I love self-help and self-improvement books.
The kids are out of school. I’m preparing for my summer vacation. That means it’s time to compile a summer reading list. If self-help books are part of your summer reading list, these are not to be missed!
Below are seven self-help or psychology books that I find myself recommending over and over.
Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find and Keep Love by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller.
You may be familiar with attachment theory, the idea that your behavior in relationships is based on the type of attachment – secure, anxious, or avoidant – that you established with your primary caretaker as a baby. Levine and Heller apply this science to adult romantic relationships resulting in a helpful new way of understanding your marriage or dating relationships. Once you understand your own attachment style and that of your partner, you can learn how to create a stronger relationship. I found this book especially useful to those with an anxious attachment style and those with repeated break-ups or chaotic relationships. The authors provide actionable ideas for improving your relationships given your particular attachment style.
The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman.
This is an obvious choice for couples wanting a deeper connection. But even if you aren’t currently in a relationship, you’ll gain a greater understanding of the ways you want to be loved and how you love others. It is a straightforward and easy read. It does have some Christian references. Chapman has expanded from the original 5 Love Languages to include versions for children, teens, men, and singles.
If you are wondering whether you’re codependent or struggling with a loved one’s addiction or mental health problem, this is the book for you. Melody Beattie is one of the foremost experts on codependency, who draws on her own experiences as she explains how to set boundaries and detach with compassion. It’s a book I come back to over and over again for accountability and hope.
I was first introduced to Shawn Achor’s work through his popular Ted Talk. Achor challenges conventional wisdom about happiness with his research that shows that happiness leads to success not the other way around. The Happiness Advantage will change the way you work (both at the office and at home). It’s an interesting and insightful look into why we think and behave the way we do. It’s also full of practical advice for living a happier and more productive life. I especially like the 20 second rule.
Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff
The concept of self-compassion has become popular largely due to Dr. Neff’s research and book. She shares her own personal stories, struggles, and transformation through self-compassion, making for an authentic read. Self-Compassion also contains numerous exercises that you can use to develop your own practice of being kind to yourself.
This was the first book by Brene Brown that I read. And I absolutely loved it! Brown has since written several other best selling books that are all fantastic as well. But The Gifts of Imperfection remains one of my favorites. It spoke so honestly to me about our struggles with self-worth and feelings of inadequacy. Brown shows us that we are worthy, even in our imperfection. I immediately started recommending it to clients and friends.
Dr. Orloff takes a holistic approach to releasing negative emotions and building positive ones. The book includes chapters on transforming depression, anxiety, jealousy, and loneliness. But the real strength of Emotional Freedom is in Orloff’s personal experience as a highly empathic and intuitive person. She validates and provides useful strategies to help you guard against all that is toxic and draining, while simultaneously building self-esteem and positive energy.
I hope you’ll make time to read some of these excellent books!
Photo: mamamia05 / Flickr
©Sharon Martin, LCSW. All rights reserved.