Resources

This is an ever-evolving page containing products related to psychology, mental health, self-help, self-care, and relaxation. I want to mention from the start that the links on this page are affiliate links. What this means is that if you buy a product on this page, I get a small commission. This does not change the price that you pay for any of these products. That said, I want to assure you that the only products featured in this psychology resource page are products that I trust either from personal experience or from knowing someone who has benefited from them. If you have any favorite products that you feel are missing from this page, please feel free to let me know!

Cognitive and Learning Disability Resources

LIVESCRIBE PEN

The Livescribe pen offers an awesome option for individuals with a learning disability such as dyslexia or ADHD. For these students who feel like they have to work harder than their peers to achieve the same result, this technology offers a way for them to focus on their strengths instead of worrying about their difficulties. The Livescribe pen allows the user to record a lecture while they are taking physical notes. The best part is that when you use their special paper, you can tap on specific sections of your written notes to hear that portion of the lecture played back to you. This allows the student (or working professional) to have a “safety net” just in case they missed something important in either their written notes or recall of the auditory lecture.

KINDLE E-READER

Despite the tendency to avoid new technologies, many elderly patients that I have seen for issues such as dementia have benefited greatly from the use of a Kindle. Here’s why: physical books are great, but they can be overwhelming and inflexible. With the Kindle, you can make the font size as large or as small as you would like. That allows you to compensate for poor vision. More importantly, it allows you to dictate how much content each page contains. If you have trouble maintaining your focus when there are simply too many words on a page, you might need to take it slower by only ready 1-2 paragraphs at a time, with larger text. It also saves your place as you read, so you don’t have to worry about using a physical bookmark or trying to remember where you left off.

FIDGET TOYS FOR ADHD OR ANXIETY

Sometimes it is just SO hard to stay still and pay attention in class for both children and adults. Fidget toys can help to better manage hyperactivity or anxiety when in the classroom, board meeting, or just at home. I have also had patients who struggle with scratching themselves or pulling their hair find fidget toys useful in giving them a different but still satisfying behavior to engage in. There are a ton of different types of these toys available, so have a browse. Most of them are quite cheap as well.

THE FIVE MINUTE JOURNAL

The Five minute Journal is firmly rooted in science, but is also a beautiful, clean design. Each page has an inspiring  quote at the top and several writing prompts such as “I am grateful for…” or “How could I have made today better?” If you have a hard time with the unstructured journaling approach, but are looking to get started, this is a great choice.

THE MIRACLE MORNING

This one is a little less simple and clean than the Five Minute Journal. While this one might be a little gimmicky, I think that it’s absolutely valuable. If you are someone who has a difficult time structuring your day and living out your day to its full potential, you might want to check out the Miracle Morning. This is heavy on the inspiration and will give you actionable steps to making your morning the best launch pad for a great day.

THE ANXIETY AND PHOBIA WORKBOOK

This is an updated version of an old standby. This book is really at the top of the list of books that therapists recommend to patients suffering from one of anxiety’s many forms. If you have generalized anxiety, a specific phobia, social anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, or panic attacks, working through a book like this one is a great adjunct to psychotherapy. The one downside to this book is that it is quite dense. If you are just getting started on your road to recovering from anxiety and are easily overwhelmed, this book might be a bit too intense for you. It essentially serves the opposite function of my book and helps you go in-depth by teaching you techniques, giving you worksheets, and providing psychoeducation about anxiety.

THE DIALECTICAL BEHAVIOR THERAPY SKILLS WORKBOOK

Dialectical Behavior Therapy, or DBT, was first developed for the treatment of borderline personality disorder, but has been shown to be effective in treating many other mental health issues. DBT is helpful for people who have issues with overwhelming emotions. In this workbook, you will have step-by-step exercises to teach you how to build distress tolerance, practice mindfulness, and achieve greater emotion regulation.

FIBROMYALGIA AND CHRONIC MYOFASCIAL PAIN: A SURVIVAL MANUAL

Chronia pain is incredibly frustrating because it is often misdiagnosed or unrecognized. If you are feeling alone in your struggle with fibromyalgia or other chronic pain disorders, this book can be a big help. There is research and information inside this book, but the most important piece for you is probably the techniques to manage pain, reduce sleep problems, and deal with the fogginess of the brain often reported with chronic pain.

Health and Self Care

SLEEP PHONES

SleepPhones are just awesome. Have you ever tried to sleep with headphones on? It sucks. If you’re like me, you are stuck in a double bind, because you like to listen to music or other sounds in bed, but have a spouse who doesn’t like hearing sound through speakers. Well SleepPhones are headphones that are meant to be used while in bed! They are basically a comfortable plush headband with headphones built inside!

PHOTOTHERAPY LIGHT

There are many different phototherapy lights on the market, but this one is consistently well reviewed and comes in a relatively small and portable package. Phototherapy is the use of light to combat the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is basically depression that comes on during the gloomy seasons. Research shows that using these gently glowing lights to replicate sun exposure can help to alleviate the effects of SAD. This can also be used for people who have homes or offices that are lacking in natural light. Put this on the table next to you while you have coffee in the morning and be amazed at what a large effect such a small change can produce.

THE ART THERAPY COLOURING BOOK

In my opinion, one of the most relaxing and healing things in the world is simply creating something new. Not all of us are technically skilled artists, so this book provides a great creative outlet that does not have a high skill cap. This is a large coloring book will help you feel soothed, calm, and at ease. If you are recovering from a loss or experience anxiety in the evenings, I think that this is especially suited to you.

142 PIECE ART SET

If you are looking to start painting, drawing, or coloring, but don’t have the equipment you need to get going, this set is for you. It has all of the basics in a nifty box. I had one of these that lasted for close to 10 years.

FITBIT FLEX

You have probably heard of FitBit already. The reason I’m including it here is that people seem to underestimate the impact of physical activity on mental health. Having a fun gadget like the FitBit Flex to track your steps, calories burned, and sleep, can help motivate you toward positive activity every day. There’s a few extra bonuses with this version including an LED display and silent alarm.

MUSE: THE BRAIN SENSING HEADBAND

This is a super cool gadget that is made for people who just can’t get the hang of meditating on their own. What the Muze headband does is works in conjunction with your phone or tablet to train you to calm your brain. It measures brain activity to guide you through sessions and track your progress toward a quiet mind.

TILE KEY FINDER
This is a nifty little device for people that tend to lose objects frequently. With the help of family members, some individuals with dementia or other memory impairment can use items like this to keep track of frequently misplaced items. The way it works is that you connect each “tile” to an app on your phone. Then you can use that app to locate missing items or set off a sound on the missing item to make it easier to locate around the house. If you can’t find you phone, all you need to do is push any tile connected to an item and it will make your phone beep.
One major stressor for individuals with impairment like Alzheimer’s disease is the feeling that people are stealing or moving your belongings, when in reality you have just misplaced them. This can provide a simple solution to this issue and instead of remembering where each individual item is, the person only needs to learn and remember one behavior (pinging objects using the app).

Psychology Books

SKIN GAME: A MEMOIR

This is the first of the books that I am including on this page that have helped me have a much better understanding of issues that I have not personally struggled with. Caroline Kettlewell wrote Skin Game as an autobiographical memoir, but her writing style is so beautiful and poetic that it reads like a novel. This book focuses on her struggle with self-harm as a means to cope with her pain and feelings of alienation.

OUT OF THE WOODS

This is a beautiful graphic novel illustrated in dozens of watercolor images that tells the author’s personal story of his journey through depression and anxiety. You can see my video review of this awesome book on the blog.

PROZAC DIARY

This book is notable for two reasons. Firstly, it’s a beautiful and candid account of Lauren Slater’s struggles with depression and suicide. Second, it is a brutally honest lens into life on psychological medication. In many ways, medication served as Slater’s saving grace, but she makes no secret that there is no such thing as a free lunch. If you are looking for a balanced, honest take on using medication like Prozac, give this book a shot.

THE WISDOM OF PSYCHOPATHS

This one is included here simply because it is super interesting. Many people have the wrong idea about psychopaths. In media they are all portrayed as killers and sadists. Have you ever taken a moment to consider that the ability to dial down your empathy and be ruthlessly focused is a trait that is also embodied by neurosurgeons or members of the special forces? In The Wisdom of Psychopaths, Kevin Dutton takes you on an adventure to prove that we all lie on a psychopathy continuum and that in some settings, being a psychopath is an extremely desirable trait. A must read for any psych major.

JUST CHECKING

Obsessive compulsive disorder is an issue that is very misunderstood. It does not mean that you are exceptionally clean or hate when people don’t line up their pencils from smallest to largest. It means that you have intrusive thoughts or images and compulsive behaviors like checking, tapping, or even coughing, that you repeat over and over in an attempt to reduce the anxiety caused by those thoughts. That definition is exceedingly over simplified. If you want an insider’s view into life with OCD, check out this book by Emily Colas.

Podcast Gear

Rode Procaster Broadcast Dynamic Vocal Microphone
After watching and reading countless reviews, I decided to pick up the Rode Procaster microphone. I love it. It’s what is called a “dynamic” microphone, which means that it basically picks up the sound right in front of the microphone and not very much ambient noise. This is great for me because my office has the humming sound from my desktop computer, family noise upstairs, and the street outside the window to contend with. Using a dynamic mic like this is a great solution. Now I don’t have to wait for the perfect sound conditions to record. I can record pretty much at any time of day and it will sound great.
It is important to note that this microphone requires an XLR (microphone) cable to work. Rode does have a nearly identical option called the Podcaster (confusing, I know) that plugs straight into USB, but from what I read and heard it the audio quality is just slightly worse than the procaster. Go big or go home, right?

SHOCK MOUNT
This goes on your stand or studio arm to make sure the mic does no pick up extra sounds from vibration or movement. Pretty essential if you are going to invest in a nice microphone.

PSA1 Swivel Mount
I have tried a few different studio arm style microphone stands and to be honest, a lot of them suck. This one does not. The Procater is a pretty heavy microphone and this arm is built to handle it. That means it does not droop or move when you don’t want it to. It has two different options for mounting. You can clamp it onto the edge of your desk or you can install it more permanently by drilling a hole through the desk. I opted for the drilling through the desk option and I have to say, it’s pretty much a game changer. Instead of taking a bunch of time to set everything up before a recording session, I simply sit down, pull the mic over, and begin.

Shure Foam Ball Pop Filter
A pop filter is that little black fabric piece that you see people use in front of their microphones. The point is to reduce the impact of harsh plosive sounds like when you say words with the letter P. The Procaster actually has a built in pop filter, but I think it benefits from a little extra help. I decided to go with a simple foam ball and it does the trick perfectly.

Scarlett Solo
Since I decided to go full quality with a non-usb mic, I needed something to allow my microphone to talk to my computer. Red Scarlett Solo is an awesome little gadget that allows for just that. There are a variety of options by Scarlett for what are called “USB interfaces” which acts as a converter of sorts that allows your computer to use an XLR microphone as an input. Has some other nifty options such as controlling the mic input volume and “monitoring” your voice in real time with headphones.

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