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Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness Paperback – May 1 1990


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Delta; 1 edition (May 1 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385303122
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385303125
  • Product Dimensions: 2.7 x 16.5 x 22.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 41 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #10,035 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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First Sentence
As I look around at the thirty or so people in this new class in the stress clinic, I marvel at what we are coming to engage in together. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By CBL on Nov. 17 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a great resource for people who suffer from any type of chronic (long-term) health problems. It is based on the author's experience with thousands of people who have participated in a course called the Stress Reduction and Relaxation Program at the Univ. of Massachusetts Medical Center. Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness is intended to be that program rolled up into a book.

The book's tool is mindfulness meditation- a form of meditation originally developed in the Buddhist traditions- defined as a moment-to-moment awareness. Through mindful meditation, one can gain new kinds of control and wisdom in their lives. The book is very "hands on", so don't expect to just read it and be done with it. For example, you'll be doing things such breathing exercises or yoga postures (I can also recommend Exercise Beats Depression as another good resource for those struggling with depression).

Since the mind plays a factor in stress-related disorders, and very undertreated in Western medicine, I feel like this book will fill a much needed niche for many people. With over five-hundred pages, there's plenty of wisdom here to suck up.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Sept. 8 2001
Format: Paperback
I've read over a dozen books on anxiety, relaxation, and stress. This book has a totally different approach.Instead of giving specific tips to handle anxiety attacks, it uses a philosophical type of approach which is extremely helpful in combatting stress in the long run. The main activity that is taught is meditation and mindfulness through breathing, sitting, or walking, along with a body scan and yoga exercises. They recommend an 8 week commitment to the exercises. But the last half of the book is even more helpful, with discussions on how to see yourself and your problems differently--to feel in control and a master of the events around you. My anxiety level has gone down tremendously after just reading the book and not beginning the meditation yet. This book is a must for anyone having a hard time facing life's normal circumstances or who sees life pessimistically. And it is even more vital for anyone who is facing health problems and is feeling depressed because of them. This man's approach will be a comfort to me for years to come.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Sept. 9 2001
Format: Paperback
This is one of the three most powerful books I have read in my ten year effort to rid myself of depression and chronic back pain. The other two were "The Power of Your Subconscious Mind" by Dr. Joseph Murphy and "Healing Back Pain" by Dr. Sarno. As a testament to all of these books, I am now almost completely free of both of these tiresome life-robbers: mental and physical pain. I have never been able to sit down and meditate, but this book taught me to reach a meditative state using the walking meditation, and recently I have started using the body scan while running - it is a superb way to combine exercise and meditation. I received a lot of inspiration from the case studies used in this book, also. The style in which it is written is intelligent, warm, compassionate and friendly. I recommend the book highly. If you are tired of being sick, and are ready to make a commitment to help yourself, this book is essential. I can not stress enough the importance that NUTRITION and EXERCISE have played in my own recovery, but mindfulness and relaxation are crucial as well. I use mindfulness every day now that I have learned the techniques presented in this book. I think anyone who is looking for a better way to live needs to read this book.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 19 2005
Format: Paperback
Amazing book for anyone that has lived a difficult life. In my case I was a victim of abuse. This book has done so much for me. I am enlightened and inspired to move forward with my life.
Great Books: Running With Scissors,Dry and Nightmares Echo
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 19 2002
Format: Paperback
I read this book and did not like it. I found it described a life I did not want to know about so I put the book aside having skipped a number of the chapters. Six months later when my wife was admitted to the ER with severe headaches I remembered the central message in this book.
The message is clear and simple, the "bad" times in life are as valid an experience as the "good" be there, be aware,accept,don't wish for better times, don't run away from catastrophe. I was aware and present for the next three weeks, the most important three weeks of my life. I felt so lucky that I had read this book. It could be a lot shorter and more focused but the central message is invaluable.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By C. Sahu on July 18 2000
Format: Paperback
I have both this book and Kabat-Zinn's other, "Wherever You Go, There You Are." That one is more of a general intro to mindfulness (i.e, concentrating on your breathing as a way to clear your mind and reach a deeper level) meditation. It's written in a more aphoristic style: short and sweet, lots of quotes from Thoreau and various gurus, "try this" exercises at the end of each short chapter. A book you mull over, read in bits, inbetween the recommended practice.
This one is more wordy, a description of what goes on at the Massachusetts General Hospital Pain Reduction Clinic, where Kabat-Zinn uses a combination of (physical) yoga, mindfulness meditation, and something called the "full body scan" (lying down and concentrating on different parts of the body at a time) to help people with serious, stress-related illnesses such as heart disease, back pain, migraines and cancer.
There are instructions on how to do the above; statistical information on how well this program works; descriptions of the types of illnesses they deal with; lots of case studies of typical patients; and some general conclusions that the very insightful Kabat-Zinn has drawn from his work. I hate pop psychology but that's not what's delivered here - these are very real insights, not facile at all, on the damaging stresses of modern life and concrete advice on how to cope with them in such a way as to not get sick.
He says, for instance, that "your pain is not you" - that you can and should separate yourself from the pain, and from the negative feedback voice ("I'm never going to get better," for example) that makes things worse.
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