6 best books to get you thinking!

Written by Eileen Hopkins

My road to counselling and psychotherapy has been interesting. Having worked in a caring profession, nursing for over 30 years, I was always at my happiest when interacting with my patients & I have always been a people person.

6 best books to get you thinking!


Over the past few years, I have read some very interesting books, some because of my studying and others because I chose to. This is a summary of what I consider to be the best of my personal collection. Just tips for some of you who love to read but find it too uncomfortable to hold a book or lie in one position. Download books on audio instead. If you have an iPhone for example, on the iBook’s app you can download iBook’s.


1. Full Catastrophic Living; by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

As the creator of mindfulness-based stress reduction programs, Zinn focuses on mind-body strategies derived from meditation and yoga to counteract stress, establish greater balance of body and mind, and help you get out of the rut of fearing pain.

2. Self-Compassion; by Kristin Neff.

Self-esteem work isn’t the fix to perfectionism, argues Neff. Accepting the present, being kind and compassionate to yourself and still striving to do better is. I have talked at workshops about the benefits of hugs, then people say, sure who will give me a hug? My response to this is, ‘what about giving yourself a hug?’ For many members with fibromyalgia or CRPS, the thought of someone touching you even causes pain, however, you won’t hurt yourself! You will relax your muscles, why not try it sometime! This is a form of self- compassion. The book offers exercises and questions in each chapter to help.

3. When Things Fall Apart; by Pema Chodron.

I picked this book up a few years ago but wasn’t ready to read it. Or rather, I was not yet willing to accept the pain and change my perspective about it. I was still looking for a fix. Chodron writes that when we are continually overcome by fear, anxiety and pain, the way out is to stop bracing against it and learning to stay open. Not easy, and you must be willing to read her words without judgment & be open to change.

4. Mindfulness for Health; by Vidyamala Burch & Danny Penman.

I had the privilege of meeting this pair in Oxford two years ago at a study day. As Burch so eloquently puts it- “pain, suffering and stress can be, intolerable-but it doesn’t have to be this way.”. I found this book extremely beneficial; I subsequently undertook the Breath works MBSR training that is based on the teachings of this book.

5. Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers; by Robert M Sapolsky.

This book is referred to as an acclaimed guide to stress, stress-related diseases, and coping. This book combines facts and cutting-edge research. I love this book, it’s one of my favourites actually! So, anyone knows the answer? Get reading!!

6. The Four Agreements; by Don Miguel Ruiz.

This is my all-time favourite book; this book is a real-life-changer! Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy & create needless suffering. The late, great Wayne Dyer referred to this book as “An inspiring book with many great lessons.”

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