Depression affects 14.8 million American adults. That’s nearly 6.7 percent of the United States population over the age of 18, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. 121 million people battle this epidemic worldwide. Although many have labeled self-help books as a form of mediocre entertainment, a study funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) confirms that reading a few inspiring pages can prove effective as a form of treatment for depression.
A recent study appeared in PLOS One journal, supporting this claim. Self-help materials were established as an effective solution for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Researchers are now spreading the news about the encouraging benefits of reading and the fact that contrary to popular belief, self-help books are quite useful.
In fact, reading in general is known to improve the quality of life in many ways. It can help to keep your brain sharp and prevent diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Reading is also known to help with insomnia, concentration, vocabulary, and spelling. More importantly, reading can reduce stress, which is a growing concern for adults and teenagers. USA Today’s Sharon Jayson reports a 35% increase in stress among Americans in recent studies, confirming the importance of simply taking a moment to download free ebooks or head out to the local library.
Where to Begin
Based on a study published in Professional Psychology, Research and Practice, the following is suggested when searching for resourceful reading material to help battle depression and even anxiety:
- Search for the specifics. Find a book that relates to one disorder. Although some conditions are often linked to others, it is best to take on one battle at a time.
- Research the author. Be sure to find a writer who is highly regarded in the academic community. An author with a doctorate degree or some attributed success should be first on your list.
- Avoid over-exaggerated claims. If a book title is something like, The Only Book You’ll Ever Need in the Whole World, it is probably farfetched. Some things can be too good to be true; look for more realistic options that explore facts and strategies.
- Find books supported by real evidence, and not just glamorous words. Self-help material should be well documented by research and evidence.
- Locate material that provides step-by-step guidance. Avoid the general and look for simplified material that paves a path to recovery.
- Workbooks or other tools that allow you to track progress are useful.
Top Self-Help Books
Oprah.com is an expansive resource for finding highly regarded self-help books. She is well known for her ability to inspire and her site is no different. The site also includes a section that covers many other self-help topics.
A few suggested titles include:
- “If You Can’t Live Without Me, Why Aren’t You Dead Yet?” By Cynthia Heimel
- “I’m Too Sexy for My Volvo: A Mom’s Guide to Staying Fabulous” by Betty Londergan
- “The Worry Cure” by Robert L. Leahy
- “The Mystery Method” by Chris Odom
- “Our Lady of Weight Loss” by Janice Taylor
Any general Internet search will easily offer an updated list of popular self-help titles from major online retailers. You many even find great reviews from other readers or be able to download free books.
For starters, a few recently updated or highly anticipated titles include:
- “30 Days of Meditation” by Inbar Sharar
- “Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year” by Demi Lovato
- “What Are You Hungry For?” By Deepak Chopra
- “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey
- “The Productive Person” by James Roper
- “We Will Survive: True Stories of Encouragement” by Gloria Gaynor
- “23 Anti-Procrastination Habits: How to Stop Being Lazy and Get Results in Your Life” by S.J. Scott
- “Hero (The Secret)” by Rhonda Bynre
Self-Help on a Budget
When searching for economical options for locating self-help resources, there are many options to consider. Local thrift shops and libraries often offer a wide selection of low-cost reading material. Also, many major online retailers provide opportunities to download free ebooks. These sites will allow readers to search specific categories, such as self-improvement and health.