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I'm a psychologist working in a college counseling center, and this is one of the top self-help books which I recommend to my clients. It's appropriate for anyone looking to find ways to reduce the amount of anxiety and stress they feel. Strategies address all areas of anxiety, including physical tension, worry, and interpersonal issues. Each chapter details a specific anxiety reduction strategy--eg, diaphragmatic breathing, self-hypnosis, thought stopping--and at the start of the book, there is a self quiz to help determine which chapters would best meet your individual needs. This is one of the best, simpliest books avaiable for reducing anxiety and stress; it's also useful for a wide variety of related problems such as depression and difficulties sleeping. Highly recommended!
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Unlike many books, this book is exactly what the title purports it to be. It is a workbook containing most of the common and not so common techniques being used for relaxation and stress reduction today. Each chapter not only describes a technique but also what symptoms you can expect it to relieve and an estimate of how long you will have to use it in order to master the technique. I have seen no other book that does such a thorough job as this one. That is not to say that there are not others that are much better on a specific technique, but this is the best overall survey of all the currently used and effective techniques and the only one that guides you to what to expect, the details of the techniques and how long you will have to practice before seeing results.
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on August 10, 2012
I downloaded this yesterday and later when I went to read it, the Kindle format is a disastrous mess. The pages are incomplete, some are missing, cut off at the bottom and the exercises don't correspond with the correct pages or chapters. Very disappointing and ironically a bit stressful considering its subject matter is stress REDUCTION and relaxation....This book was recommended to me so I'll just have the download refunded and buy the paper version.
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on August 1, 2005
This book is nicely laid out. It starts with background information on stress. Then it gives you some tests to take that indicate how stressful your situation is, what is a normal level of stress, and what areas you might want to focus on first. The rest of the book is short chapters giving you the basics on various techniques you can use to manage stress.

I don't normally like self-help books -- but this one is a gem. I refer to it often.
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on September 12, 2005
I am a therapist and regularly recommend this book. I like the variety of techniques it offers, as one technique may work for once client and not for another. It also has a chapter on dealing with chronic worrying, and an excellent, educational first chapter on stress and anxiety and how it affects us physically, emotionally, etc. My clients love this book. One recently told me it was like having her therapist "right there, all the time". They have sought experts in the various fields and of numerous techniques and theoretical orientations, which leave a nice balance of information from which to choose,use, practice, and get help.
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VINE VOICEon November 8, 2000
This is one of, if not the best books on stress management and relaxation. It is a must have for health care providers working in this area, and an incredible resource for laymen seeking personal help or self growth.
I've recommended this book to probably 1000 psychologists, and as a specialty dealer of products for stress management, relaxation training and biofeedback, I know that at least 600-800 actually bought copies. Many of the ones I suggested it to already owned the book and I was always happy they did, because then, they knew I made credible recommendations.
The book offers a wealth of beautifully, simply explained exercises and techniques you can use immediately to learn to relax and cope with stress more effectively.
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on July 3, 2005
I am a clinical psychologist specializing in medical psychology and have used this book for over 20 years (since it's first edition)and my patients have consistently found it very helpful in learning the background of various aspects of relaxing their lives, and in putting the many exercises included in the book into practice that are needed to integrate relaxation and stress reduction into a person's lifestyle, which is of course the main goal. It has been a very helpful guide for my patients in reducing the signs and symptoms that they report when coming to me for treatment.
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on February 13, 2007
I bought this book after realizing that I needed to take responsibility for the way I think to change my levels of anxiety. The quizes in the beginning were easy and showed me exactly what chapters would be helpful in treatments of those symptoms. I take time every day now to do the exercises learned in the book. I am a social worker who has a considerable amount of stress every day. I have offered this book to many of my fellow caseworkers to deal with the stress of our jobs. Some of the exercises sound cheesy but you will find that they do help!
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on July 29, 2008
This book is packed with information -- which is great. But it can be a little overwhelming. I would recommend it for the amount of material covered, but I think it can make relaxation seem like a bit of a job. I have difficulty picking up various types of techniques (i.e. meditation) by reading. I think listening to a podcast or attending a class might be more helpful for those types of things. But it is a wonderfully thorough source of information on many types of relaxation techniques and, if nothing else, serves as a great starting point.
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on June 16, 2009
Excellent resource for learning stress management and relaxation strategies.

The Good: Each chapter is dedicated to a specific topic, such as re-breathing training, refuting irrational ideas and meditation, and the authors do an excellent job providing some background information (e.g., the role of stress in daily life, the fight-flight response, pictures of the diaphragm and information regarding normal vs. shallow breathing). Text is written in very easy-to-understand language and the strategies are easy to learn and apply in a variety of situations. Yet like any skills the strategies require practice, time, and patience to begin to have an effect on your life.

What Needs To Be Improved: Whilst the book provides numerous strategies to combat stress and to encourage relaxation, there is no information regarding what someone should do if the strategies don't work. Also, the book tends to focus primarily on breathing-based exercise with the assumption that a person can simply sit down and "get it" at the expense of other proven stress-reduction strategies, such as distress tolerance or mindfulness-based strategies. Furthermore, given that readers need to follow a script for most of the breathing exercises, a companion CD containing the script would have been helpful as trying to follow the instructions whilst doing the exercise is not effective.

I would recommend this book for anyone who wants to learn ways to manage everyday stress. I would not recommend this book as the sole resource for anyone who experiences emotional issues that are "deeper" than everyday stress as unfortunately the strategies in this book may not be as effective if used alone and such individuals should instead seek help from a psychologist. I would also recommend this book to students or other professionals interested in learning some introductory information about relaxation strategies.
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