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 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:

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.