Mindfulness has swept the Western world as people seek to take better care of their mental health.
And for good reason.
Mindfulness is the practice of present-moment awareness; being in the here and now, without judgment.
The goal of the approach is to help you become more aware of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations so that you can respond to them in a more intentional and mindful way.
Furthermore, the practice has been proven to alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression.
But where do you start if you want to learn more about mindfulness and meditation?
This article! Here are five of the best books to begin your contemplative practice.
The 5 Best Mindfulness Books
1. Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World by J. Mark G. Williams and Danny Penman
Mindfulness is a book about mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), a type of therapy that combines cognitive therapy with mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness is a type of meditation that involves focusing on the present moment and paying attention to your thoughts and feelings without judging them.
The book explains what mindfulness is, how it works, and how to use it to help prevent mental health issues, including case studies of people who have used MBCT to help treat their psychological symptoms.
MBCT can be used to help prevent depression or to help treat people who have already been diagnosed with depression.
This can be helpful for people with depression because they often judge themselves harshly and think that they are not good enough.
Mindfulness can also help people become more aware of their surroundings and the present moment, which can help them focus on what is happening in the here and now rather than worrying about the past or the future.
The case studies include one woman had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and had been unsuccessfully treated with medication for years.
After she started practicing mindfulness, she was able to reduce her medication dose and eventually stop taking it altogether.
Another man had been suffering from chronic pain for many years and had been unsuccessfully treated with medication and surgery – after practicing mindfulness, he was able to decrease his pain medication dose by 50% and his pain was significantly reduced.
Overall, the book provides a great overview of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) and its myriad benefits.
2. Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana
Mindfulness in Plain English is a comprehensive guide to the practice of mindfulness meditation.
The book is written in a clear, easy-to-read style, and it is filled with helpful tips and practical advice.
Gunaratana begins by explaining what mindfulness is and how it can be used to improve one’s life. before providing an overview of the eightfold path, which is the Buddhist path to enlightenment.
Gunaratana then offers a step-by-step guide to mindfulness meditation, starting with breath awareness and progressing through body scanning, contemplation of objects, and Lovingkindness meditation.
Throughout the book, Gunaratana emphasizes the importance of keeping things simple and avoiding any temptation to overthink or complicate the practice.
He also stresses the importance of being patient and diligent in one’s practice, and of not expecting instant results.
Overall, Mindfulness in Plain English is an excellent introduction to mindfulness meditation.
It is concise yet comprehensive, and provides clear instructions that are easy to follow – perfect for the beginner or someone needing a refresher.
3. The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh
The Miracle of Mindfulness is about the importance of living in the moment and how to do so.
Hanh discusses the dangers of living in the past or future and how to overcome them, teaching readers how to pay attention to their thoughts and feelings and how to live in the present moment despite difficult circumstances.
Hanh’s teachings are based on the Buddhist concept of mindfulness, which is the ability to be fully aware of what is happening in the present moment.
Mindfulness can be used to pay attention to one’s own thoughts and feelings, as well as the thoughts and feelings of others.
It can also be used to appreciate the beauty of nature and everyday objects.
The Miracle of Mindfulness contains many exercises that can help readers learn how to live in the present moment, including focusing on one’s breath, focusing on one’s body, and focusing on specific objects or activities.
The book also includes a section on ways to apply mindfulness to relationships.
Overall, The Miracle of Mindfulness is an excellent introduction to mindfulness meditation, written by one of its most famous practitioners.
4. Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn
In Wherever You Go, There You Are, Jon Kabat-Zinn presents a guide to mindfulness that can be applied to everyday life.
Kabat-Zinn argues that it can be used to reduce stress, improve focus, and increase overall happiness.
He begins by describing the benefits of mindfulness and how it can be used to change your relationship with your thoughts and emotions, before providing a step-by-step guide to the practice, starting with breath awareness and gradually moving on to more complex concepts.
Kabat-Zinn also discusses how mindfulness can be used in specific situations, such as during difficult emotions or while eating.
He offers advice for incorporating the approach into your daily life, including tips for setting aside time for practice and finding a support group.
The book concludes with a discussion of the challenges involved in the philosophy and ways to overcome them.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about the topic or in improving their mental health.
5. 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works by Dan Harris
In 10% Happier, Harris shares his own journey from stressed-out news anchor to relatively contented meditator.
He details the various ways in which meditation has helped him become a more patient and happier person and offers advice for those looking to get started with their own practice.
Harris begins the book by sharing the story of how his bestselling book came to be.
He had always been a high-strung person and, as a news anchor, was under a great deal of pressure to perform.
In 2004, he had a panic attack on live television that left him shaken and scared.
Harris decided that he needed to find a way to deal with his stress in order to avoid future panic attacks and began researching different methods of stress relief.
He quickly became interested in meditation after learning about the many benefits it offers and started practicing regularly.
Harris describes how meditation has helped him develop greater patience and compassion, make better decisions, become more present and focused, and find peace within himself.
He also talks about the challenges he has faced in trying to maintain his meditation practice, such as getting lazy or struggling with boredom during long sit-downs.
Harris offers practical advice for those just starting out with meditation, including finding a comfortable place to sit, setting realistic goals, and being patient with oneself.
Overall, 10% Happier is an inspiring account of one man’s journey from stressed-out workaholic to a more contented and happier individual.
Harris’ writing is witty and irreverent, making it perfect if you’re approaching the topic with skepticism.
Mindfulness has had a massive impact on my life.
Although I was skeptical at first, it has resulted in many benefits, from calming my overthinking mind to improving my focus and concentration.
I try to practice meditation regularly and to infuse my days with presence and awareness and would encourage you to do the same.
The five books above are a great place to start!