Book Recommendations

Mental Health

Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life: The New Acceptance and Commitment Therapy By Steven Hayes and Spencer Smith

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a new, scientifically based psychotherapy that takes a fresh look at why we suffer and even what it means to be mentally healthy. What if pain were a normal, unavoidable part of the human condition, but avoiding or trying to control painful experience were the cause of suffering and long-term problems that can devastate your quality of life? The ACT process hinges on this distinction between pain and suffering. As you work through this book, you’ll learn to let go of your struggle against pain, assess your values, and then commit to acting in ways that further those values. ACT is not about fighting your pain; it’s about developing a willingness to embrace every experience life has to offer. It’s not about resisting your emotions; it’s about feeling them completely and yet not turning your choices over to them. ACT offers you a path out of suffering by helping you choose to live your life based on what matters to you most. If you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, or problem anger, this book can help―clinical trials suggest that ACT is very effective for a whole range of psychological problems. But this is more than a self-help book for a specific complaint―it is a revolutionary approach to living a richer and more rewarding life.

Mind Over Mood, Second Edition: Change How You Feel by Changing the Way You Think by Dennis Greenberger , Christine A. Padesky , et al.

Discover simple yet powerful steps you can take to overcome emotional distress–and feel happier, calmer, and more confident. This life-changing book has already helped more than 1,200,000 readers use cognitive-behavioral therapy–one of today’s most effective forms of psychotherapy–to conquer depression, anxiety, panic attacks, anger, guilt, shame, low self-esteem, eating disorders, substance abuse, and relationship problems. Revised and expanded to reflect significant scientific developments of the past 20 years, the second edition contains numerous new features: expanded content on anxiety; chapters on setting personal goals and maintaining progress; happiness rating scales; gratitude journals; innovative exercises focused on mindfulness, acceptance, and forgiveness; 25 new worksheets; and much more.

The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health: Navigate an Unequal System, Learn Tools for Emotional Wellness, and Get the Help you Deserve by Rheeda Walker PhD and Na’im Akbar PhD

We can’t deny it any longer: there is a Black mental health crisis in our world today. Black people die at disproportionately high rates due to chronic illness, suffer from poverty, under-education, and the effects of racism. This book is an exploration of Black mental health in today’s world, the forces that have undermined mental health progress for African Americans, and what needs to happen for African Americans to heal psychological distress, find community, and undo years of stigma and marginalization in order to access effective mental health care. In The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health, psychologist and African American mental health expert Rheeda Walker offers important information on the mental health crisis in the Black community, how to combat stigma, spot potential mental illness, how to practice emotional wellness, and how to get the best care possible in system steeped in racial bias.

Trauma

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

Trauma is a fact of life. Veterans and their families deal with the painful aftermath of combat; one in five Americans has been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence. Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, one of the world’s foremost experts on trauma, has spent over three decades working with survivors. In The Body Keeps the Score, he uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust. He explores innovative treatments—from neurofeedback and meditation to sports, drama, and yoga—that offer new paths to recovery by activating the brain’s natural neuroplasticity. Based on Dr. van der Kolk’s own research and that of other leading specialists, The Body Keeps the Score exposes the tremendous power of our relationships both to hurt and to heal—and offers new hope for reclaiming lives.

Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence–From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror by Judith Lewis Herman

Trauma and Recovery is revered as the seminal text on understanding trauma survivors. By placing individual experience in a broader political frame, Harvard psychiatrist Judith Herman argues that psychological trauma is inseparable from its social and political context. Drawing on her own research on incest, as well as a vast literature on combat veterans and victims of political terror, she shows surprising parallels between private horrors like child abuse and public horrors like war. Hailed by the New York Times as “one of the most important psychiatry works to be published since Freud,” Trauma and Recovery is essential reading for anyone who seeks to understand how we heal and are healed.

The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse By Ellen Bass and Laura Davis

The Courage to Heal is an inspiring, comprehensive guide that offers hope and a map of the healing journey to every woman who was sexually abused as a child—and to those who care about her. Although the effects of child sexual abuse are long-term and severe, healing is possible. Weaving together personal experience with professional knowledge, the authors provide clear explanations, practical suggestions, and support throughout the healing process. Readers will feel recognized and encouraged by hundreds of moving first-person stories drawn from interviews and the authors’ extensive work with survivors, both nationally and internationally.

Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma By Peter Levine and contributions by Ann Frederick

Waking the Tiger offers a new and hopeful vision of trauma. It views the human animal as a unique being, endowed with an instinctual capacity. It asks and answers an intriguing question: why are animals in the wild, though threatened routinely, rarely traumatized? By understanding the dynamics that make wild animals virtually immune to traumatic symptoms, the mystery of human trauma is revealed. Waking the Tiger normalizes the symptoms of trauma and the steps needed to heal them. People are often traumatized by seemingly ordinary experiences. The reader is taken on a guided tour of the subtle, yet powerful impulses that govern our responses to overwhelming life events. To do this, it employs a series of exercises that help us focus on bodily sensations. Through heightened awareness of these sensations trauma can be healed.

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

Our earliest experiences shape our lives far down the road, and What Happened to You? provides powerful scientific and emotional insights into the behavioral patterns so many of us struggle to understand. This book is going to change the way you see your life. Here, Winfrey shares stories from her own past, understanding through experience the vulnerability that comes from facing trauma and adversity at a young age. In conversation throughout the book, she and Dr. Perry focus on understanding people, behavior, and ourselves. It’s a subtle but profound shift in our approach to trauma, and it’s one that allows us to understand our pasts in order to clear a path to our future―opening the door to resilience and healing in a proven, powerful way.

It Didn’t Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle By Mark Wolynn

A groundbreaking approach to transforming traumatic legacies passed down in families over generations, by an acclaimed expert in the field. As a pioneer in the field of inherited family trauma, Mark Wolynn has worked with individuals and groups on a therapeutic level for over twenty years. It Didn’t Start with You offers a pragmatic and prescriptive guide to his method, the Core Language Approach. Diagnostic self-inventories provide a way to uncover the fears and anxieties conveyed through everyday words, behaviors, and physical symptoms. Techniques for developing a genogram or extended family tree create a map of experiences going back through the generations. And visualization, active imagination, and direct dialogue create pathways to reconnection, integration, and reclaiming life and health. It Didn’t Start With You is a transformative approach to resolving longstanding difficulties that in many cases, traditional therapy, drugs, or other interventions have not had the capacity to touch.

My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem 

In this groundbreaking book, therapist Resmaa Menakem examines the damage caused by racism in America from the perspective of trauma and body-centered psychology. The body is where our instincts reside and where we fight, flee, or freeze, and it endures the trauma inflicted by the ills that plague society. Menakem argues this destruction will continue until Americans learn to heal the generational anguish of white supremacy, which is deeply embedded in all our bodies. Our collective agony doesn’t just affect African Americans. White Americans suffer their own secondary trauma as well. So do blue Americans – our police. My Grandmother’s Hands is a call to action for all of us to recognize that racism is not only about the head but about the body, and introduces an alternative view of what we can do to grow beyond our entrenched racialized divide. Paves the way for a new body-centered understanding of white supremacy – how it is literally in our blood and our nervous system. Offers a step-by-step healing process based on the latest neuroscience and somatic healing methods, in addition to incisive social commentary.

Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of Your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR Therapy By Francine Shapiro

A totally accessible user’s guide from the creator of a scientifically proven form of psychotherapy that has successfully treated millions of people worldwide. Whether we’ve experienced small setbacks or major traumas, we are all influenced by memories and experiences we may not remember or don’t fully understand. Getting Past Your Past offers practical procedures that demystify the human condition and empower readers looking to achieve real change. Shapiro, the creator of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), explains how our personalities develop and why we become trapped into feeling, believing and acting in ways that don’t serve us. Through detailed examples and exercises readers will learn to understand themselves, and why the people in their lives act the way they do. Most importantly, readers will also learn techniques to improve their relationships, break through emotional barriers, overcome limitations and excel in ways taught to Olympic athletes, successful executives and performers.

It Will Never Happen to Me: Growing Up with Addiction as Youngsters, Adolescents, and Adults By Claudia Black

In an all too familiar scenario, played out in millions of homes every day, children who grow up in addictive families abide by certain rules: don’t talk, don’t trust, don’t feel. The rigid survival roles and youthful coping behaviors they take on, such as the responsible child, the adjuster, the placater, and the acting-out child can eventually contribute to problems of depression, loneliness, and addiction in adulthood. Using poignant personal stories, thoughtful explanations, and helpful exercises, Black helps readers gain personal insights and develop new skills that lead to a healthier, happier, more fulfilling life. While continuing to recognize alcohol as the primary addiction within families, this newly revised edition of It Will Never Happen to Me, which has sold more than two million copies, broadens concepts to include addictive disorders involving other drugs, money, food, sex, and work.

Anxiety

The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne 

Living with anxiety, panic disorders, or phobias can make you feel like you aren’t in control of your life. Tackle the fears that hold you back with this go-to guide. Packed with the most effective skills for assessing and treating anxiety, this evidence-based workbook contains the latest clinical research. You’ll find an arsenal of tools for quieting worry, ending negative self-talk, and taking charge of your anxious thoughts, including: Relaxation and breathing techniques, new research on exposure therapy for phobias, lifestyle, exercise, mindfulness and nutrition tips. Written by a leading expert in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), this fully revised and updated seventh edition offers powerful, step-by-step treatment strategies for panic disorders, agoraphobia, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), worry, and fear. You will also find new information on relapse prevention after successful treatment, and updates on medication, cannabis derivatives, ketamine, exposure, nutrition, spirituality, the latest research in neurobiology, and more.

The Anxiety and Worry Workbook: The Cognitive Behavioral Solution by David A. Clark and Aaron T. Beck

If you’re seeking lasting relief from out-of-control anxiety, this is the book for you. It is grounded in cognitive behavior therapy, the proven treatment approach developed and tested over more than 25 years by pioneering clinician-researcher Aaron T. Beck. Now Dr. Beck and fellow cognitive therapy expert David A. Clark put the tools and techniques of cognitive behavior therapy at your fingertips in this compassionate guide. Carefully crafted worksheets (you can download and print additional copies as needed), exercises, and examples reflect the authors’ decades of experience helping people just like you. Learn practical strategies for identifying your anxiety triggers, challenging the thoughts and beliefs that lead to distress, safely facing the situations you fear, and truly loosening anxiety’s grip–one manageable step at a time.

DBT Workbook for Adults: Develop Emotional Wellbeing with Practical Exercises for Managing Fear, Stress, Worry, Anxiety, Panic Attacks and Intrusive Thoughts (Includes 12-Week Plan) By Barrett Huang

Combining a wealth of practical exercises with an actionable, authentic, and heartfelt blueprint for inspiring personal change, this Dialectal Behavior Therapy workbook for adults seeks to shine an illuminating light on the topic of DBT, empowering readers everywhere to overcome whatever struggles they’re facing. Drawing on the author’s extensive personal experiences dealing with anxiety and OCD, you’ll find the best methods for managing feelings of stress and worry – along with a safe, honest, and open place to explore your anxiety and work towards creating positive change. If you suffer from frequent anxiety, intrusive thoughts, ADHD, or OCD, the powerful exercises in this workbook are built on scientifically proven DBT skills and the latest psychological insights, arming you with a highly effective roadmap for managing your anxiety-related challenges and cultivating a happier, more mindful, and emotionally stable life. Plus, with a comprehensive 12-week workbook that’s packed with exercises, prompts, and worksheets to confront your symptoms and work through your unique challenges, the DBT Workbook for Adults will empower readers from all walks of life to embrace DBT and discover the life-changing results for themselves.

Depression

The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness 

by Mark WilliamsJohn TeasdaleZindel Segal, and Jon Kabat-Zinn

If you’ve ever struggled with depression, take heart. Mindfulness, a simple yet powerful way of paying attention to your most difficult emotions and life experiences, can help you break the cycle of chronic unhappiness once and for all. In The Mindful Way through Depression, four uniquely qualified experts explain why our usual attempts to “think” our way out of a bad mood or just “snap out of it” lead us deeper into the downward spiral. Through insightful lessons drawn from both Eastern meditative traditions and cognitive therapy, they demonstrate how to sidestep the mental habits that lead to despair, including rumination and self-blame, so you can face life’s challenges with greater resilience. Jon Kabat-Zinn gently and encouragingly narrates the accompanying CD of guided meditations, making this a complete package for anyone seeking to regain a sense of hope and well-being.


Feeling Better: Beat Depression and Improve Your Relationships with Interpersonal Psychotherapy

by Cindy Stulberg and Ronald Frey

When it comes to treatment for depression, we have been getting it all wrong. Instead of focusing on just the biochemistry, we need to focus on the importance of relationships. Feeling Better offers a step-by-step guide using a research-proven approach called interpersonal psychotherapy, or IPT, which can help you deal with the issues that may be contributing to your unhappiness. Therapists Cindy Stulberg and Ron Frey have used IPT with clients for more than twenty years and achieved dramatic, lasting results after only eight to twelve weeks. They have now created this accessible, first-of-its kind guide. Feeling Better teaches skills and tools that will allow you to set and achieve goals, articulate feelings, and make constructive decisions. You’ll learn to identify and engage with allies and supporters, deal with difficult people, and, if need be, walk away from harmful relationships. Cindy and Ron have taught clients — diagnosed with depression or not — to use these skills in virtually every life situation, from preventing divorce to “consciously uncoupling,” raising healthy children, coping with loss, and dealing with addiction. Writing with wisdom, warmth, and humor, they are savvy coaches and inspiring cheerleaders who can offer a lifeline to the depressed and life enrichment to anyone.

Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy

by David D. Burns 

From renowned psychiatrist Dr. David D. Burns, the revolutionary volume that popularized Dr. Aaron T. Beck’s cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and has helped millions combat feelings of depression and develop greater self-esteem. Anxiety and depression are the most common mental illnesses in the world, affecting 18% of the U.S. population every year. But for many, the path to recovery seems daunting, endless, or completely out of reach. The good news is that anxiety, guilt, pessimism, procrastination, low self-esteem, and other “black holes” of depression can be alleviated. In Feeling Good, eminent psychiatrist, David D. Burns, M.D., outlines the remarkable, scientifically proven techniques that will immediately lift your spirits and help you develop a positive outlook on life.

Eating Disorders

Skills-based Caring for a Loved One with an Eating Disorder: The New Maudsley Method

by Janet TreasureGráinne SmithAnna Crane 

Skills-based Caring equips carers with the skills and knowledge needed to support those suffering from an eating disorder, and to help them to break free from the traps that prevent recovery. Through a coordinated approach, it offers detailed techniques and strategies, which aim to improve professionals’ and carers’ ability to build continuity of support for their loved ones. Using evidence-based research and personal experience, the authors advise the reader on a number of difficult areas in caring for someone with an eating disorder. This new and updated edition is essential reading for both professionals and families involved in the care and support of anyone with an eating disorder.

The DBT Solution for Emotional Eating: A Proven Program to Break the Cycle of Bingeing and Out-of-Control Eating

by Debra L. Safer, Sarah Adler, et al

Eating can be a source of great pleasure–or deep distress. If you’ve picked up this book, chances are you’re looking for tools to transform your relationship with food. Grounded in dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), this motivating guide offers a powerful pathway to change. Drs. Debra L. Safer, Sarah Adler, and Philip C. Masson have translated their proven, state-of-the-art treatment into a compassionate self-help resource for anyone struggling with bingeing and other types of “stress eating.” You will learn to: Identify your emotional triggers, cope with painful or uncomfortable feelings in new and healthier ways, gain awareness of urges and cravings without acting on them, break free from self-judgment and other traps, practice specially tailored mindfulness techniques, make meaningful behavior changes, one doable step at a time. Vivid examples and stories help you build each DBT skill. Carefully crafted practical tools (you can download and print additional copies as needed) let you track your progress and fit the program to your own needs. Finally, freedom from out-of-control eating–and a happier future–are in sight.

The Intuitive Eating Workbook: Ten Principles for Nourishing a Healthy Relationship with Food

by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch

The Intuitive Eating Workbook offers a new way of looking at food and mealtime by showing you how to recognize your body’s natural hunger signals. Structured around the ten principles of intuitive eating, the mindful approach in this workbook encourages you to abandon unhealthy weight control behaviors, develop positive body image, and—most importantly—stop feeling distressed around food! You were born with all the wisdom you need for eating intuitively. This book will help you reconnect with that wisdom and ultimately change your life—one meal at a time.

Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight 

By Linda Bacon

Fat isn’t the problem. Dieting is the problem. A society that rejects anyone whose body shape or size doesn’t match an impossible ideal is the problem. A medical establishment that equates “thin” with “healthy” is the problem. The solution? Health at Every Size. Tune in to your body’s expert guidance. Find the joy in movement. Eat what you want, when you want, choosing pleasurable foods that help you to feel good. You too can feel great in your body right now—and Health at Every Size will show you how. Health at Every Size has been scientifically proven to boost health and self-esteem. The program was evaluated in a government-funded academic study, its data published in well-respected scientific journals. Updated with the latest scientific research and even more powerful messages, Health at Every Size is not a diet book, and after reading it, you will be convinced the best way to win the war against fat is to give up the fight.

Communication

The Power of a Positive No: Save The Deal Save The Relationship and Still Say No

by William Ury 

No is perhaps the most important and certainly the most powerful word in the language. Every day we find ourselves in situations where we need to say No–to people at work, at home, and in our communities–because No is the word we must use to protect ourselves and to stand up for everything and everyone that matters to us. But as we all know, the wrong No can also destroy what we most value by alienating and angering people. That’s why saying No the right way is crucial. The secret to saying No without destroying relationships lies in the art of the Positive No, a proven technique that anyone can learn. This indispensable book gives you a simple three-step method for saying a Positive No. It will show you how to assert and defend your key interests; how to make your No firm and strong; how to resist the other side’s aggression and manipulation; and how to do all this while still getting to Yes. In the end, the Positive No will help you get not just to any Yes but to the right Yes, the one that truly serves your interests.

The Assertiveness Workbook: How to Express Your Ideas and Stand Up for Yourself at Work and in Relationships

by Randy J. Paterson 

Effective communication is a critical skill that influences your professional success, the stability of your family life, and your personal happiness. Your ability to communicate effectively is seriously hampered if you can’t assert yourself constructively. If you’ve ever felt paralyzed by an imposing individual or strongly argued opposing point of view, you know that a lack of assertiveness can leave you feeling marginalized and powerless. The Assertiveness Workbook contains effective, cognitive behavioral techniques to help you become more assertive. Learn how to set and maintain personal boundaries without becoming inaccessible. Become more genuine and open in relationships without fearing attack. Defend yourself when you are criticized or asked to submit to unreasonable requests.

Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help YouFind – and Keep – Love

by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller 

We already rely on science to tell us what to eat, when to exercise, and how long to sleep. Why not use science to help us improve our relationships? In this revolutionary book, psychiatrist and neuroscientist Dr. Amir Levine and Rachel Heller scientifically explain why why some people seem to navigate relationships effortlessly, while others struggle. Discover how an understanding of adult attachment—the most advanced relationship science in existence today—can help us find and sustain love. Pioneered by psychologist John Bowlby in the 1950s, the field of attachment posits that each of us behaves in relationships in one of three distinct ways: Anxious people are often preoccupied with their relationships and tend to worry about their partner’s ability to love them back. Avoidant people equate intimacy with a loss of independence and constantly try to minimize closeness. Secure people feel comfortable with intimacy and are usually warm and loving. Attached guides readers in determining what attachment style they and their mate (or potential mate) follow, offering a road map for building stronger, more fulfilling connections with the people they love.

Self-Care

How to Break Up with Your Phone: The 30-Day Plan to Take Back Your Life

by Catherine Price

Is your phone the first thing you reach for in the morning and the last thing you touch before bed? Do you frequently pick it up “just to check,” only to look up forty-five minutes later wondering where the time has gone? Do you say you want to spend less time on your phone—but have no idea how to do so without giving it up completely? If so, this book is your solution. Award-winning journalist Catherine Price presents a practical, hands-on plan to break up—and then make up—with your phone. The goal? A long-term relationship that actually feels good. You’ll discover how phones and apps are designed to be addictive, and learn how the time we spend on them damages our abilities to focus, think deeply, and form new memories. You’ll then make customized changes to your settings, apps, environment, and mindset that will ultimately enable you to take back control of your life.

The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook: A Proven Way to Accept Yourself, Build Inner Strength, and Thrive

by Kristin Neff  (Author), Christopher Germer 

Are you kinder to others than you are to yourself? More than a thousand research studies show the benefits of being a supportive friend to yourself, especially in times of need. This science-based workbook offers a step-by-step approach to breaking free of harsh self-judgments and impossible standards in order to cultivate emotional well-being. In a convenient large-size format, the book is based on the authors’ groundbreaking eight-week Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) program, which has helped tens of thousands of people worldwide. It is packed with guided meditations (with audio downloads); informal practices to do anytime, anywhere; exercises; and vivid stories of people using the techniques to address relationship stress, weight and body image issues, health concerns, anxiety, and other common problems. The seeds of self-compassion already lie within you–learn how you can uncover this powerful inner resource and transform your life.

A Year of Self-Care: Daily Practices and Inspiration for Caring for Yourself (A Year of Daily Reflections) 

By Dr. Zoe Shaw

Gain a more positive outlook and improve your overall sense of well-being with this supportive and inspiring guided journal. A Year of Self-Care will lead you through 365 simple, thought-provoking exercises created to help you stay committed to self-care. You’ll spend a year focusing on positive thinking and self-love with: Bite-sized self-care tips―You don’t need a huge time commitment to start living a healthier life. These 15-minute motivational exercises make it easy to stick to a routine no matter how busy you are. That’s 91 hours of self-care over the course of a year! Supportive Strategies―Research-backed exercises include writing down what gives you gratitude, nourishing your heart and soul by creating a playlist of music that touches you, and more. Daily practice―After practicing self-care every day for a year, you’ll be empowered with the knowledge and tools to continue the journey on your own. Jump-start your self-care practice and feel stronger, happier, and healthier with A Year of Self-Care.

Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle

by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski

This groundbreaking book explains why women experience burnout differently than men—and provides a simple, science-based plan to help women minimize stress, manage emotions, and live a more joyful life.Burnout. Many women in America have experienced it. What’s expected of women and what it’s really like to be a woman in today’s world are two very different things—and women exhaust themselves trying to close the gap between them. How can you “love your body” when every magazine cover has ten diet tips for becoming “your best self”? How do you “lean in” at work when you’re already operating at 110 percent and aren’t recognized for it? How can you live happily and healthily in a sexist world that is constantly telling you you’re too fat, too needy, too noisy, and too selfish? Sisters Emily Nagoski, PhD, and Amelia Nagoski, DMA, are here to help end the cycle of feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Instead of asking us to ignore the very real obstacles and societal pressures that stand between women and well-being, they explain with compassion and optimism what we’re up against—and show us how to fight back.

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are 

by Brené Brown

A motivational and inspiring guide to wholehearted living, rather than just the average self-help book, with this groundbreaking work Brené Brown, Ph.D., bolsters the self-esteem and personal development process through her characteristic heartfelt, honest storytelling. With original research and plenty of encouragement, she explores the psychology of releasing our definitions of an “imperfect” life and embracing living authentically. Brown’s “ten guideposts”  are benchmarks for authenticity that can help anyone establish a practice for a life of honest beauty—a perfectly imperfect life. Now more than ever, we all need to cultivate feelings of self-worth, as well as acceptance and love for ourselves. In a world where insults, criticisms, and fears are spread too generously alongside messages of unrealistic beauty, attainment, and expectation, we look for ways to “dig deep” and find truth and gratitude in our lives. A new way forward means we can’t hold on too tightly to our own self-defeating thoughts or the displaced pain in our world. Instead, we can embrace the imperfection.

Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

by Brené Brown

Walking into our stories of hurt can feel dangerous. But the process of regaining our footing in the midst of struggle is where our courage is tested and our values are forged. Our stories of struggle can be big ones, like the loss of a job or the end of a relationship, or smaller ones, like a conflict with a friend or colleague. Regardless of magnitude or circumstance, the rising strong process is the same: We reckon with our emotions and get curious about what we’re feeling; we rumble with our stories until we get to a place of truth; and we live this process, every day, until it becomes a practice and creates nothing short of a revolution in our lives. Rising strong after a fall is how we cultivate wholeheartedness. It’s the process, Brown writes, that teaches us the most about who we are.

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
by Brené Brown

Daring Greatly is not about winning or losing. It’s about courage. In a world where “never enough” dominates and feeling afraid has become second nature, vulnerability is subversive. Uncomfortable. It’s even a little dangerous at times. And, without question, putting ourselves out there means there’s a far greater risk of getting criticized or feeling hurt. But when we step back and examine our lives, we will find that nothing is as uncomfortable, dangerous, and hurtful as standing on the outside of our lives looking in and wondering what it would be like if we had the courage to step into the arena—whether it’s a new relationship, an important meeting, the creative process, or a difficult family conversation. Daring Greatly is a practice and a powerful new vision for letting ourselves be seen.

Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience
by Brené Brown
In Atlas of the Heart, Brown takes us on a journey through eighty-seven of the emotions and experiences that define what it means to be human. As she maps the necessary skills and an actionable framework for meaningful connection, she gives us the language and tools to access a universe of new choices and second chances—a universe where we can share and steward the stories of our bravest and most heartbreaking moments with one another in a way that builds connection. Over the past two decades, Brown’s extensive research into the experiences that make us who we are has shaped the cultural conversation and helped define what it means to be courageous with our lives. Atlas of the Heart draws on this research, as well as on Brown’s singular skills as a storyteller, to show us how accurately naming an experience doesn’t give the experience more power—it gives us the power of understanding, meaning, and choice. Brown shares, “I want this book to be an atlas for all of us, because I believe that, with an adventurous heart and the right maps, we can travel anywhere and never fear losing ourselves.”

The Body Is Not an Apology, Second Edition: The Power of Radical Self-Love

by Sonya Renee Taylor

The Body Is Not an Apology offers radical self-love as the balm to heal the wounds inflicted by these violent systems. World-renowned activist and poet Sonya Renee Taylor invites us to reconnect with the radical origins of our minds and bodies and celebrate our collective, enduring strength. As we awaken to our own indoctrinated body shame, we feel inspired to awaken others and to interrupt the systems that perpetuate body shame and oppression against all bodies. When we act from this truth on a global scale, we usher in the transformative opportunity of radical self-love, which is the opportunity for a more just, equitable, and compassionate world–for us all. Together with the accompanying workbook, Your Body Is Not an Apology, Taylor brings the practice of radical self-love to life.

Marriage/ Relationships

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert

by John Gottman PhD and Nan Silver 

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work has revolutionized the way we understand, repair, and strengthen marriages. John Gottman’s unprecedented study of couples over a period of years has allowed him to observe the habits that can make—and break—a marriage. Here is the culmination of that work: the seven principles that guide couples on a path toward a harmonious and long-lasting relationship. Straightforward yet profound, these principles teach partners new approaches for resolving conflicts, creating new common ground, and achieving greater levels of intimacy. Gottman offers strategies and resources to help couples collaborate more effectively to resolve any problem, whether dealing with issues related to sex, money, religion, work, family, or anything else. Packed with new exercises and the latest research out of the esteemed Gottman Institute, this revised edition of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work is the definitive guide for anyone who wants their relationship to attain its highest potential.

Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples

by Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt

Getting the Love You Want has helped millions of people experience more satisfying relationships and is recommended every day by professional therapists and happy couples around the world. Dr. Harville Hendrix and Dr. Helen LaKelly Hunt explain how to revive romance and remove negativity from daily interactions, to help you: Discover why you chose your mate. Resolve the power struggle that prevents greater intimacy. Learn to listen – really listen – to your partner. Increase fun and laughter in your relationship. Begin healing early childhood experiences by stretching into new behaviors. Become passionate friends with your partner. Achieve a common vision of your dream relationship. Become the most connected couple you know with this revolutionary guide, combining behavioral science, depth psychology, social learning theory, Gestalt therapy, and interpersonal neuroscience to help you and your partner recapture joy, enhance closeness, and experience the reward of a deeply fulfilling relationship.

Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love

by Sue Johnson

The message of Hold Me Tight is simple: Forget about learning how to argue better, analyzing your early childhood, making grand romantic gestures, or experimenting with new sexual positions. Instead, get to the emotional underpinnings of your relationship by recognizing that you are emotionally attached to and dependent on your partner in much the same way that a child is on a parent for nurturing, soothing, and protection. Dr. Johnson teaches that the way to enhance or save a relationship is to be open, attuned, and responsive to each other and to reestablish emotional connection. These conversations give you insight into the defining moments in your relationship and guide you in reshaping these moments to create a secure and lasting bond. Through stories from Dr. Johnson’s practice, illuminating advice, and practical exercises, you will learn how to nurture, protect, and grow your relationship, ensuring a lifetime of love.

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts

By Gary Chapman

Falling in love is easy. Staying in love—that’s the challenge. How can you keep your relationship fresh and growing amid the demands, conflicts, and just plain boredom of everyday life? In the #1 New York Times international bestseller The 5 Love Languages, you’ll discover the secret that has transformed millions of relationships worldwide. Whether your relationship is flourishing or failing, Dr. Gary Chapman’s proven approach to showing and receiving love will help you experience deeper and richer levels of intimacy with your partner—starting today. The 5 Love Languages is as practical as it is insightful. Updated to reflect the complexities of relationships today, this new edition reveals intrinsic truths and applies relevant, actionable wisdom in ways that work. Includes the Couple’s Personal Profile assessment so you can discover your love language and that of your loved one.

Why Him? Why Her?: How to Find and Keep Lasting Love

By Helen Fisher

Helen Fisher can often tell, almost instantly, the hidden strengths and weaknesses in a relationship that are likely to keep a couple together or pull them apart. The words they choose, their facial structure and body language, even their doodles and where they live give strong clues to their personality type. After three decades of studying romantic relationships, Fisher has discovered that your dominant personality type guides not only who you are but who you love. Why Him? Why Her? provides a new way to understand relationships, whether you’re searching for one or eager to strengthen the one you have. Beginning with a scientifically developed questionnaire to determine your prevailing personality type, Fisher tells you not only what type of person you might have chemistry with but how to find them, attract them, and keep them. Once you know the personality profile of the partner you’re with―or hope to find―you can use your knowledge of how your types match up to improve your love life.

Borderline Personality Disorder/ Emotion Regulation

The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook: Practical DBT Exercises for Learning Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation, and Distress Tolerance

by Matthew McKay, Jeffrey Wood, and Jeffrey Brantley
Do you have trouble managing your emotions? First developed by Marsha M. Linehan for treating borderline personality disorder, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) has proven effective as treatment for a range of other mental health problems, and can greatly improve your ability to handle distress without losing control and acting destructively. However, to make use of these techniques, you need to build skills in four key areas: distress tolerance, mindfulness, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook, a collaborative effort from three esteemed authors, offers evidence-based, step-by-step exercises for learning these concepts and putting them to work for real and lasting change. Start by working on the introductory exercises and, after making progress, move on to the advanced-skills chapters. Whether you’re a mental health professional or a general reader, you’ll benefit from this clear and practical guide to better managing your emotions.

Teen/ Young Adult

Feeling Better: CBT Workbook for Teens: Essential Skills and Activities to Help You Manage Moods, Boost Self-Esteem, and Conquer Anxiety 

by Rachel Hutt 

Dealing with school, friends, and thoughts of the future can be challenging for teenagers. This CBT workbook can help, with simple strategies for overcoming tough feelings and living with more positivity and optimism. Find activities and writing prompts that will help you determine your values, boost your self-esteem, and learn to let thoughts come and go without getting stuck on them.

Anxiety Relief for Teens: Essential CBT Skills and Mindfulness Practices to Overcome Anxiety and Stress

by Regine Galanti

Getting good grades, keeping up with social media, maintaining friendships… you have a lot on your plate and it’s more difficult when you add anxiety to the mix. You may even be avoiding situations, events, or people that could trigger your anxiety. So, how do you stop yourself from missing out on life? With Anxiety Relief for Teens, Dr. Regine Galanti teaches you how CBT-based skills and mindfulness techniques can help you manage your anxiety and reverse negative patterns. Through simple and effective exercises that help you change your thoughts, behaviors, and physical reactions, this helpful guide gives you the tools you need to navigate all of life’s challenges.

What Made Maddy Run: The Secret Struggles and Tragic Death of an All-American Teen 

by Kate Fagan 

If you scrolled through the Instagram feed of 19-year-old Maddy Holleran, you would see a perfect life: a freshman at an Ivy League school, recruited for the track team, who was also beautiful, popular, and fiercely intelligent. This was a girl who succeeded at everything she tried, and who was only getting started. But when Maddy began her long-awaited college career, her parents noticed something changed. Previously indefatigable Maddy became withdrawn, and her thoughts centered on how she could change her life. In spite of thousands of hours of practice and study, she contemplated transferring from the school that had once been her dream. When Maddy’s dad, Jim, dropped her off for the first day of spring semester, she held him a second longer than usual. That would be the last time Jim would see his daughter. What Made Maddy Run began as a piece that Kate Fagan, a columnist for espnW, wrote about Maddy’s life. What started as a profile of a successful young athlete whose life ended in suicide became so much larger when Fagan started to hear from other college athletes also struggling with mental illness. This is the story of Maddy Holleran’s life, and her struggle with depression, which also reveals the mounting pressures young people — and college athletes in particular — face to be perfect, especially in an age of relentless connectivity and social media saturation.

Parenting

The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind 

by Daniel J. SiegelTina Payne Bryson

In this pioneering, practical book, Daniel J. Siegel, neuropsychiatrist and author of the bestselling Mindsight, and parenting expert Tina Payne Bryson offer a revolutionary approach to child rearing with twelve key strategies that foster healthy brain development, leading to calmer, happier children. The authors explain—and make accessible—the new science of how a child’s brain is wired and how it matures. The “upstairs brain,” which makes decisions and balances emotions, is under construction until the mid-twenties. And especially in young children, the right brain and its emotions tend to rule over the logic of the left brain. No wonder kids throw tantrums, fight, or sulk in silence. By applying these discoveries to everyday parenting, you can turn any outburst, argument, or fear into a chance to integrate your child’s brain and foster vital growth. Complete with age-appropriate strategies for dealing with day-to-day struggles and illustrations that will help you explain these concepts to your child, The Whole-Brain Child shows you how to cultivate healthy emotional and intellectual development so that your children can lead balanced, meaningful, and connected lives.

No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind

by Daniel J. J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson 

Highlighting the fascinating link between a child’s neurological development and the way a parent reacts to misbehavior, No-Drama Discipline provides an effective, compassionate road map for dealing with tantrums, tensions, and tears—without causing a scene. Defining the true meaning of the “d” word (to instruct, not to shout or reprimand), the authors explain how to reach your child, redirect emotions, and turn a meltdown into an opportunity for growth. By doing so, the cycle of negative behavior (and punishment) is essentially brought to a halt, as problem solving becomes a win/win situation.

How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk

By Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

This bestselling classic by internationally acclaimed experts on communication between parents and children includes fresh insights and suggestions, as well as the author’s time-tested methods to solve common problems and build foundations for lasting relationships, including innovative ways to: Cope with your child’s negative feelings, such as frustration, anger, and disappointment. Express your strong feelings without being hurtful. Engage your child’s willing cooperation. Set firm limits and maintain goodwill. Use alternatives to punishment that promote self-discipline. Understand the difference between helpful and unhelpful praise. And resolve family conflicts peacefully. Enthusiastically praised by parents and professionals around the world, Faber and Mazlish’s down-to-earth, respectful approach makes relationships with children of all ages less stressful and more rewarding.

The Explosive Child

by Ross Greene
What’s an explosive child? A child who responds to routine problems with extreme frustration—crying, screaming, swearing, kicking, hitting, biting, spitting, destroying property, and worse. A child whose frequent, severe outbursts leave his or her parents feeling frustrated, scared, worried, and desperate for help. Most of these parents have tried everything-reasoning, explaining, punishing, sticker charts, therapy, medication—but to no avail. They can’t figure out why their child acts the way he or she does; they wonder why the strategies that work for other kids don’t work for theirs; and they don’t know what to do instead. Dr. Ross Greene, a distinguished clinician and pioneer in the treatment of kids with social, emotional, and behavioral challenges, has worked with thousands of explosive children, and he has good news: these kids aren’t attention-seeking, manipulative, or unmotivated, and their parents aren’t passive, permissive pushovers. Rather, explosive kids are lacking some crucial skills in the domains of flexibility/adaptability, frustration tolerance, and problem solving, and they require a different approach to parenting. Throughout this compassionate, insightful, and practical book, Dr. Greene provides a new conceptual framework for understanding their difficulties, based on research in the neurosciences. He explains why traditional parenting and treatment often don’t work with these children, and he describes what to do instead. Instead of relying on rewarding and punishing, Dr. Greene’s Collaborative Problem Solving model promotes working with explosive children to solve the problems that precipitate explosive episodes, and teaching these kids the skills they lack.

Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and Their Parents)

by Eline Snel , Myla Kabat-Zinn, et al.

Mindfulness—the quality of attention that combines full awareness with acceptance of each moment, just as it is—is gaining broad acceptance among mental health professionals as an adjunct to treatment. This little book is a very appealing introduction to mindfulness meditation for children and their parents. In a simple and accessible way, it describes what mindfulness is and how mindfulness-based practices can help children calm down, become more focused, fall asleep more easily, alleviate worry, manage anger, and generally become more patient and aware. The book contains eleven practices that focus on just these scenarios, along with short examples and anecdotes throughout.

Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child The Heart of Parenting

by Ph.D. John Gottman, Joan Declaire, et al.

Every parent knows the importance of equipping children with the intellectual skills they need to succeed in school and life. But children also need to master their emotions. Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child is a guide to teaching children to understand and regulate their emotional world. And as acclaimed psychologist and researcher John Gottman shows, once they master this important life skill, emotionally intelligent children will enjoy increased self-confidence, greater physical health, better performance in school, and healthier social relationships. Written for parents of children of all ages, Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child will enrich the bonds between parent and child and contribute immeasurably to the development of a generation of emotionally healthy adults.

Preschool Clues: Raising Smart, Inspired, and Engaged Kids in a Screen-Filled World by

by Deborah Reber, Angela C. Santomero, et al.

The award-winning creator of Blue’s CluesSuper Why!, and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood shares the secret sauce behind her shows’ powerful, transformative results in the form of 11 research-based, foundational “clues” to ensure that preschoolers flourish academically, socially, and emotionally during this critical time. The preschool years – when children are between the ages of two and five – are the most influential, important years in a child’s life. Studies show that pausing to interact, playing to solve problems, diffusing with humor, and using repetition are the hidden clues conscious parents use to raise successful kids and help them learn critical thinking skills, foster empathy, and nurture their sense of self-worth. In Preschool Clues, Angela shares the latest research from top thinkers in child development and education. Through her practical, straightforward advice and inspiring, conversational approach, you will not only understand exactly what your children are learning from the shows they watch and why these shows are so effective; you’ll know exactly how to apply these same proven approaches in your daily life and with the same powerful results.

Self-Reg: How to Help Your Child (and You) Break the Stress Cycle and Successfully Engage with Life

by Stuart Shanker

Self-Reg is a groundbreaking book that presents an entirely new understanding of your child’s emotions and behavior and a practical guide for parents to help their kids engage calmly and successfully in learning and life. Grounded in decades of research and working with children and parents by Dr. Shanker, Self-Reg realigns the power of the parent-child relationship for positive change. Self-regulation is the nervous system’s way of responding to stress. We are seeing a generation of children and teens with excessively high levels of stress, and, as a result, an explosion of emotional, social, learning, behavior, and physical health problems. But few parents recognize the “hidden stressors” that their children are struggling with: physiological as well as social and emotional. An entrenched view of child rearing seesour children as lacking self-control or willpower, but the real basis for these problems lies in excessive stress. Self-regulation can dramatically improve a child’s mood, attention, and concentration. It can help children to feel empathy, and to cultivate the sorts of virtues that most parents know are vital for their child’s long-term wellbeing. Self-regulation brings about profound and lasting transformation that continues throughout life. Dr. Shanker translates decades of his findings from working with children into practical, prescriptive advice for parents, giving them concrete ways to develop their self-regulation skills and teach their children to do the same and engage successfully with life for optimal learning, social, and emotional growth.

Personal Experiences

Often when we are coping with something, it can help to know someone else went through it, too, and we are not alone. Here is a list of books that can help you do just that.

Agorafabulous! Dispatches from My Bedroom, Sara Benicasa

Comedian, writer, blogger, radio and podcast host, and YouTube sensation, Sara Benincasa bravely and outrageously brings us “Dispatches from My Bedroom” with Agorafabulous! One of the funniest and most poignant books ever written about a mental illness, Agorafabulous! is a hilarious, raw, and unforgettable account of how a terrified young woman, literally trapped by her own imagination, evolved into a (relatively) high-functioning professional smartass. Down to earth and seriously funny, Benincasa’s no-holds-barred revelations offer readers the politically incorrect hilarity they heartily crave, yet is so often missing from your typical, weepy, and redemptive personal memoir.

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness, Kay Redfield Jamison

Dr. Jamison is one of the foremost authorities on Bipolar illnesses and she has also experienced it firsthand. While she was pursuing her career in medicine, Jamison found herself succumbing to the same exhilarating highs and catastrophic depressions that afflicted many of her patients, as her disorder launched her into ruinous spending sprees, episodes of violence, and an attempted suicide. In this book, she examines bipolar illness from the dual perspectives of the healer and the healed.

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness, Susannah Cahalan

When twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a hospital room, strapped to her bed and unable to move or speak, she had no memory of how she’d gotten there. Days earlier, she had been on the threshold of a new, adult life, but now she was labeled violent, psychotic, a flight risk. What happened?

In this narrative, Susannah tells the astonishing true story of her descent into madness, her family’s inspiring faith in her, and the lifesaving diagnosis that nearly didn’t happen.

Broken (in the best possible way), Jenny Lawson

In Broken, Jenny brings readers along on her mental (depression) and physical health journey, offering heartbreaking and hilarious anecdotes along the way. With people experiencing anxiety and depression now more than ever, Jenny humanizes what we all face in an all-too-real way. From the business ideas that she wants to pitch to Shark Tank to the reason why Jenny can never go back to the post office, her memoir leaves nothing to the imagination.

Buzz, Katherine Ellison

Shortly after Ellison, an award-winning investigative reporter, and her twelve-year-old son, Buzz, were both diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, she found herself making such a hash of parenting that the two of them faced three alternatives: he’d go to boarding school; she’d go AWOL; or they’d make it their full-time job to work out their problems together. They decided to search for a solution while Ellison investigated what genuine relief, if any, might be found in the confusing array of goods sold by the modern mental health industry. The book brings much relief, by being immensely engaging, laugh-out-loud funny, honest—and packed with helpful insights.

Coming Clean, Kimberly Rae Miller

Kimberly Rae Miller is an immaculately put-together woman with a great career, a loving boyfriend, and a beautifully tidy apartment in Brooklyn. You would never guess that behind the closed doors of her family’s idyllic Long Island house hid teetering stacks of aging newspaper, broken computers, and boxes upon boxes of unused junk festering in every room—the product of her father’s painful and unending struggle with hoarding. In this dazzling memoir, Miller brings to life her experience growing up in a rat-infested home, hiding her father’s shameful secret from friends for years, and the emotional burden that ultimately led to her suicide attempt. She sheds light on her complicated yet loving relationship with her parents, which has thrived in spite of the odds.

(Don’t) Call Me Crazy, Kelly Jensen

What does it mean to be crazy? Is using the word crazy offensive? What happens when a label like that gets attached to your everyday experiences? To understand mental health, we need to talk openly about it. Because there’s no single definition of crazy, there’s no single experience that embodies it, and the word itself means different things—wild? extreme? disturbed? passionate?—to different people. In (Don’t) Call Me Crazy, thirty-three actors, athletes, writers, and artists offer essays, lists, comics, and illustrations that explore a wide range of topics: their personal experiences with mental illness, how we do and don’t talk about mental health, help for better understanding how every person’s brain is wired differently, and what, exactly, might make someone crazy.

Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I’ve Loved

Kate Bowler is a professor at Duke Divinity School with a modest Christian upbringing, but she specializes in the study of the prosperity gospel, a creed that sees fortune as a blessing from God and misfortune as a mark of God’s disapproval. At thirty-five, everything in her life seems to point toward “blessing.” She is thriving in her job, married to her high school sweetheart, and loves life with her newborn son. Then she is diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer.

The prospect of her own mortality forces Kate to realize that she has been tacitly subscribing to the prosperity gospel, living with the conviction that she can control the shape of her life with “a surge of determination.” Even as this type of Christianity celebrates the American can-do spirit, it implies that if you “can’t do” and succumb to illness or misfortune, you are a failure. Kate is very sick, and no amount of positive thinking will shrink her tumors. What does it mean to die, she wonders, in a society that insists everything happens for a reason? Kate is stripped of this certainty only to discover that without it, life is hard but beautiful in a way it never has been before. Everything Happens for a Reason tells her story, offering up her irreverent, hard-won observations on dying and the ways it has taught her to live.

Far From The Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity, Andrew Solomon

Solomon’s startling proposition in Far from the Tree is that being exceptional is at the core of the human condition—that difference is what unites us. He writes about families coping with deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, or multiple severe disabilities; with children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape, who become criminals, who are transgender. While each of these characteristics is potentially isolating, the experience of difference within families is universal, and Solomon documents triumphs of love over prejudice in every chapter.

All parenting turns on a crucial question: to what extent should parents accept their children for who they are, and to what extent they should help them become their best selves. Drawing on ten years of research and interviews with more than three hundred families, Solomon mines the eloquence of ordinary people facing extreme challenges.

Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running From Madness, Suzy Favor Hamilton

During the 1990s, three-time Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton was the darling of American track and field. An outstanding runner, a major sports apparel spokesperson, and a happily married wife, she was the model for an active, healthy, and wholesome life. But her perfect facade masked a dark truth: bipolar disorder that drove her obsession to perform and win. For years after leaving the track, Suzy wrestled with her condition, as well as the loss of a close friend, conflicted feelings about motherhood and her marriage, and lingering shame about her athletic career. After a misdiagnosis and a recommendation for medication that only exacerbated her mania and made her hypersexual, Suzy embarked on a new path and assumed a new identity. But, she couldn’t keep her double life forever.

In this startling frank memoir, she recounts the journey to outrun her demons, revealing how a woman used to physically controlling her body learned to come to terms with her unstable mind. It is the story of a how a supreme competitor scored her most important victory of all—reclaiming her life from the ravages of an untreated mental illness.

Furiously Happy, Jenny Lawson

In Furiously Happy, Jenny Lawson examines her own experience with severe depression and a host of other conditions, and explains how it has led her to live life to the fullest. Jenny’s readings are standing room only, with fans lining up to have Jenny sign their bottles of Xanax or Prozac as often as they are to have her sign their books. There are so many people out there struggling with depression and mental illness, either themselves or someone in their family―and in Furiously Happy they will find a member of their tribe offering up an uplifting message (via a taxidermied roadkill raccoon. It is about depression and mental illness, but deep down it’s about joy―and who doesn’t want a bit more of that?

Heart Berries: A Memoir, Teresa Marie Mailhot

Having survived a profoundly dysfunctional upbringing only to find herself hospitalized and facing a dual diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar II disorder, Terese Marie Mailhot is given a notebook and begins to write her way out of trauma. The triumphant result is Heart Berries, a memorial for Mailhot’s mother, a social worker and activist who had a thing for prisoners; a story of reconciliation with her father―an abusive drunk and a brilliant artist―who was murdered under mysterious circumstances; and an elegy on how difficult it is to love someone while dragging the long shadows of shame. Her unique and at times unsettling voice graphically illustrates her mental state. As she writes, she discovers her own true voice, seizes control of her story, and, in so doing, reestablishes her connection to her family, to her people, and to her place in the world.

Hunger, Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and bodies, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she casts an insightful and critical eye on her childhood, teens, and twenties—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers into the present and the realities, pains, and joys of her daily life. With the bracing candor, vulnerability, and authority that have made her one of the most admired voices of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to be overweight in a time when the bigger you are, the less you are seen.  

It’s OK to Laugh, Crying is Cool, Too, Nora McInerny

Twenty-seven-year-old Nora McInerny Purmort bounced from boyfriend to dopey “boyfriend” until she met Aaron—a charismatic art director and comic-book nerd who once made Nora laugh so hard she pulled a muscle. When Aaron was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, they refused to let it limit their love. They got engaged on Aaron’s hospital bed and had a baby boy while he was on chemo. In the period that followed, Nora and Aaron packed fifty years of marriage into the three they got. A few months later, Aaron died in Nora’s arms. With It’s Okay to Laugh, Nora puts a young, fresh twist on the subjects of mortality and resilience. What does it actually mean to live your “one wild and precious life” to the fullest? How can a joyful marriage contain more sickness than health? How do you keep going when life kicks you in the junk? In this deeply felt and deeply funny memoir, Nora gives her readers a true gift—permission to struggle, permission to laugh, permission to tell the truth and know that everything will be okay. It’s Okay to Laugh is a love letter to life, in all its messy glory; it reads like a conversation with a close friend, and leaves a trail of glitter in its wake.

Just Checking, Scenes from the Life of an Obsessive Compulsive, Emily Colas

Emily Colas — young, intelligent, well-educated wife and mother of two — had a secret that was getting in the way of certain activities. Like touching people. Having a normal relationship with her husband. Socializing. Getting a job. Eating out. Like leaving the house. Soon there was no interval in her life when she was not just checking. This raw, darkly comic series of astonishing vignettes is Emily Colas’ achingly honest chronicle of her twisted journey through the obsessive-compulsive disorder that came to dominate her world. In the beginning it was germs and food. By the time she faced the fact that she was really “losing it,” Colas had become a slave to her own “hobbies” — from the daily hair cutting to incessant inspections of her children’s clothing for bloodstains. A shocking, hilarious, enormously appealing account of a young woman struggling to gain control of her life, this is Emily Colas’ exposé of a soul tormented, but balanced by a buoyance of spirit and a piercing sense of humor that may be her saving grace.

Know My Name, Chanel Miller:

She was known to the world as Emily Doe when she stunned millions with a letter. Brock Turner had been sentenced to just six months in county jail after he was found sexually assaulting her on Stanford’s campus. Her victim impact statement was posted on BuzzFeed, where it instantly went viral–viewed by eleven million people within four days, it was translated globally and read on the floor of Congress.

Now she reclaims her identity to tell her story of trauma, transcendence, and the power of words. It was the perfect case, in many ways–there were eyewitnesses, Turner ran away, physical evidence was immediately secured. But her struggles with isolation and shame during the aftermath and the trial reveal the oppression victims face in even the best-case scenarios. Her story illuminates a culture biased to protect perpetrators, indicts a criminal justice system designed to fail the most vulnerable, and, ultimately, shines with the courage required to move through suffering and live a full and beautiful life.

Lit, Mary Karr

Lit follows the self-professed blackbelt sinner’s descent into the inferno of alcoholism and madness–and to her astonishing resurrection. Karr’s longing for a solid family seems secure when her marriage to a handsome, Shakespeare-quoting blueblood poet produces a son they adore. But she can’t outrun her apocalyptic past. She drinks herself into the same numbness that nearly devoured her charismatic but troubled mother, reaching the brink of suicide. A hair-raising stint in ‘The Mental Marriott,’ with an oddball tribe of gurus and saviors, awakens her to the possibility of joy and leads her to an unlikely faith. Not since Saint Augustine cried, ‘Give me chastity, Lord-but not yet!’ has a conversion story rung with such dark hilarity. Lit is about getting drunk and getting sober, becoming a mother by letting go of a mother, learning to write by learning to live. Written with Karr’s relentless honesty, unflinching self-scrutiny, and irreverent, lacerating humor, it is a truly electrifying story of how to grow up–as only Mary Karr can tell it.

Long Walk Out of the Woods: A Physician’s Story of Addiction, Hope, and Recovery, Adam Hill

Pediatric oncologist and palliative care physician Dr. Adam B. Hill suffered despair and disillusionment with the culture of medicine, culminating in a spiral of depression, alcoholism, and an active suicidal plan. Then while in recovery from active addiction, he lost a colleague to suicide, further revealing the extent of the secrecy and broken systems contributing to an epidemic of professional distress within the medical field. By sharing his harrowing story, Dr. Hill helps identify the barriers and obstacles standing in the way of mental health recovery, while pleading for a revolutionary new approach to how we treat individuals in substance use recovery. In fighting stereotypes/stigma and teaching vulnerability, compassion, and empathy, Hill’s work is being lauded as a road map for better practices at a time when medical professionals around the world are struggling in silence.

Manic: A Memoir, Terri Cheney

An attractive, highly successful Beverly Hills entertainment lawyer, Terri Cheney had been battling debilitating bipolar disorder for the better part of her life—and concealing a pharmacy’s worth of prescription drugs meant to stabilize her moods and make her “normal.” In explosive bursts of prose that mirror the devastating mania and extreme despair of her illness, Cheney describes her roller-coaster existence with shocking honesty, giving brilliant voice to the previously unarticulated madness she endured. Brave, electrifying, poignant, and disturbing, Manic does not simply explain bipolar disorder—it takes us into its grasp and does not let go.

Man’s Search For Meaning, Viktor Frankl

A prominent Viennese psychiatrist before the war, Viktor Frankl was uniquely able to observe the way that both he and others in Auschwitz coped (or didn’t) with the experience. He noticed that it was the men who comforted others and who gave away their last piece of bread who survived the longest – and who offered proof that everything can be taken away from us except the ability to choose our attitude in any given set of circumstances. The sort of person the prisoner became was the result of an inner decision and not of camp influences alone. Only those who allowed their inner hold on their moral and spiritual selves to subside eventually fell victim to the camp’s degenerating influence – while those who made a victory of those experiences turned them into an inner triumph. Frankl came to believe man’s deepest desire is to search for meaning and purpose. This outstanding work offers us all a way to transcend suffering and find significance in the art of living.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, Lori Gottleib

One day, Lori Gottlieb is a therapist who helps patients in her Los Angeles practice. The next, a crisis causes her world to come crashing down. Enter Wendell, the quirky but seasoned therapist in whose of­fice she suddenly lands. With his balding head, cardigan, and khakis, he seems to have come straight from Therapist Central Casting. Yet he will turn out to be anything but. As Gottlieb explores the inner chambers of her patients’ lives — a self-absorbed Hollywood producer, a young newlywed diagnosed with a terminal illness, a senior citizen threatening to end her life on her birthday if nothing gets better, and a twenty-something who can’t stop hooking up with the wrong guys — she finds that the questions they are struggling with are the very ones she is now bringing to Wendell.

No Happy Endings, Nora McInerny

But in the wake of loss, we get to assemble something new from whatever is left behind. Some circles call finding happiness after loss “Chapter 2”—the continuation of something else. Today, Nora is remarried and mothers four children aged 16 months to 16 years. While her new circumstances bring her extraordinary joy, they are also tinged with sadness over the loved ones she’s lost. She knows intimately that when your life falls apart, there’s a mad rush to be okay—to find a silver lining, to get to the happy ending. In this, her second memoir, Nora offers a tragicomic exploration of the tension between finding happiness and holding space for the unhappy experiences that have shaped us. No Happy Endings is a book for people living life after life has fallen apart. It’s a book for people who know that they’re moving forward, not moving on. It’s a book for people who know life isn’t always happy, but it isn’t the end: there will be unimaginable joy and incomprehensible tragedy. As Nora reminds us, there will be no happy endings—but there will be new beginnings.

Quiet, Susan Cain

At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams. It is to introverts—Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak—that we owe many of the great contributions to society.
 
In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also introduces us to successful introverts—from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Passionately argued, impeccably researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves. 

The Center Cannot Hold, Elyn R Saks:

Elyn R. Saks is an esteemed professor and lawyer, yet she has suffered from schizophrenia for most of her life, and still has ongoing major episodes of the illness. This book is the story of Elyn’s life from the first time she heard voices speaking to her as a young teenager, to attempted suicides in college, through learning to live on her own as an adult in an often terrifying world. She discusses her paranoia, the inability to tell imaginary fears from real ones, the voices in her head telling her to kill herself (and to harm others), as well as the incredibly difficult obstacles she overcame to become a lawyer.

The Hilarious World of Depression, John Moe:

Moe, the former host of the podcast of the same name, details his career in radio alongside his mental health struggles and the aftermath of his brother’s suicide, which plagues him with guilt, since he believes he’s responsible. Moe explores clinical depression (or “Clinny D”) and being a “saddie” with an approach that’s heartfelt and weaves in appropriately self-mocking humor, interspersing his personal journey with stories comedian guests have shared on the podcast. Moe excels at exploring how his path toward mental wellness has not been a continuous rise, but a push/pull, where he struggles to take his medication regularly, walking readers through his learning curves in order to impart hard-won wisdom.

The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, Andrew Solomon

The Noonday Demon examines depression in personal, cultural, and scientific terms. Drawing on his own struggles with the illness and interviews with fellow sufferers, doctors and scientists, policy makers and politicians, drug designers, and philosophers, Andrew Solomon reveals the subtle complexities and sheer agony of the disease as well as the reasons for hope. He confronts the challenge of defining the illness and describes the vast range of available medications and treatments, and the impact the malady has on various demographic populations—around the world and throughout history. He also explores the thorny patch of moral and ethical questions posed by biological explanations for mental illness. With uncommon humanity, candor, wit and erudition, award-winning author Solomon takes readers on a journey of incomparable range and resonance into the most pervasive of family secrets. His contribution to our understanding not only of mental illness but also of the human condition is truly stunning.

The Man Who Couldn’t Stop, David Adam

What might lead a schoolgirl to eat a wall of her house, piece by piece, or a man to die beneath an avalanche of household junk that he and his brother have compulsively hoarded? At what point does a harmless idea, a snowflake in a clear summer sky, become a blinding blizzard of unwanted thoughts?

David Adam―an editor at Nature and an accomplished science writer―has suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder for twenty years, and The Man Who Couldn’t Stop is his unflinchingly honest attempt to understand the condition and his experiences. In this riveting and intimate blend of science, history, and memoir, Adam explores the weird thoughts that exist within every mind and explains how they drive millions of us toward obsession and compulsion.

Touched with Fire, Kay Redfield Jamison
The anguished and volatile intensity associated with the artistic temperament was once thought to be a symptom of genius or eccentricity peculiar to artists, writers, and musicians. Her work, based on her study as a clinical psychologist and researcher in mood disorders, reveals that many artists subject to exalted highs and despairing lows were in fact engaged in a struggle with clinically identifiable manic-depressive illness.

Jamison presents proof of the biological foundations of this disease and applies what is known about the illness to the lives and works of some of the world’s greatest artists including Lord Byron, Vincent Van Gogh, and Virginia Woolf.

Reasons to Stay Alive, Matt Haig

At the age of 24, Matt Haig’s world caved in. He could see no way to go on living. This is the true story of how he came through crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again. A moving, funny and joyous exploration of how to live better, love better and feel more alive, Reasons to Stay Alive is more than a memoir. It is a book about making the most of your time on earth.

What Made Maddy Run, Kate Fagan

If you scrolled through the Instagram feed of 19-year-old Maddy Holleran, you would see a perfect life: a freshman at an Ivy League school, recruited for the track team, who was also beautiful, popular, and fiercely intelligent. This was a girl who succeeded at everything she tried, and who was only getting started. But when Maddy began her long-awaited college career, her parents noticed something changed. Previously indefatigable Maddy became withdrawn, and her thoughts centered on how she could change her life. In spite of thousands of hours of practice and study, she contemplated transferring from the school that had once been her dream. When Maddy’s dad, Jim, dropped her off for the first day of spring semester, she held him a second longer than usual. That would be the last time Jim would see his daughter. What Made Maddy Run began as a piece that Kate Fagan, a columnist for espnW, wrote about Maddy’s life. What started as a profile of a successful young athlete whose life ended in suicide became so much larger when Fagan started to hear from other college athletes also struggling with mental illness.

This is the story of Maddy Holleran’s life, and her struggle with depression, which also reveals the mounting pressures young people — and college athletes in particular — face to be perfect, especially in an age of relentless connectivity and social media saturation.

Podcast Recommendations

*Available where you listen to podcasts*

10% Happier

ABC News anchor Dan Harris explores happiness – whatever that means for each person – from every angle. Harris focuses on meditation and chats with legendary meditation teachers, as well as scientists and celebrities. Harris also tries to help his listeners learn the skills to be happy and calm.

Brown Girl Self Care Podcast:

Hosted by Bre Mitchell—known as The Self-Care Pusher from Southern California—Brown Girl Self-Care is all about how to nourish your physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being as a woman of color in the world. It’s a mix of current events and a whole lot of self-care tips.

Dear Therapists:

Every Tuesday renowned therapists Lori Gottlieb and Guy Winch offer you unforgettable stories of what it means to be human. Sit in on real sessions with real people as they invite you to be a fly-on-the-wall and listen to their intimate, raw, transformative sessions where they share insights and actionable advice, then check back to find out what happened after the session–and what we can all learn about ourselves through the lens of others.

Gratitude Diaries

You’ve probably heard that gratitude can be transformational for your mental health, but what does that actually look like in practice? In this podcast, author and editor in chief of Parade Janice Kaplan explores all things gratitude. She covers a wide range of topics through the lens of gratitude, from family and relationships to money and ambition.

GriefCast:

This long-running podcast about grief and death is unfortunately extremely relevant today as more people are dealing with pain and loss. It’s hosted by comedian Cariad Lloyd, which you might think is an unconventional choice for such a dark subject, but it works. Listeners love it for its careful balance between seriousness and humor.

Happier with Gretchen Rubin

Thought-provoking author and host Gretchen Ruin focuses on happiness and human nature. Rubin draws from leading science, age-old wisdom, pop culture and her personal experiences to bring listeners new ideas and conversations surrounding how to live a happier life.

Here’s Something Good:

Each day they aspire to bring you the good news. Because there is good happening in the world, every day, everywhere — we just need to look for it and share it. Here’s Something Good is a short daily podcast that offers inspiring stories, helpful tips and shared experiences to motivate and inspire you every day. They are letting you in on the best advice they’ve gotten, the news that’s brightening their day, and practical insights from experts and leaders you know and some that you may not, including ordinary people making an extraordinary difference. 

How to Fail:

How To Fail with Elizabeth Day is a podcast that celebrates the things that haven’t gone right. Every week, a new interviewee explores what their failures taught them about how to succeed better.

How’s Work? With Esther Perel

In How’s Work?, iconic couples therapist Esther Perel focuses on the hard conversations we’re afraid to have in our jobs: Colleagues navigating the new etiquette of a work from home workforce. Newsrooms whose journalists feel that covering breaking news has broken them. A doctor who wants to walk away from his profession, during a pandemic. And lobbyists whose fight for racial equality ends up dividing them. Esther Perel brings a new perspective to the invisible forces that shape workplace dynamics, connections, and conflict through one-time therapy sessions with coworkers, cofounders, and colleagues—listen and learn as you hear your own workplace dilemmas play out in the lives of others.

Hidden Brain

Hidden Brain explores the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior and questions that lie at the heart of our complex and changing world.

Not Another Anxiety Show

Whether you’re occasionally anxious or live with an anxiety disorder, there’s something for you in this helpful podcast. Host and registered nurse Kelli Walker talks with guests about what anxiety is, why it happens, and, most important, how to deal, from specific anxiety-busting tips to broader self-care practices.

Other People’s Problems

Real people. Real problems. Real talk. Normally, therapy sessions are totally confidential — but this podcast opens the doors. Hillary McBride and her clients want to help demystify mental health. No actors. No auditions. No artifice. This is what people really sound like when they talk about traumatic births, turbulent divorces, eating disorders and tough childhoods.

Terrible, Thanks for Asking

You know how when someone asks “How are you?” you just say “Fine,” even if you’re totally dying inside, so everyone can go about their day? “Terrible, Thanks For Asking” is the opposite of that. Nora McInerny asks real people to share their complicated and honest feelings about how they really are. It’s sometimes sad, sometimes funny, and often both.

The Anxiety Podcast

Hosted by Tim JP Collins – this is a show to support everyone suffering with Anxiety, stress and panic attacks, Tim suffered with Anxiety and panic attacks and has changed his life to recover and now supports others in doing the same. This unique show isn’t just about coping, it’s about moving past Anxiety and fear to live the life you were destined for. Each week Tim interviews people that have stories that you will be able to relate to. The interviews are raw, real and vulnerable and people share what’s really going on for them. Each week Tim will also share a personal story, skill or coping strategy for you to put into practice right away! 

The Anxiety Slayer

With a love for what we do, millions of downloads, and hundreds of free episodes, the highly acclaimed, award-winning Anxiety Slayer™ podcast is a leading resource for anyone who suffers from anxiety, panic attacks, stress, and PTSD. Listen in for a rich collection of supportive conversations, meditations, relaxations, expert interviews, and breathing techniques to help you feel calm, centered, and relaxed.

The Happiness Lab

You might think more money, a better job, or Instagram-worthy vacations would make you happy. You’re dead wrong. In “The Happiness Lab” podcast, Yale professor Dr Laurie Santos will take you through the latest scientific research and share some surprising and inspiring stories that will forever alter the way you think about happiness. She’s changed the lives of thousands of people through her class “Psychology and the Good Life,” and she’ll change yours, too. Are you ready to feel better?

The Hardcore Self Help Podcast

This is a podcast dedicated to answering your questions about mental health, anxiety, depression, relationships, sex, and life WITHOUT psychobabble BS. Hosted by Dr. Robert Duff, a psychologist from Southern California, who wrote the best selling books Hardcore Self Help: F**k Depression and Hardcore Self Help: F**K Anxiety.

The Hilarious World of Depression

A show about clinical depression…with laughs? Well, yeah. Depression is an incredibly common and isolating disease experienced by millions, yet often stigmatized by society. The Hilarious World of Depression is a series of frank, moving, and, yes, funny conversations with top comedians who have dealt with this disease, hosted by veteran humorist and public radio host John Moe. Join guests such as Maria Bamford, Paul F. Tompkins, Andy Richter, and Jen Kirkman to learn how they’ve dealt with depression and managed to laugh along the way.

Therapy for Black Girls

The Therapy for Black Girls Podcast is a weekly chat about all things mental health, personal development, and all the small decisions we can make to become the best possible versions of ourselves.

The Mental Illness Happy Hour

The Mental Illness Happy Hour is a weekly podcast that interviews comedians, artists, friends, and the occasional doctor. Each episode explores mental illness, trauma, addiction and negative thinking.

The Positive Psychology Podcast

The science of the good life, huh? Sorry this is not about booze, sex and rock n’roll (or whatever is en vogue right now). In fact we talk about a lot of things that tree huggers would love: appreciation of beauty, gratitude, positive emotions, relationships and well, love. However we, that is positive psychologists and positive psychology practitioners buried ourselves in books, set out to experiment and then write it all up in a writing style that is about as exciting to read as watching an avocado turn brown. And that’s the problem: if you are not an academic you probably want a little bit more excitement, than pages and pages of densely written journals can provide. Even if you are an academic, who has time to read all the interesting stuff out there anyways? So in an effort to save your eyes taking on a comically rectangular shape the positive psychology podcast brings the science of the good life to your earbuds. It’s not all treehugger style though; sometimes we might get quite serious, for example when exploring things like post-traumatic growth or positive parenting.

Meditation Minis

Short guided meditations to calm your anxiety, overcome negative thinking, increase your confidence, and more. Don’t think you have the time, or mental focus, to meditate? Most of these guided meditations are just 10 minutes – sometimes less. Soothe your stress away with this award winning guided meditation podcast by Hypnotherapist Chel Hamilton today.

Unlocking Us, Brene Brown

Conversations that unlock the deeply human part of who we are, so that we can live, love, parent, and lead with more courage and heart.

We Can Do Hard Things

Because we experienced the hardship of the pandemic collectively, many of us finally acknowledged what was true before COVID and will be true after: That life is freaking HARD. We are all doing hard things every single day – things like loving and losing caring for children and parents; forging and ending friendships; battling addiction, illness, and loneliness; struggling in our jobs, our marriages, and our divorces; setting boundaries; and fighting for equality, purpose, freedom, joy, and peace. On We Can Do Hard Things, Glennon Doyle and her sister Amanda will do the only thing they’ve found that has ever made life easier: They will drop the fake and talk honestly about the hard. Each week they will bring their hard to the listeners and they will ask the listeners to bring their hard to them, and we will do what we were all meant to do down here: Help each other carry the hard so we can all live a little bit lighter and braver, more free and less alone.

Where Should We Begin? With Esther Perel

Listen to the incomparable therapist Esther Perel counsel real couples as they reveal the most intimate, personal, and complicated details of the conflicts that have brought them to her door.

WTF With Marc Maron

Marc Maron welcomes comedians, actors, directors, writers, authors, musicians and folks from all walks of life to his home for amazingly revealing conversations. Marc’s probing, comprehensive interview style allows guests to express themselves in ways listeners have never heard.