What are some practical mindfulness books for everyday living?

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If you have been following me on Instagram you have probably noticed that I’ve got through a fair share of books recently. Over the past few weeks, I have read several more useful ones on meditation, mindfulness and general well-being. These have generally been more applicable than the books mentioned in the previous post I wrote. These recent reads have been related to:

  • Sport
  • Stresses in modern life
  • The concepts of control and reality

Written below is a brief rundown of the six books that I read. Of these, there are three real standouts that have offered greater insight into practicing mindfulness and how to approach emotions, conscious thinking and general well-being. They come highly recommended and not just by me; see below.

Sport

The Mindful Athlete: Secrets to Pure Performance – George Mumford

The value of practicing mindfulness in a competitive sport.

The Mindful Athlete George Mumford

George Mumford is a mindfulness coach who has worked with some of NBA’s biggest stars: Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and a number of other NBA players and teams.

In this book, the overarching benefits of practicing mindfulness are explained in the field of sport. Many references are made to popular cultural icons like Bruce Lee and other mindfulness texts. I later read two of the books mentioned: The Inner Game of Tennis and Strangers to Ourselves (see below).

It is one of those books you can zip through quickly and as a motivational book this is great.¬†However, if you are after something more practical and based on sport, I’d recommend the book below.

Length: 258 pages

Goodreads Rating – 4.0/5

Kindle Version – Yes

Audio Book – Yes

The Inner Game of Tennis – W Timothy Gallwey

Both insightful and practical. This is a highly valuable read.

Whilst, The Inner Game of Tennis is a book about tennis it has a ton of value for non tennis players. There is a lot¬†to be¬†gained from reading this if you’re a professional poker player or gamer in particular.

For example, the book describes making the tennis ball the centre of your attention when you play so that you enter a more concentrated state. In poker this can be translated to the current action being the centre of your focus. So you can assimilate all the possible information that you can to make the best possible decisions.

If you’re a pro gamer you will take value from the insights that as human beings we learn best through visualisation and experience i.e. your game¬†can be¬†raised from watching better players play;¬†also from experiencing playing with better players.

There’s also some useful insights into how to approach being competitive. That is not from a perspective of “beating” or “crushing” the other person but from a perspective of giving your best to help the other player grow and develop their skills.

Length: 161 pages

Goodreads Rating – 4.2/5

Kindle Version – Yes

Audio Book – Yes

Stresses in Modern Life

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression – J. Mark G. Williams, John D. Teasdale, and Zindel Segal

Incredibly valuable insights into how mindfulness can help us live more happily.

This¬†may be¬†a book written about depression and teaching¬†MBCT¬†but it’s a great resource for increasing and developing emotional intelligence. It’s full of many useful metaphors that help view thoughts, feelings and moods as separate to ourselves and reality.

The first part¬†can be¬†skipped if you’re not interested in how the authors arrived at constructing the¬†MBCT¬†programme. However there is a lot that to be absorbed here. One real eye-opener was learning that a “being” mode exists. That is we can operate in a mode that is altogether opposite to thinking and “problem-solving” mode: the mode we almost always operate in. And that “thinking” mode serves us well when we are in a neutral or happy state but ultimately fails when negative feelings have set in.

From reading this book, the reasons for practicing mindfulness became a lot clearer and coherent for me. Also, the guided meditations included are really valuable.

Length: 471 pages

Goodreads Rating – 4.26/5

Kindle Version – Yes

Audio Book – No

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for Dummies – Dr Patrizia Collard

Everyday uses and practices for mindfulness.

MBCT for Dummies for book for More Useful Mindfulness Books article

Dr Patrizia Collard is the lead instructor of the MBCT Teacher Training course that I am doing. There are many well thought out explanations about why mindfulness is beneficial in everyday modern life. These are clearly explained and come across well in audiobook format.

What I have to say is that given that I have already completed an MBSR¬†course and have had a regular daily meditation practice,¬†for¬†several months, the book didn’t offer me a lot of extra insight.

However, I can certainly see this being a valuable introduction to mindfulness for those earlier on in the journey.

Length: 384 pages

Goodreads Rating – 3.84/5

Kindle Version – Yes

Audio Book – Yes

Control and Reality

Monkeytraps – Steve Hauptman

I was recommended this book by a fellow Instagrammer, Bob,¬†a mindfulness counsellor, who called it a “game changer”. Having just read it I have to say I agree.

Monkeytraps book for More Useful Mindfulness Books article

Steve Hauptman is a clinical therapist that has developed or brought insight to a theory that all of our emotional turmoil is governed by a need for control.

It has one of the most captivating starts to a self-help book. With clever illustrations throughout that offer a clear understanding of what is taught. Steve is a great communicator using short snappy sentences to explain deep level concepts. There’s some insights here that I’m personally looking to apply.

This is a real hidden gem and deserves more awareness.

Length: 192 pages

Goodreads Rating – 4.67/5

Kindle Version – Yes

Audio Book – No

Strangers to Ourselves – Timothy Wilson

A detailed look into the human subconscious.

Strangers to Ourselves book for More Useful Mindfulness Books article

Timothy Wilson is a social psychologist and professor. In this book, Timothy explores the powerful nature of subconscious thinking. And how often we do not know ourselves very well.

The book reads more like an extended article than a regular self-help book. With detailed explorations into human behaviour.

From reading it, what’s clear is that Timothy is reluctant to offer practical methods for programming the¬†subconscious mind. Which is understandable as he likely¬†has a reputation¬†to hold up in academic circles.

There are only really two practical methods suggested: that is to journal and start to observe our behaviours more closely.

If you’re after practical advice I would pass this book over. But if you want a scholarly and well-educated perspective on human behaviour this would certainly be up your street.

Length: 273 pages

Goodreads Rating – 3.9/5

Kindle Version – Yes

Audio Book – Yes

The Top Picks

If you’ve fully read through this post then it will be clear the 3 books I most recommend are:

  1. Monkeytraps
  2. MBCT for Depression
  3. Inner Game of Tennis

What I found interesting (you might find unsurprising) after looking up the Goodreads ratings for these books is that they fall in line with how I rate them (I chose to read these books from recommendations and hadn’t looked at the Goodreads ratings until I wrote this blog post).

Going forward (when I find the time) my plan is to produce a podcast detailing the key takeaways from each of these books.

In the meantime if you want to stay up to date with what I’m reading the best place is to find me is on Instagram as I regularly share quick reviews and takeaways from what I’ve just read in my stories.