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  • Katy Ainslie-Wallace, LPC-IT, SAC-IT

A Trip Down the Self Help Aisle: Why I Started Reading Self Help Books (and why you should too!)

One of my newest hobbies of late has been listening to audiobooks. I travel between work sites daily, and for some reason today’s music gives me an anxious feeling in my chest... perhaps it’s the added mission of driving through downtown traffic mid-day. Either way, I started listening to books during my commute, which has made life in the car WAY more enjoyable.

Lately I have been on a “self-help” kick. In my 20’s and early 30’s you never would have caught me here. "What if someone saw me? What would they think?" However, I have to say, that the self-help industry as of late is really appealing to me. Particularly since there are way more eye-catching titles. These are just two of my most recent reads via audio in the car:

- You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero

And they have been entertaining! Almost enlightening. Now, they aren’t exactly selling anything new, in fact, most self help books seem to follow the same advice. However, these two that I have “read” have repackaged the info in an irreverent way that keeps you reading (or in my case, listening).

Some of the key points that they make in both books are:

  • Find your passion and go all in. Don’t let the “what-if’s” and “should's” hold you back from taking chances.

  • Your brain is a dirty liar and will tell you many unkind things. Don’t listen to it. In fact, fight back.

  • Practice mindfulness. When you catch yourself stuck in the past or worrying about the future, come back to right now. It’s wasted energy. You can’t change the past, and you can’t predict the future.

  • When other people or their actions bother you, you can’t control them but you can control how you react in the situation.

  • Self-care is IMPORTANT. Do something nice for yourself.

  • Do something nice for others! Gratitude is like interest on a bank account. Not nowadays, but maybe, like, the interest rate in the late 90’s. The gratitude you put out, the kindness, will be returned. That stuff feels good.

  • If something sucks, do something about it. Don’t just wallow in misery and make things worse. Quit that job, dump that partner, move somewhere, go on vacation… do something about it.

  • We are the drivers of our lives. We can’t blame anyone else for our misery but ourselves. We have the power, we just have to find it and fight for it.

I still recommend reading/listening to them, as they add much more than just these basic concepts. Essentially, Mark Manson’s book is about not getting hung up on what’s not important, whereas Jen Sincero’s is about finding what IS important. Both have the same idea, just put differently. I definitely recommend picking up a copy at your library or using one of the audio/electronic apps like Libby or Overdrive (both free if you have a library card). And enjoy, because you are a badass.

Happy Reading,



If you are interested in scheduling an appointment with Katy, you can reach her via email:

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[This article does not create a client-counselor relationship. This article is general counseling information and is not to be considered legal or medical advice. Please consult with your mental health professional before you rely on this information.]

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