Back in 2019, I had a goal of reading a book a month for a year. As much as I enjoy reading. I’ve never been a fast reader, It takes me weeks to finish one book so I made the realistic goal of a month per book and I’m happy to report that I succeeded! The main genre of books that I read were self-help books. I’ve mentioned before on the blog that I’ve suffered from depression, anxiety, and body dysmorphia. I personally enjoy reading about others who have been battling their mental illnesses for years and how they have learned to live with their struggles.
I wanted to reflect back on eight of the self-help books that I read over the years that inspired me and impacted my life. Hopefully, if you’re struggling you can find at least one of these books helpful.
*DISCLAIMER: Links included in this post might be affiliate links. If you make a purchase with the links I provide, I may receive a small commission at no additional charge to you.
Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig
Probably the most popular self-help book on this list. What I appreciated from this book was how relatable Matt made depression sound. There were many times where I felt like he was reading my mind! I remember reading somewhere that this book made Matt seem like a white privileged man who has no reason to complain, and he doesn’t, but if anything this just shows how much mental illness doesn’t discriminate and that we shouldn’t judge someone just because they look like they have a wonderful life on the outside, inside they could be battling their inner demons. He also offered many tips on how to cope with your mental health issues which I found very helpful. To this day. I have many quotes from this book written in my journals to remind myself of reasons to stay alive.
Notes On A Nervous Planet by Matt Haig
After reading Matt Haig’s previous book I went ahead and bought this one. I didn’t like Notes On A Nervous Planet as much as Reasons To Stay Alive. RTSA was more about depression whereas NOANP talked more about anxiety. NOANP talked about how much social media has affected our society and that is what’s making us unhappy and anxious. However, compared to RTSA I didn’t find this book as helpful as RTSA, if anything, It made me want to not spend as much time online (which I already don’t like doing anyway) and just appreciate the little things in life. It’s still a good read but if you have to pick one I would recommend Reasons To Stay Alive.
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
This was the first self-help book that I read. When I first saw the cover of this book I was immediately turned off, I’m not religious and not interested in reading about anything that has to do with religion but I went in with an open mind because a friend recommended it to me. After reading it though, I can say it’s more spiritual-based and while it does mention religion it doesn’t preach anything down your throat. Now I won’t spoil what the four agreements are (I’m pretty sure a quick search will bring them up for you) in case you are interested in reading this book. In fact, you don’t even get to the first agreement until you’ve read 1/3 of the book! I do agree with the four agreements and think we could all benefit if we followed them. Don Miguel also has an entire chapter on how to break past agreements and unlearn your previous behaviors that are most likely keeping you from evolving as a human. The Four Agreements is very insightful and I would recommend it to anyone, I know there is also a fifth agreement book that came out a few years ago which is on my TBR list.
Shiny Happy Person: Finding The Sun Between Clouds Of Depression by Terri Cox
In this book, Terri tells the story of how she developed her mental illnesses. This book talked more about bully culture and anxiety and how it can affect you years later. I really felt for Terri and all she experienced as a child. Terri’s story was very engaging but she also cracked in some jokes which made it an enjoyable read. Again, it just shows that mental illnesses don’t care or judge you based on what your life looks like.
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
This is more of a read for creatives but I wanted to add it to the list because creativity affects my mental health regularly. In Big Magic, Elizabeth explains creativity in a way that’s easy to digest and makes sense to any reader. One part that really stood out to me was the part where she talks about having an idea and then having that idea “stolen” but in reality, that idea just left you because you couldn’t make that idea come to life. This was so eye-opening to me! I mean, how many of us does this happen to!?!? It’s kind of beautiful to think of actually. This is a wonderful book to read if you’re stuck in a creative runt and need some inspiration.
Life On High Alert by Hannah Rainey
I found out about Life On High Alert because Hannah used to be a blogger of the Little Thoughts blog. Hannah is incredibly brave for sharing her journey of struggle. Even though I didn’t know too much about CPTSD before reading this book I could relate to Hannah and the hunger she had for trying to figure out what’s wrong with her, I think many of us have been there. It just shows that no matter how traumatic your situation you can overcome and come out stronger on the other side.
Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Kamal Ravikant
So, I just found out that there is a new edition of this book that’s longer and has a different cover so maybe I’ll check out the new extended edition. The copy that I bought was around $5 and a short 59-page book. However, in that short read, I learned so many things that may seem simple but it really spoke to me! Kamal talks about how you should just love yourself. No matter what your situation is just keep telling yourself that you love yourself, words have such power over us so when you continue to tell yourself that you love yourself (even if you don’t) you’ll eventually trick your subconscious into believing that you do fact love yourself. It’s like manifesting loving yourself! He obviously, goes into much more detail in the book and talks about his story, meditation, self-love, etc. I highly recommend picking up this book because it’s one of my favorites self-help books.
Radical Self-Love: A Guide To Loving Yourself And Living Your Dreams by Gala Darling
I’ve followed Gala Darling for a while but I was surprised to see that she made a self-love/self-help book. I have always been in awe of Gala’s confidence so reading this was like going inside of Gala’s mind. In this book, Gala talks about all the tips and tools that helped her embrace Radical Self-Love. I learned how much power you truly have over your life and that if you aren’t living up to your full potential you can also change yourself! This book also talks a lot about manifestation and even
magick magic. Gala also talks about how she was able to “cure” her illnesses like asthma, back pain, depression, and even an eating disorder thanks to tapping. Now, I’ve tried tapping (my consoler recommend it to me) and while I don’t practice it regularly the way Gala talks about tapping makes it sounds like it’s real magic and I guess I’m just jealous/disappointed that I haven’t had the same experience as she has.
What’s your favorite self-help book?