While they may not contain the "key to happiness" or fulfill any particularly lofty promises, they can, at the very least, help to normalize what you're feeling or experiencing, says Marcia Norman, PsyD, a clinical psychologist in Winter Park, FL. In the same way that you might listen to a sad song or watch a tearjerker movie when you're feeling down, reading a self-help book that relates to what you're going through can help you feel less alone.
"It can be very validating to see that other people have experienced the same thoughts or emotions you have, and self-help books also help you see yourself more clearly," Dr. Norman says. "[They] provide a path that others have already gone down to make your experience less daunting or scary."
Whether you're trying to get over a breakup, working on being more confident, or simply trying to understand your emotions, there's something out there for you.