- Business leaders like Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai say grief — and mental health in general — is a big issue for millions of people amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
- Licensed clinical psychologist and author Ramani Durvasula said reading can be one great way to cope with feelings of anxiety or sadness during social distancing.
- She suggests several books on mindfulness and perseverance, including “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl and “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
More and more business leaders agree — caring for one’s mental health is crucial right now.
Facebook COO and best-selling author Sheryl Sandberg recently told Business Insider that we’re all grieving during the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google and YouTube’s parent company Alphabet, told Time in a recent interview that we’re “absolutely” in a mental-health crisis. Other leaders have taken it upon themselves to provide more mental health services and benefits for workers during this trying time.
Millions of Americans are struggling with feelings of anxiety and grief during the pandemic. But there are several strategies you can use to cope. Licensed clinical psychologist and author Ramani Durvasula first suggests acknowledging the feelings you’re having.
“Many people are experiencing real grief — grief over a life and things and opportunities lost and experiences lost as well. Grief is real, and while it seems like an odd word to use — it is what people are feeling,” she said.
She also recommends seeking professional help, as well as something you can do right away: reading.
“Reading is so absorbing,” the psychologist said. “It is quiet, it can be done privately, we can pace it, stare away from a minute and then come back to it, which is not as easy to do with a movie.”
In 2009, a group of researchers measured the impact of yoga, humor, and reading on the stress levels of American students in demanding health science programs. The study found that 30 minutes of reading lowered blood pressure, heart rate, and feelings of stress just as effectively as yoga and humor.
Durvasula, author of “Don’t You Know Who I Am?”, suggests these books to read if you’re struggling with anxiety or grief.
“The Reality Slap” by Russ Harris
Harris, a mental health coach who specializes in acceptance and commitment therapy, writes that the hard truth of reality is that everyone is going to experience disappointment, loss, and failure. Despite this, however, one can still lead a rich life. He outlines four steps readers can take when life throws them a curveball, including to “hold yourself kindly,” or take care of yourself, and “drop the anchor,” or ground yourself.
“The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle
In this best-selling book, spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle teachers readers how to shift their mindset and embrace the power of mindfulness, recognize thought patterns, and learn to detach from their emotions.
Durvasula calls this read “a classic that fits really well in our current time.”
“Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl
In this deeply moving memoir, psychiatrist Viktor Frankl recounts losing his parents, brother, and pregnant wife, who were killed in Nazi death camps during the 1940s. Drawing on his harrowing experience, he argues that it’s not happiness that will carry us through suffering, but a sense of purpose.
According to Durvasula, this book is especially relevant now, as thousands upon thousands of people are grieving the loss of loved ones.
“Buddha’s Brain” by Rick Hanson
Harris, who is a psychologist, uses his experience, as well as neuroscience, and Buddhism to teach readers how to activate feelings of calm and joy. “When you change your brain, you change your life,” the author writes.
“This is a really great book on training our brains to do mindfulness and meditation work in an accessible manner,” Durvasula said.
“Scarcity” by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir
In this science-based book, behavioural economist Sendhil Mullainathan and psychologist Eldar Shafir draw on their research to show how to get the most out of what you have, be it time, money, mental bandwidth, or whatever other thing in life you feel you might not have enough of. Durvasula says this book a “fantastic” read and is timely for readers who may feel that with all that’s going on, they don’t have the cognitive bandwidth to deal with life’s daily struggles.
“Grit” by Angela Duckworth
In this bestseller, Duckworth makes her case for what leads to success. It’s not talent, or even hard work alone. It’s a unique combination of passion and long-term perseverance. Her book helps readers uncover what it takes to achieve greatness in spite of hardship. “Nobody wants to show you the hours and hours of becoming. They’d rather show the highlight of what they’ve become,” she writes.