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Have you ever gone to a friend and said, “I just need to talk about something to make sure I’m not crazy.” Odds are, many of us have had those moments of “Is it just me…?” and without the consolation of a friend or confidante, it can be quite challenging to get out of your own thoughts and see things for the way they really are. 

If you think about it, this is exactly how certain books operate; through the author’s experiences, and the poetry of the words, you can experience those moments of clarity where you realize, “Wow, other people experience these things, too.” You’ll feel less isolated in your experiences and journey towards mental health. 

While there are dozens and dozens of novels, journals, bios and stories on mental health, we compiled a list of eight books that we feel will offer you fresh perspectives, healthy outlooks and tools for creating a mentally healthy life. 

1. Love Does, by Bob Goff

Bob challenges the reader, through the most lighthearted, gentle and deeply profound personal stories to turn love into more than just a feeling, but into action. When love does, wild adventures happen and what might have felt like a hum-drum, boring life suddenly turns into one of joy, excitement and, obviously, love. Instead of trying to do everything right and live life the way everyone says you should, Bob offers a different path, that is one of selfless loving. Through his experiences, he proves that when love does, life takes on a whole new meaning.

2. Girl, Wash Your Face, by Rachel Hollis 

Rachel Hollis gets right into the heart of the matter by laying out twenty lies we tell ourselves frequently – “I’m defined by my weight,” “I’m a horrible mom,” “I’ll never get out of this” – and debunking them all. Witty, raw, challenging and hopefully, Girl, Wash Your Face provides its readers with the truth that even though everyone might look like they have it all together and you’re the last one on Earth to figure it out, no one is what their social media portrays. So instead of chasing perfectionism, she gives her readers tools to chase truth, authenticity and vulnerability.

3. The Gift of Imperfection, by Brené Brown 

In her years of time spent as a shame researcher, Brené Brown discovered the gift of living wholeheartedly, the things which get in the way and the freedom which arises when wholeheartedly living is one’s goal. Through the 10 Guideposts laid out in the book, Brown walks her readers through the temptation of living a “perfect” life, teaches them how to recognize and shut down the voice of shame and overall encourages compassionate, courageous and connected living. A New York Times-Bestseller and labeled one of the “Five Books That Will Actually Change Your Outlook On Life,” by Forbes magazine, Brown’s book will help its readers overcome fear and self-consciousness in the pursuit of who they are meant to be, and not who everyone says they should be.

4. How to Come Alive Again: A Guide to Killing Your Monsters, by Beth McColl 

McColl covers it all – how to reach out for help for a mental illness, how to persevere through hard days, what to expect from one’s partner, even what it’s like to struggle with a mental illness. A book for those who currently are struggling, who have a struggling family member or who simply want to learn and understand more. McColl gives an all-encompassing look and guide to living life regardless of mental illness, because in her experience, you are not your mental disorder.

5. How to Fail: Everything I’ve Learned From Things Going Wrong, by Elizabeth Day

Day’s experiences taught her that failure is important, welcome and valuable, which, as a perfectionist, was a hard lesson to learn. However, her writing reminds her readers that growth comes from messing it all up. In her words, “I have evolved more as a result of things going wrong than when everything seemed to be going right. Out of crisis has come clarity, and sometimes even catharsis.”

6. Detox Your Thoughts, by Andrea Bonior, Ph.D.

Using tips and techniques from CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy) and mindfulness, Detox Your Thoughts gives readers concrete tools with which to banish that nasty, negative voice from one’s mind. By learning to reframe one’s thoughts in a positive manner and seeing things through the perspective of reality versus emotion, self-compassion and healthy navigation of one’s own thoughts becomes possible. 

7. Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow, by Elizabeth Lesser

Focused on building resilience, Lesser shares both her stories and those of others to bring readers a new perspective on hardships and difficult times. Instead of allowing difficulties in our lives to pull the rug out from under us, leaving us winded and defeated, she encourages her readers to see hardship as an opportunity to be transformed and renewed as a result of being broken open.

Support for mental health 

For additional mental health support, or to speak with a counselor on growing mental health awareness, contact Pyramid Family Behavioral Healthcare today at 678-274-4936.

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