Mindfulness is a state of mind, like “Nirvana” or “Zen.” It’s a set of beliefs you completely digest and believe in to make a better person out of yourself. Mindfulness is the capability to become fully aware and present of the moment we’re in without being detached by pressure or emotions.
Most people think mindfulness is something you “conjure,” but it’s actually something we all have but might not readily be able to gain access to due to lack of practice.
The concept of mindfulness has gained popularity over the last few decades, and so have conferences, webinars, and books about mindfulness. Even big companies like Google have adopted a mindfulness practice or two to help their employees minimize their stress and anxiety while maintaining a high productivity level.
However, not many people are aware of the beneficial impact that practicing mindfulness can have on their lives, and that’s a real bummer. Understandably, it could be a little tough to grasp the concept, let alone find ways to implement it and integrate it into your everyday life.
That's why I highly recommend mindfulness books as a way to start practicing mindfulness. I've picked out the best mindfulness books on the market to help you better understand the meaning, process, and goals of the practice and have added a little summary of each. Let's delve right into them!
My Ultimate List of Mindfulness Books in 2020
I’ve gone through numberless mindfulness books to find you the most helpful ones. Some of them explain the “why” and “how” of mindfulness, while others give you a step-by-step guide on how to practice mindfulness and mindful meditation.
Some of them rely on real-life stories or examples, some rely on scientific research, and some make ties between the body and the mind. Whatever doubts or second thoughts you might have, read on to gain a better understanding and perhaps start practicing mindfulness yourself.
1. 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
The raw emotions and truth inside this book are what made me list it as the first on the list of the best mindfulness books. It’s like a memoir of Dan Harris’ journey toward becoming a better person, and the fact that it’s so real makes it one of the best books for mindfulness and learning all about meditation and mindfulness practices.
To fight against a world that perpetually tries to put us under stress and anxiety to drive us to fuel its benefits, Harris tries to explain how mindfulness can help you remain compassionate and lead a fulfilling life.
If you're like me and enjoy reading about concepts only when someone has tried them out and proven them successful, you'll absolutely love what 10% Happier offers.
2. Make Peace With Your Mind: How Mindfulness and Compassion Can Free You From Your Inner Critic by Mark Coleman
Mark Coleman knows very well how each of us has an inner voice, always telling them they’re not good enough, not doing well enough, could have been doing better, and what have you. This is why he’s incredibly compassionate and truly understands those low moments where you’re second-guessing and doubting your value.
This is one of the mindfulness books that teach you how to manage your inner thoughts, channel your emotions, and get on top of your game. Given that he’s a meditation teacher and therapist, Mark Coleman knows exactly how to help readers with mindfulness through compassion.
In each chapter, he goes through how the inner critic is created, and by understanding how it comes to be, the reader learns how to handle it with maturity and calmness. He plays on the idea of neuroplasticity, which is the ability to form new neural networks in the brain to learn new behaviors and patterns.
And not only does he suffice with his own story, but his book offers real-life stories of people who he had helped guide toward practicing mindfulness regularly and effectively. The fact that Coleman’s narrative is informal and sounds like a close friend giving you genuine advice makes this one of the best mindfulness books discussing the topic.
Though both of them have “Harris” as a surname and have written some of the best mindfulness books, Sam and Dan Harris are not related. That’s except that their content, mindset, and helpfulness are!
However, this book is not as easy to wrap your head around as Dan’s. I’d recommend it for someone who’s had a bit of experience in the world of mindfulness and perhaps has read a couple of mindful books.
The way he sees it, a person must let go of his “self” or “ego” to actually lead a meaningful life. One must “wake up” from the state of being controlled by things like wanting to prove ourselves in certain aspects, and instead, focus on being better humans that are actively living life instead of going on autopilot.
It’s no secret that Sam Harris always questions what everyone else might perceive as “facts” to reach a better understanding of the world. This is why he addresses spirituality, which is often tied to religion, as something independent of religion.
This read is definitely one of the best books of mindfulness practices because its core concepts are actually applications of the concept.
Michael Singer believes in the power of one’s inner monologue. After all, it’s the sound that is continuously resounding in your head, all day, every day. This is why, in this mindfulness book, Singer focuses on directing this inner monologue toward a more beneficial direction that turns our “autopilot” mode into a more positive and peaceful standard.
What makes The Untethered Soul one of the best mindfulness books is that it encourages the readers to “observe” their thoughts as though they aren’t their own. This detachment can help you become ten times more mindful because the exercises it presents are calculated and clear, so it's a good place to start getting more informed on the topic of mindfulness.
This also helps you realize that your thoughts don’t define who you are, but rather indicate that you have an active mind. What defines you is which of these thoughts you choose to feed, pursue, and live by.
5. Declutter Your Mind: How to Stop Worrying, Relieve Anxiety, and Eliminate Negative Thinking by SJ Scott and Barrie Davenport
A mindfulness book that is actually a step-by-step guide to reaching higher mindfulness levels, how great does that sound? What makes Declutter Your Mind an incredible read on mindfulness is that it comes with mindfulness practices, tricks, and tactics that enable you to work out your “now” muscle.
SJ Scott and Barrie Davenport believe that regrets belong in the past, and anxiety belongs to the future, so you shouldn’t dwell on either and focus on the present moment.
You can do so by realizing plenty of concepts like the paradox of choice, negativity bias, stress, and the number of issues you have to worry about that are beyond your means. Those are the pillars of the clutter in the mind, and those are the things that Scott and Davenport try to deal with in the book.
They give advice on how to declutter your social relationships, obligations, and even your home and surroundings. It’s so well-written, integrated, and covers more or less all the questions anyone could have about mindfulness.
This is only one book of the many incredible Jon Kabat Zinn books on mindfulness meditation and mindfulness practices. It focuses on acceptance, a concept in mindfulness that is often overlooked and not given enough attention.
While each of us has their own issues relating to self-image, how people perceive us, and how to live a fulfilling life despite that, Jon Kabat Zinn finds that absolutely okay.
This book tries to tell you that it’s perfectly fine and actually normal to have these thoughts; the important thing is to envision the version of yourself you want to become and prepare groundwork on how to get to this version, starting with the present moment.
The book offers motivation and guidance to mindful meditation exercises and explains how and why mindfulness could change your life upside down, making it one of the best books on mindfulness for both beginners and well-seasoned meditators.
7. The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness: How Mindfulness Can Change Your Life in Ten Minutes a Day by Andy Puddicombe
You might have seen the Headspace app here or there, perhaps even used it and enjoyed it along with many users whom it helped find ways to reduce stress and anxiety. It comes with a 10-day mindfulness challenge that you can use to learn the principles of mindfulness or jog your memory if you already know them.
The focus on “slow and steady wins the race” is incredible as the book (and the app) encourage you to engage in mindfulness practices for only 10 minutes per day, and the biggest testament to how effective mindfulness is would be the world of difference you start noticing after.
This is one of the best books on mindfulness because it’s written by a former Buddhist monk. Andy Puddicombe has many years of experience when it comes to teaching mindfulness practices, which came after years of being busy and suffocating under the weight of everyday stresses.
It’s worth mentioning that Bill Gates has given this book 3 out of 5 stars with a fantastic review on goodreads.com, which speaks volumes on what this book has to offer in terms of reducing stress and improving the self.
In this book, Thich Nhat Hanh teaches us through stories and practices how to access and hone our mindfulness skills. Not only is it an interesting read, but it's also helpful and definitely leaves an impact.
This is because the book teaches you mindfulness through the most mundane tasks. Things you do every day like washing the dishes, talking to a friend, eating a tangerine, all become mindfulness practices with what Thich Nhat Hanh teachers.
Its main focus is introspection and making it your default. Thich Nhat even incorporates actual steps to help you reach an introspective mindfulness state, which makes it a great book for both those who are new to mindfulness practices and those who want to improve on their mindfulness.
9. Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Mark Williams and Danny Penman
Mark Williams and Danny Penman make it very clear in the title of this book that they understand how the nature of the modern world induces stress and that they’re on a quest to help you reach a state of peace in such a dynamic.
Mindfulness by Danny Penman and Mark Williams is one of the few mindfulness books that actually offers a step-by-step guide with details on how to get to mindfulness.
Not to mention, the duo is pioneering in the world of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), which is the primary topic that the book discusses. You’ll find plenty of simple and effective mindfulness practices that you can start implementing right here, right now, to reduce stress, anxiety, exhaustion, and depression.
I love this book because it puts science as a cornerstone of methodology, which helps the most skeptic of people rest assured that the content is meaningful, helpful, and, most importantly, actually works.
10. Full Catastrophe Living (Revised Edition): Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness by Jon Kabat-Zinn
This is not the first book by Jon Kabat Zinn that I mention on the list, but this book is definitely a lot heftier both in terms of actual size (a 650-page book) and in terms of information.
You should start reading Full Catastrophe Living after gaining the basic and introductory information on mindfulness from “Wherever You Go, There You Are.” With its size alone, this massive book showcases its message: doing something hard to get to easy living.
Besides the number of pages you’d have to go through, Kabat Zinn invites you to tackle another hefty task: spare 45 minutes per day to engage in mindfulness and mindful meditation. It also teaches you how to utilize mediation-based mind-body approaches to minimize anxiety, form a balance between your mind and body, as well as start healing.
Whether you’re dealing with chronic pain, persistent depression, or debilitating anxiety, this book will help you get to a better place through mindfulness. It incorporates the science of mindfulness with the stats about its practices to show you how effective mindfulness can be.
From the title, you can tell that Cure is one of the mindfulness books that focuses on forming a tie or a bond between the body and mind. It investigates our brain's impact on healing our body and how a damaged brain could make one's body more prone to illness or accelerated aging.
While everyone knows that anxiety and stress could negatively affect your health (we’ve all suffered some hair loss or burnout after a stressful week at work), we hardly try to think about the positive effects a relaxed brain with healing thoughts could have.
Jo Marchant tries to focus on how our emotions, beliefs, and mere thoughts could bring the physical damage that’s a result of mental damage to a halt, or even reverse its effects.
With studies that prove that mindfulness and mindfulness meditation could protect us against mental deterioration or diseases such as depression and dementia, how establishing strong social connections enhances our health, and how patients can recover faster from surgeries when they have reliable and solid support systems, this is among the books that completely change the way you think about mindfulness.
Though she was initially skeptical of the topic of mindfulness, Jo well explains with clear compassion and backed-up research on how mindfulness works as a placebo and can transform your healing journey through life.