Books have the power to uplift us during this challenging time.

As we reached the end of March, the government, following the CDC’s recommendations for flattening the curve, decided we should continue to stay at home as much as possible until the end of April.

This is a stressful time, and many of us are finding ourselves with more time on our hands than we know what to do with! That’s why the team at Bentz Dental has come up with a list of uplifting books to improve your spirits.

Bibliotherapy is a form of therapy that relies on reading to support positive mental health. While reading any book can help calm the mind and promote relaxation, uplifting books in particular can be a great way to go right now.

Read on to find out which books you should add to your shelves or your e-reader today!

Books That Make Us Laugh

Sometimes the best way to break the emotional cycle of stress and negativity is to have a good laugh!

David Sedaris’s book, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, is hilariously funny. Over the course of 22 essays, he covers topics from getting locked out in the snow by his own mother to the traditional Dutch Christmas story.

If you’re looking for a work of fiction that will crack you up, consider Douglas Adams’ novel, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It follows a man named Arthur Dent as he learns a new way of life in outer space and gets into all sorts of side-splitting mishaps along the way.

Books That Teach Compassion and Empathy

In times like these, it’s easy to become focused on our own problems and our own families. These books will remind us to look outside of ourselves and feel compassion toward those who are also suffering.

In Anne Lamott’s short work of nonfiction, Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy, she refers to mercy as “radical kindness.” Lamott does her best to teach us how to forgive ourselves and others and create a better world along the way.

Toni Morrison’s debut novel, The Bluest Eye, is as tragic as it is beautiful. Morrison allows us to learn more about the struggles accompanying racial and class lines through the eyes of young girls. You are guaranteed to finish this novel with a renewed sense of compassion.

Books That Bring Us Hope

It’s important we remember that even in our darkest hours, there are reasons to remain hopeful. These books are guaranteed to refresh your feelings of hopefulness and even joy.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith follows an impoverished young girl through early 20th-century Brooklyn. Though her life is filled with setbacks, she, like the Tree of Heaven that continues to grow in spite of its hardened surroundings, does not lose hope.

Ross Gay’s The Book of Delights is a short piece comprised of the poet’s own “essayettes” about the things he finds delightful. This book will bring a smile to your face while teaching you how to find delight in even the smallest things.

Books That Give Practical Tips for Coping in a Crisis

Sometimes the best way to cope with a crisis is to confront it directly. These books don’t shy away from the subject of difficult times but, rather, embrace them and teach us how to grow from times of crisis.

The Obstacle Is the Way by Ryan Holiday renews the Roman philosophy of stoicism in a way that feels accessible—and necessary—in the modern day. He teaches us that it is not the obstacles in life that define us, but instead, it is the way we respond to them. Challenges are unavoidable, but we can learn to persevere in the face of hardship with the help of this book.

Brené Brown’s book, Rising Strong, starts from a place in which adversity has already occurred. Brown’s goal is not to teach us how to avoid failure or pain but how to get back up when these hard moments in our lives have overcome us. She covers painful human experiences from loss to shame and presents us with powerful coping mechanisms to push through any crisis.

Books That Increase Our Faith in Humanity

Due to social distancing and hard-to-stomach, 24-hour news stories, we may feel a little bit distant from others right now. Reading is a great way to reconnect with humanity as a whole and remind ourselves that when people do good things, they have a huge impact on the world.

If you haven’t picked up Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird since high school English class (or ever), now is the time to give this book a read. Set in 1930s rural Alabama, we follow young Scout’s awakening to the prejudices that harm the people around her. Fortunately for her and for us, her father, Atticus, provides a moral light that reminds us that we have the power to make a difference.

The Power of Kindness by Piero Ferrucci is a nonfiction work that will remind you that you have the power to make a difference. His work focuses on the positive transaction that occurs when one commits an act of kindness: It betters the world around them and fills their life with joy and tranquility. Ferrucci reminds us that making the world a better place isn’t as hard as we think.

Fill your shelves with uplifting books.

In times of high stress, it’s important to have a stack of uplifting books to reach for. We hope we’ve inspired you to employ some bibliotherapy and get to reading!

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