9 Mental Health Books For Women To Make You Feel More Balanced, Relaxed, And Eenergized

Women’s mental illness has been long portrayed in fiction — from Sylvia Plath’s semi-autobiographical The Bell Jar to Wally Lamb’s She’s Come Undone — literature is fascinated with leading ladies who are dealing with more than their fair share of psychological hurdles. But how about some mental health books for women struggling with issues in real life? After all, approximately 29 percent of us girls will seek mental health treatment at some point in our lives.

After all, we all know how important it is to take care of our strong, beautiful bodies — eat green, sleep well, spend some quality time moving around, catch a little fresh air every now and again. All good stuff. But with everything going on in our crazy, busy lives, sometimes it’s easy to forget that it is equally, if not more important, to take just as thoughtful care of our minds and spirits.

The books on this list are a great way to carve some you-time out of your busy schedule and reconnect with your own mental health, wellbeing, and mindfulness; and they’re guaranteed to help you feel more balanced, relaxed, reenergized, and ready to take on whatever the world throws your way.

Here are nine must-read mental health books for women:

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown

A guru of courage for women everywhere, researcher and author Brené Brown is all about letting go of your fear, shame, and feelings of worthlessness in favor of embracing your courageous, wholehearted self. In her bestselling The Gifts of Imperfection, she focuses on abandoning social pressures and perfectionism, and learning how to live as your most authentic self. In the age of carefully curated Facebook newsfeeds and endless Instagram filters, this book is a must-read for any women looking to accept her own imperfections.

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The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer

With a focus on ancient spirituality and mindfulness The Untethered Soul will encourage you to release the influences of past trauma — symptoms like compulsive thinking, negative self-talk, and feelings of being limited in your own happiness — and to live joyfully in the present moment. With step-by-step suggestions, author Michael A. Singer takes you on a journey through your own patterns of thinking, and explains how to reorganize those patterns in order to lead a more fulfilled and freeing life.

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Yoga Girl by Rachel Brathen

Who hasn't felt better about anything after a quiet, 90-minute yoga sesh? Part yogi, part master of Instagram inspiration, the amazing Rachel Brathen will not only take you on a journey from downward-facing-dog to utthita pada sirsasana, she'll also guide you towards a more mindful, balanced, and inspiring way of living. In Yoga Girl she shares the true story of her own journey from self-destruction to peace — one that will inspire you to pose your way to a healthier you too.

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Wasted by Marya Hornbacher

Wasted, a memoir of author Marya Hornbacher's long history with anorexia and bulimia, sheds light on the devastating realities of eating disorders — and how they can truly permeate every aspect of a sufferer's life. Hornbacher takes you from her darkest hour and through her experiences with in-patient treatment and therapy, all the way to what survival and recovery looks like on the other side of mental illness.

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The Dark Side of the Light Chasers by Debbie Ford

Author Debbie Ford is all about embracing your dark side — believing that recognizing and accepting your least-acceptable of impulses is the key to not only letting those impulses go, but to living your most authentic and compassionate life as well. In The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, Ford expresses the idea that every human has moments, or even fleeting thoughts of darkness, and that suppressing these natural human feelings only gives them more power. Ford writes that every emotion — positive or negative — is a gift, and it is our job to discern what those gifts are trying to teach us.

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Willow Weep for Me by Meri Nana-Ama Danquah

After Meri Nana-Ama Danquah gave birth to her daughter at 22 years old and promptly became a young, single mother, she began to suffer from a depression that she was determined to keep hidden from the world and everyone who knew her. As a caregiver and a black woman, she felt social pressure to be a pillar of unwavering strength — but was finally forced to deal with her illness when the depression became too much to handle. Willow Weep for Me illuminates the unique challenges women of color face when dealing with mental illness.

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Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

With an honest and irreverent humor uncommon to mental health literature, Jenny Lawson tells her tale of depression and anxiety with a laugh-out-loud honesty that will truly make anyone dealing with mental illness believe there must be a light at the end of the tunnel. Furiously Happy is all about recognizing, accepting, and celebrating your wonderfully, humanly flawed self, no matter who you are.

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This Isn't What I Expected by Karen Kleiman

Although less of a mystery than when our mothers encountered it, postpartum depression is still a deeply misunderstood form of mental illness — and one that uniquely affects women. Part self-help book, part guide to seeking professional support, This Isn't What I Expected is all about overcoming postpartum depression and learning how to not only better understand the illness yourself, but how to explain what you're going through to those around you as well.

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I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn't) by Brené Brown

Why read just one Brené Brown title when you can read two? I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn't) reminds readers that what connects us all within the human experience is our shared failings and imperfections — and perhaps also our equal unwillingness to show those imperfections to the world. As always, Brené Brown encourages women to abandon the desire to be perfect, and instead have the courage to believe that our wildly flawed selves are enough.

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