When you're looking for help with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression or OCD, you'd be surprised at the wide variety of therapeutic resources available, especially with the increased awareness surrounding the topic. However, if you'd prefer to explore your own options for self-help, you should start by learning about your thoughts and feelings and how to control them.
Whether you suffer from stress, panic attacks, social anxiety, intrusive thoughts, or other uncomfortable mental tendencies, a book about mental health can help you to regain perspective and manage your own mind. We have sourced a list of popular non-fiction and personal-focused titles available on eBay and Amazon from Matt Haig, Charlie Mackesy and more to give you a wide selection to choose from.
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Table of Contents
It's important that you understand your struggles to be able to resolve them. To do this, we will first help you to figure out the area in which you need guidance and what type of book you might need to get you there.
The topic of mental health is increasing with awareness across the globe. Every day, people are speaking out about their own journeys and helping to open doors to new forms of research and therapy. Find out which focus point will speak to you the most.
Depression symptoms can vary depending on the individual, and the illness has so many variables that it can be tricky to understand your own emotions. Some people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and therefore mostly experience the symptoms during certain periods of the year, while many people find it to be a daily obstacle.
In fact, 1 in 6 people will be expected to suffer from depression at some point in their life. The inheritability of depression is 40%, so it could run in the family, or perhaps it could be a result of a certain lifestyle. Whatever the reason is, you can find comfort in the fact that you are not alone.
A book about depression will cover the topics of finding lost motivation, gaining confidence in yourself and your abilities, and helping you to understand your own value.
Anxiety is a familiar term for almost all of us. To be more precise, in 2013, there were 8.2 million cases of anxiety reported in the UK. This just goes to show how common this mental health issue is, but more importantly, how treatable it is.
In today's fast-paced environment, it's normal to feel a little overwhelmed and stressed. What is important, however, is that those feelings are maintained and aren't allowed to spiral out of control. Feelings of panic, worry, and restlessness can surface as Generalised Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and phobias.
Anxiety can be brought on by stressful environments, past traumatic experiences, or genetics. Reading a book about anxiety can teach you to minimise the effect of the condition and to take control of your brain's tendency to panic.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is commonly diagnosed when you experience unpleasant intrusive thoughts that compel you to perform an action repeatedly.
The obsessions can be upsetting thoughts or images that, while they seem irrational, manage to overwhelm and push the person to react. The reaction is known as a compulsion and can consist of cleaning, checking, repeating, ordering, arranging, saying a certain phrase, or performing a certain movement.
Understanding how to rationalise the thoughts in your own head can empower you to overcome the urge to conform to the compulsions. You can learn to listen to the thoughts and remain calm without reacting to the triggers.
Thankfully, there are experts in the industry who have researched and explained coping mechanisms that are backed by science to give you a greater understanding of how you can start your self-help journey.
This type of psychological approach can assure you that the writer is fully aware of the condition you have and can provide the cognitive behavioural therapy that you need. Understanding the biology behind a mental health condition can highlight the normality behind your emotions and help you to rationalise the way that you feel.
As more and more people speak out about their own struggles, we're now blessed with books that provide an insight into the personal side of the topic. This way of writing is less informative than the psychological approach, portraying relatable situations and thoughts which will allow you to follow your train of thought to a deeper understanding of your mental health.
There are four main format types that you might be interested in; hardback, paperback, eBooks, and audiobooks. Depending on whether or not you like the traditional physical books or you'd prefer a book that you can carry with you everywhere you go, we can guide you to the right choice.
Pick a paperback for its thin, flexible exterior and low cost, or a hardback which is often the best choice for gifting and for limited edition books. Hardbacks tend to be more expensive but they are much more sturdy and durable than paperbacks. Who doesn't love to curl up with a good book on a rainy day?
You could also opt for a digital version. This comes with a wide range of benefits; it's cheap so you can buy more than one eBook, and audiobooks can help you feel less alone and help the information stick. In addition, you can take your new book anywhere you go, so you can refer to its advice, strategies and tools whenever you need to.
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Reasons to Stay Alive
The Book That Will Put Your Life Into Perspective
The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse
A Sentimental Guide Suitable for Children and Adults Alike
Charles H. Elliott, Laura L. Smith
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder for Dummies
A Beginner's Manual for Understanding Obsessive Behaviour
The Man Who Couldn't Stop: The Truth About OCD
An Honest, Personal Account on Living With OCD for Two Decades
How To Tell Depression to Piss Off: 40 Ways to Get Your Life Back
A Light-Hearted Guide to Becoming Your Best Self
Seth J. Gillihan
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Made Simple
10 Steps to Mental Self-Improvement
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: 7 Ways to Freedom from Anxiety, Depression, and Intrusive Thoughts
A 'Cheat Code' to Understanding Your Mental Stability
Anxiety Relief for Teens
Management Help for Teenagers With Anxiety That Shakes the Stigma
Panicking About Panic
A Touching, Empowering Account of a Self-Acceptance Journey
David A Carbonell
The Worry Trick
Mental Management on Controlling Your Worries
Don't be fooled by the title – this book doesn't tell you why you should be happy, it actually talks to you about a man and his real-life struggles. Haig helps to put our own issues into perspective to show us how to appreciate our time on Earth.
With a funny yet moving approach, Matt Haig discusses his past traumas and experiences living with depression and anxiety disorder, describing how he managed to overcome his mental health problems. His joyful, humourous tones highlight the blessings of each day and his encouragement teaches us all to find beauty in everything around us.
Introducing one of the most popular books of this year, filled with touching words and wonderful illustrations, this a lovely book to turn to as a reminder to appreciate life and all of our blessings. The story takes the reader on a beautiful journey, diving deep into the human mind and heart as we watch the characters encounter and accept life's lessons.
This book doesn't address anxiety as an illness, it addresses it in the obstacles that we cross each day and symbolises it using doubts, fears, and struggles. We follow the conversations and thought trails of each character, connecting with their relatable personalities and listening to how they overcome every obstacle.
This engaging guide takes you through everything you need to know about OCD. Written by two PHD-qualified psychologists, this book contains the ins and outs of different symptoms, why they develop, how to understand them, and when you might need professional help.
While extremely scientific in its wording, the text is also full of empathy and understanding, featuring breakdowns of the latest treatments and real-life tools that can help to manage obsessions and compulsions. If you like to read and absorb every inch of information to keep up to date with either your own mental illness or that of a loved one, this is the book you need.
This book discusses how we can often feel that strange urge to perform extreme actions when we're faced with potential danger; wanting to jump when we're standing on a bridge or fighting the thoughts of walking into a busy road. It's not because we want to self-destruct, it's because we're human. And believe it or not, these thoughts occur in the minds of almost every one of us.
David Adam has suffered from OCD for twenty years and this insightful account takes a witty, brutally honest approach to his own personal nightmare of these thoughts and how they spiralled to something much deeper. More importantly, he shows how he overcame it with the help of self-growth and science.
If the witty front cover caught your attention, you'll love what this book has to offer. A modern, straight-to-the-point approach to the nasty, demeaning voice of depression; this book is a guide to help you get a hold of your mind and push yourself to break through the barriers of mental illness.
It's a very literal guide, questioning the 'voice' of self-doubt that you may hear and what you can do to ignore it and continue to succeed. The language is very colloquial and it's an informative alternative for people who can often feel overwhelmed by the scientific jargon in psychology books.
This book gets straight to the facts and explains ten of the most effective strategies for managing anxiety, depression, anger, panic, and worry. Helping you to self-evaluate and practise the most essential parts of cognitive behavioural therapy, this book is the key to emotional management without having to visit a psychologist.
Seth J. Gillihan himself is a licensed psychologist and has written this book to provide a useful source of information on the benefits of cognitive behavioural therapy that you can use whenever you need it.
Lawrence Wallace is a past sufferer of mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, and intrusive thoughts. He wrote this compassionate piece to reach out to people living through similar stories, offering his advice to manage your thoughts.
His approach is bold, grabbing the problems you face and staring them in the eye so you can take back control. Along with CBT, this book focuses on self-compassion and development. The tone is strongly empowering with a forceful push to achieve the most from it, so it might not be ideal for someone who is looking for a deeper understanding of the illness.
Growing up, it's more than normal to experience some element of stress and anxiety. When those feelings start to intensify and you can't seem to shake them, you could turn to this book. Covering the general triggers and topics like maintaining friendships, social media, and good grades, it provides a thorough guide to using CBT techniques to manage your anxiety.
The book includes over six emotional management methods for anger, stress, and sadness, and mindful practices of visualisations, breathing, and meditation that you can use when you need to. It's specifically written for teens, so if you're much older it might not be all that helpful, but perhaps you know a teen who could use some extra help.
Joshua Fletcher is one of the many success stories of someone living with a panic disorder. Drawing from his own personal experience, Fletcher explains his struggles with panic attacks, talking about the dread of his health and future panic attacks, and why we question our own emotions.
In great clarity, he discusses his own coping mechanisms in the hopes of normalising and simplifying the reader's opinion of anxiety by educating them on their conditions. The book is simple, straightforward, and easy to understand, and although it isn't very psychology-orientated, it happens to be Amazon's #1 Bestseller for medical assistants.
This book is all about worrying. Carbonell explains his own theories of worry management, the most interesting of which is to address "worry as a process" to understand that your fear and panic won't last forever. With its witty humour and tried-and-tested methods, this book is well-known in the world of licensed psychologists.
Looking at reader's feedback, it seems like this book takes a while to get to the management tactics and spends a long time discussing your thoughts and feelings. If this isn't what you need and you'd like a more direct approach, you might prefer another book on our list.
Our day-to-day mental health is directly affected by many areas of our lives, and if you're feeling inspired to further your understanding of yourself and others, keep reading. We have many more recommendations for some excellent titles which discuss everything from relationships to finding joy at work.
Remember that no matter who you're buying this book for; you or someone else, there is always a way out of mental health problems. At times when things feel so difficult that you can't see any chance of improvement, just hang in there.
Hopefully, one of these books reached out to you in some way and you're now on the right track to learning a little bit more about the human mind and how we can take control of the way that we feel.
Author: Annie Speight
No. 1: Matt Haig｜Reasons to Stay Alive
No. 2: Charlie Mackesy｜The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse
No. 3: Charles H. Elliott, Laura L. Smith｜Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder for Dummies
No. 4: David Adam｜The Man Who Couldn't Stop: The Truth About OCD
No. 5: James Withey｜How To Tell Depression to Piss Off: 40 Ways to Get Your Life Back
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