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


The onset of chronic illness—including chronic pain—can bring with it a bewildering array of challenges. Even chronic conditions that are not life-threatening are life-disrupting and stressful. It can feel as if life has been turned upside down. With little or no warning, expectations and cherished plans have to be abandoned or altered, leaving confusion and fearfulness in their wake. How to Live Well with Chronic Pain and Illness is about learning to live gracefully and skillfully with these challenges.

The book covers a broad range of topics, from misconceptions about chronic illness to struggles with self-blame, self-identity, and isolation; from crises in career and personal relationships to the special difficulties faced by young people, by those with invisible conditions, and by caregivers.

Although the book is wide-ranging in scope, it never loses sight of its principal focus—helping people cope better and make peace with their lives despite the upheavals brought about by chronic illness. To that end, the book emphasizes the cultivation of mindfulness, equanimity, and compassion. I describe many exercises and practices, illustrated with examples from my own experience, all of which are intended to change people’s lives for the better.

As with my other books, I write in a conversational style, as if I’m talking directly to the reader. When they read my books, I like for people to feel as if they’re in the presence of a friend who understands their struggles.