Experts say that our brain functions in one of two modes, input and output.
Output mode is when we are doing or making things, like when we are at work or cooking dinner for our family and friends. While we can enjoy those things, since our brain is actively producing, we are in output mode.
Input mode is when we are absorbing or replenishing ourselves, usually by doing things like reading books, or listening to something inspirational. In a perfect world, we'll have a balance of these two zones. But what tends to happen, especially if you're in a particularly giving occupation or you have children, you can spend all of your time pouring out and get depleted.
I always say you can't pour from an empty cup and there are few quicker ways to become unhappy, than to keep pushing when you're running on fumes. Ultimately we can develop negative thoughts when we spend too much time in output mode and we can become more positive people by spending more time in input mode.
Basically, you want to fill your proverbial tank so you you feel better. My favorite way to fill the tank is to grab a good book and read. So, in case your tank is running a little low, let me share a few of my recent favorites.
If you've got kids, work with kids or even want kids, reading about how to help them best feel loved is always a winner. Not only will you learn more about them, but at times you can even learn a little about yourself. It's especially helpful if you are struggling with a particularly challenging stage where you find yourself drained from constantly disciplining them, reconnecting with intention is a great way to release the tension.
Brene Brown's take on living an authentic life is nothing short of revolutionary. Boldly declaring that being vulnerable, while uncomfortable, is essential for human connection sheds a new light on leaning in to life. I have quoted and re-read her books many times and this is one of my favorites.
I am as big a fan of Malcolm Gladwell as I am New Edition, and that's saying a lot, so I could easily put any of his books on this list as tank fillers. He is the most amazing story teller who creates visual images with his words in a way that feels effortless yet completely intentional. This book, about the perks of being the underdog is a great read for teachers who are looking for a little inspiration or parents who are knee deep in the trenches. I love to listen to his books on audio devices and can easily get through a book in less than a week.
So, how is your tank? Consider that today and make a plan to pour into your own cup today!