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  • Writer's pictureYvonne Ewington

10 Inspirational Books for Women (to help improve your life)

Reading can change the way we think, expand our perspective, and capture the mood of our lives to better understand ourselves and where we are in life. It rewires our brain and the way it thinks. But can books also improve our life?

Having spent years being occupied with the needs of others and too busy to carve out adequate time for us, we may start to become more interested in self-development as we navigate a different phase in life. And perhaps because we want something to change but are not sure what.

When we reach our 40’s, 50’s and beyond, often a sort of midlife malaise overtakes us. We may find that we are not feeling as happy as we used to or that life is passing us by.

We’ve spent years looking after the needs of others, and now consider how we can reinvent ourselves in some way and make changes, maybe be more selfish (for once!) get back to who we are.

We want to find answers, inspiration, and explore what is possible now.

Here are 10 books that will inspire you:

1. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

I loved reading this book. Elizabeth Gilbert, also the author of Eat, Love Pray, is so likeable, sharing stories from her own life. Gilbert challenges us to embrace our curiosity, tackle what we most love and face down what we most fear.

It’s for women who have a long-held dream or vision for life, want to find the courage to try something new or to keep going with something already started. Gilbert encourages us to find more joy in the everyday, and ultimately, ask this question:

Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures hidden within you?

“What you absolutely must not do is turn around and walk out. Otherwise, you will miss the party, and that would be a pity, because – please believe me – we did not come all this great distance, and make all this great effort, only to miss the party at the last moment.” - Elizabeth Gilbert

Do we want to miss the party? Nope.

2. You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L Hay

I was going through a tricky time resolving past family relationships and dynamics when reading Hay’s philosophy opened up a completely different way for me to look at my discomfort.

“We are each 100% responsible for all our experiences. Every thought we think is creating our future. The point of power is in the present moment. When we really love ourselves, everything in our life works. We must release the past and forgive everyone.” - Louise L Hay

It encouraged me to seek help so I could move on in my life, to let go of long held bitterness and resentment, and face and release the whirlwind of unhelpful thoughts that were making me unwell.

This book is excellent for finding self-esteem and is full of practical steps using progressive exercises to start creating change in life.

3. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle

This is a modern take on spirituality and the ideas really did transform my thinking. Tolle teaches how authentic human power is found in surrendering to the Now.

“In the Now, we discover that we are already complete and perfect.” - Eckhart Tolle

Tolle has little use for the past and rarely thinks about it, also sharing his story about how he came to be a spiritual teacher and write this book. This is deep and meaningful stuff, presented in a question-and-answer format – using original questions he has been asked by individuals over many years.

It will make you wonder.

4. Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May

Katherine May explores how to come through difficult times with wisdom knowing that the light always follows in the seasons of life. This is a warm and comforting read that shows us how the seasons and nature mimic the phases in our own lives where everybody winters at one time or another.

“It often seems easier to stay in in winter, burrowed down into our hibernation nests, away from the glare of the sun. But we are brave, and the new world awaits us, gleaming and green, alive with the beat of wings.” - Katherine May

The power of rest is undeniable.

5. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

Wild is a life affirming memoir, and film starring Reese Wetherspoon, about a woman who does the big scary thing, and at twenty-two, goes on a 1,100mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail as a journey of self-discovery. She undertakes this adventure after losing her mother to cancer and divorcing her husband.

The book explores themes of personal struggle, self-discovery and perseverance.

Once I picked this book up, I couldn’t put it down.

This is an incredibly honest account of Strayed’s journey from ‘lost and found’, regaining a sense of who she is, finding a sense of purpose again and ultimately about nearly giving up but pushing on.

I was totally in awe.

6. Quiet. The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

This book was a revelation. I'd always been a bit shy believing it to be a negative thing. This book book changed that. At least a third of us are on the introverted side and without introverts we wouldn't have Apple computer, the theory of relativity or Van Gogh's sunflowers.

Susan Cain shows how the brain chemistry of introverts and extroverts differs, and how society undervalues introverts.

"The single most important aspect of personality - the "north and the south temperament", as one scientist puts it - is where we fall on the introvert-extrovert spectrum. Our place on this continuum influences our choice of friends and mates, and how we make conversation, resolve differences, and show love." -Susan Cain

If you fall into the quiet category you will see yourself in a whole new light. It will change the way you see yourself - and you can use the tools in the book to take full advantage of your strengths.

7. Thinking On My by Feet Kate Humble

I loved this book because I love being outdoors, walking, nature, and the seasons, it’s where I feel at my happiest and so it really chimed with me.

Humble describes the many pleasures of walking; the connection with the seasons, how a mood can be lifted by sights, sounds and smells, and the chance conversations enjoyed with other walkers.

"For me walking feels as vital as breathing. The first thing I do, every morning I can, is go for a walk - for an hour, or longer if I can get away with it - usually alone apart from my dogs. I find the simple action of putting one foot in front of the other, and the rhythm of that action, incredibly therapeutic." -Kate Humble

Walking has a truly nourishing effect on our minds and bodies. Pull on your boots and explore how nature helps us find clarity, solve problems and give us the ultimate feel-good factor.

8. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo

The KonMari method as it’s now known, is an easy and effective method to get your home in order. By tackling your clutter in the right order – top to bottom – we can transform the space we have. And the payoff is that it helps us feel calmer, organised and more confident.

I was particularly drawn to the chapter on de-cluttering your wardrobe. Kondo encourages us to choose what we want to throw away by asking ourselves of each item:

“Does it spark joy?” -Marie Kondo

Facing the huge pile of clothes scattered on the bed, at a time when my hormones were going bonkers, joy was definitely not the word associated with the black baggy tops and dresses that had started to take up the lion’s share of space.

Or the ‘bargains’ that were too good to miss but didn’t go with anything else or fit properly. And pieces I was hanging onto just in case I got down to a weight where they’d fit again. Ha! It never happened.

Whether you want to tidy like a ninja or simply de-clutter your wardrobe this is a great place to start.

9. The Artists Way by Julia Cameron

This book is about demystifying the creative process and opening up opportunities for growth and renewal.

Laid out as a twelve week-long-programme this is full of great exercises to help us discover our creativity and what lights us up.

"Do you tell yourself, “I could do that, if only…”?

Cameron invites us to take our creative potential seriously by:

-Stop telling yourself, “It’s too late.”

-Stop waiting until you make enough money to do something you really love.

-Stop telling yourself that dreams don’t matter, that they are only dreams and that you should be more sensible.

-Stop fearing that your family and friends would think you crazy.

Two vital tools are something called The Morning Pages, a daily writing ritual, and The Artist Date, a dedicated block of time to nurture your inner artist. As simple and easy as they seem, they are challenging!

Committing to the inner work helps us learn something important and often surprising that will transform us.

10. The Jane Austin Remedy: An Empowering Memoir of a Life Reclaimed through Reading by Ruth Wilson

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a book can change a life.” – Jane Austin

I absolutely loved this life affirming memoir.

Ruth Wilson found herself feeling a general sense of malaise and took the radical decision to retreat from her conventional married life and live alone while confronting feelings of loss and unhappiness. By choosing to live independently and re-reading the six major novels of Jane Austin she finds herself reclaiming her voice and her sense of self.

The book made me think about how life might be reclaimed in other ways. For Ruth Wilson the antidote was through books. We can find our own way to understand ourselves better, for example, through walking, meditation, writing, journaling or painting, whatever it is that we love and that absorbs us. Perhaps something in one of these books will spark your interest. I hope so.

Whatever path we choose, we can start to develop a deeper relationship with who we are and start at any time to change and improve our life.

Hello, I’m Yvonne, a Life Coach for women who want to create a new and exciting phase in life filled with new possibilities.

I work with women to support and inspire them to elevate their lives through discovering their purpose, priorities, passion and joy. Reinventing themselves to live life on their own terms. You can find out more by visiting my website.

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