When we want to tackle and fix our mental health issues, one of the most important things we can do is to research and understand the underlying mechanisms of how trauma, addiction, and in general, the brain works. In this list, we chose the 5 most impactful books on mental health that could benefit everybody who yearns to gain greater knowledge on these subjects. Let's dive in.
One of the best books on psychology in general is "The Molecule of More" by Daniel Z. Lieberman and Michael E. Long. This fascinating book investigates how dopamine has been mistaken for a happiness hormone, while it's actually the chemical that drives love, sex, creativity, and the invisible power that allowed humanity to become the dominant species of the planet.
As the molecule of ambition and motivation, dopamine is responsible for our drive to create, to innovate, and to progress, as well as addiction and ruthlessness. Understanding the role of dopamine in my life and in society in general has been one of my most profound and consciousness-elevating experience and I couldn't be more grateful for the two authors. By learning how this chemical impacts our emotions and behaviors, we can better manage our mental health, improve our relationships, and even beat conditions like ADHD. For my mental health journey this book was the key that opened up a vast array of solutions. If there's only one book you read this year, make sure this is the one!
Another exceptional book is "The Body Keeps the Score" by Bessel van der Kolk. This groundbreaking book examines the mental and physical repercussions of trauma and how it can alter our bodies. The author delves deep into the subject, exploring the various ways in which trauma can manifest in our lives and the long-lasting effects it can have on our mental and physical health. In the book van der Kolk highlights unique approaches to therapy, and offers new ways of addressing and healing from trauma, providing a guide and hope for those who have experienced adverse events in their lives.
"Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking The Stress Cycle" by Emily Nagoski is another must-read for those looking to improve their mental health. This book delves deep into the biological stress cycle, providing readers with an understanding of how our bodies respond to stress and how to minimize burnout. The authors offer a comprehensive approach to managing burnout, focusing on understanding the body's response to stress, closing the loop of the stress cycle, and implementing planful problem-solving through thorough research and useful worksheets. In an age where we all feel stressed out, overwhelmed and on the brink of burning out, this is the must-have guide to dance back from the brink and to regain control of our emotional well-being.
Over the past few years, generational trauma became the buzzword in psychology and Mark Wolynn's book is a deep dive into this concept. The book explores how depression, anxiety, phobias, and chronic pain can be consequences of inherited family trauma, and gives practical guidance and tactics on how to tackle these issues. Understanding how past traumas can shape our lives, and finding the root causes of our emotional struggles can be profoundly impactful for anyone struggling with mental health issues, making this book an essential read in the field.
The final book on our list is a bit of an outlier and something that should be approached with caution. Michael Pollan's fascinating book, "How To Change Your Mind" delves deep into the new science of psychedelics and their potential to treat some mental health issues like depression and addiction. This book offers a balanced and comprehensive view of this emerging field suggesting that psychedelics may be the silver bullet to many to lot of our mental health issues today, by altering brain chemistry, and providing a life changing experience that can help individuals cope with their traumas.
However, it is important to note that psychedelics may also have adverse effects, such as anxiety and paranoia, so consider this book as a starter in a brand new and fascinating conversation in the field of psychiatry.
In conclusion, the five best mental health books to read in 2023 offer invaluable insights and strategies for improving mental health and well-being. Each book covers a unique aspect of mental health, from understanding the impact of inherited family trauma to exploring the potential benefits of psychedelics in treating mental illness.