8 books to read for better mental health

·4-min read

With one in four adults reporting feeling lonely some or all of the time, it seems fitting that the emphasis of this year's Mental Health Awareness week is Loneliness.

There are many reasons we feel lonely and its prevalence in society suggests something has gone wrong in the way we operate and commune with each other. Like with everything, getting to the root cause of your dissatisfaction and feeling bettter takes time and patience, but one thing that you can do now is pick up a book.

Self help books have had a bad rep in the past as fodder for Bridget Jones style figures, but with the proliferation of podcasts, self help apps and the wellness movement, they have had a well overdue renaissance.

The Shelf Help Club is a book club and community dedicated to self-help and boosting our self worth and, as Mental Health Awareness week kicks off, they recommend seven reads to reinvigorate your emotional wellbeing.

1. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

A gentle but firm guide to accepting, owning and - even better! - loving our so-called 'imperfections', because they are what make us, us.

Buy it here.

2. Self-care for the Real World by Nadia Narain and Katia Narain-Phillips

A better relationship with our self starts with self-care, because once we start treating ourselves like somebody we care about we are sending a message to our subconscious - and the world - that we value ourselves and know that we are worthy and deserve happiness and kindness. Because we do deserve it, whatever we look like.

Buy it here.

 (Self-care for the real world)
(Self-care for the real world)

3. The Kindness Method by Shahroo Izadi

Behavioural change specialist and psychologist Izadi works a lot with food and alcohol addicts and says being that comfortable in our own skin is all about the way we talk to and treat ourselves: She told us: "Many of us wait to be kinder to ourselves once we've achieved our goals. If we start being kinder to ourselves regardless, we'll actually achieve our goals more quickly."

Buy it here.

4. Brave New Girl by Chloe Brotheridge

The only way to improve our confidence - in any area of life - is by pushing through our comfort zone. Anxiety expert Brotheridge says: "Confidence is not something we either have or don't have - it can be built!" This straightforward guide will show you how.

Buy it here.

5. Feel the Fear by Susan Jeffers

A classic on building confidence and learning to look at ourselves in new and more positive ways. Jeffers reminds us that it's ok to feel scared of something - whether that's going to the gym, drinking less, changing our eating habits or trying out a new look - and, in fact, that this is the only way we know we are doing something right!

Buy it here.

6. Eat It Anyway by Eve Simmons and Laura Dennison

The anti-diet book from the brilliant (sometimes controversial) Not Plant-Based girls who want us to 'fight food fads, beat anxiety and eat in peace.' Sounds bliss, right? It is.

Buy it here.

7. Crazy Good by Steve Chandler

A book about choices, because life is actually a result of our choices, including how we decide to see ourselves, how we look after ourselves and what we decide we want to achieve for ourselves. An easy-to-read and inspiring guide to living a 'crazy good' life by somebody who has also experienced a pretty rough one.

Buy it here.

8. Lost Connections by Johann Hari

Perhaps the most pertinent read for our lonely generation is the award-winning journalist Johann Hari’s book Lost connections. Hari, was inspired to examine the cause of depression and loneliness after his own lifetime battle with the disease and journey with antidepressants. In the course of researching his book he discovered that community and connection are the secrets to true happiness, but our society has been programmed to place value on the wrong things.

He writes, “You aren’t a machine with broken parts. You are an animal whose needs are not being met. You need to have a community...You need to have meaningful work. You need the natural world. You need to feel you are respected. You need a secure future. You need connections to all these things. You need to release any shame you might feel for having been mistreated.”

Buy it here.

 (Lost Connections Johann Hari)
(Lost Connections Johann Hari)
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