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3 Books to Help You Feel More Fulfilled in Life and at Work, According to a Happiness Scholar

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You may have heard the saying 'books are the window to the world,' as they open our minds to new settings and realities. But books can also be a window to ourselves, allowing us to discover what makes us happy and more productive.

For workplace wellness coach and happiness scholar, Dr. Kortni Alston, reading has been a fundamental tool in cultivating her mental and physical wellbeing, and it's helped her bring her best self into the workplace.

"Books have so many great resources that can really help individuals flourish," Alston shares with CNBC Make It. "They can encourage people to practice optimism, and can also serve in terms of people understanding the value and the impact of happiness."

With so many stress-inducing factors present in the world right now, from inflation to monkeypox and covid outbreaks, it's important for people to nurture their mental health and wellbeing.

Consider these three self-help books, recommended by Alston, to add to your reading list this summer:

'The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want'

By Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky

If you've ever asked yourself 'what is the true meaning of happiness?' or 'how can I sustain happiness in my life?' then this book may be for you.

'The How of Happiness' is a guide for understanding what happiness is, how to find happiness and how to stay happy. Lyubomirsky, a professor and social psychologist, along with two colleagues, did a "meta-analysis" of 225 studies to find the benefits of happiness. They found that happy people are more productive and creative at work, make more money, have more friends, have stronger immune systems and are more resilient to stress.

This book explores a scientific approach to happiness and details how genetics, life circumstances and intentional activities all play a role in one's personal fulfillment and wellbeing.

'Fierce Self-Compassion: How Women Can Harness Kindness To Speak Up, Claim Their Power, and Thrive'

By Dr. Kristin Neff

Practicing self-compassion and kindness is important to taking care of yourself — but it also plays a role in how you require others to treat you as well. 

Societal gender norms pressure women to be soft-spoken and gentle, but in this book, Neff encourages women to be powerful and self-motivated in several settings, from the workplace to personal relationships. Using her own, lived experience and years of research, Neff aims to help women lead happier, more successful lives. 

'Make Your Job A Calling: How the Psychology of Vocation Can Change Your Life at Work'

By Dr. Bryan Dik and Dr. Ryan Duffy

In this current digital age, people are constantly posting the highlights of their lives, and their jobs, to social media for everyone to see. Naturally, someone who lacks joy in their work could feel even more discouraged seeing someone else feel so fulfilled on the job — but it doesn't have to be that way.

Dik and Duffy believe that anyone can find happiness and meaning in their work, and in this book, they break down the meaning of what a "calling" is, and how to find out what yours may be. Complete with scientific research and specific guidelines, the book is a roadmap to true happiness in the workplace, and in life. 

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