self help books

11 Best Books for Depression to Read Yourself Out of It

Cover Image - 11 Best Books for Depression to Read Yourself Out of It

While medication and therapy are often the first-line treatments for depression, many people find solace in reading. The best books for depression recovery can provide comfort, insight and a new perspective, especially when it comes to mental health.

Here, I’ve compiled a list of best self-help books for depression. While everyone's situation is unique, these books can be a great starting point towards getting over it. These depression help books will give you some comfort and optimism in the process.

Table of Contents

The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown

The Gifts of Imperfection is a guide to help you embrace your vulnerability and imperfections. It’s one of the best motivational books for depression. In the book, Brene discusses the ways you can overcome feelings of shame, anxiety and depression, and live a wholehearted life. It also talks about the importance of self-compassion, gratitude and joy. And it contains personal anecdotes and scientific research to support the arguments.

Top 5 Lessons from the book:

We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.

Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It's about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.

We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.

The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It's our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.

Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life.

The Book of Joy, by Dalai Lama

The Book of Joy is a conversation between the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu about their experiences of joy and its role in their lives. The two spiritual leaders discuss the challenges and obstacles they have faced, as well as the moments of joy and peace that have sustained them. This Dalai Lama depression book is an inspiring read for anyone looking for the meaning and purpose in their lives. It’s also among the most popular books for people with depression and those seeking to cope with life challenges.

Top 5 Lessons from the book:

The more time you spend thinking about yourself, the more suffering you will experience.

We create most of our suffering, so it should be logical that we also have the ability to create more joy.

The three factors that seem to have the greatest influence on increasing our happiness are our ability to reframe our situation more positively, our ability to experience gratitude, and our choice to be kind and generous.

Wherever you have friends that’s your country, and wherever you receive love, that’s your home.

There are going to be frustrations in life. The question is not: How do I escape? It is: How can I use this as something positive?

Also Read: 31 Best Books to Read for Life and Transform It

Life’s Amazing Secrets, by Gaur Gopal Das

Life’s Amazing Secrets book is another among the good books to read for depression. It’s a collection of motivational stories and teachings by the monk, Gaur Gopal Das. It has practical advice for individuals struggling with depression and anxiety to help them cultivate a more positive outlook on life. The book provides a fresh perspective on how to overcome negative thoughts and emotions and how to live a life filled with happiness, peace and purpose.

Top 5 Lessons from the book:

Anyone can find the dirt in someone. Be the one that finds the gold.

Watch your thoughts, they turn into words. Watch your words, they turn into actions. Watch your actions, they turn into habits. Watch your habits, they turn into character. Watch your character, it turns into your destiny. It all begins with a thought.

Live your life in such a way that those who know you but don’t know God, will come to know God because they know you.

It is strange that sword and words have the same letters.

To accept someone when everything is going right is easy. But when things are falling apart around you and you stick together, that’s the test of a relationship. Love is when we have every reason to break up but we do not.

The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne

The Secret is also one of the best depression self-help books. It presents the idea of law of attraction. It suggests that one can attract positive experiences and outcomes into their lives by focusing their thoughts and emotions on what they want to achieve. The author provides tips and techniques for using the law of attraction to achieve success, wealth, and happiness. It’s written in a straightforward and motivational style and contains personal stories and testimonials to support its teachings.

Top 5 Lessons from the book:

Be grateful for what you have now. As you begin to think about all the things in your life you are grateful for, you will be amazed at the never ending thoughts that come back to you of more things to be grateful for.

There is no such thing as a hopeless situation. Every single circumstance of your life can change!

There is a truth deep down inside of you that has been waiting for you to discover it, and that truth is this: you deserve all good things life has to offer.

Your power is in your thoughts, so stay awake. In other words, remember to remember.

When you want to attract something into your life, make sure your actions don’t contradict your desires.

Also Read: 7 Best Books for Growth Mindset

Yes Man, by Danny Wallace

Yes Man tells the story of the author's journey to say “yes” to every opportunity that comes his way for an entire year. The book is a humorous and engaging, making it one of the best books to read when you are depressed. It’s a fun and inspiring book for anyone who is facing the challenges of life and wants to embrace change and step out of their comfort zone. It provides a fresh perspective on how to break free from negative thought patterns and habits and how to cultivate a more positive and fulfilling life.

Top 5 Lessons from the book:

Probably some of the best things that have ever happened to you in life, happened because you said yes to something. Otherwise, things just sort of stay the same.

Maybe sometimes it's riskier not to take a risk. Sometimes all you're guaranteeing is that things will stay the same.

Take the stupidest thing you've ever done. At least it's done. It's over. It's gone. We can all learn from our mistakes and heal and move on.

Sometimes the little opportunities that fly at us each day can have the biggest impact.

The happiest people are the ones who understand that good things occur when one allows them to.

Also Read: 6 Best Books for Self-Development and Growth

Hyperbole and a Half, by Allie Brosh

Hyperbole and a Half is another light book about depression reading. It contains a collection of autobiographical essays and illustrations that explore the author's experiences with anxiety, depression and other aspects of life. It’s one of the best books to fight depression, providing a relatable perspective on mental health and the challenges of life. It’s a testament to the importance of self-care and the power of humour to help someone overcome their drowning feelings of self-sabotaging.

Top 5 Lessons from the book:

Most people can motivate themselves to do things simply by knowing that those things need to be done.

The absurdity of working so hard to continue doing something you don’t like can be overwhelming.

The most frustrating thing about depression is it isn't always something you can fight back against with hope. It isn't even something – it's nothing. And you can't combat nothing.

Procrastination has become its own solution - a tool I can use to push myself so close to disaster that I become terrified and flee toward success.

To reiterate, no matter how much pepper you eat, it won’t undo the ludicrous amount of salt you ate before it.

Hardwiring Happiness, by Rick Hanson

Hardwiring Happiness is a book about cultivating happiness and well-being through practical techniques and exercises. Rick explains how the brain is capable of changing and rewiring itself to form new patterns of thinking and feeling. He provides concrete strategies to develop positive emotions and resilience, including mindfulness and gratitude. You'll find exercises and illustrations to integrate its teachings into the daily life. It’s among the best books to read to develop yourself out of depression and anxiety.

Top 5 Lessons from the book:

Neurons that fire together wire together. Mental states become neural traits. Day after day, your mind is building your brain.

By taking just a few extra seconds to stay with a positive experience – even the comfort in a single breath – you’ll help turn a passing mental state into lasting neural structure.

If you take care of the minutes, the years will take care of themselves.

Your brain is like Velcro for negative experiences but Teflon for positive ones.

Staying with a negative experience past the point that’s useful is like running laps in Hell: You dig the track a little deeper in your brain each time you go around it.

Also Read: 7 Best Books for Mindfulness to Help You Live in the Moment

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a coming-of-age novel that follows the story of a shy and introspective teenager. It’s an engaging book to help with depression and self-discovery. The book provides a sensitive and honest portrayal of the struggles and joys of adolescence and covers mental health, friendship and loss. The book acts as a reminder about the importance of self-acceptance to overcome feelings of loneliness. And it can be relatable for anyone struggling with mental health challenges.

Top 5 Lessons from the book:

We accept the love we think we deserve.

So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be.

Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn't stop for anybody.

And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.

There's nothing like deep breaths after laughing that hard. Nothing in the world like a sore stomach for the right reasons.

What Happy People Know, by Dan Baker

What Happy People Know is one of the soothing books for dealing with depression. It contains many practical strategies for achieving a more positive and fulfilling life. The book emphasizes that happiness is a skill that can be learned and developed. And it provides tips and techniques for developing greater resilience, gratitude and joy. With its roadmap for finding happiness, it can easily be one of the best self-help books on depression. It can be a helpful read for many people who are struggling with depression.

Top 3 Lessons from the book:

Pleasure is a good thing. But it is the dessert of life, not the meal.

You’re the hero of your own story.

People often think they can hate some people and love others fully, but it’s hard. Love and hate can’t live in the same heart.

Also Read: 7 Best Books for Overthinking

Self-Compassion, by Kristin Neff

Self-Compassion depression self-help book is a comprehensive guide to the practice of self-compassion and its benefits for mental well-being. The book covers the core components of self-compassion and provides exercises and techniques for daily life. It explores a scientific and practical approach to understanding and cultivating this important skill. It’s considered among the top self-help books for depression.

Top 5 Lessons from the book:

Compassion is, by definition, relational. Compassion literally means 'to suffer with,' which implies a basic mutuality in the experience of suffering. The emotion of compassion springs from the recognition that the human experience is imperfect.”

This is a moment of suffering. Suffering is part of life. May I be kind to myself in this moment. May I give myself the compassion I need.

Painful feelings are, by their very nature, temporary. They will weaken over time as long as we don’t prolong or amplify them through resistance or avoidance.

Rather than wandering around in problem-solving mode all day, thinking mainly of what you want to fix about yourself or your life, you can pause for a few moments throughout the day to marvel at what’s not broken.

If you are continually judging and criticizing yourself while trying to be kind to others, you are drawing artificial boundaries and distinctions that only lead to feelings of separation and isolation.

Also Read: 10 Best Books for Self-Love

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, by Lori Gottlieb

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone is a memoir and a guide to therapy. The author shares her personal experiences as a therapist, as well as the stories of her clients, to provide a candid and humorous look at the world of therapy and the ways in which it can help individuals overcome depression and other mental health challenges. The book is engaging, making it one of the good books to cope with depression. It provides insights into the human condition and the power of connection and self-reflection.

Top 5 Lessons from the book:

We can’t have change without loss, which is why so often people say they want change but nonetheless stay exactly the same.

Part of getting to know yourself is to unknow yourself – to let go of the limiting stories you’ve told yourself about who you are so that you aren’t trapped by them, so you can live your life and not the story you’ve been telling yourself about your life.

We tend to think that the future happens later, but we're creating it in our minds every day.

There’s no hierarchy of pain. Suffering shouldn’t be ranked, because pain is not a contest.

Relationships in life don't really end, even if you never see the person again. Every person you've been close to lives on somewhere inside you.

OK, those were some of the most uplifting books for depression to read and improve yourself. These depression books are among the best books for dealing with depression, overcome it and come out of it.

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