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10 Books to Read for Your Mental Health

There’s no shortage of mental health challenges a person could face during their journey through life—and they’re all paralyzing in some way or another. Nobody should have to struggle with the soul-crushing burden of a mental health condition, whether that be anxiety, depression, PTSD, or schizophrenia, amongst others. What’s worse is realizing help can be a challenge to find. Healing might take longer than you imagined, but you still owe it to yourself to seek recovery, any way you can. Here are some eye-opening books on mental health that may aid you as you fight to take your life back from the grip of mental illness.

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

Dr. van der Kolk dives into the immense reach of trauma throughout the human experience and how traumas are reflected in the human body, colouring everyday experiences. Dr. van der Kolk uses his expertise to explore the human capacity to absorb trauma and be changed by it, as well as the human capacity to heal and survive even when weighed down by trauma.   

  1. Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma by Peter Levine, PhD with Ann Frederick

In Waking the Tiger, Levine asks a simple question: “why are animals in the wild, though threatened routinely, rarely traumatized?” Levine looks at trauma through the lens of comparison, walking through the human characteristics that lead to trauma responses. By creating awareness of humans’ unique relationship with trauma, Levine provides a path to recovery. 

  1. Retrain Your Brain: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in 7 Weeks: A Workbook for Managing Depression and Anxiety by Seth J. Gillihan, PhD

Dr. Gillihan taps into his 15 years of experience in CBT for managing depression and anxiety, and provides readers a 7-week plan to master CBT. CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) offers a practical solution for overcoming mood disorders. CBT challenges negative thinking and dysfunctional patterns, helping people change their habits and lead a more positive life.

  1. Living Untethered: Beyond the Human Predicament by Michael A. Singer

In Living Untethered, spiritual teacher Michael Singer argues that human dissatisfaction arises from a dependence on people and things outside of ourselves for happiness, such as jobs, vacations, and relationships. Singer teaches readers to free themselves from the bonds of external validation and learn to find freedom, love, and inspiration from within.

  1. Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind by Kristin Neff, PhD

Neff invites readers to follow her expert tips for reducing self-criticism and easing the negative consequences of “beating yourself up.” Neff approaches self-esteem as an act of consistent self-compassion and advises readers on how to live through many trials without resorting to self-criticism.  

  1. Be Calm: Proven Techniques to Stop Anxiety Now by Jill Weber, PhD

Dr. Weber helps readers find relief from various manifestations of anxiety including social anxiety, insomnia, and panic attacks. Those suffering anxiety can learn practical, evidence-based methods for controlling the emotional and physical symptoms of anxiety, limiting unhelpful thoughts, and reducing behavioural disruptions associated with anxiety disorders.

  1. Heartsick: Three Stories About Love, Pain, and What Happens in Between by Jessie Stephens

In Heartsick, Stephens blends together three true stories from three different authors to provide readers with insight into the loss of love and healing from heartbreak, rejection, and pain. Stephens’ aim with the book was to speak to “the person who doesn’t want to be told that this too shall pass. Not yet. Who wants to sit with it. And see it for what it is. Who wants to know they’re not alone.”

  1. Maybe I Don’t Belong Here: A Memoir of Race, Identity, Breakdown and Recovery by David Harewood

Actor David Harewood reflects on his life before and after a psychotic breakdown, during which he was restrained and sedated by police officers before being locked in a hospital ward. In his memoir, Harewood processes the harrowing day and ponders the factors that led to his experience with psychosis, including family history and racism.

  1. Microjoys: Finding Hope (Especially) When Life Is Not Okay by Cyndie Spiegel

Through a series of uplifting personal essays and thought-provoking prompts, Spiegel introduces readers to the concept of “microjoys,” that is finding the joy in the small and simple aspects of life. Spiegel uses the idea of microjoys as a remedy for moments when life seems hopeless, encouraging readers to examine their microjoys and harness the happiness they bring to propel them forward during hard times.

  1. I’m So Effing Tired: A Proven Plan to Beat Burnout, Boost Your Energy, and Reclaim Your Life by Dr. Amy Shah, MD

Medical doctor Amy Shah lays out her secrets for combatting fatigue and burnout, so readers can regain the strength and energy to conquer their days. Shah advises on diet and stress management in order to put a stop to frustrating, debilitating burnout symptoms.

Jacob Carmichael | Staff Writer

Winter 2023

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