Finding the Blue Sky: A Mindful Approach to Choosing Happiness Here and Now

By Joseph Emet TarcherPerigee Positive Psychology is the scientific study of what actually makes people happy and what makes life most worth living. Emet trained with Thich Nhat Hanh and shares how Positive Psychology compliments Buddhism. Each chapter has three sections: a story, a meditation or reflection, and a practice section with exercises to help the reader integrate the message. Emet recommends that readers choose to read the book in the order it was written, chapter by chapter, or randomly select a page and see what it brings. If you have a favorite book you’d like to share with other … Continue reading

If You Leave Me, Can I Come With You? Daily Meditations for Codependents and Al-Anons…with a Sense of Humor

By Misti B. Beginning with New Year’s Day, readers will enjoy Misti B’s honest and humorous reflections on her experience as a codependent person who attends Al- Anon, a Twelve Step recovery program for individuals affected by the disease of alcoholism. She offers a year’s worth of daily meditations in a lighthearted manner. They are inspiring and delightful. Misti shares the valuable life lessons she learned and sayings she heard in and outside of the rooms of recovery. For example, after hearing a speaker discuss Step 8, she realized, “What I do directly reflects what I am inside. If I … Continue reading

Buddhism for Couples: A Calm Approach to Relationships

By Sarah Napthali The first chapter is about the difficulty of living as a couple. Other chapters cover letting go, battling negativity, and anger. Each chapter includes her observations on that topic and how she applied Buddhist teachings, specifically Buddha’s Four Noble Truths. This has enabled her to see more clearly using non-judgmental observation. Each chapter closes with “Things to contemplate…” and “Things to do.” In the chapter on communication she provides her summary of communication in partnerships. For example, she suggests, “Stick to one point. Don’t discuss all your problems at once. You don’t have time.” Napthali suggests that … Continue reading

Calm

By Michael Acton Smith A 2005 study found people who regularly practiced mindfulness meditation physically change their brains. Smith states, “A calm practice, incorporating meditation and mindfulness, can be as effective in treating the symptoms of depression and anxiety as drug-based treatments.” Are you ready to change your brain? This is a beautiful book filled with colorful, easy to read pages of quotes and suggestions to help change your perspective and calm your life. It is based on the iPhone app and a calm app is provided to help start and continue a daily meditation practice. There is even a … Continue reading

Not as Prescribed: Recognizing and Facing Alcohol and Drug Misuse in Older Adults

By Harry Haroutunian, MD Drug misuse and addiction is one of the fastest growing and unrecognized health problems in the United States in older adults, which is defined as age fifty and older. AARP coordinated efforts with the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation to provide important information about substance misuse and addiction. Knowing the difference between normal signs of aging and misused drugs or addiction may help families identify drug misuse and abuse. Toxic combinations of prescription drugs, whether under a physician’s or several physicians’ care, can mimic aging or disguise addiction. The magnitude of this problem and the rationale why … Continue reading

The Miracle Power of Your Mind: The Joseph Murphy Treasury

By Joseph Murphy Readers familiar with Dr. Joseph Murphy’s name will be excited to learn that Tarcher Penguin published his collection in their recent Success Classics series. There they will find everything written—all 24 books from 1954-1963 and multiple pamphlets— by Murphy, the pioneer of success thinking. All collected in one very large volume. Murphy’s writing is uplifting and encouraging. He states, “I wish for every man who walks the earth what I wish for myself. The sincere wish of my heart is, therefore, peace, love, joy, abundance, and God’s blessing to all men everywhere.” The founder of the New … Continue reading

The Write Prescription: Telling Your Story to Live With and Beyond Illness

By Judith Hannan Practical instructions are provided in three parts: first, a series of writing prompts; second, suggestions to change observations into story narration; and third, encouragement for individuals to write about their experience of illness and treatment. Included is information on clinical trials about the Medical Narrative and the therapeutic value to patients’ recovering from illness and how writing helps the healing process. Hannan wrote to deal with and get through her young daughter’s illness. She does that by doing what writers are advised to do—show, don’t tell. She encourages putting the words on the page, “Whether you are … Continue reading

Why Can’t I Meditate? How to Get Your Mindfulness Practice on Track

By Nigel Wellings Looking for an in-depth analysis of the practice of mindfulness and practical advice on how to incorporate meditation into your daily routine? Wellings, a practicing meditator himself, provides both. According to Wellings, mindfulness is, “Being consciously aware of what is happening inside of us and around us in the present moment, accepting what we experience without picking or choosing, without judgments about right or wrong, good or bad, and seeing things as they really are.” He interviewed over forty meditators and meditation teachers for examples and insights into how to begin, and when wavering, continue a mindfulness … Continue reading

Dear David: Dealing with My Son’s Addiction One Letter at a Time

By Martha Wegner After seven weeks of in-patient treatment, David walked away from treatment for the third time. He was homeless due to his addiction, again. Wegner dealt with the pain of his disappearance by writing letters to him (all ending with Love, Mom). She describes the pain of having a loved one living on the streets, unable to be contacted. Since her letters couldn’t be mailed to him she posted her journal on a blog. In one letter, she lists all of the events he missed due to his drug use. In another, she describes the experiences his drug … Continue reading

Behind the Wall: The True Story of Mental Illness as Told by Parents

By Mary Widdifield and Elin Widdifield Langdon Street Press  This collection includes candid stories from parents who have loved and lived with a family member who has a mental illness. They report their experiences with heartbreaking honesty and provide important information and resources for other families in similar circumstances. The book is divided into three parts so readers can experience the process of seeking treatment, recovery, and coping with life. Included is a Parent Questionnaire to help understand and guide the journey. Some of their advice includes suggestions to help alleviate the pain of integrating mental illness into our daily … Continue reading

Living Long, Living Passionately, 75 (and Counting) Ways to Bring Peace and Purpose to Your Life

By Karen Casey Conari Press Casey reveals she’s “been on the planet writing books and facilitating workshops for nearly half of my seventy- five years.” She is recognized as a long-time recovery expert and shares her personal story and experience of recovery in a 12 Step program. She provides meditative essays and insights with follow-up questions for journaling. For example, “What have you passed on to a loved one that he or she may cherish?” In the section on Remembrances, Casey asks, “Whom do you remember clearly? And why? And whom do you hope will keep your spirit alive. And … Continue reading

Swimming Upstream: Parenting Girls for Resilience in a Toxic Culture

By Laura H. Choate Oxford University Press Readers will appreciate this guidebook of encouragement and useful information. Choate’s decades of experience as a counselor educator and licensed professional counselor is evident in this resource of research on popular culture and the pressures facing our young girls and their parents. The first part of the book provides an explanation and description of the world we live in; it identifies the cultural standards and messages girls are surrounded by, such as your worth is based on your appearance, on getting attention and approval from others, or on your accomplishments. The second part … Continue reading

Synchronicity: Empower Your Life with the Gift of Coincidence

By Chris Mackey Watkins Publishing A clinical psychologist with 35 years’ experience, Mackey includes personal and clinical experiences of coincidences and synchronicity. These include case studies and anecdotal reports from people who stated that they were “in synch” with life and Gallup poll results of people who self-identify as “spiritual but not religious.” He discusses the brain science behind their perceptions. Readers who are interested in positive psychology in treating mental illness, which was developed by Martin Seligman, will find extensive information on Mackey’s website. What gift of coincidence or synchronicity have you received lately?

Living with Intent: My Somewhat Messy Journey to Purpose, Peace, and Joy

By Mallika Chopra Harmony Books Are you ready to move from thought to action to outcome? Mallika Chopra tells her journey of a year spent “living with intent” and shares her hope and wisdom. As the busy founder of INTENT.com (a website and app), author, mother and wife, she learned firsthand how overwhelming stress can be. And she developed workable strategies and actions that can help inspire, motivate, and rebalance a busy life. “The journey really is the destination — if we slow down enough to pay attention. When we slow down to notice, the universe gives us the signs … Continue reading

The Gratitude Element: A New Look at the Serenity Prayer

By Mark T. Scannell Gasscann Publishers Although Scannell is no longer a Catholic priest, his interest in spirituality is clear. He describes the history and evolution of The Serenity Prayer, a prayer of petition, which has been used for years by religious and Twelve Step groups. He identifies the prayer’s different versions and the authors attributed to it. Scannell indicates his intent to add to the prayer by including gratitude in the last sentence: “I am grateful for the serenity, courage, and wisdom you have given me.” He discusses how resentments and feelings of entitlement can hold one back from … Continue reading

Straight Talk from Claudia Black: What Recovering Parents Should Tell Their Kids about Drugs and Alcohol

By Claudia Black, Ph.D. Hazelden Publishing Before you begin a discussion with your children on addiction, it may be helpful to clarify your motives and expectations, especially if you are talking about your drug/alcohol history and subsequent recovery. Black is known for her work with family systems and addictive disorders. She uses five recovering parents and their different stories in this book. She takes the reader through the process of discussing addiction and recovery, new ways of relating, and creating healthy family traditions. The last chapter describes how to speak to specific age groups. Remember, discussion is a process; not … Continue reading