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16 Books to Read When Therapy Feels Unaffordable

Are you feeling depressed, anxious, or just need some guidance? You’re not alone. Studies show that nearly 1 in 5 Americans experience mental health issues, yet many don’t seek help due to the high costs of therapy. Plus, there is often still a stigma around asking for help, or some people have the feeling that their mental health isn’t big enough of an issue to get professional guidance (because they feel they should be able to “tough it out”).

That’s where books come in to save your day. Reading is an affordable way to get help, find comfort, and improve your mental well-being. It has been proven to reduce stress, enhance empathy, and offer new perspectives on life’s challenges.

So, we have compiled a list of these 16 fantastic reads that can serve as your personal therapist. Of course, books should not replace professional help, but they’re a great place to start if you’re stuck and unsure what to do next.

1. The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk

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This book has to top the list when it comes to healing your mind from trauma and abuse. Bessel Van der Kolk, a trauma expert, uses his decades of experience to show how trauma reshapes both body and mind, making it hard for the sufferers to enjoy life, control themselves, and trust others. 

The book tells us a fascinating narrative that connects the dots between scientific studies and how we can heal ourselves in simpler ways. 

The author introduces advanced treatments like Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), yoga, and neurofeedback. These offer new ways to heal by tapping into the brain’s natural ability to change and adapt.

2. When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron

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This bestselling book is a go-to guide for anyone dealing with tough times and recovering from loss. Through her words, Chodron, an American Tibetan Buddhist, shares valuable advice on dealing with pain and uncertainty with compassion and bravery.

This book suggests that instead of being afraid and avoiding problems, we should accept them and grow. Chödrön shares stories from her own life and teaches us how dealing with our fears and accepting difficulties can improve us.

So, if you’re feeling lost, this book is like that therapist who reminds you that even the tough times can surprisingly make you stronger.

3. The Resilience Workbook by Glenn R. Schiraldi

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It is a must-read if you want to improve your ability to deal with stress, anxiety, or any tough situation. The author is a mental health expert with a knack for breaking down complex psychological ideas into practical exercises to help cultivate a growth mindset.

It comes in a workbook style, meaning you can immediately apply what you learn to your daily life. Schiraldi guides readers to a contented life through evidence-based strategies, such as mindfulness, self-compassion, and cognitive behavioral therapy.

4. The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer

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The book “Untethered Soul” offers a simple but profound message: “You are not your thoughts, and you have the power to choose inner peace at any moment.” 

It suggests that finding happiness and understanding ourselves comes from not trying to control everything around us but instead letting go of negative thoughts and feelings that stop us from connecting with what makes us happy. 

Certainly an enlightening read for anyone looking to break free from stress and societal expectations.

5. The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris

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If you are tired of chasing happiness, this book is for you. It is based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and will make you think differently about being happy. 

Harris believes that always trying to be positive and happy isn’t realistic and can make us feel worse because we can’t always live up to such high expectations. Instead, he suggests that understanding pain is part of life, and focusing on what matters to us can help us feel satisfied. 

The book provides easy tips and exercises for changing perspective, such as paying attention to the present moment and determining what’s important to us.

6. Feeling Great by Dr. David D. Burns

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It is an amazing book that uses easy ideas from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help people beat depression and anxiety and feel happy and satisfied. Dr. Burns shows new ways to fix mental health problems, conveying the idea that you can feel better quickly without looking back at the past or taking a lot of medicine. 

Using simple exercises and real-life examples, the book teaches you to ignore negative thoughts and beliefs that make you unhappy. If you’re stuck in negative thinking or feelings, this book has tips that can help your mental health and outlook on life.

7. The Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler

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In “The Art of Happiness,” the Dalai Lama and psychiatrist Howard C. Cutler explore how Eastern spiritual traditions and Western psychology can help us understand happiness. 

Based on interviews with the Dalai Lama, the book shares his views on achieving happiness through compassion, mindfulness, and understanding our minds. It offers practical tips for dealing with life’s challenges and finding lasting happiness.

8. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

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This book talks about life and therapy. Gottlieb is a therapist who tells stories about her own life and that of her patients. She writes with kindness, humor, and honesty about how we deal with life’s big and small problems.

The book exhibits that therapy is not just for people who are having a hard time; it’s a way for anyone to grow and better understand themselves. Through the stories of others, Gottlieb reveals how important it is to share our feelings and thoughts to heal. If you are considering therapy, give this book a read!

9. What Happened to You? by Oprah Winfrey and Bruce D. Perry  

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In this book, the authors brilliantly discuss how trauma affects us and the importance of understanding our past for a better future. They suggest asking, “What happened to you?” instead of “What’s wrong with you?” to understand people’s actions better. The book uses Oprah’s personal stories and Dr. Perry’s insights to show how our early experiences shape our reactions to things.

It helps readers deal with their traumas through science and empathy, offering a new perspective on personal struggles. “What Happened to You?” is a book for anyone looking to understand the reasons behind their feelings and behaviors.

10. I Don’t Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression by Terrence Real

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This book is a gem! It dives deep into male depression, a topic that doesn’t get enough attention. It talks about how men often hide their struggle with denial, withdrawal, getting angry, or turning to addictive habits. 

The book explores why society expects men to suppress their feelings and also provides a way forward for healing. If you or someone close to you has been struggling silently, the book’s affectionate vibe and true stories can be a game changer. 

11. Wintering by Katherine May

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“Wintering” by Katherine May talks about those tough times in our lives that feel cold and lonely, like a winter season. May shares her experiences and digs into stories and ideas from culture and books to show how these ‘winter’ moments can help us grow and find ourselves again. She tells us that it’s okay to hit pause, to rest up, and to be real about our feelings. 

This book is a must-read for those with burnout because it believes that downtime is not a period of unproductivity but a necessity for inner healing and recovery. 

12. Hope and Help for Your Nerves by Dr. Claire Weekes

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It is one of the bestselling self-help books and offers great advice for dealing with anxiety, panic attacks, and phobias. The author explains anxiety in simple terms, showing readers how to handle the physical symptoms, understand where it comes from, and find ways to cope. 

What makes this book special is its focus on accepting and being patient with yourself during recovery. It’s a helpful guide for anyone facing anxiety (which, basically, all of us do at some point in our lives), providing clear steps to feel calmer and more in control. 

13. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

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This book shares valuable insights from Marcus Aurelius, a Roman Emperor and wise philosopher. He is jotting down notes to himself about being resilient, thinking clearly, and understanding life.

Aurelius highlights the importance of staying strong during tough times and understanding our role in the universe. He advises focusing on what we can control, ignoring distractions, and finding inner peace. The book is a treasure of ancient wisdom that is still relevant today.

14. Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

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Are you feeling stuck or lacking motivation to take bigger steps? This book is what you need in your life. It is a transformative self-help book that teaches the importance of vulnerability and discusses how being open about our weaknesses is actually a strength.

The author, who has extensively researched the topic, tells readers to accept their flaws and face life head-on despite fear of failing or being judged. This motivates people to live fully by believing in their own values.

15. The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog by Bruce D. Perry

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This book by Bruce D. Perry, a child psychiatrist, explores childhood trauma and neglect through real stories. It includes a story of a young boy who was ignored and grew up without any human contact.

The book reveals how badly abuse and neglect can affect children, but they can also bounce back with therapy and care that can help them heal.

16. Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents by Lindsay C. Gibson

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This book highlights how having emotionally unavailable or immature parents can deeply affect children’s mental and emotional health, even into adulthood.

The book offers tools and advice for healing from these experiences, setting healthy boundaries, and developing a stronger sense of self. It is compassionate and practical, helping readers overcome negative patterns and build better relationships.

It’s proved to be a hopeful guide for those who seek healing from a difficult childhood.

15 Little Moments of Appreciation That Make The Hard Days Better

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An online community user asked, “What is keeping you alive right now?” And people shared what makes their life worth living, from the smallest moments to the grandest gestures- it all counts.

15 Little Moments of Appreciation That Make The Hard Days Better

The 12 Best Hidden Secrets to a Life of Happiness

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In pursuing happiness, we often look for that one secret formula that can bring us forever-lasting joy. An interesting question was asked on a public forum, “What is the best-hidden secret of happiness”? We picked the twelve best secrets to happiness shared. From finding gratitude to practicing mindfulness or simply sharing laughter, there’s something here for everyone. 

The 12 Best Hidden Secrets to a Life of Happiness

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