The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook

Review by Deborah at The Bookstop

This book has to do with how living true includes understanding and managing stress! Here is the review by a favorite professional book reviewer colleague, Deborah Spitz:

I decided this year I was going to work on bringing down my stress levels. Working through The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook by Martha Davis, Elizabeth Robbins-Eshelman and Matthew McKay taught me a lot.

One thing I like about this book is its practical approach. It starts out with different exercises and surveys for you to determine what’s causing your stress, and what your stress symptoms are (e.g. headaches, stomach distress). Then the book directs you to chapters that might be helpful given your causes and symptoms. But you can also just work through the book and try what appeals to you.

I had always thought of stress as a purely emotional reaction and didn’t really connect the physical to the mental. But The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook makes a strong connection between the physical and mental impacts of stress, and discusses why strategies for stress reduction have to be both physical and mental as well.

In addition to explaining how and why deep breathing helps, and giving nutrition and exercise strategies, the book looks at “worry” as a source of stress. It helps readers take a real look at what they are worried about. An example: someone who can’t leave work until every single thing is done — the book suggests you try leaving a little bit undone every evening, and see what happens. Did you get fired? No. Does everyone else leave some work undone? Yes. Does staying late every night make you a better employee? No.

Another example has to do with obsessive worrying, and why we do it. Take the example of housecleaning worry — the book takes readers through a series of exercises where they can ask themselves, “What’s the worst that can happen if I leave dishes out one day?” The worst case scenario: a neighbor might stop by and think you’re messy and never come over again. Is that ever likely to happen? No, of course not.

The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook provides many strategies, and you just choose from the ones that help you. It also includes thorough instructions at every step, and when you master one strategy you can take it to different levels.

This book is not for those with serious anxiety or compulsive disorders, just people like me who get stressed every Sunday that I didn’t get everything crossed off my list. I still get stressed, but I have more strategies to control it, am better at worrying about what actually needs worrying about, and skipping the rest!

Thanks, Deborah~You can also find her at her book review site, The Bookstop.

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