Quantcast

4 Mental Wellness Books That Aren’t CBT Related

The person most equipped to guide you towards an anxiety-free future is yourself.

Good Reads

As a person who suffers from anxiety, I am always on the hunt for new ways to deal with the unpleasant symptoms. Sure, the traditional routes of speaking with a therapist, contacting a friend, and using CBT workbooks have helped me make great improvements, but it never hurts to expand your toolkit.

This year, one of the goals I set for myself was finding ways to independently conquer my fears. Attempting to self-soothe when I'm alone and don't have the mental energy to complete exercises at home left me yearning for more options.

Naturally, as a writer and avid reader, I set my sights on the bookstore. I've always been wary of self-help books and found that the positive effects wane shortly after reading the last chapter. I had a list of my favorite quotes, affirmations, and inspiring speeches on hand in case of emergencies, but I was in search of something life-changing. I did a deep dive into books on religion, performing arts, spirituality, philosophy, and psychiatry.

A universal truth that was communicated throughout almost all of the works I read was that the person most equipped to guide you towards an anxiety-free future is yourself.

I'll admit that no matter how close I've gotten to my therapist, family, or friends, there are just some things I am taking to the grave! However, being brutally honest with myself has some perks that have allowed me to work towards a better version of myself in the comfort of my own home. I've learned these skills from a few non-traditional self-help books.

These 4 books have stuck with me throughout the years. Words from each chapter have sat in the back of my mind, silently working their magic and allowing me to become a more positive, open-minded individual.

'Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality' by Anthony De Mello

Amazon

I love a sturdy hardcover or paperback edition, but I love this book so much that I also have it in eBook form so I can access it anywhere. The author, Anthony De Mello, was a Jesuit priest with refreshingly progressive views. He believed that the cause of anxiety stemmed from rigid beliefs and the unwillingness to examine them.

"There is only one cause of unhappiness: the false beliefs you have in your head, beliefs so widespread, so commonly held, that it never occurs to you to question them."

Awareness is chock-full of funny anecdotes from De Mello's own life. One common theme throughout the book is that people's interpretations of a situation are a direct result of their conditioning and current disposition.

"If you find me charming, it means that right now you're in a good mood, nothing more."
"We see people and things not as they are, but as we are."

At less than 200 pages, Awareness is a quick and insightful read that can increase self-awareness while providing a few laughs along the way.

$13

‘The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself’ by Michael A. Singer

Amazon

I was sold on this book from the title of the first chapter alone ("The Voice Inside Your Head"). This lighthearted spirituality-based book is paced perfectly which ultimately leads to the shocking revelation that you have complete control of your annoying "inner roommate". Nope, I don't mean the person who you go half on rent and utilities, I'm talking about your constant internal dialogue.

"There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing that you are not the voice of the mind - you are the one who hears it"

It doesn't stop at acquiring self-awareness for Singer, he takes it a step further by showing you how to serve your annoying roommate an eviction notice.

"When a problem is disturbing you, don't ask, 'What should I do about it?' Ask, 'What part of me is being disturbed by this?'

Much like De Mello, Singer wants you to challenge your beliefs instead of suppressing negative feelings. You'll find that approaching problems that way helps resolve minor issues almost instantly. Now that you've shown negativity the door, you can choose which thoughts you want to engage with or let go of because:

"The truth is that most of life will unfold in accordance with forces far outside your control, regardless of what your mind says about it."
$16

‘Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life’ by Anne Lamott

The Good Copy

Although Bird by Bird is partly a book geared to improving writing skills, Lamott's advice can be used by anyone regardless of your chosen field. Especially because the author believes the best work comes from people who write for themselves. She gives practical advice that is often overlooked in a society that praises ambition at the risk of your mental health. There is absolutely nothing wrong with competing in a race to the top, but enjoying the journey would certainly make it more fulfilling spiritually and financially.

"We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little. But we do. We have so much we want to say and figure out."

Whether you might be anxious to pick up a new hobby or change careers, Lamott's best advice is simply to get started without worrying about how others might perceive your actions.

"Don't look at your feet to see if you are doing it right. Just dance."
$10

‘Neurosis and Human Growth: The Struggle Toward Self-Realization’ by Karen Horney, MD

i.pinimg.com

The most badass thing about Karen Horney's studies is that she challenged Sigmund Freud's views on feminine psychology which she criticized for being wide off the mark. She directly responded to some of his most popular theories in her book aptly titled Feminine Psychology.

As a psychoanalyst whose career began in the early 1900s, Horney is not for the faint of heart. However, Neurosis and Human Growth breaks the human psyche down in layman's terms. This classic self-help books will leave your jaw on the floor.

"The neurotic, as long as he must adhere to his illusions about himself, cannot recognize limitations, the search for glory goes into the unlimited. Because the main goal is the attainment of glory, he becomes uninterested in the process of learning, of doing, or of gaining step by step — indeed, tends to scorn it. He does not want to climb a mountain; he wants to be on the peak. Hence he loses the sense of what evolution or growth means, even though he may talk about it. Because, finally, the creation of the idealized self is possible only at the expense of truth about himself, its actualization requires further distortions of truth, imagination being a willing servant to this end."

At times, some passages hit too close to home but also reminded me that the anxieties we deal with today are far from unique.

"It is naturally a sign of inner liberation when a patient can squarely recognize his difficulties and take them with a grain of humor. But some patients at the beginning of analysis make incessant jokes about themselves or exaggerate their difficulties in so dramatic a way that they will appear funny, while they are at the same time absurdly sensitive to any criticism. In these instances, humor is used to take the sting out of otherwise unbearable shame."

Her scientific but simple approach to self-analysis differs only in delivery from De Mello, Singer, and Lamott's, but the lesson is the same. It's always great to maintain a variety of resources for mental wellness, and self-analysis shouldn't be used in lieu of professional help. But take pride in knowing that you are the most valuable resource when it comes to overcoming any obstacle.

$16

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

The 19 Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read

This Book Changed Oprah Winfrey's Life

13 Books You Should Read If You Want A Better Relationship With Yourself

Featured image by Shutterstock

Did you know that xoNecole has a podcast? Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify to join us for weekly convos over cocktails (without the early morning hangover.)

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

Growing up, my mother didn't let me wear make-up. At the time, I was pissed. Oh, but now that I'm deep into my 40s, I'm ever grateful because it's rare that a week will go by and someone won't be shocked when I tell them my age. Meanwhile, a lot of the — I'm gonna be real — white women who I went to high school with? Whenever I run into them, the combination of constant tanning and piling on cosmetics back in the day now has them looking several — and I do mean, several — years older than I.

Keep reading... Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

Although all of our hair journeys are different, I always find it interesting when folks say that the winter season is the most brutal when it comes to their hair. For me, it's probably right about now because, between the heat, the shrinkage and, when I do swim, the chemicals in the water — it's a challenge, making sure that my hair doesn't dry out, as I strive to handle it with care on the days when it wants to act like a matted mess.

Keep reading... Show less

This article is in partnership with Staples.

As a Black woman slaying in business, you're more than likely focused on the bottom line: Serving your customers and making sure the bag doesn't stop coming in. Well, there's obviously more to running a business than just making boss moves, but as the CEO or founder, you might not have the time, energy, or resources to fill in the blanks.

Keep reading... Show less

Because I write so much about sex, there are never a lack of random questions that pop into my mind. One that I was wondering semi-recently is if there's a particular time of the day when men and women are hornier than others. Chile, when you decide to go digging for information, you'll be amazed what you'll find.

Keep reading... Show less

Growing up, Eunique Jones Gibson didn't have to look far for positive imagery that reflected who she was and where she came from. At a young age, Eunique's parents wasted no time instilling the importance of self-love and embracing the richness of Black culture. From her father's afrocentric, Cross Colours-based style to seeing herself through the lens of Lena James, Jada Pinkett's confident persona on A Different World, Eunique's surroundings began to paint a colorful portrait of the world's true representation could form. She points out, "That was my entryway into really embracing the culture and understanding the power of who we are and being critical of false narratives." It's no wonder that her work in representation through entertainment and media no less found her.

Keep reading... Show less
Exclusive Interviews

'Insecure' Writer Mike Gauyo Talks His Journey From Med School To The Writers' Room

"Meeting Issa Rae was a story of perseverance, following up, being persistent and all of the characteristics and attributes you need to be a successful writer."

Latest Posts