Mental Health: The Journey Back to Yourself in Books & Podcasts

The journey to mental health is usually never linear. Sometimes figuring out where to start can be the most frightening part, but it doesn’t have to be.

Lifestyle Podcasts Self Help

Mental health is something many of us might struggle with daily. The first step in your mental health journey may just be joining the conversation, and that’s okay. There are a lot more people talking about it than you think. It’s important to remember that we are not alone in our struggles. Wherever you are with your mental health journey, there are plenty of podcasts and books to help you through it.

5 Books To Guide Your Mental Health Journey

I remember the first time I ever talked about my mental health. It was a lot less scary than I thought it would be, but I wish I had access to the tools I do now. It always helps to have someone to talk to about your health; however, if you’re not ready for the conversation, there are self-help and research-based books that can be beneficial to you. I promise you are not alone. Here are some books on mental health that I hope help guide you on your journey.

1. Emotional First Aid by Guy Winch, PH.D.


Emotional Aid by Guy Winch, a licensed psychologist and author, explores the relationship between our emotional wounds and mental health. In better terms, Winch knows there is no bandaid for our emotional pain. However, that doesn’t mean we should leave it alone, only for it to get worse. Many of us experience the pain that comes from rejection, guilt, and failure, but we were never really taught how to deal with it. Fortunately, Winch tackles this problem in his book. He uses the latest scientific research and real-life experiences to supply readers with a step-by-step treatment to heal those emotional wounds. Emotional Aid is a book that will help you rebuild your self-esteem and let go of all the pain that holds you back, all while bettering the state of your mental health.

2. It Didn’t Start With You by Mark Wolynn


It Didn’t Start With You by Mark Wolynn discusses the root of our mental struggles through the lives of our families. This book can be subjective with the expressional idea that traumas pass down through generations. However, Wolynn provides a unique perspective on depression, anxiety, phobias, and obsessive thoughts. Learned behaviors in our upbringing can depict the struggles we may face as adults. Although everyone’s struggles are their own, when a parent reacts to a problem with their child, it can depict how they will deal with them as adults. For example, if parents weren’t allowed to express their emotions as children, they may similarly raise their kids that way. Those kids may then repeat the cycle, whether it is with a lack of communication skills or emotional detachment, or they can break the cycle. Wolynn explains that emotional legacies are often hidden and can be rooted in our gene expression and everyday language. This book offers a transformative look at our mental health through the lens of inherited trauma and how to resolve these longstanding issues.

3. Set Boundaries, Find Peace by Nedra Glover Tawwab 


One of the most common things humans forget to do is to set healthy boundaries. Why? Is it because some of us don’t know how to say no for fear that we won’t be liked or that we’ll be offending others? In Set Boundaries, Find Peace, therapist Nedra Glover Tawwab explores this complex subject. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is set healthy boundaries with our partners, friends, and family. It can lead to our mental downfall. Thankfully, Tawwab clarifies the topic with simple yet powerful ways to establish healthy boundaries without anxiety or power struggle. With recent research and practices used in cognitive behavioral therapy, Tawwab explains techniques that help readers identify and express their needs without feeling the need to apologize. Many of the fears with setting healthy boundaries are rooted in our problems hidden behind codependency, depression, and more. This book is very beneficial if you need to learn how to set boundaries for your mental health and well-being.

4. Unwinding Anxiety by Judson Brewer


There is no doubt that many of us are struggling with anxieties during the current climate of our world. In Unwinding Anxiety, Judson Brewer discusses new brain-based techniques to help us break the anxious cycles of worry and fear. He provides readers with a step-by-step guide clinically proven to break the fear that drives anxiety and addictive habits. Brewer explains that anxiety drives the bad habits we use to cope. These bad habits take the form of stress-eating, procrastination, and doom scrolling. This book heavily focuses on how our brains work. It also describes how to use its techniques to our advantage. Sometimes we forget that our brain is an organ and a complex one. However, we should treat it with as much care as any other organ. If you’re looking to take control of your mental health by learning your triggers and how to diffuse them, you’ve found the right book. Mindfulness can do wonders for your anxiety, and Dr. Brewer’s 20 years of research have proven it.

5. Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess by Dr. Caroline Leaf


Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess by Dr. Caroline Leaf provides readers with five proven steps to help you overcome unhealthy thinking habits. The neuroscientist discusses ways we contribute to our anxiety, depression, and intrusive thoughts and how to replace them with positive thinking. The journey to unlearning toxic habits is never easy. The “mental mess” of intrusive thoughts may also be one of the most difficult to change, especially with the fears of the world we live in today. However, Leaf emphasizes that there is hope that we can overcome them with practice. The reinforcement of positive thinking can lead us to healthier and happier lives. I know that is easier said than done, but Dr. Leaf provides readers with a mental road map, so we at least know where to start. Our mental mess may lead our lives some days, but that doesn’t mean it will forever.

5 Podcasts To Manage Your Mental Health

Sometimes we don’t have the time to read up on our mental health, so in that case, there are plenty of podcasts that provide us with the same benefits. You can start listening on your commute to work, on a spring walk, or before bed. Basically, the sooner you prioritize your mental health, the better. Here are some of my favorite mental health podcasts.

1. Going Mental with Eileen Kelly


Going Mental with Eileen Kelly has changed my life in more ways than I can count. I’ll tell you why. I have been following Eileen Kelly ever since she was known as “killerandasweetthang” on her Tumblr blog and Instagram. After a five-month stay at McLean Hospital to treat her mental health, Kelly decided to share her mental health journey on Going Mental. From being a sex educator and social media starlet, Kelly has become a spokesperson for mental health and sex advocacy. She turned her struggles with mental health into an inspiring story people can relate to and learn from in many ways. Her honesty, vulnerability, and openness with her audiences make her stand out from the rest of her counterparts. It is also something I deeply admire about her. The podcast feels like you’re talking to a close friend about your most intimate and personal struggles with mental health, relationships, and sex. In each episode, she explores a different subject that affects your mental health. She also interviews some of the most compelling media figures on the subject. For a better introduction, I suggest you listen to her episode, “Who the Hell is Eileen Kelly?” If you feel like you have no one to talk to or that no one relates to your struggles, I promise this podcast will change that. It has for me.

2. The Positive Psychology Podcast


The Positive Psychology Podcast, hosted by Kristen Truempy, explores the realities of our experiences with positive psychology research to understand our emotions. Primarily, this podcast sets out to discuss the positive emotions we feel or create in the appreciation of beauty, gratitude, or positive relationships. This podcast also dives deep into positive psychology research to provide listeners with information and methods to restore their mental health. In various episodes, Truempy focuses on subjects that bring out intense emotions. She reflects on the importance of positive psychology while interviewing professionals on the subject. In a recent episode, Truempy interviews Emotional Aid author Guy Winch. Throughout this episode, they discuss the psychological wounds that are sometimes hard to face as adults when they’ve become embedded into our daily unhealthy habits since childhood. If you’re looking to learn more about the benefits of positive psychology to personal and societal well-being, you’ve found the right podcast.

3. The Happiness Lab


A question we often ponder is, what makes you happy? Dr. Laurie Santos, a Yale professor, answers this burning question and many others on her podcast, The Happiness Lab. We often struggle with pinpointing what it is that truly makes us happy. Is it more money? Friends? Love? Santos discusses recent scientific research on the subject and shares inspirational stories that will change how you think about happiness. She extensively studied the science of happiness throughout her career and found that we often do the exact opposite of what will improve our lives for the better. Interestingly enough, Dr. Santos based this podcast on her most popular psychology course in Yale’s 300-year history. This podcast will change your life for the better and allow you to start choosing happiness.

4. Mental : The Podcast to Destigmatize Mental Health


The Mental podcast releases episodes every Thursday. Host Bobby Temps and co-host Danielle Hogan break down the stigma and discrimination around mental health. The hosts are a breath of fresh air and feature many special guests to enhance the first-hand experience. They provide listeners with a safe space to listen for honest ways to confront their mental illness. In their most recent episode, they interview comedian Stephanie Foster and discuss how comedy plays a role in our mental health journey. If you’re looking for a podcast that provides real experiences, statistics and empowering conversations, I suggest you start listening to Mental. Bobby Temps created this podcast to remind listeners that mental illness is not something to be ashamed of, that you are enough, and to keep the conversation going.

5. Let’s Talk About Mental Health


Let’s Talk About Mental Health is a weekly podcast by Jeremy Godwin. Godwin discusses simple proven ways to help improve your mental health. Each episode covers a specific topic that affects or deals with our mental health like guilt, anxiety, the future, triggers, and self-respect. His most recent episode, “Let’s Talk About … Guilt,” guides the audience on how to process guilt healthily to restore our mental well-being. Goodwin shares his personal experiences with guilt and makes you feel comfortable dealing with mental issues so openly. I have been listening to this podcast for quite a while, and it constantly reminds me how similar humans are. This mental health podcast is one of the best to help you manage your unhealthy habits.

The journey to mental health can be lonely, but with a little conversation, you don’t have to go through it alone. Remember, you are enough.

For more books and podcasts on self-help, keep reading here.