Over the years, I’ve benefited from numerous books and products. Those listed below are ones that I recommend as I’ve used them myself and/or recommended them to clients with excellent results. Please note that many are affiliate links which means that I receive a small commission on the sale.
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Muse is an extraordinary meditation tool. I’ve been using it myself and it has increased both the quality and frequency of my meditation practice. It uses EEG sensors to read your brain waves and provide immediate feedback about your level of calm via your smart phone or tablet.
Simple Habit is an easy-to-use mediation app/website designed for busy people needing quick solutions to everyday stressors. There are plenty of meditation apps on the market, but what I like about Simple Habit is how approachable it is. These guided meditations are relaxing and compassionate and only take five minutes! And there’s a Simple Habit meditation to help you through every situation — anxiety, insomnia, getting over an ex, self-control, preparing for an interview, and much more (over 500 meditations with a paid subscription and 50 free).
Codependency & Boundaries
Codependent No More is one the most highly regarded books on codependency. It’s a great foundation for understanding and changing codependent behaviors. I highly recommend it.
If you had a dysfunctional childhood, check out Toxic Parents. Dr. Forward covers toxic parents of all kinds: emotionally abusive, physically abusive, addicts, etc. She is a huge advocate for being assertive and confronting when appropriate.
Adult Children of Alcoholics is a must read for all ACoA’s. It will provide you with helpful insights into your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and connect the dots between your childhood experiences and adult relationships.
Setting boundaries is an essential strategy for codependents. Anne Katherine’s book is a good place to start for understanding what boundaries are, why they’re important, and how to starting setting some. My full review is here.
Henry Cloud is another author that I’m very fond of. He explains how to set physical, emotional and spiritual boundaries. He also addresses many of the common barriers to setting boundaries – guilt, feeling selfish, fear of hurting people. This book has Christian references.
I wrote this workbook based on 20 years of experience helping people set boundaries. It’s for everyone who struggles to set boundaries, is riddled with guilt when they do, and has a hard time saying “No”. It’s full of exercises to help you better understanding your people-pleasing behaviors and assertively set boundaries.
Running on Empty is an outstanding book about understanding and overcoming childhood emotional neglect. Emotional neglect often goes undetected, but the effects linger on leaving you feeling unworthy, disconnected, and alone.
Personal Growth / Self-Esteem
I refer to this book and Carol Dweck’s work on the growth mindset all the time! It’s fascinating research that is so important and practical.
Daring Greatly is perhaps my favorite book by Brene Brown (and she’s written several great books). It’s inspiring and honest and vulnerable. It’s about conquering shame and having the courage to be your true self. She challenges the notion that vulnerability is weakness and instead helps us see that it’s the path to true connection that we’re all seeking.
Another great book by Brene Brown that I highly recommend for women who are feeling “not good enough”. Her message is that we can all stop hustling to prove our worth and just “be” because we’re already worthy.
Forgive for Good is written by Dr. Fred Luskin, a forgiveness researcher at Stanford. This book is makes an excellent case for all the benefits of forgiving and how to do it.
Self-Compassion is THE best resource on the subject. Dr. Neff intertwines research and personal stories to help us understand why self-compassion is important and how to practice it in our own lives.
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 an 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.
Happiness & Positive Psychology
I really enjoy Gretchen Rubin’s books and her podcast. She focuses on ways to increase happiness and create healthy habits. The Happiness Project chronicles her year long experiment to bring more happiness into her life.
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.
Relationships / Couples
The 5 Love Languages is probably my most recommended relationship resource. It’s easy to read, practical, and relevant. It does have some Christian references.
Attached is a really interesting read. You’ll find it especially useful if you’re struggling with a pattern of relationship difficulties, codependency, or are looking to better understand your behavior in relation to your partner’s. Read my full review here.
Essential read for coping with any type of infidelity. Very practical and helpful in coping in the short and long-term.
I found The Compass of Pleasure to be so interesting. It explains some of the brain science behind addiction. And understanding the science will decrease shame and help you understand the complex factors that make breaking an addiction so difficult.
Terence Gorski, author of Staying Sober and many other recovery books, is my favorite addiction treatment professional. I would recommend any of his books, this this workbook has been a tremendous resource that I’ve referenced over and over.
I recently read Yes, Your Teen is Crazy! in preparation for a speaking gig I had with a parenting group. This is a fantastic resource and I highly recommend Dr. Bradley’s approach and wisdom.
You already know that exercise is great for the body and mind. But even when you know all the positives, you don’t always fully utilize exercise as a way to get or stay mentally well. This is why 8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise is such a useful tool. The author presents research to back up her claims and it’s full of reflective questions, writing prompts, and action items.
The Power of Habit is a fun and informative read. You can read my full review of The Power of Habit here.
A must-read if you or someone you love is highly sensitive. Dr. Elaine Aron is an expert on the subject of highly sensitive people (and one herself) and is very affirming, helping you improve your self-esteem and develop coping strategies. My full review is here.