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

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4.22  ·  Rating details ·  278 Ratings  ·  49 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
...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 6th 2015 by Wisdom Publications
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Diane S ☔
Sep 24, 2015 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.

ARC
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Story Circle Book Reviews
Oct 12, 2015 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 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
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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.
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.
Ash
Nov 13, 2015 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
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Sara Habein
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
When I was first diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis, AKA the improperly named chronic fatigue syndrome, Toni Bernhard's first book, How to Be Sick, was tremendously helpful. And 8 years later, this third book of hers is just as relevant to me as that previous title I will likely have more thoughts on this book soon, but I recommend it for anyone trying to get through life as a chronically ill person, even if you think you "know" what to do. It also contains a lot of helpful reading for the ...more
Ginger
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best book I've ever read on dealing with chronic illness on an emotional level. Recommended for anyone dealing with chronic illness (patients, caretakers, and loved ones).
Annette
Mar 08, 2016 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
...more
Barbara (The Bibliophage)
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.
Marianne
Jan 15, 2016 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.
Jacqueline  Lucas
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I very much enjoyed "How to Live Well with Chronic Pain and Illness: A Mindful Guide" (I have both the audiobook and a hard copy) and rated it a 5/5 (which I rarely do) and found myself yelling "YES!!!!" frequently when listening to the audiobook.

This book is written in first person from the viewpoint of Toni Bernhard, whom takes her information from her personal experience with chronic illness as well as a variety of sources, but she most frequently letters from others.

3 sections stood out to
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DW
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I thought the chapters were oddly short, referenced each other randomly, and didn't build on each other like the chapters in a book usually would. Then I saw that the author was also a blogger and realized the chapters were probably recycled blog entries. That's not my favorite style of writing because short blog entries don't lend themselves to in-depth analysis.

However. This book covered topics I had not seen covered elsewhere (not that I've done an exhaustive search by any means), particularl
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Kelly
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was well-written and organized into nice small chunks. While I don’t consider myself sick, I can identify with many of this author’s feelings and recommendations based on the few months I have spent mainly at rest. There are great tips for dealing with chronic illness and chronic pain, though the author is older, has an extreme illness and doesn’t leave the house often.

The main piece I feel this book is missing is being a mom to young children. Not only is it a huge loss, but it’s not
...more
Liz Norell
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I found so many nuggets of wisdom in this book. Toni Bernhard is a clear, succinct, articulate writer who captures the ups and downs of chronic illness well. I found myself reading with a highlighter and dog-earing pages to come back to for inspiration and grounding when I need it... and I'm not in a debilitating state of chronic illness! The book purports to be a guide for those who have chronic pain or illness (or are the caregivers for someone in that state), but it's really a guide for how t ...more
CHRISTINA ONASIS
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Even at the downhill phase in life and suffering a tough chronic pain and illness, Toni Bernhard produces mindfullness thoughts and enables us to see benefit part amidst all troubles in life. Knowing that sometimes the circumstance is unpredictable. The pointed out from Buddha that we are all subject to illness, injury, aging, and separation from those we love. No one gets a pass on this! JUST FLOW WITH IT (accepting without aversion) and get the equinimity by mindfullness perspective. When the ...more
Laura
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book addresses the complexity of living with differing chronic pain conditions. It is helpful and I found it a excellent reference guide . The author writes about her own chronic pain and navigating through the rough waters of learning to live with chronic pain. She provides examples, ,compassion and helpful information for all readers affected. Very well done . This is a book for all chronic pain sufferers to buy and keep to read time and time again.
Joyce Barrass
Absolutely essential reading for anyone living with chronic illness (the author, like this reader, is diagnosed with M.E./CFS) and their carers. It will lift your spirits, help you reframe your feelings about chronic illness with wisdom and compassion. I wish all the treasures Toni shares here with so much skill and humanity, for anyone who treats themselves to a read.
Tammy Polozune
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book and so helpful! It has helped provide tools to reframe my thinking that has improved my life. Added the audible book to my Kindle so that I can listen to it as well. The narrator has a pleasant, soothing voice.
Sally Houston
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this book for a yoga training, and I was shocked at how much I could get out of this book. Even if you don’t suffer from chronic pain, this is a must read.
Claire Swain
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another brilliant book by Toni xx
Emily
Mar 11, 2017 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
Laci
Nov 12, 2015 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
...more
Emily
Feb 06, 2017 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
Rumeur
Aug 27, 2015 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
...more
Monica
Jan 17, 2017 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
Laurie
Sep 30, 2015 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
sjams
Dec 14, 2016 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
Jennifer
Feb 17, 2016 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
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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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