21 Of The Best Books On Mindfulness That Are Life-Altering
I don't say this lightly.
In fact, there are very few personal growth trends that I would describe this way — although this “trend” has been around for thousands of years.
So here is my proclamation: the practice of mindfulness is life-altering. And it's trending.
Even the military has incorporated mindfulness to help soldiers with stress reduction and pain management.
Why Is Mindfulness Trending?
According to the American Mindfulness Research Association, the number of papers published about mindfulness in journals had a phenomenal rise from 10 in the year 2000 to almost 700 in 2016.
Why the recent surge in interest in this ancient practice? Mainly because scientists have been conducting a tremendous amount of research on mindfulness meditation practice.
Researchers are confirming the myriad of benefits that mindfulness practitioners have been advocating for ages, dating back to the Hindu traditions of Vedantism around 1500 BCE.
Mindfulness meditation helps people overcome many health-related issues including stress, high blood pressure, heart disease, substance abuse, and depression — as well as enhance mental capabilities like creativity, abstract thinking, and memory. (And if you'd like to learn more about mindfulness, then I recommend checking out these quotes on mindfulness.)
Mindfulness is a broad description that incorporates many types of meditation, as well as other practices like yoga, breathing, and practicing awareness and focus in everything you do.
Simply being present and attentive in your work, relationships, and even the basic tasks of your day can boost your sense of gratitude, joy, and contentment in life.
21 of the Best Books on Mindfulness
If you need more convincing that mindfulness is life-altering, check out this mindfulness post. But if you're ready to explore the practice, I've got some great books for you.
1. You Are Here: Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment, by Thich Nhat Hanh
The beloved Buddhist teacher and author, Thich Nhat Hanh, was my first introduction to mindfulness. In this beautiful book, he offers an introduction to the practice of presence by offering a range of simple, everyday practices for cultivating mindfulness.
His belief, steeped in the traditions of Buddhism, is that mindfulness can “transform our suffering, both within us and around us, into compassion, tenderness, and peace.” This book should be on every practitioner's shelf.
2. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, by Eckhart Tolle
Eckhart Tolle was one of the first to launch mindfulness practices into the mainstream consciousness with this book.
This book was propelled by word of mouth, only to become one of the bestselling mindfulness books of all time.
Tolle explains in a clear, fresh, and supportive way exactly what living in the now means and how to achieve that in daily life. He can explain complex concepts in easy-to-understand language, leading us on a clear path to peace and happiness.
3. Mindfulness for Beginners: Reclaiming the Present Moment and Your Life, by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Jon Kabat-Zinn is a teacher, scientist, and clinician who first demonstrated the benefits of mindfulness within mainstream Western medicine.
He is a pioneer in mindfulness-based stress reduction.
For those who want a clear, more science-based approach to mindfulness, this is your book. The pragmatic insights and applications are a great introduction to mindfulness.
4. Mindfulness in Plain English, by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana
Henepola Gunaratana is a monk from Sri Lanka and venerated teacher of Buddhism. In this book, which has sold over a quarter of a million copies, he lays out the fundamentals of basic Buddhist meditation, the how, what, where, when, and why, including common problems and how to deal with them.
Says one of the hundreds of five star reviewers, “This book tells you what meditation is and what it isn’t. If you have an allergy to the word meditation, this is probably the book to start with because as the title indicates, it’s in plain English. There’s very little of the type of lingo that tends to turn a lot of people away from meditation.”
5. Peace of Mindfulness: Everyday Rituals to Conquer Anxiety and Claim Unlimited Inner Peace, by Barrie Davenport
Modern life is so filled with distractions, complications, and stressors that it's no wonder so many people are dealing with debilitating anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
In this book, I teach practical, daily exercises in mindfulness that you can realistically incorporate into your life to help you manage the demands of life.
Whether you’re coping with stress and anxiety, or you simply want to increase self-awareness and contentment, the skills taught in Peace of Mindfulness meet you exactly where you are — in your home, your work, your simple daily tasks.
6. Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World, by Mark Williams and Danny Penman
This book is based on Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), which is a straightforward form of mindfulness meditation which takes just a few minutes a day to reap the benefits. It helps you break the cycle of anxiety and stress in your life.
MBCT has been clinically proven to be at least as effective as drugs for depression and is widely recommended by US physicians and the UK's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.
It has been proven to work for those who are not depressed but who are struggling with the constant demands and stresses of modern life. The book includes links to audio meditations to help guide you through the process.
In this amazing book that combines science and psychology, mindfulness expert Hugh Byrne gives you powerful mindfulness practices based in neuroscience to help you rewire your brain to break the bad habits holding you back from a meaningful life.
This is a powerful application of mindfulness that can help you develop new, healthy habits that will make you more successful and happy.
By paying attention to your thoughts and actions in the moment, you’ll discover how to let go of old patterns and create healthier habits.
8. Declutter Your Mind: How to Stop Worrying, Relieve Anxiety, and Eliminate Negative Thinking, by S.J. Scott and Barrie Davenport
We all experience occasional negative thoughts. But if you always feel overwhelmed, then you need to closely examine how these thoughts are negatively impacting your lifestyle.
The solution is to practice mindfulness techniques that create more “space” in your mind to enjoy inner peace and happiness. With these habits, you'll have the clarity to prioritize what's most important in your life, what no longer serves your goals, and how you want to live on a daily basis.
The goal of this book is simple: We will teach you the habits, actions, and mindsets to clean up the mental clutter that's holding you back from living a meaningful life.
9. How to Meditate: A Practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Mind, by Pema Chodron
If you want to learn and develop a meditation practice, this book is a great place to start. When you look for a meditation teacher, you want someone who has walked the walk.
That's why American-born Tibetan nun, Pema Chödrön, is such a popular teacher. Her gentle yet straightforward guidance leads the way for both first-time and experienced meditators.
She explains the basics of meditation, as well as how moments of difficulty can become doorways to awakening. She teaches the art of stabilizing the mind to remain present with whatever arises.
10. Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness, by Diana Winston and Susan L. Smalley
Leading mindfulness researchers and educators, Dr. Sue Smalley and Diana Winston, provide a complete guide for those hoping to bring mindfulness to daily life to become calmer, happier, and more content.
Fully Present offers a scientific explanation for how mindfulness positively affects the brain and the body, as well as practical guidance to develop both a practice and mindfulness in daily living.
Says one five star reviews, “I read this book with an open mind. I tried the meditation practices for only a short time and have truly experienced life-changing results.”
11. Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everday Life, by Jon Kabat-Zinn
This time-tested book, written in 1994, has sold over 750,000 copies and has changed lives around the world by teaching mindfulness meditation.
Kabat-Zinn shows readers various meditation postures and ways to meditate, including visualization and concentrating on walking or standing.
He offers amusing anecdotes to illustrate how mindfulness can be applied in everyday life. He even covers parenting as a form of meditation.
Says one reader, “I recommend this book to anyone who has ever struggled with anxiety, panic, or self-worth issues. This practice gives you the ability to examine your own thought process without getting looped into any of your usual negative hang-ups.”
12. Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening, by Joseph Goldstein
In his book, author Joseph Goldstein shares his insights from over forty years' of teaching and mindfulness practice — lessons that can be transformative for anyone committed to mindful living.
Goldstein's source for the material in the book is the Satipatthana Sutta, the Buddha's discourse on the four foundations of mindfulness which are the basis for the many types of meditation found today.
In his book, Goldstein teaches how to develop four qualities of mind essential for walking the mindfulness path wisely. He also offers detailed information on mindfulness of the body, mindfulness of feelings, mindfulness of mind, and mindfulness of experience.
Says Dr. Tara Brach, “Author Joseph Goldstein, one of the most wise, lucid, and experienced teachers of our times, has written a book on mindfulness that calls forth the depth and power of classical Buddhist teachings.”
13. The Mindfulness Workbook for Anxiety: The 8-Week Solution to Help You Manage Anxiety, Worry, and Stress, by Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC
This eight-week workbook provides doable strategies for using mindfulness to cope with the daily events that cause anxiety and stress.
Peterson outlines simple mindfulness techniques to help you replace anxiety with peace and wellbeing.
Even if you have no previous experience with mindfulness, you will find that the practical exercises outlined in the book to be effective and offer lasting relief from the physical and emotional effects of anxiety.
Written in a clear, easy-to-follow format, The Mindfulness Workbook for Anxiety offers:
- An eight-week program for applying mindfulness to the root causes of your anxiety
- Daily instruction giving you the structure for specific mindfulness techniques
- Doable activities to help you manage and decrease your anxiety symptoms
14. 10-Minute Mindfulness: 71 Habits for Living in the Present Moment, by Barrie Davenport and S.J. Scott
This book is for anyone who recognizes the need to improve their focus, productivity, happiness, and peace of mind. Davenport and Scott show you how to anchor yourself in the present moment, even if it's for just a few minutes at a time.
Not only can you choose from a selection of 71 mindfulness habits, you will also discover the practical tools to turn these actions into automatic behaviors. These new habits will take you from morning to evening, so you can practice mindfulness any time of day.
In 10-Minute Mindfulness, you can “choose your own adventure,” and pick the mindfulness habits that will have the biggest positive impact on your life.
15. The Little Book of Mindfulness, 10 Minutes a Day to Less Stress, More Peace, by Patrizia Collard
Collard shows you how to create simple, short mindfulness practices and use them throughout your day to calm stress and find more peace in your life.
This beautifully illustrated book will get you started on the path to a more mindfulness so you can enjoy a more peaceful and relaxed life.
Says one reader, “I was looking for an introductory book on mindfulness. This is it! In addition to the beautiful illustrations and wonderful meditations, there are also exercises to stretch both the body and the mind. This is a simple approach to a lifelong practice.”
16. The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself, by Michael A. Singer
With this transformative bestselling book, you will discover how to end to the habitual thoughts and emotions that limit your consciousness.
By focusing on the traditions of meditation and mindfulness, author and spiritual teacher Michael A. Singer shows you how to develop your consciousness so you can dwell in the present moment and release painful thoughts and memories holding you back from happiness and self-realization.
Says Deepak Chopra, “In the book The Untethered Soul, Michael A. Singer takes you step-by-step through the process of Gyana, the yoga of the Intellect, to the Source. Moreover, he does it with elegant simplicity. Read this book carefully, and you will get more than a glimpse of eternity.”
17. The Mindfulness Journal: Daily Practices, Writing Prompts, and Reflections for Living in the Present Moment, by Barrie Davenport and S.J. Scott
Using The Mindfulness Journal, you can build a mindfulness habit that makes you appreciate every single day.
The journal provides 365 daily writing prompts divided into 52 weekly mindfulness topics. This gives you seven days to fully immerse yourself in each topic.
Also, the prompts are unique enough so you'll never feel bored while journaling. These prompts are fun, engaging, and will help you gain an appreciation for the world around you.
Each prompt is on its own separate page, so you'll have lots of room for reflection and space to write down ALL your thoughts.
After having a nationally televised panic attack, Nightline anchor and ABC News anchor Dan Harris begins an adventure to find happiness.
Assigned as the spirituality reporter for ABC, he begins a journey that involves interviewing spiritual leaders and gurus and ultimately finds a solution for his own life difficulties.
He learns that the cause of his problems was “The incessant, insatiable voice in his head, which had propelled him through the ranks of a hypercompetitive business, but had also led him to make the profoundly stupid decisions that provoked his on-air freak-out.”
Harris discovers the power of mindfulness and meditation, even for those who are skeptics (including himself), and reveals how his discovery changed his life and can change yours.
19. Peace is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life, by Thich Nhat Hanh
Another powerful book by Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step shows us how to make positive use of the events and situations that tend to stress and antagonize us.
A traffic jam can be a reminder to be more present. An annoying person is a call to be compassionate and kind. He shows us how clarity, inner peace, and joy can be possible in your daily life, even in the most uncomfortable aspects of it.
This book contains commentaries, meditations, personal anecdotes and stories from Thich Nhat Hanh's experiences as a peace activist, teacher, and community leader.
20. Real World Mindfulness for Beginners: Navigate Daily Life One Practice at a Time, by Brenda Salgato
Salgato's book is for those who are new to mindfulness and are having trouble with stresses and anxieties of daily life.
Brenda Salgado is a mindfulness advocate and founder of The Nepantla Center for Healing and Renewal. Her book is a curated collection of mindfulness practices to show you how to find the inner strength to handle life’s challenges.
Says one reader, “What a beautiful offering. I love all the diversity of ways for one to begin their mindfulness practice. I'd recommend it for both beginners and those who want to add more variation to their practice(s).”
20. Aware: The Science and Practice of Presence–The Groundbreaking Meditation Practice, by Daniel Siegel
This new book from New York Times bestselling author Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., introduces readers to his pioneering, science-based meditation practice.
Siegel teaches readers how to master the Wheel of Awareness, a life-changing tool for cultivating more focus, presence, and peace in day-to-day life.
He reveals powerful techniques to help you embrace the principle “Where attention goes, neural firing flows, and neural connection grows.” Aware is a hands-on guide to show you how to become more focused and present, as well as more energized and emotionally resilient.
21. Mindful Relationship Habits: 25 Practices for Couples to Enhance Intimacy, Nurture Closeness, and Grow a Deeper Connection, by Barrie Davenport and SJ Scott
Mindfulness can apply to all areas of your life, and one of the most important areas is your marriage or love relationship.
In a mindful relationship, you are intentional about all your choices and interactions with your partner. You become more proactive in responding to each other's needs and less reactive to the challenges that often arise. You evolve to a higher level of interaction with one another.
The authors show you how to apply 25 specific mindfulness practices in your daily interactions. These habits will help you be more present with one another, communicate better, avoid divisive arguments, and understand how to respond to one another's needs in a more loving, empathic, and conscious way.
There's no doubt you'll find what you need in these books to begin a mindfulness practice or deepen an existing practice.
Pick one and commit to enhancing your life and improving your health through some daily form of mindfulness.
The changes you will see as a result will be life-altering, I promise.