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Book: Manage Stress
Author: James Manktelow
Publisher: Dorling Kindersley
Reviewer: Victor Mecoamere
Stress is generally described by both the medical types and the Joe Soaps as a physical or psychological stimulus that can produce mental or physiological reactions that could lead to illness.
Technically speaking, stress is a disruption of homeostasis, which might be triggered by alarming experiences, either real or imaginary. Homeostasis is the biological maintenance of the human body's equilibrium pertaining to temperature, salinity, acidity, and concentrations of nutrients and wastes.
Sadly, most people are naive when it comes to knowing what is really troubling them.
For them, almost everything and anything is "stressing" them, whereas stress is not mundane displeasure with something or the other, but a deep-seated displeasure rising slowly, or with violent rapidity to the surface, so much that it causes you more than the usual headache, but something close to a heart attack.
Now, this book - Manage Stress, with the subtitle, Take Back Control in Your Life - breaks it down gently.
For starters, James Manktelow goes for a streetwise approach when he says the most commonly accepted definition of stress is that it is a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that "demands exceed personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilise".
He says when you have the time and the resources to handle a situation, you feel a little stress, but when you perceive yourself as being unable to handle the demands put upon you, the stress you feel can be considerable.
Manktelow says it is in this sense then that stress can be seen as a negative experience, but should not be seen or perceived as an inevitable consequence of an event, because the level of stress experienced depends on the personal experience of a situation, and how a person manages to deal or cope with it.
Simply put, stress is what you feel when you are not in control. The book seeks to help the user to cope or deal with stress. When it comes to building capacity to cope, Manktelow recommends that we learn to avoid damaging behaviour or habits such as smoking, heavy drinking or drug abuse.
It is recommended that we abstain from dangerous habits or behaviour and keep fit.