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Best Books for Mental Health in 2021

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Our mental health affects everything around and within us; from our physical well-being to our daily productivity and social interactions. A healthy mental state should always be a priority in our lives. We simply can’t ignore it. 

To help us get through hard times and gain back our mental health; authors, publishers, and readers have pitched in with their recommendations for the best reads;

Bake it Till You Make it: Breaking Bread, Building Resilience

It is the first of its kind mental health and resilience cookbook. The book tells the inspirational and resilient stories of over forty people- all from different backgrounds, who have overcome major life challenges. Each story is accompanied by a baking recipe chosen by the contributor. The book features mental health resource pages, complete with a self-care guide and information on how to become a mental health ally. The book has since inspired a movement to destigmatize mental illness and create a space to encourage vulnerability and authenticity to connect us all. 

Mix, Melt, Mend: Owning My Story and Finding my Freedom

It is the authentic account of the journey of Dayna Altman. Dayna, a mental health advocate, is the creator of “Bake it Till You Make it Org”, which published the first of its kind mental health and resilience cookbook Bake it Till You Make it: Breaking Bread, Building Resilience. In Mix, Melt, Mend, Dayna tells her own story in the framework of a cake pop recipe. 

Dayna Altman, Mental Health Author, Entrepreneur, Advocate at Bake it Till You Make it LLC.

Light Shines in the Darkness by Lucille F. Sider

Light Shines in the Darkness is a powerful and gripping true story by Lucille Sider about her healing journey through the shame, fear, and hate of sexual abuse. Lucille believes her story will encourage others to find stability and healing from sexual abuse and depression. The unique richness of her story is that, after she describes an experience, she steps back and analyzes it from her perspective as a psychologist and clergywoman. 

At the end of the book, she includes a complete study guide with questions for reflection for individuals, small groups and classes. 

The Author is a retired clinical psychologist, pastoral counselor and clergywoman.

Susan Stitt, Front Edge Publishing

Let Go of Emotional Overeating and Love Your Food: A Five-Point Plan for Success

Healthy Habits for Less Stress and More Fun!: “Let Go of Emotional Overeating and Love Your Food: A Five Point Plan for Success” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018) is unique in that it’s an enjoyment oriented guide to better health – mentally, as well as physically. Readers learn how to become aware of the difference between eating in a healthy way and eating emotionally – neither to satisfy hunger nor for enjoyment, but in a desperate attempt to distract oneself from painful thoughts and feelings. 

When we handle stress well away from the table, we’re free to relax and really savor our food when we choose to eat. Proven techniques like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Mindful Eating are presented in an innovative, easy-to-remember way.

Arlene B. Englander is a Columbia University-trained licensed psychotherapist with over twenty years of clinical experience and a former emotional overeater.

Why Worry? Stop Coping and Start Living by Kathryn Tristan

Over the past year and a half, the US has faced some major transitions, adjustments, changes, and—well, stresses. The COVID-19 pandemic left citizens in isolation, worried, anxious, and unsure of their current (and future!) situations both at home and at work. Although many of us have become accustomed to the new normal, there still doesn’t seem to be a clear path or near end to the coronavirus and what this may mean for the events and activities we truly miss.

So, how do we stop coping and start living? Kathryn Tristan, author of “Why Worry? Stop Coping and Start Living”, is a research scientist and assistant professor of medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine. Tristan’s background in medicine gives her a strong understanding of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), allowing her to provide much-needed expertise and the top tips on how to stay positive, stop worrying, and start living—right from our homes!

The Author is a Research Scientist and Assistant Professor of Medicine on the faculty of Washington University School of Medicine.

Brennah Hale, Director of Marketing and Public Relations Beyond Words Publishing

Stop Self-Sabotage: Six Steps to Unlock Your True Motivation, Harness Your Willpower, and Get Out of Your Own Way

Award-winning clinical psychologist and TV personality Dr. Judy Ho helps you stop the cycle of self-sabotage, clear a path to lasting happiness, and start living your best life.

Have you ever had a deadline for a big work project, only to find yourself down to the wire because you spent too much time on social media? Or gotten excited about meeting someone new, only to convince yourself he isn’t really interested? How many Januarys have you resolved that this is the year you’re finally going to lose the weight, only to abandon your diet in just a few weeks? If these scenarios sound familiar, you are stuck in a cycle of self-sabotage.

At one point or another, we’ve all done something that undermines our best interests and intentions. Even the most successful people get in their own way—often without realizing it. In Stop Self-Sabotage, licensed clinical psychologist, tenured professor, and television personality Dr. Judy Ho takes a fresh look at self-sabotage to help us answer two vital questions: Why do we do it? How do we stop?

Combining therapeutically proven strategies with practical tools and self-assessments, Dr. Judy teaches you how to identify your triggers, modify your thoughts and behaviors, find your true motivation, and unlock your willpower to stop this vicious cycle in its tracks. Practical and transformative, Stop Self-Sabotage is your ultimate guide to jumpstart lasting, positive change and start living the life you want.

Dr. Judy Ho is a triple board-certified and licensed Clinical and Forensic Neuropsychologist with a private practice, a tenured Associate Professor at Pepperdine University. She is an avid researcher and is a two-time recipient of the National Institute of Mental Health Services Research Award.

Mental health can be a struggle for some people. And while professionals can be helpful, books are equally capable of providing perspective on certain aspects of life.

I’ve struggled with some issues of my own and I’ve turned to books for self-help. And these are the ones that stand out to me. 

Loving Barely

What this book is about: People think they have a perception about self-love, but they turn out to be very wrong. But this book will teach you the necessary steps to take care of your emotional well-being. It will remind you of the importance of loving yourself before loving others.

This is Depression: A Comprehensive Guide For Anyone Who Wants to Understand Depression

What this book is about: The title itself is already a great giveaway. Many people, old-timers especially, are practically clueless about depression. But this book should make everyone see past the stigma of this condition as a form of “weakness.” This book opened my eyes to its debilitating nature, and it made me understand the people who suffer from it a lot better. 

Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle

What this book is about: What I like about this book is that it gives a perspective on the differences between how men and women handle stress. It’s a book that definitely played a role in keeping my marriage as manageable as possible. 

Jack Miller, the Founder of How I Get Rid Of