Book Review – My Year of Living Mindfully

I heard about this book when the author was being interviewed on the radio. I thought her book sounded interesting and I listened to it at the time when I was also suffering from a lack of sleep (that’s another story for another time). So I immediately checked if the book was held at my library. Yes but lo and behold – a number of people had already reserved it so I waited for two months until I borrowed it.

The book was written by the journalist Shannon Harvey and it’s an account of her one year experiment of meditating and practicing mindfulness while still living in the modern world. This was also on top of her underlying sickness and insomnia so she had a bit of a challenge! Yet she was determined to complete the experiment if it helped her sleep better and to feel less pain.

Written in a conversational style, I found Harvey’s challenge brave, although I don’t share any of her day-to-day experiences. First of all, I don’t suffer from an autoimmune disease or have a young family or a fully-high-demanding job. At times, I felt uninterested to what she had to say because some of it seemed like complaints. She gave empirical data and scientific evidences that supported her arguement but I just felt like this was a way for her to promote her projects and other career causes. I’m not even convinced that her experiment of living mindfully worked. There was a 2-second hesitation when she answered yes to the interviewer’s question of whether she still suffered from insomnia after that year. Perhaps she should just take on fewer projects and chill out!

Seriously though, I think meditation and mindfulness should be incorporated within our daily routine and lives as I believe they improve our health and mental well-being. But I just didn’t find this book that motivating. Read if you want to but it’s not a high recommendation from me.

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