10 Best Mental Health Books: Books on Improving Mental Health

Actionable steps to take charge of your mental health

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Mental health is represented by the holy trinity of emotional, psychological, and social well-being. And each one of these aspects has a tremendous impact on how we feel, think, and act. Thus, it is undeniable that we need to cherish our mental health at all costs.

Regrettably, this complex mechanism often goes out of order. According to recent mental health research, 1 in 6 adults weekly experiences a mental health problem, and 1 in 5 adults has considered suicide at some point. These numbers mean two things: mental health is incredibly fragile, and, most importantly, we are not alone in our struggles.

So what to do in order not to be a part of these troubling statistics? The passage of improving your mental health is a rocky one and requires a lot of different tactics. For example, finding comfort and precious insights for dealing with mental illness from reading. For such purposes, we have cherry-picked the best mental health books for your self-growth. Even more so, there’s a special bonus for you at the end of the article. How about we get started then?

The top 10 best mental health books

1. Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns

And so our list of best books on mental health begins with a cognitive behavioral therapy must-read! In Feeling Good, Dr. Burns introduces clinically proven methods for dealing with depressed moods and anxiety. By the way, it is one of those cases when you can judge the book by its title. Because after reading, you might experience the pleasant side effect of ‘feeling good.’

2. Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions by Johann Hari

Meticulous research about the roots of depression, mind-blowing revelations about Big Pharma, and a spark of hope. These are the main reasons for Lost Connections to be at the top of the best books on improving mental health. Having traveled worldwide in search of the answers, the author Johann Hari finally composed this New York Times bestseller. His book offers a new way to look at depression through the prism of the world’s influence on our mental health. And, spoiler alert, the problem is not necessarily in your head.

3. Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World by Betsy St. Amant and Max Lucado

‘The presence of anxiety is unavoidable, but the prison of anxiety is optional.’ Makes you think, huh? And that is just one of the many sharp-witted insights from Anxious for Nothing! Thanks to his sophisticated Biblical study on anxiety, Max Lucado firmly established his name among the best mental health books. But, no matter your affiliation, you will find enlightenment in Max’s profound thoughts on the ever-lasting issue of worry.

4. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by Lori Gottlieb

Among all the books about mental health, the uniqueness of this one comes down to its double angle. Lori Gottlieb shows two perspectives of being both a therapist and a patient. The author takes you on a jarring journey of finding life’s meaning and navigating through personal struggles. Moreover, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone is particularly beneficial for those who hesitate to go for therapy and those already in this boat, wanting to get a better hang of it.

5. The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor

Do you sometimes wish to rewire your brains for a more positive outlook? Then Shawn Actor is the guy you were looking for all this time. His opus ‘The Happiness Advantage’ easily falls into the category of best self-help books about mental health. Shawn presents research-based strategies for achieving success in today’s world of never-ending worry and stress in this bestseller.

6. The End of Mental Illness by Daniel Amen

Among all the books about mental health, ‘The End of Mental Illness’ stands out for its radical paradigm. In it, Dr. Daniel Amen insists on reframing mental disorders as brain disorders. Such perspective completely changes the potential treatment of mental illnesses and destigmatizes them. In this respect, ‘The End of Mental Illness’ proposes around 100 different ways to heal and prevent brain problems. So how about making neuroscience work for you?

7. Don’t Feed the Monkey Mind: How to Stop the Cycle of Anxiety, Fear, and Worry by Jennifer Shannon

Do you need to double-check the gas every time you leave your home? Do you make lists for everything? Do you procrastinate on every task because of crippling perfectionism? Then you are feeding ‘the monkey mind’ of worry and keeping yourself in this cycle. The psychotherapist Jennifer Shannon has been there and turned her specialty in anxiety into one of the best books on mental health. Without any exaggeration,  ‘Don’t Feed the Monkey Mind’ is a handbook for every anxious person out there. It provides you with practical tips and cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to overcome that constant survival mode.

8. Dare: The New Way To End Anxiety And Panic Attacks by Barry McDonagh

Imagine you could get a step-by-step manual for battling anxiety and panic attacks! Fortunately, it is not a fantasy but a reality made possible by Barry McDonagh. He came up with the ‘DARE’ technique that has proved to be a salvation for many anxious people out there. All it takes is to give his bestseller ‘Dare’ a shot and start changing your life from the very first pages.

9. How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie

There can’t be a list of the best books for mental health without ‘How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.’ This all-time classic lives up to its fame and title, having helped millions of people. So if you’re in search of easy and time-proven strategies to overcome anxiety, Dale Carnegie has your back.

10. 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do by Amy Morin

We left this bestseller for dessert because we decided to take a deeper dive into the story of its remarkable author, Amy Morin. Plus, we have included some enlightening gems from ‘13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do’ that made it a success.

Please bear in mind that the snippets you’ll find here will be insufficient to state all you need to know about Morin and her book. Thus, you may want to read the full book, or you can find a concise summary on the Headway app. The 15-minute read will answer any lingering questions you have. And now, let’s get you acquainted with the brilliant Amy and her magnum opus!

Amy Morin: the journey to 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do

Amy Morin describes herself as an accidental author. Prior to becoming a world-famous writer, she dabbled into freelancing every once in a while. Primarily, however, she was a psychotherapist and psychiatrist. But, in dubbing herself an accidental author, Morin, perhaps, refers to the unorthodox path she took and the experiences that birthed the book. Accidental author or not, Morin is now one of the most respected individuals in the field of mental health. Her book, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do: Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change, Face Your Fears, and Train Your Brain for Happiness and Success, has been translated into over 40 languages and has sat atop the bestseller list of a lot of countries. To top it off, Morin’s TEDx talk, “The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong,” is one of the most viewed all over the world.

Before writing her book, Morin was (and still is) a psychotherapist. Thus, she was no stranger to grief. If anything, she experienced grief vicariously through the lives of her clients. More so, being used to guiding others and helping them find the light, one would think that she’d be adept at handling grief herself. That turned out not to be the case when loss found her. 

At the age of 23, Morin’s mother died of a brain aneurysm. While still reeling from the hurt and shock of this, she also lost her husband three years down the road. Not too long afterward, her father-in-law became very sick. These strings of events almost pushed Morin to depression. Trying to stay afloat regardless of the utter sense of drowning she felt, she wrote herself a note. She decided to take it a step further and share the note with the world. There was no way she could have predicted how far this piece of private correspondence would go. It resonated with a lot of people, so much so that its popularity prompted an agent to reach out to her, asking her to turn the note into a book. The 13 things she discussed in her letter formed the bedrock of what now is a bestseller. 

No doubt, the success of her book gave her a global platform. She regularly receives letters from readers who’d read her and wanted to share their own stories, too. 

Beyond 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, Morin has also written 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do and 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don’t Do. These “spin-offs” are specifically targeted towards people her first book may not have captured fully. Adapting her thoughts to best suit children, she wrote the book 13 Things Strong Kids Do. Its expected release date is 2021.

Amy Morin is a highly sought-after keynote speaker. She has been invited to speak on the subject of mental health wellness by Google, Microsoft, the American Society of Pediatrics, and others. She is currently the editor-in-chief of Verywell Mind, an online space that provides useful resources for wholesome living. 

Tidbits from 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do

As stated initially, it would be futile to condense this book into a quick read. The Headway app provides an already-made alternative. No As stated initially, it would be futile to condense this book into a quick read. The Headway app provides an already-made alternative. No doubt, the story of this remarkable woman will be nothing short of a worthwhile read. In this section, we look at some of the points you can get from the book.

“Don’t be too hard on yourself. There are plenty of people willing to do that for you.”

Susan Gale

Pity is terrible cologne

Unlike what most people believe, it is actually very easy to wallow in self-pity. This is because, in part, it relieves the individual of the responsibility of actually moving ahead. When hit by any unsavory life situation, getting up might be rather hard. Thus, indulging in self-pity often seems like a great alternative to explore. 

However, Morin reveals in 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do that strong people avoid self-pity. When they hit a block and fall flat on their faces, they get up and move on. That way, they do not hand over their power to the circumstance they found themselves in.

People-pleasing is overrated

People-pleasing is, actually, a trait associated with weak people. According to Morin, strong people realize that they stand the risk of burnout if they focus on what other people want. Sure, it is a good thing to be the best versions of ourselves. It is also recommended that we be kind, empathetic, and helpful to those around us. However, it becomes problematic when you actively seek to make others happy, even at your own expense.

Letting go is an act of strength

Morin teaches that one of the signs of a strong person is the ability to let things go. Weak people obsess over the past, over mistakes, and the things that happened in yesteryears. They shed tears about the proverbial spilled milk. However, strong people do the opposite. They acknowledge that focusing on the past or what went wrong is one way to remain stuck. To move forward, such a person has to realize that letting go is perhaps the best thing for them in that situation.

“Rejection means you’re reaching for something bigger and better. It says you’re stepping outside of your comfort zone and stretching yourself to see how far you can go.”

Amy Morin

Learning never ends

If there is one thing strong people master, it is the ability to ask, “what can I learn from this experience?” At every point, even when they are flat on the ground, a strong person prioritizes learning. They understand that they may indeed be unable to change the past but that the future is within their grasp. Thus, they do all that they can to make sure that they learn to avoid the mistakes of the past and move on.

Amy Morin’s story is a gripping tale of persistence, hard work, and a commitment to thriving regardless of obstacles. These traits are lacking in the average person. Thus, it makes a great deal of sense to read her book, which she has said, is a compendium of all she has learned over the years. Besides, millions of people cannot be wrong. The huge buy-in both Morin and 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do enjoy surely speaks to the book’s efficacy. You can confirm all of these yourself by grabbing a copy of the book. If you’d rather read a shorter version first, the Headway app has a summarized version of the book for your reading pleasure.

Being mentally strong isn’t about toughing it out in situations that drain your energy. Instead, it’s important to create a life that helps you flourish. So while sometimes it’s important to work on changing yourself, at other times it’s important to change your environment.”

Amy Morin

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