15 Books to Read if You Need a Mental Health Boost

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Some days we feel scared, some days we feel sad, some days we feel stressed, and some days we just feel blah. Luckily for us (and 2020), the best cure for a bad day is a good book (and maybe a tub of ice cream?). Whether you’re looking for an escape, some tangible advice, or major inspiration, there’s a book out there that can help boost your mood, reduce stress, and make you feel motivated. Forget laughter–these 15 books truly are the best medicine when you need a mental health boost (and some will make you laugh too). Add to cart or your Kindle cue now if you’re going through a tough time, to have ready for rainy days, or to gift to a friend that could use some extra inspiration. 


Oprah Winfrey
The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations

So you need a little pick-me-up? The obvious answer: Oprah. Always. The very best "aha" moments from "Super Soul Sunday" are compiled into this deeply encouraging collection of interviews between Oprah and some of the world's most inspiring leaders. If you've been lacking purpose, motivation, or feel lost, this is the book for you.

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John P. Forsyth PhD and Georg H. Eifert PhD
Anxiety Happens: 52 Ways to Find Peace of Mind

If you feel like anxiety is taking over your life (who doesn't in 2020?), this quick reference guide offers one simple tool or strategy for every single week of the year, so you can work to less stress and anxiety, one step at a time. There's also some in-the-moment tips to stay calm when you're having a particularly stressful workday or in an anxious state. By 2022, you could be totally stress-free!

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Lalah Delia
Vibrate Higher Daily: Live Your Power

Looking for inspiration to tap into your inner power and become your best self? Instagram superstar, Lalah Deliah, put her self-help wisdom into this comprehensive book that teaches we have control over situations and our emotions. "Vibrating Higher Daily" helps you make intentional day-to-day choices that lift you out of mindsets, habits, and lifestyles that don't serve you, and into ones that do.

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Gretchen Rubin
The Happiness Project

Gretchen Rubin set out on an entire year dedicated to happiness. The result? One of the most helpful and life-changing works of positive psychology that teaches us how to actually be happy. I love "The Happiness Project" because it combines personal anecdotes, scientific research, and wisdom from the past to help us not only achieve happiness, but re-examine what we all want out of life.

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Gabrielle Bernstein
Super Attractor: Methods for Manifesting a Life beyond Your Wildest Dreams

Filled with tangible tools like the "Choose Again Method" for reframing negative and boosting your mood, "Super Attractor" is a more spiritual approach to a mental health pick-me-up, with essential tips to live in alignment with the universe to create the life that you want.

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Faith Harper PhD LPC-S ACS ACN
Unfuck Your Brain: Getting Over Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Freak-Outs, and Triggers with Science

If you're looking for a no-nonsense guide on coping with mental health issues or a trustworthy understanding of what's going on in your brain, Dr. Harper has your back. This book uses science (and humor!) to understand and improve your mental health, and is particularly helpful if you're dealing with or working through trauma.

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Elaine Welteroth
More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say)

If you love memoirs, "More Than Enough" is the memoir that will simultaneously entertain you and boost your confidence, happiness, and purpose. Welteroth unpacks lessons on race, identity, and success through her own journey, while offering advice to readers who need a reminder that they're f*cking awesome.

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Vex King
Good Vibes, Good Life

You may have heard of Vex King from his killer Instagram posts that regularly go viral from their profound advice and relatable inspiration. His book is just as good as his Instagram, only with a little more detail. "Good Vibes, Good Life" draws from his personal experience and intuitive wisdom to help you practice self-care, cultivate positive habits, manifest your goals using tried-and-true techniques, overcome fear, and find a higher purpose to be a shining light for others. It's like Oprah's book club for millennials.

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Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu
The Book of Joy

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama have faced major hardships, yet continue to radiate love, compassion, and even humor despite what they've been through. The two inspirational icons dive into the topic of joy: how do you find it in the face of suffering, and when you do find it, how do you keep it? Read if you're looking for some serious inspiration or need a little extra joy during a very hard time.

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Michael A. Singer
The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

The perfect combination of psychology and spirituality, "The Untethered Soul" delves into what we can do to free ourselves from the habitual thoughts, emotions, and energy patterns that limit our consciousness and hold us back. By the end of the book, you'll not only understand yourself better than you ever have, but you'll feel in control of your emotions (yes, even stress, anxiety, and worry).

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Carissa Potter
It's OK To Feel Things Deeply

If self-help books aren't really your style and you need some real-time support, this cheeky (but helpful!) book is the perfect option. With practical tips, genuine empathy, helpful honesty, adorable illustrations, and relatable humor, it's full of support when you need a little extra love. It also makes a great gift for a friend going through a tough time.

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Elizabeth Gilbert
Eat, Pray, Love

Even if you haven't read this modern classic yet, you've probably seen the blockbuster hit with Julia Roberts that made you want to move to Bali and eat pasta (simultaneously). This memoir is always a go-to read for me when I'm feeling stuck or complacent. Especially in 2020 when we're literally stuck, it not only offers an escape, but there's something about a realistic happy ending that makes me feel hopeful, even when I'm feeling lost.

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Marianne Williamson
A Return to Love

Maybe it sounds cheesy, but the key to happiness, stress reduction, and a constant good mood? Williamson makes the case that the answer is love. She shows us how love is a potent force, the key to inner peace, and how, by practicing love for other people, we can make our own lives more fulfilling. This is one of those books that changes you, so get ready for a life-altering read.

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Jenny Lawson
You Are Here: An Owner's Manual for Dangerous Minds

A combination of inspiration, therapy, coloring, humor, and advice, this book is filled with intricate illustrations and life advice on how to cope. The writing is both humorous and incredibly honest, so "You Are Here" will be a tool to help you deal with tough life situations in a confident, creative, and happier way. Read if art is therapeutic to you.

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Shonda Rhimes
Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person

Yes, THAT Shonda Rhimes: the creator of "Grey's Anatomy," "Scandal," and basically all of our other favorite shows. In this inspiring book, Rhimes opens up about the year she decided to say "yes" to everything. Spoiler alert: the results are life-changing. Read if work is bringing you down or you're not sure what you're meant to do with your life.

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What’s your go-to book to read when you need a pick-me-up?