18 Mental Health Books For Anxiety, People-Pleasing And More

by | Oct 10, 2023 | Mental Health

Whatever may be bothering you, mental health books really help. They serve as a roadmap and guide to delving deeper into your psyche and delivering key aha-moment insights that’ll help you shed anxiety, limit people-pleasing or even find your purpose. We’ve gathered mental health books that’ll help. While we’ve grouped them into categories, you’ll find that what works for people-pleasing also helps with setting boundaries or building resilience, for example. Ready to dive into these life-changing reads? Our picks, below.

For people-pleasers

let that sh*t go mental health books

Let That Sh*t Go by Nina Purewal and Kate Petriw

Find peace of mind – no matter what life throws at you – by learning these essential skills when it matters most. Above all, you’ll learn to let things go that just don’t serve you anymore.

please yourself mental health books

Please Yourself by Emma Reed Turrell

Keen to get in on not people-pleasing anymore? Transform your life by accepting yourself as you are and not relying on other people’s judgements to bring you joy with this book. Written by psychotherapist Emma Reed Turrell, you’ll learn about different types of people-pleasing and how to break out of the loop.

READ MORE: 4 Proudly South African Apps For Mental Health Support

For positive reinforcement

dear self, mental health books

dear self by Patience Tamarra Davis

Reassure yourself with this collection of positive affirmations and reminders. They’re all centred around self-love, growth and healing.

healing through words

Healing Through Words by Rupi Kaur

#1 New York Times bestselling author Rupi b Kaur has hand-picked this collection of work, where she explores loss, trauma, love and heartbreak. Through the collection, you’ll learn to be vulnerable and honest and through that, be able to let go and learn to love.

READ MORE: The 16 Best Mental Health Podcasts To Help You Cope With Anxiety, Depression, And More

For inner child work

heal your inner child

How To Heal Your Inner Child by Simon Capple

If you’re feeling empty inside but aren’t sure why, this could be the book for you. From tackling addictive behaviours to feeling extra sensitive, or if you’re rarely experiencing joy or happiness, this book tackles these themes by taking things back to your formative years and looking to unpack what brought you to where you are, through healing. A must-read for anyone.

how to do the work mental health books

How To Do The Work by Nicole LePera

Popular social media therapist Nicole LePera published a book about healing your inner child and actually digging deep to get the work done. Find insights about self-healing and creating a life that you love through this guide. She also draws on new research surrounding the topic and teaches you to scrap old patterns that keep you stuck.

READ MORE: 6 Foolproof Ways To Protect Your Mental Health At Work

For assertiveness


Boundaries by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend

If you’re tired of letting people walk all over you, this book is an excellent guide to setting up healthy boundaries that you can stick to. Since it was first published, it’s helped millions of people discover the importance of understanding their limitations so they can live more fully. A must-read.

the courage to be disliked

The Courage To Be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumikake Koga

You might not relate to the title much, but hear us out: the Japanese phenomenon challenges the idea that you need to be liked in order to be the truest version of yourself. Over the course of five conversations between a philosopher and a young man, you’ll uncover insights like freeing yourself from trauma and the expectations of others.

For anxiety

unwinding anxiety

Unwinding Anxiety by Dr Judson Brewer

For those of us struggling with anxiety, this book uproots the source of anxiety with brain-based techniques and hacks that are accessible to use. Author Dr Judson Brewer teaches you how to identify and diffuse triggers and embrace mindfulness.

the body keeps the score

The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk

This incredibly popular book takes a deep look at trauma and unwinds it to reveal the way it affects your body, brain and psyche. As it turns out, meds and talking aren’t as effective when it comes to treating trauma stored in your body. Here, learn about a new route: including regulating the body through sport, drama, yoga and mindfulness.

For intrusive thoughts

don't believe everything you think mental health books

Don’t Believe Everything You Think by Jospeh Nguyen

Go beyond your thoughts and patterns and venture into the truth already known deep inside your soul. Learn about how to break free from negative thought loops and how to create a life of abundance, flow and ease. A book for tapping into your intuition and letting it lead you.

obsessive intrusive magical thinking

Obsessive Intrusive Magical Thinking by Marianne Eloise

Writer and journalist Marianne Eloise talks through her own journey as an obsessive person with intrusive, violent thoughts and fixation on topics. From there, she finds healing through essays that tackle fixation, disorder and neurodivergence – and how to embrace the self.

READ MORE: Anxiety In The Morning? Why It Happens And What To Do About It, According To A Mental Health Pro

For building resilience

why has nobody told me this before?

Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? By Dr Julie Smith

Getting through the ups and downs of life can be daunting and this book teaches you exactly how, using secrets from therapy. In short, bite-sized pieces, learn how to tackle the exact situation you’re tackling and forgive yourself with practical solutions we could all use right now.

the highly sensitive person

The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine N Aron

Per Aron, highly sensitive people “are often very bright and creative by may suffer from low self-esteem.” Learn how to leverage your unique make-up with these solutions for engaging in a world different from who and what you are. The book offers ways to reframe past events and reframe the way you see yourself.

For finding your purpose

the alchemist mental health books

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

This deeply moving novel delves into the magic of following your dreams. Through the protagonist’s journey, discover the power of leading with your heart, reading the omens along your path and following your dreams.

start where you are

Start Where You Are by Meera Lee Patel

Looking for something that’s interactive and will help you uncover truths? Look to this book of self-exploration to help you nurture your creativity and self-motivation. The book presents helpful prompts that help you reflect and grow through exploring yourself.

For mindfulness

the power of now

The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle

A seminal text that’s an international bestseller, you’ll learn the power of embracing the present moment for all its worth and how it can create a happier, more mindful life. While the book is not an easy read – go with pen and paper at the ready to jot down your thoughts and answers to prompts – it is a powerful text that can leave you with more answers than you’d thought.

the things you can see only when you slow down

The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down by Haemin Sunim

Haemin Sunim, a Buddhist monk born in Korea and educated in the United States, offers advice on dealing with life’s setbacks, rest, relationships and more. The book is fuelled by requests Haemin wrote in response to questions on social media and is illustrated with calming images.

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