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on 30 April 2012
Andy Puddicombe, a former Buddhist monk, is recognized as the UK's foremost mindfulness meditation expert. He shares powerful excises, stories and techniques to help calm the chatter in the mind in "Get Some Headspace: How Mindfulness Can Change Your Life in Ten Minutes a Day."
He says meditation isn't about becoming a different person. It's about training in awareness, understanding how and why we think and feel the way we do and getting a healthy sense of perspective in the process.
He was drawn to meditation or "headspace" in his early 20s because he felt his mind was permanently switched on, going round and round like a washing machine. In addition to his 'busy head' he felt as though he was always drifting into unnecessary worry, frustration and sadness.
He says he prefers the word 'headspace' because it describes the underlying sense of peace and contentment no matter what emotion might be at play. He says mindfulness is the ability to be present, meditation is the best way to learn the skill and 'headspace' is the outcome.
The theme of "Get Some Headspace" is awareness and an understanding of ourselves and others. It's about developing a gentle curiosity: watching, noticing and observing what's happening in every aspect of our life. It's about finding a sense of ease with ourselves right now, choosing how we see life and how we communicate and relate with others, cultivating kindness, compassion and appreciation towards ourselves and others and developing greater dedication, balance, equanimity, acceptance, presence and composure.
Andy says there are three components of mindfulness training: understanding how to "approach" the technique, how to behave while "practicing" the technique and how to "integrate" that quality of mind into everyday life.
I found Andy's metaphors for the mind helpful. He says the underlying essence of our mind is like a clear blue sky. When the mind is busy with thoughts and feelings the sky is temporarily obscured by the "clouds." He says the blue sky is the headspace. It's always there. Meditation is not about keeping all the clouds at bay. It's more about setting up a deck chair and watching the clouds roll by. It's resting the mind. It's not trying, not doing, just being.
A second helpful image is the mind being like a wild stallion. We need to take it slowly, be gentle and give the horse all the space it needs until it comes to a natural space of rest. If the horse struggles, just loosen the rope again slightly and gently repeat the process.
A third image is a very still clear pool of water. If we throw a pebble in the water it creates a ripple on the surface and it takes awhile for the water to settle. The pool reflects the surface of our minds. If we throw many pebbles in the water it stirs up the bottom and it's impossible to see anything at all. There's no clarity.
If we experience physical discomfort during meditation another helpful exercise is to imagine it's the discomfort of a person we care about. It's an act of extraordinary generosity to sit with their discomfort so they don't have to.
Andy says meditating just ten minutes a day increases productivity, clarity and focus, reduces stress and anxiety, and helps with weight loss, improves sleep and personal relationships.
"Get Some Headspace" (building mind-fitness) also brings us the extraordinary science behind mindfulness meditation. The research shows there is increased blood flow and physical changes in the part of the brain brain that helps to control emotions and behavior. Studies show mindfulness training can be an effective treatment for addictions and eating disorders, enhance peak performance in stressful circumstances, halve the time it takes to get to sleep, improve cognitive skills and alertness, activate parts of the brain related to happiness and reduce the intensity of negative emotions, anxiety and the harmful effects of stress. Mindfulness lowers blood pressure and heart rate and increases oxygen consumption.
"Get Some Headspace" is a must read for beginners and seasoned mindfulness students. I highly recommend this book.
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on 20 March 2015
This book gives a lot of insight into more effective ways to try out meditation if you are new to it. There are a lot of things explained in a way that is very easy to understand. The meditation techniques are simple to remember, especially for me as my memory is really bad. It's helped me and my partner who can't sleep. Once you read it you'll feel so much better. I know I do! I'd also recommend getting the headspace app and trying the 'Take10' which is 10minutes of guided meditation for 10days. Amazing!!
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on 17 June 2011
This is the best book on meditation and mindfulness ever written, BY FAR. It is easy to read, free from complex jargon and very engaging.The book is highly motivating, funny and interesting. Andy shares his own experiences of life including time spent as a monk. At no time did I feel that I needed to follow a religious path to benefit from meditation. Everyone can find ten minutes a day to follow this programme. Challenges in meditation are discussed and each challenge is reduced to a speck of dust rather than a mountain to climb. I love the way that Andy sets out the ten minute technique but then goes on to tell the reader how to apply the principles of mindfulness in every day life. This is the first book that I have read that accomplishes both with ease. This book can change your life or...... show you how to do that! Thanks Andy. ( I am off to take Ten) The first few times I tried the 10 minute meditation I found myself CONCENTRATING on my breathing rather than becoming aware. The technique asks that one becames aware of one's breathing and suggests that ones counts 1 on the first inbreath and 2 on the first outbreath etc. up to 10 and then back to one again. I was focusing far too much on the counting rather than a gentle awareness of the breathing. I hope that helps.
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on 28 December 2011
I purchased this book after completing the online meditations (take 10 and take 15) to enhance my practice.
Andy's book interweaves personal stories with meditation techniques and tips.
Loved this and enjoyed enhancing my practice.
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on 7 September 2014
I bought this book as it was cheap and its style appealed to me as a way of teaching myself meditation also known as mindfulness although the two are not the same thing as Andy explains. Andy's great qualification for writing this book is ,as he says, that he has made all the mistakes in teaching himself meditation. He takes you through the process step by step explaining things with anecdotes in homage to the teachers who mentored him. Although originating from Buddhist practice the word Buddhism I don't think appears at all.I have read it more often than I can remember and almost know it by heart. As Andy says the effects of meditation are 'subtle,intangible but profound' and i have no reason to doubt that. If there is one book Iwas asked to recommend for someone wanting to teach himself meditatio it would be this one.I can truely say this is one book that changed my life.
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on 1 June 2011
I had been thinking about meditation for quite some time but have been put off by some of the 'spiritual' books out there. I found this an excellent book to get started with. It helped to demystify what meditation actually is and from it, I have a practice which I can bring into my daily life. Excellent stuff!
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on 9 June 2011
The stories that Andy has written brought me tears of both laughter and sadness. Reading about Andy's transformation from uni student to buddhist monk was a very interesting journey to follow! The stories are really inspiring and certainly have helped me to be more mindful in life. I'm really getting a lot out of the techniques that are taught in the book - they are incredibly clear and concise...just what is needed in today's crazy lifestyle! I'll definitely read the book again - it's great to go back and refer to. Thanks Andy!
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on 7 March 2016
Fantastic book and using this alongside the app has helped calm my mind no end. I have tried others previously but everything that Andy writes about just seems to make sense to me-although I do understand everyone will be different! I actually look forward to getting a bit of 'headspace' everyday whether it is by reading this book or listening to the app. Was nervous about trying at first but it hasn't let me down and has aided me in calming my anxiety
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on 26 October 2013
I have now read this book cover to cover, with great difficulty, as I was so bored by it. It purports to be a book about teaching Mindfulness, but most of it is a straight forward autobiography. Which although interesting, is not what I thought I was buying. I have learned absolutely nothing from this book, and am cross with myself for going against my own judgement of giving up on a book of this type if it is not teaching me something. The book is over 200 pages long, but one has to get to page 90 before there is anything resembling instruction. Even then it is still really Andy Puddicombe relating his experience as a Monk..
There are so many positive reviews of this book, and that's why I bought it, but for me, there are better books out there.....

Since leaving this review, I have found an amazing book on Mindfulness here on Amazon. It's called "Full Catastrophe Living" how to cope with stress, pain and illness using mindfulness meditation, by Jon Kabat-Zin. A friend loaned me her copy, but I am so interested by it, that I wanted my own. It's a big book, but very easy to read, and in layman's language. AND the exercises are at the beginning!! I highly recommend it......
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on 4 December 2014
Having used the Headspace app for 6 months I decided to buy the book to learn more about meditation and mindfulness. Much of the information you learn on the app is repeated but it is good to have it to refer back to. I also really enjoyed learning more about Andy's life and how he co-founded Headspace.
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