5 Self-Development Books That Changed My Life For The Better

Thankfully, I think that the stigma that there was around reading self-development books is fading. More so because of the wealth of different kinds of people, from all kinds of backgrounds, and with a variety of experiences, sharing what they’ve learnt, being so prevalent right now. This has lead to thousands of self-development books on so many different topics.

I also think that, even if it isn’t necessarily a strictly conscious feeling, we all want to feel better on some level. Reading about other people who’ve made their lives better inspires us. We know that better is out there, we just have to be willing to see situations, and ourselves, from a different perspective.

Books stacked up to show the post is about books
Image from Unsplash

So what are the best self-development books and where do you start I hear you ask?

I’m a strong believer that the book that you ‘need’ most will present itself at the right time for you. There’s some books (a couple of them are on this list) that I started reading and couldn’t get in to simply because in hindsight I can see they weren’t right for me at the time. I kept them knowing that I would be able to benefit from their wisdom in future.

Basically, the message I want to get across is that don’t give up on self-development if a book isn’t right for you. Try a different one instead and come back to it when the time feels more fitting.

1. The Universe Has Your Back – Gabrielle Bernstein

Read it if you’re struggling with feeling abundant.

Image to portray the idea of spirituality
Image from Unsplash

‘The more joyful we are, the more light we shine on the world, the more power we have to express our presence, and the more positive energy we put out’

I’ll be honest, I’ve probably started this book about 3 times, but never finished it any of those times, simply because I couldn’t get into it. As I’ve already said, I definitely think that the book you need to learn from the most will fall into your hands when the time is right.

I’m reading this book at the moment for that very reason; it just feels right. Gabrielle is an author and international speaker, and is all about transforming fear into faith. Faith in the Universe to be exact.

A word of warning; due to the spiritual nature of this book, you’ll probably only take something from it if you’re open to that kind of thing. Through the universal lessons that she shares, it can help us relinquish our need for control and relax into a sense of certainty and freedom. This is definitely something I’ve needed recently.

Image of a book
Image from Unsplash

Covid-19 has brought with in so much uncertainty on so many levels, and given that I’m currently facing redundancy, I knew that I needed to loosen my grip if I wanted to feel less anxious.

At the moment I’m getting so much benefit from the meditation and affirmation based exercises in the book. When I come away from the meditations I feel like I’m tingling all over and so much lighter; most likely because I’ve raised my positive energy. It’s the tonic I’ve needed to maintain a positive mindset as I move forward into a different chapter post lock down.

2. Rising Strong – Brene Brown

Read it if you’re finding it hard to overcome past struggles.

Image to show a person feeling strong or empowered
Image from Unsplash

‘If we’re brave enough often enough, we will fall; this is the physics of vulnerability’

I finished this book earlier this year, and it’s another one that when I tried reading it before, I could never get into it. The reason why I gave it another go was because I knew that I still had some resentful feelings lingering towards my my ex-husband.

If you’ve not heard of Brene before, her TED talk on the power of vulnerability is one of the most watched TED talks of all time. She’s spent years researching vulnerability and being brave, and shares what she’s learnt, as well as her personal stories in her books, including this one.

Rising Strong presents a powerful process to rise from falls, overcome mistakes and face hurt in a way that brings more wisdom and meaning into your life.

Image of a bookshelf as the post is about books
Image from Unsplash

I found the most useful part of this process what she’s called ‘the rumble’. This is the part where you do the work; facing up to all the uncomfortable and difficult emotions you feel as a result of falling, as well as the mindset that got you there in the first place.

If would perhaps be hypocritical when writing about vulnerability Brene isn’t vulnerable herself, and I enjoyed the fact that she shared so much of her personal experiences in the book; it made it that much more relatable. I especially like the lake swim story that she circles back to.

I gained a much kinder perspective towards myself from reading this book, and it’s for that reason that I’ve recommended it several times, and even bought it for my friends.

3. The Goddess Revolution – Mel Wells

Read it if you want to repair your relationship with your body and food.

Image to portray the idea of a goddess
Image from Unsplash

‘The scales will tell you the numerical value of your effect on gravity. They will not tell you how beautiful you are, how loved you are, or how amazing you are’

As I’ve already gone into more detail of in an earlier post there was a point a few years ago when my marriage was breaking down that my eating became disordered. It’s taken quite a long time to heal my relationship with food and how I view my body, and it’s something that I do still have to check in with from time to time.

This book, as well as her second book, Hungry for More, has really helped me. If you’ve ever struggled with diets, food, body image or your weight, then The Goddess Revolution is for you too.

Mel’s face is on the back cover, and you might recognise her, as she used to be in Hollyoaks in the early 2000s. She used to be a model too, and had an unhealthy relationship with food and her body image for years. In the book she shares techniques that she’s used herself to transform our relationship with food, and have healthy, satisfying, guilt-free relationship with our bodies.

Image of books stacked up
Image from Unsplash

I think this book is a breath of fresh air in a society that is still very much focused on fitness and reaching that ‘goal weight’. A society that basically shames women into feeling inadequate. Mel is so honest with the way she writes; sharing her own experiences with openness, kindness and passion. You can tell it’s something she really cares about.

Since reading her books, I can 100% say that I am so much more comfortable around food. I’ve stepped out of the guilt/shame cycle and now trust my instincts with what I put in my body, knowing that I’m nourishing it in a way that feels right for me, and maintains the natural weight that I’m meant to be at, rather than what society deems to be acceptable.

4. The Miracle Morning – Hal Elrod

Read it if you’re wanting to create a set of habits that will benefit your mental well-being.

Image to show what the start of a day typically looks like
Image from Unsplash

‘In order for you to stop settling for what you deserve….you must first dedicate time each day to becoming the person you need to be’

I’m not usually a fan of the direct, ‘get your act together’ type of self-development books as in the past they’ve tended to trigger limiting belief that I still have that I’m not good enough.

I managed to see past the writing style with this book though, as I could really see the benefits of the method that Hal shares. He calls them 6 life S.A.V.E.R.S, and by doing them each and every morning, it will take you that bit closer each day to what you want to achieve.

S = silence (or meditation)

A = affirmations

V = visualisation

E = exercise

R = reading

S = scribing (or writing)

Although over the years the time I’ve spent on each of these activities have varied, having them in my morning routine every day has really helped me to face the day with a more positive mindset, no matter what’s been going on in my life.

5. What I Know For Sure – Oprah Winfrey

Read it if you’re a fan of self-reflection.

Image of a person inviting you to dance
Image from Unsplash

‘And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance’

This book is just so beautifully written; it’s one of the ones that I keep on going back to, especially if I’ve going through a period of feeling a little bit lost.

The book is a collection of all the best bits from the column that Oprah has in O magazine. It’s a delightful mix of personal anecdotes and life lessons that make you feel warm and fuzzy, and for me have often sparked bigger light bulb moments.

The sections in the book cover the big self reflective topics of joy, resilience, connection, gratitude, possibility, awe, clarity, and power. I flicked back through the book before I wrote this post, and literally every other page is turned over because I’ve taken something from the words written on it.

Every bit of wisdom that Oprah shares encourages you to lean into the messiness of life and embrace the lessons that it teaches you. It’s for that reason that I dip back in and out of it at least a couple of times a year; through her words I’m reminded that things will only change if I change the way I look at them.

Have you read any of these books? What self-development book has had the most impact on you?

Featured image from Unsplash

You may also like: 5 Powerful Affirmations To Increase Your Positivity

Follow The Yorkshire Bird on Bloglovin

Pin It:

Image to be used for a Pinterest pin