Self-help books may really help you help yourself. A study published in the journal PLOS ONE showed that reading self-help books (also called "bibliotherapy" ), combined with support sessions on how to use them, was linked with lower levels of depression after a year compared to patients who received typical treatments. "We found this had a really significant clinical impact and the findings are very encouraging," study author Christopher Williams of the University of Glasgow told the BBC . "Depression saps people's motivation and makes it hard to believe change is possible."
"When people in the military have a gym they will work out in the gym. When they are on the side of a mountain they will make do with what they have and do push-ups to stay in shape,” Jha says. “Mindfulness training may offer something similar for the mind. It's low-tech and easy to implement." In her own life, Jha looks for any and all existing opportunities to practice mindfulness, such as her 15-minute trip to and from work each day.
Likewise, Michael Taft advocates deliberate mental breaks during "all the in-between moments" in an average day—a subway ride, lunch, a walk to the bodega. He stresses, though, that there's a big difference between admiring the idea of more downtime and committing to it in practice. "Getting out into nature on the weekends, meditating, putting away our computers now and then—a lot of it is stuff we already know we should probably do," he says. "But we have to be a lot more diligent about it. Because it really does matter."