Depression can be a complicated and frustrating beast. It can deplete you of both your mental and physical energy, and it can affect your self-esteem, relationships, and performance at school and work. In some cases, it can make you question your purpose and your life in general.
Although your symptoms can feel debilitating, treatment is available. Self-help depression books can help fill in the gaps between psychotherapy, medication, and other means of support. Let’s dive into the top books to add to your reading list this year.
With over three million copies in print, this book is a national bestseller and a common recommendation among mental health professionals. Dr. Burns provides a passionate, evidence-based approach for depression treatment that helps target:
Identifying and changing negative thoughts
Coping with guilt
Approaching hostility and criticism with grace
Identifying triggers that cause mood swings
Increasing happiness and joy
This book follows a cognitive-behavioral therapy approach. Dr. Burns introduces how negative thoughts relate to negative behaviors and feelings. Subsequently, by analyzing and reframing those thoughts, you can learn to cope with your depression healthily and productively. This book introduces several exercises to help cement and drive this crucial point home.
You know that mindfulness exercises are important to your physical and emotional well-being. And when harnessed correctly and frequently, they may just be the key to happiness.
This book debunks the notion that we can just “think” our ways out of a miserable mood. It also discusses how this shortsighted philosophy can backfire, in the sense that it leads us feeling more depressed and insecure.
Instead, the book focuses on how meditation and staying present can help with finding reconnection within your feelings and transforming your sense of self-esteem. Even if you already meditate, this book will provide you with additional guidance for increased mindfulness.
Three is no question that depression often ravages self-esteem. After all, it’s challenging to feel confident with yourself when you struggle with intense feelings of guilt, shame, worthlessness, or hopelessness. That said, it’s hard to discern if low self-esteem comes before the depression or vice versa.
This workbook encourages you to focus on increasing self-compassion and inner acceptance. By loving yourself, you can be kinder to yourself, which often makes depression far more manageable. In this simple, 5-step program, you’ll learn how to navigate and challenge your inner critic and find the courage to live a new life with bravery and confidence.
Johann Hari, an award-winning journalist, set out to learn more about depression and anxiety due to his personal experiences with emotional pain. He wanted to understand why these conditions continued to rise despite global conditions allegedly improving.
As a young adult, he trekked around the world to interview leading experts about the leading factors of mental illness. He found that there were nine different causes for depression and anxiety, and he organized this knowledge into a set of solutions that offers a sense of healing and hope.
Unlike many self-help books, Johann Hari doesn’t discuss depression in just a biochemical manner. He discusses the societal ramifications and sociopolitical factors impacting mental illness. He also offers unique systemic options for sustainable change.
He’s world-famous for his role as the spiritual leader of Tibet, but the Dalai Lama isn’t just about putting on a good show. There’s a reason so many people resonate with his words and his energy. He’s genuinely and authentically happy, and his good mood is about as contagious as a vicious virus.
The Dalai Lama hasn’t just lived a carefree life of disconnected privilege. On the contrary, he has experienced tremendous angst and suffering.
This book breaks down what happiness is, what it isn’t, and how to achieve it. He co-authors his story with psychiatrist, Dr. Howard Cutler, to discuss how to foster deep peace through a combination of mindfulness, positive thinking, and intimate connections.
Beyond Self-Help Depression Books
Self-help depression books can help you better understand your condition and your symptoms. Likewise, they can provide you with additional resources and guidance during a difficult time. Many clients enjoy reading and working through these books as a supplemental part of their psychotherapy process.
With that in mind, depression is a serious mental illness. When left untreated, it can progress and cause a severe impact on your everyday functioning. Self-help strategies are often not sufficient for more moderate or severe cases.
Are you questioning if you’re struggling with depression? Have you identified that you’re depressed, and you want to take the next step towards getting the help you need? I am here to help support, guide, and encourage you.