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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2010
Even though I've read lots of good books on mindfulness this book stands out in several ways. First, I appreciate how the author links mindfulness with a basic understanding of the nervous system. When we're reacting mindlessly it's because we've activated the sympathetic nervous system. The book provides practices and ideas for how to work with our bodies and minds so we can stay open to the experiences of our lives, not getting so caught up in fear-based protective responses and "Big Deal Mind."

Second, I like how the book frames the common obstacles to mindfulness (illusion, delusion, attachment and aggression) and provides practices for working with them. Although the presentation of these four obstacles is clearly rooted in Buddhist teachings, the book has very little Buddhist jargon, thus making it useful for anyone interested in cultivating more spacious and compassionate ways to be present in one's own life.

Finally, I appreciated the author's ideas for applying mindfulness practices in daily living. He includes ideas you'll find in other books (mindful eating, walking, driving) but goes further. I especially liked the activities using haiku awareness (which added a fun element to an evening out with a friend when we did them together) and the chapter on spacious relationships, which covers a number of useful ideas, including how to explore protective strategies that get in the way of being more fully present in relationships, and how to speak with a "heart tone in your voice." Tom Roberts speaks in that tone throughout the book: kind, encouraging, and understanding of the need to keep starting over and not give up on ourselves when we find ourselves - once again! - under the influence of Big Deal Mind.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2011
Mindfulness has received considerable attention in psychology and related fields in the past ten years. Drawing on his considerable experience with clients as a marriage and family therapist, Roberts has written an excellent, experiential introduction and workbook for those interested in practicing mindfulness (whether beginner or experienced). Mindfulness involves opening up to the flow of life experiences without judgment or excessive thoughts or feelings, a limiting of the need to react (a "spacious presence"). According to Roberts, mindfulness is not a way of avoiding life's stresses and problems, but a way of facing inevitable difficulties with patience, openness and compassion, it's a way of "settling the muddy water". It is the opposite of "mindlessness" or automaticity, and of fear-based reactions (which are the cause of suffering). The book is filled with carefully guided "practice sessions" related to mindfulness (with many "points to ponder"), and an audio version guiding you through the sessions is available on Robert's web site. The practice sessions include consideration of center point breathing; common obstacles to mindfulness ("illusions" or perceiving that my troubles are permanent, lasting and solid; "delusions" or stories I tell myself that distort reality; "attachment" or the energy I expend protecting my illusions and delusions; and "aggression" or the final attempt to control life and restore a sense of safety); and cultivating mindfulness in everyday living (disrupting routines; and mindful eating, walking and driving). There's even a chapter on "Haiku awareness" (playful poems that promote mindfulness) and another describing loving-kindness meditation. I enthusiastically recommend this book without reservation to just about anybody.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 6, 2010
I really love this book. In a time when many of us are working and living in a way that feels out of control, reading this book is like a breath of fresh air. The Mindfulness Workbook is a wonderful guide to help you learn how to step back and embrace your life as it truly happens. It teaches you how to recognize and let go of old habits and thought patterns that are so disruptive. The book is written in a style that is down to earth and easy to relate to. It is kept interesting through many stories and examples. The Mindfulness Workbook leaves you with wonderful insights and invites you to follow some very simple practices that can have a profound effect in helping relieve tension and in creating a sense of calmness. I have found it to be tremendously helpful in learning how to respond when I feel myself falling into the turmoil of daily clatter and commotion. This, in turn, draws me closer to the stillness of my center and helps me to pay attention to and embrace what is really happening in the present moment. You can tell this workbook is written by someone who knows gentleness, kindness, patience and compassion because everything in the book that speaks of using these qualities, starting with yourself, falls so naturally into place. It is incredibly helpful in making positive change and I would highly recommend it to anyone
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2010
This is a great resource for therapists to use with patients/clients in addition to it being very accessible as a self-help book. I had the pleasure of attending a workshop with Mr. Roberts several years ago where he taught on his approach to mindfulness based therapy - he was highly knowledgable, both in scientific theory, as well as practical application. Mr. Roberts "walks the walk" in his approach and drew from his own application of mindfulness in his daily life, including how it strengthens his clinical practice. As a new oncology social worker at the time looking for methods to better the life of the cancer patients I work with, Mr. Roberts was an inspiration. I was very happy to see the book available and to have the opportunity to support Mr. Roberts in purchasing it. I appreciate Mr. Roberts' ability in this book to explain the concepts and methods in an accessible and practical manner that one would expect from a "workbook." I think it is a wonderful addition to the field of mindfulness based therapies. Thank you Mr. Roberts for your graciousness and talent.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2012
I thought this was an excellent book in terms of easily understood and applicable foundational concepts and just as easily applicable exercises that allow the reader to gain understanding of as well as insight into themselves. It was no nonsense, non punitive, and compassionate.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2011
A year ago, I would never have thought I would be writing a positive (or any) review for a mindfulness book, but this book has been instrumental in improving my quality of life and self-worth. May sound exaggerated, but its NOT!! I haven't made it not completely thru the book once, simply because I've reread much of the text and stories and repeated so many of the practices. Repeating the practices because they have been such powerful tools to help me realize how I have been making myself miserable. I've been caught in "big-deal mind's" destructive ways of coping with stress. Now I can at least see that. Seeing it doesn't just make it go away, but it's a huge step in the right direction to find a better, happier, healthier way of being. Hands down, the best gift I've ever given myself!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2013
This is not a weekend read. The author takes his subject very seriously, and approaches each process from an almost philosophical basis. This gives it something of a "gravitas" quality and one learns a great deal. If you want to go into some depth and are keen to get really involved in mindfulness, you get a great deal out of this book. I find that although it calls itself a "beginner's" guide, any beginner would have to work quite hard to get into it. It is worth the extra effort, however. You finish it knowing exactly what mindfulness is, and as such it is worth it. It goes considerably deeper than an overview of mindfulness, and I would recommend it to those who have already explored the field somewhat.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2013
This is the absolute best book for working through fear and the stress that goes with it. I bought this for my husband and we have gone back through it over again in specific areas if he has an issue. I cannot express how great the worksheets are and also the examples of others who have suffered. With this book, we have been able to overcome deep rooted fear issues. Please.... give this book a try.
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on August 6, 2013
I'm on page 5 in this book, and I'm already hooked. I've been struggling with a way to be less reactive and more relaxed in my life, and I believe my search is almost over. Just having "mindfulness" redefined as a way of responding to the world and taking it out of the overused word category has helped. My hope is that I will learn to behave compassionately with myself and with others and in my daily experiences. My life has been fear-based for too long, and I already feel a sense of freedom...even at page 5.
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on January 30, 2014
I am a licensed counselor and use mindfulness with all of my clients. I was looking for a book to recommend to clients so they could work on this at home. This book is perfect for anyone looking to understand mindfulness from knowing nothing to having a good understanding. It is a great book to use with your clients or for yourself if you are new to mindfulness. Thomas really "gets" mindfulness and how it improves life. I couldn't recommend this more.
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