10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works

Recommended for anyone who’s bandied about the idea of meditation but haven’t clicked with the practice. Written by a host of Nightline and Good Morning America, I did not expect such a well-written, entertaining book with incredibly helpful tips. Meditation is not breathing practice, it’s mindfulness practice. It’s a game of bringing your attention back, of recognizing and naming the thoughts flashing past. It’s a necessary exercise for the brain, to improve awareness, mindfulness, compassion. You feel a thought, but can examine it without letting it influence your behavior (someone cuts you off on the freeway, you think you’re pissed but you let it pass). Practicing compassion helps your body handle stress. He has a great section detailing the agony and bliss of a 10 day retreat with no talking allowed, no eye contact, just sitting and walking meditation, and nightly dharma talks.
Tips on meditating:
* Sit comfortably. In a chair, on the floor, cross-legged, whatever. Keep your spine straight but not strained.
* Feel your breath, the in-out. Really feel it.
* When you get lost in thought, return to the breath. “Forgiving and starting over is the whole game. Beginning again and again is the actual practice…”