Recommended Books- March 2018 Edition

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I often get asked what books I am reading or recommend that are related to mindfulness. I have a few that I've read recently that I highly recommend. These books are all based on research and contain significant health implications and mindfulness is readily discussed in each book for its health benefits and outcomes. 

The first book is The Deepest Well by Nadine Burke Harris. I posted about this one yesterday. It's about childhood adversity. Dr. Harris posits that the best interventions for adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) include sleep, exercise, good nutrition, mental health care, healthy relationships, and mindfulness. I am in love with this book! Dr. Harris is a gifted pediatrician and storyteller. Books written by physicians seems to be a growing genre. Side note: I also loved When Breath Becomes Air (not about mindfulness but rather about end of life issues- get the tissues ready). 

Attending: Medicine, Mindfulness, and Humanity is written by physician Ronald Epstein. This book is about how physicians can effectively and compassionately approach their patients using mindfulness techniques, which enhances healthcare and also self-care. Great stories about attention, curiosity, beginner’s mind, and presence (ah-hem... attending) and shows how physicians can provide high quality care, beyond the stethoscope. 

Another book that I really love is The Telemere Effect. This is written by Nobel Prize winning Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel. Dr. Blackburn won the Nobel Prize for discovering how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and for the enzyme telomerase. Basically, telomeres are the protective coating on the end of your chromosomes. Stress can wear down your telomeres, which can result in diseases and speeding up the aging process. Dr. Blackburn states in her book that mindfulness and yoga can help mediate these factors. 

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessl van der Kolk is another great read. Dr. van der Kolk discusses trauma and how it rewires the brain, changes the way people experience the world, and makes it difficult for one with trauma to live in the moment. He also contends that mindfulness and yoga helps the mind and body to re-integrate, re-wire, and disarms the constant stress response that one with PTSD readily experiences.

There are so many more! I am currently reading Altered Traits by Daniel Goleman and Richard Davidson. In the book, the authors discuss the science behind mindfulness, specifically how a regular practice can move from a state of mind (feeling relaxed after meditation, for example) to shifting in personality traits (being more relaxed under normal and stressful conditions). They are careful to say that mindfulness is not a panacea for all things and what an effective practice looks like. So far, I am really enjoying it.

I have been to conferences where I have heard all but Dr. Blackburn speak (I would seriously fangirl-out if I saw her) and they have so much compelling and interesting information to share based on their research and first-hand experiences. I believe they all have Ted Talks. Check them out. I hope you enjoy their work. Let me know what you think!

Kristen Brendel