Blog by: Dr. Nicola McCaffrey (DClinPsy.) Clinical Psychologist.

The past few years have seen more and more stressed out, burnt out, and struggling people turn to celebrities and psychologists for direction leading to record sales of self-help books. The cynics amongst us might groan internally at this news, although I suspect that many do not have a true understanding of what ‘self help’ constitutes or what it can offer. I myself prefer the term self curiosity or self reflection, rather than self help. It opens up my mind to possibilities rather than closing it down at the expectation of pop-psychology and quick, but short lived, “fixes”.

What is self help anyway? Is it popular psychology such as Love Factually or Dare to Lead? Or perhaps it is spirituality like that found in The Power of Now or I am Not Your Guru ? Perhaps it is something in between or even a combination of everything? Whatever we agree self help is, or isn’t, as a genre self help is almost as broad as fiction itself, and it is growing rapidly, making it tough to find the must reads amongst the disappointments. My personal nominations this year for those of you who are curious, reflective and generally want to do change but are not sure how are:

Remember This When You’re Sad by Maggy van Eijik
A frank, fresh, honest and witty account of the writers own experiences of her struggles with mental health. Remember This When You’re Sad is is a very human account of anxiety and depression, panic attacks, bulimia and disassociation. It is also about growing up with the pressure of having an untrustworthy mind.

Remember This When You're Sad is a brave, beautifully written and important memoir and workbook that lays bare the true reality of mental illness. For me this book is one of the most useful, engaging and accessible books about mental health since Matt Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing is a book designed to help you simplify and minimise. This book is the foundation of the incredibly popular Konmari Method — purging unnecessary items from your life and organising what remains. At the heart of this method is surrounding yourself only with items that “spark joy” in you. The key to successful tidying, Marie suggests, is to tackle your home in the correct order, to keep only the things you really love and to do it all at once. It offers simple tips on how to fold your clothes and use boxes to help you to declutter and access what you need quickly. This book not only helped me to declutter and organise my space, but it also made me reflect on how I think about my environment, what I need, and how I shop!

Presence by Amy Cuddy
How can we be our strongest selves in life's most challenging situations? We all have moments when anxiety and negatively get the better of us. But how can we present our best selves in moments that often cause us to feel powerless?

Amy first came to my attention through the TED stage where she gave a very powerful and inspiring talk on ‘Power Posing’. In this book she builds on this foundation and explains the science underlying the body mind connection and teaches us how to use this science to become self-assured in high-pressure moments. Presence is an impassioned and accessible book that is filled with stories of individuals facing real obstacles and succeeding against the odds

The Hope Circuit by Martin Seligman
One of the most influential psychologists of our time, Martin Seligman, examines the transformation that has taken place in psychology since the 1960s, as the field moved from eliminating problems to its brighter side; gratitude, resilience, and hope. Through this book, his memoir, Seligman recalls his own journey into studying optimism and hope, and recounts some of the human stories behind some of his major research findings. At almost 400 pages this book is an investment but you will walk away feeling not just educated but inspired, enriched and highly aware of the unique importance of your mental health.

Gmorning, Gnight! by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Sometimes you don't need a deep dive into thought changing philosophy, you simply need a little pep talk and positive affirmation to get the day moving in the right direction. If that's the case, you need to buy yourself a copy of GMorning GNight by Lin-Manuel Miranda and put it on your bed side table! Before he was catapulted to international fame, Lin-Manuel Miranda was inspiring his Twitter followers with words of encouragement at the beginning and end of each day. He wrote these original sayings, aphorisms, and poetry for himself as much as for others. But as his audience grew, these messages took on a life on their own. Now Miranda has gathered the best of his daily greetings into a beautiful collection illustrated by artist (and fellow Twitter favourite) Jonny Sun. This book may not be life, or mind changing, but it is full of fun, perspective and positivity.

Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
In this New York Times bestseller, Rachel Hollis, identifies 20 lies people tell themselves which hold them back in reaching their full potential and living a happy, fulfilled life. Using her own life as way of example Hollis encourages the women of the world to embrace the truth and change their lives. Although primarily directed towards women anyone can enjoy Hollis’ easy American style, humour and techniques to work towards a happier, healthier life. Hollis' follow up, ‘Girl, Stop Apologizing’, has recently been released.


More news

  • What's On

    07. Jun 2019
    Here you can find an overview of the webpages where all the events happening in the Stavanger region are posted! Go on, get busy exploring!
  • Sport and Outdoors

    07. Jun 2019
    The Stavanger region offers majestic fjords, beaches and an impressive mountain landscape. Here you also find some of the most popular natural tourist attractions in the country such as Kjerag and the Pulpit Rock. Accessibility is the key word, as this region is one of few places where you can experience a snow peaked mountaintop and a walk on the beach within a couple of hours.
  • Building a RAFT: How to cope as the ex-pat being left behind.

    07. Jun 2019
    The calendar tells me that it is June. For many this is the countdown to summer, but for me it is the month of goodbyes. This year I am once again being “left behind”.
  • Establishing a freelance advertising agency

    13. Jun 2019

    The project has been kept a secret for two years, but now Melvær&Co has launched an agency consisting of freelance workers.

  • A time for everything

    07. Jun 2019
    There is a time for everything, even for our profile this month, Per A. Thorbjørnsen. So as we get closer to yet another Christmas, he will for the first time, contemplate whether not doing anything, perhaps is life itself.
  • Billions ready to invest

    07. Jun 2019
    Big money investors in the region are establishing investment funds to positively contribute to the transition of the region by investing in companies that have new sustainable ideas and new technological solutions.
  • Calls for more information in other languages

    13. Jun 2019
    – As a region we are far from perfect when it comes to public communication in different languages, says Elisabeth Saupstad, travel director in Region Stavanger. She's not alone.