5 Audiobooks to Reduce Stress and Anxiety in 2021

2020 was a doozy. We all need some time to recover. There’s no shortage of books, podcasts, and blogs directed towards reducing stress and anxiety. Here’s a quick overview of 5 popular audiobooks to help narrow your choices and maximize your time.

10% Happier by Dan Harris
The author here is no guru, and he’ll be the first to admit it. This author narrated work is more of a memoir or autobiography than a down and dirty self-help book. It contains a busy professional’s story, getting lost in familiar ways and then navigating to a tangibly better place. He doesn’t overpromise results. Ten percent is probably a reasonable expectation for this casual but useful listen. There is no deep spirituality here, just credible reminders highlighting common mistakes concerning eating, thinking, and office life. Eventually, the author wades into meditation practices that anyone can apply, without a bunch of mystical fluff. The honesty and attitude of the author are endearing and entertaining.

Play It Away by Charlie Hoehn
This one is a quick listen that you can knock out in a few commutes to work. In this one, another overworked and overburdened professional gets back to the basics. The ratings for this book are not as impressive as some of the others in the category. Nonetheless, the book’s brevity and simplicity do not detract from its usefulness. We need regular reminders to play when living in a world that has brushed it aside in the name of success. Our biochemistry, spirituality, and relationships benefit from purposeful recreation. We should not misplace this truth or the reverence for it. There are a few good ideas here for how to accomplish the mission. If all you need is a reminder, you just got it. If you need convincing or a few ideas for execution, download a copy.

You’re Too Good to Feel This Bad by Nate Dallas
Here’s another entertaining audiobook read by the author. This one is much more comprehensive and multi-faceted than the others. Part autobiography, part instruction manual, this book offers just as many questions as it does answers. The author lays out science-backed insights, practical strategies, and then a host of probing questions to sort out on your own. It starts as you would expect, with solid concepts for sleep, breathing, nutrition, and exercise. But once the physical fundamentals are covered, Dr. Dallas quickly moves into psychology and mindset. Chapter by chapter, the exploration sequence leads into finance, relationships, meditation, minimalism, work, leisure, and recreation. This book is like Cliff’s Notes for the 15 other books you intend to read or a summary of 30 hours of guest chats on Joe Rogan.

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
You can’t sell 8 million copies of a book without some lasting value. This book is an exposition of four profound nuggets of wisdom, purportedly taught by ancient Toltec philosophers. It’s included in this list for stress and anxiety because it combats limiting beliefs to increase freedom and peace. This one feels like a stoic grandfather teaching you a condensed version of Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for life. The rules are simple, but the text surrounding them is thoughtful and impactful, which is why we find it translated into 40+ languages. The four agreements seem simple at face value, but they deserve unpacking and contemplation. They are 1-Be impeccable with your word, 2- Don’t take anything personally. 3- Don’t make assumptions. 4- Always do your best. The Four Agreements is an audiobook that you can come back to and discover new benefits the second time through.

Falling Upward by Richard Rohr
A list like this warrants at least one title involving a more spiritual approach. Like many great audiobooks recorded by the author, the listener can hear how the subjects genuinely affected the one writing it. Some may not like the more mystical language but keep in mind that this fellow is a Catholic priest who belongs to the Franciscan order. Listeners should not expect this to be a book on biohacking. Rohr is a friendly mentor, demonstrating a spirit of charity, forgiveness, and letting go. The concept of two modes of thinking, one for the first half of life and another for the second, is useful and insightful. There are many opportunities to pause and ponder deeply on what he is saying. This book is for someone who values wisdom and is seeking new ways of thinking and being. You are sure to come out of it a little more relaxed and a bit lighter on your feet.

A simple-minded contemplative

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