40 Personal Development Books To Read While Social Distancing

By Trista
40 Personal Development Books To Read While Social Distancing

Are you stuck at home during this 2020 situation ? You’re most likely wondering what you can do to stave off the boredom and anxiety. Why not spend the long hours working on improving yourself? There are a lot of self-help books available to do just that. Some of them are either free or at steeply reduced prices because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read on to get an idea of what self-help books you may want to read to work on improving yourself while preventing the disease from spreading.

Cover image of The Gifts Of Imperfection. Amazon

40. The Gifts of Imperfection

Brene Brown is a grounded-theory researcher who specializes in understanding the universal human experiences of shame, vulnerability, and connection. After a TED talk went viral a few years back, she became one of the nation’s leading voices on connecting as a means of destroying the shame that fuels so much of our lives.

The Gifts Of Imperfection is a New York Times bestseller that has sold over two million copies. It details proven techniques that wholehearted people take to approach their lives. That includes the parts of their lives that are less than perfect. Forbes listed it as one of the five books that will change your outlook on life.

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Cover image for The Untethered Soul. Amazon

39. The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

This book by Michael Singer came out in 2007. It since became a New York Times bestseller. The author has a doctorate in economics and is the CEO of a billion-dollar company. But he’s also a yogi who runs a multi-faith meditation center.

The Untethered Soul is about freeing the mind from self-imposed limitations and is ideal for beginners or those who are experienced at mindfulness and meditation. It’s available on Kindle as an e-book, paperback, and audiobook. That makes it accessible to a wide audience of both readers and listeners.

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Cover image of Get Out Of Your Head. Amazon

38. Get Out Of Your Head: Stopping The Spiral Of Toxic Thoughts

Jennie Allen is a Christian leader whose ministry, IF: Gathering, provides insight to women who want to find a deeper relationship with God. She has taught at many Christian gatherings across the world. Allen has a reputation for excellent teachings based on time-honored biblical principles.

Get Out Of Your Head is a bestseller on both the New York Times and USA Today lists. It provides insight and tools for how readers can understand thoughts that spiral out of control. She helps them interrupt those toxic thought patterns and learn to think differently. When people can think differently, their behavior changes.

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Cover image of A Mindful Year. Amazon

37. A Mindful Year: 365 Ways To Find Connection And The Sacred In Everyday Life

This isn’t technically designed for you to read holed up at home during a mass pandemic. It’s a devotional of sorts that people can read daily for insight on developing a lifestyle of mindfulness. The book was written by two friends who have Ph.D.s in psychology. They combine cognitive behavioral therapy with mindfulness techniques in little snippets that people can draw from daily.

If you have been wanting to begin developing mindfulness habits and find that now, you have nothing better to do, consider starting A Mindful Year. Many of us are having trouble focusing and accomplishing our daily goals. You can read small bits every day to develop steady habits that will outlast the coronavirus pandemic.

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Cover image of Atomic Habits. Amazon

36. Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way To Build Good Habits And Break Bad Ones

This New York Times bestseller is by James Clear. He’s a public figure whose work focuses on developing better habits, making better choices, and allowing ongoing growth to be a daily feature of people’s lives. In Atomic Habits, he shares many of his time-proven tips on improving life by creating better habits. 

The goal of the book is to help readers develop the habits that they need to achieve their goals. The author hits on the biggest hurdles to developing bad habits. Those include life being too busy to slow down, getting discouraged when you get derailed, demotivation, and an environment that works against you.

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Cover image of Maybe You Should Talk To Someone. Amazon

35. Maybe You Should Talk To Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, And Our Lives Revealed

This New York Times bestseller is by a clinical psychologist. Her own personal life became revealed to herself when she found herself in therapy due to an unexpected breakup. The book has received significant accolades from journalists and periodicals all over. It’s now being made into a movie series. 

In the book, the author details her own relationship with her therapist and how she came to understand the clients that she sees with renewed empathy. In the process, she guides the readers into a deeper understanding of their own personal lives.

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Cover image of How To Be Alone. Amazon

34. How To Be Alone: If You Want To And Even If You Don’t

Right now, we are all feeling alone. After all, the whole world is shut down and people are in self-isolation. But can we be alone without feeling lonely? Lane Moore is a comedian and relationships guru who wrote the book that so many of us need right now. It’s one about how unresolved experiences can cause us to dread the empty void of aloneness.

The author wrote to those of us who have more online “friends” than face-to-face relationships that involve honest interactions and human connection. The book will help people who have superficial relationships with online friends, television and media. Those are false connections because authentic ones that never existed.

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Cover image for Healing From Hidden Abuse. Amazon

33. Healing From Hidden Abuse: A Journey Through The Stages Of Recovery From Psychological Abuse

Many who are on lockdown right now are finding that life is no longer there to protect them from the voices in their heads. Some of those voices are because of psychological abuse that may have left lasting scars.

The author of Healing From Hidden Abuse is a therapist who has had her own journey of healing from psychological abuse. She uses clinical language to help readers understand the nature of the destructive thought patterns and other effects of abuse. She also focuses on making the material accessible to those who do not have formal psychological training.

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Cover image of Dare To Lead. Amazon

32. Dare To Lead: Brave Work, Tough Conversations, Whole Hearts

Brene Brown wrote this book specifically for those who have leadership roles at work. These could be Fortune 500 CEOs, military commanders, or owners of small businesses. She examines the habits of wholehearted leaders who can recognize the needs of their workers.

The book identifies challenges that seem insurmountable for leaders, such as problems of loneliness and isolation felt by everyone from CEOs to day laborers. She offers her research-proven tips for forging human connection as the most critical component of leadership. As a result, the company’s culture will be impervious to shame.

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Cover image of Daring Greatly. Amazon

31. Daring Greatly: How The Courage To Be Vulnerable Transforms The Way We Live, Love, Parent, And Lead

This book by Brene Brown is written for anyone who wants to live a courageous life not mired in the shame of past failures or relationships gone wrong. Therefore, she based the book on a quote by one of the country’s most influential presidents, Teddy Roosevelt. He claimed that the voices that matter are not the critics but the ones who are fighting the good fight.

If you’re stuck in isolation and finding how much you need a stronger human connection for every aspect of your life, order a copy of Daring Greatly. It will help you understand the habits that wholehearted people have for facing their failures. As a result, it helps them avoid being discouraged by shame or comparing themselves to other people.

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Cover image of Rising Strong. Amazon

30. Rising Strong: How The Ability To Reset Transforms The Way We Live, Love, Parent, And Lead

While you’re stuck at home, you may be having some thoughts about failures in your past you haven’t yet overcome. You may be looking for some proven strategies on bouncing back after failure, loss, or heartache. Rising Strong is a gem from Brene Brown that can help you get there because of its proven ideas.

Like many of Brene’s other books, Rising Strong is a New York Times bestseller. The premise of this book is that refusing to own our stories binds us to them and makes us prisoners. However, learning to own those stories complete with all of the failures and heartaches empowers us to write their endings.

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Cover image of Good Grief. Amazon

29. Good Grief: A Companion For Every Loss

Right now, everyone is experiencing a sense of loss. Some are grieving the loss of loved ones. All of us are grieving the loss of a sense of “normal.” We’re unable to go about and enjoy our everyday lives because of the disease. We are trying to make sense out of the chaos descending on the world due to the virus’ spread. 

Good Grief is a time-worn classic on embracing grief as part of the process of healing. At only 82 pages long, it can be read in one sitting. But it will probably be read multiple times thanks to its uplifting contents. Consider adding this short read to your list of things to do today. Its brevity is perfect for those who are looking for something to do but are struggling to focus because they’re not used to being stuck at home.

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Cover image of The Journey From Abandonment To Healing. Amazon

28. The Journey From Abandonment To Healing

Maybe the silence of isolation is forcing you to face the losses in your life you haven’t yet healed from. Susan Anderson is a clinical psychologist who specializes in helping her clients and readers understand abandonment. She is also an expert in the psychological reactions that often come with it thanks to her education.

For many people, abandonment is the one thing that they fear the most. Many people internalize abandonment and use it as a vehicle to tell themselves they are not good enough and are unworthy of love and belonging. The Journey From Abandonment To Healing uses discoveries in neuroscience coupled with time-honored techniques in psychotherapy to help people who have experienced abandonment put their grief into perspective.

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Cover image of How To Win Friends And Influence People. Amazon

27. How To Win Friends And Influence People

This book was written during a similar time in history, the Great Depression. It’s the quintessential self-help book and has been around for more than eight decades. It has helped generations of readers develop the confidence they need to get out in the world and be their best selves. The strategies laid out in the book have helped many readers get results and achieve their goals due to its effectiveness. 

While many self-help books today shy away from formulas for success, How To Win Friends And Influence People doesn’t. It presents nine ways to help the people around you change. But that’s not all. There are also 12 ways to help people understand your thinking and win them over to it, and six ways to make people like you.

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Cover image of Attached. Amazon

26. Attached: The New Science Of Adult Attachment And How It Can Help You Find – And Keep – Love

We all want to get better at having meaningful relationships. That’s especially true now when just about everyone is either stuck at home with family or stuck at home by themselves and wishing they had someone around.

Attached was written by two medical doctors who set out to show, on a scientific level, why some relationships fare so well. They also outline how to forge those strong and healthy relationships. The authors look at attachment theory, which has long been used to promote healthy bonds between children and parents. The book shows how it can help adults form strong relationships because of this scientific program.

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Cover image of How God Changes Your Brain. Amazon

25. How God Changes Your Brain

People who cultivate a spiritual practice grounded in the belief God is kind and benevolent tend to have much healthier, happier, and productive lives. Meanwhile, people of faith who have extreme ideas that lead to prejudice and bigotry, coupled with beliefs that God is angry and vindictive, tend to be miserable. What makes the difference?

How God Changes Your Brain is about the influence that religion has on people’s brains. It also focuses on how what we believe about God affects our neural networks. Are you wanting to use this time of self-isolation to develop a spiritual practice? Maybe you aren’t sure about what you should believe about God? How God Changes Your Brain may be the right place to start thanks to its approach.

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Cover image of The Five Love Languages. Amazon

24. The Five Love Languages

This classic book on improving relationships has sold over 12 million copies. The Five Love Languages is based on the idea that everyone has a love language. This could be physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, or gifts. 

Often, we show love to people by giving them what we want. Maybe we want time but the other person needs someone to do the dishes. When we understand what our own love language is and the love languages of those that we love, we can improve our relationships by showing love in ways that the other person wants to receive.

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Cover image of Communication Miracles For Couples. Amazon

23. Communication Miracles For Couples

If you’re stuck at home with your significant other through weeks of lockdown with no letup in sight, you may feel you are getting more than enough communication with each other. But are you communicating well? Are you hearing each other and responding to what the other is actually trying to say?

Now may be a great time to ramp up your communication skills so that you can get better at resolving conflicts and loving each other better. Communication Miracles For Couples may be the kick-start that you and your significant other need. It could help you both weather this time of self-isolation and come out with an even stronger relationship due to its unique perspectives.

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Cover image of Who Moved My Cheese? Amazon

22. Who Moved My Cheese? Ways To Deal With Change In Your Work And In Your Life

Decades after this book’s original publication, it remains a self-help classic that empowers people to navigate changes, whether anticipated or not. Who Moved My Cheese? is based on the simple theory of a mouse in a maze: the mouse cannot see the entire maze at one time, and someone keeps moving the cheese!

If you are feeling distressed by how much the coronavirus pandemic is ‘moving your cheese,’ now may be the time to sit down with this classic.

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Cover image of Courage To Change. Amazon

21. Courage To Change: One Day At A Time In Al-Anon II

Recovering alcoholics may be struggling to remain sober and not return to self-destructive habits in these trying times. Getting derailed during this highly stressful period can lead to pain and starting the recovery process all over again as a result.

Courage To Change is a 12-month book by Alcoholics Anonymous. There are short snippets you can read each day to help you stay on track while navigating this stressful period without alcohol. The book can also help you develop better habits to outlast the coronavirus crisis so that you come out healthier.

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Cover image of Girl, Wash Your Face. Amazon

20. Girl, Wash Your Face

Rachel Hollis, the author of Girl, Wash Your Face, built her corporate empire by being candid about the messiness of her own life. She committed to no longer believing the lie that the people around her have their lives completely figured out.

Girl, Wash Your Face exposes the lies that so many of us believe that we do not even pay attention to them anymore. She reveals tips for rejecting those lies and moving into a joyful, productive life that promotes true freedom. This lighthearted yet compelling book will inspire you to weather the storms of quarantine and come out a better person because of its teaching.

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Cover image of Girl, Stop Apologizing. Amazon

19. Girl, Stop Apologizing

In the sequel to Girl, Wash Your Face, Hollis builds on her method of exposing the lies that so many of us believe. She expands upon her mindset of rejecting them as the means to freedom. In Girl, Stop Apologizing, she empowers women to stop defining themselves according to the expectations that others have. In this reading, Hollis challenges women to instead own their dreams.

Readers of this book will feel inspired to let go of the cumbersome lies in their own lives. The idea of releasing the need to apologize for not being who others expect them to be is also prominent. This helps women become the best they can be. Hollis wants women to renounce their excuses and embrace the potential that they have within themselves because of her book.

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Cover image of Anxious For Nothing. Amazon

18. Anxious For Nothing: Finding Calm In A Chaotic World

Anxiety seems to be a common theme all over the world right now. Many people fear for themselves and loved ones that they will become critically ill or that they will face severe financial repercussions of a shut-down economy.

Max Lucado is a Christian leader who has spent decades writing books and helping Christians navigate the ins and outs of life with grace and faith. Anxious For Nothing was written for those who find anxiety keeping them awake at night and helps deepen faith in a God who cares.

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Cover image of Present Over Perfect. Amazon

17. Present Over Perfect

Shauna Niequist, author of Present Over Perfect, has written books that landed coveted spots on the New York Times bestseller list. Niequist diagnoses the illness of modern society in this reading. She defines them as lacking human connection and proposes that many people settle for the busyness of life instead of meaningful relationships.

Present Over Perfect, with a foreword by Brene Brown, is about leaving behind the busyness of life in favor of rediscovering the human connection and meaningful relationships that we all crave. The author invites readers to learn how to rest and play so that they can reconnect with themselves and those they love.

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Cover image of The Self-Care Prescription. Amazon

16. The Self-Care Prescription

For many Americans, when we think about self-care, we think about a trip to the spa or some other indulgence that frees us from daily life. But right now, with the vast majority of us locked up in our homes, those indulgences are no longer even options. So how should we take care of ourselves?

The Self-Care Prescription will help you re-define what self-care even is so that you can better engage in it while you are stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic. It will help you create your plan for self-care that can take you through quarantine and come out of it ready to take on the world.

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Cover image of Untamed. Amazon

15. Untamed

Glennon Doyle is the author of several New York Times bestselling books, the most recent of which is Untamed. This book is part memoir about how the author learned to listen to her inner voice instead of the critics. The second part is self-help to inspire and teach others to do the same.

This book is written mainly for women who find themselves in a constant race to please as many people as they can and walk away feeling weary and drained. It will help them recognize their inner drive, which is stronger than the voices of those they are trying to please.

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Cover image of I thought It Was Just Me. Amazon

14. I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t)

Another masterpiece from the world’s most trusted researcher on shame and vulnerability is I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t). Brene Brown helps readers see that shame draws people into isolated silos, in which they often come to believe they are the only ones who are struggling. 

The book helps point readers towards the timeless truth that most of us are in the same boat and are struggling with the same thing. Brown challenges toxic thought patterns around perfection to help people embrace their whole selves with their entire hearts so they can see they are truly enough.

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Cover image of The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*Ck. Amazon

13. The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck

This New York Times bestseller has already helped millions of people understand that one of the biggest things standing in their way is that they spend too much time and energy on things that just don’t deserve it. 

The author takes an honest approach to a self-help culture that focuses overwhelmingly on staying positive. He begins with the premise that life is hard, bad things happen, and trying always to stay positive is draining. The book helps readers reset their priorities so that instead of focusing on endless optimism, they can learn to deal with tough situations by knowing what matters.

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Cover image of Unfu*k Yourself. Amazon

12. Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out Of Your Head And Into Your Life

Another refreshing BS-free book to add to today’s self-help repertoire is Gary John Bishop’s Unfu*k Yourself. The author begins with the premise that our expectations of what life is supposed to be are weighing us down and keeping us from being the best version of ourselves.

The antidote to expectations is acceptance, full acceptance of who you are without worrying about what others expect you to be. Bishop teaches readers to embrace uncertainty and recognize that when they are willing to live life to the fullest, they can accomplish anything.

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Cover image of Stop Doing That Sh*t. Amazon

11. Stop Doing That Sh*t: End Self-Sabotage And Demand Your Life Back

In a follow-up to his popular Unfu*ck Yourself, Gary John Bishop helps readers identify the behaviors and thought patterns that are standing in the way of living a better life. Readers who always seem to be in a financial tailspin often blame unfortunate circumstances. Thanks to this book, however, they may find their financial habits are contributing to their problems.

Readers who find themselves constantly in toxic relationships will discover what is causing them to settle for less in a partner. Most of all, the book tells readers to stop indulging in their private fantasies of what life is supposed to be and wake up to the realities they’re currently living in.

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Cover image of Addicted To The Monkey Mind. Amazon

10. Addicted To The Monkey Mind: Change The Programming That Sabotages Your Life

The author of Addicted To The Monkey Mind is an expert on relationships and addiction. He shares what he’s learned about how people continuously sabotage their own selves. The titular “monkey mind” is the way that many people behave based on genetic characteristics that they inherited.

Yet mindfulness, developing better thought patterns, and thinking through actions can change our lives. Addicted To The Monkey Mind has the premise that we can change the way that we are programmed and develop better tools for coping with the small details of life.

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Cover image of Retrain Your Brain. Amazon

9. Retrain Your Brain: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy In Seven Weeks

For some of us, reading a self-help book is not engaging or stimulating enough to carry us through the long and tedious days of quarantine. Retrain Your Brain is a workbook written by a man with a Ph.D. in psychology that can help provide the engagement and stimulation necessary while stuck at home.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a go-to tool many psychotherapists today use to help clients overcome destructive beliefs that shape negative thought patterns, which, in turn, lead to poor behavior and poor outcomes. This workbook will provide a great starting point for those who want to utilize the evidence-based techniques of cognitive-behavioral therapy while stuck in quarantine.

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Cover image of The Body Keeps The Score. Amazon

8. The Body Keeps The Score

If you are one of the many people who have experienced trauma, you may be curious as to what its lingering effects may be. The Body Keeps The Score is Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk’s attempt to communicate his research into trauma’s impact on the body, which can persist long after the trauma has ended.

Being stuck in self-isolation is a great time to slow down and learn more about yourself and some of the things that helped make you into who you are today. Beyond understanding your traumatic past, this book offers techniques for overcoming trauma by tapping into the brain’s natural neuroplasticity.

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Cover image of Life’s Great Question: Discover How You Contribute To The World. Amazon

7. Life’s Great Question

We’re all searching for the meaning of life, or at least for how we can find more meaning to it. In Life’s Great Question, the New York Times bestselling author Tom Rath shows readers that life is about what you put into it. It’s especially about what you put into your community to help leave the world a better place. 

This book helps readers identify what their contribution is and how they can better invest in other people and their own communities. They can improve their well-being and find happiness as a result.

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Cover image of Master Your Code. Amazon

6. Master Your Code: The Art, Wisdom, And Science Of Leading An Extraordinary Life

Computers run a certain way because of how they are programmed. The same is true of people. The way that individuals are programmed helps determine whether or not they will succeed in relationships, whether or not they will show up, and whether or not they will be able to ditch negative behaviors and achieve their goals.

The key to understanding programming is to understand the code that made it. In Master Your Code, the author helps readers understand the systems behind their own programming so they can learn to master their own lives.

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Cover image of The Language Of Letting Go. Amazon

5. The Language Of Letting Go: Daily Meditations For Codependency

Social distancing, self-isolation, and quarantine are causing many people to confront the fact that they have codependent relationships crippling their resilience. While ending codependent behaviors will take time and will involve some painful re-evaluation, The Language Of Letting Go provides a gentle reorientation towards meaningful relationships and personal resilience.

Spending just a few minutes during each day of social distancing with one of these daily meditations can help put you on the track towards letting go of unhealthy, codependent relationships so you can thrive and achieve your goals.

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Cover image of Broken Crayons Still Color. Amazon

4. Broken Crayons Still Color

Many people who are stuck at home are struggling with feelings of inadequacy and wondering if their past failures define them, especially since they no longer have the busyness of life to distract them. They may feel like broken crayons.

But the author of Broken Crayons Still Color wants to help people realize that with God’s grace and personal faith, they can find that their messy lives still have meaning and can be beautiful. This book comes as a workbook with a teaching series to help people get a dynamic experience of regeneration.

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Cover image of The Gifted Highly Sensitive Introvert. Amazon

3. The Gifted Highly Sensitive Introvert

These days, introverts all over the world have been rejoicing at their ability to stay away from other people, who can be a drain on the introvert’s energy. Yet the question remains: what do introverts have to offer both to themselves, to other people, and their wider communities? 

The Gifted Highly Sensitive Introvert was written to help introverts understand that when they present their authentic selves to the world, they can bring something beautiful no one else can.

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2. How To Be An Imperfectionist

These days, nothing could be considered perfect. People who thrived on making sure that every “i” was dotted and every “t” was crossed are finding that they are producing maybe half of their regular work output. This book has the message that so many of us need to hear: imperfection is okay.

How To Be An Imperfectionist presents the author’s tips on letting go of perfectionism by redirecting the desires to be perfect into more healthy and appropriate methods. The author examines the underlying motions of perfectionism so they can be harnessed and used to create a more meaningful and much less perfect life.

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Cover image of Boundaries. Amazon

1. Boundaries: When To Say Yes, How To Say No, To Take Control Of Your Life

A duo of psychologists wrote this quintessential self-help book whose goal is to help people set in place reasonable and healthy boundaries. The book has already helped millions of people set boundaries in their lives while making sure others still know that they are loved and appreciated.

The authors help readers learn techniques for dealing with people who are a constant drain on their energy, as well as how to set boundaries in intimate relationships such as marriage. In addition, the newest, updated version contains additional tips for limits within the digital age.  

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