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929 of 957 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple and effective techniques to fight depression
I've suffered from depression most of my adult life and in that time have been fighting it on numerous fronts: Antidepressants, exercise, dietary changes, CBT and of course enough self help books to start a small shop on the subject. But all of these have only helped with some of the symptoms, none have really cured my depression and none have gone to the heart of it and...
Published 24 months ago by Pete

45 of 51 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Link To mp3 audio downloads should be made crystal clear from the start?
I've purchased two versions of this book for Kindle having read some very promising reviews of the contents, only to stumble across a few reviews which complained of the thing being pointless without the C.D.

As usual, contacting Amazon came up with a very quick refund for the basic edition and I downloaded the "enhanced," edition, not fully understanding that...
Published on 4 Mar 2012 by Wildheart

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929 of 957 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple and effective techniques to fight depression, 30 July 2012
Pete (Ipswich United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I've suffered from depression most of my adult life and in that time have been fighting it on numerous fronts: Antidepressants, exercise, dietary changes, CBT and of course enough self help books to start a small shop on the subject. But all of these have only helped with some of the symptoms, none have really cured my depression and none have gone to the heart of it and shown me WHY I am depressed.

I had read in numerous places that meditation was considered beneficial and a particular branch of this, "mindfulness", even more so. But my first experiences with this subject were not good. Having bought the Dummies guide initially, it certainly had many "Aha!" moments but no structure and like most self help books soon went back on the shelf and out of memory. Then I tried a guided meditation CD which whilst considered one of the best in the field it was just too long - I can manage to stay awake for maybe 10 minutes at most when relaxing in this manner and I dare say anyone else on medication for depression would be the same. So that became a useful tool to help me sleep but nothing else.

This book was different. I'll be blunt, I nearly didn't buy it, having become jaded with the whole self-help philosophy but the good reviews and above all the ridiculously low price made this worth the risk. What this book does is give a formal structure - an 8 week course - to the whole idea of mindfulness, plus it gets you going with some very sensible length guided meditations on the CD. With most of these well under 10 minutes, the chances of nodding off are greatly diminished and the typical objections such as "I don't have time" are overcome. And let's be frank about this, if you're suffering from depression and feeling low, you CAN justify 10 minutes a day to try and fight it.

But talk about one huge red herring! Like many, I thought meditation was sitting cross-legged and staring into space. Whilst to an outsider this might appear to be what you are doing for some of this course (well apart from the cross-legged bit, you can sit or lie however you like) what's actually happening inside your head is remarkable. For more information on this you need to be careful to look up psychological mindfulness rather than the religious one, since there is virtually no reference to any religion in this course; this is not a course about Buddhism or any practice designed to enlighten you or take you to God.

What this is all about is giving you the tools to gently, carefully, see how your entire thought processes work. To use an analogy, imagine you have been living in a City all your life and this book takes you for a walk up a nearby hill, letting you look back on the scene and giving you a view you never had before. And it's as easy as going for a walk - just practice the mindfulness exercises in the book and on the CD - then things click. Yes, you may feel silly to start with (I did), yes you might think you're rubbish at meditating (I am), yes some of the exercises do elicit a feeling of "What's the point?" but stick with it, slowly but surely you are changing the way you look at life and more importantly, starting to detach yourself from the self-destructive thought processes which contribute to or even, as in my case, actually seed your depression.

How can something so gentle work so well? Everyone has their own view on this. Personally, I think the main power of this type of course is that YOU have to do the work. Yes, you really do need to do this every day and that won't suit everyone. But when you do, what you discover is self-discovered, you learn and heal by direct experience of something tangible, rather than blindly believing or accepting something you're told (which is the premise of many self help books, especially ones promising quick fixes).

The irony about this book is this: The worse you think you are at meditating the better mindfulness is! Because the other red herring is the whole foundation of mindfulness (coming into the present and freeing yourself from the shackles of the past and the worry of the future) is built on seeing what's going wrong in our heads, where our thought processes get screwed up. And how do we discover this? By failing at meditation and then gently and compassionately thinking "Ah, I can see I've wandered off track" - and repeating this over and over, seeing first and then understanding later how this process works. How the mind and our thoughts work and take us away from the moment we live in - this moment. How our whole life is a train of thoughts that just keep coming but one which we can learn to control. It's about switching off the autopilot.

So does it work? For me, yes. This is the first treatment in my whole adult life (I'm 40 now) which unlocked the root causes of my illness. It happened one morning in the shower actually just three days into this course. I was starting to run over some event that happened many years ago, reshaping it into something that might happen in the future, getting very negative about the whole thing, my mind running on and on. I remembered one of the exercises in the first week, to do something mindful as it teaches you to do. Then I saw it - I saw my depressive, negative thoughts from the outside. For the first time, I was no longer IN my thoughts, being that depressive and anxious person, I was seeing the whole process from the outside. From then, over the 8 weeks, this idea and concept was refined and re-enforced.

The book actually went further than this, but I am reluctant to waffle on too much about my experiences because it will sound too good to be true! Let's just say I have never been happier and my whole life experience has become the opposite of depression - I have been given new eyes. I should point out that I do this course now on a rolling basis, having first started seven months ago. I wanted to wait this long before reviewing since I still retained some concern it might be a temporary fix, but it does seem to have rewired many faulty parts of my life on a permanent basis.

The only thing this book lacks is any help or guidance on interacting with the same people who only knew you as a depressed person. You may experience a growing gulf between yourself and those around you when you become aware of what's underneath and start to unlock the good things there. Trying to explain this all to friends and family - which you'll want to, you'll be excited - is hard work because the tangible results and feelings you get are difficult to explain in lay terms (you have to experience it to understand it). You may also find that other people cannot explain the fact you do actually smile a lot more - you're so happy - they can become defensive and please don't let this burst your bubble. Just remember: This is all about YOU.

It has also opened many doors to areas I was previously a skeptic to, notably spirituality and the concept of us (as in the "I", the person or soul inside) being separate from our thoughts which I personally believe is the key to getting a grip on depressive illness.

For anyone else interested after you have tried this course there are a couple of recommendations for further reading from Amazon. The first is "Untethered Soul" by Michael Singer. This approaches core concepts of mindfulness from a non-meditation perspective. If meditation is the gentle and flowing guide, then Untethered Soul is the street-fighter which will club you over the head; it pulls no punches and therefore is good as further reading once you have a grounding in the basics. I found a combination of the tools from Mindful Meditation and Untethered Soul quite a potent mix in some challenging life events. "Mindfulness for Dummies" is a useful follow up book (by Shamash Alidina), mostly because of the reworking of the same ideas in different ways and the CD providing more guided meditation, though I cannot recommend it as a starting point to this journey because of its lack of good structure, only as a useful way of continuing your progress.

Finally, if you get hooked on the meditation side then by far the best book to explore this that I have found is "Buddhist Meditation" by Kamalashila. Obviously the slant on meditation here is a religious one (but in a nice and non-intrusive way) however this book has some very practical tools and guides to help you meditate without a guided CD, this is the start of yet another journey.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best guides to mindfulness, 30 Dec 2013
This book is a gentle explanation of mindfulness (which can be loosely stated as the art of restoring the balance of 'being' and 'doing'). It shows you how to run your life rather than let it be run for you. Restore your calm.

Real life examples give you an idea of how the imbalance of behaviour, thoughts and feelings (based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) can become imbalanced and lead to anxious, depressed or other negative states of mind and body.

The content clearly shows and describes the underlying causes and ways in which you can reduce and even eliminate these negative states using meditation (including a CD which is very helpful; not sure if you get the CD with the Kindle version). I found the one minute meditation very useful as this can be done anytime, anywhere, even while exercising. The reader is drawn into longer, more calming, meditations as the book proceeds.

There are quite a few excellent books that tell you the same as this book but *some* of them are not written as clearly in simple English. This book does not assume you are some sort of patient and advises rather than tells you what to do. The author(s) treat the reader with compassion and understanding and as intelligent human beings. ANYONE can read this book and get something out of it even if they do not feel negative states are a problem.

My partner and I have read a few books on self help for negative states of mind and this is one of the best. Highly recommended even if you do not have a recognizable negative state condition such as Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) etc. Also may be useful for people living with those that have negative state conditions.

My partner is currently reading Sane New World by Ruby Wax which she says is excellent as well. We will provide a review later.
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352 of 372 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really valuable book, 11 May 2011
Probably like many people, I had a vague idea of what meditation and
mindfulness were before reading this book but didn't really
understand them properly. This book explains mindfulness and its benefits
very clearly and really shows you how regular practice of meditation can
help you deal with the stresses of everyday life. It is particularly
useful that the book provides an 8 week program of different levels or
types of meditation because this really gives you a sense that it is
something practical that can bring about change. This seems to be what
differentiates this book from the other books on meditation that I looked
at. The guided meditations on the accompanying CD are great and have so
far been easy to follow and I look forward to completing the program. Over
all, it seems like a really great book if you want to learn about the
benefits of meditation and mindfulness.
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380 of 410 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Can Change Lives., 11 July 2011
K. Picken (England.) - See all my reviews
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I have to smile about this book: Books that come with CDs are usually subscripted "With accompanying CD" or "With supporting CD", but with this one it is, for me, the other way around. If all you do is buy the book and meditate under the guidance of the CD then it will be the best 10 you'll ever spend. The eight meditations on the CD are progressive and in line with the 8-week meditation course outlined in the book; however, one can happily use any one of them in any order and still derive great benefit and, indeed, enjoyment from them. The content and the style of vocal delivery are just right. One feels reluctant to ditch the CD and go it alone!
This is not to say that the book is unimportant or unnecessary; it contains a written script of the 8 meditations, together with other supporting explanatory material and some exercises for breaking habits and bringing one to appreciate ordinary everyday things. However, I feel that the most important content of the book is the explanation of how the mind holds onto previous painful memories and unconsciously makes connections and associations with those memories when a person experiences disagreeable events or emotions in everyday life. It explains that this response is habitual and uncontrolled; it also explains that the psychological dysfunction operates without full cognisance of the bodily sensations that accompany it and which are caught up in the vicious cycle of impulse, mood, emotion and thought.
I would set this immensely practical meditation method well apart from the methods we are more familiar with; those that focus and concentrate and which try to ignore or even stop thought; constantly chanting some silly mantra to oneself and hoping for some wonderful "aha" experience to happen. The meditations in this excellent piece of work are all directed towards what is described on the CD as "coming home to the body". Whilst it utilises the oft-used attention to the breath, it is an open style that "listens" to sensation, emotion and thought, but does not try to create it or change it when it finds such sensations. The breath is used as a guiding vehicle in a body-scan and it uses a technique of heightening attention on the in-breath, and then softening the intensity on the out-breath. This is a powerful, varying beam of attention that one uses when exploring the mind and body. One can readily appreciate the therapeutic effects of initially learning to be mindful of bodily sensation and then using this skill to defuse painful emotions and thoughts before they set off the vicious cycle of sadness, suffering or even full-blown depression.
The techniques described in this book and CD are derived from work undertaken for depressives; indeed it will be an invaluable help to anyone suffering from depression. However, it is aimed at anyone who wants to break the vicious cycle of habitual response to Life's challenges.
I thoroughly recommend this CD and its accompanying Book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Learning to enjoy life to the full, 9 Aug 2013
Antenna (UK) - See all my reviews
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In the spate of self-help and pop psychology books now widely available, I selected this because it is jargon-free, concise and to the point, practical in approach as claimed on the cover, free of any author's ego trip or hidden agenda.

Many sentences stand out for their unarguable common sense or the fact that they chime with your past experience. To quote from the end of Chapter 2: "You can't stop the triggering of unhappy memories, negative self-talk and judgmental ways of thinking....You can stop the negative cycle from feeding off itself and triggering the next spiral of negative thoughts. And you can do this by harnessing an alternative way of relating to yourself and the world." A bit later, "Happiness is looking at the same thing with different eyes." Meditation is promoted as a way of achieving this, although you can gain a good deal just by reading the book.

I find that its main benefit is to restore a sense of proportion, rather the way a compass will orientate you when you drift off a course that you basically know. It also develops the capacity to take pleasure in the surrounding world and the daily living of an "ordinary life", also perhaps the mental energy to change that life.

The growing practice of teaching mindfulness in schools seems to me very positive, although one worries a little about private companies cashing in. However, I am unsure how much this book can help people who need mindfulness most i.e. those diagnosed as mentally sick. If you have gone beyond a certain point, it may be hard to motivate oneself to make the necessary connections and act on them. The book may be a revelation to some, but in the main it is probably preaching to the converted, those who just need to be "reminded of mindfulness" which they may already have discovered, perhaps without giving it a name.

I agree with reviewers who argue that references to the CD are so integral to the book, that those who purchase it on video are short-changed. I also accept that it may be a pale shadow of the more detailed research-based publications on which it is based, although being simplified may make it more accessible. It's a useful addition to your shelves, a kind of secular bible.

Unlikely to do any harm, this should do many readers some good. (N.b. I was a bit worried by the heading on page 37, "How to double your life expectancy".)
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143 of 158 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book and CD, 9 May 2011
R. Frith (Manchester, England.) - See all my reviews
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Mark Williams is one of the four co-authors of the excellent 'The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself From Chronic Unhappiness', and in many ways this book covers the same territory as that guide. Solidly based on scientific and academic research it also updates the information in the earlier book - setting the guidance in the context of current advice from NICE (the UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence), for example. Williams has long been associated with research into the causes of depression and anxiety both at Bangor and Oxford University, and the writing, although easy to read, feels sound and well researched.

In some ways the book even improves on 'The Mindful Way Through Depression', simply by the fact that it feels less like a book written by a committee, even though the general tone is somewhat lighter and accessible. Its emphasis and language is also more British, especially on the accompanying CD guide, which Williams narrates. So, on balance, it's a slightly easier book to read (possibly as a result of the journalist Danny Penman's help), perhaps a little less weighty, but an excellent and very up-to-date guide and support for anyone wanting to investigate mindfulness meditation, especially in the context of depression and anxiety.

The CD is worth the price on its own - again, based on Jon Kabatt-Zinn's exemplary mindfulness CDs; very accessible, but probably perfect for someone starting out on this route. Thoroughly recommended; Mark Williams does a great service to the cause of a non drug based approach to combating depression, but it's also the perfect starting place to understand mindfulness, whatever the reason.
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160 of 177 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Inspiring!', 26 May 2011
I have just finished reading this book and felt compelled to write a review of it as I think its message is so important - especially once you get further into the book. The book devotes its first 3 chapters to outlining the general benefits of mindfulness before turning to 8 chapters outlining an 8 week program of meditation and habit-breaking practice. It was Chapter 9 `Turning towards Difficulties', which describes week 5 of the meditation program, that provided the Eureka moment for me. As the book describes, all the previous meditations lead up to this point and we now learn how mindfulness can help us develop an `approach' attitude to difficult situations in life instead of being fearful and anxious about them. As the book says of two people who tried out the mindfulness program, they learned `the release that follows when we are able to approach difficult situations without triggering the body's powerful aversion systems'. For anyone who has those days, as surely we all do sometimes, when they can't bear the thought of going into work or of dealing with a difficult situation, or even for those who are unfortunate enough to face some really serious crisis this could be transformative. Chapters 10-11, `Trapped in the past' and `When did you stop dancing' continue to develop the serious work started in chapter 9 and by the end of reading the book I felt really uplifted - and this was without even completing all the meditations yet!
The other thing that became clear from reading this book is that mindfulness is not about clearing your mind or trying to think of nothing as some people think. This had always put me off meditation before but the methods described in this book made meditation make sense for the first time - at least for me. Overall, then, I really recommend this book for the way that, during the 8 week program, it takes you from simple breathing meditations to ones that tackle deeper issues but also for the way it provides suggestions for how to integrate mindfulness into your everyday life after you've completed the program.
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132 of 146 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Subtly amazing, 3 April 2012
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A someone with Asperger's Syndrome, I have been plagued by anxiety and depression for much of my adult life. I read another book that recommended Mindfulness as a means of dealing with the dreaded 'black dog' and I am so glad that I followed this tip up.

I've now read several books on the subject, but this one is, in my opinion, by far the best. The writing style is very easy to read (unlike some other titles that get bogged down with endless quotes), the instructions are simple and clear to follow and, after following the eight-week programme more or less to the letter, I have found that there have been definite changes in my life. I no longer dwell on the past, I spend more time watching Nature around me and I feel more generally content in myself. The changes feel quite subtle - I do not feel like a completely different person, for example - but, crucially, I have not had an episode of depression since reading this book and my meditation practice has become as much a part of my everyday life as brushing my teeth - it is not a chore, it is something that I look forward to.

If you are going to give Mindfulness a try - and what have you got to lose? - I really recommend this book and CD as your first port of call. It's amazing - I wish I had found it years ago.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A clear, pragmatic and warm step by step guide by Williams and Penman., 6 Aug 2011
This review is from: Mindfulness (Kindle Enhanced Edition): A Practical Guide to Peace in a Frantic World (Kindle Edition with Audio/Video)
(I just downloaded the kindle ebook version to my iPad - The audio and text sections weave seamlessly; very enjoyable and high quality useful recordings that support the text.)
Einstein wrote that every complex phenomenon has a simple, straightforward and equally wrong explanation. Here, Williams and Penman show the exception to the rule. They have written a well structured, beautiful, enjoyable, warm and competent guide about applying Mindfulness to our commonly busy life.
This is a users manual for "Mindfulness practice made simple for everyday efficient use". It is also a kind and generous guide for finding true happiness in the midst of our daily hassle and business. Simple and difficult.
The authors are recognised authorities in applying Mindfulness to clinical settings and guiding many subjects out of relapse of depression. They are as well long-term practitioners of meditation. They also hold tenures in psychology in one of the best universities in the world. They are research-based and thorough in their methods, rigorous in their ethics. They do as well pastoral and charity work. The result is rigour, solid explanations, coherence and warmth.
What is unique and truly giving Is their ability to brew all their wealth of knowledge of this ancient practice, and combine it with their other competences; to distill all of it into well chosen, simple and relevant droplets of practical steps that do make a difference. As you read them and as you practice them.
This book is truly a gift - I am already re-reading it and I have ordered several extra copies for my friends and most loved ones.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful book and very useful CD, 18 Jun 2011
S. Lee (essex uk) - See all my reviews
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I found this book really useful - written in a style that doesn't talk down to you or treat you like an idiot whilst at the same time using accessible language. I found it very useful for anxiety. The accompanying CD is excellent with some good relaxation exercises I now use daily.
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