This year’s Mental Health Awareness week is all about surviving and thriving. From handling stress to getting enough sleep, these books will help you do just that
Best for: keeping stress at bay
Did you know ‘frazzle’ is a technical term? It’s the psychological result of human beings’ least helpful invention: stress. No one knows this better than Ruby Wax. A self-confessed over-achiever who constantly compared herself to others, a few years ago Ruby found herself at breaking point. So she headed to Oxford University to study Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. What she learned changed her life - and her mind. More practical course than self-help read, her book shows us all how to make simple changes to our everyday lives that will give us time to breathe, reflect and live in the moment – with plenty of laughs along the way. For giggles on the train, we recommend the audio version.
Best for: creating a more peaceful living space
Ever thought that maybe all the stuff in your life is crowding out what’s really important? A few years ago, Fumio Sasaki had just that realisation – so he started to get rid of it. Now he lives in a tiny Tokyo studio with three shirts, four pairs of trousers, four pairs of socks, and not much else. And he’s all the happier for it. In this book, Sasaki explores the philosophy behind minimalism and provides a set of straightforward rules to help you lead a simpler, happier, more fulfilled life.
Best for: resting your mind
One of the most important aspects of taking care of your mind is giving it proper rest. And that means sleep. But the amount – and the quality – of sleep we get is something so many of us struggle with, and this affects everything from our mood and motivation to our work and relationships. Sleep coach Nick Littlehales has advised the world’s leading athletes on exactly this issue. In this book, he sets out tips we can all use, from how to map our sleep cycles to creating the right environment to help us get the rest we need.
Best for: everyday resilience
Designer and writer Ollie Aplin started the MindJournal movement in 2016. He’d discovered the power of journaling to maintain a strong and healthy mind, but found it hard to know how and what to write. So he created a Kickstarter campaign for a book, designed specifically for men, that would provide a programme for getting started with journaling. In this practical guide he shows you how to use it as an everyday mind workout. This book really will make you stronger!
Best for: building self-belief
Looking after our bodies helps us look after our minds. And there’s something in particular about running, isn’t there? If you’ve ever considered running, or tried and given up in frustration at how…well … difficult it all seems, this book will give you the inspiration to persevere. Alexandra Heminsley tells the story of her unpromising first attempts at becoming a runner, and how she overcame them to achieve the unlikely feat of completing five marathons in six years. As her Dad says, you run with your head as much as with your legs – and believe it or not, you are capable of more than you ever imagined.
Best for: overcoming setbacks
This book by Facebook COO Shery Sandberg and psychologist and Originals author Adam Grant is all about finding the resilience to cope with the setbacks that life throws at us. Fusing personal anecdotes from Sheryl’s experiences after her husband’s sudden death with Adam’s research on how we find strength in adversity, it looks at the steps everyone can take to find their own Option B when events make Option A unavailable. Put simply, this is a book about how to build resilience in ourselves, our kids and our communities; to bounce back from our crises and find a way to enjoy life again.
Best for: building Mum and Dad’s confidence
Being a parent can be overwhelming. We find ourselves dealing with a constant sense of being judged, and nagging worries about how to manage pressures from school and social media, all while living in a home that can often feel like a battleground. In a reassuring book full of real-life examples, clinical psychologist Dr Genevieve von Lob shows you how to give yourself a break, trust your own judgment, and use practical tactics based on mindfulness, psychology and neuroscience to help you build a sense of calm, confidence, and balance that will benefit the whole family.
Best for: looking after each other
In this thought-provoking and compassionate book, Attitude editor Matthew Todd investigates why the gay population suffers disproportionately with mental health problems like anxiety, low self-worth, depression, addiction and poor body image – and what we can do to change this. Examining the life-long impact of the shame that many children feel when growing up in the closet, and the impossible perfectionism so often demanded by gay culture, he calls on the gay and wider communities to work together to build a genuine culture of acceptance that we all deserve: one that will make everyone happier.