To stay young, the 16th century Transylvanian countess Elizabeth Bathory reputedly bathed in the blood of slaughtered virgins. Juan Ponce de León, who may have accompanied Christopher Columbus on his 1493 voyage to the New World, led an expedition in 1513 to the rumored fountain of youth located on an island known as Bimini, on the coast of what is now Florida. To this day people still search for it there. And who can forget Indiana Jones and the search for the Holy Grail? Eternal life for whoever drinks from it – as long as it’s not lost.
The ancient Greek poet Homer called old age “loathsome” and of course, we are still as a society obsessed with postponing it any way we can.
As you read this list of six new wellness books devoted to helping us feel better, now, remember these words attributed to the fourth Caliph, Ali Ibn Abi Talib: “How strange and foolish is man. He loses his health in gaining wealth. Then, to regain his health he wastes his wealth. He ruins his present while worrying about his future, but weeps in the future by recalling his past. He lives as though death shall never come to him, but dies in a way as if he were never born.”
Lifespan: Why We Age – and Why We Don’t Have To
“Ageing is a disease and that disease is treatable,” writes Dr David Sinclair. The Harvard Medical School scientist is challenging perceptions of ageing in his new book, revealing breakthroughs – many of them from his own lab at Harvard – that demonstrate how we can slow down, or even reverse, aging. One key is activating newly discovered vitality genes, while the others now sound pretty familiar: intermittent fasting, exposure to cold, exercising with the right intensity and eating less meat.
The Joy of Missing Out: Live More by Doing Less
In these busy and do more times, productivity expert and CEO of inkWELL Press Productivity Co Tonya Dalton challenges women to rethink “busy” and intentionally live “guilt free” with a mindset of abundance. Feeling overwhelmed isn’t the result of having too much to do, she explains, it’s from not knowing where to start. Her simple message is to focus on what is really important, rather than trying to do as much as you can. Dalton outlines productivity systems and strategies, providing a series of exercises to help readers discover their purpose, clarify their priorities and simplify their lives. The goal is to find harmony by embracing life’s inherent “unbalance.”
Eat Yourself Healthy: An easy-to-digest guide to health and happiness from the inside out
This wellness book shifts the eternal focus on weight loss to how to keep our gut happy. With a decade of experience as a dietitian and consultant at The Gut Health Clinic in London, Dr Megan Rossi provides 50 simple and gut-boosting recipes. Think banana, fig and courgette loaf for breakfast and creamy pistachio and spinach pesto pasta for dinner. The book also includes expert advice on how to deal with common complaints such as bloating and help with getting to the bottom of food intolerances.
Good Habits, Bad Habits: The Science of Making Positive Changes That Stick
Wendy Wood, provost professor of psychology and business at the University of Southern California, draws on three decades of research to explain the science of how we form habits. A potent mix of neuroscience, case studies and experiments conducted in her lab, this book will change the way you think about almost every aspect of your life. By explaining how our brains are wired to respond to rewards, receive cues from our surroundings and shut down when faced with too much friction, Wood explains how we can understand ourselves to form better habits.
A Mindful Year: 365 Ways to Find Connection and the Sacred in Everyday Life
Written by Dr Aria Campbell-Danesh and Seth J Gillihan, PhD, two experts on the psychology of behavior change, this book combines age-old wisdom of mindfulness with cognitive behavioral science.
Written from friend to friend, A Mindful Year invites the reader to start a new pattern: taking just a few quiet moments to reconnect with what is most important each day. Daily pearls of wisdom paired with tools help inspire a more connected, grounded, authentic and compassionate lifestyle.
Earth Heroes: Twenty Inspiring Stories of People Saving Our World
Although this book by journalist Lily Dyu is aimed at 8 to 12-year-olds, it is in fact inspirational reading for anyone concerned about climate change. Each story – whether it’s Greta Thunberg, Stella McCartney, David Attenborough or Yin Yuzhen – proves that one person, no matter how small, really can make a difference. And that’s a lesson worth remembering, no matter what your age.
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Rym Tina Ghazal is a cross-cultural and Arab history expert. She is also a peace ambassador, thought/youth leader, documentarian, lecturer and author for young readers. As an award-winning journalist with more than 15 years’ experience, she was one of the first Arab women to cover war zones in the Middle East, in 2003.