The Books That Changed Me

Our Hidden Strength community share their favourite reads for mental health…

There’s a magical power in the written word. From comics and graphic novels to emotional memoirs, self-help books and fabulous fiction, books can be a solace – an escape route and a comfort when life feels overwhelming. Books can support us during the trickiest times and help us find our way through life. We asked our amazing Hidden Strength to share the books that changed their lives for the better and their recommendations did not disappoint!

Reasons To Stay Alive” by Matt Haig proved to be a popular choice. Gee nails it perfectly with her review – this is a book that answered her deepest concerns and helped her realise that she had depression. And that’s what a good book can do – it resonates with you, deep inside. It speaks to you and can give you clarity when you need it most.

Michelle gives another thumbs up to “Reasons To Stay Alive”. The book is Matt’s true-life story – an account of how he felt when his world caved in at age 24. This story is about his lows, his highs, and how he learned to live again.

Buy the book here: https://amzn.to/3BROoZn

Hardcore Zen” by Brad Warner is quite a different read and it’s interesting to see how Michelle combined these two books. That’s the beauty of self-help books – you can pick and choose the parts that help you and use advice and tips from a variety of titles. Disregard what doesn’t work for you and use the stuff that does. 

Buy the book here: https://amzn.to/3P8UyaD

Self-help books cover many topics and can help guide us through the saddest and most traumatic times in our lives. “You Can Heal Your Life” by Louise L. Hay helped @WelshCastle find a way to keep loving his parents, even when they rejected him for being gay. Books can’t change how others treat you, but they can help you make healthy choices for yourself and find ways to protect your own mental health.

Buy the book here: https://amzn.to/3dgh9oq

Sarah’s book of choice isn’t a self-help book – it’s a fable about learning to follow your dreams and your heart. We love how Sarah takes something different from the story every time, no matter how many times she reads it. She finds connections and meaning within its pages and uses these to give herself clarity in her own life. Fiction can be just as helpful as self-help books and there’s a certain comfort to be found in re-reading an old favourite, over and over again.

Buy the book here: https://amzn.to/3BQlpVW

Present Over Perfect” by Shauna Niequist is recommended by @CaffeinatedKyle. They make a really good point, too – self-help books can be great so long as you recognise that books can only help with so much. Self-help books make up just one part of the equation and aren’t a one-stop “fix-all”. Many people need additional measures, perhaps counselling and medication to help them cope with their mental health. Books can be used in conjunction to help you on your way, but it’s important to realise they have their limitations and to seek further help if you need it.

Buy the book here: https://amzn.to/3BRLvYA


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