Reading is one of my favourite self-care acts, and in today’s fast-paced and high-stress culture, self-help books, each promising to be the key to living a happier and more successful life, have become such a comfort to me over the years.
In times of feeling hopeless and lost in life, self-help books often find meaning and growth and a deeper sense of who we are, and who we want to be as human beings on the planet.
But with so much choice, it is easy for quality titles to get lost among the shelves. Well, in the midst of dealing with my diagnosis of Scleroderma last year, these are the books that gave me insight, and a glimpse of the complicated matters of the heart when faced with this really isolating, lonely time.
I really hope they give you the same comfort they have given to me. If you feel called to, I’d love to know if you have read any of the books I have mentioned in this post. If not, have any made your reading wishlist?
As a disclaimer: all of the books mentioned link through to Hive. I love buying books from Hive because they support local book shops and indie businesses. I make no commission from any of the links.
A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
Eckhart Tolle is one of my favourite spiritual writers. Below, of course, I feature the bestselling spiritual guide ‘The Power of Now’, a book that inspired millions of readers to discover the freedom and joy of a life lived “in the now.”
In Tolle’s latest release, ‘A New Earth’, Tolle expands on these powerful ideas to show how transcending our ego-based state of consciousness is not only essential to personal happiness, but also the key to ending conflict and suffering throughout the world.
The idea that we are not anything of form; thoughts, likes or dislikes, cumulative experiences, gender, nationality, religion, and so on is soothing, comforting, provocative and enlightening in this world we live in.
The simple but incredibly profound principles found in ‘A New Earth’ will open your eyes to will transform you, comfort you, and enable you to transcend, the perceived obstacles, doubts and afflictions you may be facing in your everyday life.
“You are not IN the universe, you ARE the universe, an intrinsic part of it. Ultimately you are not a person, but a focal point where the universe is becoming conscious of itself. What an amazing miracle.”
You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay
Louise L. Hay is a bestselling author and an internationally known leader in the self-help field. Louise Hay’s key message is: “If we are willing to do the mental work, almost anything can be healed.”
Louise herself has had a great deal of experience and firsthand information to share about healing, including how she cured herself after being diagnosed with cancer.
I was recommended her reading time and time again after being diagnosed with my life-changing illness early last year, and without doubt, this made the biggest difference to the way I viewed my chronic illness.
‘You Can Heal Your Life’ is the book that showed me how to live with Scleroderma, and through all that and more. The learnings you’ll gain from this book can be hard to digest at first, but it truly is possible to ‘heal your life’ and I’m choosing to respond to situations differently and to even look at them differently.
This book gave me the key to release all things negative. It contains the key sentiment, ‘I am willing to release …”. This is similar to the key components in ‘Power of Now’ from Eckart Tolle as discussed below.
“Remember, you have been criticising yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”
Radical Self-Love: A Guide to Loving Yourself and Living Your Dreams by Gala Darling
One of my favourite ladies in this internet age is the fun, colourful beautiful Gala Darling! And in her first book ‘Radical Self-Love,’ you truly will transform your life!
Gala Darling herself spent years in soul-sucking jobs, battling depression, and an eating disorder. Coming out the other side, she discovered radical self-love for herself, and in doing so changed her life.
In her book ‘Radical Self-Love’, you’ll discover exactly what makes you so magnificent, and you’ll gain a litany of tools and techniques to help you manifest a life bursting with magic, miracles, bliss, and adventure!
Her writing style feels like you’re talking to your best friend and that’s my favourite part about it all. When I read this book I was already on a journey of healing old wounds when I found this, but I wasn’t truly loving myself the way I should, and in that, I have found the most productive healing yet.
I love the way it features accountable homework exercises to stay on top of your journey. This book will take you from learning to fall madly in love with yourself, to loving others, to making your world a more magical place through style, self-expression, and manifestation. Because as Gala Darling says herself, ‘when you love yourself, life is limitless’, and I couldn’t agree more!
“A massive and essential part of self-love is forgiveness and acceptance. So while you’re making an effort and striving to be the best person you can be, at the same time you need to recognize your own humanity. Try not to hold yourself to impeccable standards, and just do the best you can right now.”
What a Time to be Alone: The Slumflower’s bestselling guide to why you are already enough by Chidera Eggerue
In this book, Chidera will be your life guru, confidante and best friend as she shows you that being alone is not just okay: it’s just about the best thing that could ever happen to you.
Written in a truly unique, one-to-one style with insightful Igbo proverbs from Chidera’s Nigerian mother. It also contains some of Chidera’s original artwork.
This book truly resonated with me as I am in a major self-improvement mode this year, and I feel so empowered with the loving guidance of this book. It’s really made me realise that I have to put myself first in a lot of situations in my life I have neglected my worth. I also highly recommend Chidera’s Ted Talk that expands on the wisdom in this book.
“Your purpose transcends desirability. You are here to lead a full life.”
The Four Agreements: Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (Toltec Wisdom Book) by Don Miguel Ruiz
Of all the books I’m mentioning to you here, Don Miguel Ruiz’s ‘The Four Agreements’ will always have the most special place in my heart because it was the first spiritual book I had ever read, and one I read early last year after finding myself feeling very hopeless and lost.
The ideas in relation to the four agreements on which this book is based are on ancient Toltec wisdom, through which you will learn why and how our beliefs can cause our endless suffering.
By implementing the Four Agreements outlined by Don Miguel Ruiz, you will transform your life into one of happiness, positivity, and fulfilment. The book builds in very easy to understand breathtaking layers, and the order of these layers and lessons is so important. You can truly feel the kind and loving intent within every single word and the amount I was able to translate into my daily life was instantaneous.
‘The Four Agreements’ is very easy to read and understand and you really don’t need advanced philosophy to move mountains of the mind, but I wish to goodness everyone on earth can have the privilege to read this book. It’s without changed my whole entire life and words will never be enough to how thankful I am I found it.
“The Four Agreements
1. Be impeccable with your word.
2. Don’t take anything personally.
3. Don’t make assumptions.
4. Always do your best. ”
Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway: How to Turn Your Fear and Indecision into Confidence and Action by Susan Jeffers
This is a very recent purchase from my time in Glastonbury, so I can’t give it as thorough a review as my other recommendations however I was struck already by the wisdom I am gaining so far I couldn’t leave it out.
If you are feeling lost, unsure, and paralysed by a constant fear that lingers on your every decision, then I highly recommend this bestselling work. In ‘Feel The Fear and Do it Anyway’, Susan Jeffers helps you better understand your fears, learn how to move from victim to empowered, and learn how to combat negative thinking.
In guiding you through this journey, Jeffers provides insightful concepts and techniques, which include positive affirmations and incredibly helpful exercises, to help you think more positively and reclaim your power.
A really empowering read and one that will help you go out into the world with a greater sense of power and go-getting-confidence.
“Every time you encounter something that forces you to “handle it,” your self-esteem is raised considerably. You learn to trust that you will survive, no matter what happens. And in this way, your fears are diminished immeasurably.”
Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig
One of my favourite humans on my Twitter feed is the wonderful Matt Haig the best-selling Brighton author of 2015’s ‘Reasons To Stay Alive’, but actually I still need to get that book because I was drawn to this title when I off on a trip this spring feeling quite broken with a timeline of truly hard decisions and events.
With Matt’s writing I instantly feel less alone, and ‘Note on a Nervous Planet’ is essentially a book that looks at how the world messes with our head and how to survive it. Something I truly needed more than anything at that time.
Matt shares real stories and real advice that has helped him through this very nervous, crazy world we are all on. The chapters are short and very readable and absolutely perfect for on-the-go travel or bedside your bed for a little nourishment and comfort every day.
The book is particularly groundbreaking in relation to his hypothesis surrounding technology and social media, and thus I truly feel everyone should have the gift of being able to read this so that they can help to navigate this very overwhelming 24/7 ‘on’ world we live in.
“To enjoy life, we might have to stop thinking about what we will never be able to read and watch and say and do, and start to think of how to enjoy the world within our boundaries. To live on a human scale. To focus on the few things we can do, rather than the millions of things we can’t. To not crave parallel lives. To find a smaller mathematics. To be a proud and singular one. An indivisible prime.”
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle
Featuring another timeless, beautiful book from Eckhart Tolle, and one perhaps best known of all of his titles.
In ‘The Power of Now’, Tolle teaches you how to free yourself from your mind and to rise above your thoughts. By doing so, Tolle helps you understand that nothing exists outside of the present moment and that we should leave our analytical mind, with its false created self (the ego), behind.
If you are already familiar with ‘The Four Agreements’ above, then this will be something you will enjoy as it follows on from the idea of the ‘false created self (aka ‘ego’). Through ‘The Power of Now’ you will learn how to connect with your inner body, learn how to experience enlightened relationships, release negativity and feel peace.
As with ‘A New Earth’ Tolle provides you with an easy to follow style of writing that takes you on a journey towards spiritual enlightenment, where you will learn to experience beauty and lightness from being in and accepting the now.
“All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.”
Conversations with God, Book 1: An Uncommon Dialogue by Neale Donald Walsch
This is one of the newest books in my collection, recommended by my beautiful friend Janina during our time in Glastonbury (ps the book shops in Glastonbury are just wonderful for spirituality reading).
‘Conversations with God’ is actually a series of four books, and book 1 is just the beginning of a lengthy but a deeply engaging and intriguing conversation.
Some, of course, have found the book to be blasphemous, and many others find it contains much profound information.
Neale came to write the book during some really hard times in his life, and in a moment of utter frustration, despair, and anger decided to write a letter to God. The result was a passionate scathing letter full of condemnations and angry questions, and much to his surprise, even shock, God answered him.
The dialogue is truly so illuminating and challenges us to push past the imagined boundaries of what we believe ourselves capable of and look instead to all that we can attain as co-creators with God.
“The deepest secret is that life is not a process of discovery, but a process of creation. You are not discovering yourself, but creating yourself anew. Seek, therefore, not to find out Who You Are, but seek to determine Who You Want to Be.”
Man’s Search For Meaning: The classic tribute to hope from the Holocaust by Viktor E. Frankl
I’m finishing this post with one of the most truly life-changing, enriching books I have ever read: Viktor Frankl’s ‘Man’s Search For Meaning’.
Written by Austrian neurologist-psychiatrist and a Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl, this book is intense, timeless and deeply reflective.
By narrating his life instances in the Auschwitz concentration camp, it presents the remarkable idea of how we can choose to see a purpose or meaning in any situation, including the worst conditions.
Frankl descriptively illustrates his personal experiences and observations of minute human changes which infuses hope into whoever reads this deeply poignant read.
Frankl’s work is especially comforting when you hit a difficult time in life and you find yourself feeling hopeless like I did early last year. I discovered this life-changing work through Marie Forleo who also has the most wonderful book recommendations you can find.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
I’ve truly loved sharing just some of my favourite self-help books with you and I so hope one of the above can aid, comfort, and guide you in life when you need it as they have for me.
Do you have a favourite self-help book that changed your life that I haven’t mentioned?
I would absolutely love it if you could share your recommendations with me below, please! As soon as I’m tieing this up with a bow I’m releasing just how many more books I want to add so a part 2 will follow soon! xoxo