From Stressed to Centered

From STRESSED to CENTERED ISBN 9780990835400 Sea Hill Press copyright and written by Dana A. Gionta, PhD. And Dan Guerra, PSY.D.

Sub-titled “A practical Guide to a Healthier and Happier You” this book opens with individual dedications; combined and individual acknowledgements; an introduction; contents that provide 19 chapters; Appendix A: Our Approach to Stress Management and Self-Care; Appendix B: Your Individual Action Plan; also pertinent References. The chapters, in order, discuss and explain Stress; its Indicators; the Holmes-Rahe Social Adjustment Scale; their Guerra-Gionta Stress Inventory; Striving, Surviving, and Thriving with Stress. Next the reader is introduced to other chapters slightly differently directed: Neurophysiology of Stress; the three basic components; methods to begin managing stress; suggestions with respect to practicing such management; succeeding in your endeavors. Then follows a group explaining what is entailed in Self-Care; suggestions on how to create your individual ‘toolkit’; when to use the kit you have devised. Next are presented a discussion of Boundaries and You; Assertive Communication; Quality of our Relationships; Obstacles to Good Self-Care; Putting this activity into your life; and finally, how best to integrate Self-management and Self-Care. Appendices A and B and References complete the book except that after references there are further words of advice from the authors’ planned sequel that is set to offer advice with respect to “Stress and Self-Care in the Workplace” in which “… we will discuss the unique stressors that typically occur within the workplace …” and how to handle these factors. This short directive in turn, is followed by a list of “Key Contributors to Workplace Stress”, and other short discussions on “Impact of Workplace Stress on Employees and Organizations” and “Can Your Company Really Afford to Ignore This?”

Discussion: The authors have presented an examination and discussion of stress and how to deal with it in a quite simplistically detailed manner. For example, Breath or breathing control practice suggestions – offered as Practice #1 listed in eleven specific steps; Practice #2 presents fourteen steps. Body – (Progressive Muscle Relaxation or PMR) explains muscle tensing-releasing activity. Here, several steps are discussed with each muscular group, e.g. the group involving the eyebrows and eyes: “Inhale deeply… and squeeze your eyes shut so that no light can get in. Squeeze them as you inhale and hold your breath. Notice the tension. With a conscious decision, release the breath now and let the eyes relax into a normal closed position. Take a moment to notice the relaxation in the head and upper part of the face. Next, bring your attention to the nose.” Then on to the teeth, lips, etc. The discussion widens to include next “Thoughts Practice” – “Thought-stopping/thought-replacement” and “mindfulness” or mindfulness meditation”. The student is admonished to “Chart your Progress”. Detailed suggestions extend further to The Worried Mind and beyond with their Stress Management strategies, the frequency and time elements of practice sessions, the need to list the benefits realized as well as listing obstacles to indulging in your practice systems such as attitudes and beliefs all are set forth. They also strongly advise a list of “things you’d like to adopt”, establishing your life’s priorities, listing your good and bad self-care practices and they provide a 30 question quiz to ask yourself about your practice system and present answers with respect to the interpretation pf the sum of your answers.

5* For readers who enjoy a simplistically presented discussion with extensive, explicit instructions.

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