By: Aliaa Elsherbini
For world mental health day, here are the 10 best books that take a deeper look into mental health and its different forms, how to manage them, understand them, deal with them, and unlock our fullest potentials. These are not one-fit all books or rule books that will work for everyone, but rather books wrote and researched by professionals to help us and everyone struggling or knows someone who is.
From guide books, self-care, memoirs to psychotherapy books, in this list there is something for everyone.
Remember This When You’re Sad – Maggy Van Eijk
Partly a self-care book and party a memoir, Remember This When You’re Sad tackles writer Van Eijk’s sufferings with mental-health issues with depth, honesty, and comfort. In 15 chapters, the book contains story-telling, advice about: depression, anxiety, and borderline personality disorder, all of which Van Eijk had suffered from. She makes sure no one feels alone reading this.
Presence – Amy Cuddy
This is not a soul searching book but rather a day-to-day read to help us unlock the power of “presence” where we stop worrying about the impressions we make on others and rather focus on within to tackle our everyday worries.
Social psychologist and Harvard Business School professor, Amy Cuddy, walks us through the research of body language, behavior, and mindset techniques to overcome stressful moments like a job interview, a deep conversation, or a big assignment. Learn how to flourish in stressful situations with Amy Cuddy.
How Not to Die – Michael Greger
It’s no surprise that what we eat affects not only our physical health but our mental health as well. Nutritionist Michael Greger M.D. reminds us of that in her book How Not To Die. Greger goes through the leading causes of death and the foods to eat to prevent them as well as the superfoods that we should all eat every day. Discover the foods scientifically proven to prevent and reverse disease.
Rising Strong – Brené Brown
The New York Times Bestseller, Rising Strong, revolves around the ability to resource oneself after a setback, a topic that is relatable to everyone walking the earth. Ph.D. Brené Brown did her research by talking to people from all fields like business leaders, parents, and artists to teach us how to reset when faced with failure or drawbacks, and how to transform the way we live, love, parent, and lead. This book should be on everyone’s read list.
Reasons to Stay Alive – Matt Haig
This is a memoir about hope. Matt Haig inspires in his 2016 Reasons to Stay Alive as he recounts his life with depression and his igniting triumph over it. For everyone in a dark place feeling like there is no light at the end of the tunnel, this book is for you to remind you of the reasons to stay alive.
The Invisible Lion: Flatpack Instructions for Life – Benjamin Fry
Something is missing in your life. So, you go to a store and buy what you need. You get the flat packed furniture home, open it up and spread the pieces out on the floor. But there are no instructions. You have everything you need. It’s there on the floor.
The Happiness Trap – Russ Harris
The Happiness Trap explores “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy” (ACT), a type of psychotherapy that helps manage mental health conditions like depression and anxiety by learning to accept our current circumstances rather than focusing on the pursuit of “happiness.” Russ Harris teaches us to be mindful by using ACT strategies to adopt a certain mindset and start living. It’s worth a read.
(Don’t) Call Me Crazy – Kelly Jensen
A quick and powerful read of 33 people that start the conversation about mental health and its stigmatization with words like “crazy”. Kelly Jensen explores the social aspect of mental health, how we deal and talk about it, and how to understand it better and break free from biases that were rooted in society from a long time ago. You are not crazy nor abnormal so read this book to break the stigma.
The Courage to Be Disliked – Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga
The Japanese phenomenon substantially reveals the process of personal acceptance (which the authors themselves state that it can take years to achieve) to liberate our true selves from people’s expectations and opinions. Read for a journey of self-forgiveness, acceptance, and happiness.
Take a Moment: Activities to Refocus, Recentre and Relax Wherever You Are – Mind and Michael O’Mara
This book serves as a self-care guide to managing anxious feelings and negativity wherever you are. Small and easily carried around, Take A Moment offers breathing techniques, stretching routines, exercises, and creative activity to help you refocus and take a moment for yourself and your mind. If you prefer self-care guides, this book is specially curated for you.
Honorary Mentions to Some Powerful Books:
The Noonday Demon – Andrew Solomon (Understand depression in a personal, cultural and scientific framework)
Your Happiness Toolkit – Carrie M. Wrigley LCSW (Understand “what feeds or fights depression” to help yourself and those suffering around you)
Anxiety Relief for Teens – Regine Galanti (Full of exercises, quizzes, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy skills to tackle anxiety in teens)
The Assertiveness Workbook – Randy J. Paterson (Learn how to assert your boundaries, stand up for yourself, express your ideas and needs at work as well as in personal relationships)
The Miracle Morning – Hal Elrod (Reveals his morning ritual to lead a happier and more productive life)
Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation – Daniel J. Siegel (from the man who coined the term “mindsight”)