10 Steps to Mastering Stress, by David Barlow, Ronald Rapee, and Sarah Perini, 2014, New York, Oxford University Press, 114 pages, $19.95, ISBN: 978-0-19-991753-2.
This is an interesting workbook that actually worked wonders for me as I was reading it. Promotion, tenure, publication, having a family, working full time, being active in the community, and trying to visit with extended family members was beginning to stress me out and making me miserable. I have an awful habit of reading self-help books and then never actually applying what I’ve learned. What made the difference for me was what the authors wrote in the introduction: that the book is not for people who want a quick fix and want something to happen overnight.
The authors of this workbook conducted scientific research to determine whether the techniques explained in the guidebook do indeed help the readers master their stress. The authors also point out that simply reading the book will not decrease stress. The authors encourage the reader to practice the 10 techniques over and over to achieve the stress-lowering results that he or she desires. Each chapter or section has a summary at the end, as well as a workbook practice record. The reader will benefit tremendously from completing these practice records.
The guidebook consists of 10 short sections. The first five sections focus on understanding stress, relaxation, thinking realistically, evaluating consequences, and testing predictions. The remaining five sections cover staying present, taking control, being assertive, managing time, and solving problems. The chapters are short, well-written, easy to understand, and easy to apply to everyday life. The authors also provide four case studies, which are used throughout the book to help the reader understand and apply the stress-reducing techniques.
I would recommend this book for all students in their first semester of college. The stress of working full time, having full class schedules, and maintaining grades often stresses the college student out. The stress turns to unhealthy stress-relieving behaviors, which leads to a vicious cycle of missing classes and decreased motivation. I would strongly recommend this book to all college students, as well as practitioners whose patients are presenting with stress-related problems.
Reviewed by Marian Swindell, Ph.D., MSW, Associate Professor, Mississippi State University.