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on December 28, 2013
As a family physician, I see the acute and chronic effects of stress on individuals of all types and how it affects both mental and physical health. Janetti Marotta's book, 50 Mindful Steps to Self-Esteem, is the tool that I have been searching for to help guide my patients to better healing and living. It is written in a very easy to understand structure and has practical examples to help explain the benefit of each step. I am savoring reading this book, and working on each meditation myself. I am encouraging both my office staff and my patients to engage in this enlightening process. I highly recommend this book for everyone, even children can benefit from its lessons.
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on January 29, 2014
3.5 of 5 stars –
(I'm excited to have won this as a Goodreads First Read – so thanks!)

Basically, this is a good, practical workbook on exercises that focus on your physical presence (body), what you think (mind), and how your feel (emotions).

This book takes a behavioral approach, using exercises, to self-improvement. This is not like the more cognitive self-help books like The Road Less Traveled, and unlike other self-help books it does not deal with the psychological sources or causes of low self-esteem. So I feel it may over-imply the self-esteem part just based on this, but it does offer daily exercises that are well described and easy to follow (that’s good because it could be hard to do if you can’t see it). It’s also helpful that audio versions of some of the meditations are available to download, because it can be beneficial to have audio instructions as you do the exercise. As an aside, I also respect how the author gives appropriate credits and references.

The book is based on the “mindfulness” movement, which is one of those “Zen” things coming out of California. I say that only because that may be how it’s seen by some folks not familiar with it. But…I’m familiar with many of these exercises either in my psychology background, management training, personal coaching, or sports – and they’re useful. Some are used or known in other venues as breathing exercises, meditation, stress reduction, being in the moment, visualizing, thought exercises, positive thinking, centering, getting in touch with feelings.

The author starts with foundational exercises and builds from there. Each exercise is 2-3 pages, first a background or concept is briefly explained, and then the simple steps, taking approximately from a few minutes to half hour. I don’t believe I saw this explained anywhere, but to me all exercises are not meant for all – a useful approach might be to pick those that work best for you and the situation. I took a little longer to do a review because I wanted to put in practice some of the exercises to see if they worked. They basically did, or I could see how they would … although they are meant to be followed over time, not just a one-time fix.

The author’s writing style and explanations are better with the practical exercises, using more real/relatable language. The author is not as clear with the philosophical introduction and explanations because of the use of lingo, what I call psych-speak (or sorry, “California” speak, think ESP), that might be a useful way to explain these concepts to students, but it’s not as accessible to readers less familiar to the “mindfulness” movement.

In other words, if you can get past the esoteric stuff, the exercises are useful, and you might pick up a little philosophical/psychological understanding along the way.
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on December 11, 2013
This compact volume provides a wonderful starting point for anyone exploring the benefits of mindfulness practice or seeking to focus on the particular challenges of self-esteem. Simple and practical, the 50 steps can be read through from start to finish or can be dipped into for short bursts of inspiration and confidence building. Janetti Marotta is a wise and compassionate guide on the path to self-acceptance. The small “handbook” size makes this a perfect travel companion for stressful times!
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on December 10, 2013
I have read (and own) lots of mindfulness books and I particularly loved this book by Janetti Marotta! Her clear, concise and practical steps really help integrate the material into our busy lives. I chose to read the book almost in two or three sittings (because it was just a lovely read), but I plan on taking each individual step for 50 days to fully receive the wisdom and benefit of this book.
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on April 12, 2014
I’ve long had an interest in using Buddhist principles and mindfulness-based techniques, both for my personal growth and in my practice as a psychologist. When an experiential course on the subject presented itself, I jumped at the chance to take it. The class, taught by Dr. Janetti Marotta, was beautiful, profound, and life altering. I came away with an abiding acceptance of myself and the world, and a deeper connection to both. Wanting to continue the journey, I purchased Dr. Marotta’s book, 50 Mindful Steps to Self-Esteem: Everyday Practices for Cultivating Self-Acceptance and Self-Compassion. These are pages to be lingered over, pages to be meditated on, pages to turn to daily for moments of stillness and peace. And I do. Filled with metaphors and wisdom, I will be turning to this gem-of-a-book for years to come and sharing the ideas and tools with my clients.
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on December 28, 2013

Robert T. Hazlett, LCSW, Ph.D., Trainer, Rutgers University, Institute for Families
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on January 5, 2014
This book was shared with me by a friend and I'll certainly be sharing it with others!

I'm a relative newcomer to mindfulness practice and am enjoying this simple, approachable, and very practical guide. I especially appreciate that the author hasn't set up "must dos" but presents a topic and then says "try this". I also like that she's kept the chapters short and the labels clear so I can try what resonates for me on any given day. I will definitely continue exploring the ideas she presents and incorporating those that work for me into my daily practice.

I highly recommend this little gem!
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on December 1, 2013
In 50 Mindful Steps to Self-Esteem Janetti Marotta describes 50 steps to help readers find a greater sense of well being, more self-compassion and greater self-acceptance. The self esteem to which she refers is not one that is fueled by praise from others and governed by ego but a Buddhist concept of self esteem, fueled by non-judging, self-awareness, self-acceptance, compassion and loving kindness
Each chapter describes one of the 50 steps and is followed by an exercise that serves as an illustration to the reader. The book seamlessly integrates Buddhist traditions and meditational practices with more traditional psychotherapeutic techniques like cognitive-behavioral therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy. The step by step program makes it very easy to understand and is extremely helpful as a primer on meditational practices.
The book can be loosely divided into three sections. The first section focuses on physiological states and breathing . In this section she provides the reader with many easy to follow exercises that can calm the body and reduce anxiety including body scan and deep breathing. The second section focuses on negative thoughts coupled with exercises to help calm the mind by simply observing and taking a non-judgmental stance. The third section focuses on emotions and provides exercises that can help open the heart.
Dr. Marotta aims to teach the reader to focus attention through meditation , to self observe without judging and to be in the present moment without worrying about the past or future. The book offers wise and philosophical observations such as on p. 195, “You accept the surge of dissatisfaction (dukkah) as inevitable; you accept change (annica) as constant, and you accept that a permanent static self is an illusion (annata)". The step by step layout and intuitive organization of the book make it a very easy to understand, primer for mindfulness concepts. I found this book to be a very interesting, accessible and enlightening read. I highly recommend it.
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on November 25, 2013
Dr. Marotta has written a book that beautifully combines Western techniques for self-help with classic Buddhist practices. I found that the book read easily because Dr. Marotta writes with a personable, calm and compassionate voice. She explores difficult subject matter carrying strong emotions, and offers powerful remedies that could affect profound changes in her readers. Her modesty, humor, and the measured presentation of the 50 chapters, make the teachings very accessible. So much so, that the impact of the writing can sneak up on you. I found myself thinking daily about ideas and suggestions in the book starting right from the first chapter, and appreciated how the concepts echoed and built through the book. The 50 practices reference a range of Western teachers and therapists, and the Buddhist traditions are sourced from several cultures, including current teachers, all of which adds range and depth to Dr. Marotta's ideas. The resources are footnoted and referenced so that readers can be explore them beyond the book. All is presented in the friendly voice of Dr. Marotta, making it easier to take in, but make no mistake about it, this book challenges you to grow. It is a true helping hand, with a lot offered, and a lot to be gained. This is really an ideal, gentle introduction to healing practices that can be explored and pursued for a lifetime.
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on January 22, 2014
The title of book is both overwhelming (Gaah! 50 steps??!!), and misleading: It implies the reader must take a step-by-step approach to the book's content. However, I found that I used it very effectively by dipping into a step, or repeating an especially helpful one, even choosing initially to skip an entire part. A better title might replace the word "steps" with "practices" or "exercises".

With that small criticism out of the way, I liked the book's accessible organization. Marotta divides the steps into four parts (Breathing and the Body, Thinking and the Mind, Emotions and the Heart, and Being in the World). For each step, she provides a good title and a brief, concise description. Then she offers "Try this," a way to complete the step (or perform the exercise!). Her wording acknowledges that readers may find other ways that are more effective for them to complete the step. I like that!

Marotta has produced a well-researched handbook for the tasks at hand, and includes an impressive list of resources and references. I agree that, as Bob Stahl says, the book is "a gift," and one I will give to a special friend enduring a difficult time.
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