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Aware summary

The Science and Practice of Presence

4.5 (260 ratings)
20 mins

Brief summary

Aware by Daniel J. Siegel is a book that explores the importance of mindfulness and how it can improve our mental and physical health. It provides practical techniques for becoming more aware of our thoughts and emotions to lead a happier and more fulfilling life.

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    Aware
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    Meditation doesn’t just make you feel better; it also slows aging and boosts your self-control.

    It won’t surprise you to hear that meditation boosts your health. That’s an idea that’s been around for a while now. But you might not know just how good it is. In fact, scientists are only just beginning to understand the miraculous effects of meditation.

    Take the latest research. Recent studies looking at meditation and mindfulness – a type of meditation that trains the mind to block out background noise and focus on one thing – have demonstrated all sorts of incredible health benefits.

    People who regularly meditate, for example, show increased immune function and are much better at fighting off infections. Meditation has also been linked with an increased production of something called telomerase, an enzyme that repairs chromosomes and generally slows the aging process.

    If these perks aren’t convincing enough, here are three more reasons to start meditating today: studies show that it results in improved cholesterol levels, better blood pressure and a healthier heart.

    Meditation isn’t just a boon to your physical well-being, however – it’s also great for your cognitive abilities. Mastering mindfulness has been shown to help your mind self-regulate, amp up problem-solving skills and adapt to new and unfamiliar situations.

    The author’s own experience shows just how effective meditative practices can be in educational settings, where attention is key to success. When he works with teachers and students, he uses a simple model to explain how meditation works. Imagine a central hub called awareness and a large circle around it filled with everything that’s going on around you. Now picture an arrow called focus pointing outward from the hub to a spot within the circle. Meditation is about controlling that arrow. You might want to point it toward something in the circle. Or you might direct it toward the hub itself, thereby raising self-awareness.

    A primary school teacher who adopted the author’s model later reported how much it had helped Billy, a student who was experiencing difficulties. Billy had all but transformed after taking up meditation and told his teacher that meditating helped him control his impulses. When he wanted to lash out at his classmates, he focused on his hub and tried to come up with a better solution. Becoming more aware of his feelings and the way he reacted to external stimuli – everything in that wider circle – taught him self-control.

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    What is Aware about?

    Aware (2018) is a no-nonsense, empirically-grounded look at a discipline traditionally more closely associated with monks than medical practitioners: meditation. Drawing on the latest neuroscientific research, practicing psychiatrist Daniel J. Siegel shows that mindfulness is far more than the latest lifestyle hack – it benefits your mental and physical health. The added bonus? It’ll also make your experience of life more meaningful, joyous and profound!

    Aware Review

    Aware (2018) by Daniel J. Siegel is a thought-provoking exploration of our minds and the power of presence. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • By offering a fresh perspective on self-awareness and mindfulness, it reveals new ways to improve our well-being and relationships.
    • With its unparalleled depth and scientific research, the book equips readers with valuable insights and practical tools for personal growth.
    • The author's engaging storytelling and relatable examples make complex concepts accessible and ensure the book is definitely not boring.

    Best quote from Aware

    Mental presence is a state of being wide awake and receptive to what is happening, as it is happening.

    —Daniel J. Siegel
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    Who should read Aware?

    • Psychiatrists and psychologists
    • Meditators
    • The harried and stressed

    About the Author

    Daniel J. Siegel is a psychiatrist working at the David Geffen School of Medicine in California. He specializes in the study of mindfulness and meditation and is the author of several popular books on the subject, including Parenting from the Inside Out and Mindsight.

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    Aware FAQs 

    What is the main message of Aware?

    The main message of Aware is to cultivate mindfulness for a more fulfilling and connected life.

    How long does it take to read Aware?

    The reading time for Aware varies, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Aware a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Aware is worth reading as it provides practical insights and techniques to enhance self-awareness and emotional intelligence.

    Who is the author of Aware?

    The author of Aware is Daniel J. Siegel.

    What to read after Aware?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Aware, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Fully Present by Susan L. Smalley and Diana Winston
    • The Mindful Day by Laurie J. Cameron
    • The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte
    • Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn
    • The Mindful Athlete by George Mumford
    • Peak Mind by Amishi Jha
    • LIT by Jeff Karp
    • Mindsight by Daniel Siegel
    • Either/Or by Soren Kierkegaard
    • The Fearless Organization by Amy C. Edmondson