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Book Review: "Everyday Mindfulness: 108 Simple Practices to Empower Yourself and Transform Your Life", by Melissa Steginus

I got this book in paperback for free from Maria Inot @ TCK Publishing, who very generously reached out and shipped a copy to me. You can get a copy of the book here. You can find more books published by TCK Publishing here. You can find more works by Melisssa Steginus here.


I mostly skimmed through this book, but Melissa's work reminded me heavily of “Be Happy”, where the author lists out a bunch of different things you can do in order to be happy. Two differences is “Everyday Mindfulness” lists out one activity to do each day, and provides space in the book in order to write down reflections about doing that day's activity.

The first thing that came to my mind after skimming through the whole thing was how I would not be able to finish 108 consecutive days of mindful action if I started today, let alone if I had started in my depressed state. The thing that got me out of my depressed state was doing one habit regularly, even if it's a tiny one. Build on that habit until you have a solid handle, then start the next habit. Then you fail by missing a day or something and feel like shit, but then you start over again from a tiny habit and build back up. Then you fail again and you get up again, and repeat until failing is a regular thing that doesn't trigger your emotions. Then keep doing more and more until you realize “success” is just a larger bell curve of doing things, the whole “the master failed more times than the student has tried” kind of deal.

I don't think Melissa is espousing that it's this way or the highway, but I'd love to hear more about somebody who has successfully done 108 days of mindful exercises and risen from a period of depression. I think having an example like that would go a long way in terms of credibility and inspiration. For example, the book “Atomic Habits”, which resonated far more with me and which I have a much greater perceived degree of alignment, James discusses having his face smashed in with a baseball bat and starting over, building a content marketing empire with hundreds of thousands of email subscribers, by doing one small habit at a time.

Also for some reason the table of contents / dedication are in Spanish, and the first two days of mindful exercises are missing, but I think that's just because I have a pre-production copy or something.

In terms of habits, I would personally recommend:

  • Noting things: For example, by purchasing a habit tracker. Productive.app has been great for me personally and got me started with habit tracking. I've evolved away from using that app, and now keep a daily written journal where I break down my day in 15-minute increments, then send that and a report + time tracking data to Boss as a Service. Having something written down, for me, makes things much more easily organizable, and it's much nicer to have a paper trail of how far you've come, which is important when thinking about giving up. In the fog of depression, it's incredibly difficult to trust your memory.

  • Pegging habits to each other: If you do one habit, that naturally leads to another. So if you exercise, you create a lot of dirty laundry, which forces you to wash your clothes more often. If you don't, then you have a lot of very smelly clothes, and eventually no more underwear. Cooking at home is another habit you can peg, to cleaning your dishes or running the dishwasher. If you cook but don't clean, you have a lot of dirty dishes with a bunch of sticky stuff on it. Same goes with exercising at home and cleaning your floor. If you exercise without cleaning your floor, you eventually start exercising in your own dust bunnies. Doing work that naturally creates work builds habits that create more habits. It's much easier to build an entire habit schedule that way, rather than unlinked habits you have to mentally will yourself into doing.

  • Listening to your thoughts and feelings: I'm fat right now, and when I sit still, I hear a part of my brain saying how fat I am. I usually don't have motivation to go outside to take a walk, because I have work or because I'm sucked into surfing YouTube, but sitting still and listening to myself is surprisingly insightful for knowing what to do next. If I go outside and walk around for an hour, that voice becomes quieter. If I watch YouTube for an hour, that voice becomes louder. I don't like that voice, and I respect its power to plunge me into a bad place, so it drives me to do something or other in order to make it happy. It's like listening to a smart baby that cries for something important, whatever that might be. It's also important because happy people are well-adjusted and well-balanced; they're able to make that baby happy.

All in all, I think if Melissa did a second revision of the book, maybe with a real person's reflections in addition to the open journal, I'd consider buying the book. It might be because I've read a lot of self-help and mindfulness books and such, but if I didn't get a free copy, I don't think I would have purchased this book from my own volition.

That's me though, and I have my background coming into this book. If you're into writing on paper (which I'm not good at, being a software engineer and typing on a keyboard), this book might appeal to you more. If you're on the fence, check it out at a local bookstore and give it a skim. If you're new to mindfulness, it looks like a great way to generate mindfulness leads.