Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World
(Includes Free CD with Guided Meditations)
Authors – Mark Williams and Danny Penman
This book is an excellent introduction to the practice of Mindfulness. Mindfulness has been used for centuries to help stress, anxiety and depression. The book includes a free CD of guided meditations, and teaches the idea of being fully focused on the present, rather than worrying about the past or the future. It teaches that what makes us anxious, depressed and unhappy depends not entirely on what happens to us, but also on how we chose to respond to those things. It doesn’t advocate a falsely cheerful “Pollyanna” view of the world, and of course accepts that it is normal to react to some events with unhappiness and anxiety; but it shows how to react proportionately to difficulties, to let go of what we cannot change or control, and to be mindful of all the positive aspects of life which it is so easy to take for granted. Mindfulness teaches that a sense of contentment, stillness and calm can exist inside each of us. Many clients have read this book and found it hugely helpful, despite very stressful life circumstances – serious illness or disability; loss of a parent, spouse or child; extremely demanding working lives (surgeons, salespeople, emergency services workers, head teachers, barristers, social workers, to name just a few); those with children with disabilities; people facing redundancy and divorce; those struggling with fertility problems.
Mindfulness is also used to help weight loss, eating disorders, social confidence, emotional problems such as jealousy and insecurity, and the stress and anxiety caused by serious illness and infertility.
Feeling Good Handbook by David Burns
In The Feeling Good Handbook, Dr David Burns uses CBT to deal with the wide range of everyday problems that cause difficulty and unhappiness for so many people (chronic nervousness, panic attacks, phobias, and feelings of stress, guilt, or inferiority). The Feeling Good Handbook teaches how to remove the mental obstacles that bar you from success—from exam nerves and fear of public speaking to self-doubt and the inability to get on with things.
The book contains charts, quizzes, self-assessment tests, and a daily mood record, The Feeling Good Handbook will actively require you to play a part in your own recovery. Used in conjunction with relaxation and self hypnosis techniques, this book will help you to regain control of your feelings.
Overcoming Depression by Paul Gilbert
A self help guide using cognitive behavioural techniques
This self help book uses cognitive Behavioural Therapy techniques to help those suffering with depression and also to allow their family and friends to understand the nature of depression. It includes a section on guilt and on depression which arises out of being anxious. It contains practical suggestions, case studies and a self help programme including work sheets. It is also available as an audio book called “Overcoming Depression; Talks with your Therapist”.
I can make you happy by Paul McKenna – book and audio CD
Although Paul McKenna is probably more famous for the work he does on stage, he is in fact an extremely successful author of self help books. He argues in “I Can Make You Happy” that happiness levels are not fixed, and are not dependent solely upon what happens to us, but on how we view and interpret those things. To increase your happiness levels takes a small amount of regular effort over a few days, following simple instructions and using some powerful psychological techniques.
He describes the human mind as a computer, with its own software which organises your thinking and behaviour. Most human problems are caused by negative programmes running in the subconscious mind. The hypnosis CD with this book helps you to remove these “negative programmes” and in their place installs positive ones which seek out and magnify the factors which create your happiness.
How to Stop Worrying and Start Living – Dale Carnegie
Dale Carnegie wrote 70 or 80 years ago, but so much of what he says remains relevant in today’s world. Although parts of the book are a little dated (and some UK readers find it “overly American”), it demonstrates that stress and anxiety have always been around us. He believes that you should directly and quickly tackle your worries. He feels that you can still anticipate problems and plan and prepare for them but without worrying, going over and over things again and again and again. There is advice on how to stop worrying about criticism. It will make you think about the futility of worrying – the things we worry about happen (or don’t) whether we worry about them or not – this book gives lots of examples of how worrying has stopped people from enjoying their lives far more than the actual thing they were worrying about. Whilst this might seem an odd recommendation, there is a reason that this book has sold over 30 million copies!
Mindful Manifesto by Dr Jonty Heaversedge
The manifesto is that “doing less and noticing more helps us to thrive in a stressed out world”. This book gives sensible, straightforward, easy to follow advice about meditation and relaxation to relieve stress and anxiety; the techniques are also used for pain management. Dr Heaversedge is a GP who noticed that there were no mental health equivalents of eating healthily and exercising. Mindfulness (being more aware and observant of the world and the people around you, and less aware of your own worries and difficulties; learning to live in the moment) and meditation together make up the “Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction” system. Following the system reduces stress, and the damaging effects of stress on the body. I would highly recommend this book.
Overcoming Childhood Trauma by Helen Kennerly
This book has been described as intuitively and insightful. It uses Cognitive Behavioural techniques to deal with the emotional problems which can arise from difficult early years, with advice on how to deal with stress and anxiety, anger, intrusive memories, mood swings, self destructive behaviour (including the urge to self harm). It gives a structured way to make sense of your experiences, find hope for the future, and to create better relationships as an adult. Some readers find that the letter you are asked to write to yourself (at the beginning of the book) is more helpful if done when you are some of the way through the process, but generally speaking this is an extremely helpful book to be used in tandem with counselling and therapy.
Overcoming Anxiety by Helen Kennerly
This book explains the reasons for a whole range of anxieties and fears, from panic attacks and phobias to ‘burn out’ and executive stress. The book also explains the basic reasons we feel stress and anxiety. It is a great guide for those suffering stress and anxiety, and for their friends and families too. The book uses Cognitive Behavioural Therapy techniques and explains them in plain English. It contains a simple and easy self-help program. This book is particularly helpful for those suffering with work related stress but the information it contains is equally applicable to stress arising from other causes.
Instant Relaxation by Debra Lederer and Michael Hall
How to reduce stress at work, at home and in your daily life
This is intended to be a 7 day programme, requiring ten minutes practice each day. Instant Relaxation aims to help you “feel calm, centered, energized, focused, and at ease anywhere and anytime.” The learning process is built around what the authors call “The Relaxed Core State” – a state of mind and body where you experience relaxation in and of itself. The state develops as the program unfolds, training the mind and body to become instantly and completely relaxed.
Everything I’ve ever done that worked by Lesley Garner
Many self help books are useful, but feel too long – the helpful ideas could really be given in one or two chapters, and the rest is repetition. This book condenses many great ideas into short chapters. It is an excellent book. There is something in it for everyone. It doesn’t try to give answers, but instead gives you ways to arrive at your own. It has been described as the book you can keep by your bedside for those times when you can’t get to sleep but it’s too late to phone a friend. You can dip into it or read it all in one go, and I haven’t spoken to anyone who hasn’t found something in here that they find really useful.
Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers
This book takes an unusual approach to fear and anxiety. Rather than trying to get to the root of your fear, on the basis that working out what caused it will get rid of it, the book explains that anxiety is a part of life and that we feel fear and anxiety for many different reasons – but that you should learn to live the life you want, even if you are afraid. The book set out concrete techniques and ways of looking at the world to help you to approach life in a more direct manner. Although the book does refer to a “higher power”, the author’s beliefs do not become intrusive. The book contains tips and insights which even those who do not have any spiritual and religious beliefs will find helpful. This book argues that are different types of anxiety but the worst is the belief that we will not be able to handle something, such as our partner leaving us, or earning less than a certain amount, or to travel by air, for example. The book uses a common sense approach to help you reach a point where you know that in fact you CAN handle anything that happens to you. Jeffers’ point is that you can teach yourself to accept fear as a necessary part of life, then move on; that dealing with fear and and anxiety is less frightening that living with the fear and anxiety which comes from feeling helpless
Adore Yourself Slim by Lisa Jackson
Ignore the terrible title – this is a great book. Written by a clinical hypnotherapist, “Adore Yourself Slim” brings together every tip, technique and trick that she herself used to lose three and a half stone (22kg), including effective, practical exercise tips (with illustrations, making them easy to follow), nutritional advice and straightforward recipes, and hypnotherapy techniques. A hypnotherapy CD is included in some editions so it’s worth shopping around on Amazon. There are also real life success stories and motivational quotes. The book also considers the reasons we overeat, gives “sanity saving strategies” so that you don’t become obsessive about food and eating, and discusses confidence, self esteem and positive thinking.
Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink
Mindless Eating refers to the small amount we under- or overeat without being aware of it. Like the programme of weight loss hypnosis used at Stockport Hypnotherapy, this approach is absolutely not about dieting. It’s about changing your habits in small ways, over the long term, to help you to lose weight gradually, and to keep it off. Because this way of approaching weight loss doesn’t involve deprivation – just 100 or 200 calories less each day – it’s easy to keep it going. You don’t notice on a day to day basis that you’re missing out, but over six months or a year, significant change will occur. Whilst this approach may not give you quick and dramatic results, because just making small changes to your eating habits is so much easier than cutting out whole food groups, or suddenly cutting your intake by half or three quarters, then you can continue to live like this in the longer term – so the weight not only comes off, it stays off.
Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking
This book has helped millions of people to stop smoking. It gives lots of information, debunking a lot of commonly held myths about smoking (for example that smoking relaxes you – the chemicals in cigarettes in fact have the opposite effect!) without being patronizing, and doesn’t put undue pressure on you to stop. However after reading it many people find themselves really wanting to stop, and there’s no better motivation than that.
Fly without Fear – Captain Keith Godfrey
The author was himself an airline pilot for many years. This book is essential reading for anyone who is afraid of flying. I can’t recommend it highly enough. It is written in a very straightforward question and answer style, and gives helpful and reassuring answers to those questions that you’ve always wondered about, but didn’t know who to ask (and also to some questions you’ve never even thought of)!