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Last Updated on January 14, 2021

7 Science-Backed Books About Spirituality That Will Change Your Life

7 Science-Backed Books About Spirituality That Will Change Your Life

These days, it seems like there’s a new spirituality book that comes out almost every other day. The problem with some of these so-called “spirituality” books, is that they only make sense to the author… because more often than not, these types of books are filled to the brim with enough pseudo-science and psycho-babble to shoot a sci-fi film.

And if you’re reading this article, I’d venture to guess that you’re not looking for fictional books about spirituality. That said, today we’ll be outlining a powerful list of 7 science-backed books about spirituality that will (hopefully) help you make some positive strides in the spiritual department.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

#1. 10% Happier by Dan Harris

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science-backed spirituality books

    If you’re a skeptic by nature, then this is the book for you. 10% Happier was written by news anchor, Dan Harris. In the book, he chronicles his run-ins with over-the-top self-help gurus (like the quacks behind The Secret)—and cross-references their claims with science to determine whether they held up or not. Along the way, he uncovers the intersection of where science meets spirituality.

    #2. Waking Up by Sam Harris

    science-backed spirituality books

      Waking Up is a book that attempts to position itself as the guide to spirituality without religion. Written by a controversial atheist-neuroscientist named Sam Harris (no relation to the guy from the book above)—the author provides a nice mash up of personal storytelling to back up his heavy-hitting—science-backed—arguments about why spirituality isn’t something fluffy… but rather, when one seeks spirituality in the proper context (ex: practicing mindfulness), science has proven over and over that it has a dramatic improvement on the quality of an individual’s life.

      #3. Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

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      science-backed spirituality books

        My wife is a professional dancer and choreographer, and ever since the day I met her, she’s sworn up and down that she feels like she’s closest to her Creator when she immerses herself in the world of dance. To her, it doesn’t matter whether she’s performing on stage herself, or if she’s choreographing a number for her students… every time she’s doing something related to the art of dance, she ends up in this peak state of consciousness — where hours fly by like minutes, and everything is happening exactly the way it should be. This is known as flow. And anyone can cultivate it—including you—regardless of what you do for work. Get the book to learn how.

        #4. Real Magic by Dr. Wayne Dyer

        science-backed spirituality books

          You might be wondering how in the world it could make any logical sense at all to include a book titled Real Magic in an article about science-backed spirituality books. If I were you, I’d be asking questions, too. So here’s the deal with why this book made the list: it’s grounded with mountains of research that prove the efficacy of the ideas presented by the author, Dr. Dyer. Ideas about the power of meditation and mindfulness. And how much of an impact they can have on our overall well-being and happiness.

          #5. Uncovering Happiness by Elisha Goldstein

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          science-backed spirituality book

            Uncovering Happiness is a book about a more compassionate approach to dealing with the ever-expanding number of psychological ailments that pervade modern society… Depression and anxiety are at an all time high, and our doctors are behaving like legal drug dealers — trying to solve these psychological ailments with prescription after prescription, which of course, act as nothing more than short-term solutions for long-term problems. In this book, author Elisha Goldstein pulls back the curtain and helps us uncover our happiness — not with pills and prescriptions — but with self-compassion and mindfulness… and the best part? Dr. Goldstein’s got the scientific research to prove the efficacy of this treatment for long-term health, happiness, and wellbeing.

            #6. Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman

            science backed spirituality books

              Optimism plays an essential role in getting your spirituality game together. This is because optimism leads to happiness… think about it: how many angry + unhappy spiritual people do you know? Personally, I can’t really name any off the top of my head (and “religious” people don’t count). The reason behind this is because they’ve learned to cultivate optimism in their lives — which happens to be closely tied to faith—not religion—but faith. Learn more in Martin Seligman’s Learned Optimism — it’s crammed with nearly three decades of science-backed research on the power of optimism and the role it plays in developing happiness, meaning, and spirituality in our lives.

              #7. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

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              best science backed spirituality books

                Meditations is filled with Stoic wisdom that’s just as applicable to the world we live in today, as it was when it was when it was first written 1,800 years ago! The remarkable thing about the advice in this book, and the reason it shows up on this list, is because a vast portion of the spiritual principles that were practiced and written down so many centuries ago, have since been confirmed by science to be effective on our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Find out more by picking up a copy of this age-old text to see if you can bring a little old-school Stoic wisdom to the 21st century.

                Which book will you read first?

                Now that you’ve got this list of 7 science-backed books about spirituality — there’s only one question left… Which one do you read first? Should you go out and get all of them immediately? Should you read them all at once? Or should you take a lifetime to read them? So many options. So little time. Ultimately, it’s totally your decision what you do with this list and how you apply it to your life and career. But if I may, here’s what I would suggest you consider as you get started:

                • Subscribe to a book summary site, like FlashBooks to get the key-takeaways from the books on this list.
                • If you’d prefer to read an entire book, I would highly suggest that you read just ONE book at a time. Sometimes, when we see something new and exciting, we have tendency to want to do/learn/read it all at once… and as we all know, this is nearly impossible to do without stressing ourselves out. So, choose a book. And then commit to reading it from start to finish.
                • If you’re in a rush, try Audio books, or Audio summaries.
                • Finally, if you’re in a super rush, checkout some YouTube video book summaries, like this one.

                More by this author

                Dean Bokhari

                Author, Entrepreneur, Podcast & TV Host

                50 Self-Affirmations to Help You Stay Motivated Every Day Why You’re Not Interested in Anything And Have No Motivation How to Actually Make Your Goals Happen 7 Things That Cause a Lack of Motivation (And How to Fix Them) books about spirituality 7 Science-Backed Books About Spirituality That Will Change Your Life

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                Published on May 18, 2021

                How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

                How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

                We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

                The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

                Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

                Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

                Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

                There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

                Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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                Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

                We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

                Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

                A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

                The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

                Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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                Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

                Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

                Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

                While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

                Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

                These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

                Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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                Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

                Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

                Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

                Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

                Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

                Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

                As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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                This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

                Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

                Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

                These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

                Actions Speak Louder Than Words

                Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

                Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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                Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

                More Tips Improving Listening Skills

                Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

                Reference

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