As great as
self-help books can be, they sometimes have a reputation for being cheesy, overly earnest, or unrealistically optimistic.
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."
Ahead, you'll find a few of our
favorite books to read when you need a little guidance or inspiration.
Heather Havrilesky's collection of essays will make you want to
embrace who you are
and what you have — because that really is enough.
What If This Were Enough?: Essays,
As the Karamo Brown once said in an episode of
, "failure is not the opposite of success — it's part of it." Megan McArdle's book, The Up Side of Down shows you exactly why failure doesn't always have to be a setback.
The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success,
Who says being awkward is a bad thing? Melissa Dahl's
puts a new spin on
and looks at them as opportunities to grow. By the end of it, you'll be embracing the next weird thing you do in public instead of cowering in shame.
Cringeworthy: A Theory of Awkwardness,
Whether you've just
gone through a break-up
, lost a loved one, or you're feeling a little stuck in life, this is the book for you.
Tiny Beautiful Things,
what it means to be happy
is a huge topic to tackle, and it's something that's different for everyone. That being said, Gretchen Rubin's book on her one-year journey to find true happiness is an enlightening and funny read that will motivate you to find your own sense of the often-elusive state of mind that is happiness.
The Happiness Project,
At one point or another, we've all been guilty of getting too in-our-heads about something. Gary John Bishop's book guides you through getting out of
and into your best self.
Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and into Your Life,
Because sometimes, you just need a reminder that you are
definitely a badass
— and you already have everything you need to live the awesome life you deserve.
Running Press Adult
You Are a Badass,
This 10-chapter book breaks down Oprah's spiritual journey, and features selections from her conversations with inspiring people, like Shonda Rhimes, Thich Nhat Hahn, and Marianne Williamson. If it's good enough
, it's good enough for you.
The Wisdom of Sundays,
While most self-help books are all about
getting in tune with your emotions
adopts a more
Frank Ocean attitude
: feelings come, feelings go. And because of that, the authors argue, you shouldn't act
on your emotions. More than that, the book delves into how you can keep your feelings from making you act impulsively (to your detriment).
Simon & Schuster
A recommended read
and extroverts alike,
shuts down myths and biases about those of us who prefer to listen rather than talk, and who may come off as anti-social lone wolves. But beyond validating the introvert experience, author Susan Cain breaks down how extroverts can more easily understand and support the quieter people around them.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts,
Matt Haig's memoir is at once a painfully honest look
and anxiety, as well as a hopeful, evocative exploration of what it means to live with mental illness.
Reasons to Stay Alive,
Take self-help into your own hands — literally. If sitting down and writing a whole diary entry every night is a little daunting, don't worry.
Start Where You Are
is a step outside of your
, with exercises and questions designed to help you really get in touch with how you feel, where you are, and where you want to be.
Start Where You Are,
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hosted by Lucie Fink.