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Best self-help book 2022: The best books to heal and motivate you, from £1

Find yourself in a book! The best self-help books can fill you with confidence and change your life. We reveal our favourites for 2022

It’s been a tough 12 months. Not even the best self-help book can pick up every piece of fallout from the pandemic – job insecurity, financial woes, relationship breakdown, bereavement, isolation and the rest. But they sure can help you get your head around these individual challenges, by making you feel less alone in facing them and offering practical ways to cope and move forward.

All the books we recommend are available in ebook and audio form, as well as paperbacks or hardbacks. Read on to discover the best books for insight and guidance into mental health, love and relationships, motivation and weight loss.

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The best self-help books you can buy in 2022

1. No Such Thing As Normal by Bryony Gordon: Best self-help book for mental health and wellness

Price: £11 (hardback) | Buy now from Amazon

Journalist Bryony Gordon has spent years writing candidly about her struggles with depression and anxiety. She’s also the founder of Mental Health Mates, a network of men and women who meet regularly to share experiences. In her new book, Bryony offers a wealth of personal insight and shares what she’s learned about sleep, addiction, worry, medication, self-image, boundary setting, therapy and more.

This beautifully readable advice-memoir has a reassuring “realness” to it. Gordon is no self-help guru handing down rules for life, but a normal (and very eloquent) woman who’s struggled and wants to help others in a similar position. Recommended for anyone trying to make sense of life.

Key specs – Full title: No Such Thing As Normal: What My Mental Illness Has Taught Me About Mental Wellness; Pages: 256; Publisher: Headline; Released: 7 Jan 2021; Other formats: Kindle (£8); Audiobook (£8)

2. Happy by Derren Brown: Best self-help book about happiness

Price: £8.19 (paperback) | Buy now from Amazon

What do history’s greatest philosophers and psychologists have to teach us about mental wellbeing? Mainly to give ourselves a break. In this gloriously entertaining, educational and reassuring book, mental maestro Derren Brown takes the key nuggets of wisdom from hundreds of years of teachings about how to live your best life, and makes them accessible and relatable. Self-forgiveness, it seems, really is the key to happiness.

As you’ll know if you’ve read anything by Brown, his supremely intelligent wry voice beams from every page. Not everyone will enjoy the philosophical musings, but for an enquiring mind it’s a wonderful and life-affirming read, and generously long at nearly 600 pages.

Key specs – Full title: Happy: Why more or less everything is absolutely fine; Pages: 576; Publisher: Corgi; Released: 29 June 2017; Other formats: Kindle (£5); Audiobook (£8)

3. Downsizing by Tom Watson: Best self-help book for losing weight and achieving goals

Price: £5 (hardback) | Buy now from Amazon

In 2015, former MP Tom Watson tipped the scales at 22 stone and developed type 2 diabetes. He’s since lost 8 stone, reversed the diabetes, retrained as a fitness trainer and written this book to help others follow in his life-changing footsteps.

As well as detailing how he lost the weight (broadly, reducing carbs then following a Mediterranean diet), Watson’s book also lays into the sugar-pushing habits of the food industry. He is a politician, after all. It also contains motivational strategies that can be applied to many areas of life.

“This is no ordinary book about overcoming a health challenge,” says one of hundreds of five-star Amazon reviews. “It’s a super motivational book for anyone who wants to accomplish a goal that may seem impossible.”

Key specs – Full title: Downsizing: How I lost 8 stone, reversed my diabetes and regained my health; Pages: 256; Publisher: Kyle Books; Released: 7 Jan 2020; Other formats: Kindle (£6); Audiobook (£8); Paperback (£7.37)

4. Anything is Possible by Gareth Southgate: Best motivational book for young people

Price: £12 (hardback) | Buy now from Amazon

‘Anything Is Possible… Follow Your Dream,’ goes the positivity-pumping full title of the latest book from lovely waistcoated footy legend Gareth Southgate. Well, you can’t knock the joy of reading about a guy who made the most embarrassing penalty miss of all time, then bounced back to lift the England team to the World Cup semi-finals as manager.

The book is a really easy read, full of morale-boosting headings and bullet points about how what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Some may find it a little simplistic, but it’s a wonderfully positive attitude for young people to aspire to as they emerge into an uncertain future.

Key specs – Full title: Anything Is Possible: Be Brave, Be Kind & Follow Your Dreams; Pages: 256; Publisher: Century; Released: 26 Nov 2020; Other formats: Kindle (£10); Audiobook (£8)

5. Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller: Best self-help book about love and relationships

Price: £7 (paperback) | Buy now from Amazon

Why does playing hard to get attract the wrong kind of partner? What does it mean if you only ever want what you can’t have? Why do your dates scarper the moment things get serious? All these facts of life become a lot less baffling when you realise it’s down to your (and their) “attachment style”: anxious, secure or avoidant.

Attachment theory is based on decades of research and outlined with wonderful clarity in this book, with relatable examples and even graphs to explain the science. It’ll help you understand your attachment style, communicate your relationship needs, spot red flags in a new date, and know what to look for in a partner. It’s especially useful if you’re on the anxious end of the scale.

Key specs – Full title: Attached: Are you Anxious, Avoidant or Secure? How the science of adult attachment can help you find and keep love; Pages: 304; Publisher: Bluebird; Released: 22 Aug 2019; Other formats: Kindle (£6); Audiobook (£8)

6. Ten Times Happier by Owen O’Kane: Best self-help book with practical advice on letting go of the past

Price: £7 (paperback) | Buy now from Amazon

Psychotherapist Owen O’Kane has worked in frontline health services for 25 years, and is also a bestselling self-help author with his book Ten to Zen (a kind of Little Book Of Calm for the 2010s). In his latest book Ten Times Happier, O’Kane takes a clear, practical, bullet-point approach to letting go of negative thoughts, especially regrets and mistakes.

It’s very readable, with no eye-rolling psychobabble and plenty of everyday examples. A great antidote to the mental voice that beats you up for your past decisions.

Key specs – Full title: Ten Times Happier: How to let go of what’s holding you back; Pages: 192; Publisher: HQ; Released: 14 May 2020; Other formats: Kindle (£3); Audiobook (£7.43)

7. How to Heal a Broken Heart by Rosie Green: Best self-help book when you’ve been dumped

Price: £12 (hardback) | Buy now from Amazon

Being dumped is a bereavement. Journalist Rosie Green, whose husband walked out after 26 years together, knows that only too well. So in this hugely comforting memoir, her chapters mirror the stages of grief, with titles such as ‘Shock (and ugly crying)’ and ‘Fear and Bargaining (please don’t beg)’.

Green’s book has plenty of practical input from divorce coach Sara Davison, who runs break-up recovery workshops, but its main strength is its dark wit, painfully honest insights, and excellent writing. It will make you cry, and it’ll also make you feel a lot less alone.

Key specs – Full title: How to Heal a Broken Heart: From Rock Bottom to Reinvention (via ugly crying on the bathroom floor); Pages: 272; Publisher: Orion Spring; Released: 11 Feb 2021; Other formats: Kindle (£8); Audiobook (£8)

8. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers: Best classic self-help book for confidence

Price: £1 (paperback) | Buy now from Amazon

Originally published in 1987, this classic by US psychologist Susan Jeffers has sold more than 2 million copies in its various formats, and you can now get the gist of its confidence-boosting ‘truths’ from a shortened 128-page version.

Jeffers delivers timeless advice on overcoming fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of not fitting in, fear of intimacy, fear of being alone… any of this sound familiar? (All of it, likely as not.) It doesn’t promise to help you achieve “anything”, but will instead help you identify and blitz the fears that hold you back. And at £1 with free Prime delivery, that’s got to be worth a shot.

Key specs – Full title: Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway: Quick Reads; Pages: 128; Publisher: Vermilion; Released: 2 Feb 2017; Other formats: Kindle (£2); Audio cassette (£7)

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