Good reads - General

 Friendship cover

Friendship: The evolution, biology and extraordinary power of life’s fundamental bond

Denworth, L. (2020). Bloomsbury Sigma.

Science journalist Lydia Denworth notes social bonds – or a lack of them – affect our cardiovascular system, our immune system, and, our mental health. Listen to her interview on Radio NZ.

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 How we got happy cover

How we got happy: Stories of health, hope and happiness from 20 young Kiws who beat depression

Nabbs, J., & Macfarlane, E. (2020). Self-published, NZ

Authors and friends, Eve and Jonathan, met through competitive rowing and both have experienced depression. They designed this book, and website, to share peoples' stories of recovery to provide relatable information for those currently going through their own struggles, as well as anyone with an interest in staying well.

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 The gratitude project cover

The gratitude project: How the science of thankfulness can rewire our brains for resilience, optimism and the greater good

Smith, J. A., Newman, K., Marsh, J., & Keltner, D. (Eds.). (2020). New Harbinger Publications

The result of a multiyear collaboration between the Greater Good Science Center and Robert Emmons of the University of California looking the benefits of gratitude.  

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 This is not how it ends cover

This is not how it ends: How rewriting your story can save your life

Casinader, J. (2020). Harper Collins.

This gritty, vulnerable book will challenge readers' understanding of mental distress, and give them the tools to reshape their own life stories.

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 Youre not listening cover You're not listening: What you are missing and why it matters 

Murphy, K. (2020). Vintage. 

Murphy suggests despite living in a world where technology allows constant digital communication and opportunities to connect, it seems no one is really listening or even knows how. And it’s making us lonelier, more isolated, and less tolerant than ever before. 

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 The 5 languages of appreciation cover

The 5 languages of appreciation in the workplace: Empowering organizations by encouraging people

Chapman, G., & White, P. (2019). Northfield Publishing. 

You appreciate your employees, right? But do they feel appreciated by you?   Gary Chapman, and Paul White, a psychologist, author, speaker and consultant, have adapted the 5 love languages model into 5 appreciation languages to help empower organisations and their people. 

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 The comfort book cover

The comfort book

Haig, M. (2021). Canongate.

Matt Haig is the number one bestselling author of Reasons to Stay Alive and Notes on a Nervous Planet, his new book is one to pick up when you need the wisdom of a friend or the comfort of a hug.

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 Yes you can talk about mental health at work cover

Yes, you can talk about mental health at work: Here’s why (and how to do it really well)

Doman, M. (2021). London: Welbeck Balance

This engaging and practical book is for any employee, manager or leader who wants to gain a deeper understanding of mental health to facilitate inclusive workplace conversations. 

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Rāhina / Monday

Take Notice | Me Aro Tonu

A fresh week, blank slate and a new beginning. Let's start the week by setting purpose and intention, today is the day to take stock – how have you been feeling recently, are there any events or stresses that you need to sit with and unpack? 

Developing the ability to be fully present and conscious without being overly reactive or overwhelmed is no easy feat, it takes practice to achieve the delicate balance of awareness. When we take notice or practice mindfulness, we’re creating space for ourselves—space to think, space to breathe, space between ourselves and our reactions.  

Use today as a reminder to pay more attention to the present moment, to our thoughts and feelings, and to the world around us. At the end of the week, you can reflect on how you felt at the start of the week, and how putting each of the Five Ways into practice has helped to boost your mental health.

A few ideas to help you take notice:

Rātū / Tuesday

Give | Tukua

Today is all about kindness. When we give selflessly to others, whether through our time, resources, or support, we create a positive ripple effect that extends beyond the people we engage with. Carrying out acts of kindness boosts our happiness, life satisfaction, and overall wellbeing. When we help others, it gives us purpose and a sense of belonging – it’s a win/win!  

Think about how you might be able to brighten the day of someone you care about, or even a complete stranger. A small gesture might mean the world to someone else, and you’ll get a bit of a boost, too!

A few ideas to help you give:

Rāapa / Wednesday

Be Active | Me Kori Tonu 

We're nearly over the midweek hump and are inching closer to the weekend. Today is the perfect opportunity to give yourself a refreshing boost by engaging in some physical activity. Wi tēnei rangi to get the blood flowing through your tinana/body?   

Physical activity stimulates the release of endorphins, the "feel-good" hormones, which can uplift your mood and increase feelings of happiness. It reduces stress and anxiety levels, promotes relaxation and enhances overall mental resilience. It can even sharpen our thinking and boost our creativity. 

Being active doesn’t always mean high-intensity cardio workouts, there are lots of ways you can move your tinana to uplift your mood, reduce stress, and feel a sense of achievement. Choose to do something that is purely for feeling good or having fun, and dedicate it to your wellbeing.

A few ideas hei āwhina/to help you be active:

Rāpare / Thursday

Connect | Me Whakawhanaunga

It’s nearly Friday – why not tap into those weekend vibes early, and carve out some time for some meaningful connection? Use today as a sign to arrange that outing or gathering with friends, participate in social events that you might be finding an excuse to skip, or seek out opportunities for shared experiences that deepen your connections.  

Connect refers to making social connections, or whakawhanaungatanga. A sense of feeling connected, loved or belonging with others is strongly associated with better wellbeing and other health outcomes by providing a sense of meaning, safety, support and purpose.  

A few ideas to help you connect:

Rāmere / Friday

Keep Learning | Me Ako Tonu

It might be the last day of MHAW, but today’s the day to reflect on what you’ve learnt throughout the week and implement those tools into the weekend and weeks beyond. 

Evidence suggests that learning or trying new things creates a sense of achievement, competence and stimulates engagement with the world around us. There are lots of ways that you can Keep Learning today and every day. 

A few ideas to help you keep learning: