Author: 5pints

Bibliotherapy: Self-Help Books Can Really Improve Your Mental Health


While people may feel embarrassed getting caught in the “self help” section of a library or book store, the truth is there are a lot of valuable books out there that can make a real difference.

Bibliotherapy is the practice of reading self-help books to change your habits and improve your mental health, including reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.

One of the most popular self-help books to date is the classic Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy published by David D. Burns in 1980, which is known for popularizing many early techniques in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.

According to one study published in the British Journal of General Practice (which analyzed 11 different experiments), participants who read CBT-based books such as Feeling Good showed a reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as an increase in overall quality of life.

Psychologists suggest that assigned readings can be a useful low-cost supplementary treatment in addition to therapy or medication for those diagnosed with depression or anxiety disorders.

The best self-help books often come with worksheets and exercises so people can take what they learn and apply it in a practical way. Following through with these exercises is an important factor when getting the most out of these books.

In the study mentioned above, researchers identified several books that are often recommended by professionals, including:

  • Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns
  • Managing Anxiety and Depression by Nicholas Holdsworth
  • Mind Over Mood by Dennis Greenberger
  • Overcoming Depression and Low Mood: A Five Areas Approach by Chris Williams

Most of these have similar content – cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques designed to treat depression and anxiety – they are just presented in different ways. The only one I’ve read is Feeling Good, which I definitely recommend checking out.

While most effective self-help books seem to focus on CBT, there are definitely other options as well. One pilot study compared a CBT self-help book to the book Positive Psychology for Overcoming Depression by Miriam Akhtar and found similar results for both approaches.

Another preliminary study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology found that a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction workbook significant decreased measures of depression, anxiety, and stress, as well as a pilot study that found positive results with the book Worry Less, Live More: The Mindful Way through Anxiety by Susan M. Orsillo.

There’s still a lot more research to be done when it comes to bibliotherapy, but it definitely has promise.

Of course you can’t do a study on every single self-help book that comes out, but in general ones that are science-based, action-oriented, and recommended by experts are good places to start.

As someone who has been engaged in self-help for over a decade, I’ve easily read over 100 self-help books total. Admittedly, not all of them are that good, but I certainly believe in the power of bibliotherapy in my own life.

Much of the writings on this site are based on education through books. For example, over the past few years I’ve written articles based on the books Flow, The Body Keeps The Score, Crucial Conversations, I’m OK – You’re OK, Games People Play, Attached, Supernormal Stimuli, and The Power of Meaning. With each of these books, I’ve taken away valuable information that I’ve applied to my daily life.

About 50% of everything I know has been through reading – including books, articles, and studies – and the other half is through experience and practice. I consider educational books and scientific studies to be the very foundation of the information pyramid (it’s certainly better than getting all your knowledge through social media and memes).

It’s important to talk to mental health professionals when you really need them, but I’ve always been someone who was more likely to end up in a library than a therapist’s office.

That’s just a part of my independent personality, but it’s also a weakness. In general, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it – sometimes a meaningful conversation with a therapist or coach is worth more than a hundred books.

Bibliotherapy shouldn’t be seen as a replacement for professional help, it’s just one tool of many to help us change and grow.

While people may feel embarrassed getting caught in the “self help” section of a library or book store, the truth is there are a lot of valuable books out there that can make a real difference. The key is finding the right books for you.

At the same time, it’s worth noting that there are some people that seem to become addicted to reading a lot of self-help books – but never applying them or making any real-world changes.

I’ve definitely been an information junkie in the past, jumping from book to book but not taking the time to absorb what I read and find a way to integrate it into my life. It’s important to remind yourself that there’s always a balance between learning and action.

The person that reads one self-help book and applies it is further than the person who reads a hundred self-help books but never changes anything or tries anything new.

One guideline to follow: For every self-help book you read, make sure you apply at least ONE thing from it into your daily life.

Or at least try one thing, even if it ends up not working out. You have to experiment sometimes before you find what really works for you personally.

Different advice works for different people. A self-help book that completely changed one person’s life may not do anything for you.

Ultimately, no matter what type of self-help book you read, take what works and leave what doesn’t work.

Stay updated on new articles and resources in psychology and self improvement:

The post Bibliotherapy: Self-Help Books Can Really Improve Your Mental Health appeared first on The Emotion Machine.

The Mask of Hypocrisy



I have a basic principle in life: to speak the truth, and embody the truth that I’m speaking. And yet, sometimes I’m called a hypocrite.

When I write about ending the ongoing pillage of the Earth, some people call me a hypocrite because I use a smartphone and a computer. When I write about ending world hunger, some people call me a hypocrite because I don’t donate most of my money and possessions to the poor. When I write about ending racism or sexism, some people call me a hypocrite because I do it from the position of a privileged white male.

Such claims don’t affect me, for I know in my heart that I want to see the end of all the above, and that I do what I feel is right for helping to achieve that. But I find a serious problem with the dismissing attitude behind those claims, which is that it’s not only discouraging social change, but it’s also myopic in its understanding of the nature, complexity and depth of the crises that we as a civilization are faced with.

As I’ve written time and time again, we’re all immersed in a sick culture with toxic values, institutions and systems. And, whether we admit it or not, everyone is (more or less) bound to this culture, and hence to its sickness. For example, in this culture, to some extent we all need to be competitive and destructive. Would you call someone a hypocrite for wanting peace and unity, yet who’s participating in our global economy, which is inherently anti-social? Would you call someone a hypocrite for being against environmental pollution, yet who’s commuting to his working place nearly every day using an automobile? Lastly, would you call someone a hypocrite for advocating against sexism and racism, yet who’s working in a sweatshop run by a corporation which profits from the mass exploitation of women and people of color?

Back in 2012, I was in search of a job, and after much effort, the only job I could land was that of a video editor for a corporate TV channel. Part of my job was to edit commercials, as well as videos that would play in the news. I hated that job, for I despised both manipulative advertising and the propaganda machine that the mainstream TV is. Yet, I had to somehow earn a living, and couldn’t find a better alternative at the time. Many of my colleagues were in a similar situation. Does that mean we were hypocrites, who secretly wanted to support corporate television?

If the above are examples of hypocrisy, then every activist, social critic or anti-establishment individual is a hypocrite, simply because of being those things! But when the word “hypocrite” is used in this manner, its meaning becomes distorted, muddening the waters of communication. To clear them, it would be helpful to remind ourselves of its meaning, as well as its origin. According to Merriam-Webster,

“The word hypocrite ultimately came into English from the Greek word hypokrites, which means “an actor” or “a stage player.” The Greek word itself is a compound noun: it’s made up of two Greek words that literally translate as “an interpreter from underneath.” That bizarre compound makes more sense when you know that the actors in ancient Greek theater wore large masks to mark which character they were playing, and so they interpreted the story from underneath their masks.

The Greek word took on an extended meaning to refer to any person who was wearing a figurative mask and pretending to be someone or something they were not. This sense was taken into medieval French and then into English, where it showed up with its earlier spelling, ypocrite, in 13th-century religious texts to refer to someone who pretends to be morally good or pious in order to deceive others. (Hypocrite gained its initial h- by the 16th century.)”

A hypocrite, therefore, is someone phoney, someone who’s wearing a personality mask to show off a fake image of themselves. And there are certainly plenty of people among us who act like that. In fact, I’d argue that we all act hypocritically at times (myself included, despite my basic life principle of life that I mentioned in the first paragraph of this article), for occasionally we all hide ourselves under the veil of pretence.

If we want to live in an open, honest and high-trust society, it’s important to point hypocrisy out as soon as we detect it — especially when it comes from those sitting in positions of political power — for openness, honesty and trust never go hand-in-hand with lying and deception. Before doing so, however, we need to be extra careful to discern hypocritical behavior from non-hypocritical one. Otherwise, we’d be making the mistake of blaming honest people for being dishonest. If, let’s say, we call someone a hypocrite merely for engaging in the toxic system/society/culture that they want to change (as in the examples I gave above), this would not only be a mischaracterization of who they are (for they have to engage in it, at least in part), but also counterproductive to their efforts. Such people need social acceptance, encouragement and support to be effective agents of change, not to feel blamed and shamed for not being able to do better.

Once we’ve detected someone’s hypocritical behavior and feel the urge to point it out to them or others, it’s important to be clear about what our intentions are. Do they come from a place of love and compassion, or judgment and blame? People who’re chronic hypocrites are for the most part deeply hurt individuals who’ve learned to navigate through life by constant use of lies and deception. Hypocrisy is an emotional defense mechanism they have adopted to protect themselves from experiencing further pain. Think of the times you’ve been dishonest or pretentious in your life. I bet in most cases you felt afraid, right? Behind our hypocrisy usually lies a great fear: the fear of vulnerability. When we open ourselves up to others and let them see our true colors, we become vulnerable, for we expose our weaknesses (along with our strengths), which others might ridicule, condemn or use against us. If, therefore, we want to see people being more honest, we need to create a space of trust, love and care — a space that makes them feel embraced with their flaws and imperfections, even while we’re pointing out their hypocrisy. Otherwise, we run the risk of achieving the opposite of what we want: causing more fear within them, and thus intensifying their emotional need to stay hidden behind the mask of hypocrisy.

Now, you might argue that not everyone pretends out of fear; there are some people who do so in order to gain social status, financial wealth, political dominance and so on, and who therefore deserve neither our love nor our compassion. Rather, they deserve our hate and contempt. They are people who should be shamed and punished! A popular example of such people is politicians (when you hear of the word hypocrite, what comes first to your mind? To mine, it’s always politicians). In this case, I’d say that politicians pretend mainly out of fear too: the fear of being small, insignificant, insecure, powerless. For why else would they strive to gain so much fame, money and power? It’s because of a dreadening emotional void that they are trying to fill, not realizing that they are using the wrong means. (Of course, not every politician has such aims — there are a few ones who don’t, and prioritize the well-being of the world over the satisfaction of their ego, but that’s not the general case.)

To better understand hypocrisy, we also need to look into the social conditions that give rise to it. Otherwise, we might try to deal with it on a symptoms-level, without addressing its root causes. For instance, we might fight against politicians in order to remove them from their positions of power, only to soon see others ones taking their place. What if the entire political game as we know today is based on hypocrisy? What if it incentivizes hypocrisy and rewards those who are best at being hypocrites? If that’s the case (which is, for obvious reasons that I won’t bother mentioning), then hypocritical politicians are just a natural outgrowth of a hypocritical political system. The same logic can be applied to all the other systems and institutions that exist in our society. Take the economic system, for example, wherein the businesses that are better at deception (through advertising and other means) earn the highest profits. Or take the school system, where students are coerced to act in certain ways in order to be rewarded — and not punished — by grades.

Hell, our entire civilization is built on a hypocrisy — the hypocrisy of so-called progress. We see ourselves as the masters of nature, who, through technology and culture, have managed to rise above and beyond the rest of life. We think of ourselves as the most benign and intelligent species on Earth (we’ve even named ourselves, Homo Sapiens, the wise man!), yet no other species is nearly as competitive, acquisitive, and violent as ourselves. But we don’t want to hear this truth, lest it disturbs our comforting illusions. So, we suppress it deep within the unconscious of our collective psyche. As a result, we raise our children in the hypocrisy we call normalcy, thus perpetuating our belief in our superiority.

To some extent, we were all conditioned as children to behave in certain ways in order to be considered “good” boys and girls, to be accepted and validated by our culture, to become “civilized.” Which brings me to the last point that I want to make: Often, we’re too quick to point fingers at the hypocrites around us, to blame them, to accuse them, to judge them, and perhaps the reason for doing so is to distract ourselves from our own hypocrisy that we are not willing to admit. As it’s usually the case, instead of facing our inner demons, we project them on other people, who then become our external enemies. That makes us feel relieved, at least temporarily, for it pulls our attention away from the “enemy” within.

The hypocrisy that we experience in the outside world is nothing but the expression and reflection of the collective hypocrisy we’re immersed in. Therefore, to effectively deal with it, we need to look inside us and heal it from its very source. At the same time, we need to create space for others to heal too, as well as to redesign our social structures so that they don’t systemically produce hypocrisy, as they are doing today. Then, we won’t cling on to our masks anymore. Rather, we’ll want to remove them from our faces, and expose our naked selves under the radiating sun — the sun of truth and honesty. And then, after a long long time, the warm presence of trust, intimacy, love and belonging will at last be felt again.

Accomplishment Quotes for Ambition, Success and Achievement

Accomplishment Quotes


We all want success. Some, accomplish great things, while other accomplish less spectacular success. Some, hardly achieve anything.

Success is not only more money, a position and status. Success can also manifest as good, health, happiness and good relationships. It can manifest in sports, literature and meditation, not just in business.

Feeling happy and satisfied, having love and health, and earning enough to pay the bill and save something is also success. Though people might daydream of bigger things, this is what most people aspire to, and that’s fine and good.

Ambitions do not necessarily have to be big. We all have ambitions related to our everyday life, such as getting good grades at college, getting a promotion at work, finding love, buying a new car, or moving to a new house in a new neighborhood.

To accomplish our ambitions and get what we want we need motivation. a positive mindset and perseverance. We also need to truly believe that we can get what we want.

Reading quotes about motivation, success and accomplishment, thinking about them and letting the words seep into the mind can impact one’s attitude and behavior. That’s one of the reasons why we love quotes.

Here you can find quotes about accomplishment, motivation and ambition.

Read the accomplishment quotes attentively and often, so that they impact your mind and affect your subconscious mind. Think about them, and apply their advice in your everyday life.

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Quotes about Accomplishment and Ambition

Accomplishment and ambition for improving your life and making positive changes.

“Reading stories about successful people prepares your mind to attract the same success into your life, provided you have strong ambition, and are willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.”

“The trick to being successful is closing your ears to the negative talk of other people.”

“Never allow anyone discourage or belittle you.”

“Everyone has the right to be successful, including you.”

“A weak ambition does not supply the energy for big achievements. Strong ambition supply the fuel for big success.”

“Do more than you can. Go the extra mile by doing, striving and persevering more. This would create greater results.”

“If you fail, learn what you need to improve and try again. Do not give in to failure. Keep your ambition alive.”

“If your ambition is strong, obstacles and difficulties will not discourage you.”

“Let go of your negative thoughts, by replacing them with positive thoughts. This will keep your mind positive and strong.”

“If you earnestly want success, and have enough ambition, you will eventually get it.”

High Road to Success


“Always imagine yourself walking on the high road leading to the land of success.”

“Nothing can stop you if you have hope, ambition and belief in yourself.”

“Whatever other people achieve, you can achieve too. Whatever others do, you can do too.”

“Small daily achievements bring happiness and satisfaction, and the confidence that you can do greater things.”

“In what way are successful people different from other people? Thy have more drive, more enthusiasm and more commitment. And they never give up. With dedication and discipline, you too can develop these traits of character.”

“A focused mind is like a big torch that lights your path on your way to achievement. The more you focus on your aim, and let nothing distract you, the faster your reach your destination.”

“Expecting to have the goods things of life attracts them into your life. If you feel that you do not deserve them, you will always keep them away.”

“Everyday, upon waking up in the morning, tell yourself that today is going to be a wonderful day.”

“Everyday, tell yourself, ‘I always focus on what I want, not on what I do not want.’”

“Being truly happy in the happiness of other people, and happy for their accomplishments, can attract similar opportunities into your life.”

“It might be tough to keep your intent, your objective, and your hope in the face of adversity. However, if you do, eventually, you will taste the sweet taste of accomplishment and achievement.”

“Always focus your attention on hope, positive thoughts, and on positive expectations, not on your fears and worries. Eventually, you will teach your mind to be positive, and this would set the law of attraction into action.”

“Learn from your mistakes, but do not dwell on them. Examine them, and then move on”

“A strong desire means a strong ambition, and this would lead to motivation, to action, and to results.”

“Today is the best day to start anything you want to do. You do not have to wait for the right time or the right circumstances.”

“To inspire and motivate yourself, keep some inspirational quotes on a slip of paper in your pocket or on your phone. Whenever you feel the need to strengthen your ambition or motivation, read a few.”

Accomplishment and Taking Action Quotes

Accomplishment quotes to inspire you to take action.

“Don’t brood and don’t be passive in small things and big things.”

“Do what you love today, not tomorrow, next week or next month.”

“Don’t wait, act now.”

“Making a decision and taking action is the way to create positive changes in your life.”

“If you want a change you need to make, not wait for it to happen.”

“Taking action and trying, even if you make mistakes, is better than staying passive.”

“Obstacles and difficulties might always appear, but with a positive and creative mind you can get over them.”

“Always do your best at the moment and don’t worry about the results.”

“Always do a little more before you decide to quit, since success might be close, and you need to take just one more step.”

“Laziness might lead to stagnation and non-accomplishment. Make a decision right now to take action and overcome laziness.”

“Your comfort zone is made of the ropes that tie you to where you are. If you wish to progress you need to untie these ropes.”

Ambition Motivational and Accomplishment Quotes

“Wishful thinking is not enough to progress in life. You also need strong ambition and strong desire.”

“If someone tells you that something is impossible, this does not mean that it is impossible for you.”

“A persistent strong desire pushes your goal into manifestation.”

“Every accomplishment increases your ambition and your belief that you can do greater things.”

“If your ambition is strong, obstacles and difficulties will not discourage you.”

“Nothing can stop you if you have hope, ambition and belief in yourself.”

“Motivation, backed by good planning and correct action leads to success.”

“Ambition is the power behind every achievement, big and small.”

“Motivation awakens when we want something very much and are willing to do whatever it takes to get it.”

“For some, ambition and accomplishment mean building a successful business or becoming famous. For others, it is climbing a high mountain or winning a medal in sports. Others find satisfaction in helping people and being loved.”

Please share these accomplishment quotes with your friend, but please also mention the their source (address of this web page).

Quotes Directory >>  Accomplishment Quotes

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Listen Again: Through The Looking Glass

Original broadcast date: Friday, March 19, 2021. Our senses can only take us so far in understanding the world. But with the right tools, we can dig deeper. This hour, TED speakers take us through the looking glass, where we explore new frontiers. Guests include astrophysicist Emily Levesque, wildlife filmmaker Ariel Waldman, psychedelic-assisted psychotherapist Rick Doblin, and science fiction author Charlie Jane Anders.