The information on this post is taken from my own first-hand experience. If you have any concerns about practicing meditation and mindfulness, please consult your GP or a mental health care professional.
Valuable mindfulness and meditation resources
There’s a lot of information about mindfulness and meditation and for many of us, knowing where to begin can be the biggest obstacle in getting started. My journey towards a more mindful life wasn’t a smooth one and I reached one or two dead ends along the way. Then during 2014 two things happened; I sat next to Mark Williams (the co-founder of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and co-author of Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world) at a dinner who gave me a beautiful insight into the practice. And I discovered Andy Puddicombe and his easy-to-use Headspace app which helped me to get started.
Today I’m sharing six resources that have helped me on my journey, things that have kept me focused and enabled me to stay on track.
1. The Headspace app
Headspace is a phone app that provides guided meditation sessions and mindfulness training. It is user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing – I love good branding! To begin with, you can complete the ten-day trial and if you find it helpful, you can pay for the app on a monthly, yearly or lifetime basis.
As a foundation course in mindfulness, I found it invaluable. I used the app consistently for two years working through the packs which are broken down into themes. I also enjoyed Andy’s short videos and single sessions – the one on commuting/travel was used a lot!
2. Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world by Mark Williams and Danny Penman
After spending time with Mark Williams, I was eager to read his book. And as one of the premier researchers in the field of mindfulness and the Founding Director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, I felt I was in safe hands!
The book takes the reader through a ten-week programme consisting of guided meditations and mindfulness exercises. There were things to try out in daily life like having a greater awareness when carrying out simple everyday tasks and being a little more spontaneous. Mark has a kind and calm quality and his compassion for people seeps into his writing and meditations. It was a wonderful programme to follow and it helped me to understand my own mind and the practice a little more deeply.
3. Breathe magazine
Breathe magazine covers mindfulness, creativity and wellbeing and although I’m a little biased – I’ve written ten articles for the first seven issues – I can promise you it’s a lovely read! There are no adverts just pages and pages of inspiring texts and beautiful illustrations, all leaning towards a calmer and more mindful life. A cuppa and a copy of Breathe is my Sunday afternoon treat!
4. The Insight Timer app
Insight Timer is the most popular free meditation app. You can use it in many different ways and to be honest, I think I would have found it a little overwhelming had I not learnt the basics from Headspace.
There are over 5,000 guided meditations, music tracks, talks and courses. There really is something for everyone and I even discovered a breathing exercise to a Moby track. It’s currently my favourite app and I use the timer or the guided meditations.
5. The Mindful Living Show
Last month I attended the first Mindful Living Show at the Business Design Centre in London. The two-day conference is ‘the place to learn more about the art of mindfulness and meditation and the different ways in which it can benefit your life.’
With so many speakers and sessions, I found the day useful and insightful. I especially enjoyed the keynote speakers – Ruby Wax and Dan Harris, and it was lovely to chat to so many people. The next Mindful Living Show will take place on 1st and 2nd June 2018 – maybe I’ll see you there!
6. Further books, e-courses etc.
Over the years, I’ve found lots of information in books, blogs, podcasts and e-courses.
If you’re looking for e-courses there are a number created by Gabrielle Treanor including Bloom her free 7-day taster course or Turning Uncertainty and Discomfort into Open Mindfulness by Leo Babauta. Leo is the writer of one of my favourite blogs Zen Habits, which covers mindfulness and meditation along with ways to cut down on procrastination and form healthy habits. There are also many guided meditations to be found on YouTube.
~ Calm: 50 Mindfulness and Relaxation Exercises to De-Stress and Unwind. A sweet little book combining relaxation and mindfulness techniques with beautiful imagery.
~ Oprah Winfrey’s favourite, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. A little heavy in places but it was an interesting and thought-provoking read.
~ 10% Happier by Dan Harris. A humorous and inquisitive look at meditation which concludes with a section on how to get started. On a side note, there’s a great interview with Dan Harris on The Lively Show.
~ I also enjoyed At Home in the World by Thich Nhat Hanh. An inspiring collection of autobiographical stories from the Zen master and peace activist. Thich Nhat Hanh has published more than 100 books so there are plenty more to choose from.
~ A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled by Ruby Wax which is a delightful read and includes tips on how to help children and teenagers explore mindfulness.
Mindfulness on my blog
You’ll also find blog posts about mindful living here as I share my journey and the things I learn along the way.
Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have a beautiful day!