The best advice I could ever give

On the trifecta of books that can change your mindset


UNSPLASH / Clay Banks

Ali Smith, Arts & Leisure Editor

Oddly enough, one of the best things I can do for my own mental health is helping someone else who is struggling. It makes me feel not so alone. More importantly though, I get to share my coping skills with someone else, which can be helpful and potentially save or reshape a life.

If you are struggling with anything in life, here is the best advice I could ever give you: go to Barnes and Noble, pick up a nice drink or treat at the café and take your time to select three things to take home with you and transform your life:

  1. First, I always keep a cute journal and pen set with me, which is why I have a huge tote purse.

Journaling is such an important outlet to release negative energy.

Write that anger, pain and sadness down and let it go. It is so toxic to keep this animosity bottled up in our brains and bodies.

It is also important to write about life’s positives. Good news. Prayers. Manifestations. Love letters you may never send.

The most beautiful entries I have, however, are quite honestly random. The reason it’s important to invest in a journal and pen set you’re excited about is because you will be encouraged to use them.

In addition to the more important entries, I also use my journal for doodles, addresses, song lyrics, grocery lists, poems, pros and cons lists and so on.

When you finally fill it, pick up a new one and keep moving forward.

  1. The next stop is the Psychology and Self-Help section, which in the Erie location is located in the front left of the store on the first floor.

This is one of the most helpful resources for people who are struggling with any issue, and the best part is that we get to select our therapeutic budget.

The first item necessary to obtain from this section, which is abound with helpful resources, is a nonfiction book related to the struggle you are facing upon your visit. When I say they have anything you could possibly be looking for, I mean anything.

They have books defining mental illnesses, abuse or other psychological ailments. They have books designed to help those battling or recovering from emotional abuse, poor relationships, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, feminism, narcissistic partners, bosses or parents and even the most bizarre, specific psychological niches.

Take your pick and don’t leave one page bare. Mark it up and make a conscious effort to transfer this knowledge to your life.

  1. Finally, select a self-help workbook. There are countless options and styles to choose from.

The one I am working through right now is titled “How to Be Happy (or at Least Less Sad)” by Lee Crutchley. When nothing else seems to be helping me refocus my thoughts, I work through the exercises until I feel happy, or at least less sad.

Take a few minutes, or maybe even a few hours, and work through this workbook. Dive into the exercises, hidden lessons and coping mechanisms, and put in some work until you are feeling even the slightest bit better.

Healing is hard work.

You may be thinking that this is a high price for a little progress, but focus your thoughts on the positives.

You now have three resources to utilize in times of crisis and additionally in times of bliss.

You have a journaling set for colorful doodles, anger and pain, prayers, recipes, letters, songs — you name it, they have it.

You have a book to read when you are bored, or when your mind is in need of a perspective shift.

And finally you have a workbook when you are out of options and need to put in some real effort to help yourself.

This trifecta has helped me tremendously, and I am happy to be able to have the platform to pass along my little life hack.