A selection of popular health books that will inspire you to learn more about a range of topics. From how to overcome traumatic experiences to mindfulness techniques, these reads will boost your wellbeing and help you become a better version of yourself.
A must-read for anyone who wants to understand the link between gut health and brain function.
1. The Body Keeps the Score
This book is ideal for students who want to understand how trauma can linger even after a person’s memories have faded. It uses the latest discoveries in neuroscience to explain how trauma literally reshapes the body and brain, compromising their capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust. It also reveals innovative treatments like neurofeedback, meditation, sports, drama, and yoga that leverage the brain’s inherent neuroplasticity.
Trauma isn’t just an issue for women — men face unique pressures and emotional difficulties that require specific mental health strategies. This book helps them understand their struggles and empowers them with tools they can use to overcome their obstacles.
2. A Mind of Your Own
In this book, the author shares her own journey from working all the time to finding a healthier balance. A great read for anyone who needs a little inspiration to change things up.
The ancient Meditations of Marcus Aurelius have been supporting spiritual exercise and thoughtful reflection for centuries. This new translation breathes life into the original texts, making them accessible for a modern audience.
A must-read for anyone curious about trying therapy or counseling for the first time, this therapist-written memoir demystifies the process while encouraging self-discovery and insight.
3. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
The self-care tips in this book are sure to spark joy. Kondo, who’s also the star of the Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, shares her KonMari method for transforming messy rooms and lives. She teaches readers how to identify items that bring them joy and let go of those that don’t.
While people casually drop that they’re in therapy all the time now, mental health still has an unfair stigma. This book explores how a history of mistreatment has created this unfair stigma and how understanding your own and others’ mental health can help break it down.
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4. The Gut Feeling
Call it a sixth sense, a hunch, or simply your intuition—there’s actually something to these gut instincts, and experts say you should listen. “Intuition lets us know if there’s anything wrong,” says Judith Orloff, a psychiatrist who trains UCLA medical students and psychiatric residents on how to use their gut feelings with patients. “Most gut instincts come with some kind of physical sensation.”
Research supports the theory that our brains communicate with the gastrointestinal tract via a neural superhighway known as the brain-gut axis. The same circuitry likely influences the microbiome’s production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter linked to mood and happiness.
To hone your intuition, try keeping an intuitive journal and taking note of the situations when your gut responds. This will help you see patterns like when your intuition was right versus when it was mistaken.
5. The Happiness Project
As a form of scientific research, Gretchen Rubin decided to spend a year trying to maximize her happiness. She gave herself specific, measurable resolutions and tasks to follow. Her book includes a wealth of research, tips and resources you can use to craft your own Happiness Project.
This book examines the science behind the powerful effects of meditation, sleep and exercise on mental wellbeing. It also offers practical techniques to help you break bad habits and start healthy new ones.
Get your hands on these and many more wellness titles that are sure to leave you feeling energized and inspired this year. For even more wellness inspiration, sign up for Mira and enjoy access to virtual primary care, urgent care, and same-day lab testing for as low as $45 a month. Learn more today!
6. You Are a Badass
Jen Sincero’s feisty, sometimes swear-y motivational self-improvement book has been Instagrammed by every blogger and entrepreneur who has read it. It’s easy to see why this New York Times bestseller has taken over: it’s direct, relatable and downright funny.
Badassness isn’t just about being physically strong or mentally tough, though those are important traits. It’s about having a strong sense of purpose and believing that you have the power to make your own life better. If you don’t believe in yourself, you can’t convince others to do the same. This book encourages readers to get over their bullshit and start living the life they deserve. It starts with making your bed every morning, which will set you up for success all day long. You might be surprised at how far this little task will take you.
7. Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers
For wild animals, stress is episodic (like running away from a lion), but in humans chronic stress is more likely to lead to illness. The reason is that over time, stress can cause the brain to stop producing important neurotransmitters needed for normal bodily functions like keeping blood pressure in check, lowering cholesterol, and increasing hippocampal neurogenesis.
Renowned primatologist Robert Sapolsky’s book, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, explains how modern society’s high levels of stress contribute to a variety of ailments such as ulcers and depression. His book is a must-read for anyone looking to improve their health and wellbeing.
8. The Power of Positive Thinking
Whether you want to overcome a panic attack or simply build a life of joy, the first step is understanding how your thoughts affect your emotions and how your emotions impact your actions. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to take control of their health.
This classic by Peale is about transforming your mindset through the power of positive thinking. It teaches you how to break the cycle of fear and negative thoughts by embracing affirmations, emptying your mind and more.
Oftentimes mental health books come across as dry and academic, but this one is not. Brass combines medical research with anecdotes and humor to create an easy-to-read book that is both informative and relatable. It is also a must-read for anyone who is suffering from stress or burnout. He explains the symptoms of chronically high levels of stress and how to close the stress loop by prioritizing your mental health.
10. The Wellbeing of Nations
While “sustainability” and “sustainable development” are key concepts for global policymaking, they often provoke glazed eyes and lip service, according to researcher Robert Prescott-Allen. To reenergize and sharpen them, he proposes broader and more precise yardsticks of health and progress—indices that measure human and ecosystem well-being on a country-by-country basis.
The authors present their new indices in vivid geopolitical maps, with results for the world overall and a wide range of regions. Seventy color-coded indicators combining health, wealth, education, communication, peace, freedom, and a sustainable environment produce the Human Wellbeing Index (HWI) and Ecosystem Wellbeing Index (EWI).
These indices challenge traditional development thinking that focuses on economic growth. They show that to achieve a high level of wellbeing, all nations need to pursue a broad agenda: wealth, social justice, and a healthy environment are inextricably linked.