How to Live: the best Apps and Books to make your life easier and happier
A selection of books and apps to keep you happy, healthy and in charge of your life
Peace of mind for the price of a coffee: Buddhify is well-designed and easy to use. This app that lets you choose among meditations tailored to how much time you have and what you’re doing.
The meditations on the app range from two minutes to almost a half hour, so they’re easy to squeeze into any spare moments, whether you're walking in the city or at your desk.
Mindfulness: A practical guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World
Anyone who thinks of mindfulness as wishy-washy new-age babble, think again.
Oxford professor Mark Williams has dedicated his academic career to exploring the psychology, and found that mindful living is as good a cure for stress and anxiety as any. Here, this 10-week, accessible and gentle programme helps soothe ragged minds in just 10 minutes per day.
You don't have to head to your local Buddhist centre for guided meditation: the Headspace app puts it all in your pocket. Dreamt up by a British Buddhist monk and beloved by the likes Emma Watson, this nifty app guides you through meditations to combat anxiety and stress through a series of videos.
We love this app. Trust us - it will change your life for the better.
Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and Their Parents)
There are some adults for whom meditation is too much - let alone children - but Sitting Still Like A Frog introduces the basics of mindful practice is a fun, accessible way. Arm your kids with the tools to keep the modern world at bay; it's never too early to learn!
Adult Colouring: Enchanted Forest
Who says it's just for kids? A new craze is sweeping the globe: the therapeutic act of colouring in. Your brain is engaged, but not occupied, when your colour a pattern; it's both satisfying and soothing.
We love Johanna Basford's gorgeous Enchanted Forest illustrations,but you can choose from thousands of volumes.
Happiness & Emotions
The Book of Human Emotions, Tiffany Watt Smith
Tiffany Watt Smith's Book of Human Emotions consists of 156 mini-essays, each exploring a word for how we feel. A wonderful reminder that there's more to human emotion than 'happy', 'sad', 'love' and 'hate'
Life Lessons from… Bergson, Byron, Freud, Hobbes, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, School of Life
Alain de Botton's School of Life is an institution dedicated to solving the problems of modern life with thought and culture. This latest range of books takes a philosopher each, digests their theory, and helps apply them as a balm to the annoyances and difficulties of living.
Presence, Amy Cuddy
Social psychologist Amy Cuddy is one of the most prominent cheerleaders for self-confidence. Her TED talk on body-language is one of the most-watched of all time.
Her latest book Presence is witty, sharp and warm: a must-read for anyone needing a little boost.
Nature Cure, Richard Mabey
Nature writer Richard Mabey's stunning memoir tracks his journey from a deep depression, back into the world, thanks to the healing properties of nature. This book is beloved by so many; its wonderful descriptions and love of land have made it a truly timeless ode to our world and the power of the human mind.
The Old Ways, Robert MacFarlane
In our modern world, with its screens, cars, Netflix, jumbo jets, it's easy to feel separated from the land in which we live. Robert MacFarlane's neo-Romantic The Old Ways urges us to reconnect with the natural world and its languages. A book to treasure.
(Pick up his new one, Landmarks, while you're at it. It's just as good.)
Brave Enough: A Mini Instruction Manual for the Soul
After a terrible break-up, Cheryl Strayed laced up her walking books and embarked on a 1,100 mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail, completely alone. She turned her experience into a wise and wonderful memoir Wild, and then a film, in which she was played by Reese Witherspoon. Brave Enough is an uplifting collection of Strayed's mantras, quotations and truths - like having your own personal guru in your handbag.
Big Magic : Creative Living Beyond Fear
Elizabeth Gilbert, the luminous, best-selling author of Eat, Pray, Love has helped women across the world overcome heartbreak and fear. Last year, she gives the world her latest book BIG MAGIC: Creative Living Beyond Fear: a bible for all those who feel creatively stifled.
The Artist's Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self
Julia Cameron's cult phenomenon The Artist's Way is a spiritual course designed to foster and harness creativity - but it's not just for blocked writers or disillusioned painters. Everyone can benefit from Cameron's gentle but effective course. We absolutely love this book, and turn to it time and again.
Organisation and Efficiency
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever
This international bestseller teaches you how to keep a beautiful, simple home, Japanese style. Tidying, according to Kondo, should be an intuitive and carefree activity, where anything that doesn't 'spark joy' in your home is thanked and sent on its merry way. Just buying it makes you feel more organised.
Remember the Milk App
This nifty app is like a To Do list on steroid: it allows you to keep track of your tasks, all in one place, from your computer or iPhone - meaning you'll never lose track again. A must-have for anyone with busy days.
Universal Password Manager
If you're like us, you have a million different password variations scattered across the World Wide Web, that make any online excursion quite the chore. This app allows you to store all online passwords in an encrypted database, accessible by just one password. Perfect.
Read our guide to where to play sport in London
Imagine a personal trainer, but less expensive. That's the service Endomundo provides: an easy and user-friendly way to track your runs, hikes cycles or whatever it is you do to get those endorphins raging. The CW team love this service - download it today and get started.
Sleep Talk Recorder
Ok, so this one is just quite fun really... You switch the app on at bedtime, and it records anything you say in the night. (It also records loud movements, so you can tell how much you were tossing and turning). Everyone sleeptalks, it turns out, and now there's a way to listen to all of it.
Runners: pay attention. Even the most qualified of joggers can benefit from the wisdom of the might Nike+. This app will help you track every aspect of your run, from distance and time to calories burned and heart rate. It even cheers you as you go along - who needs a trainer?
Running Like a Girl
Non-runners: pay even more attention. If you've gazed upon the determined twilit jogger, twinkling with noble perspiration, and felt only silent contempt: this is the book for you. Through tears and smiles you'll learn of Alexandra Heminsley's honest and inspiring journey from low to high, via the (mainly masculine) route of jogging for pleasure. Feminist, fun and full of feeling; this a surprising joy.