Review: Unwind: 7 Principles for a Stress Free Life by Dr. Michael Olpin & Sam Bracken

Lately it seems like all I’m doing is checking in with clients about what their stress management strategy is. There is still all of the mental health issues we used to have but these days the world is just … a lot. So I went looking for a stress management book to review and this one was on my list to read.

This book has two parts, the first part defining stress, and the concept that between stimulus and response there is a gap where we can choose our response. The authors explain mindfulness and how it can help us choose a helpful response in that gap. Then they discuss “paradigm” shifts and how helpful they can be. Their main thrust is that stress is good when we need to move our body out of physical danger, but most of the things that stress us in the modern world are not dangerous at all – just interpreted by us as something to be stressed about. They then spend the 2nd half of the book discussing paradigm shifts that can help with stress management.

The 7 paradigm shifts that these authors discuss align with Steven Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” – so honestly you could just read that book, or read it in companion with this one. For example, the first paradigm “From Reactive to Proactive” goes along with Covey’s first habit, “Be Proactive”. The other paradigm shifts are: From Unmotivated to Inspired; From Pressures to Priorities; From Hassle to Harmony; From Anxiety to Empathy; From Defensive to Diverse; From Tense to Tranquil.

I agree that if you followed the principles in this book, you’d have a LOT less stress, and it is different than Covey’s book in that it is specifically designed to discuss stress. But I guess personally, I would just re-read Covey’s book and apply the habits in order to relieve stress. This is a small, concise, easy-to-read book, though, so if you have a client who might not get through Covey’s larger, denser book, this might be a good choice.

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