All of us feel overwhelmed and stressed sometimes. In fact, this is common enough to be a fairly universal aspect of the human experience.
The good news though, is that this also means there has been plenty written on the subject and it is not hard to come by advice on how to combat that stress. In fact, there are some fantastic books out there all about conquering stress and taking back control of your mind. Read on and we’ll discuss some of the very best stress books you can read to transform the way you view and react to stress…
Happy by Derren Brown
Derren Brown is a psychologist, hypnotist and illusionist that is very well known in the UK. His acts generally involve getting people to strange things, or surprising people with his mastery of his own memory or powers of persuasion. In Happy though, Brown has put his skills to good use and instead deconstructed the nature of happiness and how we can better attain it.
Brown spends a lot of time in the book by challenging classic notions of what make us happy – in particular, the need to ‘set goals and accomplish them’ and to ‘visualize success’.
His ideas are surprising and challenging and draw from philosophy in a way that is highly appropriate to modern living. What’s more, is that he is a fantastic writer and also a very decent human being. I had the pleasure of meeting him and he was incredibly charming!
Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns
This is a book all about CBT but in a way that is really aimed at those who are struggling with stress and anxiety in their daily lives. Books on CBT run the risk of being slightly detached manuals, which can make them somewhat daunting for new readers. This book avoids that problem and keeps it focussed and engaging.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Dummies
When you think of the ‘For Dummies’ book, you might tend to think of how-to books that revolve around DIY, home improvement or perhaps ‘how to use Windows 10’.
But using your brain is in many ways similar to using a computer and many of us are just as clueless when it comes to making the best of it! If you want to know the nuts and bolts of how CBT works, this book is a good place to start and the perfect complement to the last entry on this list.
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
Fighting stress doesn’t always necessarily mean changing the way you think or better understanding the nature of stress itself. Sometimes, fighting stress means looking at the regular ‘stressors’ in your life and combating them. And in some cases you might be surprised about the kinds of changes that can make all the difference to your sense of contentment and calm.
This is the idea of Marie Kondo, who feels that one of the best ways to fight stress is by tidying up. The idea is that we will feel like a weight has been lifted off of our shoulders when we manage to add more organization and cleanliness to our homes – and that all our ‘stuff’ is bogging us down. It truly is strangely cathartic following Marie’s instructions and it will lead to long lasting improvements to your daily routine.
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
Not all the best self-help books were written recently by self-improvement gurus! In fact, self-help books have been around since the dawn of time and Meditations by Marcus Aurelius is one of the best examples of this.
This is a book that pretty much introduced the world to the school of philosophy known as stoicism, which in turn has helped many to better manage their stresses and anxieties. It is a fantastic tool that you can use to take on any challenge life throws at you.
The Headspace Guide to Mindfulness & Meditation: 10 Minutes Make the Difference by Andy Puddicombe
In case the name of this book didn’t give it away already, Andy Puddicombe is one of the founders of Headspace – the incredibly popular mobile app that helps people to learn meditation with short, guided sessions. The book is just as accessible as the app – which is a relief seeing as meditation can be an intimidating subject matter.
Once you learn how to integrate meditation into your routine, you’ll find it has more profound benefits for your brain than anything else you could possibly do to manage stress.
The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
Just as tidying your home can help you to combat stress, so too can learning to better manage your work-life balance. That’s what this book is all about – it’s a guide to reducing the amount of time and mental energy you give to your work so you can start enjoying life. The book practically started the lifestyle design movement, which frankly, is one of the ultimate solutions to stress in general.
Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robins
This is a book that’s all about knowing what you want and going for it. However, it is written in a highly empowering and practical manner seeing as it comes from none other than Tony Robbins. Some of the ideas in here are a little dated now (especially according to some other titles on this list) but it offers a different perspective and can help you rekindle your passion – which is a powerful weapon against anxiety.
Monkey Mind: A Memoir on Anxiety by Daniel Smith
Sometimes it can help simply knowing that you are not alone when it comes to will anxiety and stress. This is a New York Times bestseller that can offer just that kind of reassurance, along with practical and sympathetic advice from someone who actually lived with severe anxiety. Instantly relatable and highly practical for anyone who knows what it is like to live with anxiety.
59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot by Richard Wiseman
Finally, 59 Seconds is a fantastic book for anyone that wants to further challenge some of the often-quoted self-help tips. This looks at the science behind a lot of bumper-sticker inspiration to find out the truth – and the reality is often shocking. Definitely well-worth a read.