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Self-help books may benefit people experiencing certain mental health conditions, as they can provide techniques and strategies to navigate difficult situations and feelings.
This article features 16 self-help books to consider and explains what each has to offer.
- Best for negative thinking: Declutter Your Mind
- Best for living in the present moment: A New Earth
- Best for depression: Your Happiness Toolkit
- Best for insomnia: Say Good Night to Insomnia
- Best for trauma and PTSD: Struggle Well: Thriving in the Aftermath of Trauma
- Best for stress: The Strengths-Based Workbook for Stress Relief
- Best for productivity: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
- Best for creativity: Big Magic
- Best for a financial roadmap: The One-Page Financial Plan
- Best for parenting: The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read
- Best for organization: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
- Best for mindfulness: The Power of Awakening
- Best for personal fulfillment: The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life
- Best for physical health and well-being: Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art
- Best for twenty-somethings: The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter and How to Make the Most of Them Now
- Best for understanding human emotions: Atlas of the Heart
Self-help refers to using specific tools to navigate and improve certain situations or mental states.
Self-help books can enable a person to put coping techniques into place themselves, without the need for a therapist, between therapy sessions, or in addition to a treatment plan.
In the list of books below, we cover various topics and techniques a person may consider.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication. Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.
Best self-help book for negative thinking: Declutter Your Mind
This book may benefit people with anxiety or those who experience unhelpful and difficult thoughts.
It uses mindfulness techniques to help reframe unhelpful thoughts and improve or end difficult relationships.
It also includes information about meditation, deep breathing, and goal-setting practices.
Declutter Your Mind costs around $4 on Kindle or around $15 in paperback.
Best self-help book for living in the present moment: A New Earth
Published in 2008, this book by bestselling author Eckhart Tolle remains popular. It focuses on mindfulness and spirituality.
A New Earth aims to teach people how to live in the moment and navigate conflict and difficulties more effectively.
It costs around $14 on Kindle or around $7 in paperback.
Best self-help book for depression: Your Happiness Toolkit
The author of this book, Carrie M. Wrigley, is a counselor and public mental health educator and claims to have developed the book over 30 years.
It provides 16 self-help tools to overcome depression and other emotional challenges.
The author says the book can also help those experiencing anxiety, addictions, abuse, trauma, grief, relationship difficulties, and low self-esteem. Caregivers may find this book helpful, too.
Your Happiness Toolkit is available for around $8 on Kindle or around $16 in paperback.
Best self-help book for insomnia: Say Good Night to Insomnia
This book provides a 6-week program to combat insomnia, developed and tested by Harvard Medical School alongside sleep expert Dr. Gregg D. Jacobs.
The author takes a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) approach to promote healthy sleep behaviors. The book also offers relaxation and stress reduction techniques and ways to improve negative thoughts about sleep.
Say Good Night To Insomnia costs around $12 on Kindle or around $10 in paperback.
Best self-help book for trauma and PTSD: Struggle Well: Thriving in the Aftermath of Trauma
The co-authors of this book are veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The book provides techniques for people who have experienced trauma to help them make peace with their past experiences, live in the present, and build a better future for themselves.
Struggle Well: Thriving in the Aftermath of Trauma is available for around $10 on Kindle or around $16 in paperback.
Best self-help book for stress: The Strengths-Based Workbook for Stress Relief
This workbook provides tips and strategies to help people learn about their character strengths and how to use them to achieve happiness and eliminate stress.
The author is a psychologist, coach, and workshop leader.
The Strengths-Based Workbook for Stress Relief costs around $14 on Kindle or around $19 in paperback form.
Best self-help book for productivity: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
This book is a New York Times bestseller and has been available for over 30 years.
Although initially written as a book for business leaders, Stephen R. Covey focused on applying the contents to everyday life, too. The book can help people adapt to change and make the most of the opportunities this change creates.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People costs around $14 on Kindle or around $13 in paperback.
Best self-help book for creativity: Big Magic
Elizabeth Gilbert is a bestselling author of both fiction and nonfiction books. This particular book may help people who are experiencing a creative block.
Subtitled Creative living beyond fear, it provides techniques and ways to draw out inspiration and creativity. It debunks the preconceived idea that to be an artist, a person must be troubled or come from a dark place.
Big Magic is available for around $12 on Kindle or around $13 in paperback.
Best self-help book for a financial roadmap: The One-Page Financial Plan
This book helps people focus on their financial goals and offers advice on how to cope when things do not go as expected.
The author, Carl Richards, is a certified financial planner and director of an investor education company.
The One-Page Financial Plan costs around $5 on Kindle or around $16 in paperback.
Best self-help book for parenting: The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read
This bestselling book, written by parent and psychotherapist Philippa Perry, aims to help parents understand their own upbringing and how this influences them.
It aims to help readers break negative cycles and accept that they will make mistakes and learn from them. It also offers advice on how parents can handle their children’s feelings.
The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read costs around $13 on Kindle and around $14 in paperback.
Best self-help book for organization: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
This is a slightly different topic around self-help. Written by Japanese decluttering consultant Marie Kondo, the book provides methods to organize a person’s home properly, once and for all.
By helping to arrange and order household items, an individual may find greater peace of mind and find it easier to relax in their own space.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up costs around $10 on Kindle and around $13 in paperback.
Best self-help book for mindfulness: The Power of Awakening
Subtitled Mindfulness practices and spiritual tools to transform your life, this bestseller focuses on the teachings of inspirational speaker and spiritual teacher Dr. Wayne W. Dyer. It helps guide readers toward self-realization, using mindfulness tools to break old patterns and spark transformation.
It covers meditation and visualization techniques, and it can help move beyond ego and material pursuits to see how they impact daily life.
The Power of Awakening costs around $2 on Kindle and around $12 for paperback.
Best self-help book on personal fulfillment: The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life
David Brooks has written this for people who might feel unfulfilled even though they followed advice to “go to school, get a job, be successful.” He says that was the first mountain, and this book is about climbing a second mountain, one that brings meaning and purpose.
It’s a read for someone ready to commit to something bigger yet simple, for example, exploring what might result if they seek to commit to family or community.
The Second Mountain costs around $14 on Kindle and around $10 in paperback.
Best self-help book for physical health and well-being: Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art
People have done it subconsciously for years, and this bestseller explores just how rooted they are to their breath, how it affects health and well-being, and how they may be doing it wrong.
Author James Nestor is a journalist who embarked on an investigative adventure to discover the science behind the breath, and he breaks it all down here.
Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art costs around $15 on Kindle and around $10 for the paperback.
Best self-help book for twenty-somethings: The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter and How to Make the Most of Them Now
For twenty-somethings, this book explores why and how to view this decade as a transformative time. It leans on scientific research and stories from individuals in their twenties to create a guide on how to make the absolute best of these years.
Author Meg Jay, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and associate professor of education at the University of Virginia.
The Defining Decade costs around $12 on Kindle and around $13 in paperback.
Best self-help book for understanding human emotions: Atlas of the Heart
Author and researcher Brené Brown rose to fame for her research on shame, and her most recent book dives into 87 emotions that make up the human condition.
More than just understanding these emotions, Atlas of the Heart provides tactics and tools for responding to them in a way that helps build connections to others and the world.
Atlas of the Heart costs around $14 on Kindle and around $20 in paperback.
When looking for a self-help book, a person may consider areas where they could use support and would like to target, such as:
- negative thinking
- financial planning
Individuals may also wish to consider the author and their background, as they may prefer a book written by a trained expert or someone with first-hand experience of the topic they are addressing.
A person may also wish to consider various techniques within a self-help book, as different methods may work for individuals. Some examples include:
- CBT: This is a technique that challenges negative thoughts and behaviors. It provides a platform to develop goals and form new thoughts, ideas, and expectations.
- Mindfulness: This technique allows people to be in the present moment and focus on things happening both inside and outside themselves. Meditation may help achieve this.
There are many self-help books available covering a wide range of topics. They include books by psychologists, counselors, and those with first-hand experience.
Self-help books address various difficulties by using methods such as mindfulness and CBT.