Say it together now: deep breaths.
Now that it’s become abundantly clear that life as we once knew it will not be returning any time soon, prioritizing mental health is especially important. If you’re looking to ground yourself and cut down on your anxiety, these eight mindfulness reads are a great place to start:
Mindfulness for Beginners, by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Though it may seem obvious, breathing is an incredibly effective tool in maintaining a sense of calm. In this book on the ABC’s of mindfulness, Kabat-Zinn provides first-time meditators with a straightforward approach to starting your practice. Simple behaviors, such as cutting out judgmental tendencies, giving your full attention to what’s in front of you, and improving your breathwork, can help, says Kabat-Zinn.
How to Relax, by Thích Nhất Hạnh
The Vietnamese Buddhist discusses the importance of regular relaxation to promote positive well-being. Equating relaxation to calming chaotic rippling waters, he funnels mindfulness through the channel of relaxation. He points to relaxation’s ability to provide a grounding force and combat the distorted views readers may have about themselves.
Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-to Book, by Dan Harris, Carlye Adler, and Jeffrey Warren
In this self-discovery book, ABC anchor Dan Harris discusses how he overcame his general restlessness and manages his ADD. The book includes tips geared toward mindfulness naysayers and more cynical individuals, who may find themselves surprised by an increased sense of calm and order in their lives.
Instant Calm: 2-Minute Meditations to Create a Lifetime of Happy, by Karen Salmansohn
Through meditations that can take less than the time to make a pot of coffee—or perhaps some caffeine-free tea—you can bring down stress levels, sleep better, and improve your productivity. Salmansohn creates a more well-rounded experience by sharing meditation tips for all five senses.
Declutter Your Mind: How to Stop Worrying, Relieve Anxiety, and Eliminate Negative Thinking, by S.J. Scott and Barrie Davenport
The short read provides tips for people who feel overwhelmed by the demands of modern society. The authors point the reader to mindfulness’s myriad benefits, including increasing longevity, compassion for others, and improvements to your overall quality of life.
I Am Here Now: Field Notes for a Curious and Creative Mind, by the Mindfulness Project
I Am Here Now is a small accessible journal, which can be used for everything from free-form doodles to small one-off notes. The format is appropriate for those who want to try to journal more often but don’t know where to start. It’s filled with engaging activities, such as crosswords, empty spaces for letter-writing, and areas for “field notes” to document your meditation practice, so you will step away with a greater sense of fulfillment after each session.
A convicted murderer waiting on death row stumbles upon unlikely enlightenment. Author of Beautiful Boy David Sheff weaves together a compelling story on Jarvis Jay Masters, an inmate at San Quentin since age 19, who embraced a mindful and nonviolent lifestyle through Buddhist teachings.