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Books for improving your mental health

By Kobo • January 23, 2024Big Ideas in Books

Whether you're presently suffering from anxiety or depression, stress from overthinking, or just trying to bring your best self to your relationships, we think there's a book here to help grow your understanding of psychology and take steps towards mental wellness.

In a perfect world, everyone would have a supportive family and community, a healthy and functional workplace, and a supportive therapist with low rates and wide-open availability.

But that's not the world we find ourselves in. Fortunately, there are many books that can help you understand your own mind and offer suggestions on how to handle—and hopefully heal—the parts giving you the most trouble.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone : A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by Lori Gottlieb 

Maybe you've considered therapy but were afraid to try or didn't know where to start. In this book, psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb gives readers an inside look at the world of a therapist and the patients she cares for. This memoir is an eye-opening, candid, and compassionate look at what the path to mental health can look like and the power we all have within us to transform our lives.

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The Body Keeps the Score : Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D. 

If you're dealing with trauma or PTSD, it can affect you in many different ways, causing anxiety, depression, overthinking, an inability to concentrate, and more. Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, one of  the world’s foremost experts on traumatic stress, shares what he's learned over three decades of working with survivors of traumatic experiences. This now-classic book shows readers how the mind is transformed by experiences of traumatic stress—and how it can be healed through treatments such as neurofeedback, mindfulness techniques, play, yoga, and more.

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The Collected Schizophrenias : Essays by Esmé Weijun Wang 

Sometimes the most helpful thing we can do for our own mental health is to reach for other people's stories so we can feel less alone. Esmé Weijun Wang's The Collected Schizophrenias is an honest and intimate look at the author's life as she struggles with chronic mental illness. Reading this essay collection helps bring a sense of empathy and humanness to mental health issues that are often swept under the rug.

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How to Do the Work : Recognize Your Patterns, Heal from Your Past, and Create Your Self by Dr. Nicole LePera 

Dr. Nicole LePera is a clinical psychologist who often found herself frustrated with the limitations of traditional psychotherapy. She wanted to create something better—something that empowered people by giving them the interdisciplinary tools necessary to heal themselves. In How to Do the Work, Dr. LePera shares what her professional experience has shown her to be effective in maintaining mental health and forging a path to self-healing.

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What Happened to You? : Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing by Oprah Winfrey and Bruce D. Perry 

Have you ever looked at your own thoughts and behaviours and asked yourself, "What is wrong with me?" In conversation with Oprah Winfrey, trauma psychologist Dr Bruce Perry challenges us to ask different questions. They discuss why trying to determine what's "wrong" with someone (or yourself) is largely unproductive—and why it's so important to get curious about a person's story (including your own) and ask what happened, allowing us to see people in the context of their unique experiences.

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Stop Overthinking: 23 Techniques to Relieve Stress, Stop Negative Spirals, Declutter Your Mind, and Focus on the Present by Nick Trenton

In this brief book, mental health writer Nick Trenton offers nearly 2 dozen techniques for helping readers break their thoughts out of a wearying loop of worry.

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First, We Make the Beast Beautiful : A New Journey Through Anxiety by Sarah Wilson 

Anxiety disorders are an extremely common mental health issue, affecting millions of individuals. Author, entrepreneur, and problem solver Sarah Wilson pulls from her own experiences with anxiety to offer solutions on how to lessen the pain of an anxious mind. She interviews from fellow sufferers, mental health experts, philosophers, and even the Dalai Lama to examine anxiety and its treatments to help those with anxiety feel encouraged and empowered.

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Photo by Jimmy Chang on Unsplash

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