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11 Books To Read If You Struggle With Stress

Some days it feels like catching a break is next to impossible. Childcare duties, work deadlines, traffic, and even the dishes in the sink can drive you up the wall. If this sounds familiar, then there are books to read if you struggle with stress that'll help you regain some peace of mind.

What’s so bad about being stressed? Well, not only can it make you feel anxious and uncomfortable in the moment, but it can also have a lasting negative effect on your health. According to the Mayo Clinic, “stress that's left unchecked can contribute to health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.” Even in the short term, being under constant stress can make you sick. “People under chronic stress are prone to more frequent and severe viral infections, such as the flu or common cold, and vaccines, such as the flu shot, are less effective for them,” according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). For the sake of your health, and general feelings of well-being, it’s a good idea to get that stress in check.

Easier said than done, right? Well, these books are a good place to start. Some of them offer direct advice on stress management, mindfulness techniques, and smart ways to organize your life. Others are more for escapism purposes, because even if you can’t take that much-needed vacation right now, you can at least send your brain somewhere pleasant for a few minutes. These reads will help you feel more calm and peaceful in no time.

1. 'The Mayo Clinic Guide To Stress-Free Living' by Amit Sood M.D.

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By drawing on applicable brain research, as well as his expertise from working with thousands of stressed-out patients, Dr. Sood's The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living teaches readers how to cope with stress in the most practical and productive ways. Simple things, such as avoiding too much exposure to the news, can go a long way toward helping you feel more calm.

2. 'Buddha In Blue Jeans' by Tai Sheridan

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If you want to learn more about meditation but don't have a lot of time to spare, Buddha in Blue Jeans: An Extremely Short Simple Zen Guide to Sitting Quietly by Tai Sheridan is for you. It's a straightforward guide to the techniques and benefits of sitting quietly every day, which can help you accept your life as it is and ultimately stress less.

3. 'Getting Things Done' by David Allen

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If that never-ending to-do list is the source of your stress, then learning the art of getting things done may help you feel more productive and calm. David Allen's Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity teaches readers how to manage their time, schedules, and tasks effectively (and without fretting).

4. 'The Upside Of Stress' by Kelly McGonigal

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If you can't beat stress . . . embrace it? This is the idea behind Kelly McGonigal's The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You, and How To Get Good At It. It's a guide for using stress to focus on your goals and even strengthen relationships.

5. 'Simplify' by Joshua Becker

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If clutter is making you pull your hair out, then Joshua Becker's Simplify may help. It's an introduction to minimalism, which embraces the idea of living with less and ceasing the cycle of rampant consumerism. Because few things are more stressful than trying to keep up with too many possessions.

6. 'Why Didn't They Teach Me This in School?' by Cary Siegel

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Money is a huge source of stress for many people, but it doesn't have to be that way. Cary Siegel's Why Didn't They Teach Me This in School?: 99 Personal Money Management Principles to Live By offers the straightforward personal finance advice that just isn't covered in most classrooms.  

7. 'How To Relax' by Thich Nhat Hanh

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Mindfulness is a hot topic right now, but you don't have to read a thousand-page tome to get the basics of it. How to Relax by Thich Nhat Hanh (author) and Jason DeAntonis (illustrator) is a bite-sized guide to relaxing mindfully and controlling stress.  

8. 'The Vacationers' by Emma Straub

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If you can't escape for a vacation of your own right now, then reading about one is the next best thing. Emma Straub's The Vacationers is a novel that follows one family's trip to the beautiful island of Mallorca. But old secrets and rivalries throw a shadow over this perfect getaway.

9. 'The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay' by Michael Chabon

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When you're stressed, sometimes there's no better remedy than some great escapist fiction. Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is a fun romp that follows two boys in the 1930s whose their lives have all the action of a comic book. This story will get you out of your own head and into their dazzling world.

10. 'The Stress Management Workbook' by Lynne Van Brakel

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If you would like a more hands-on approach to stress management, The Stress Management Workbook: A Guide to Developing Resilience by Lynne Van Brakel uses self assessment tools to help you balance your life. It encourages you to work on stressors using techniques tailored to your particular personality type.

11. '1,001 Ways to Relax' by Mike George

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You'll never run out of ideas for relaxation with this book. Mike George's 1,001 Ways to Relax offers up tips on everything from banishing bad habits to embracing your creativity.