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We’re all on different journeys in life, but one thing we have in common is that we all deal with some difficult stuff along the way.
Maybe you’re coping with the depths of grief, feelings of purposeless, or just want to live more joyfully and with greater inner strength through the ups and downs of it all.
Whatever your current life experience may be, you’ll find the latest transformational self-help books (and a few decks) to help you through the big stuff—and the day-to-day stuff too.
These are not the boring self-help books of your parents’ generation. Get ready to underline and sticky tab all the soul-tingling quotes these pages deliver.
We first came to know of Lalah Delia from her amazingly soothing, soulful, and encouraging guided meditations on Insight Timer (def check it out).
Her first book is a supportive guide on how to step into your own power through vibrational awareness and vibrational-based living. The first section focuses on our relationship with the Self, and the second on our relationship with others. She writes, “How you journey and treat people is your vibration. How people journey and treat you is theirs.”
She also shares many personal experiences — her own “dark night of the soul”— that ultimately led her to this path of being a spiritual writer and revolutionary self-help guide. We love all the affirmations pages throughout, which help to provide space to really take it all in.
Flow: We’re all looking for more of it and we all love being in it. In this book, certified life coach Kelley Wolf takes it one step further, turning FLOW into Finding Love Over Worry.
This is one of our fave new books for being so easy to dip into and release worry and nourish ourselves with tools like the 3Ms, Circles of Service, and even some actual recipes to make in the kitchen. The chapter on people-pleasing particularly resonates, especially those who identify as women.
This one keeps it light, and while the author does briefly mention that she’s experienced some tough times that have been part of her own transformational journey, it doesn’t delve into any specifics of her trauma.
‘Happy Days: The Guided Path from Trauma to Profound Freedom and Inner Peace’ by Gabrielle Bernstein
Spiritual teacher, motivational speaker, and author of more than eight books, Gabby Bernstein has long been one of our favorites when it comes to self-help books.
But in her latest, Gabby goes deep into how she recovered from trauma and how she continues to grow.
As she mentions in the intro, “this [book] is not a quick fix for your discomfort.” It will set you off on a path of lifelong healing and to do that, we must look into the shadows, some of which live inside us. Pick this one up when you feel ready. Her words are powerful and if you feel drawn to this one — listen to that. There’s a reason.
‘Speak: Find Your Voice, Trust Your Gut, and Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be’ by Tunde Oyeneyin
Do you need a little push out of your comfort zone so you can enter the zone of “anything is possible”? Peloton instructor fave and motivational speaker Tunde Oyeneyin takes readers through the five elements she’s found are needed to live a life of purpose: Surrender, Power, Empathy, Authenticity, and Knowledge.
This book is a blend of personal memoir writing and inspiring, uplifting advice for how to grow and lead a more fulfilling life as you journey through the five principles of S.P.E.A.K.
When describing the spark that changed her own life, Oyeneyin writes, “Embracing uncertainty empowers you to take risks. The beauty of uncertainty, I’ve found, is infinite possibility.”
Bonus: Love books AND wine? SPEAK is the current selection in the quarterly Black Girl Magic Book Club (which comes with two bottles of wine from the McBride Sisters). Umm, yeah, we’re def here for that.
‘Do I Feel Better Yet? Questionable Attempts at Self-Care and Existing in General’ by Madeleine Trebenski
They say laughter can be some of the best medicine, so consider this book a dose of self-care. Trebenski’s writing is super relatable if you’ve ever put your hopes in a weighted blanket, 10-step skin care regimen, or golden milk latte only to find that you’re pretty much the same human with all the same problems afterward.
We’re def advocates of trying all the self-care things, but this collection of essays and musings on navigating life and all of today’s modern suggestions for “self-care” had us laughing out loud.
This isn’t a “work on yourself” book. It’s a “we’re all in these times together” book and an even funnier experience if you read it while wrapped in the trusty folds of your weighted blanket.
It’s a mantra to live by, that’s for sure. You might know thought leader and entrepreneur Marie Forleo from her award-winning show “MarieTV,” but she also runs an accompanying podcast, the business training program called B-School, and helps multi-passionate artists and entrepreneurs along their big-dream journeys.
In this book, she takes one of her favorite phrases—everything is figuroutable—and expands on how it is a philosophy and mindset to live by.
This book can help you retrain your brain to think more positively and creatively so that you can change your life in big ways — whether in your professional or personal life. It’s also full of Marie’s energetic, kind but take-no-bullshit attitude, and inspiring stories of everyday people. We consider it a must-read.
We could all use a little reminder, on good days and especially the bad, that there are things to look forward to.
In this beautifully bound book, author and illustrator Sophie Blackall has collected 52 small joys — like drawing on eggs, enjoying a cup of coffee, visiting the sea, baking for others, and taking a nap — that remind us there are tiny moments of happiness waiting to be had all around us.
Sometimes they’re every day (the sun always rises) and sometimes they happen when we might least expect it (like falling in love).
Blackall encourages readers to make their own Look Forward lists as well. We found it to be a charming and uplifting collection that left us smiling and super-excited to paint on pebbles. And a nice breather from all the other “deep work” books on this list.
Global thought leader, racial justice activist, and author Rachel Ricketts warns that this book is going to make you uncomfortable, especially if you’re white or white-passing.
But it’s written to white people, especially white, cis women. If that’s you, we encourage you read this one.
To do so is to take part in dismantling racist systems by first addressing our own personal racism and the ways we perpetuate white supremacy. This book will open your eyes, and you may not like what you see at first.
Take your time with it. The work will change lives if you let it.
‘Becoming the One: Heal Your Past, Transform Your Relationship Patterns, and Come Home to Yourself’ by Sheleana Aiyana
From the founder of Rising Woman (we’re big fans of her Insta) comes a book that truly shines with wisdom. It’s not about finding “the one” as we’ve been conditioned to think, but as the title says, “becoming the one.”
It’s about deepening your relationship with yourself, doing the inner work, healing relationship patterns and traumas, and learning how to show up authentically for yourself before you can do so in a relationship with another.
The longest relationship in this life you’ll ever have is with yourself and Sheleana Aiyana guides readers — through personal anecdotes and knowledge from being a spiritual counselor — along the path of creating healthy and conscious relationships, starting with yourself.
This book is more geared toward women, though it’s filled with profound psychological truths for all.
Renowned clinical psychologist Dr. Shefali illuminates the ways we have been “living in the Matrix” of patriarchy, rules from our upbringing, and the “fog of fear” and how we can awaken from that, uncover the lies we’ve been living, and embrace our true selves — our whole and awakened selves.
This is not a book to breeze through in a weekend, but one to spend time with (sticky tabs and highlighter at the ready).
Shefali warns that this book requires you to put on your “emotional seatbelt,” but we think the journey is absolutely worth it, and reviewers agree.
If you’re looking for a book to guide you as you seek to shift your mindset to one of abundance, this is a good place to start. Think more self-love, better health, better relationships, financial wealth, and more.
It’s full of inspiring bites of wisdom, personal stories, and advice from entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and VIP coach Danette May.
Each short section ends with an “abundance action” for you to do so that you’re not just reading, but immediately putting this new mindset of reaching past self-doubt into practice. These include journaling exercises, guided meditations, and more.
Grief: It’s something our society doesn’t talk much about, but if you’re going through a major loss THIS is the book to pick up.
Though the author shares deeply about her own story of losing her father and riding the waves of grief without a significant other by her side, she touches on some truly universal themes and shares super-useful tips that could apply to anyone, not just those who are “single.”
Grieving is extremely individual, but we highly recommend this book for a heartfelt, honest, and useful guide through the really tough stuff.
In contrast to books intended to help one through a major conflict, trauma, or event, this one is for those who have felt their unease, frustration, and “feeling” stuck creep up on them slowly over time.
Edmonds sets out to help readers recognize when they’re languishing, lacking purpose, and have run out of room to grow — in other words, when it’s time to “repot” yourself (like a root-bound plant) so you have more room to expand as a person, in your career, and in goals of all kinds.
And then? She touches on what it takes to pull up those roots and adjust to your new life.
This game is based on the principles of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and focuses on strengthening life skills in mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance.
The box includes “conflict” cards (ranging from serious to playful) and “skill” cards as well as a guidebook packed with info on the therapeutic coping skills to lead you through the concepts and exercises.
The player who resolves the most conflicts wins. And though presented as a game, these are some skills that will be of serious use in leveling up your real life.
Developed by a sixth-generation shaman, activist, and thought leader, this is more than just a card deck. It’s a “spiritual toolkit” designed to help people level up their life.
This is a truly unique deck in a beautiful 8 x 12-inch box, with 128-page guidebook and 88 glossy cards illustrated by artist, healer, and spirit guide Jason McDonald.
The cards correspond to the celestial bodies (moon, sun, star, earth) and also combine elemental powers like storms, rainbows, wind, snow, lightning, and more.
Expect combinations like “water:river:sun” or “land:tree:earth.” There’s much to explore in these cards, and ultimately, within.
Wherever you are in your healing journey, be sure you’re not alone.
These authors have been there too, and they may have just what you (or a loved one) need to take the next step toward transformation, growth, and fulfillment.
Ready for a calm and stress-free holiday? Check out Healthline’s Season of Self-Care, your go-to destination for the latest must-have health and wellness gifts for your loved ones – and you!
Naomi Farr is the books editor and a copy editor at Greatist. She loves focusing on all things books, beauty, wellness, and mental health. She’s also a YA fantasy writer and bookstagrammer. You can find her (and her cat) @avioletlife.