With summertime winding down, work and school back in full swing and the holiday season just around the corner, it’s natural to feel discombobulated, short on time and pulled in every direction. To survive the busy-schedule onslaught—and enjoy yourself while you’re at it—you’ll need a clear head. These books show you how to mentally de-clutter from a variety of angles, from schedule rehab to meditation. Take the tips provided by these expert authors and you’ll be able to weather any post-summer, pre-holiday panic with panache.
Clutter in the home is both a cause and symptom of clutter in the mind. In “Happier at Home,” Gretchen Rubin follows her smash hit “The Happiness Project” with insights into how everything from broken appliances to awkward furniture arrangements can create turmoil, in ways both subtle and obvious, within one’s inner state. Going room by room and issue by issue (“Possessions,” “Time,” “Interior Design”) Rubin offers nuanced wisdom not only on paring down and simplifying, but also on emphasizing those elements of the home that are special and make family members feel good.
Fuel your mind with the right food
Diet can plays a significant role in your mental functioning, according to some experts. In his new book, “Grain Brain,” David Perlmutter argues that gluten, an ingredient in most breads, can lead to cognitive maladies such as ADHD, depression and dementia. On the other hand, there are a number of foods that studies have shown to be beneficial to the brain. In “Power Foods for the Brain,” Barnard spotlights comestibles—such as salmon, broccoli and berries—that contribute to memory, concentration and mental agility.
3. 168 Hours
Tame your schedule
In comprehensive guide to organizing your schedule, efficiency expert Laura Vanderkam breaks down the reasons why many of us can’t seem to keep up with our itineraries and spotlights the solutions to taking more ownership of your time. The key to staying ahead of the clock, Vanderkam argues, is isolating those activities that you deem most important and slashing less essential time-wasters completely. “There’s little point…in spending much time on activities in which you can’t excel,” she writes.
Find your ‘om’
People have resorted to meditation for thousands of years of find inner peace and mental clarity, but many today are put off by what they perceive to be an esoteric practice that won’t “understand” or, paradoxically enough, that they don’t have time for. In “Real Happiness,” mindfulness and meditation guru Sharon Salzberg breaks down meditation into a step-by-step 28-day process that introduces readers to the discipline and isolates its most valuable benefits. Those who have already discovered the wonders of “om” can look to a range of varying techniques, such as Zazen or Transcendental Meditation.