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There are an overwhelming number of books on stress out there and I have probably read way too many of them.  🙂  With this article, I want to try to reduce the overwhelm a bit and only share the ones that I consider to be the very best books on stress for highly sensitive people like me.  

I want to caution though that even if these are the books that I consider to be the best in this genre, none of them have been enough on their own to constitute "the one thing" that I can say has helped me drastically reduce my stress levels.  What each of these books has done for me instead has been to add another layer of understanding that has allowed me to piece together a holistic program of stress reduction with bits and pieces drawn from different places.

Also, I’m always reading, so this list is ever-expanding as I discover new gems. 🙂 

best books on stress for highly sensitive people

1. The Orchid and the Dandelion: Why Sensitive Children Face Challenges and How All Can Thrive

The Orchid And The Dandelion: Why Sensitive Children Face Challenges And How All Can Thrive by Dr. W. Thomas Boyce does the best job of any book out there to explain why and how HSPs are more vulnerable to stress than non-HSPs.  So if you want to really understand your stress-related struggles and if you want to feel really validated, this book is for you.    

2. Heal Your Nervous System: The 5–Stage Plan to Reverse Nervous System Dysregulation

While The Orchid and the Dandelion gives a good explanation of why HSPs are vulnerable to excessive stress, Heal Your Nervous System: The 5-Stage Plan To Reverse Nervous System Dysregulation by Linnea Passaler gives a nice overview of the kinds of actions that may be needed to recover.  What I really like about Passaler's approach is how she shies away from quick fixes and presents a holistic framework for helping your nervous system calm down little by little, one action at a time. 

3. The Mind-Body Stress Reset: Somatic Practices to Reduce Overwhelm And Increase Well-Being

There are three things I really like about The Mind-Body Stress Reset: Somatic Practices to Reduce Overwhelm and Increase Well-Being by Rebekkah LaDyne.  First, LaDyne's writing style is really compassionate and accessible.  Second, she does a great job explaining why some of the widely recommended approaches to stress reduction just don't work when you are struggling with chronic and intense stress, as many highly sensitive people do.  And third, she goes really in-depth explaining why and how to use four somatic practices to help your nervous system find calm.     

4. The Chemistry of Calm: A Powerful, Drug-Free Plan to Quiet Your Fears and Overcome Your Anxiety

In The Chemistry of Calm: A Powerful, Drug-Free Plan to Quiet Your Fears and Overcome Your Anxiety, Henry Emmons, MD outlines his Resilience Training Program.  I think the whole program is great, but what I have found most useful about this book have been the parts discussing the impact of diet and supplements on brain chemistry and nervous system health.   

5. Was That Really Me?: How Everyday Stress Brings Out Our Hidden Personality

One of the tasks highly sensitive people face is accepting and accommodating themselves exactly as they are - different from the majority of people who are less sensitive.  But sensitivity level isn't the only measure differentiating humans from each other.  When it comes to stress, the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types tend to behave differently when under chronic stress and also need different things to recover.  Was That Really Me?: How Everyday Stress Brings Out Our Hidden Personality by Naomi L. Quenk will help you recognize your personal warning signs and learn how people similar to you bring themselves back into equilibrium.

6. Widen the Window: Training Your Brain and Body to Thrive During Stress and Recover from Trauma

If you are looking for comprehensive in-depth information about recovering from chronic stress, Widen the Window: Training Your Brain and Body to Thrive During Stress and Recover might leave you wanting a little more.  However, author Elizabeth Stanley does an excellent and thorough job of explaining the impact of stress on our nervous systems and calling out the societal messed-upness that leaves way too many of us traumatized.  

      

7. The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness, and Healing in a Toxic Culture

The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness, and Healing in A Toxic Culture by Gabor Mate is a difficult but necessary read.  This book goes even more in-depth than Widen The Window and explains better than any other the links between stress and illness and the ways in which our modern culture fails to help us meet our human needs.  If you are one of the many highly sensitive people who struggle with chronic health problems due to excessive stress, this book might help you understand why and to feel more compassion toward yourself.   

About the Author

Hi, I'm Anni! I'm a life and career coach for stressed out highly sensitive people. My mission is to help you discover your true self and create a life you ACTUALLY like.

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