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Reading is one of the best things you can do for your mental health. This is because of either increasing your knowledge about mental health and being more comfortable with the topic, or by finding someone you really relate to that makes you feel less alone.
I think that no matter what you’re currently going through, there’s a book for that. And everyone has their personal preference as to which books are best for them.
That’s why I put together this reading list based on different levels you may be at.
Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, self-love, being more mindful, or just need simple reminders that you’re doing just fine, this book list is for you.
Some of them teach you how to journal and meditate, others are fictional, but all of them provide inspiring and helpful ways you can start improving your mental health.
I will also update this list as time goes on, and feel free to let me know what other books you enjoy reading!
Radical Self Love by Gala Darling
If you are at a point where you don’t believe in yourself and aren’t sure what your purpose is, Radical Self Love walks you through this. Gala Darling talks about her previous experience with an eating disorder and struggling to fully accept herself. Now, she has written a book and travels all around the world teaching other women how to love themselves! She’s learned the best, most practical ways to focus on self-love so you can begin to live your best life.
Radical Self-Love: A Guide to Loving Yourself and Living Your Dreams
Let it Out by Katie Dalebout
If you’re interested in learning how to journal your way to self-discovery, Let it Out by Katie Dalebout will teach you how to do that. Discovering in her darkest hours that a journal is the greatest tool in finding your purpose, healing yourself, and creating the life you most desire, Katie has assembled the remarkable tools and insights that will elevate your life and get you “unstuck”—for good.
Let It Out: A Journey Through Journaling
I am definitely biased towards Brene Brown – especially Rising Strong – because it was what gave me hope during a moment of desperation in my life. I felt alone and scared and didn’t think anyone knew what I was going through. This book does and it just validates all of the crap that’s going on in your head. Brene Brown talks about getting into the arena and getting your ass kicked, and she’s right alongside you the whole time.
This is what one of the reviewers on Amazon had to say about it, which is 100% true about this book:
“Reading through Rising Strong gave me valuable techniques to draw on as I work through those experiences. It’s helped me work through some tough emotions and behavior patterns and provided me a way forward. I’d highly recommend this book to anyone dealing with some life changing struggles, who needs some guidance on how to move forward, but also to anyone who wants to improve how they work through difficult situations.”
Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
Just Listen is a fictional book by author Sarah Dessen. It’s a coming of age story that talks about a lot of relatable topics, like eating disorders and dealing with perfection.
One of the readers on Amazon says, “it deals with issues most people wish to ignore as too intense or unpleasant and I learned a lot from it. I found this novel a surprisingly enjoyable and rewarding read”
Give this one a read the next time you want to dive into the fictional world with a relatable feel.
Anxiety & Phobia Workbook
This workbook is absolutely full of worksheets and chapters on overcoming anxiety.
I always recommend this to anyone who struggles with anxiety, because it goes over everything that causes anxiety. It teaches you how to practically overcome it and how to identify your own triggers.
The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook is one of the most popular workbooks in mental health and many therapists recommend this to their patients.
The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook
The Grass Is Green Enough
A guided journal that walks you through complete acceptance. How often do you think “if only I had this, I’d be happy”? We as humans will always believe the grass is greener on the other side. But, no matter where you’re at in life you can learn to enjoy what you already have.
With inspiring quotes and affirmations, this guided journal walks you towards positivity and happiness with your own life.
Studio Oh! Guided Journal, The Grass is Green Enough Journal
Life Inside my Mind
Your favorite YA authors including Ellen Hopkins, Maureen Johnson, and more recount their own experiences with mental illness in this raw, real, and powerful collection of essays that explores everything from ADD to PTSD.
Have you ever felt like you just couldn’t get out of bed? Not the occasional morning, but every day? Do you find yourself listening to a voice in your head that says “you’re not good enough,” “not good looking enough,” “not thin enough,” or “not smart enough”? Have you ever found yourself unable to do homework or pay attention in class unless everything is “just so” on your desk? Everyone has had days like that, but what if you have them every day?
You’re not alone. Millions of people are going through similar things. However issues around mental health still tend to be treated as something shrouded in shame or discussed in whispers. It’s easier to have a broken bone–something tangible that can be “fixed”–than to have a mental illness, and easier to have a discussion about sex than it is to have one about mental health.
Life Inside My Mind: 31 Authors Share Their Personal Struggles
Nutrition Essentials for Mental Health
What you put into your body impacts your mental health.
From too much coffee or sugar, to eating foods high in sodium. These can all contribute to feelings of anxiety and/or depression.
The Nutrition Essentials for Mental Health talks about the food-mood connection and what nutrients are essential for optimum mental health. Learn how what you eat can improve your mood you can begin to feel better in your every day life.
Nutrition Essentials for Mental Health: A Complete Guide to the Food-Mood Connection
Adventures for your Soul
This book teaches you how to break out of old habits that aren’t serving you anymore.
Drawing from her own transformational experiences, Shannon Kaiser’s program utilizes an empowering process that encourages you to go on adventures for your soul so you can:
• Achieve your goals
• Remove limiting beliefs and self-sabotaging patterns
• Feel freedom from fear and live with purpose and passion
• Be unapologetic about your innermost desires
• And make happiness your natural way of life
Adventures for Your Soul: 21 Ways to Transform Your Habits and Reach Your Full Potential
Make it Happen
If you’re ready to stop letting fear hold you back and to change your life, Make it Happen is a great book to read.
Lara Casey talks all about how to live on purpose and awaken yourself.
- women who find themselves worried, anxious, and completely overwhelmed by the constant chase for perfection
- those seeking the courage to jump into a new venture
- working women who are struggling to “do it all”
- weary wives and moms looking for relief from burning the candle at both ends
- anyone who dreams of a life lived not by accident, but on purpose
Make it Happen: Surrender Your Fear. Take the Leap. Live On Purpose.
Meditations to Heal Your Life
Meditating does wonders for your mental health. And best-selling author, Louise Hay provides a meditation for any situation you are currently going through.
This book is so helpful when it comes to quieting the voices in your head and reducing anxiety.
If you’re looking for a book on meditating and feeling more at peace, give Meditations to Heal Your Life a try.
Meditations to Heal Your Life
You Can do All Things
Kate Allan is that author of You Can Do All Things. I found her through her popular instagram page dedicated to animal drawings that provide words of encouragement to anyone struggling with mental health.
I recommend following her on instagram and picking up her new book filled with affirmations and mindfulness techniques to help with anxiety & depression.
I LOVE this book because it’s light-hearted and is a good reminder to not feel ashamed of what you’re going through.
You Can Do All Things: Drawings, Affirmations and Mindfulness to Help With Anxiety and Depression
The Bell Jar
Last but definitely not least, the Bell Jar! I know this isn’t the happiest book for me to recommend, but I do think it is a great one. The Bell Jar is a beautiful book written by the late Sylvia Plath, who she herself struggled with mental illness.
This book gives you a real look into the perspective of someone truly dealing with mental health issues, and provides a dark humor to anyone who can relate.
I only recommend this book to those who aren’t deeply struggling with depression. Sometimes books like these can feed into your depression, making it worse. So only read this one if you feel ready to, where your world around you is stable and you feel good with how things are going. Read the books from above if you are going through a difficult time, and save the Bell Jar for a lighter period in your life.
The Bell Jar (Modern Classics)