My road toward wellness has been a long and twisted one. After my diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, I felt an urgent need to learn as much as I could about good nutrition and how to feed my body in order to feel my best. I devoured books about spirituality, seeking to find an emotional Nirvana to keep anxiety and stress at bay. I attended lectures by such world-renowned leaders as Dr. Andrew Weil and Bernie Siegel, looking for guidance in my quest to become a “whole” person. 

I wanted to make changes in my physical, spiritual and emotional being. No one’s quest for wellness is ever complete; we all strive to find ways to reduce stress, lose weight, erase wrinkles, feel socially connected, ignite our passions, and become more mindful.  

As we age we feel a new urgency to become our better selves.  When I was diagnosed in the Dark Ages before the Internet, the main means of communication was the telephone and snail mail. The neighborhood bookstore was the place to spend an afternoon, seeking out bestsellers from The New York Times Book Review or suggestions from the staff.  

That is where I spent a good deal of my time while my son was in school. Barnes and Noble was my go-to place to grab a cup of coffee and sit down to leaf through the books I was interested in buying. Those books became my guide, and today they are tethered with pages that are folded down, and contain important notes I scribbled on the inside covers. 

I thought I’d share three of my favorite titles with you, the ones I found to be enormously helpful at a time when I needed them most. They are timeless, and I am thankful to the authors for their existence. 

Spontaneous Healing: How to Discover and Embrace Your Body’s Natural Ability to Maintain and Heal Itself, by Dr. Andrew Weil: The mind and body are all connected, and we each have the power to work on healing ourselves through food, supplements, vitamins, herbs and by avoiding stress and toxins. NOTE: I don’t believe I can fully heal myself, but much of Dr. Weil’s advice worked well for me. 

Love, Medicine and Miracles: Lessons Learned About Self-Healing From a Surgeon’s Experience with Exceptional Patients, by Bernie Siegel, MD: Bernie Siegel makes medical care more understandable – more human – and in his book he teaches us that love can heal. If you read this book you will believe it, too. He has seen illness up close (and personal), and he shares stories of courage between doctors and patients. You can’t help but love this man. 

Pulling Your Own Strings, by Wayne Dyer: Learning to take charge of your life is important when you want to become your own health advocate. Wayne Dyer has become a multimillion-dollar author giving advice on how to stop being manipulated by others. This book helped me become more assertive not only about my own healthcare, but also in others areas of my life. I also enjoyed another one of his books, Your Erroneous Zones: Step-by-Step Advice for Escaping the Trap of Negative Thinking and Taking Control of Your Life. 

Read this next: How Yoga Can Help You Feel Better as You Age

Cathy Chester blogs at An Empowered Spirit, which won third prize in Healthline’s Best Health Blog Contest in 2014, was named #2 of the “Top 10 Social HealthMakers in MS” by Sharecare “ and received a nomination for the past 3 years as WEGO Health’s Best in Show Blog. She is a contributor for The Huffington Post as well as a blogger for and Boomeon. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Midlife Boulevard, BetterAfter50, Erma Bombecks’ Writers Circle, The Friendship Circle and Woman at Woodstock.