7 Important Books About Mental Health

These insightful reads offer guidance and comfort in an uncertain world.

The COVID-19 crisis will go down as one of the most trying times in modern history. For many of us, living through the pandemic means struggling with isolation from friends and family, confronting the challenges of at-home learning, shouldering the burden of underemployment or job loss, or mourning the loss of a loved one. 

To help you cope, we’ve put together this list of mental health books. We hope that these books will offer guidance and comfort. Stay strong and stay safe, everyone. We’ll get through this together.

By Brandon Miller

Permission to Feel

By Marc Brackett, Ph.D.

In Permission to Feel, Yale University professor Marc Brackett explores the transformative power of fully feeling our emotions and recognizing the emotions of others. As the founding director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, Brackett has spent years studying the mental well-being of children and adults and evaluating emotional health in the school, work, and home environments. Brackett’s newly published book is the culmination of this research. Readers will learn about the concept of emotional intelligence, how to identify emotions in others, and how to regulate your emotions effectively. Most importantly, you’ll learn why giving yourself permission to express your emotions will lead to a more emotionally healthy life.

Practicing Mindfulness

By Matthew Sockolov

In Practicing Mindfulness, Matthew Sockolov offers a straightforward guide to meditating at home and using mindfulness techniques to reduce stress, improve mental health, and quiet the mind amidst the noise and uncertainty of the outside world. Sockolov presents 75 effective exercises designed to deliver calmness and elicit compassion, and he shares meditation techniques that you can begin practicing today.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone

By Lori Gottlieb

In this New York Times bestseller, author, advice columnist, and psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb offers a behind-the-scenes look at the world of therapy, chronicling her search for answers as both a clinician and a patient. With candor and wit, Gottlieb shares the lessons she’s learned as a licensed therapist in Los Angeles while also seeking out therapy herself. The result is an illuminating account of the human condition that will appeal to therapy skeptics and devotees alike. 

Declutter Your Mind

By S.J. Scott and Barrie Davenport

If one book speaks to our overstressed minds, this is it. Declutter Your Mind focuses on quieting the mind, which in turn relieves anxiety and curbs negative thinking. The narrative is part mindfulness manual — it includes exercises — and part exploration of the science of stress. You’ll learn how to recognize mental clutter and how to get rid of it. What’s more, Declutter Your Mind will help you reframe negativity and filter out distractions — both vital strategies for surviving in today’s world.

The Mind-Gut Connection

By Emeran Mayer

We often seek to treat issues of the body without considering a connection to the brain. Dr. Emeran Mayer wants you to fully grasp the relationship between your gut and your mind. Indeed, our stomachs and our brains are inextricably linked, and understanding this connection allows you to take better care of yourself.  In The Mind-Gut Connection, Mayer, the executive director of the UCLA Center for Neurobiology of Stress, shows you how to harness the power of mind-gut communication and take control of your physical and mental well-being.

The Upside of Stress

By Kelly McGonigal

We’ve been conditioned to avoid stress at all costs, but in The Upside of Stress, Dr. Kelly McGonigal seeks to reframe our approach. Drawing on psychological research, McGonigal posits that our wholly negative view of stress in fact contributes to stress’s harmful impact. Her book doesn’t seek to rid you of stress so much as change your understanding of it – which will in turn reveal the benefits that stress can have on your energy levels, your ability to focus, and your personal relationships.

Happier at Home

By Gretchen Rubin

In Happier at Home, Gretchen Rubin, author of the blockbuster bestseller The Happiness Project, delivers a life lesson that couldn’t be more relevant to today: how to make your home a happier, healthier place. Blending scholarship and philosophy with memoir, Rubin offers a moving meditation on the emotional importance of hearth and home and shares concrete tips for making your home a place of comfort, warmth, and love. At the center of Rubin’s narrative is her September to May project, in which the author undertakes a new experiment each month to elevate the health of her home and her family.

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