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Diving into a book on mental health can help you find some support during holidays alone.

Hope for the Holidays: A Reading List for Improving Your Mental Health

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Ready to turn the page on holiday angst? You’re definitely not alone – many experience increased feelings of stress, anxiety and depression during this season. Diving into a book on mental health can help you find some support, or understand how to be there for a loved one who is struggling.

The holidays are rapidly approaching – a time of festivity, gatherings, and for many people, more than a little bit of stress. For those living with a mental health disorder, the additional stresses and conflicting emotions of the season can make this time of year particularly challenging. A study from the National Alliance on Mental Illness showed that 64% of people with mental illness reported worsening symptoms around the holidays. 

A critical part of making it through this season is feeling supported and understood. When the overwhelming public messaging around the holidays is that they are an unequivocally joyful time, feeling otherwise can deepen a sense of isolation and loneliness. This month, The Dawn is sharing a list of books that help build understanding, expand coping tools, and cultivate a feeling of support. 

Books for When Things Are Just Hard

When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödrön

Personal, wise, and extremely accessible, When Things Fall Apart presents an interesting suggestion – instead of constantly attempting to avoid the inevitability of pain and hardship, why not cultivate a sense of curiosity about it? Expounding upon the Buddhist principle of staying with the present moment, this best-selling book offers insights on how to shift perspective and build acceptance and openness. Addressing everything from breaking down patterns of thinking to engaging in effective social action, Chödrön speaks to the reader in simple but profound terms that anyone can relate to. 

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

Author Lori Gottlieb is an experienced psychotherapist who finds herself on the other end of the couch after an unexpected and devastating breakup. Detailing her experiences in humorous and at times heartbreaking detail, Gottlieb’s memoir reveals what it’s like to be a therapist in therapy. Her book intertwines her stories of her own growth and self-discovery with accounts from former patients, forming a warm, engaging narrative of our shared human experience. Supportive and genuine, you’ll feel a little less alone after reading it, and less hesitant about reaching out for help.

Books for Dealing with Depression

I Don’t Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression by Terrence Real

Written to the specific experience of male depression, this best-selling book offers both a personal and professional perspective on what the author considers to be a largely silent epidemic. Presenting a host of problems typically associated with ideas of maleness, the author argues that these are in fact manifestations of depression in men, and lays out strategies for how to uncover the root of this pain and heal. Exploring childhood trauma, as well as generational legacies of alcoholism, workaholism, and neglect, Real’s book helps men begin to understand themselves in a way they may never have been allowed to before.

Hardcore Self-Help: F**k Depression by Robert Duff PHD

Cutting through the medical jargon and “psychobabble” that is off-putting to many seeking help, psychologist Dr. Duff’s book speaks to the reader as a friend. Honest, direct, and with guidance that is tailored to real life rather than ripped straight from a psychology manual, this book provides a solid perspective on depression to both those battling this disorder and the people who love them.  Covering everything from understanding what depression is, how it affects the brain, how medication works, and strategies to work through and deal with depression, Hardcore Self-Help is practical and immediately applicable.

Books for Living with Anxiety

Unwinding Anxiety by Judson Brewer

Published in 2021, this timely book explores anxiety in the modern era and in the wake of the  pandemic. Written by a neuroscientist, Unwinding Anxiety carefully breaks down why anxiety happens and how it is related to our habits and addictions. By understanding the causes of anxiety and the ways our brain works, specific techniques needed to address anxiety become more apparent and achievable. Brewer offers guidance on mapping triggers, cognitive exercises and mindfulness meditation all designed to help reduce anxiety and live more comfortably. 

Essential Strategies for Social Anxiety by Alison McKleroy MA LMFT

Social anxiety can be extraordinarily isolating, as self-doubt and self-criticism force people increasingly inwards. This book immediately relates to those struggling with this predicament, providing stories and experiences from others that demonstrate that those with social anxiety are far from alone in their feelings. Essential Strategies for Social Anxiety reassures people that social anxiety isn’t a reflection of who they are as a person, but a condition that with practice and mindfulness, can be overcome. McKleroy provides plenty of exercises, advice, and examples to help the reader better understand the roots of their anxiety and develop the awareness and self-confidence needed to move past it. 

Books for Trauma and Co-Dependency Issues

It Didn’t Start With You by Mark Wolynn

Widely considered a groundbreaking text, It Didn’t Start With You explores the idea of inherited family trauma, pain passed down through generations through genetic modifications that can affect stress responses, physical health, and tendencies towards anxiety and depression. Understanding the source of inherited trauma can unlock mysteries around ongoing issues and emotions that may not have a clear explanation at first glance. In this fascinating book, Wolynn offers practical, neuroscience-based solutions aimed at resolving inherited trauma.

Facing Codependence by Pia Mellody with Andrea Wells Miller and Keith J. Miller

Unsure of how abuse and trauma in your childhood may be affecting your relationships today? Facing Codependence examines how experiencing emotional, spiritual, intellectual, physical or sexual abuse as a child can have devastating impacts on personal connections as an adult. This book focuses on helping the reader identify codependent behaviours, understand their roots, and become aware of the ways codependency can impact their life, while also presenting suggestions for effective therapeutic intervention.

Finding Respite at The Dawn

The Dawn Residential mental health treatment center Thailand offers a warming and welcoming environment that helps you to feel at ease and look forward to personal growth and healing.

The Dawn Wellness Centre and Rehab is a unique residential mental health treatment centre in Thailand created to foster an environment of personal growth and healing for people who want to change their lives and overcome addiction or mental health issues. Internationally accredited by the American Accreditation Commission International (AACI), The Dawn offers customised programmes that cater to each individual’s needs by using a comprehensive, holistic treatment method and modern techniques with proven results.

The Twin Pillars Approach to Treatment

The Dawn has designed our own unique and effective treatment model, known as the Twin Pillars. It combines the most effective psychotherapies currently in use with a range of scientifically-proven wellness practices to achieve holistic healing. The first pillar concentrates on a psychological approach to rehabilitate a client’s mind by helping them gain self-awareness and personal insight.  The second pillar focuses on the mind, body, and soul by using a variety of ancient Asian wellness and holistic therapies such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, Thai massage, and art and music therapy.

If you’re needing some extra support, call The Dawn today to learn more about how we can help you move forward.

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