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How to Live Well with Chronic Pain and Illness: A Mindful Guide

4.27  ·  Rating Details ·  161 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
Comfort, understanding, and advice for those who are suffering--and those who care for them.

Chronic illness creates many challenges, from career crises and relationship issues to struggles with self-blame, personal identity, and isolation. Beloved author Toni Bernhard addresses these challenges and many more, using practical examples to illustrate how mindfulness, equanimi
Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 6th 2015 by Wisdom Publications
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Diane S ☔
Sep 24, 2015 Diane S ☔ rated it liked it
3.5 I am drawn to these books, searching for something I do not already know. This book is divided nicely into chapters dealing with different issues and suggestions, well written and easy to understand. Unfortunately while this did not provide me with any new information it did comfort me to know that many of the things I feel are normal and felt by many. Feelings, however, are feelings and are hard at times to put aside. A good book for those looking for answers or those with new struggles.

Story Circle Book Reviews
Oct 12, 2015 Story Circle Book Reviews rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Contrary to what one might assume from the title, How to Live Well with Chronic Pain and Illness is not just for those who live with lingering illness. This crisp, well written book was written from Bernhard's personal point of view—written on a laptop while in her bed. Bernhard does make the assumption that her audience is able to function to some extent. She points out that "we live in culture that repeatedly suggests that, with proper diet and lifestyle changes, no one need be sick and no one ...more
Joshua Buhs
Oct 08, 2015 Joshua Buhs rated it really liked it
Shelves: b12, non-fiction
This book is just right. As in correct.

It's not as radical as her first book--the title's prove that. The first one was "How to Be Sick," which is a disorienting statement; this one is about living well. But it is based on hard-won experience and is very worthwhile.

Indeed, this is probably a more complete book than the first one, and anyone new to chronic illness should read it. (I kept nodding at points she made, which I've experienced.) If you've had chronic illness for a while and are struggl
Danielle (is trying to escape reality)
These books have literally changed my life. I find it hard to adhere to all the changes in ways of thinking, but I am working on it!! These books are so worth it. Toni is a great inspiration.

* I received a free copy via Goodreads First Reads for review.
Bethwyn (Butterfly Elephant Books)
I read a lot of this with tears in my eyes of recognition - Toni Bernhard reminded me that it's okay to feel what I feel about being sick, and she has also given me some amazing techniques to cope when turbulence and grief arises.
Mar 08, 2016 Annette rated it it was amazing
Shelves: physical-health
This book has really resonated with my experience of the past several years and has blessed me very much. Loved, loved, loved it!

Quotes from Chapter 37: What the Chronically Ill Hope Others Will Say

"You look good, but how are you really feeling?"
"I'm going to the grocery store; can I pick up anything for you?"
"It must be so hard to be in pain so much of the time."
"Not being able to ... must be so frustrating."
"How are you holding up? Do we need to stop talking/visiting so you can rest?"
"I miss
Nov 13, 2015 Ashley rated it it was amazing
I don't give a lot of five star reviews. I'm really picky.

However, Bernhard's words are more comforting and soothing than the best cup of tea. She'll remind you of a kind mother cradling her child. Her advice and walk-through regarding meditation are great. I HATE MEDITATING. It's hard, damnit. And yet, Bernhard brings it about in such an approachable manner that I thought, "Maybe, I CAN do this..."

No bullshit. She knows where you're coming from.

She makes me feel like maybe this life can be easi
Sep 30, 2015 Barbara rated it it was amazing
Practical, mindful, and deeply self-nurturing approach to living with chronic pain. One of the best books on this topic I've ever read! I will read this book again and again.
Jan 15, 2016 Marianne rated it really liked it
4.5? It's not my very most favorite but i think it will continue to be useful and it's already helped some.
Feb 06, 2017 Emily rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book. If I didn't have so much going on I would have finished it sooner. I think that there is a lot of great information in this book both for the chronically ill as well as their caregivers and loved ones. There are many coping mechanisms that Bernhard walks you through, usually using her own personal examples. Some of these I have heard of and already do, and there are others that are new to me and that I am eager to try. There are also some things that she says ...more
Mar 11, 2017 Emily rated it really liked it
I greatly appreciated this book. Having someone you love thrust into the world of chronic pain and illness can cause a lot of confusion, miscommunication, misunderstanding, and sadness. Bernhard helped me get a better grasp on how my loved one might be feeling and thinking. I like to think that I am better able to empathize and communicate after having read this. I also found myself nodding in agreement and recognition with so many things she said. This is definitely a book that I plan to come b ...more
Jan 17, 2017 Monica rated it it was amazing
I have had chronic pain primarily in my lower back for about five years now, for the past two years I have been getting new symptoms such as neck pain, arm pain, headaches, and other things. I have been going through bouts of depression and just not sure where I "fit" in this world anymore since I am now unable to work. This book has opened my eyes to some new ways of looking at things that I had not thought of before. There are definitely several chapters that I will be rereading as well as fol ...more
Darren Hyslop
Dec 11, 2016 Darren Hyslop rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Health challenges

Good tools to apply when dealing with chronic health issues that have helped me in my journey through life .
Nov 12, 2015 Laci rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this one much more than Bernhard's first effort, it felt more well-rounded and fleshed out than the previous effort. This one felt more like a straight-forward, "Here's how you live your life with chronic illness" guide. She effectively covers all aspects of chronic illness, even those that many overlook like the lives of your caregivers, managing a social life, being ill while young (that she defines as 30s and under), etc.

One of my favorite aspects of the books were the examples sub
Dec 14, 2016 Stephanie rated it it was ok
*sigh* Most books about living with chronic illness make me wonder if everything is wrong with me for not having a life before my chronic illness, and this is no exception. For the author, there's a Before Illness and an After Illness. For me, it's Always Been Disabled. There are fewer narratives about being the disabled child who is now a disabled adult but still doesn't "look sick", so I've internalised a lot of unhealthy thoughts about myself. Like: no one will ever love me because I'm always ...more
Aug 27, 2015 Rumeur rated it it was amazing
I won this book in Goodreads giveaway! Many thanks to GR, the author & Wisdom Publications:-)

This book is very informative & helpful. It starts with trying to educate the people in your life, about how you feel, what you have etc. In a way, it's like going through the 5 stages of death, where you question "why me?", guilt & later, the question--why NOT me?

Also, some chronic illnesses and/or pain, don't show physically on some people & the book addresses that issue, where others c
Sep 30, 2015 Laurie rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend this book for anyone who knows somebody who is chronically ill.. or even ill for a long extended period of time.. also IMHO it's a great book to read on how to handle life in general. That being said this book has made me feel better about how I viewed being sick over the last 6 years, or rather how I treated myself.. it's all very confusing and no one tells you how to be sick when you are going through all this.. it's also helpful for people who are not sick to see what chall ...more
Feb 17, 2016 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
This book took me awhile to read. Because of the nature of the book, coping with chronic illness, it wasn't something I felt in the mood to read straight through. However, I think that taking 2+ months to read this book was actually beneficial. Bernhard gives a lot of mindfulness exercises and it gave me time to really process the tips and put them into practice. I definitely plan to revisit this book in the future. I really recommend this book to everyone, not even just those affected by chroni ...more
Aug 14, 2016 EA rated it it was amazing
The author has had her share of difficulty related to health. She shares without being morose and offers some very concrete strategies for coping with chronic pain. She comes from a mindfulness approach and uses some of those meditative strategies. It's amazing how helpful they actually can be when practices. Her instructions are very clear, and she offers substantive, skills-based advice. Highly recommend if you are looking for something in this arena. I certainly came to care for her and wish ...more
Craig Bergland
I expect if you primary issue is chronic illness, you will believe I should have rated this book much higher. as someone whose primary problem is chronic pain - which, I will grant you, is also a chronic illness - I found this book did little to address living with chronic pain and so found the title to be misleading. Having enjoyed the author's earlier "How to be Sick," I was looking forward to a book about living well with chronic pain. It didn't deliver at all. In fact, as a book about chroni ...more
Fleurtje Eliza
Jan 03, 2016 Fleurtje Eliza rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A bag of equanimity, please

Life is full of uncertainties. And when being chronically ill, these uncertainties can be overwhelming, in my experience.
‘How to Live Well with Chronic Pain and Illness’ by Toni Bernhard is a helpful and practical guide. I highlighted so much, I thought the e-reader was going to run out of ink.

You can find the rest of the article here:
Oct 07, 2016 Jen rated it liked it
3.5 stars. Good info for anyone with chronic pain or illness. Living in a culture that tells us if we will only eat *right* and exercise, we will never be in pain or unhealthy, it is very difficult to deal with chronic illness. Despite our best efforts, sometimes, bodies get sick. It is nice to hear from someone who understands.
Colorado Reader
Mar 14, 2016 Colorado Reader rated it liked it
Very well written and easy to read. Perfect for those that are looking for a starting point, but unfortunately doesn't offer new or groundbreaking techniques for those that are not. With that said, it does offer an uplifting reminder that one should not feel ashamed or guilty for suffering with a chronic aliment.
Mar 01, 2016 D rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books you hear about, get from the library, and end up buying on Amazon because you just HAVE to have a copy to reread and to lend. I read the last part first and am glad I did, especially because it bears reading more than once. Bottom line gift you'll get: how to be a real friend when someone you love is sick... no matter what that illness is.
Jan 07, 2016 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
I would like to iwn a copy of this book so i may refer to it as often as I need. Mindfulness is extremely useful for anyone, but this book is very specific to finding ways to use mindfulness to help you navigate the rough terrain of chronic pain and illness. When I want to give up on a day, these practices help bring new life to the day.
Sue Jackson
The third book by a wonderful author (and good friend!) - compassionate, wise, helpful advice for living your best life with chronic illness and pain. I think this one is my favorite of the three, though they are all worth reading! Read my full review at:
Feb 18, 2016 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Real, honest-to-goodness (free!) ideas about dealing with all the things that surround having a chronic illness. I would give this book to anyone who is dealing with or taking care of someone with chronic health issues. It is that good. Also, it doesn't (as much as I thought it would) retread the ground of her other books. So get them all.
Because tastes and interests differ so greatly it isn't often I consider a book a must-read but if you have a chronic illness or live with chronic pain this book is definitely that. Filled with insight, honesty, and practical helpful advice. This is one I'll be reading again and referring to often.

Jan 07, 2016 Bethe rated it it was amazing
I've found this book to be so helpful. The author has wonderful insight. Chronic pain is a lifelong journey. This book helps one to deal with it while working toward living your best life. Great advice for helping others understand as well.
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I'm the author of three books: "How to Live Well with Chronic Pain and Illness: A Mindful Guide" (Fall 2015); "How to Wake Up: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide to Navigating Joy and Sorrow"; and "How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and their Caregivers." Until forced to retire due to illness, I was a law professor at the University of California—Davis, serving six years as t ...more
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