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Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness
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Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  4,568 ratings  ·  299 reviews


Stress. It is everywhere around us. Even worse, it gets inside us: sapping our energy, undermining our health, and making us more vulnerable to anxiety, depression, and disease. Now, based on Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn’s renowned mindfulness-based stress reduction program, this groundbreaking book shows you how to use natural, medically proven methods to soothe and heal your body
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Paperback, 467 pages
Published July 22nd 2009 by Delta (first published 1990)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Patricia
I read this book as part of my "get rid of psorisis in 2009" campaign. In my research, I read about a study where patients undergoing UV treatment for psorisis who listened to the body scan meditation associated with this book showed more improvement than patients who didn't. I'm not undergoing UV treatment, but I thought it couldn't hurt to see what this book has to say. Plus, I was intrigued by the title.

This is not a thin book. It is very, very long and as my library due date approached, I ha
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David
October and November were my months of self-help. I don't think I've ever read a self-help book in my life, but within four weeks I had read three.

I discovered Jon Kabat-Zinn after receiving dozens of messages of concern about my recent sleeplessness. Various types of meditation and breathing exercises were the most popular recommendations. Some suggested retreats, others classes, and others audio CDs. I figured I'd start with a guided audio CD, and if it didn't work then I'd enroll in a class
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L
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I'm assigning five stars based on the book's content and thoroughness. The real value remains to be determined after consistent practice of the program.

Most people will only be drawn to a program like this after a health crisis or other major life stressor. There is a significant daily time commitment, especially for the first 8 weeks of practice. I've had to eliminate some non-essential activities from my life to make time for this work.

The book gives you a chance to simulate the 8-week progr
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Brad Harkins
Health problems? Traditional medicine has let you down? Curious about meditation and it's benefits on your health? This book may be for you. It helped me in various ways and will continue to. It outlines and guides you through the 8 week stress reduction program that Kabat-Zinn teaches at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Case studies are included on people who suffer (sometimes horribly) from a wide range of health issues. Anything from just stress, to panic attacks, to heart dise ...more
Ruby
This book was a real mixed bag for me - simultaneously profound, moving and frustrating! I think it is a bit like eating a wholesome meal that is good for your body but not particularly tasty. You eat it, you know it is doing you good, but you secretly think a bit of extra flavour wouldn't go astray. The fact that I have given it four stars is testimony to the good aspects of this book, which were very, very good.

I will start with what I did NOT like. The book was more than 1000 pages long; I ca
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Michelle
Amazing book! I've read several books on mindfulness and meditation over the years, but none of them were actually practical. This book explains clearly not only the reasons why you should train yourself to practice mindfulness but also how to do it. It lays out Kabat-Zinn's 8-wk meditation immersion from his stress reduction clinic associated with UMass medical center, where physicians send their patients with the most difficult chronic medical conditions for relief that can't be had with medic ...more
Falina
I have trouble writing reviews for self-help books. I'm not sure what I'm actually reviewing -- the format and the way the information is presented, or the information itself. I find myself trying to review the system the books are pushing, rather than the books themselves, but I'll try to review Full Catastrophe Living as a book. I think it's complete -- I don't see how you'd would really need another book on mindfulness and meditation if you have this one; this is a book that can keep you busy ...more
Lisa Vegan
Oct 18, 2007 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in mindfulness, meditation, stress reduction
This is the book that got me started on a mindfulness meditation practice.

Of course, at around the same time I was reading it, I took a MBSR (mindfulness based stress reduction) class and was working with a mindfulness psychotherapist, so it’s hard to review the book on its own; the class was essential for me as just reading the book might not have spurred me on. Meditation is very difficult, especially at the beginning, at least it was/is for me. And, even though Kabat-Zinn says it's not at al
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stephanie
May 13, 2008 stephanie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to stephanie by: dr. susan evans.
smart, excellent review of the ways in which mindfulness better your life, can reduce stress and pain. I found it a little long and repetitive for a 15th edition, but that might also be because i've gotten most of the good stuff through his other writings/audiobooks/other authors.

i would recommend this a wonderful place to start for people who aren't sure what mindfulness is really about. i didn't like how often he used the word "meditation", for true mindfulness isn't meditation at all, but a
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Laura
First off, this book is really for those who are truly ready to open their mind in search of emotional healing. However, the good things is that ANYBODY can take part if they truly want to, which I think is really amazing and beautiful.
Jon Kabat-Zinn teaches his readers the same things he ends up teaching at his eight-week healing clinic at the hospital he works at, that is, meditation, body scans, yoga, and (especially!) mindfulness. He talks about the importance of being in touch and in tune
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Thomas
This book was recommended to me by a friend who heard me yammering about yoga and psychology (and cetera) after my India trip two years ago...and I am finally getting around to it! I'm pleasantly surprised to discover that instead of the schmaltzy bullshit with the accompanying subway ad, such as one might expect from the burgeoning self-help industry, this is a serious book. Zinn is an *actual* doctor, writing about methods and results garnered from his practice. His straightforward, mysticism- ...more
jen
Mar 04, 2014 jen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
Somehow this didn't get rated when I read it. I picked this up about a year ago when I thought I might have to deal with some pain from an injury. Luckily that did not occur, but I am glad I read this anyway. This documents a mindfulness meditation program that is available now in many hospitals and other medical settings where patients can get referred for pain, stress, and other health conditions. Three techniques -- body scan, seated meditation, and yoga -- are explained in detail These are n ...more
Kathryn
Update: It's been long enough since I read this book that I've forgotten everything except that I thought it could be summarized in one chapter. Commenters here universally agree that I've gotten it all wrong, and I'm sure they know the book better than I do, so I've removed my rating and remarks. If I ever reread this one (doubtful...), I'll revisit it. My apologies to the author for misrepresenting his work.
Martin
This was a long, textbook-like read, but highly worthwhile. I wanted to understand meditation and the true benefits forever, and this was the first book to lay it out in ways that I could understand, and communicate the benefits in useful, not flowery new-agey, ways. Since I've read this, I have been successful in implementing a meditation routine, and I know why I'm doing it. It's a great book.
Bea Van thyn
This book probably saved my life. It was given to me by a friend all those years ago when I was battling cancer and was my introduction to Mindfullness Meditation. I learned that one can be happy in the moment, no matter what the circumstances. And life is best lived one moment at a time. I believe this must be how my parents-in-law survived their time in the Naze concentration camps.
JDK1962
It took me a long time to get through this book. Not because I disagree with any of it (I don't), but because this book, IMHO, desperately needed an editor, or at least a more assertive editor than it had. The material is excellent, but probably could have been presented in half the number of pages. The organization seemed poor, and consequently, there were many times where I felt like I was being told something I had already been told...and had not just been told twice or three times, but ten t ...more
Edward Hardie
The author has written two books about mindfulness. ‘Wherever You Go, There You Are’ covers the theory, though scattered throughout it are suggestions of things the reader can try to get into mindfulness.

The present book takes its title from a line from the film Zorba the Greek. Zorba is asked about his family and responds by saying that he has a wife and children, ‘the full catastrophe.’ So you could say that the full catastrophe is simply human life. The book deals with the use of mindfulness
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bookczuk
Though there was a lot in this book that I skimmed over, there were a lot of true gems that will particularly be useful in developing a practice of mindfulness and meditation. Some of the information helped me to overcome some of the blocks I've formed and approach in a different way.

I will admit that the title initially made me wary -- not one I wanted to be reading in public, but in the intro, the author relates the story behind it:
In groping to describe that aspect of human condition that pat
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Stephanie
This book should not be read for entertainment or escape. It is a "how to" book for anyone who wants to learn mindfulness meditation for any reason. Mindfulness meditation improves the quality of your life no matter why you decide to learrn and practice it. The first ten chapters deal with the practice of several types of meditation including just breathing, sitting meditation,the body scan, yoga meditation, and walking meditation. After you try each, the tenth chapter tells you the usual course ...more
Elizabeth Theiss
This book was the beginning of a long path toward compassion and understanding. Kabat-Zinn is a researcher at UMass Medical Center who works with and studies people with chronic pain problems and how meditation eases the effects of pain. His focus is in the individual reader and the book is essentially a sophisticated self-help guide for living "the full catastrophe," that is, life in a normal context. The subtext is Eastern philosophy as a way to cope with the challenges of daily life.

I read F
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Roxanne Richardson
I find Kabat-Zinn much more accessible than Depak Chopra, and this book was a good one to work through during an epic meltdown. The take away message here was, "your ability to be fully present can come through even under the most trying of circumstances. It will cradle and embrace the full catastrophe itself. Sometimes this will reduce your pain and sometimes it may not. But awareness brings comfort of a certain kind even in the midst of suffering." Thank you, Elizabeth, for seeming to know whe ...more
Cynthia Armistead
This book is a must-read for anyone who has any kind of chronic health issue or who is under a great deal of stress in general. You can't afford to NOT take the time to read or listen to it!
Malarie
I had to read this book for a class, but it was a good read regardless. At times it felt repetitive, but that's part of the point. I only had a few weeks to read this book and did a lot of skimming. When the class is over I want to reread it with more depth.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to regain control of a hectic life, or who have been interested in developing a mediation practice but didn't know where to start. It would also be an interesting read for those who do practice
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Deborah
'Health' means 'whole.' 'Whole' implies integration, an interconnectedness of all parts of a system or organism, a completeness.

David Bohm, theoretical physicist, whose work involves exploring wholeness as a fundamental property of nature. The words 'medicine' and meditation' come from the Latin 'mederi' that means 'to cure.' 'Mederi' derives from an Indo-European root meaning 'to measure.'

Einstein: A human being is a part of the whole, called by us "Universe," a part limited in time and space.
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Julie
Life can be crazy and hectic. It seems like there are never enough hours in the day and that 'To Do' list grows ever longer. So it sounds pretty crazy to dedicate 45 minutes of an overly scheduled day to yoga and meditation. But Kabat-Zinn gives compelling evidence that we really do need to clear our minds, not only for our sanity, but for our physical well being. I am convinced that he is right. But, still have not incorporated either into my life... Another thing to add to that To Do list.
Amberjean
Eh-yeah, I'm not one for a lot of woo-woo, including anything about meditation, so I was skeptical, but this book was recommended to me, so I gave it a shot. It didn't completely turn me off, so I'm calling that a win. There was plenty of interesting information, anecdotes, and god forbid, some actual research about the usefulness of paying attention to your own body and mind.

The author did a great job of presenting his view in such a way as to not shut down a skeptical reader.
Roberta Romero
We only read a few chapters for our class but what Jon Kabat-Zinn has created with his mindfulness based program is amazing. It resonated with me because I was recovering from a head on collision and breathing and meditating all helped me to recover more quickly and allowed me to be open to the healing during physical therapy and to be in the moment.
Sarah
May 25, 2014 Sarah rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people dealing with chronic pain and illness
This was one of the suggested readings for my EdX class on stress and resiliency. The title is a disaster. I couldn't remember the title of the book I was reading without singing "Dear Catastrophe Waitress." Of course, Kindles weren't invented when this book was first written in 1990, so not a problem the author likely anticipated.

I skipped around a bit and got a lot out of the sections on meditation. I'm not dealing with chronic pain, so the parts intended for people in those situations were h
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Ron
This is a readable introduction to mindfulness meditation for anyone new to the practice and curious about its role in stress reduction and coping with physical illness and pain. It describes in detail an 8-week course developed at the UMass Medical Center.

The unusual title is a reference to the film Zorba the Greek, in which the title character describes the predictable stressors of daily life as "the full catastrophe." Stress is to be understood as part of the human condition, not an afflictio
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Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., is founding Executive Director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He is also the founding director of its renowned Stress Reduction Clinic and Professor of Medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He teaches mindfulness and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) ...more
More about Jon Kabat-Zinn...
Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness Mindfulness for Beginners Guided Mindfulness Meditation Arriving at Your Own Door: 108 Lessons in Mindfulness

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“Allow your attention to gently alight on your belly, as if you were coming upon a shy animal sunning itself on a tree stump in a clearing in the forest. Feel your belly rise or expand gently on the inbreath, and fall or recede on the outbreath.” 3 likes
“Patience is a form of wisdom. It demonstrates that we understand and accept the fact that sometimes things must unfold in their own time.” 3 likes
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