Where does stress come from? Financial pressures? Looming deadlines? Conflicts at work or at home? For more than half a century, we’ve been told that stress comes from circumstances like these, that it’s a by-product of our ancestors’ fight-or-flight response to danger, and that the best we can do, given the fast pace of life today, is to breathe, try to relax, and accept that life is hard.
All of this, according to Andrew Bernstein, is wrong. Spurred by the death of several family members when he was young, Bernstein began a quest to understand the real dynamics of stress and resilience. He eventually realized that stress doesn’t come from your circumstances—it comes from your thoughts about your circumstances. More specifically, stress is created by a particular kind of thought that humans happen to excel at.
Seeing this, Bernstein realized that the antidote to stress—and the key to far greater resilience—is not exercise or physical relaxation, but finding these stress-producing thoughts and finally dismantling them. He created a process called ActivInsight that helps you—and the people you care about—do this on your own in just seven steps, often yielding life-changing breakthroughs in a matter of minutes.
Bernstein has been teaching ActivInsight to great acclaim in schools, not-for-profits, and Fortune 500 companies since 2004. Now he shares this technique for the first time with a wider audience. In The Myth of Stress, you will experience the surprising power of this new approach for yourself as you apply ActivInsight to a wide variety of today’s most common challenges, including:
©2010 Andrew Bernstein (P)2010 Simon & Schuster
The scope is focused and its helpful. I mean any bit of stress you can manage, relieve, or become aware about (which is what this book is about) is worth its weight in gold. The worksheets that you can get are simple and work. This will help you understand stress and breakdown what the stress is really all about, helping you move away from it, and recognize it for bad thinking, and how to get around it. How much effort you put into the work afterwards is always up to you. A nice companion website I recommend and the discussion/message forum is good for support. The author will even respond to you on its facebook page. Time for me to listen again and do more of the work. Get this one if you are looking for improvement.
Hearing about the myth of those "life event stress tests," and killing Hans Selye's sacred cow.
None I can think of.
Nice, clean narration, with the right inflection for his subject matter. Not too dramatic, not too dry, just right.
Most of the book is like a series of "homework assignments" using the worksheets available at the author's website. The end result in retraining our thinking processes is no doubt very valuable for the quality of our lives. It didn't exactly make for a "fun summer read," though, even by nonfiction standards. Readers should be prepared to treat is as a "project" or maybe an extended "workshop."
While the book doesn't present any information I didn't know ("Attention! You create stress in your own mind; it is not created by outside forces."), but it does have a nice way of thinking and reasoning your way from arguing with the present. And there are free worksheets on the Web to practice and guide you through the thinking process described in the text. Anyway, it clicked with me.
Phillip Harrington is a web developer, entrepreneur, and musician. You can find him on LinkedIn, GitHub, and Twitter.
The first part of this book gives an introduction to the concept of Active Insight. The second part of the book applies Active Insight to many different situations. Going over the 2nd part to learn and gain practice has been insightful.
I'll apply Active Insight more and more. It's already been useful to me.
Check this out. It will change your life.
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