding personal bias, as they influence racial disparities and inequality. Eberhardt looks at institutions' role in maintaining racial prejudices while also questioning how our compliances drive biases.
Social Determinants of Health: Looking Upstream By: Kathryn Ratcliff
Ratcliff introduces social determinants of health and how they influence society and the world around us. She also discusses how institutions, such as the government, play into upstream factors that lead to health disparities.
Mirage of Health: Utopia, Progress, and Biological Change By: René Dubos
Dubos focuses on the interaction between health, the changing environment, and the displaced desire for a universal well-being society created by science and technological advancements.
The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated American By: Richard Rothstein
Rothstein utilizes the presentation of modern-day metropolitan areas as a guide point to understanding the history of housing segregation through individual prejudices, income differences, and actions from private institutions, like real estate agencies. Through his research and findings, The Color of Law makes it clear that previous laws and policies passed decades ago are still promoting discriminatory patterns today.
2022 has already been a transformative year for health and wellness with the new focus on public health as well as overall health and wellness. The above list provides a comprehensive outline of some of the best reads to give all-encompassing information and guidance to navigate each of the complex categories essential to improving your health and being aware of the world around you.
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Originally from Houston, Texas, Alexandra is currently getting her Master's in Public Health with a health policy certificate at Columbia University. One of her life goals is to own her own art gallery!