Long something that people were afraid to talk about, mental health has been a hot topic in Wichita, Kansas, and across the country.
If Google search trends are any indication, interest in the topic of mental health in Wichita and the surrounding area has been near peak levels over the past year. The Wichita Journalism Collaborative has spent much of the past two years devoting extensive attention to the topic and will hosted the launch of a suicide prevention zine last week.
But if you want to better understand how to improve your own mental health, what can you do? And where do you start?
Luckily, Wichita’s public libraries have our backs. The library system recently released a list of the top five self-help books checked out in 2022. They range from habit forming to understanding the psyche, but among the list, readers have plenty of choices to find one to fit their lifestyle.
Chosen by the local readers in Wichita, these popular books give a variety of ways to benefit oneself through the struggles of life.
The Wichita library staff has summarized over 1,000 self-improvement books. In the process, they’ve learned a thing or two about habits and discovered which books are most efficient at helping us adjust our behaviors to serve our goals better.
The overarching theme of these books is that it’s okay to look for help in life. The list below is designed to help you find the perfect self-help books for a better understanding your own mental health.
“Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience,” by Brené Brown, 2021
This self-analysis book was the most checked-out self-help book from the Wichita public library in 2022. Brown takes the readers on a journey of places – places to go when we are upset, when searching for connection, and when comparing ourselves to the world. “Atlas of the Heart”contains 296 pages of self-reflection and connection, all while giving the readers an understanding of power and experience.
“Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones” by James Clear, 2018
Published in 2018
Ever felt yourself slipping back into the old habits when times get tough? Well, with Clear’s book “Atomic Habits,” there is a way to break them for good. Clear shares his research on habit formation and reveals practical strategies for making good habits and breaking bad ones. This easy-to-understand guide makes a great read for those looking to peek into their psychology and learn why they do the things they do.
“From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life” by Arthur C. Brooks, 2022
At the height of his career at the age of 50, Arthur Brooks embarked on a seven-year journey to discover how to transform his future from one of disappointment over waning abilities into an opportunity for progress. Brooks shares his knowledge in his book “From Strength to Strength,” wanting others to take the road map to find purpose and prosperity. With dozens of interviews from men and women in everyday wisdom, Brooks tries to refocus the priorities and habits that anyone can learn – no matter the age.
“You, Happier: The 7 Neuroscience Secrets of Feeling Good Based on Your Brain Type” by Daniel G. Amen, 2022
Happiness comes from the brain, it’s a scientific chemical that can be controlled —
given patience and time. For those looking to achieve non-stressful, consistent happiness, this Amen’s book, “You, Happier,” aims to increase the control of your happiness in just a month. Amen studied the brain scans of people in over 155 countries, then decoded the brain. In just 343 pages, Amen teaches the readers strategies to influence happiness in our everyday lives – ensure to boost your mood and enlighten your goals.
“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change” by Stephen R. Covey, 2020
Effectiveness is something everyone hopes to achieve, whether it be at home or at work. In Covey’s book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” readers are taken through outlines to produce manageable and productive habits to increase the productivity of their lives. While on the longer side of 391 pages, Covey walks his readers through the principles of productivity, as well as the importance behind each lesson. This book could be helpful for those struggling to produce your best, consistently.
All of these titles are available for checkout at any of the libraries in the Wichita area. If none of the books mentioned above interest you, the libraries offer 1,294 more self-help books spread out through their locations, including audio/sound books and CDs. They include psychology, technique, habit forming, health, confidence, success, interpersonal relations, and more. You can request a book through their online site by selecting the book and clicking the “Request It” button on the left side of the screen.
Shaylee Gibbs, a student at Sterling College, is an intern for the Wichita Journalism Collaborative this semester.