Best mindfulness books


March 25, 2022
Filipe Bastos

Mindfulness is a state of non-judgemental present moment awareness of thoughts, feelings, sensations, and memories. Making an effort to notice what is happening in the moment can help you pay better attention within various aspects of your life. Cultivating mindfulness can help you let go of negative thoughts and feelings that are holding you back. And one of the best things about mindfulness is its flexibility — mindfulness can be practised through meditation, yoga or tai chi, during a walk or via other forms of exercise, or at various other points in your everyday life. Check out our article on practising mindfulness throughout the day for more guidance on this.

In this article, we are going to look at mindfulness’ roots in meditation and spirituality, and consider the impact it can have on your everyday life. Then, we will look at some of the best books on mindfulness for beginners, exploring books that focus on the scientific background of mindfulness, best-selling mindfulness books, the best texts of the year so far, as well as a landmark publication about mindfulness’ connection to psychotherapy. Let’s get started!

Why is Mindfulness Important?

Amongst other benefits, practising mindfulness can help us decrease feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. Mindfulness meditation allows us to develop our attention skills and gain better control of our emotions. Observing our thoughts and feelings without judgement can help us become more present in our lives and therefore make better decisions, manage our emotions more effectively, and engage more fully with the world around us.

To find out more about various aspects of mindfulness, including the official definition of the practice and the psychological science behind it, check out our comprehensive guide to mindfulness meditation here. Today, however, we’re focusing on the best books out there on mindfulness. And in order to have a proper grasp of what those books can offer us, it’s worth briefly explaining the roots of mindfulness techniques within meditation, Buddhism, and spirituality.

Meditation, Buddhism and Spirituality

The roots of mindfulness meditation are intertwined with the spiritual practices that it was first practised in. Ancient practices within Asian religions such as Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Sikhism spread along the Silk Road transmission of Buddhism, growing the popularity of meditation as a tool for experiencing self-realisation and the path toward awakening. 

The Buddhist concept of meditation includes cultivating mental states of calmness, concentration, and focus. Six forces are involved in meditation: hearing, pondering, mindfulness, awareness, effort, and intimacy. As these focused, nourishing states deepen through regular meditation sessions, they can transform into peaceful, energising states of consciousness.

Why Read a Book About Mindfulness?

You might be wondering to yourself, “What’s the point of reading a book about mindfulness?” So, before we get started looking at some of the best books on mindfulness techniques, this is a question we should probably consider.

Reading about mindfulness can be a calming, grounding experience. Whether you’re looking for ways to de-stress, or you’re more interested in learning more about the science behind meditation practice, mindfulness books can be hugely beneficial. The most you can get out of them is the ability to carve out time for yourself and focus on one thing at a time – two of the most important skills within mindfulness. There are a wide range of books available about the practice of meditation and mindfulness, which means that there’s bound to be something suited to your individual needs and wishes.

Best Mindfulness Books for Beginners

If you’ve never read a book on mindfulness before, then this section is perfect for you. It covers everything from how to start practising mindfulness techniques to how to apply mindfulness in day-to-day life. These books cover topics like:

  • How to start cultivating mindfulness in your own life
  • Daily, easy and quick mindfulness practices
  • Tips to make your practice fit you

Real-World Mindfulness for Beginners: Navigate Daily Life One Practice at a Time by Brenda Salgado

Sharon Salzberg, author of two New York Times bestselling books, “Loving-Kindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness” and “Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation: A 28 Day Program” says this book offers “practical mindfulness techniques from a wonderful range of wise voices.” Brenda Salgado is a mindfulness teacher, author, and professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Exploring timeless topics like grief, loss, anxiety, stress, and how to manage painful habit patterns, this book provides easy-to-understand knowledge of the basics of mindfulness and easy-to-apply techniques that will be helpful to newcomers to mindfulness.

The Mindful Way Workbook: An 8-Week Program to Free Yourself from Depression and Emotional Distress by John D. Teasdale, Mark Williams, Zindel V. Segal, and Jon Kabat-Zinn 

Created by a star-studded cast of mindfulness experts, this book presents a complete eight-week plan that will help you tackle depression, anxiety, and stress using mindfulness exercises. This carefully-designed text aims to teach readers effective new ways of reacting to their thoughts and feelings, with ideas taken from practices like Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. Mark Williams is a forerunner of trusted MBCT research and development; his text Mindfulness. A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World Book offers another route into this subject. In addition to specific mindfulness practices for you to try each week, the authors include reflection questions, tools for keeping track of progress and tips from others who experienced and benefitted from the program.

Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life by Dr Lilian Cheung and Thich Nhat Hanh

Written by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, a global spiritual leader, poet, and peace activist (revered around the world for his pioneering mindfulness teachings), and Harvard nutritionist Dr. Lilian Cheung, “Savor” shows us how Mindful Eating can help us have a better relationship with food. The book explores how a more conscious and mindful approach to eating, and a more general focus on present moment awareness can transform our day-to-day lives. Savor shows us how to easily practise mindfulness throughout our daily lives, from our eating habits to our exercise routines.

Wherever You Go There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn

This book on mindfulness takes us on a journey towards a richer way of experiencing life. Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society, describes the concept of mindfulness meditation as a scientifically established practice that can help reduce stress, improve cognitive function, and increase awareness. You can do the exercises in the book anytime, anywhere, and the text is intended to be read by anyone, regardless of what stage of their meditation journey they’re on.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Rupi Kaur’s collection of honest mindful poems is a perfect addition to your nightstand for simple mindful poetry practice in your daily life. They are a collection of honest everyday experiences that help you contemplate your own experiences and ground yourself in the present moment. 

Best Books on the Science of Mindfulness

These books are great if you want to delve deeper into the science of mindfulness.

They explain:

  • What mindfulness means
  • Why it works
  • How we can use it to improve our lives

Many of the writers and editors of these books are world-renowned experts, so if you are a wellness practitioner looking for material to bolster your work or just someone looking for help in understanding mindfulness fully, these books are a great place to start. 

Mindfulness and Psychotherapy by Editors Christopher Germer, Ronald D. Siegel and Paul R. Fulton

This book provides a comprehensive introduction to mindfulness and its clinical applications. A growing body of treatment studies, neuroscientific research, and philosophical ideas are reviewed in this volume. Leading researchers and practitioners present simple ways to implement mindfulness practices in a therapeutic relationship with patients suffering from depression, anxiety, chronic pain, negative thinking, and other problems. They demonstrate various mindfulness practices for acceptance and empathy with easy-to-read illustrative case examples and practice exercises. Although, if you fancy learning some more about mindfulness before buying this book, check out our article on quick mindfulness exercises.

Sitting Together: Essential Skills for Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy by Susan M. Pollak, Thomas Pedulla, and Ronald D. Siegel

Susan M. Pollak is a private practice clinical psychologist and a long-time meditation and yoga practitioner who has demonstrated the benefits of mindfulness meditation practices in clinical settings since the 1980s. Using this amazing book and practical guide, therapists of virtually any specialism can choose and adapt a variety of mindfulness exercises, with each meditation technique having a different application or use. Using real-life examples, the authors demonstrate how to incorporate the practices into therapy, tailoring them to the patient’s needs, and overcoming obstacles. Guided meditations are provided that develop focused attention, mindfulness, and compassion acceptance. 

The Art and Science of Mindfulness: Integrating Mindfulness Into Psychology and the Helping Professions by Dr. Shauna Shapiro

Dr Shauna Shapiro is a clinical psychologist and a standout figure when it comes to clinical research into mindfulness. She has written 150 journal articles, two critically acclaimed books that have been translated into 14 languages (“Rewire Your Mind: Discover the science and practice of mindfulness“), and her TedTalk on the power of mindfulness is considered one of the all-time top ten TedTalks on mindfulness. This book outlines the most powerful practices for living a happy, meaningful life, and helps readers construct new neuropathways of clarity and calmness.

Best Selling Mindfulness Books Ever

Now, it’s time to look at some of the best-selling mindfulness books ever written. These texts have been translated into many languages and are used all over the world, covering everything about mindfulness including its origins, the science behind it, and ways to act mindfully in everyday life. Let’s look into them.

The Little Book of Being: Practices and Guidance for Uncovering Your Natural Awareness by Diana Winston

Diana Winston is an author, mindfulness educator, and Director of Mindfulness Education at UCLA. In her book, Winston teaches you the best practices and exercises to discover this free-flowing and dynamic side of mindfulness, natural awareness. 72 mini-chapters help you explore natural awareness to help you find moments of peace and connections to your true nature. 

The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness: How Mindfulness Can Change Your Life in Ten Minutes a Day by Andy Puddicombe 

Andy Puddicombe, an ex-Buddhist Monk who trained and practised throughout East Asia, India, Australia, and Russia, is the founder of mindfulness app Headspace. He wrote this book in 2011 to expand on the teachings of the meditation app and show people how to cultivate a daily mindfulness practice. 

Mindfulness Essentials Series by Thich Nhat Hanh

The Zen Master, Vietnamese Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Hanh, created this series of 9 books to cover various essential topics within mindfulness. Focus points include How to Sit, How to Eat, How to Love, How to Walk, How to Relax, How to Fight, How to See, How to Connect and How to Focus. This is a perfect series for long-time practitioners and newcomers to mindfulness alike to brush up on the basics of mindfulness and develop your skills. 

Best Mindfulness Books of 2022

Here’s a list of the top mindfulness books of 2022 so far! Some of these books came out last year, but, they’re gaining a great reputation this year for being the best new books on mindfulness according to leading experts. 

Sit Down to Rise Up: How Radical Self-Care Can Change the World by Shelly Tygielski and Chelsea Handler

An empowering book on propelling profound social change by going inward, Sit Down to Rise Up was written by a mindfulness teacher and activist who has turned her personal experience into practice.  Shelly Tygielski shows that self-care through mindfulness can be a powerful tool for spurring transformative collective community-led action. Finding true health and peace is not a solo endeavour but one that allows us to live in connection with others. 

The Little Book of Zen: Sayings, Parables, Meditations & Haiku: Sayings, Parables, Meditations & Haiku Paperback by David Schiller

David Schiller is an author and public speaker with a prolific 30-year career in translating and researching Ruism or Confucianism. The Little Book of Zen focuses on exploring a quiet, mindful perspective on the world. Each page includes a statement, expression, story, koan, haiku, sonnet, or essays explaining Zen expressions by leading experts.

Turning the Page

In today’s article, we’ve explored books about pretty much everything related to mindfulness. Whether you’re interested in the historical origins or spiritual paths connected to the practice, the scientific research supporting it, or the best ways to see mindfulness’ benefits, there’s an amazing book out there for you. It could be a traditional book for novices and beginners or an instructional book for professionals, practitioners, and clinicians — either way, we’ve got you covered.

We’ve looked at some Buddhist texts and considered the religious roots of mindfulness, although many of these books are totally secular and focused on a wide variety of aspects of mindfulness. There are an endless amount of creative exercises in these books to start your mindfulness journey now; just dive in and give it a go!

Do you feel like you need a supportive community to help this journey? MindOw’s online community offers a hugely beneficial network of like-minded people looking to reap the rewards of meditation. You can join the community here and enjoy the benefits of a wide range of meditation resources, online discussions, and expert guidance.

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With rising temperatures, worrisome droughts, and looming environmental issues, it’s perfectly normal to feel sad, anxious, angry, and powerless. 😔

In times like this, mindfulness and self-awareness can be crucial in your ability to cope with fear. Here are 3 tips to help manage your climate anxiety:

🌍 Practice acceptance, not denial - accept you can't change the world on your own, only your tiny role within it
🌍 Try not to feel responsible for others - concentrate on your own journey.
🌍 Reduce your carbon footprint - take pride in lifestyle changes that you make. 

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The greatest challenges we experience are often also our greatest teachers. 

If you’re repeatedly experiencing the same challenge, know that it is there not to push you down or hold you back, but to teach and strengthen you. 💪

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Fear is often the thing that holds us back most from developing a deeper self-knowledge and awareness in our lives:

🌖 We fear being vulnerable.
🌗 We fear change.
🌘 We fear the truth.
🌑 We fear being wrong.

In moments that you feel fear creeping up on you, or notice it holding you back, take a moment to question your fear and ask yourself if your fear is truly serving you.

If you're interested in reading more on self-awareness and fear, check out last week's article on our blog. 🦉

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