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Imagine for moment that you are calm and centred and content. Your heart rate is easing, your breath is flowing smoothly, your mind is still. Your body is relaxed, your head is focused on right now, on this moment, in this place. Your heart is full. You're not worried about anything.
That, my friends, is a mindful moment and it really does feel that good. Actually it feels better. Words can't describe a feeling nearly as well as your body lives it.
Which makes books about mindfulness seem a little moot, but we need books to learn and to understand. We need books to help us begin.
So here are my top 5 easy to understand mindfulness books. Just make sure that you put the words into practice to get the feels.
Mindfulness for Life by Dr Craig Hassed and Dr Stephen McKenzie. This is a great introduction to mindfulness and how it benefits us, from our physical and emotional wellbeing (pain management, illness, stress, anxiety, depression, diet, weight management and sleep) to personal development (education and workplace performance, sports, emotional intelligence and mindful parenting) through to spiritual development, self actualisation and happiness. It's easy to read, contains useful 'how to' tips and the authors, Dr Hassed and Dr McKenzie, are Australian.
Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world by Mark Williams and Danny Penman. If you're looking for a book that takes you through a guided program for developing your skills in mindfulness, this is the one for you. It comes with a CD of guided meditations and it's based on Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy - a therapeutic approach that has shown to be very effective for treating mild depression. It's also perfect for those of us finding life and our world a little overwhelming.
Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn. This book is a winner on its name alone. Jon Kabat-Zinn is a legend in mindfulness circles, particularly amongst psychologists, thanks to his development of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program. If you've ever wondered how on Earth you are supposed to get your mind to think of nothing, Kabat-Zinn has the answers for you. This book also contains plenty of practical exercises and talks philosophically about the roots of mindfulness.
The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness by Andy Puddicombe. Have you seen Andy Puddicombe's TED talk? He's a British former Buddhist monk with a degree in Circus Arts who taught meditation as a monk in Russia for several years (really!). In 2010 he launched Headspace (not to be confused with the Australian Headspace) with his business partner Rich Pierson. This book shows you how just ten minutes of meditation per day can bring about life changing results.
A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled by Ruby Wax. I remember Ruby Wax from her early comedic days and TV turn on Girls on Top way back in the mid-80s. Did you know that since then she has pursued a distinguished academic career, graduating in psychology at the University of California, Berkeley and gaining a Master's degree in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy from Oxford?
As you might imagine, this book is humorous as well as informative and provides mindfulness advice for relationships, for parents, for children and for teens.
So there are my picks. Do you have any recommendations? How's your mindfulness going?