25 Awesome Books to Read When You Feel Depressed

Ah, yeah, depression. What a fun topic to discuss in this painful era of constant disappointment and endless social pressure. We understand that mental health is a real issue faced by the majority of us. And in this hard time, especially in this hard time, we need something to just escape or make us feel not so lonely anymore.

To do so, there is no better way other than getting ourselves some good books. And in this article, we come up with the best recommendation of books to read when you feel depressed.

From uplifting and encouraging titles, light tales, to books about mental health that will make you understand that you don’t walk this uneasy path alone. So, without further ado, here’s a list of the best books to read when you feel depressed. 

1. The Body Keeps the Score

The Body Keeps the Score

Alexander McFarlane, Director of the Center for Traumatic Stress Studies, stated that this book is an essential reading for anyone interested in understanding and treating traumatic stress and the scope of its impact on society. Based on Dr. van der Kolk’s own research and that of other leading specialists, The Body Keeps the Score exposes the tremendous power of our relationships and offers new hope for reclaiming lives.

2. Alone With You in the Ether

Alone With You in the Ether

This book tells a story about two eccentric people with mental health disorders. Alone with You in the Ether is a fantasy writer’s magicless glimpse into the nature of love, what it means to be unwell, and how to face the fractures of yourself and still love as if you’re not broken. It will inspire you if you are struggling with your relationship due to mental health issues. 

3. Atlas of the Heart

Atlas of the Heart

Atlas of the Heart draws on Brown’s extensive research into the emotions and experiences that define what it means to be human. This book can be a map of us in understanding our own emotions as humans. By understanding our nature as human beings, we can face our own emotions courageously and never have to fear losing ourselves.  

4. The Alchemist

The Alchemist

Combining magic, mysticism, wisdom and wonder into an inspiring tale of self-discovery, The Alchemist has become a modern classic, transforming the lives of countless readers across generations. This book teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.

5. Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Dr. Seuss addresses life’s ups and downs with his trademark humorous verse and whimsical illustrations. The inspiring and timeless message encourages readers to find the success that lies within, no matter what challenges they face. This book can be a great book to read when you enter a new phase of your life that is often uneasy and may cause some kind of stress. 

6. It’s Ok That You’re Not Ok

It's Ok That You're Not Ok

Through stories, research, life tips, and creative and mindfulness-based practices, Megan Devine reveals a path for navigating grief and loss not by trying to escape it, but by learning to live inside it with more grace and skill. Here she offers skills and tools to help us move forward through our own grief and provide genuine comfort to others experiencing intense loss.

7. You Are a Badass

You Are a Badass

Packed with humor, inspiration, and advice, this book will help you identify and change the self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors that stop you from getting what you want. Self sabotaging can be very harmful to our mental health and this book helps to guide us to better navigate our view towards ourselves, loving ourselves as we are, and create a life we will totally love. 

8. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

For decades, we’ve been told that positivity is the key to a happy life. But instead of lifting us up, those pieces of advice often drag us even lower making us feel insecure and not good enough. This book helps us to understand that as human beings we are flawed and limited, and not everyone can be extraordinary. These beliefs help us to feel better and feel not so pressured anymore.

9. Happy People Are Annoying

Happy People Are Annoying

Happy People are Annoying is the culmination of years of learning, growing, and finding bright spots in the scary parts of life. Written with humor, character, and unwavering self-awareness, Josh reflects on the many stumbles and silver linings of his life. This book is full of surprising life lessons for anyone seeking to accept their past and make peace with the complicated life they have to deal with.

10. Make Your Bed

Make Your Bed

Great change can be started by simple things such as make your bed. This is especially true for people who are dealing with overwhelming emotions and obstacles in their life. Told with great humility and optimism, this timeless book provides simple wisdom, practical advice, and words of encouragement that will inspire readers to achieve more, even in their darkest moments.

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11. Heartwood The Art of Living with the End in Mind

Heartwood The Art of Living with the End in Mind

Heartwood is a compassionate book talking about things people usually avoid: death. It is a great book to read when you feel depressed about losing someone in your life. This book shows us that there are life-giving lessons in death and that grief itself is a pathway to healing, love, and enduring strength. 

12. A Random Acts of Kindness

A Random Acts of Kindness

Do you ever experience feeling good after doing a good deed to someone? Doing something to other people, in fact, helps us to feel a flow of positive vibes within us and make us feel so much better. This book not only contains many random acts you can do to make others and yourself feel good, but also a space to reflect on how you feel after doing the acts.

13. Voices of Inspirational Women

Voices of Inspirational Women

This book features some of the iconic modern women who raised their voices and changed the world. It is filled with pithy profiles, illustrated portraits, and button-activated recordings and speeches of 14 legendary women. This book can be a motivating and uplifting book for those who need courage to speak out their truth and make a positive change.

14. Women in Art Book

Women in Art Book

Women in Art tells the story of 50 artists, some famous, some less so, representing a variety of eras and media. Bold infographics and fascinating facts go beyond the works to share info about historical artistic movements making it a fun but meaty book to read when you feel depressed. It will inspire you and tell you that you too can be something great despite the crazy history you have to go through.

15. Perfectly Imperfect Stories

Perfectly Imperfect Stories

What is the worst thing about being anxious, or sad, or angry? It’s probably thinking about how everybody else is doing just fine? It may make you feel bad and worthless, but it is not the truth. This is a great book to read for all ages, that will help you feel that you’re not alone. It will help you to think positively and be more open to talking about your feelings and asking for help.

16. The Mind Workout: Twenty Steps to Improve Your Mental Health

The Mind Workout: Twenty Steps to Improve Your Mental Health

Do you know that just like our physical health, our mental health can be trained as well? Of course, it is impossible to keep our mental health to alway in our prime condition. Just like our physical health, sometimes we get sick due to viruses, tiredness, and other outside causes. The same goes with our mental health as mental stability always goes through ups and downs. But we can take more control and do our best to keep it as stable as we can. This book provides twenty steps you can follow to take care of your mental health and take charge of your life. 

17. Trauma Treatment Toolbox

Trauma Treatment Toolbox

The latest research from neuroscience and psychotherapy has shown we can rewire the brain to facilitate trauma recovery. This book is meant to teach clinicians how to take that brain-based approach to trauma therapy. It’s showing how to effectively heal clients’ brains with straightforward, easy-to-implement treatment techniques. Even though you’re not a clinician yourself, studying this book can give you powerful knowledge that will help you better understand the traumatic condition you’re enduring and know that it is curable. 

18. Breathe Mental Health: 34 Ways to Lift Your Mood-Positive

Breathe Mental Health: 34 Ways to Lift Your Mood-Positive

Before you come to us, we want you to know that we understand how annoying it is when you’re struggling with mental health and someone tells you to ‘just breathe’. Coping with depression is never as simple as just breathing, and that’s why this book is a great book to read when you feel depressed because it not only provides you with breathing techniques, but also useful tips and inspiration to help you find your purpose and embrace mistakes. Completed with fun and illustration, it can be a snackable book you can have fun with. 

19. 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do

This book will tell you how to not focus your energy on the wrong things. Featuring real life experiences, this book will give you realistic examples you can apply into your life instead of just theories. This is not a common list of strict rules they expect you follow. It is more like a friendly approach that is easy to read and to guide you improving your life. 

20. She Memes Well

She Memes Well

Comedian Quinta Brunson comes with a deeply personal and funny collection of essays about trying to make it when you’re broke, overcoming self-doubt and depression, and how she’s used humor to navigate her career in unusual directions. This book can be a great inspiration when you feel low and have no hope. Coming from the author’s self experience, it will give you the picture that even the hardest time of your life can be a funny comedy bit.

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21. A Garden Eden

A Garden Eden

From Byzantine manuscripts right through to 19th-century masterpieces, these exquisite reproductions dazzle in their accuracy and their aesthetics. Whether in gently furled leaves, precisely textured fruits, or the sheer beauty and variety of colors, this title offers you with a book full of goodness that can relieve any stress. It can be a great book to read when you feel depressed since it offers botanical knowledge with beautiful illustrations that will brighten your day. 

22. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

When struggling with depression, sometimes all we want is just to escape and go somewhere, anywhere. And what better place to escape other than Wonderland? Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a classic tale that will bring you to the magical world where you can spend tea time with the rabbit and talk to the blue caterpillar. 

23. Reminders of Him

Reminders of Him

Being raved by so many book lovers, we can say that this book is actually good and not just another release of the number one New York Times bestselling author. This novel tells a story of a young mother facing a difficult time to rebuild trust from her loved ones in hope to reunite with her four year old daughter. This book gives hope to those who are struggling with family connections and want to redeem their past mistakes. 

24. Book Lovers

Book Lovers

A fun and light drama story of a literary agent meeting a book editor on a trip that is supposed to be a getaway from work. This book is easy to read for when you want to spend some time doing ‘nothing’, which is much needed when you feel depressed. It offers an easy to digest story that will give you some entertainment and hopefully feel a little better. 

25. The Anatomy of Anxiety

The Anatomy of Anxiety

Anxiety affects so many people, more than forty million in the US alone. While conventional medicine tends to view anxiety as a brain chemistry and psychology problem, the truth is that the origins of anxiety are rooted in the body. Written by holistic psychiatrist Dr. Ellen Vora, this book will shift our understanding of anxiety and mental health. This book suggests that anxiety is not simply a brain disorder but a whole-body condition. By understanding the anatomy of anxiety, we will get a better idea on what to do to overcome it. 

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What should I read for depression?

It depends on what state is your depression right now? If you are in a state of deep depression, reading self-help motivational books will likely not do anything for you. Instead, you can opt for light bite reads and fictional tales to escape and take a break from your current struggle for a while.

Is reading good for depression?

Yes, it is good and can help you to either break yourself from the overwhelming emotions and help you to navigate your feelings better. It will give you the much needed escapism that allows you to breathe and take a rest. Reading will also inspire you in many ways whether from stories or practical advice. 

What books should I read for mental health?

To maintain your mental health and keep it in a stable state as best as you could, you can start to incorporate scientific-based reading and inspiring true stories to give you a better view on mental health. By understanding the science behind it, you will understand the turmoil better and take better steps to overcome it. 

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