This post introduces you to the best, most inspirational and helpful books to read when you’re struggling or going through a tough time. Whether you’re dealing with a loss in your life, a dramatic change, or a difficult challenge, you are sure to find a book on this list that will bring you comfort and inspire you along the difficult road you’re traveling.
Can reading a book actually help me get through these tough times?
I can’t tell you how many times I open my Believe and Create email and find someone who’s writing to me saying, “Help! Life is just too hard. I’m having a problem with ____.” (You name the problem!)
What I’ve found over the years is that life’s difficulties boil down to a handful of problems that most of us face at one point or another in our lives. These problems make life very hard and leave us wondering what we can do to alleviate our suffering.
We struggle with confidence … relationships … painful mistakes … money … procrastination … stress … grief … loneliness … depression … messy break-ups … career problems … and more. It seemed there’s no end to things that can make our lives miserable.
If you want your life to be easier, it really comes down to moving from a place of pain and frustration to a place where you’re happier, less stressed, and more at peace with your life. If you’re having trouble doing that alone, don’t worry. Help is here.
Is Life Supposed to Be Hard?
Your life is not supposed to be ALL hard. Life comes with ups and downs and we all must learn how to navigate the highs as well as the lows.
When you think your life is hard and you’re tired of struggling, you don’t want to just stay stuck in your thoughts and your problems; it’s time to find answers that will help you move forward and regain a sense of peace and happiness.
You can ask yourself why life is so hard, or you can start doing something about it. The quality of life your life depends on your willingness to learn and grow. Life will take you outside your comfort zone, whether you want it to or not. So, it’s best to face whatever’s going on with an open mind and heart. It’s also wise to get the help you need so you can go from “Why is my life so hard” to “I never knew life could be this amazing.”
If You Want Anything in Your Life to Change, Change the Way You Look at Things
If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer
If you want to improve ANY area of your life, it begins with taking a look at how you’re thinking about your life and your challenges. Thankfully, no one has to go it alone when there are so many great mentors and teachers out there who can guide us through life’s challenges and difficulties.
How Can You Stay Strong When Your Life Gets Rough?
When you’re facing tough times and difficult challenges, you’ll have a lot better success getting through them if you arm yourself with the proper mindset and the right tools for navigating life’s rough waters. I’ve identified 21 major areas in life that most of us struggle with from time to time and provided a book recommendation that addresses the specific “mess” or problem that you may be facing.
If you’re ready to experience meaningful change in your life, begin the process by selecting one (or more) of these life-changing reads.
How to Kick Your Worry Habit & Just Be Happier is an e-book from Believe and Create’s Founder, J. Marie Novak. Grab your copy exclusively on Amazon (for the low price of just $2.99).
When You Are Struggling, and Your Life Feels Too Hard, These Books Will Help …
Problem: Cluttered Mind and Cluttered Life. You Feel Disorganized and Overwhelmed
Solution: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo
It may not make a lot of sense that decluttering your environment would impact your life, but it has greater power than you might think. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, do one little thing each day to bring more order to your life. Marie Kondo will show you the way.
Problem: You Struggle with Self-Acceptance
Solution: The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown
You are too hard on yourself. You strive to be perfect, and that is only bringing more pain into your life. It’s time to stop thinking about who you think you’re supposed to be, and embrace the authentic you that is worthy of love and appreciation … from yourself and others. It’s time to welcome the gifts of your imperfections.
Problem: You Don’t Like Yourself Very Much, and Your Self-Talk Is Critical and Mean
One of the things that makes your life so much harder than it has to be is having an adversarial relationship with yourself. You’re quick to criticize yourself and slow to love yourself. Self-love and self-compassion are essentials for moving out of your “very hard life” and into a life that’s more fulfilling and joyful. I’m a big fan of this book by Kamal Ravikant. You can read it in about an hour, but its message will resonate for the rest of your life.
Problem: You’re Just Not Happy
Solution: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
Have you ever thought something would bring you happiness, only to find out once you received it that it did little to change your happiness meter (which appears stuck on low)? Gretchen Rubin’s book walks you through her personal journey on what she did for a year to add more happiness to her life. The simple lessons she shares are absolutely astounding in their power to increase how happier you are each and every day.
Problem: Life Feels Lackluster. You Long for a Life of Deeper Meaning
Sometimes our lives feel hard because we’ve lost our sense of purpose; life feels like it lacks meaning. If you want to live a life that is rich with meaning and is packed with fulfillment, then you want to read this epic book from Michael A. Singer. This book is a life-changer.
Problem: You’re Not Very Disciplined and You Need the Motivation to Change
Solution: Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World by William H. McRaven
When life feels too hard, that’s sometimes because we’re making it too complicated. This New York Times bestseller from William McRaven walks you through the foundations of creating a happier life through simple yet powerful habits that you practice daily.
Problem: You’re Not Confident in Yourself, and You Want to Believe in Yourself More
Solution: You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, by Jen Sincero
If you’re ready for a kick-in-your-pants read that’s packed with powerful truths, you need to read Jen Sincero’s bestseller — YOU Are a BADASS! You’ll learn how to shed self-doubt and start embracing the awesome life that you deserve to live.
Problem: You’re Lousy with Money and You Know It’s Time to Do Something About It
Solution: Money, A Love Story: Untangle Your Financial Woes and Create the Life You Really Want by Kate Northup
Have money woes got you down? Do you just keep going deeper and deeper into debt? Are you living paycheck-to-paycheck with nothing to show for it? Or, are you facing a financial disaster that’s keeping you up at night and wondering how the heck you’re going to ever get out of this mess? Then take a closer look at Kate Northrup’s Money: A Love Story. It could change your life.
Problem: Your Life is So Busy and Frantic. You’d Like to Simplify and Slow Down
Solution: Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist
Sometimes when life feels very hard, it’s because we’ve acclimated to living in a fast-paced, stress-provoking world where we’re always trying to get more, do more, and be more … and where others expect more and more from us. It’s a trap that will leave you living in misery for the rest of your life if you let it. Shauna Niequist teaches you how to leave “busy” behind for a simpler more soulful way of living.
You Are Stressed to the Max and You Need Relief … Now!
Solution: The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook (New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook) by Martha Davis and Elizabeth Robbins Eschelman
If your life is difficult, you’re living in stress … which may be a huge understatement. You need relief, and you need it now. This beautiful workbook offers simple yet powerfully effective ways to see your life in different ways and experience more peace through exercises guaranteed to reduce stress in your life. When life is hard, you definitely need this stress-reducing workbook by your side!
Problem: You’ve Picked Up Some Horrible Habits and You need to Break Them
Solution: Habit Stacking: 127 Small Changes to Improve Your Health, Wealth, and Happiness (Most are Five Minutes or Less) by S.J. Scott
Many times, it’s our bad habits that make our lives miserable. What unhealthy or unproductive habits have you picked up that you’d like to change? Habit change isn’t easy, but it is possible. S.J. Scott offers incredible advice for adopting new habits that will improve your health, wealth, and overall life happiness. If that sounds good, grab a copy of this book now.
Problem: You’re an Introvert and Others Don’t “Get You”
I’m an introvert myself and I’ve found that some of the extraverts in my life … especially previous bosses and colleagues … didn’t really understand me or what I brought to the table. This made my life very hard. I’m so happy that Susan Cain wrote this book; it helped me better appreciate myself and what I have to offer.
Problem: You’re Undergoing Deep Grief and You Need Some Encouragement and Support
Solution: Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief, by Martha Whitmore Hickman
If you’ve suffered a big loss in your life, you’re grieving. You need to honor that grief without getting lost in its pain and taking up residence in grief forever. The daily meditations in this book will help you gently and lovingly work through your grief and help you move from pain to peace.
Problem: You Hate Your Body
Solution: Love Your Body, by Louise Hay
Is life hard because your body isn’t what you want it to be? You could be overweight and frustrated. Maybe you don’t look the way you want to look. Or, you could be suffering from painful and chronic health problems that make you wonder if your body is for you or against you. Whatever reason you have for being at odds with your body, the solution is the same: you need to love your body. I can’t think of anyone better than Louise Hay to help you do just that.
Problem: You Want to Be More Successful in Life, Both Personally and Professionally
Are you miserable because you’re not achieving the success in life that you’ve dreamed about? Then you need to master the success principles that will take you from where you are to what you want to be. Jack Canfield is your go-to guy for revving up your motivation and know-how to achieve the success you’ve always wanted.
Problem: You’re Just Facing a Whole Lot of Problems and You’re Confused
Solution: There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem by Wayne Dyer (MY FAVORITE BOOK ON THIS LIST!)
This is my very favorite book on this list. I suffer from depression and have since I was quite young. It’s intensity comes and goes … and in fact, has diminished greatly over the years … but when I face a bout of depression, anxiety, and fear, this is my go-to book. It’s also the book I turned to when I faced a career crisis, experienced extreme money challenges, and suffered through the loss of family members. Whatever your problem, this book offers the solution. I loved Wayne Dyer and his wisdom is just as valid and helpful today as the day this book was published.
Problem: You’re Struggling in Your Relationship with Your Significant Other
Life gets hard when we’re struggling in our relationships. It also gets hard when we can’t seem to form meaningful relationships. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer that will help us create or return to happy, healthy relationships, there are things we can do to move through these difficult life challenges. Dr. George Prasky offers simple yet powerful advice on how to build and heal relationships in your life.
Problem: You Find Yourself Depressed and Unhappy Far Too Often*
If you suffer from depression, get this book. Get it now, read it now, listen to the wisdom within it. Then, thank me later for recommending this amazing book to you.
Problem: You’re Lonely Far Too Often
Solution: Leaving Loneliness Workbook: Building Relationships with Ourselves and Others by David S. Narang
Is your life hard right now because you’re feeling lonely? Unappreciated? Unloved? This selection from my “books for when life is hard” collection helps you look at loneliness and relationships … with yourself and others … through a new lens. Get ready for your eyes to be opened.
20. Problem: Everyone in Your Life Seems to Take Priority Over You
If you’re one of the many people who put everyone else first and yourself last, then you’re making your life a lot harder than it has to be. When you pour all your love and attention onto others, you have nothing to give yourself. That’s not noble; it’s life-defeating. If this message resonates with you, read this book!
Problem: A Relationship Ended that You Didn’t Want to End, And It Still Hurts
Solution: Getting Past Your Breakup: How to Turn a Devastating Loss into the Best Thing That Ever Happened to You by Susan J. Elliott
You’ve been rejected. You thought the love would last forever but it didn’t. You’re devastated and wondering when and how you’re ever going to get through this enormous loss in your life. There is hope and Susan Elliott will walk you through the steps of moving on from a breakup you didn’t expect but now need to learn to accept.