“Stress robs us of so much.”
I think it’s fair to say that we are living in ‘Interesting’ times, and that brings more than its fair share of extra stress on top of the existing pressures of modern life. Anything I could take from this little book was going to be a bonus!
Part self-help workbook, part straightforward tips and suggestions, the book is split into ten main areas. After ‘assessing your stress’, you can dip into ideas around using food (as medicine, rather than shovelling doughnuts in your mouth, alas! ;)), exercise, creativity, and reaching out to other people.
Perhaps the most important line in the whole book for me actually comes in the introduction: “stress is determined by how well you think you can cope.” I mean – wow! It’s easy enough to say that self-help books like this can’t really help when your house is on fire, but actually that line shows the entire approach: have some tools in your kit, and let them raise your confidence that whatever you face, you can cope.
Which isn’t to suggest at all that the rest of the book isn’t very worth reading! Indeed, it gives you the range of possible tools. Maybe some will work for you better than others, but give it a go. As the book says, it’s a ‘mind-body approach’, and I’d suggest that there’s as much benefit in recognising the skills you already have as there is in exploring the exercises and developing new ones.
If I have any complaints, it’s that the short and easy-to-read nature of the book does by definition skate over the surface of some topics. The food section, for instance, neglects to mention that stress can cause undereating as much as overeating, or that ‘fish oils’ and ‘lean meat’ aren’t going to be good suggestions for everyone. It also lost big marks from me by a rather one-sided viewpoint on the chapter on spirituality, imo.
Still, well worth the read, and I think if you can take anything – even a single tiny thing – that will help with the overwhelming stress of current life, then it’s very very worth it!
NetGalley eARC: 176 pages / 10 chapters
First published: 1st November 2020
Finished 18th October 2020
My rating: 7/10