There are now many books on mindfulness. Here we highlight some books by the originators of MBCT and their teams – including books for practitioners and the general public – and some of the team’s books on the clinical and philosophical roots of mindfulness.
Deeper Mindfulness: The New Way of Rediscovering Calm in a Chaotic World
Informed by recent psychological findings that offer fresh insights into the way our attention works, how preferences are formed, and predictions are made, a new course has been developed that takes mindfulness practice to another level.
New findings reveal that every waking moment, our understanding of the world is dominated by predicting what actions we need to take next, coloured by what is called ‘feeling tone’ – that is, the moment-by-moment ‘read-out’ of whether any contact with mind or body feels pleasant, unpleasant, or neither. Based on this moment-by-moment ‘read out’, the body elegantly allocates its resources as it gears up for real or imagined action. This can prepare us well for action, but we can become exhausted without realising it.
Ancient traditions saw feeling tone as a fundamental element of every moment of experience and an important aspect of mindfulness practice. Registering the feeling tone of what is arising allows us to see clearly the tipping points, those instants when we become caught up in pursuing or rejecting something and become entangled in a web of emotional distress. Meditation teacher Joseph Goldstein has said that mindfulness of feeling tone is one of the master keys that both reveals and unlocks the deepest patterns of our conditioning.
Mark Williams and colleagues have published an article exploring the effectiveness of the Feeling Tone course from Deeper Mindfulness in the journal Mindfulness.
Williams, J.M.G., Baer, R., Batchelor, M. et al. What Next After MBSR/MBCT? An Open Trial of an 8-Week Follow-on Program Exploring Mindfulness of Feeling Tone (vedanā). Mindfulness 13, 1931–1944 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-022-01929-0
The new book Deeper Mindfulness gives the whole programme. It explains the recent science and gives you access to a complete set of new meditations to help you explore feeling tone.
This book walks you gently through the beautiful messy process of being human, and teaches you how and why all can be well” – Sir Kenneth Branagh
“This book is a remarkable combination of engaging stories, grounded scholarship, and powerful practices that conveys the power of mindfulness. The writing feels fresh and the meditations are spot on. As a clinician who teaches about trauma and meditation, I can also wholeheartedly recommend this work to anyone struggling with stress. It’s a book I’ve been waiting for, could hardly put down, and know will benefit countless people in the years to come.” – David Treleaven, PhD., author of Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness: Practices for Safe and Transformative Healing
“Williams and Penman nail it when they describe how we can run from life (and ourselves) but we’ll never escape. Deeper Mindfulness holds true to its name: the authors expertly point out how to identify those critical driving forces in our lives –feelings, and how feelings feel—but importantly have provided a pragmatic path and clear steps that we can take to leverage our minds to live better lives. Based in deep wisdom and written with compassion.” -Judson Brewer MD PhD, New York Times Bestselling Author of Unwinding Anxiety and The Craving Mind.
“Many millions of people have learned mindfulness using apps, books or face-to-face mindfulness-based stress reduction and cognitive therapy courses. The science of mindfulness has come of age, suggesting for whom it is, and isn’t helpful, and how it helps people manage pain, live with chronic conditions, recover from depression, and more broadly enhance mental health. But learning mindfulness and mental health are like cultivating a garden, a mature garden takes lifelong cultivation.
“Deeper Mindfulness provides an 8-session guide for this further cultivation. It exquisitely draws out all the links in the chain that determine how our immediate sensory world becomes our lived experience and the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, our lives, and the world. Its first genius is to point to the weakest link in the chain, vedana (feeling tone), the moment we label our sensory experience as pleasant or unpleasant. Its second genius is in skilfully guiding readers in how to break this link when it creates reactivity and chaos. In short, an elegant key to unlocking the chains that can enslave us. To the possibility to live with appreciation, kindness and compassion.
Mark Williams and Danny Penman write with a voice that is authoritative, imbued with warmth and whispers inspiration. It is accessible and engaging, while drawing extensively on the foundations of Buddhist and contemporary psychology and the very best mindfulness research and practice. It is easy to understand why their first book Mindfulness Finding Peace in a Frantic World is the best-selling book on mindfulness. This is a much-needed extension for all those who wish to go deeper.” – Willem Kuyken, Ritblat Professor of Mindfulness and Psychological Science, University of Oxford
Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy for Depression: a new approach to preventing relapse – 2nd Edition
Zindel V. Segal, J. Mark G. Williams and John D. Teasdale (2013)
If you are a mindfulness teacher or a therapist and want to learn more about the use of the mindfulness approach for people who remain vulnerable to depression, the approach is described in the Second Edition of this classic work by Zindel Segal, Mark Williams and John Teasdale. Written in a practical and accessible manner, it describes the eight week programme in detail, and also tells the story of how the authors came to develop MBCT using clinical transcripts that bring the programme to life.
From Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Foreword:
“.. this new, revised and updated edition is nothing short of transformational. As a professional book and as a treatment manual in particular, it sets a new standard of authenticity, fidelity, and relationality, not only in how it is structured, but even more importantly, in how it is voiced – in other words, in its relationship with the reader as well as the subject…
…In reading this new version, appearing ten years after the first edition, I was struck by two things. One was how much exquisite new material has been added, not just in the form of new chapters, but subtle revisions and restructuring of the text itself, refining, amplifying, and strengthening a number of key elements that ten years of experience have made clear are critical to the effective delivery of MBCT in clinical settings, as well as to the understanding of the underlying and very clearly described theoretical framework upon which it rests. The other is that, in going back and forth between the first edition and this one to see exactly what was changed and how, I was deeply moved all over again by how thorough, beautifully developed, and well-argued the first edition was — in a tone at the same time invitational, logical, understated, and modest”.
The Mindful Way Workbook: An 8-Week Program to Free Yourself from Depression and Emotional Distress
Mark Williams, John Teasdale and Zindel Segal (2014)
From the authors of the bestselling The Mindful Way through Depression—which explores how mindfulness can break the cycle of chronic unhappiness—this carefully constructed workbook is written for those who are struggling with depression, anxiety, and other forms of emotional distress. It shows the reader how to build a mindfulness practice in 8 weeks. Basic mindfulness principles and facts about depression and other common emotional problems are combined with specific mindfulness exercises to try on a daily and weekly basis, plus a wealth of interactive features that encourage and motivate.
Readers will be drawn in immediately by self-assessments, reflection questions and exercises with spaces to jot down notes, worksheets for keeping track of progress, and quotations and questions from others going through the program. Each week’s guided meditations are provided on the accompanying MP3 CD and can also be downloaded by purchasers.
As the most clearly laid out description of the theory and practice of MBCT to date, it is also proving of interest to mental health professionals and students.
Here is a 2023 article showing the effectiveness of this Workbook conducted by Dr Clara Strauss and colleagues at the University of Sussex, UK: Clinical Effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of Supported Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Self-help Compared With Supported Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Self-help for Adults Experiencing DepressionThe Low-Intensity Guided Help Through Mindfulness (LIGHTMind) Randomized Clinical Trial
and an article in The Guardian newspaper about it: Mindfulness better than CBT for treating depression – The Guardian 27 March 2023
What Happens in Mindfulness
John Teasdale (2023)
In this book, John Teasdale dives deeply into what is going on when we practise mindfulness.
The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness (includes Guided Meditation Practices CD)
Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal and Jon Kabat-Zinn
The Mindful Way Through Depression by Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal and Jon Kabat-Zinn has been written for all those who have struggled with depression. Mindfulness can be a simple yet powerful way of paying attention to your most difficult emotions and life experiences without obsessing over them.It can help you break the cycle of chronic unhappiness once and for all. The authors explain why our usual attempts to “think” our way out of a bad mood or just “snap out of it” lead us deeper into the downward spiral. Through simple lessons drawn from both eastern meditative traditions and cognitive-behavioral therapy, they demonstrate how to sidestep mental habits such as rumination and self-blame that inevitably lead to despair, so you can face life’s challenges with greater resilience. Jon Kabat-Zinn gently and encouragingly narrates the accompanying CD of guided meditations, making this a complete package for anyone seeking to regain a sense of hope and well-being.
Mindfulness: Diverse Perspectives on its Meaning, Origins and Applications
Edited by Mark Williams and Jon Kabat-Zinn (2013)
Mindfulness-based approaches to medicine, psychology, neuroscience, healthcare, education, business leadership, and other major societal institutions have become increasingly common. New paradigms are emerging from a confluence of two powerful and potentially synergistic epistemologies: one arising from the wisdom traditions of Asia and the other arising from post-enlightenment empirical science.
This book presents the work of internationally renowned experts in the fields of Buddhist scholarship and scientific research, as well as looking at the implementation of mindfulness in healthcare and education settings. Contributors consider the use of mindfulness throughout history and look at the actual meaning of mindfulness whilst identifying the most salient areas for potential synergy and for potential disjunction.
Mindfulness: Diverse Perspectives on its Meanings, Origins and Applications provides a place where wisdom teachings, philosophy, history, science and personal meditation practice meet. It was originally published as a special issue of Contemporary Buddhism.
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy with People at Risk of Suicide
J Mark G Williams, Melanie Fennell, Rebecca Crane and Sarah Silverton (2017)
Grounded in extensive research and clinical experience, this book describes how to adapt mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) for participants who struggle with recurrent suicidal thoughts and impulses. Relevant to all mindfulness teachers, a comprehensive framework is presented for understanding suicidality and its underlying vulnerabilities. The preliminary intake interview and each of the eight group mindfulness sessions of MBCT are discussed in detail, highlighting issues that need to be taken into account with highly vulnerable people. Assessment guidelines are provided and strategies for safely teaching core mindfulness practices are illustrated with extensive case examples. The book also discusses how to develop the required mindfulness teacher skills and competencies. Purchasers get access to a companion website featuring downloadable audio recordings of the guided mindfulness practices, narrated by Zindel V. Segal, J. Mark G. Williams, and John D. Teasdale. See also Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression, Second Edition, by Zindel V. Segal, J. Mark G. Williams, and John D. Teasdale, the authoritative presentation of MBCT.
Cry of Pain: Understanding suicide and the suicidal mind
Mark Williams (2014)
Why do people commit suicide? Is it a cry for help or a cry of pain? In this thought-provoking book Mark Williams offers new perspectives on suicide and suicidal behaviour.
Suicide presents a real and often tragic puzzle for the family and friends of someone who has committed or attempted suicide. ‘Why did they do it?’ ‘How could they do this?’ ‘Why did they not see there was help available?’
For therapists and clinicians who want to help those who are vulnerable and their families, there are also puzzles that often seem unsolvable. What is it that causes someone to end his or her own life, or to harm themselves: is it down to a person’s temperament, the biology of their genes, or to social conditions? What provides the best clue to a suicidal person’s thoughts and behaviour? Each type of explanation, seen in isolation, has its drawbacks, so we need to see how they may fit together to give a more complete picture.
Cry of Pain examines the evidence from a social, psychological and biological perspective to see if there are common features that might shed light on suicide. Informative and sympathetically written, it is essential reading for therapists and mental health professionals as well as those struggling with suicidal feelings, their families and friends.
“Cry of Pain is a wonderful book that provides a highly readable, original and compassionate account of an issue that we sometimes find it difficult to talk about…. it contains very helpful messages about the causes of suicide and, ultimately, very hopeful messages about its prevention.”
Professor Nav Kapur, Professor of Psychiatry and Population Health,
Centre for Suicide Prevention, University of Manchester
Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World
Mark Williams, Danny Penman
This book is written for a general readership and introduces mindfulness practice to those who find themselves over-busy, stressed and exhausted.
New for 2021: Free Sample audioclip Celebrating 10 years since publication, the new unabridged audiobook version read by Mark Williams is available from all major audiobook retailers including Audible, Kobo, Apple Books and Google Play.
Also available from:
Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (CBT Distinctive Features) (2nd Edition 2017)
This book lays out, concisely, the distinctive features of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and explains fully and clearly the key theoretical and practical features of the approach.