The most recommended books about stress

Who picked these books? Meet our 20 experts.

20 authors created a book list connected to stress, and here are their favorite stress books.
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What type of stress book?


When the Body Says No

By Gabor Maté,

Book cover of When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress

Laura K. Connell Author Of It's Not Your Fault: The Subconscious Reasons We Self-Sabotage and How to Stop

From the list on healing childhood trauma and self-sabotage.

Who am I?

I grew up in a home with severe emotional abuse and neglect. Scoring 6 on the ACEs (adverse childhood events) test became a wake-up call; according to the test, my life span had been shortened by 20 years and I was determined to get them back. I stopped protecting my abusive family and got honest about what I had been through. This drew an audience who said I helped them feel seen and heard (and they did the same for me). I’ve spent the last decade on a healing journey from addiction and self-sabotage, the culmination of which is my new book and trauma-informed coaching practice that transforms lives.

Laura's book list on healing childhood trauma and self-sabotage

Why did Laura love this book?

In this book, a medical doctor makes the connection between suppressed emotions, especially anger and rage, and disease in the body.

When we live inauthentic lives, our bodies manifest this self-abandonment through auto-immune issues (literally the body turning against itself). He notes that women especially have the tendency to abandon themselves to serve others which creates repressed resentments that come out as disease in the body. It helped explain my painful bout with shingles which became a turning point for me in committing to living for myself instead of others.

By Gabor Maté,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked When the Body Says No as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Can a person literally die of loneliness? Is there a connection between the ability to express emotions and Alzheimer's disease? Is there such a thing as a 'cancer personality'?

Drawing on deep scientific research and Dr Gabor Mate's acclaimed clinical work, When the Body Says No provides the answers to critical questions about the mind-body link - and the role that stress and our emotional makeup play in an array of common diseases.

When the Body Says No:

- Explores the role of the mind-body link in conditions and diseases such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, irritable bowel syndrome…


By Michelle M. Weil, Larry D. Rosen,

Book cover of TechnoStress: Coping with Technology @Work @Home @Play

Jeff Davidson Author Of Breathing Space: Living and Working at a Comfortable Pace in a Sped-Up Society

From the list on to help you have more breathing space.

Who am I?

I hold the registered trademark as "The Work-Life Balance Expert®," and work with organizations that seek to enhance their productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. I've spoken to Fortune 50 companies such as IBM, Cardinal Health Group, Lockheed, American Express, the IRS, Wells Fargo, and Westinghouse. My books have been published in 19 languages and have been featured in 68 of the top 75 American newspapers, as well as Time Magazine and the Wall Street Journal. At heart, I'm a simpler living advocate. I believe in giving back to his community and am an active volunteer for Art Space in downtown Raleigh, and the North Carolina Museum of Art.

Jeff's book list on to help you have more breathing space

Why did Jeff love this book?

I like this book because the authors have unearthed powerful insights. In one Reuters study, they say, of slightly more than 1,300 business managers in Europe, the U.S., Southeast Asia, and Australia, 33% of managers were suffering ill health as a direct result of information overload. Nearly two-thirds reported that tension with colleagues and diminished job satisfaction were directly related to the stress of information overload. A majority also admitted that their social and personal relationships have suffered as a result of the stress of having to cope with too much information. That kind of information puts in perspective what so many career professionals experience all too often.

The book delves into territory to which we can all relate, citing, for example, that many managers feel increasing technology leads to loss of privacy, information inundation, and erosion of face-to-face contact. And who among us is happy to have to continually…

By Michelle M. Weil, Larry D. Rosen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked TechnoStress as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Are you Cyberphobic? Techno-crazed? If so, you're not alone . . .

"If all the hype about the Information Superhighway makes you want to take the next exit off it, you may be one of a growing subpopulation —people who are cyberphobic." —Los Angeles Times

"Technology has taken over, and there is only one way to stop it: take back control of your own life. Follow the suggestions in this book, and banish the TechnoStress from your life." —Donald A. Norman, Ph.D. Senior Technical Advisor, Hewlett-Packard author of Things That Make Us Smart

Nationally acclaimed Technotherapists Michelle Weil and Larry…

Full Catastrophe Living

By Jon Kabat-Zinn,

Book cover of Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness

Regina Leeds Author Of One Year to an Organized Life: From Your Closets to Your Finances, the Week by Week Guide to Getting Completely Organized for Good

From the list on to live a conscious and directed life.

Who am I?

I am known as The Zen Organizer and the author of 10 books on organizing. I’ve been working one-on-one with clients for over 30 years. I grew up in Brooklyn and now make Los Angeles my home. We tend to see our lives in unrelated compartments. I grew up with organized parents. As an adult I began to study the body from nutrition to movement. I opened myself to therapy initially to be a better actress. All of these interests dovetailed in the world of organizing and I found my life’s purpose. Zen Organizing creates a physical environment that nurtures you as you find and fulfill your Life Purpose.

Regina's book list on to live a conscious and directed life

Why did Regina love this book?

Full Catastrophe Living (Revised Edition): Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness is a wonderful primer on Mindfulness by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD with a Preface by famed Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. This wonderful book shows how to use ancient modalities like breathwork and Mindfulness to heal the stresses and illnesses of the modern world. It removes the fear some may have that these are meaningless or rooted in superstition or that performing them is somehow in violation of the religion you practice. Dr. Kabat-Zinn anchors the practices in science. This book informed so much of what I added to my work as an organizer.  

By Jon Kabat-Zinn,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Full Catastrophe Living as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The landmark work on mindfulness, meditation, and healing, now revised and updated after twenty-five years
Stress. It can sap our energy, undermine  our health if we let it, even shorten our lives. It makes us more vulnerable to anxiety and depression, disconnection and disease. Based on Jon Kabat-Zinn’s renowned mindfulness-based stress reduction program, this classic, groundbreaking work—which gave rise to a whole new field in medicine and psychology—shows you how to use medically proven mind-body approaches derived from meditation and yoga to counteract stress, establish greater balance of body and mind, and stimulate well-being and healing. By engaging in these…

All the Dangerous Things

By Stacy Willingham,

Book cover of All the Dangerous Things

Kate Robards Author Of The Three Deaths Of Willa Stannard

From the list on missing children.

Who am I?

A missing child is every parent’s worst nightmare. Emotionally driven, tense, full of despair and hope, these stories captivate me. When I decided to include a cold case mystery of a toddler’s disappearance in my debut novel, I dove deep into both true crime and fictional novels on the subject. These books represent a range of gripping mysteries about not only finding missing children, but the scrutiny and heartache their mothers face. I hope you find these stories as absorbing, powerful, and suspenseful as I do!

Kate's book list on missing children

Why did Kate love this book?

Tense and twisty, All the Dangerous Things is psychological suspense at its finest.

It alternates between the past and present, letting dual mysteries unfold. Both storylines are equally interesting and surprising. I was surprised at nearly every turn, and despite my best efforts, unable to predict how either storyline would unfold.

What I really enjoyed is that it would have been easy to dislike the main character, but by learning her backstory in alternating chapters, I grew more invested in this complicated character as the story went on.

By Stacy Willingham,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked All the Dangerous Things as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The gripping new atmospheric thriller from the author of the instant New York Times bestseller, A Flicker in the Dark

From the author of New York Times bestseller, A Flicker in the Dark, comes an atmospheric new thriller about one woman's search for the truth

'I devoured this in two evenings and i'm adding Stacy as a go-to author... Thriller fans will adore this read.' Prima

'Pacy and sinister, ALL THE DANGEROUS THINGS has a palpable tension that keeps the pages turning.' Sunday Times and internationally bestselling author, Karin Slaughter

'Brilliant! ... I had to finish this marvelous thriller in…

The Happiness Trap

By Russ Harris,

Book cover of The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living

Luana Marques Author Of Bold Move: A 3-Step Plan to Transform Anxiety Into Power

From the list on moving through anxiety toward what matters most.

Who am I?

Growing up in Brazil facing poverty and adversity, I was helped by my grandmother, who instilled in me a profound lesson: be the water, not the rock. She taught me the significance of adaptability in confronting uncertainty, stress, and discomfort. Later in life, while pursuing my PhD in clinical psychology, I discovered her teachings aligned with leading mental health practices. Today, I'm an associate professor at Harvard, a renowned global speaker, and an author, ardently committed to empowering individuals globally with evidence-based techniques to transform anxiety into power. Every book in this list resonates with my grandmother's wisdom about boldly navigating life and underscores the transformative potential of embracing discomfort. 

Luana's book list on moving through anxiety toward what matters most

Why did Luana love this book?

I recommend this book because it resonated deeply in my professional life, as I often encounter patients seeking to eradicate anxiety, convinced that happiness lies in the absence of negative feelings.

Harris debunks this notion, revealing it as a trap. His philosophy aligns with my own—true satisfaction and happiness stem from navigating through anxiety towards what genuinely matters. Harris masterfully imparts wisdom and techniques rooted in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Those grappling with stress and the elusive pursuit of happiness will find solace and direction in Harris's pragmatic advice.

This book is a valuable guide for anyone seeking a more fulfilling life.

By Russ Harris,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Happiness Trap as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Popular myths about happiness are directly contributing to our epidemic of stress, anxiety and depression - and popular psychological remedies are making it even worse!In this easy-to-read, practical and empowering self-help book, Dr Russ Harris, M.D., reveals how millions of people are unwittingly caught in The Happiness Trap! He then provides an effective means to escape, through a revolutionary new paradigm in Western psychology.Mindfulness is a transformative mental state of awareness, openness and focus. Although mindfulness is worlds apart' from the methods of popular psychology, it is easy to learn, and will rapidly and effectively help you to reduce stress,…

Book cover of Fighting Invisible Tigers: Stress Management for Teens

James J. Crist Author Of What to Do When You're Scared and Worried: A Guide for Kids

From the list on anxiety and stress for kids.

Who am I?

Let’s face it—kids’ anxiety has gone through the roof over the last two years since the start of the pandemic. Not being able to play with friends, participate on sports teams, or even have sleepovers has had an impact. For kids, play is one of their main ways to relieve stress.  Here are my five go-to books for kids dealing with anxiety, worries, and stress. 

James' book list on anxiety and stress for kids

Why did James love this book?

I really like the title of this book because it captures why your brain reacts as it does to fear, anxiety, and stress. Because of the fight-or-flight reaction in response to danger, your brain revs your body up to get ready to fight a tiger or run away. But that reaction doesn’t help when your stress is about taking a test, introducing yourself to someone, or handling a rough situation at home. It’s like your brain is reacting to invisible tigers chasing you. Self-care for “tiger bites” is a fun way to think about ways to reduce the impact of stressful situations.

By Earl Hipp,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fighting Invisible Tigers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fresh edition of a popular title offers teens straightforward advice on stress management, anxiety reduction, and digital well-being. Untempered stress among teens is approaching epidemic status. Prolonged and intense anxiety can feel like being stalked by a tiger, never knowing when it will strike. Helping adolescents cope with day-to-day stressors like school, friendships, family, and social media can help curb impulsivity and other risky behaviors. Now in its fourth edition, the revised and updated Fighting Invisible Tigers teaches teens proven techniques and stress management skills to face the rigors of growing up. Packed with useful information on how stress affects…


By Anthony McDonald,

Book cover of Adam

Suki Fleet Author Of Foxes

From the list on queer comfort reads for stressful times.

Who am I?

I’m a reader and an author who loves stories that are so beautifully written they wrap you up tight in comfort, ensuring no matter what hurt the characters go through, you know it will all be okay in the end. And in stressful times—even in times that aren’t so stressful!—I think we all need that little bit of fictional certainty, that knowing that everything is going to be okay in the end. I started writing to give queer characters suffering from problems like loneliness, anxiety, and homelessness, as many happy endings as I could. Because no matter the difficulties you may be going through, everyone deserves a happy ending. 😊

Suki's book list on queer comfort reads for stressful times

Why did Suki love this book?

A beautifully written coming-of-age tale. And another book I have read many times. The descriptions are so sensuous and evocative of a hot summer in the French countryside that it’s easy to lose yourself in them. This story isn’t a straightforward romance and reading about deeply flawed but very human characters are ultimately what gives me comfort with this one.

By Anthony McDonald,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Adam as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now also available as an audio-book, read by the author. Adam is a delightful 16-year-old who does well in school and spends his spare time practising the cello. Or that’s what his parents think. But there is another side to him, as farmer’s son Sylvain discovers when he meets Adam alone in the middle of a wood… The results of this chance encounter are explosive in this classic, passionate story of illicit romance and teenage sex during one long, hot summer in the French countryside…


A fine and elegantly written work deserving of a wide readership irrespective of sexual…

In Harm's Way

By Aphrodite Matsakis,

Book cover of In Harm's Way: Help for the Wives of Military Men, Police, EMTs, and Firefighters

Ellen Kirschman Author Of I Love a Cop: What Police Families Need to Know

From the list on reads if you are married to a cop or love one.

Who am I?

Back in 1977 the experiences and concerns of police families were invisible. Police officers were regarded as super-humans, unaffected by their day-to-day exposure to tragedy, cruelty, and stress. In my counseling job, I heard very different stories from their spouses. Ever since, it has been my mission to support police families and find ways to keep the job from damaging family life. It has taken more than two decades, but I am pleased and proud to say police families are no longer invisible. The books I picked are proof that the family behind the badge matters as much as the person wearing it.

Ellen's book list on reads if you are married to a cop or love one

Why did Ellen love this book?

I forgave Dr. Matsakis for the sexist title of her book written in 2005, nearly twenty years ago. While the title is hopelessly out of date, the range and scope of the information she provides is timeless.

She addresses topics other authors avoid such as sexual jealousy, loneliness, homecoming, and readjustment issues. Every chapter includes tips or exercises to help you tackle uncomfortable emotions and have difficult conversations with yourself and your loved one. She does a particularly good job writing about how children are affected by their parents’ job-related trauma.

By Aphrodite Matsakis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In Harm's Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Millions of American women live each day with a troubling question in the backs of their minds: Will my partner come home today? It's a fact of life when the individual with whom they share their lives is in the military, the police or fire department, or any other dangerous profession. Of course, these women carry on normal day-to-day lives, pursuing their own careers and raising their families. But the constant knowledge that the worst could happen at any time can cause them considerable emotional pain and certainly raises significant practical concerns about how to think about and plan for…

Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers

By Robert M. Sapolsky,

Book cover of Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers

Thomas R. Verny Author Of The Embodied Mind: Understanding the Mysteries of Cellular Memory, Consciousness, and Our Bodies

From the list on neuroscience and the mind.

Who am I?

As a thirteen-year-old boy, I read Sigmund Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams and I became totally fascinated by Freud’s slow, methodical questioning that eventually revealed deeply hidden unconscious conflicts in the lives of his patients. Then and there I resolved to become a psychiatrist. As a psychiatrist, I explored my patients’ early memories. Over the years, I authored seven books, including The Secret Life of the Unborn Child, published in 28 countries now. I have previously taught at Harvard University, the University of Toronto, York University (Toronto), and St. Mary’s University. This book takes my studies of memory a step further and drills right down to the intelligence of cells.

Thomas' book list on neuroscience and the mind

Why did Thomas love this book?

I like it because it is written almost jargon-free and it’s a lot of fun, as the title indicates. As Sapolsky explains, when we worry or experience stress, our body turns on the same physiological responses that an animal's does. However, animals stop experiencing stress when the environmental emergency passes,  while we humans can worry for long times and thus produces the same physiological responses which, if chronic, can take a toll on our bodies and, if prolonged, can make us sick. 

By Robert M. Sapolsky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now in a third edition, Robert M. Sapolsky's acclaimed and successful Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers features new chapters on how stress affects sleep and addiction, as well as new insights into anxiety and personality disorder and the impact of spirituality on managing stress. As Sapolsky explains, most of us do not lie awake at night worrying about whether we have leprosy or malaria. Instead, the diseases we fear - and the ones that plague us now - are illnesses brought on by the slow accumulation of damage, such as heart disease and cancer. When we worry or experience stress,…

The Highly Sensitive Person

By Elaine N. Aron Phd,

Book cover of The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You

David J. Bookbinder Author Of The Art of Balance: Staying Sane in an Insane World

From the list on living your best life.

Who am I?

To paraphrase the old Hair Club for Men ads from 1980s late-night TV, I'm not only a life coach, I'm also a client. I’ve been a self-help junkie since before the term was a book category. I started out with Eastern thought, added in meditation and psychology, and eventually became a therapist and life coach myself. Like the authors of several of the books I’m recommending here, I’ve crystalized into one easy-to-access volume the essence of what I’ve learned from 20 years of working with clients and from my own struggles. I hope these books help you move ahead confidently, knowing you can take on whatever comes your way.

David's book list on living your best life

Why did David love this book?

The Highly Sensitive Person is another book I wish had existed when I was growing up. It helped me understand that I’m someone who takes in, on both a sensory and emotional level, more than most people do—an HSP.

Often misdiagnosed as anxiety, being “highly sensitive” is a mixed blessing. We HSPs can’t screen much out, so we’re bothered by sounds, smells, and internal sensations that most people don’t even notice. But, because we have more data to work with, often we can make connections that non-HSPs cannot. HSPs are often highly creative.

The book includes a simple test to identify high sensitivity and practical advice for making the most of this trait in yourself or in your highly sensitive child.

By Elaine N. Aron Phd,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Highly Sensitive Person as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The 25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION of the original ground-breaking book on high sensitivity with over 500,000 copies sold.

Do you have a keen imagination and vivid dreams? Is time alone each day as essential to you as food and water? Are you noted for your empathy?  Your conscientiousness? Do noise and confusion quickly overwhelm you? If your answers are yes, you may be a highly sensitive person (HSP) and Dr. Elaine Aron’s The Highly Sensitive Person is the life-changing guide you’ll want in your toolbox.

Over twenty percent of people have this amazing, innate trait.…

Try Softer

By Aundi Kolber,

Book cover of Try Softer: A Fresh Approach to Move Us out of Anxiety, Stress, and Survival Mode--and into a Life of Connection and Joy

Malinda Fugate Author Of The Other Three Sixteens

From Malinda's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Passionate Jesus-follower Curious Compassionate Kids Ministry Director

Malinda's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Malinda love this book?

Insightful and kind, the therapist who wrote Try Softer offers information, practical application, and personal stories to show that she speaks from a place of relating, not preaching.

Faith is integrated into mainstream mental health practices, which is encouraging to those of us who see how our spirit and brain overlap and are connected. This reinforced some of the things I’ve learned in my own therapy journey and gave me a new perspective that helped concepts “click.” 

By Aundi Kolber,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Try Softer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Over 100,000 copies sold!

In the wise and soulful tradition of teachers like Shauna Niequist and Brene Brown, therapist Aundi Kolber debuts with Try Softer, helping us align our mind, body, and soul to live the life God created for us.

In a world that preaches a "try harder" gospel―just keep going, keep hustling, keep pretending we're all fine―we're left exhausted, overwhelmed, and so numb to our lives. If we're honest, we've been overfunctioning for so long, we can't even imagine another way. How else will things get done? How else will we survive?

It doesn't have to be this…


By Joyce Meyer,

Book cover of Overload: How to Unplug, Unwind, and Unleash Yourself from the Pressure of Stress

Karen Jensen Salisbury Author Of Why, God, Why ?: What to Do When Life Doesn't Make Sense

From the list on when you’re going through hard times.

Who am I?

I’ve been a writer for most of my life, and when a publisher approached me to write a book, they asked me to write about how I managed to overcome the death of my husband at such a young age and move forward into a successful life. I meet people all the time who have had hard things happen, and I wanted to help them get past the pain. Hard times don’t have to be the end of the story! They can strengthen us and equip us to help others. That’s why I love books about how to keep going in times of trouble and overcome.  

Karen's book list on when you’re going through hard times

Why did Karen love this book?

I read this book in a particularly trying period in my life, when it just seemed like everything was going wrong. The title caught my eye because I sure did feel overloaded! Joyce helped me identify the worries in my life and offered practical, effective advice and scriptural wisdom I needed. I still grab it when I feel overwhelmed, and it helps me to manage stress. We all get stressed—from work, relationship challenges, financial trouble, or an overabundance of information. But Joyce shares inspiring insights from the Bible, and shows me how God’s strength can help me triumph over stress to achieve the joyful, peaceful life that God intends!

By Joyce Meyer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Overload as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As technology increases your accessibility, it becomes harder to mute the background noise of your life and receive God's guidance. Joyce Meyer calls this OVERLOAD, when the demands of your busy life become all-consuming and overwhelming. But to experience the joyful life God has planned, you must make time to focus on His Word. Then you'll receive His healing calmness and gain the strength to take on life's challenges, from physical ailments to problems in relationships. Through the practical advice and Scriptural wisdom in this book, you'll learn how to unplug and free yourself from burdens that weigh you down.…