The Stress Management Kit by Alix Needham

Stress Management Kit
Stress Management Kit

To say that stress is a problem in todays society is to grossly understate the situation. Since readers of this site are assumed to be already actively involved in managing their health, this book should be a great start for anyone who hasnt as yet read a book on stress reduction.

The kit consists of a book, a CD, and two Stressdots . The book gives the same information on stress as many other books I have read, but for the first-time reader, it presents the reasons why stress reduction is necessary and the ways to achieve it in a clear-cut, no-nonsense manner. For example, Chapter Two is all about recognizing the symptoms of stress. In this chapter the author describes the fight or flight reaction that the body demonstrates when under stress–its not pretty, and explaining it works well as an argumentation technique by showing a concrete example of why stress management is important. In addition, three questionnaires intended for self-diagnosis explain the physical, psychological, and behavioral effects of stress.

The layout of the book and its simple charts and graphics make it easy to read and grasp the information.  It is succinct and to the point. All in all, it is a fine example of a self-help book that I can feel good about recommending to someone who is just beginning to understand stress, its effects, and its management.

The second part of the kit is a CD with two meditations. The authors mellifluous voice guides the reader into a relaxation-inducing visualization using standard hypnotherapy and meditation techniques. I found the first meditation quite enjoyable; the second, a bit annoying in its repetition, but I admit that this is a personal reaction and may not bother most listeners. The CD did its job; I easily followed its instructions and I will certainly use it again.

Up to this point, the kit has been strictly in line with mainstream psychology and self-help approaches to stress reduction. But wait, theres more: those pesky Stressdots. Sort of like a mood ring, these adhesive dots change color as a method of measuring stress. The idea is a little like biofeedback; when one sees the dots demonstrating the wrong color, so to speak, stress-reduction techniques should be put into practice until the dots change color in a positive way. In theory this is a good idea, and when I tried the dots under the books directions, I was pleased with the results. However, I lost the dots immediately, which pretty much negated the work I had done with them! There was no way to efficiently put them back in the book without them inevitably falling out. This is the weakest part of the kit for me, but its only a tiny part of it.

As far as the book and the CD are concerned, I would highly recommend the kit to anyone who is a beginner in the art of stress reduction. For those of us who have already learned the basics it is an optional purchase.

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