Book Review: The Mindfulness Manifesto

Wilde McCormick, E., 2011. Book Review: The Mindfulness Manifesto. Reformulation, Summer, p.28.


How doing less and noticing more can help us thrive in a stressed out world

By Dr Jonty Heaversedge and Ed Halliwell
Foreward by Mark Williams, University of Oxford
Published by Hay House 2010 £10.99

This is an excellent and easy to read book that has a great deal to offer both therapists and their patients. The use of ‘manifesto’ in the title expresses the authors’ wish to reclaim the true meaning derived from Latin manifestare, or ‘to show plainly,’ and this they achieve. They describe the importance of a ‘call to being’ in our current busy world where ‘being’ has been eclipsed by ‘doing.’ Stress, depression, anxiety, and many chronic health problems on epidemic levels are the result. Too much emphasis on speed and doing also means that we are unable to listen to the natural inner wisdom that lies within all of us. There is an initial chapter on the links between physical and psychological health, and mental attitude and illustrations of the differences between ‘doing’ and ‘being.’

The authors draw from their own experience of practising mindfulness within their own lives for many years. Ed Halliwell is a writer and Jonty Heaversedge is a GP in South East London. They help the reader understand the basic principles of mindfulness and how these may be applied to everyday life, at the same time as honouring the Buddhist roots of the practice. They also draw from recent research into the effects of mindfulness on different patient groups suffering from addictions, depression, anxiety or borderline personality disorder.

The gift of this book is that the authors really show the reader exactly how to practise mindfulness of breath, body, mind and feelings, and they offer illustrations of how these simple concentrations can bring about subtle changes. There are exercises on ‘taking a breath’ and developing awareness, on being mindful of the body and body sensation; there are suggestions for mindful ways of noticing thoughts and being able to let go of thoughts without following them. A valuable section for CAT therapists is on remaining mindful with emotion and feelings and on offering practical ways of helping patients to remain present with the uncomfortable feelings in core pain.

The book is also a practical resource for therapists wishing to develop their own mindfulness practice within their own stressful lives.

Elizabeth Wilde McCormick
 

Full Reference

Wilde McCormick, E., 2011. Book Review: The Mindfulness Manifesto. Reformulation, Summer, p.28.

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