Dr Michelle O'Driscoll: Books to read to help your mental health

Dr Michelle O'Driscoll has put together a list of books to consider; some are long-time go-to’s, others are hot off the press.
Dr Michelle O'Driscoll: Books to read to help your mental health

Book shelves are teeming with books on mental wellbeing. Picture: Stock

I’M often asked what books I would recommend for those looking to boost their mental wellbeing.

Bookshop shelves ere teeming with attractive covers and promising straplines, which makes the quest to find something beneficial and worth dipping into quite overwhelming.

On the other hand, it means there is quite literally something for everybody, it’s just a matter of finding what speaks to you and your needs. 

Here, I’ve put together a list of books to consider; some are long-time go-to’s, others are hot off the press. They’re a mix of supportive, practical, reflective and motivational, depending on your taste.

Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World (Mark Williams and Danny Penman)

This book is based on science in the area of mindfulness-based interventions. It comes with a selection of audio meditations to try, and ties everything back to the practicalities of daily life.

The authors are academic experts in the field, with a solid foundation in research methods. I picked this up in an airport bookshop many years ago, and I often describe it as a “game-changer”, both for myself and for the many others whom I’ve recommended it to since.

Mind Full: Unwreck Your Head, Destress Your Life (Dermot Whelan)

This much loved Today FM radio presenter has just released this book on mindfulness, which is a self-proclaimed no-nonsense guide to incorporating mindfulness into your day.

If you don’t like to take life or yourself too seriously, and want a bit of a laugh while learning some practical tools to clear troublesome thoughts and reduce the stress you’re experiencing, then this is the one for you.

What I Know For Sure (Oprah Winfrey)

Ever read or heard something and got that feeling of it really landing, resonating, staying with you? Oprah is famous for calling these “aha” moments. They occur when you hear back what you already know to be true, but it’s been lost in the busyness, the chaos.

This little book is a series of short chapters; anecdotes that illustrate many of these “aha” moments. It’s something you can dip in and out of; pick a random page and take the message from it. There is comfort, insight, humour and hope packed into it, and it’s a real feelgood one to have on the bedside locker.

The Boy the Mole the Fox and the Horse (Charlie Mackesy)

This work of art is a stunning hardbound compilation of drawings accompanied by a small amount of handwritten text, and is a gorgeous gift to yourself or a loved one.

Some of the drawings have gone viral over the past year, due to the honesty and comfort they offer, only enhanced by their simplicity.

Through its beautiful images and choice of words, it shines a light on our struggles, fears and insecurities, and celebrates the importance of friendship and self-belief.

Atomic Habits (James Clear)

This book delves into the neuroscience of habits, and the miniature building blocks we need to put in place to make them a permanent feature in our lives. Through sustaining good habits we know that we are setting ourselves up for success, but knowing it doesn’t make it any easier to achieve.

James breaks habits back down to their “atomic” basics, and guides us through how to set yourself up for success when it comes to structuring our goals and routines, ultimately boosting our confidence and wellbeing.

Awaken Your Power Within

(Gerry Hussey)

Only available in the last fortnight, this has shot to the top of the charts, due in no small part to the power of Gerry’s words and insights. He is Ireland’s leading health and performance coach, with a background in performance psychology, and has worked with elite athletes and top leaders to maximise their potential. This book is a deep-dive into the mind and heart, examining our ability to shed self-limiting beliefs and thought processes. Well worth a read if you’re looking for some guided reflection.

The Pause Mindfulness Journal

(Dr Michelle O’ Driscoll and Derval O’Rourke)

Having collaborated with Derval on her member’s site Derval.ie, we wanted to create a journal based on my research background and personal experiences. It’s part journal, part book, with all the essential information you need to start a mindfulness journey or bolster an existing one. It provides structure and accountability, space to reflect and explore your experience, and inspiration in the form of quotes and poems scattered throughout. You can purchase your copy on siopa.derval.ie for just €10 — let me know how you get on!


Dr Michelle O’Driscoll is a pharmacist, researcher and founder of InTuition, a health and wellness education company.

Her research lies in the area of mental health education, and through InTuition she delivers health promotion workshops to corporate and academic organisations nationally. See www.intuition.ie

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