Books to Decrease Depression

Book with pages bended making a heart

Individual therapy is great, as a therapist, I'm one hundred percent in favor of counseling.

But counseling has its limitations; the primary limitation is frequency.

1 hour per week is not enough to see rapid changes in mental health or stable changes over long periods of time.

Every individual must take responsibility for the other one hundred sixty-seven hours of the week by putting in the work to make the changes they want to see.

A lot of counselors, myself included, often assign homework to complete over the week to help reinforce positive changes.

But, one of the best supports a therapist and client can have are books.

When counselors use books to help boost their point and help facilitate positive change it's called bibliotherapy.

Bibliotherapy is a great way to stay engaged in relevant topics, theories, and practices throughout the week.

Assigned reading keeps everyone on the same page (pun intended) and helps reinforce key ideas.

It's also extremely helpful to hear the same (or similar) information from multiple different sources.

This helps get you on board and instills confidence that you are heading in the right direction and, more importantly, that you aren't wasting your time.

So, today I'm going over 3 books to decrease depression and anxiety.

I'll go over what I like about them and how they can help you.

Let's take a look at one of the first books to decrease depression and anxiety.

Depression Therapists in Colorado

Donna Janiec, LPC, NCC

Donna Janiec, LPC, NCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Bethany Cantrell, LPC

Bethany Cantrell, LPC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Melissa Johnston, LPC

Melissa Johnston, LPC

Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Margot Bean, LCSW

Margot Bean, LCSW

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Jacquelynne Sils, LPCC

Jacquelynne Sils, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 696-3439
Felicia Gray, MS, LPC

Felicia Gray, MS, LPC

Pueblo, Colorado
(719) 696-3439
Lauren Day, SWC

Lauren Day, SWC

Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Kalsey Hartley, MS, LPCC

Kalsey Hartley, MS, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Susan Taylor, LPCC

Susan Taylor, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Carrie Nelson, MS, LPCC

Carrie Nelson, MS, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424

"Move the Body Heal the Mind"

"Move the Body Heal the Mind" was written by Dr. Jennifer Heisz and was published in 2022.

I love this book, it's hands down one of the most practical books to decrease depression and anxiety I have ever come across.

Dr. Heisz does a great job of breaking down complex neuroscience into related, digestible pieces of information that are immediately relevant to the reader.

She does a tremendous job demonstrating, as you might have guessed from the title, how exercise reduces depression and anxiety.

Dr. Heisz also gives detailed protocols and exercise programs for every level of fitness making this book a 2-for-1 deal; information and exercise playbook all in one.

It has been a well-known fact for a very long time (we are talking over 2000 years) that physical wellness impacts mental wellness.

In fact, the two are so interrelated it's been hypothesized that the caduceus (two serpents circling the staff) used as a medical symbol may represent the physical and mental aspects of life intertwined.

Dr. Heisz, thankfully, discusses why it is so difficult to start exercising regularly and gives a few wonderful life hacks to get you started and stay motivated.

Now let's take a look at another one of my recommended books to decrease depression and anxiety.

"The Instinct to Heal"

This next one on my list of books to decrease depression explores a holistic and in-depth perspective on mental health.

"The Instinct to Heal: Curing Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Without Drugs and Without Talk Therapy" was written by Dr. David Servan-Schreiber and was published in 2003 (a little older than I typically like for scientific work, but still great!)

Similar to "Move the Body, Heal the Mind," "The Instinct to Heal" includes detailed scientific information on how exercise benefits mental health.

However, Dr. Servan-Schreiber extends his research findings into the realm of nutrition, social connection, and other holistic approaches to wellness.

He does a wonderful job demonstrating how important every aspect of life is when it comes to stress and mental health.

He urges everyone to take a look at who they spend time with, what they spend time doing, what they may be lacking in their life, as well as approaches to resolving trauma.

He dedicates a good amount of the book discussing a specific trauma treatment called EMDR, but this is where the publishing date matters.

In 2003, EMDR was an up-and-comer in mental health and early studies were finding massive success.

More recent studies demonstrate that, though EMDR can be very effective in treating trauma, it isn't the wonder cure-all that he makes it out to be in the book.

With that caveat, the book is otherwise still hugely relevant and chock-full of wonderful information making it one of the best books to decrease depression and anxiety.

"The Art of Living"

The last of the books to decrease depression and anxiety is called "The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness" and was originally written nearly 2000 years ago by an ancient Greek philosopher named Epictetus.

You may be wondering why I mentioned previously how a book from 2003 CE was a little dated for my taste, but here I am suggesting a book from 100 CE.

Well, the reason is, this book is a philosophical work opposed to a scientific work.

This particular philosopher is also a major cornerstone for an entire branch of modern psychotherapy; "people are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them."

In other words, if you change the way you think, you'll change the way you feel.

This is the tagline for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), the most popular psychotherapy in the world and it was conceptualized first by Epictetus nearly 2000 years ago.

So, if you want to get the inside scoop on CBT this is a great place to start.

This book is really more of a collection of paragraphs.

But at its core, it is a guide to learning that your thoughts are subject to change and that you can learn to control your thoughts, alter your perceptions, and therefore change your lived experience.

This is immensely empowering to anyone suffering from depression, anxiety, and many other things.

It's also quite inexpensive.

You can read the whole thing in a day, but it will become invaluable to you throughout the rest of your life if you are able to put it into practice.

This brings us to a close for my 3 recommended books to decrease depression and anxiety.

Conclusion

The reality is, there are tons of wonderful books to decrease depression and anxiety out there.

The three I've discussed here demonstrate the full range of areas that you have control of.

Depression tricks you into thinking that there's nothing you can do.

But the truth is you have control over what you do, what you eat, and how you think.

And at the end of the day, that's all you need control over in order to decrease depression, anxiety, stress, and so much more.

We are born with everything we need to conquer every challenge life throws at us.

Our job is to figure out how to use what we have.

And that's what these books to decrease depression and anxiety teach.

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March 2nd, 2024

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