The best books to decrease the mind funk of depression

Who am I?

In the past, I had written a few books about running ultramarathons. After being diagnosed with a chronic health condition, the sport I felt so much passion about began to slip away. I noticed myself falling into depression. Even though I’ve worked as a social worker for nearly 20 years, there was so much about depression that I didn’t completely understand until I experienced it myself. My path toward healing became the storyline for my book Stronger Than the Dark, and increased my desire to advocate for the importance of mental health.

I wrote...

Stronger Than the Dark: Exploring the Intimate Relationship Between Running and Depression

By Cory Reese,

Book cover of Stronger Than the Dark: Exploring the Intimate Relationship Between Running and Depression

What is my book about?

In his gripping memoir, Cory Reese offers a compelling and vulnerable insight into the pervasive destruction of depression. Drawing on lessons learned over a decade of ultramarathon running, Stronger Than the Dark offers a powerful new approach in the battle against depression: the willingness to embrace suffering.

In a moment of physical and mental crisis during a 314-mile race across Tennessee, he realizes with clarity life’s ultimate purpose. We are here to endure. We are here to help others turn pain into peace. We are here to be a beacon of kindness and compassion. Cory’s beautifully broken path of healing speaks to anyone feeling lost in insecurity or despair, and gives hope that even in life’s darkest moments, we can find the light.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

Why did I love this book?

The Untethered Soul completely opened my eyes to the fact that I am not my thoughts. I love the author’s insight about how our minds are like an annoying roommate that often refuses to shut up. He provides a brief, simple framework for how we can take control of our negative self-talk, and choose happiness.

By Michael A. Singer,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked The Untethered Soul as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Who are you? When you start to explore this question, you find out how elusive it really is. Are you a physical body? A collection of experiences and memories? A partner to relationships? Each time you consider aspects of yourself, you realize that there is much more to you than any of these can define. In this book, spiritual teacher Michael Singer explores the question of who we are and arrives at the conclusion that our identity is to be found in our consciousness, the fact of our ability to observe ourselves and the world around us. By tapping into…

Book cover of The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

Why did I love this book?

This book was such a great reminder for me that ruminating about the past can keep us stuck in depression, and obsessing about the future is an easy trigger for anxiety. He reminds us that the magic lies in being present at this very moment. My biggest takeaway from the book was to notice when I start feeling depression or anxiety, and ask myself “What problem do I have RIGHT NOW?” Usually, the answer is far less than what my mind has fixated on from the past or future.

By Eckhart Tolle,

Why should I read it?

21 authors picked The Power of Now as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


The international bestselling spiritual book, now with a new look for its 20th anniversary. Eckhart Tolle demonstrates how to live a healthier, happier, mindful life by living in the present moment.


'I keep Eckhart's book at my bedside. I think it's essential spiritual teaching. It's one of the most valuable books I've ever read.' Oprah Winfrey

To make the journey into The Power of Now we will need to leave our analytical mind and its false created self, the ego, behind. Although the journey is challenging, Eckhart…

Book cover of Reasons to Stay Alive

Why did I love this book?

Haig pulls back the curtain and paints a powerful picture of what depression looks like and feels like. His writing is infused with raw vulnerability, and gives voice to what so many people all around us are experiencing. He shows that even when we’re feeling lost in the darkness of depression, we can make it back to the light.

By Matt Haig,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Reasons to Stay Alive as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?



Aged 24, Matt Haig's world caved in. He could see no way to go on living. This is the true story of how he came through crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again.

A moving, funny and joyous exploration of how to live better, love better and feel more alive, Reasons to Stay Alive is more than a memoir. It is a book about making the most of your time on earth.

'I wrote this book because the oldest…

Book cover of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions

Why did I love this book?

I happened to listen to The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion around the time that I first started seeing a therapist. So much of the coaching from my therapist was mirrored by the messages in Germer’s book. He provides specific tools we can use to increase self-love, including an emphasis on the value of meditation. 

By Christopher Germer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Buck up." "Stop feeling sorry for yourself." "Don't ruin everything." When you are anxious, sad, angry, or lonely, do you hear this self-critical voice? What would happen if, instead of fighting difficult emotions, we accepted them? Over his decades of experience as a therapist and mindfulness meditation practitioner, Dr. Christopher Germer has learned a paradoxical lesson: We all want to avoid pain, but letting it in--and responding compassionately to our own imperfections, without judgment or self-blame--are essential steps on the path to healing. This wise and eloquent book illuminates the power of self-compassion and offers creative, scientifically grounded strategies for…

Book cover of The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

Why did I love this book?

This book is full of fascinating science, research, and specific experiences about how the way we think impacts the way we feel. But it is so much more than a clinical textbook. Bessel van der Kolk provides a deeper understanding of trauma, as well as practical ideas for how to work through the effects of the trauma we have experienced.

By Bessel Van Der Kolk,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Body Keeps the Score as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 New York Times bestseller

"Essential reading for anyone interested in understanding and treating traumatic stress and the scope of its impact on society." -Alexander McFarlane, Director of the Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies

A pioneering researcher transforms our understanding of trauma and offers a bold new paradigm for healing in this New York Times bestseller

Trauma is a fact of life. Veterans and their families deal with the painful aftermath of combat; one in five Americans has been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence. Dr. Bessel van der…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in mindfulness, PTSD, and Buddhism?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about mindfulness, PTSD, and Buddhism.

Mindfulness Explore 92 books about mindfulness
PTSD Explore 87 books about PTSD
Buddhism Explore 259 books about Buddhism