September Reading and Watching
What I’m reading – just for laughs
- Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan is honestly one of the funniest books I ever read. The title comes from the first thing one of his sons wrote on the family whiteboard. Sample joke: “People ask me what my favorite ride was at Disneyworld. The train leaving the park.”
- Hyperbole and a Half, by Allie Brosh who Ad Age named as one of the 50 Most Influential Creative Figures in the World. Dogs, corn, cake, depression, cartoons. Just read it. I’ve given this book as a gift many times, and even children as young as 8 find it funny. It’s silly, insightful, and full of hilarious drawings.
- Laugh Out Loud Jokes for Kids. Having you ever spent time in the back seat of a mini-van trading jokes with a nine-year-old? If not, you should! I highly recommend making kids (and yourself) laugh as a stress-relieving pastime. This book is chock full of corny and delightful jokes to make even the most cynical inner child smile.
What I’m reading – food for thought
These are some books that have helped me over the years. If you or a loved one are experiencing depression, anxiety, or other issues, please seek help from a mental health professional. There are lots of affordable options and even apps. You would never walk on a broken leg without getting it looked at, right? The same thing is true for your mind.
1 out of 3 Americans now says that the COVID situation has impacted their mental health*. If you are one of them, please do yourself a favor and get some support. *National Center for Health Statistics.
- Feeling Good. The New Mood Therapy This book was prescribed to me by a therapist when I was depressed but I find that anyone can benefit from his rationally based methods. See pages 42 and 43 of the paperback version for a list of common thought patterns that cause anxiety or depression, such as All-or-Nothing Thinking, Disqualifying the Positive, Magnification (Catastrophizing) and Emotional Reasoning. Our thoughts create a chain reaction in our endocrine and lymphatic symptoms that lead directly to the physical responses of being depressed and/or anxious. This approach has an 80% recovery rate when used in a professional setting. LOTS of great tools and tests to help you find your way through the maze.
- The Time Cure. Do you remember the classic Stanford Prison Experiment that had to be stopped because students were treating each other so badly? The graduate student who initiated and then stopped that study is now in his 80’s and has spent a lifetime tracking what undoes trauma and creates happiness and people behaving kindly. Guess what? You can change your mood and your body chemistry, by changing the story you tell yourself about yourself. When you look at the past, are you a victim or an overcomer of obstacles? When you look at the future, are you hopeful or anxious? When you look at today, do you find fault with yourself, or do you ask yourself what you did today that only you could have done? (Be kind to a child, let someone else feel important, made the world a better place in some tiny way). This approach has been shown to cure even those most difficult cases of PTSD. It’s worth a read for sure!
What I’m watching – inspiring stories
When I’m feeling stressed and responsible for things I can’t control, a good movie with someone overcoming the odds. Here are two of my favorites. What are some of yours?
Akeelah and the Bee (available on Amazon Prime, Hulu, and many others). A young girl who loves spelling but is ridiculed at school. She finds an unexpected mentor is a retired teacher (played by the inimitable Lawrence Fishburne) to help take her to the top of her potential.
Shawshank Redemption. “Get busy living or get busy dying,” is a quote from the movie that sticks with me. The writing is beautiful, the acting is lovely, and I’m a sucker for a happy ending.