Welcome to the website for my three books. I write in a conversational style, with the intention of helping everyone, regardless of circumstances, learn to live with compassion, joy, and purpose. To this end, all of my books include easy-to-learn exercises and practices that come alive through the use of personal stories. My heartfelt wish is that you find the peace and well-being we all hope for.

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  How To Be Sick


How to Be Sick

Winner of the Nautilus Gold Medal in Self-Help/ Psychology and named one of the Best Books of 2010 by Spirituality and Practice.

  How To Be Well  
How to Live Well

“This book is deeply human, refreshing candid, and uncommonly wise.”

—Christopher Germer, Ph.D., clinical instructor, Harvard Medical School

How To Be Well
How to Wake Up

"...Bernhard excels at demonstrating from personal knowledge that the Buddha's promises to ease suffering aren't just empty words."

Publisher's Weekly


“Toni Bernhard bears the mark of a true teacher: someone who uses simple, heart-penetrating words to say profound things."

—Rick Hanson, Ph.D., author of Buddha’s Brain and Hardwiring Happiness
How To Be Sick
Ordering Options Include:
Worldwide Ordering:


How To Live Well
Ordering Options Include:
Worldwide Ordering:


How To Wake Up
Ordering Options Include:
Worldwide Ordering:
Praise for How To Be Sick:
Praise for How To Live Well:
Praise for How To Wake Up:

"Beautiful, heartfelt, and immensely courageous. Truly worth reading."
n Salzberg, author of Real Happiness

"A major contribution and an immensely wise book." —Larry Dossey, MD, author of Healing Words

"This book can bring you more fully alive by healing your spirit." —Tara Brach, author of Radical Acceptance 

"A must-read for anyone who is ill or caring for someone ill. Her gifts will transform you." —Lewis Richmond, author of Aging as Spiritual Practice

"An intimate, gripping, profound, and eminently useful book." —Rick Hanson, Ph.D. author of Buddha's Brain

“Everyone should read this book—and I plan to buy a copy for everyone I love.” —Lizabeth Roemer, co-author of The Mindful Way Through Anxiety

"If you want to better understand how to deal with a chronic illness, or you are the caregiver for someone who is chronically ill, read How to be Sick." The Caregiver's Voice

"People who yearn to live with purpose rather than simply succumb to the pain and uncertainty of chronic illness will find a shining example in Toni Bernhard's life and words. Readers need not be Buddhist or meditators to benefit from Toni’s wisdom." —Cheri Register, author of The Chronic Illness Experience

"You cannot help but come away with a new perspective and a new awareness of life’s beauty despite chronic bodily pain. The choice of inner peace and compassion is available to all of us. There is a lot to embrace in this lovely work of art." Chronicle: The Journal of the American Chronic Pain Association

“Toni Bernhard caringly points us to the possibility of finding happiness even in the midst of difficult conditions. That is a true gift.” —Frank Ostaseki, Founder of the Metta Institute

"Told with relentless honestly and clarity, this courageous meditation on how to live with long-term sickness is a fine example of how to put into practice the Buddha's encouragement to embrace dukkha (suffering) in order to let go of the craving for life to be other than it is." —Stephen Batchelor, author of Buddhism Without Beliefs

"I am immensely grateful for Toni's book. We are fortunate that the courage and wisdom with which she faced her illness made it possible for her to write a deeply personal and practical guide for living with sickness." —Gil Fronsdal, author of The Issue at Hand

“This wise and profound book will help transform your experience into one of great compassion, equanimity, and joy.” —Kristin Neff, Ph.D., author of Self-Compassion 

“Toni Bernhard writes with an elegant simplicity that is at once incisive and compassionate, sharing with us all the hard won understandings of her own life.”  —Joseph Goldstein, author of Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening

“To read Toni Bernhard is to engage with a friend of uncommon wisdom. Her work is without parallel, transcending boundaries and genres.” —Alida Brill, author of Dancing at the River’s Edge: A Patient and Her Doctor Negotiate Life with Chronic Illness

“This seminal book could truly be a life-saver.” —Diana Winston, Director of Mindfulness Education at UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center and author of Fully Present

"Reading Toni Bernhard’s book, you’ll feel accompanied, understood, and guided by the heart wisdom of a trustworthy friend.” —Tara Brach, Ph.D.,  author of Radical Acceptance

"No other author I know has written as accurately and insightfully about living with chronic illness as Toni Bernhard has in How to Live Well with Chronic Pain and Illness. I’ll be enthusiastically recommending it to my patients." —Alex Lickerman, M.D., author of The Undefeated Mind

“Toni Bernhard’s words are inspiring, comforting, and always give a sense she is walking beside the reader. She hits it out of the park with this new title.” —Dr. Alice Boyes, author of The Anxiety Toolkit

“I became happy reading this book! Toni brilliantly shows how mindfulness and wisdom can bring freedom in the midst of illness. This down-to-earth book is one of the best books on mindfulness practice for everyone, whether ill or not. Gil Fronsdal, author of The Issue at Hand

“Toni Bernhard’s book truly delivers on its promise to teach you how to live skillfully with chronic pain and illness. How To Live Well is not to be missed." Phillip Moffitt, author of Dancing with Life

How to Live Well delivers honest, practical advice in a warm, empathic and caring way. I will recommend this book to friends, family members, students, therapists, and clients.” —Lizabeth Roemer, co-author The Mindful Way through Anxiety

“Once again Bernhard’s compassionate, lucid, and personal voice comes through. How to Live Well is an invaluable guide for anyone touched by chronic pain and illness.” —Arnie Kozak, author of Mindfulness
A to Z

“Everyone with chronic illness, and those who love them, should have this book on their shelves.” —Dorothy Wall, author of Encounters with the Invisible


"Toni Bernhard has done it again—sharing wisdom teachings in a way that makes them accessible and helpful without any sacrifice of depth. I love this book!” —Tara Brach, Ph.D., author of True Refuge and Radical Acceptance

"This wonderful book is an easy-to-follow guide that will help you learn the skills that ultimately lead to true happiness." —Kristin Neff, Ph.D, author of Self-Compassion

"The beauty of this book is how clear, wise, and helpful it is. Both while reading it and after, you can put it to use; this is really what literature is for. It's something to cherish and practice." —Kim Stanley Robinson, author of the award-winning Mars trilogy

“Before I was even half-finished with this book, I wanted to give it to everyone I know.” —Lynn Royster, Founder of the Chronic Illness Initiative at De Paul University

"This remarkable, warm, encouraging, and crystal-clear book expresses the ancient wisdom of the Buddha in universal, 21st century terms. It is one of the best Buddhist books I've read in a long time.” —Rick Hanson, Ph.D., author of Buddha's Brain and Just One Thing

"In How to Wake Up, Toni Bernhard explains, in clear prose, complex Buddhist concepts that have given birth to some of modern psychology's most useful principles. Toni demonstrates just what it means to be an expert at living. We should all seek to emulate the way she lives her life. The first step: read this book." —Alex Lickerman, M.D., author of The Undefeated Mind 

"A beautiful, touching, and valuable book. I'm often asked what book to read as a comprehensive introduction to Buddhist practice. Now I have one: How to Wake Up." —Kevin Griffin, author of One Breath at a Time: Buddhism and the Twelve Steps

“This book is a gift from the deep practice of a western woman as she has faced the ennobling truth of suffering. It is an invitation to all who read it to awaken, and provides a rich path for doing just that.” —Joan Halifax, Founding Abbot, Upaya Zen Center

"Practical and insightful. In this book, you'll find a path to living with greater ease and freedom—awakening to possibilities you may not have known existed before." —Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D., co-author, A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook.

“What a gift Toni Bernhard has given us in this quietly and deeply optimistic book about finding freedom within the ups and downs of human life. She takes ancient wisdom and translates it into everyday language, making profound teachings available to anyone." —Vidyamala Burch, Director of Breathworks and author of Living Well with Pain and Illness