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9 books about mental health to help build your wellness library

by Jamie Feldman

February 29, 2024

There is no shortage of mental health wisdom on the internet, with more mental health TikToks and Instagrams by armchair and actual experts alike arriving every day. 

While many of those posts can feel helpful in the moment, they’re only going to take us so far on our ongoing mental health journeys. For one, social media is a known cause of declining mental health, so spending more time on it may negate any advice gained. 

Plus, it’s hard for these new practices and ways of thinking to really sink in when we spend 30 seconds on a post and then move on to watching an adorable puppy video or seeing a hot take on the latest breaking news. I’ve been known to bookmark my fair share of mental health posts only to never lay my eyes on them again, and I know I can’t be the only one. 

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Building a bit of a wellness library might just be the answer. Keeping a range of inspiring, honest and grounding literature on the human experience handy can help foster long-term mental wellness — all you have to do is flip to your favorite page whenever you need a gentle (or not–so-gentle) reminder of your worth, your peace and your purpose.

Here are nine books to consider adding to your collection for long-term mental wellness. 

If you’re not one of Dr. Julie Smith’s 4 million TikTok followers, well, you’re missing out on a wealth of helpful insights. But what the internet sometimes lacks in specificity, Smith’s book more than makes up for it. It offers bite-size (but mighty) words of wisdom that you can turn to help with whatever issue you’re working through at the moment. You might just need one of these for every room in the house. 

You probably already know of this famous shame and vulnerability researcher from her TikTok. Or her podcast. Or her TED talk. But if you’re looking for deeper insights to integrate into your life, any of her books are where it’s at. Daring Greatly is an especially good start if you’ve ever been embarrassed (uh, who hasn’t?).

Not only does it lay out the ways shame prevents us from growing and connecting, but it’s also packed with tools and real-life examples to help readers live more fulfilled lives.  

Though she doles out valuable advice to her more than 475,000 followers, therapist Shani Tran’s bio says it best: TikTok is not therapy. Her book, however, can help you in your therapy journey. Dope Therapy is a guidebook that answers the myriad questions that may come up before you start seeing a therapist and over the course of your experience. As one testimonial points out, it “lays out everything you need to know about therapy and how to navigate it — especially if you are BIPOC, queer or young.”  

Jeff Warren and his 30-day meditation program How to Meditate on the Calm app changed my relationship with meditation and, ultimately, with myself. He expands on those no-BS, easy-to-understand teachings in this book, dissecting the myriad reasons people don’t meditate and offering practical instructions for getting into a practice of your own.  

Ever have a hard time saying no, even when it’s something you really don’t want to do? This book is for you. Boundaries are notoriously crucial for fostering a mentally healthy life — and even more notoriously difficult to implement.  

In this book, Nedra Glover Tawwab — whose Instagram posts are mini guidebooks in themselves — offers easy-to-understand methods and research-backed tactics to build your boundaries and keep them strong for years to come.  

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