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My Thoughts on: Best Book on Mindfulness & Meditation?

I first found mindfulness a couple of years ago when I searched in desperation for a way to relax my mind. I ground my teeth, suffered from constant blinding headaches, hunch in my back and my sleep was as broken as my relationship.

I had work worries, life worries, and I just fought constantly with being tense all the time. I just couldn't escape it. If this sounds a bit like you, then rest assured you're among millions of others like us. At the time I joined a local mindfulness group and went to a couple of the retreats, but it wasn't for me. I managed to salvage some learning from the classes but I preferred to listen to guided meditation and read books in my own company.

One of my friends, who knew I had read a lot into mindfulness, asked me what I thought the best book on mindfulness was. It got me thinking- so I put together a bunch of the books on meditation that I found best so that I may be of some help to others in the same position as I was.

A large part of my recommendations here is also down to the fact that some of these books are free on audible. All you need to do is sign up and you get your first book for free - I find audible a good resource for my meditative learnings so it's well worth the time, and you pay nothing!

1. Meditation for Beginners by Jack Kornfield - best for getting started with meditation

If you've never meditated before then you should stop reading this article and give it a shot! What may surprise you is how hard you find it to simply close your eyes on focus on your breathing - you'll definitely realise how much your mind races. The world of meditation can be daunting, so to really get into the practice we highly recommend the book Meditation for Beginners by Jack Kornfield. This book outlines how to get started with meditation in a very practical, simple, charming, and humorous manner. Kornfield has a lifetime of experience as a Buddhist monk and teacher, and as you read the book his expertise and wisdom leap off every page. That's why we've chosen this book as our number 1 pick.

If you'd like to buy the book for yourself or listen to the audiobook then you find it on Amazon here - amazon.co.uk

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2. The Headspace Guide to... Mindfulness & Meditation by Andy Puddicombe

Headspace is one of the very best mindfulness resources online currently - and thankfully it seems to have grown arms and legs (in popularity). Andy Puddicombe is the founder of Headspace and writes here about his journey into mindfulness, parenthood, personal development and relationships. All things that are immensely important when thinking about maintaining your mental health.

What I loved about listening to this book (and what, to me, makes this the best book on mindfulness) was Andy's frankness and honesty when outlining his first experiences with mindfulness and meditation. When I first started practising mindfulness, I found that the stillness made me feel worse. I felt wildly out of control: like I was trying to hold my mind in a place like a mad dog on a leash. Andy helped me realise that this is very normal and that mindfulness takes time, practice and that it was ok to struggle at first.

This is a great introduction, and gentle hand, into the world of mindfulness. A lot of the books you may encounter are over-bearing, full of hippy crap or are more complicated than they ought to be. Andy makes mindfulness easy to understand, easy to process and his experiences allow an insight into why the practice is an asset to your modern life.

In saying the above, I often find myself going back to the book to reacquaint myself with the practices. If you're already a seasoned mindful person, you may learn something new from this book.

You can listen to the audio-book for free (for a sign up to audible) or pick up a hard copy here.

Mindfulness and Meditation

3. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach by Mark Manson

Mark Manson is a very interesting author - and blogger. He has written a number of books and considers himself and 'modern' stoic writer. Mark started his career as an author by writing a controversial 'Guide to Women' called 'Models' which in itself was a huge smash hit. His next huge hit was the book we are talking about today 'The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck'.

While I would not consider this book specifically about mindfulness, it is a great book to help build a mindset that is conducive to getting better at mindfulness. It isn't the best book on mindfulness, but certainly the best book about not giving a fuck. Mark details his philosophy with personal anecdotes, academic research and philosophy - with a few crude jokes for good measure. I felt empowered by this book, like the chains had been dropped.

The premise of the book is to chill out a bit. Just let it go.

Most of our modern problems are simply us, our minds, over-processing things. We don't allow ourselves to have a break, and constantly doubt whether we have done enough, or if we're doing the right thing. What I love about this book is: it helped me realise that most of the things that I was getting uptight about really didn't matter at all to the 'greater good'. Did my slip up in the meeting mean I have screwed my chance at a promotion? Was that post good enough? Am I successful enough? Is there something wrong with me? Am I where I want to be in life?

In actual fact, while it seems like these things are immediately important, they are inconsequential to what is important; Your health, life and happiness.

As the title of the book also suggests, this is a little bit of a counterintuitive approach to mindfulness and living a happy life. Fuck it.

You can listen to the audio-book for free (for a sign up to audible) or pick up a hard copy here.

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4. The Little Book of Mindfulness by Gilly Pickup

Upon my departure from my mindfulness group, I was given 'the little book of mindfulness as a gift. It is my little manual and one of the best books on mindfulness for when you're in the moment.

We've all gotten ourselves a little bit overworked up and the anxiety is taking control. My little pocketbook was right there waiting to calm me down, for me to take a moment for myself and resettle. The book is very simple but all the little details add up. For a start, the book is very small and fits snug in my hand. The paper used is really soothing under my fingers in a rough, papery kind of way. It could be me, but I derive genuine comfort from the touch.

For normal people - the book contains hundreds of quotes, words of advice, passages of comfort and tips on how to be more mindful.

You can pick up your copy on Amazon for really cheap and it is worth its weight in gold

the little book of mindfulness cover

5. Sleep Meditations by Danielle North

Finally, the last book on meditation that I would recommend is 'Sleep Meditations by Danielle North'.

While there are a few guided meditations and mindfulness tasks, Danielle focuses on some pre-meditation activities which absolutely work. Some do seem a little cooky, but having tried them all, I can say that they do work in their own ways. From shaking exercises to aromatherapy advice, essential oil/ activity sharing, bedtime routines and tips to enhance your mindfulness practice.

This book offers a mixture of reflexology, aromatherapy and mindful meditation.

You can find the audiobook (for free with a sign up) or hard copy here

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