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10 great books about wellbeing and mental health

January 11, 2021

Many of us have been reflecting more on our lives recently. Here are 10 of the best books to read if you’re looking for inspiration, wisdom, practical advice and personal development – all recommended by members of the ieso team. They’re a mixture of personal stories, self-help guides and motivational books.

The Power of Vulnerability – Dr Brené Brown

One of Brené’s many books on dealing with being a human, based on her TED talk. Vulnerability tends to be associated with weakness, but through 12 years of research Brené discovered it’s actually our strongest connection to our humanity and each other, and helps us to be innovative, adaptable and creative. She explains that by cultivating vulnerability, and dropping our guard, we can lead richer and more meaningful lives.

Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds – David Goggins

This is a combination of an autobiography and a self-help book. The author tells a powerful and motivating story about how he defeated significant obstacles to transform himself into a US Armed Forces icon and one of the world's top endurance athletes. He reveals that most of us tap into only 40% of our capabilities, and explains how we can push through our limitations to achieve our full potential.

Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Happier Life – Arianna Huffington

The co-founder of the Huffington Post looks to redefine what it means to be successful in today’s world. She describes how money and power all too often lead to a reduced quality of life, and introduces the idea that to live a healthy, productive and meaningful life we need a third metric. Exploring how we can connect with what truly matters, Arianna draws on her own personal experiences as well as research and scientific findings.

Breaking Negative Thinking Patterns – Gitta Jacob, Hannie Genderen and Laura Seebauer

This self-help book is designed to help the reader understand and overcome negative patterns of thinking and behaviour. It focuses specifically on schema-mode therapy – which looks at our moment-to-moment emotional states, and coping responses. The book includes case studies, techniques for overcoming dysfunctional modes and behaviour patterns, and exercises that we can immediately apply to real-world challenges and emotional problems.

Reasons to Stay Alive – Matt Haig

Matt’s own account of the sudden deterioration in mental health he experienced in his twenties. He takes us through how he overcame major depression and anxiety disorder – which left him feeling that he couldn’t go on – and learned to live again. Light, heart-warming and funny in places, this book is about making the most of our time on earth.

The Happiness Trap: Stop Struggling, Start Living – Russ Harris

This slightly more technical book is designed to help people uncover the thinking processes that keep them stuck in a vicious cycle of striving for happiness. Russ shares his approach to escaping the trap, which is based on mindfulness skills, using the principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to reduce stress and worry, handle painful thoughts and feelings, and break self-defeating habits.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy For Dummies – Rhena Branch

Written by two CBT therapists, this bestselling guide helps you apply the principles of CBT in your everyday life. Using straightforward language and keeping it light, it provides a low level introduction to CBT, and why our brains and bodies work like they do. It includes exercises to help the reader identify and address unhealthy modes of thinking that are holding them back.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F* – Mark Manson

Telling it like it is, the author – a famous blogger – gives readers a freeing way of seeing the world, showing us that if we stop trying to be positive all the time we can truly become better, happier people. Backed by academic research, he explains that by accepting our flaws, limitations, fears and uncertainties instead we can lead more contented and grounded lives.

The Midnight Library – Matt Haig

Another goodie from Matt Haig! This time a novel, in which he explores the best way to live. Nora Seed’s life has been full of regret, but the books in the Midnight Library enable her to live as if she’d done things differently. With the help of an old friend, she can now undo every one of her regrets as she tries to work out her perfect life; but things aren't what she imagined they'd be.

The Overcoming Series – Peter Cooper

We’re cheating a bit with this one, because it’s actually a series of 31 books! The set covers topics including depression, childhood trauma, low self-esteem, binge eating, social anxiety and shyness. Each guide explains the difficulty really clearly, and gives lots of practical suggestions for overcoming it, in line with evidence-based CBT strategies and techniques.

ieso Online Therapy
This blog has been written by a member of the clinical team at ieso.

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