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Top 10 Reads

Let it flow: Healthy ways to release emotions 
 
Lipp, R., & Phillips, C. (2023). Wildling Books. 


This book is all about ways to allow emotional energy to flow out in healthy and safe ways that you can try. 

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Breathe with me: Using breath to look after my tinana, hinengaro, and wairua 
 
Tutagalevao, Abel Junior. (2022). CulturalHubb.

This book provides simple meditative breathing exercises for children and everyone to use at home, school or anywhere. It encourages the use of Māori stories (pūrākau) aligned to Te Ao Māori principles to engage and connect with children to help them calm their breath while experiencing different feelings/emotions throughout the day.

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Aroha: Māori wisdom for a contented life lived in harmony with our planet 

Elder, H. (2020). Penguin Books.

Through 52 whatatauki, Dr Hinemoa Elder shares the power of Aroha and explores how it could help us all every day.

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Whare Tapa Whā Kete Resource Kit 

Written by Geneva Harrison; illustrated by Katherine Hall; Te Reo by Moana Keelan. (2020). Tuhi Stationery. 

This resource kit is designed as an introduction to Whare Tapa Whā, a wellbeing model developed by leading Māori health advocate Sir Mason Durie in 1984 that describes health and wellbeing as a wharenui. It is a tool to improve the wellbeing of kids and their whānau and have fun at the same time.

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The well gardened mind: Rediscovering nature in the modern world 

Stewart-Smith, S. (2021). William Collins. 
 
Stuart-Smith reminds us that planting a seed is a gesture of faith and hope, and that gardening can offer us a pathway back to wellbeing and connection.

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Together: Loneliness, health and what happens when we find connection 

Murthy, V. H. (2020). Wellcome Collection. 

Former Surgeon General of the United States, Vivek Murthy’s book reveals the importance of human connection, the hidden impact of loneliness on our health, and the social power of community.

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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 the University of California, The Gratitude Project explores gratitude’s deep roots in human psychology and how it affects our brain.

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Wellbeing, recovery and mental health 

Slade, M., Oades, L., & Jarden, A. (Eds.) Cambridge University Press, UK. 

An overview of current research into wellbeing for mental health which shows the benefits of positive mental health approaches becoming part of mainstream policy and services. 

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Whakarongo ki ō Tūpuna | Listen to your Ancestors 

Joseph, D., & Te Whata, M. (2019). New Zealand: Oratia Books. 

This picture book centres around how a teacher guides her granddaughter and her pupils to walk the path of their ancestors/tūpuna. 

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Whakawhetai Gratitude 

Nathan, H. (2023). Allen & Unwin.

A bilingual gratitude journal based on the Māori holistic approach to health, hauora. Discover the four dimensions of hauora: Taha tinana (physical), taha hinengaro (mental), taha wairua (spiritual) and taha whānau (family). 

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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: