Books

Ten self-help books to help you improve your mental health for 2022

With Christmas chaos in full swing, have you even paused to consider a gift for the ultimate VIP in your life… you?

’Tis the season to run around after others but that’s often to the detriment of your own wants and needs.

So if you want to start this new year with a new zest for life — and yourself — how about investing some time, energy and just a little bit of money in a book that might change your life?

Try these as a starter for ten…

Atlas Of The Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection And The Language Of Human Experience

by Dr Brené Brown

Dr Brené says: ‘It’s dangerous to put your self-worth in other people’s hands.’

We say: A beautiful guide to the gamut of human emotions from the queen of self-help.

Brené Brown calls herself a researcher and a storyteller, and in her latest book combines the two to provide an easy-to-understand framework to create that meaningful connection we’re all seeking.

Buy for £14.99 (Penguin).

Happy Sexy Millionaire: Unexpected Truths About Fulfilment, Love And Success

by Steven Bartlett

Steven says: ‘The grass will always look greener on the other side until you start watering the side you’re on.’

We say: A straight-talking and inspiring manual on shaking off the victim mentality and creating a rich life, whatever ‘rich’ looks and feels like for you. At the age of 18, Steven was a university dropout with limited resources and prospects but epic self-confidence.

At 29, he is a multimillionaire business founder and the youngest dragon to join the Dragons’ Den line-up. Yes, he’s another millionaire telling us that money won’t make us happy.

He’s also a social media guru who tells us to get offline to save our sanity — and this book has convinced us that he’s actually right.

Buy for £12.15 (Hodder & Stoughton).

The Fear Fighter Manual: Lessons From A Professional Troublemaker

by Luvvie Ajayi Jones

Luvvie says: ‘When we want to say something and our voice shakes, we should take that to spur us forward because that is when it is most necessary. Let your voice tremble but say it anyway.’

We say: Despite being a ‘professional troublemaker’, and for all her feistiness (check her out at instagram.com/luvvie for daily doses of side-eye, attitude and judgement), Luvvie suffers from fear and imposter syndrome just like the rest of us.

The difference is that Luvvie has learned to harness this fear and use it to propel her forwards. This book is very funny, often outrageous and ultimately inspiring.

Buy for £14.99 (Quercus).

The High 5 Habit: Take Control Of Your Life With One Simple Habit

by Mel Robbins

Mel says: ‘If you find yourself riddled with self-doubt, the world didn’t say, “You can’t have this.” YOU did.’

We say: Motivational powerhouse Mel is the queen of the quick fix (no mean feat in an industry so obsessed with ‘journeys’!) and her latest sneaky self-help trick — high-fiving yourself in the mirror — is a speedy way to better self-esteem, self-confidence and even self-love.

Perfect for anyone who thinks they are too busy for self-help.

Buy for £12 (Hay House).

The Full Spirit Workout

by Kate Eckman

Kate says: ‘Being OK if it happens and OK if it doesn’t is a very powerful place to be.’

We say: A gentle but thorough introduction to spiritual health using a workout metaphor that, um, works brilliantly for people who like plans and structure when it comes to self-development (To Do lists can be spiritual if you do them right!).

Coach and author Kate’s zest for life shines through the pages and will encourage anyone reading to ditch the self-doubt and create and embrace a more joyous existence.

Buy for £9.38 (New World Library).

Your Mental Health Workout

by Zoë Aston

Zoë says: ‘I want to make your mind a happier place to be.’

We say: Another book using the workout metaphor, and another one that works. Great for anyone already into physical fitness but who could do with working on their mental health.

Zoë — who is a psychotherapist as well as a mental health consultant for boutique fitness brands like Barry’s Bootcamp — has created a five-week plan of simple (and mostly free) daily and weekly workouts, including mindfulness, social connection and self-care, that will 100% lead to a change in how you feel.

Buy for £16.99 (Yellow Kite Books).

Why Woo-Woo Works: The Surprising Science Behind Meditation, Reiki, Crystals, And Other Alternative Practices

by Dr David Hamilton

Dr David says: ‘The ideas behind some of these holistic therapies have been around for millennia — but now we have scientific evidence demonstrating how they can contribute to physical, emotional and energetic healing too.’

We say: One for the curious cynics out there (if you think you’re a cynic but you’ve read this far, we are most definitely talking to you).

Chemist and mind-body expert Dr David delves into the ‘woo woo’ practices that are becoming more mainstream — meditation, reiki, law of attraction and even crystals — and explains the (surprising) science behind how these things work, and thus can work for you.

Buy for £8.50 (Hay House).

How To Do The Work: Recognise Your Patterns, Heal From Your Past, And Create Your Self

by Dr Nicole LePera

Dr Nicole says: ‘You’re not broken, it’s not too late. You don’t have to live with it. And you can heal yourself.’

We say: Not for the faint-hearted, How To Do The Work tackles the kind of subjects often reserved for therapy sessions (Dr Nicole is a trained psychologist who spent years working in Manhattan clinics before setting up her Instagram account — @theholisticpsychologist — as a way of sharing the healing modalities she was using to complement more traditional talk therapy).

As well as strategies for uncovering, and then dealing with, some of the gnarlier self-help issues, such as limiting beliefs and childhood trauma, this book also reveals Dr Nicole’s own healing journey and has a huge online community network that acts as a brilliant support system for anyone ready to do ‘the work’.

Buy for £16.99 (Orion).

Therapy Is… Magic

by Jo Love

Jo says: ‘You are allowed to grow slow.’

We say: Therapy is… magic. But it’s also uncomfortable, awkward, overwhelming, eye-opening, a privilege, hard and a constant learning process.

How do we know? Because Jo Love tells us so. And Jo should know because she’s been having therapy for 18-plus years.

She had already been capturing and sharing her mental health journey online via brilliant doodles and illustrations, and in this memoir-meets-how-to guide she shares everything she wishes she’d known when she first embarked upon this therapeutic journey.

Buy for £14.99 (Yellow Kite Books).

Trusting The Gold: Learning To Nurture Your Inner Light

by Tara Brach

Tara says: ‘Within us all lives an innate goodness, our gold that often gets covered over as we navigate the challenges of daily life.’

We say: A beautiful pocket book that we are giving to everyone we love this Christmas.

Short chapters and verses offer gentle wisdom and jewels of insight rooted in meditation expert Tara’s loving awareness teachings.

A book designed to be dipped in and out of as needed, Trusting The Gold holds the gift of comfort and peace.

Buy for £12.99 (Penguin).

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