Review by: Suhaida Mutembei, BSW Intern
This stress reduction workbook utilizes an Eastern philosophical and religious viewpoint when suggesting coping methods for stress. It ensures that this practice can help with those symptoms including; headaches, restlessness, fatigue, burnout, tension, smoking, apathy, stomach distress, living with an illness, asthma, arthritis, and eating problems. It takes a holistic stance when dealing with medical problems generally treated with medication or therapy. This is a self-help work book that allows one week per chapter to help the reader to ease in various practices into their lives. This workbook encourages the reader to take their time while reading this book and avoid trying to read it in an allotted time frame. The practices are designed to be incorporated into everyday modern life.
I found this workbook very easy to follow. It starts with basic definitions of the goals and purposes of mindful breathing, mindful eating, and mindfulness in everyday life. I found that it is also about focus and concentrating on the responses of your body from your mind. The workbook also distinguishes between an emotion and thoughts. This process allows the reader to acknowledge emotions and control thoughts that may go hand in hand with them. For example, one may say “I feel like a failure”. Feeling like a failure is not considered an emotion. An emotion that may follow with that is the feeling of anxiety or frustration. After acknowledging you are frustrated, the thought that corresponds may be something you are able to focus on and potentially change. For example; I feel frustrated and I think it is because I do not enjoy my job. Now, one is not a failure but, just simply is not satisfied with their career choice.
As the workbook proceeds, it challenges the reader to practice various types of meditation positions using the CD provided. It suggests some Yoga positions and ways in which one can transform negative emotions through loving-kindness thoughts and meditations. I also like how this workbook provided resources and follow-up practices that the reader can continue afterword. What I did not enjoy was that the CD did not have background meditation music to meditate to. They are called “guided meditation tracks” all lead by a male voice that describes what to focus your mind on. A suggestion I would make is to include a couple of tracks with meditation sounds of the ocean, bells, or calming white noise.