These books are just a few of my favorite resources from my “go-to” list – both for myself and for clients. These are not directly weight, body-image, or eating-related, but are very pertinent. Underneath diet mentality, disordered eating, body image concerns, self-esteem etc., there are often though processes, beliefs, and values that are leading you in the wrong direction.
Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts
– by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson
Tavris and Aronson are social psychologists who show how we can dig in our heels about our beliefs, even when there’s evidence to the contrary. This plays out a great deal in politics, of course, but also in places you might not expect – like in the courtroom or psychotherapy office. Everyone experiences cognitive dissonance (when you have two or more conflicting beliefs or thoughts) to varying degrees. Learning to recognize when you are experiencing cognitive dissonance can help you get out of your own way.
Depression Is Contagious: How the Most Common Mood Disorder Is Spreading Around the World and How to Stop It
– by Michael Yapko
More and more research points to depression’s roots as being more social than medical. Our brains are wired to be social, and when relationships suffer, so does our emotional health. Yapko provides exercises to help you develop the skills necessary to forge healthier social relationships, which helps overcome depression and inoculate us from future bouts. While antidepressants may help some people, they do not help improve the social factors that underlie depression.
Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation
– by Daniel J. Siegel
Psychiatrist Dan Siegel integrates neuroscience research with real-world applications such as psychotherapy. The term “mindsight” reflects the state of focus where we can observe our own mental processes. Mindsight helps us step out of our habitual behavior. It allows us to better manage our emotions, preventing us from flying off the handle at our loved ones. (Siegel shares a relatable personal story of losing his temper with his kids over a crepe.) The resulting changes in our brains can result in positive changes in our lives and relationships.
The Kid Turned Out Fine: Moms Fess Up About Cartoons, Candy, and What It Really Takes to Be a Good Parent
– by Paula Ford-Martin
With the plethora of websites suggesting that you should make your child organic, non-GMO, fair trade, no-sugar, kale-and-coconut-oil smoothies for their afternoon snack, it can sometimes make the moms-in-the-trenches feel like losers. This book was not written by “Lifestyle Coaches” or child psychologists. Just by some moms who may or may not have let their kid eat cake for breakfast. (Not that I would know anything about that.) And no one died. In fact, it all turned out okay. If you feel like your life should look like Pinterest all the time, this book will help you lighten up and laugh a bit.
Make It Mighty Ugly: Exercises & Advice for Getting Creative Even When It Ain’t Pretty
– by Kim Piper Werkner and Kate Bingaman-Burt
If you’re a perfectionist, there’s a scary monster lurking under the polished surface. Make It Mighty Ugly acknowledges the fear of failure that can keep you stuck in procrastination and self-doubt. This book honors those creative demons, which the authors consider to be an important shield against blandness. So it’s not about slaying your creative demons. It’s about getting past them. This book is highly engaging and accessible, even as it’s designed to make you uncomfortable. Because a willingness to be uncomfortable is what will help you be free of fears and perfectionism.
Wreck This Journal
– by Keri Smith
“Keep a journal,” they said. “It will be therapeutic,” they said. Unfortunately, when you open your beautiful journal, you find that your anxiety goes even higher. The. Blank. Page. Aaaaargh! This is where Keri Smith’s creation comes in. Wreck This Journal contains a series of prompts, encouraging your best mistakes and messes. Painting with coffee (among other things) helps open up your creative process.