1. Cox, Sharon MSN, BSN

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The Gratitude Project: How the Science of Thankfulness Can Rewire Our Brains for Resilience, Optimism, and the Greater Good (Smith, et al., 2020)


Given the unprecedented levels of stress being experienced by healthcare workers and organizations, a trend is underway to use the principles of positive psychology and offer a more "appreciation-rich" work environment to offset the negativity, generalized weariness, and levels of grief that are commonplace with this pandemic. Invariably, the concept of expressing gratitude is a key component in this culture change effort, and we naively think we know about gratitude and the value of a well-placed word of thanks.


The Gratitude Project sheds new light on the expression of gratitude in ways you may never have imagined. The culmination of a collaboration by internationally known thought leaders, this book not only provides cutting-edge research into the neuroscience of gratitude, but also offers practical ways to foster gratitude on a personal, professional, and organizational level. Also covered are ways in which gratitude can backfire; parenting tips to foster gratitude; and why healthcare professionals should cultivate gratitude, including a case study. Readers come away with the "what, why, and how" of gratitude, which makes this book an invaluable resource for those who want substantive, sustainable ideas and believe in the transformative power of gratitude that becomes not just a feeling or action, but a way of living life as well.


Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle (Unlocking Us with Brene Brown, October 14, 2020:


In her inimitable style, Brene Brown interviews the authors of the bestselling self-help book, Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle, twin sisters Emily and Amelia Nagoski who write from their experience with burnout from divergent backgrounds in counseling and choral directing. With wit and pop culture examples, they provide an understanding of the beginning, middle, and end of an emotional cycle and the stress involved when we "get stuck in the middle of the cycle," resulting in emotional exhaustion, a lower sense of accomplishment, and depersonalization-the classic signs of burnout. Their discussion of the "human giver syndrome" and the perfect storm of parental burnout and stress on healthcare workers during the pandemic is timely. They offer unique insights backed by research and experience on a wide range of ways to better manage stress, all of which are suitable for next-day use.


Emily and Amelia Nagoski stress the need to care for each other, lean on each other, and pick each other up while also offering personal strategies that positively impact stress levels. Each strategy is research based, with practical examples, including the importance of physical activity, breathing exercises to down regulate the nervous system, positive social interaction, and a good belly laugh. They also highlight the value of a good cry, the need for hugs, and the usefulness of creative expression, especially in dealing with grief. Given the ways in which we see this pandemic wreaking havoc on our healthcare system, these evidence-based ideas couldn't come at a better time.


The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (Covey, 1989)


Having sold over 40 million copies, this book is a foundational resource for leaders who want to increase their personal effectiveness both at work and at home. Covey's ideas of staying proactive in the circle of influence, putting first things first, or seeking first to understand and then to be understood are timeless concepts that have found their way into our lexicon over the years. His guidance around the inside-out approach to leadership, the need to think win/win rather than we/they, and the importance of taking time to sharpen the saw are just as fitting now as they were 30 years ago. Much like Good to Great or The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is a leadership classic and a must-have for new leaders who want a framework to understand their role that will last a lifetime.