3 More of Our Favourite Self Help Psychology Books

How to Learn to Accept Tough Thoughts and Feelings, and be the Person you Want to be

Our last post on 3 of our favourite self help books focused on books that explored popular myths, how those myths can hold us back and where to go from there. This week we’re recommending three books about managing difficult thoughts and feelings.

An important part of the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or Psychological Flexibility model is learning to recognize that no amount of positive thinking makes difficult thoughts go away, and that often the harder we push against those thoughts the more troublesome they can become. You might notice that ACT therapists rarely even refer to thoughts as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and instead, we talk about ‘difficult’ thoughts. That kind of language attempts to loosen us up from the unhelpful idea that we shouldn’t have “bad thoughts”.

These three books are about learning to get better at skillfully handling difficult thoughts and feelings so that we can get on with being our most authentic selves, living in line with our values, noticing when we’re hooked away, forgiving ourselves and gently returning.

1. Anxiety Happens, John P. Forsyth PhDGeorg H. Eifert PhD

A portable small guide to “cultivate calm and radically transform your life”, from the book’s description. Anxiety Happens presents 52 simple strategies to enhance calm and soothe feelings of anxiety. Anxiety Happens explores the underlying causes of anxiety, why pushing anxiety away and avoiding things that make you anxious just doesn’t work, and how to move past anxious thoughts and feelings to live a full, meaningful life.

If you read only one of these three books, Anxiety Happens would be our pick. It’s practical, engaging and results focused. The authors are well known in the ACT community for their clinical and academic work, workshops and trainings. Anxiety Happens can help you to develop willingness, self-compassion, and wisdom.

Available on Amazon, Book Depository and others.

2. Users Guide to the Human Mind, Shawn T. Smith, PsyD.

Users Guide to the Human Mind is a charming and super helpful look into the challenging thoughts and feelings that we all feel, quite a lot of the time!  Shawn’s book is funny, sweet and thought provoking. Coming from an ACT perspective, Users Guide to the Human Mind teaches us simple strategies to consciously observe our thoughts, and learn also to notice by gentle practice that we don’t need to be so governed by them.

From the synopsis:

“The inner workings of the human brain may be a great mystery, but the mind’s true purpose has been verified time and time again: your brain is secretly conspiring against you to make you crazy. How else can we account for the needless fears, dramas, tizzies, and rages that affect us on a minute-by-minute basis?”

The Users Guide to the Human Mind explores these questions with stories, exercises and relevant academic studies to teach cognitive strategies to help us unlearn some of the bad habits our mind has picked up over time.

Available for purchase from Amazon, Book depository and also on Audible!. Also available digitally from Brisbane City Council Library via Borrow box or Overdrive smartphone apps.

3. Stuff That Sucks: Accepting what You Can’t Change and Committing to what You Can, Ben Sedley.

Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-MwelUgx-I

Written with young people in mind, Stuff That Sucks is a validating, normalising and compassionate book that encourages readers to accept difficult emotions rather than struggling against them.  Ben has written a terrific book that superbly adapts the ACT model for young people, or those working & living with young people. This is a very special book that helps young people move past difficult thoughts and hone in on their values, and be more of the kind of person that they choose to be, discovering themselves along the way.

An important part of Stuff That Sucks is its strong focus on validating feelings. No one wants to have their feelings minimised, be told that they’ll grow out of them or that it’s just a phase. The author, Ben, has a wealth of background working with children, adolescents and families, and has adapted that experience into this beautiful book.

Stuff That Sucks is fast paced, practical and fun, drawing upon solid scientific evidence to help us all deal more effectively with the kind of thoughts and feelings that often simply suck!

Amazon, Kindle version, FB page

So those are three more of our favourite self books that we regularly recommend to clients. We love good, actionable and evidence based psychology books and all of our therapists read tons of them to stay sharp. Working with a trained professional can be a terrific complement to a good self help book to get the best possible results for you. Get in touch with our friendly team and we can match you up with the therapist that is best suited to help you be your best self. Get in touch Today!

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