I’m a huge fan of taking care of mental health. In fact, when I began my health journey several years ago, my mental health was my biggest concern. I knew that food was the symptom of the problem, but the real root cause of my issues was the sickness inside my mind.

I get a lot of friends asking me for general help in a variety of areas. One of my friends that I used to waitress with was having marital problems; I offered her some general wisdom and a good book to read. Another friend asked me for some boy help. Several other friends talk to me about healthy eating and carbohydrates. A few other people are concerned about acne.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about taking care of my mental health. I’m one of those people that buys self-help books and actually reads them. And just like with health, I think that everything is connected: Your body is connected to your spirit which is connected to your mind which is connected to your emotions which influences your body, and so on.

I understand how hard it can be to find a starting point for mental wellbeing. Most of us don’t even know what to call our problems; we just know we need some kind of help before we drive ourselves crazy. Well, let me cut to the chase: There are a couple of resources you might benefit from.

LOVE

fire-heart

Love is a beautiful entity. It is a third being in relationships. Without it, the relationship doesn’t feel whole.

While love can bring us the happy-go-lucky feelings we crave, it is not a constant bliss. Love requires burdens, understanding, compassion, and many other things that we are naturally unwilling to give.

I recommend reading a couple of things for those who are looking to really understand what it means to love unconditionally and have lasting relationships:

1. Real Love in Marriage by Greg Baer

My all-time favorite self-help book about love. It gives practical ideas for how to work on communication and — believe it or not — how to work on yourself in order to love others better. I really, absolutely love this book. I read it a few years ago, and I’ve read it again since. Every time, I pick up something new. I’d like to add that the material can seem a little redundant sometimes, but that’s because he’s really trying to make it all make sense.

 2. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

I have the abridged version, I’ll admit. But my boyfriend and I talked about our own love languages. It helped us figure out better ways to communicate. I recommend this book if you’re looking for some basic insight into how to give your love better. However, I would recommend Greg Baer’s book if you’re looking to change all of your relationships in a significant way.

PERSPECTIVE

art-of-racing-in-the-rain

There’s nothing like a good book that can really change your perspective about things. I love books that make me look at the world differently. Try these if you’re into mind-altering information.

 1. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

A small family’s tale is told from the perspective of a dog. There are some really good quotes. I can honestly say that this book changed the way that I look at family life. It also showed me what it means to be human on another level. I highly recommend this book. It will be forever one of my favorites.

 2. The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom

Mitch Albom wrote Tuesdays with Morrie. If you haven’t read that, read that. This book is also really good. It’s a fictional/fantasy story about what would happen if someone was contacted by a loved one from Heaven. I couldn’t put it down.

3. Story of a Soul by Saint Therese of Lisieux

I have not read this yet, but I can only guess at the wonderful things it holds. I’ve read some quotes by Therese, and they have already changed me. Example one:

“If I did not simply live from one moment to another, it would be impossible for me to be patient, but I only look at the present, I forget the past, and I take good care not to forestall the future.”

 4. A Confident Heart by Renee Swope

This is another book that’s sitting on my bookshelf that I have not read. Lysa TerKeurst actually recommended it on her blog. I’m putting it on this list so that it’s out there and if someone wants to give it a read, I think they should know about it. Tell me how it goes!

5. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

If you’ve been on my blog before, you know that I’ve been reading this book. I finished it this summer, and then I knew I had to reread it. At first, the book was okay. It had some good information. This lady dedicates a year to trying to be happier with researching the best methods and testing them for everyone. Each month is dedicated to a new approach. The 12th month is for trying them all. I learned so much about myself from this book. If you’re the type of person that likes to learn from other peoples’ testimonies, I recommend this book. If you’d rather just read self-help books, maybe not.

6. The Cause Within You by Matthew Barnett

Alas, yet another book sitting on my shelf that I cannot wait to read. As the title suggests, it’s about how to find out what you were made for. If you’ve got an itching feeling that you’re not doing what you were meant for, try this book. Then tell me how it is.

ADDICTION

lifewithouted

Addiction is one of the hardest problems to overcome. But that’s why it’s so worth it to overcome it. These resources have helped me or people I know. I hope you enjoy them, too.

 1. Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst

I first read this book when I was trying to get my eating disorder under control. Lysa is an incredible blogger, an inspirational woman, and a very helpful writer. She uses a Christian approach — bringing what she writes about back to the spiritual realm. I’ve reread it a couple of times and highlighted a bunch of passages. I can’t recommend this book highly enough if you’re looking for help busting out of those dark corners of eating that you can’t seem to control.

 2. Eating in the Light of the Moon by Anita A. Johnston, Ph.D.

This book gives you a deep understanding of how to accept yourself. It’s catered to those with eating disorders, but it really is beautiful at teaching you about your womanhood. Even if you’re a man, I think you could benefit from reading this (though you’d definitely have to read and replace the woman-language with man-terms). This book helped me to accept my body and be gentle with it. We were made a certain way. We need to understand and embrace that way, so as not to alienate ourselves from…ourselves.

 3. Life Without Ed by Jenni Schaefer

Again, a book about eating disorders. It was this book, combined with therapy, that really helped me get my disordered eating habits under control. I’ve also read this book more than once because it helped me so much. I leant it out to a friend, too. Basically, Jenni talks about her own experiences fighting Ed (eating disorder). She’s very personable and relatable. When I read this book, I felt like I was talking to a friend who knew exactly what I was going through. The option of thinking like this also was pivtol in my recovery. I had no idea how to grasp the concept of my eating problems. And then after 12 therapy sessions and this book, I was better.

 4. Any book by Allen Carr

Allen Carr has multiple addiction books. He’s helped millions of people with his “Easy Way” program. I’ve never been a smoker, but I read his smoke book. It was incredible. He also has clinics in America and England, so if the reading isn’t enough, that should do it! He has books for alcohol, smoking/women & smoking, weight loss, enjoy flying, gambling, worrying, diets, etc. I mean, this guy does it all. Look into it.

 5. Perfect Daughters by Robert Ackerman, Ph.D.

If you’ve got parents that abuse substances, mostly alcohol, this is the book to pick up. It’s very healing and eye-opening. Often, the most healing thing for us is to forgive others. This book is a helpful tool in achieving that.

SPIRITUALITY

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 1. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Following a man’s descent to his death, Mitch Albom records all of Morrie’s infinite wisdom about life, love, and all things important. I’ll never regret reading this book. The time I dedicated to reading it helped me become a better person.

 2. Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent

This book holds some interesting ideas for those trying to believe in Heaven. I’m Catholic, so not all of the ideas in the book resonated with my religion. Regardless, I found the personal experience fascinating. I loved how detailed the boy got with his descriptions. When I finished reading this book, I felt like I’d met Jesus. When I finished, I was ready to go to Heaven myself. It was incredible.

3. The Shack by William Paul Young

This is a hard book to read because it surrounds a murder. It’s a true story, too. But most of the book doesn’t focus on the murder; it focuses on personal growth and healing. The reason people say this book is amazing is because it is. If you want a moving experience and a deeper relationship with God, it’s time to pick this up if you haven’t already.

 

So there you have it. I am not in any way endorsed for any of my suggestions. These are my experiences. This is my bookshelf. I’ll be adding to this list if I think of more things, and I welcome your suggestions and bookshelf items! What’s changed you?

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