Wellbeing books & resources

The following is a list of recommended books and resources on wellbeing. The Location(s) available column shows where these books are available, eg, from your local Christchurch City Library (CCL) and/or from the Mental Health Education and Resource Centre (MHERC).

Books can be reserved online and checked out by visiting CCL or MHERC. If a book is not available, a librarian may be able to suggest another book or place a hold on a book. To borrow or place a hold on a book, you must be a member of the library. MHERC can post books and other resources out to its users, including those living in rural areas, and will include a post-paid bag for returning books. Once read, books need to be returned to the library.

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CoverTitle & AuthorDescriptionYearLocation(s) available
Learned Optimism

By Martin E. P. Seligman

Subject: Optimism and self-help

Learned Optimism shows us how to stop automatically assuming guilt; how to get out of the habit of seeing the direst possible implications in every setback; how to be optimistic. With concrete examples Dr Seligman documents the effects of optimism on the quality of life, provides tests to determine the degree of our negative and positive orientation, and offers a program of specific exercises to help break the habit of pessimism and learn the habit of optimism for both ourselves and our children.
2011CCL

SL
The Gifts of Imperfection

By Brené Brown

(SL only)
Subject: Self-esteem and self-acceptance

Brown offers exercises for readers to plumb their own emotions and begin to develop the kind of resilience needed to stand up to unrealistic expectations of others and ourselves.
2010CCL

SL
Self-compassion

By Kristin Neff
Subject: Compassion and self-acceptance

A book that teaches readers how to silence self-criticism and replace it with self-compassion in order to fulfil our highest potential and live happier, more fulfilled lives.
2011CCL

SL
Flourish

By Martin E. P. Seligman

Subject: Positive psychology

In this groundbreaking book, one of the world's foremost academic psychologists- and founder of the Positive Psychology movement- offers a new theory on what makes people flourish and how to truly get the most out of life. Eight years have passed since the publication of Dr Seligman's internationally bestselling Authentic Happiness. As a highly esteemed psychologist, Dr Seligman has been on the cutting edge of psychological research for over two decades, pioneering a science that improves people's lives. And now, with his most life-changing book yet, Flourish, he offers a new theory of individual satisfaction and global purpose. In a fascinating evolution of thought, Flourish, refines what Positive Psychology is all about and offers inspiring stories of Positive Psychology in action- innovative schools that add resilience to their curricula, with a case study of Geelong Grammar in particular a new theory of success and intelligence; and evidence on how positive physical health can turn medicine on its head.
2012CCL

SL
The Happiness Trap

By Russ Harris


(CCL & SL)
Subject: Happiness

This book shows you how to apply (ACT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in your life to increase self-awareness, develop emotional intelligence, enhance relationships, create a sense of meaning and purpose, and transform painful thoughts and feelings so they have less impact in your life.
2004CCL

MHERC

SL
Overcoming Low Self-Esteem: A Self-Help Guide Using Cognitive Behavioral Techniques

By Melanie Fennell
Subject: Self Esteem

If you are troubled by uncertainty and self-doubt, or have thoughts about yourself that are often critical, these beliefs can contaminate many aspects of your life, from your personal relationships to your work and leisure time. Your health and energy level may also be affected. Based on the clinically proven techniques of cognitive behavioural therapy, "Overcoming Low Self-Esteem" has been developed to help readers break out of the vicious cycle of self-destructive thinking. By learning the art of self-acceptance, readers can alter their lives for the better.
CCL

MHERC

SL
Boosting self-esteem for dummies

By Rhena Branch

Subject: Self Esteem

Whether you are someone who puts on a front or a shy, retiring type who frets about what other people think, this practical guide can help you to conquer insecurities, get assertive and let your inner strength shine through. Effective ways to record fluctuating moods and feelings * CBT techniques for stimulating self--encouragement * Advice on dealing with counter--productive comparisons * Guidance on tackling social
CCL

SL
Why Won't You Apologize?

By Harriet Lerner
Subject: Interpersonal relationships

In this text, Harriet Lerner challenges the popular notion that forgiveness is the only path to peace of mind and helps those who have been injured to resist pressure to forgive too easily.
2017CCL

SL
Cain's Legacy

By Jeanne Safer
Subject: Families, brothers and sisters

Safer explores the roots of inter-sibling woes, and provides compassionate guidance to brothers and sisters whose relationship is broken. She reveals how they can come to terms with the one peer relationship they can never sever even if they never see each other again
2012CCL

SL
Boundaries

By Henry Cloud


Subject: Conduct of life

This New York Times bestselling and award-winning book helps readers set healthy boundaries in order to be the loving people God created, and now offers a whole new chapter. Are you in control of your life? Christians often focus so much on being loving and giving that they forget their own limits and limitations. Have you ever found yourself wondering: Can I set limits and still be a loving person? How do I answer someone who wants my time, love, energy, or money? Why do I feel guilty when I consider setting boundaries? In this Gold Medallion Award-winning book and New York Times bestseller, Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend give you biblically based answers to these.
2017CCL

SL
The Dance of Intimacy

By Harriet Lerner
Subject: Interpersonal relationships

Points out and discusses problems of intimacy in family and partner relationships with suggestions of steps that can be taken to build solid and respectful relationships.
1989CCL
The Resilient Farmer: Weathering the challenges of life and the land

By D Avery
Subject: Overcoming Challenges

"'I had a destroyed farm, a destroyed bank account and destroyed hopes. I couldn't afford to move, so I decided to make good of what I had.' And so begins Doug Avery's story of emotional resilience in the face of what at times seemed a hopeless situation. The Marlborough-based farmer suffered terribly during eight years of drought. His farm was depleted and so was he. Although he didn't realise it at the time, Doug had severe depression. His story, he says, is common to many in the rural sector who soldier on in isolation, slipping further and further into debt, depression and desperation. In addition to providing people with practical solutions for emotional wellness, he espouses a more sustainable way of farming where soil health and respect for the land is paramount. Doug says the three pillars to successful farming are emotional, financial and environmental resilience. By tackling all three, farmers will prosper and be better placed to weather the inevitable ups and downs that come with farming"--Publisher information.
2017CCL

MHERC

SL
Presence: bringing your boldest self to your biggest challenges

By A Cuddy
Subject: Wellbeing

A Harvard psychologist and TED star shares strategic advice on how to live in accordance with one's inner resources to overcome social fears and self-doubt while heightening confidence, productivity and influence.
2016CCL
Even Under Pressure: Simple Ways to Enhance your Resilience for Adversity and Turbulent Times

By T Watkins
Subject: Resilience

What can we introduce to our everyday lives for greater personal resilience when we need it most? Even Under Pressure is written for those who want answers to that question, especially the increasing numbers of us experiencing the pace and weight of externally-imposed change. There are strong themes of stress reduction and prevention, developing mindfulness, emotional agility and attitude management practices, limiting conflict, containing a crisis, and action-planning for progress. The book describes and guides simple self-management practices designed to prepare for difficulties, hardship and stressful times, remain even in outlook and attitude under increasing pressure, navigate successfully through misfortune, recover from setbacks and unwelcome change and use adverse experiences to develop character and increase our capacity for thriving.
2016CCL
The Happiness Track: How to Apply the Science of Happiness to Accelerate your Success

By E Sepalla
Subject: Resilience

Everyone wants to be happy and successful and yet the pursuit of both has never been more elusive. We are urged to craft careers that matter, to achieve more and waste no time on the small stuff, to be actively engaged in our communities and, while we are at it, to relish every second. Rather than thriving, all this pressure leads to declining wellbeing, relationships and, paradoxically, productivity. In The Happiness Track Emma Seppälä explains that behind our inability to achieve sustainable fulfillment are counterproductive theories of success. Success doesn't have to come at our personal expense. Drawing on the latest research into resilience, willpower, growth mindset, stress, creativity, compassion, mindfulness, gratitude training and optimism, Seppälä shows how nurturing ourselves is the most productive thing we can do to thrive professionally and personally. Filled with practical advice on how to apply these findings to your daily life, The Happiness Track is a life-changing guide to fast-tracking your success and creating an anxiety-free life.
2017CCL
The Marshmallow Test: Understanding Self-control and How to Master It

By W Mishel
Subject: Self-control

Psychologist Walter Mischel, designer of the well-known Marshmallow Test, explains what self-control is and how to master it.
2014CCL
Stepping out of the Shadows: Insights into self-stigma and madness

By D Peterson & S Gordon
Subject: Self-stigma

Stepping out of the Shadows is a book of articles, essays and personal accounts about the effects of the self-stigma associated with mental illness. It has a worldwide audience and is the first book of this kind to be published on this topic. It is a must for those working in the mental health and addictions sector anywhere in the world. A moving collection of personal viewpoints and insights interspersed with research findings/ linkages on the topic of self-stigma and madness. Of particular note is the Discrimination Intervention Model as presented by Dr Debbie Peterson and Alex Barnes for the first time on a world stage.
2009CCL
Eight Keys to Mental Health through Exercise

By C G Hibbert
Subject: Exercise

We all know that exercise is good for physical health, but recently, a wealth of data has proven that exercise also contributes to overall mental well-being. Routine exercise alleviates stress and anxiety, moderates depression, relieves chronic pain, and improves self-esteem. In this inspiring book, Christina Hibbert, a clinical psychologist and expert on women's mental health, grief, and self-esteem, explains the connections between exercise and mental well-being and offers readers step-by-step strategies for sticking to fitness goals, overcoming motivation challenges and roadblocks to working out, and maintaining a physically and emotionally healthy exercise regimen. This book will help readers to get moving, stay moving, and maintain the inspiration they need to reap the mental health benefits of regular exercise. The 8 keys include improving self-esteem with exercise, exercising as a family, getting motivated, changing how you think about exercise, and the FITT principle for establishing an effective exercise routine.
2016CCL

MHERC

SL
Always Looking Up

By M J Fox
Subject: Optimism

Struck with Parkinson's - a debilitating, degenerative disease - at the height of his fame, Fox has taken what some people might consider cause for depression and turned it into a beacon of hope for millions. Now, in "Always Looking Up", he writes about the personal philosophy that carried him through his darkest hours, and speaks with others who have emerged from difficult periods with optimism to spare. With the humor and wit that dazzled fans and reviewers alike in his bestselling memoir, "Lucky Man", Fox shows how he became a happier, more satisfied person by recognizing the gifts of everyday life.
2008CCL

SL
Super Better: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver and More Resilient

By J McGonigal
Subject: Resilience

A renowned game designer describes how she recovered from a debilitating concussion by turning her therapeutic process into a digital game that became the subject of a major NIH research study.
2015CCL
Everyday Kindness

By S Dowrick
Subject: Kindness

Virtually every moment of our greatest wellbeing reflects the giving and receiving of kindness. At home, work and in the wider world, there are countless opportunities when a moment of consideration or kindness - given or received - will transform your day. Whether it is a hard time to be endured, or a wonderful time to be shared and celebrated, it's our willingness to think well of ourselves and act kindly towards others that makes all the difference. In this intimate, deeply reassuring book, Choosing Happiness author Dr Stephanie Dowrick takes kindness as her inspiration and theme. And she does so in ways that are powerfully encouraging. Whether she is writing about food or moods, about growing in self-confidence and appreciation, teaching resilience to our children or ourselves, making the best choices to support our physical and emotional wellbeing, the pleasures and dilemmas of contemporary work, parenting, friendship and love, or even how to improve or save our closest relationships - Stephanie Dowrick is making a calmer, happier and more rewarding life immediately possible.
2011MHERC

SL
The hidden gifts of helping : how the power of giving, compassion, and hope can get us through hard times

By S G Post
Subject: Wellbeing

The life affirming book that helps us discover how to making "helping" a lifetime activity The world's religions affirm it to be so and recent research across a number of disciplines tell us that "Helping others not only benefits those we assist but is good for us as well." The recent and astonishingly generous outpouring of help and donations in response to the earthquake in Haiti is a clear demonstration of this phenomenon, but what if we could be convinced to make helping others a way of life, even when times are hard? Post is author of the widely praised When Good Things Happen to Good People filled with inspirational anecdotes about the transformative power of doing good. The author is a leader in the study of altruism, compassion, and love as well as the President of the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love. Beautiful packaging, ideal for gift giving, The Hidden Gifts of Helping Others will leave you with the unshakable feeling that the world is an essentially good place"
2011MHERC
Oku Moe Moea: The dream which is bigger than I am

By S Hammond Boys
Subject: Wellbeing

Story traces the dilemmas of a young Māori artist as he struggles to come to terms with his relationships, talents and future. Born with an abundance of creativity and living without a mentor in an isolated area, he becomes increasingly alienated from others. He struggles with feelings of uncertainty and doubt which plague his efforts to engage in his talents as he wrestles with whether they can drive his future.
2015CCL
Brainstrom: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain

By D Siegel

(CCL & SL)
Subject: Wellbeing

Between the ages of 12 and 24, the brain changes in important, and oftentimes maddening and challenging ways. In this book, the author, a psychiatrist busts a number of commonly held myths about adolescence. He shows that, if parents and teens can work together to form a deeper understanding of the brain science behind all the tumult, they will be able to turn conflict into connection and form a deeper understanding of one another. According to the author, during adolescence we learn important skills, such as how to leave home and enter the larger world, how to connect deeply with others, and how to safely experiment and take risks, thereby creating strategies for dealing with the world's increasingly complex problems. Here he presents an inside-out approach to focusing on how brain development affects our behavior and relationships. Drawing on important new research in the field of interpersonal neurobiology, he explores exciting ways in which understanding how the brain functions can improve the lives of adolescents, making their relationships more fulfilling and less lonely and distressing on both sides of the generational divide.
2014CCL

SL
Sustainable Happiness: Live Simply, Live Well, Make A Difference

By S Van Gelder

Subject: Sustainability

We're bombarded by messages telling us that more, bigger, and better things are the keys to happiness-but after we pile up the stuff and pile on the hours, we end up exhausted and broke on a planet full of trash. Sarah van Gelder and her colleagues at YES! Magazine have been exploring the meaning of real happiness for eighteen years. In this much-needed volume, they marshal fascinating research, in-depth essays, and compelling personal stories that lead to a life-altering conclusion: what makes us truly happy are the depth of our relationships, the quality of our communities, opportunities to make a contribution, and the renewal we receive from a thriving natural world.
2015CCL

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