The right book can fuel personal growth and help lead you to a happier life.
Thema Bryant, president of the American Psychological Association and a professor of psychology at Pepperdine University, says there are a handful of books that have helped her address past trauma, fine-tune her self-care regimen, and conjure more compassion for herself and others.
"I like to highlight key passages to read and reflect again," says Bryant, who did her postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical Center's Victims of Violence Program. "Because we change over time, we can gain new insights when we read them again."
Here are seven books she recommends for those who want to create a happy, fulfilling life for themselves.
1. The Self-Care Prescription: Powerful Solutions to Manage Stress, Reduce Anxiety & Increase Well-Being
by Robyn Gobin
Good for: Those who neglect themselves and are often busy with work or taking care of others.
"Dr. Gobin, a psychologist, provides practical steps for improving your holistic health," Bryant says. "Unlike many self help books, it incorporates awareness of race, gender, and faith."
by Jaiya John
Good for: Those who need to learn to feel compassion for themselves.
"I read this insightful book often in the morning as a good way to remind myself that I get to choose how I show up and how I shape my day," she says. "Showing up with compassion for myself and others is an intentional act of grace."
by Tricia Hersey
Good for: Change agents, activists and advocates.
"It's a beautiful reminder that while we are working to make the world around us better, the world within us is worthy of care," Bryant says. "Rest is a revolutionary act, particularly for racially marginalized people who are often pressured to focus on labor instead of wholeness."
by Nedra Glover Tawwab
Good for: Those who have conflict and challenges in their family life.
"Nedra, a licensed therapist, gives science-informed steps to healing and, at times, releasing unhealthy family dynamics," Bryant says.
5. Try Softer: A Fresh Approach to Move Us out of Anxiety, Stress, and Survival Mode — and into a Life of Connection and Joy
by Aundi Kolber
Good for: Trauma survivors.
"As a trauma survivor and trauma psychologist, I enjoyed this book," Bryant says. "Surviving overwhelming experiences can cause us to live in survival mode, perpetually fighting and defending ourselves. Aundi, a thoughtful therapist, provides keys to breathing, softening and living with more peace."
by Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey
Good for: Trauma survivors.
"It helps them connect the dots between what they experienced and their current lives," she says. "By understanding themselves better, people can take steps toward healing."
by Ann Hazzard, Marianne Celano and Marietta Collins
Good for: Families who need help talking about gun violence.
"This is a great resource written by three psychologists to help families have fruitful, healing conversations in the aftermath of gun violence," Bryant says. "It provides keys for healthy coping to address anxiety as well as inspiration for working together to transform the community."
Get CNBC's free report, 11 Ways to Tell if We're in a Recession, where Kelly Evans reviews the top indicators that a recession is coming or has already begun.