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The 11 Best Mental Health Books To Cope With Whatever Life Throws At You

These are handpicked by psych experts.

mental health books, best mental health books of 2022
Christine Giordano

Some people take care of their mental health by exercising daily, practicing stress-relieving strategies, or tuning into their favorite podcasts. Others like to curl up with a book on the couch or in bed. You may know that entertaining stories can distract you from your troubles IRL, but you may not realize that you can also become better at dealing with the ups and downs of life through mental health books.

In fact, reading can be extremely helpful for mental health, says Amber Robinson, LMFT,a licensed psychotherapist based in Los Angeles. Just pausing and sitting down to read disrupts the hectic pace of your day and helps you slow down. Learning something new can also boost your self-confidence, improve your memory, and boost your brain health, she adds.

Don't know where to start? Here are psych experts' favorite reads. There is something for everyone, whether you're struggling with anxiety, burnout, trauma, grief, or something else.

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1
Best For Anxiety
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
Now 56% off
2
Best For Boundaries
Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life
Now 20% off
3
Best For Burnout
Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle
Now 43% off
4
Best For Depression
Living Untethered: Beyond the Human Predicament
Now 21% off
5
Best For Emotional Well-Being
A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose
Now 46% off
6
Best Fiction
Where the Crawdads Sing
Now 45% off
7
Best For Self-Love
Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself
Now 29% off
8
Best For Grief
Bearing the Unbearable: Love, Loss, and the Heartbreaking Path of Grief
Now 15% off
9
Best For Minority Mental Health
Willow Weep for Me: A Black Woman's Journey Through Depression
Now 14% off
10
Best For Relationships
The Mastery of Love: A Practical Guide to the Art of Relationship
Now 27% off
11
Best For Trauma
Man's Search for Meaning
Now 20% off
12
How To Choose A Mental Health Book
young asian woman taking a break, having a quiet time enjoying a cup of coffee and reading book in cafe
d3signGetty Images

When choosing one that'll be helpful for you, Robinson recommends paying attention to the tone. “Mark Manson's The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*** is going to read much differently than Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth. Both are great books, but both may not appeal to the same audience,” she explains.

You'll also want to look for a medium that works for your lifestyle, says Carla Marie Manly, PhD, a clinical psychologist, author, and speaker. Do you prefer an audio format, an eBook you can leaf through during your commute, or a physical copy that you can hold in your hands? She also suggests considering your educational level. “If the book is too advanced or too low-level, you will be far less engaged in the content than if the book level feels just right,” she says. And of course, if the book is addressing what you're interested in, you'll be more likely to stick with it to the end. Are you curious about anxiety or burnout, need guidance on navigating depression, or want advice on building boundaries?

Another important element to search for is exercises that can help you reinforce what you've absorbed. “Change is far more likely to manifest if you deeply process what you are reading via actual exercises,” Manly says. This way, you are not just taking in new information, but you also have the opportunity to apply it.

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