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It is well known that mental health is fast becoming the major health issue world-wide, and it is clear that stress and anxiety are increasing at an alarming rate. We also know that where possible, prevention is better than a cure, and understanding what is causing stress and anxiety, and being equipped to manage it is extremely important. In my work as a psychologist, I believe that educating and empowering people to deal with the issues they are able to influence is of paramount importance, and leads to a healthier society. The stress reaction is a prime example. This book is intended for the general population and sets out to provide a practical approach to managing stress and anxiety more effectively, enabling individuals to lead a more fulfilling life. Understanding how and why stress levels build, and what you can do about it, is the key message in this book. The role your mind plays in your response to stress is often under-estimated, and with a greater awareness of key stressors, individuals are better placed to manage their lifestyle and capitalize on plasticity of the brain to make the necessary changes to their stress reactions. Habits can be changed – unhelpful habits can be extinguished or modified and replaced with more positive behaviour patterns. The practical key to this book is the 21 strategies which cover different categories. These include strategies for Immediate Relief – techniques you can immediately implement when you feel stressed, Lifestyle Habits – developing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a natural combatant for stress, Thinking About It – understanding the role of your thoughts in your stress reactions and how to improve them – crucial to long-term relief, Personal Preferences – activities that you find relaxing, and the Essential Elements which overviews the key strategy of the Pearls of Resilience. These strategies are simple and practical, and only require focus and repetition to become part of your response to stress. Examples of how to apply these strategies, both individually and in combination, are illustrated through people’s stories. In essence, you will learn how to protect yourself from being ruled by stress as you implement these lifelong strategies for stress management.
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