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

4.21  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,505 Ratings  ·  375 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
Paperback, 467 pages
Published July 22nd 2009 by Delta (first published 1990)
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Marva I've listened to a lot of Jon Kabat-Zinn's audio recordings. He often references this book but I've only recently started using it. I'm not…moreI've listened to a lot of Jon Kabat-Zinn's audio recordings. He often references this book but I've only recently started using it. I'm not disappointed with the result. Just the ticket for important reminders. Very useful.(less)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jan 22, 2012 Patricia rated it really liked it
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
Jan 02, 2012 David rated it liked it
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
Jan 27, 2012 L rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 19, 2014 Ruby rated it really liked it
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
Brad Harkins
Nov 05, 2012 Brad Harkins rated it it was amazing
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
Tough book to review.

I've taken a mindfulness class or two through my medical provider and Kabat-Zinn is clearly THE man, and this book THE reference for everything going on there.

And I think it's likely some, if not many, of the epiphanies and insights I experienced in the class I would've experienced here if I'd come to the material cold.

But since I didn't...

If you are interested in pursuing mindfulness/meditation but are worried about dealing with religious cant of one sort or another, JKZ ha
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Jan 31, 2010 Jeanette "Astute Crabbist" rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jeanette by: Myra
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
Sep 26, 2012 Michelle rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 19, 2014 Falina rated it liked it
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 it was amazing
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
May 13, 2008 stephanie rated it really liked it
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
Aug 02, 2013 Laura rated it really liked it
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
Jun 29, 2015 Thomas rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 13, 2013 Julie rated it really liked it
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.
Mar 04, 2014 jen rated it really liked it
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
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.
Feb 22, 2011 Martin rated it really liked it
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
Mar 25, 2013 Bea Van thyn rated it it was amazing
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.
Katie Curlee Hamblen
Drags at times because it's just so long, but the lessons are invaluable. This was totally indispensable when I became seriously ill. And really, although he's pretty wordy, Jon Kabat-Zinn's special combination of kindness and rationality shine through.
Mohamed Al Sayyah
Jan 26, 2015 Mohamed Al Sayyah rated it really liked it
Shelves: mind-spirit
finished the Audio book
Teo 2050
3h @ 2x. This became for me a new favorite mindfulness book after listening to the substructureless monologue (well done by the author) in a sunny forest. Despite lacking [scientifically rigorous presentation]& [analysis of when to consider (not) taking drugs], it felt positively unplagued by the mistaken metaphysics often associated with books that are meant as alternatives to "the standard biomedical model." I'd recommend FCL as a quick introduction to mindfulness to a non-researcher, & ...more
May 29, 2014 JDK1962 rated it liked it
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
Mar 15, 2014 Edward Hardie rated it really liked it
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
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
Elizabeth Theiss
Feb 25, 2013 Elizabeth Theiss rated it it was amazing
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
Fatima Afridi
May 25, 2016 Fatima Afridi rated it really liked it
I read this book very slowly. It was recommended to me by my Pain Psychologist. If there's one book that changed my life, it would be this one! It put me on a path, the Way. So much learning, such wisdom; incredible! My favourite chapter was about stress related to people? Excellent insights!
Roxanne Richardson
Sep 03, 2014 Roxanne Richardson rated it really liked it
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
Nov 28, 2014 Roisin rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2014
Favourite things about this book:
1. It is inspiring and I feel like meditating when I read it.
2. It is filled with things we as humans instinctively know from our experience but forget when we're so busy "living".
3. Actually doing mindfulness changed my life. I started reading this after I had done a mindfulness course, and it has been helpful in supporting my practice.

Least favourite things:
1. The somewhat boring chapters on food stress, world stress etc. some were good but I as a bit over
Apr 17, 2016 Paul rated it it was amazing
Great book about slowing down in life and taking things as they are. Jon Kabat-Zinn's voice is very meditative in itself.
Cyn Armistead
May 03, 2014 Cyn Armistead rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
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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
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“Patience is a form of wisdom. It demonstrates that we understand and accept the fact that sometimes things must unfold in their own time.” 17 likes
“No matter how many scars we carry from what we have gone through and suffered in the past, our intrinsic wholeness is still here: what else contains the scars? None of us has to be a helpless victim of what was done to us or what was not done for us in the past, nor do we have to be helpless in the face of what we may be suffering now. We are also what was present before the scarring—our original wholeness, what was born whole. And we can reconnect with that intrinsic wholeness at any time, because its very nature is that it is always present. It is who we truly are.” 14 likes
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