Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is an evidence-based therapy based on mindfulness meditation, and based on years of work by Jon Kabat-Zinn. In the book, Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself From Chronic Unhappiness, Kabat-Zinn and co-authors J. Mark G Williams, John D. Teasdale, and Zindel V. Segal, eloquently describe the theory and practice of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), the sister program for MBSR, both of which have been shown to specifically help reduce a variety of health concerns. The Mindful Way Through Depression book is an excellent introduction to some core concepts from mindfulness meditation, which would be a great complement to anyone who liked Eckhart Tolle’s New Earth, any of Thich Nhat Hahn’s books, or those by the Dalai Lama on similar subjects. This book is excellent for anyone who has ever felt ANY amount of depression and should not only be consulted by those who have been diagnosed with major depressive disorder. Highly recommended!
Optimism, a close relative, and quite possibly, precursor of ‘Happiness’, can actually be promoted through cognitive therapy involving cognitive reframing. One pioneer of this work is Martin Seligman, also known as the father of Positive Psychology. Seligman has written several popular-press books on the subject, including Authentic Happiness (which I have not read) and Learned Optimism, which I have read and very much enjoyed. Part of my enjoyment was likely due to my background in psychology. Seligman provided a psychology student like me a really nice context in which to consider both the evolution of cognitive science within psychology and the emergence of positive psychology in the late 90s. Learned optimism also offers great resources and guide for learning your own optimism but it definitely weighs more heavily upon the theory and story-telling! For fun, check out some questionnaires here.
Additional excellent pop-psych books are those by Tal Ben-Shahar, including Happier, Even Happier, and The Pursuit of Perfection. In each of these, not only does Ben-Shahar (former popular professor for Harvard) insert excellent examples of evidence-based practices, he provides excellent practices! In fact, I use this book in my life-coach training certification course because it is such an excellent balance of science and practice in positive psychology. For an additional book list for this course, check it out here.
Hope you enjoy them!