According to American Psychological Association only 37 percent of Americans feel they are actually doing an excellent or very good job of managing their stress.
High blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, diabetes: These are all common, dangerous effects of stress. If you're looking for some stress relief in 2014, these books promise to help.
The 10-Step Stress Solution – Live More, Relax More, Reenergize by Neil Shah
In stores: January
Neil Shah is the founder of The Stress Management Society. Each chapter of The 10-Step Stress Solution starts with a short test for the reader and focuses on basic tools many might tend to forget in their everyday life.
Our favorite tip: Breathing for stress relief 1. Stand or sit in a comfortable, relaxed position with your spine erect. 2. Inhale slowly through your nose to the count of five. Imagine a ball or balloon in your belly inflating. 3. Hold the breath in the ball or balloon in our belly for 5-10 seconds. 4. Count slowly to eight as you exhale. 5. Repeat this technique several times.
Buddha’s Book of Stress Reduction: Finding Serenity and Peace with Mindfulness Meditation by Joseph Emet
In stores: Dec. 26
Maybe you have always thought meditation was for hippies, but ask yourself — did Buddha stress around? Nope, so maybe there are tricks to get from him and his world. Joseph Emet, a Dharma teacher and founder of the Mindfulness Meditation Centre in Montreal, provides 15 meditation exercises. One that really stuck with us was about control.
Our favorite tip: Recognize what's in your control
As Emet writes, “A good way of looking at our stress, worries, anxieties and ruminations is to consider whether we have any control over what we are fretting about. Are we trying to control other people? Are we trying to control events that are clearly beyond or competence?” One exercise to answer those questions is the following that is the Serenity Prayer in action:
Put two wastepaper baskets in front of you. Label one IM MY CONTROL and the other OUT OF MY CONTROL. Put every thought that occurs to you in one of the baskets. It helps if you actually make the motion of putting something in the basket with your hand. For example, the ultimate outcome of a health condition may go in the OUT basket; worrying about it can go in the IN basket. You may discover that you have other options besides worrying.
When you're finished, start dealing with the contents of the IN basket. You need to deal with every item in the basket if you want to take charge of your life. And you need to let go of every item in the OUT basket.
The Mayo Clinic – Guide to Stress-Free Living by Amit Sood
In stores: Jan. 1
For a more scientific take on stress and what goes on inside the brain when it suddenly decides to work against you, this is a book to consider. Through chapters such as “Why Your Mind Wanders” and “The Anatomy of an Experience,” Sood, a doctor and specialist in stress and resiliency at the Mayo Clinic, walks you through what's happening in your body. And of course, the doctor also comes with strategies against stress. One we liked was about forgiveness. Turns out giving up bitterness “improves blood pressure, lowers heart rate, decrease stress, improves sleep and physical illnesses.”
Our favorite tip: Forgive
Focus on yourself. You forgive because you wish to heal, end your pain and disempower the person who hurt you. You forgive because you love yourself.
Miracles Now – 108 Life-Changing Tools for less Stress, More Flow, and Finding Your True Purpose by Gabrielle Bernstein
In stores: April
In April, look for Metro’s columnist Gabrielle Bernstein’s book. In it, she gives tips on overcoming 108 daily emotions “that may get in the way of our day to day,” so whatever bad feelings you are struggling with, there should be advice on conquering it. Her tips are based on spiritual teachings, such as this one, #46.
Our favorite tip: Measure your success with how much fun you’re having
It’s your job to find the joy in the most joyless scenarios. To apply this principle in your own life, begin by making a commitment. Post this affirmation on your desk, mirror, car dashboard, or wherever you can see it often; "I measure my success by how much fun I’m having." For the next 40 days, begin the day with this affirmation. Make the conscious commitment to choose joy upon waking.