Self help resources
Self-help resources, like therapists and medications, are a mixed bag. None are a universal good fit for everyone. The same self-help book (or therapist or medication) will transform one person’s life and be of no use to another person. So explore, try some things and trust your judgment about what is helpful to you. Diligent use of a good self-help guide can save you thousands of dollars in therapy.
If you want to learn more about a particular diagnosis, problem or issue:
Search the internet, but be discriminating. Academic (.edu) and government (.gov) sites generally have reliable information. Sites from mental health organizations and practitioners are often excellent. Discussion boards are the most problematic source, as they are often dominated by people who overgeneralize their personal experiences, especially if negative.
For anxiety and depression, a good place to start is the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) website which has very readable, reliable explanations of many types of anxiety and depression in the “Understanding the Facts” section.
If you want a workbook/self-help book for a particular issue:
It’s worth searching your particular issue on a site like amazon.com to find books that are popular and well-liked by reviewers. If you are not sure how to put your issue into words, read the descriptions on the ADAA website (above) to see if one pattern fits your experiences better than others. The following books are excellent:
- Anxiety: The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook
- Depression: Mind Over Mood
- DBT: (skills to improve mental stability and resilience): The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook
- Recovering from trauma: 8 Keys to Safe Trauma Recovery: Take-Charge Strategies to Empower Your Healing
- Social anxiety: The Shyness and Social Anxiety Workbook: Proven, Step-by-Step Techniques for Overcoming your Fear
- Dealing with unwanted life changes: When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times
- Getting motivated to exercise and make lifestyle changes: Younger Next Year and The Courage to Start
- Creating a meaningful life: It’s a Meaningful Life, It Just Takes Practice (for those interested in exploring spiritual practices)
If you want to learn more about approaches to happiness and well-being that integrate perennial wisdom with modern science:
Rick Hanson, author of Hardwiring Happiness, has a website with many resources to help cultivate happiness and well-being.
The Science of a Meaningful Life Video Series offers almost 2 dozen videos of talks and interviews with leading speakers on happiness, compassion, mindfulness and meaning.