Earlier this year SYBD launched a small bookstore of our own featuring the BEST BREAK UP BOOKS (EVER). Well today, we welcome back Australia’s reality chick with her top picks from her own self-help shelf…
Although a great proportion of self-help books probably belong in the bin, DIY therapy doesn’t always deserve the bad rap it gets. I’m a relationships writer and my self-help shelf spans all topics: break-ups, finding a partner, why men marry, why marriages succeed or fail, coping with sex addiction, why people cheat, finding love cosmically, rescuing your relationship – you name it, I’ve got it. Don’t be too quick to dismiss the self-help shelf at your local bookstore, because sometimes, a gem will come along that offers real insight. And in my humble opinion, books that improve our mental health, help us have happier relationships or simply happier lives, are well worth a peek.
Here are a few of my favourites.
Fear can be one of the most insidious, crippling emotions we face, and this book, written by spiritual teacher and meditation guru Osho, is all about developing courage. Osho outlines how, when faced with uncertainty and change in our lives, we should celebrate and embrace the unknown, rather than trying to hang on to the familiar. It’s only in doing this, he writes, that we can develop the strength to face any of life’s curve balls with courage and conviction. A brilliant read for anyone who struggles with change (and hey, that’s probably most of us).
Women Who Think Too Much: How to Break Free of Overthinking and Reclaim Your Life – By Dr Susan Nolen-Hoeksema
Are you the type of person who lies awake at night, letting your mind jump from problem to problem? Do you revisit past decisions and wonder what you should have done differently? Over-analyse your friends’ or partner’s comments? If so, chances are you’re an over-thinker – and this book is all about how to break free from negativity and the exhausting grip of anxiety that can make over-thinking a big, fat, toxic habit. It was published in 2003 so there may be more updated studies now, but it’s still a hugely relevant and helpful book for any woman who feels ‘married to her worries’.
Penned by the author of Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff–(and It’s all Small Stuff), this pocket guide to finding contentment should be within everyone’s reach – especially for those blue times we all go through. In helping you understand how your mind works, either to create problems or diffuse them, Carlson details a number of really simple principles that actually work, such as recognising how thoughts don’t always represent reality, and how we can question your judgment on different moods, and actually train your mind to interpret situations more positively. A great read.
This Is Not The Story You Think It Is: A Season of Unlikely Happiness – By Laura Munson
In August, 2009, an essay published in The New York Times, “Those Aren’t Fighting Words, Dear”, created something of a stir in online circles. Its author, Laura Munson, was inspired to pen the piece after her husband of twenty years declared that he no longer loved her. With her marriage on the brink of break-up, Munson didn’t rage or cry – she stayed calm, tried to live in the present and accepted that she was the source of her own unhappiness and her husband’s crisis was nothing to do with her. That piece spawned this memoir, and while it has polarized readers, it’s certainly very interesting food for thought for anyone who’s weathered a similar curve ball in their own relationship.
It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken: The Smart Girl’s Break-Up Buddy – By Greg Behrendt and Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt
An oldie but a goodie, of course – co-written by the guy so famous for the 2004 dating tome, He’s Just Not That Into You. This time, Behrendt teams up with his wife to dish out more of the same pithy, perfect advice, on everything from why you shouldn’t call him, how to ‘reframe’ your reality, avoiding break-up pitfalls such as ex-sex or stalking, and transforming yourself into a ‘hot and happening Superfox’. Yup, when you’re down in the dumps and drowning in a tub of Cookies’n’Cream this kind of straight talk is just what the love doctor ordered.
Deal Breakers: When to Work On a Relationship and When to Walk Away-By Dr. Bethany Marshall
It’s all too easy sometimes to stay in a bad relationship. But how do you know when to work on it and when to walk away? This slick little offering came out in 2007, and it’s a book for women, about men. Specifically, emotionally unhealthy men. “The ones who make you question, ‘Is it him or is it me? Am I making too big a deal out of this?” As Marshall says, relationships are hard work, but how hard should they be? If you’re not sure where your boundaries lie, this’ll help you define your dealbreakers.
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