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The Myth of Stress: Where Stress Really Comes From and How to Live a Happier and Healthier Life Hardcover – May 4, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bernstein, a former protégé of self-help guru Byron Katie and a consultant to Fortune 500 corporations, thinks stress is produced not by external circumstances but by mistaken thoughts. He has developed the seven-step ActivInsight program to combat these thoughts and banish stress and related feelings of depression, despair, anger, and frustration. Really a form of cognitive therapy, ActivInsight involves framing a should statement that expresses your stress (they should agree with me), evaluating the feelings that accompany it, and then framing its opposite, no matter how counterintuitive it sounds. One must then set out to prove the counterstatement (I should be here [in drug rehab] because I need help) and examine again the feelings it elicits and the actions it could lead to (e.g., participation). Chapter by chapter, Bernstein takes on various stress-inducing thoughts—I should weigh less; I should be successful; I shouldn't have done that—and shows how to let the air out of them. His program seems to involve formulaic thinking rather than genuine self-examination, and to ignore the plain truth that certain situations (like losing a job) are indeed stressful. (May 4)
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Review

"The Myth of Stress is a compelling, compassionate book about our suffering when we fight reality and the transformation that is possible when we don't. I loved it."

- Geneen Roth, author of When Food Is Love and Women Food and God

"Andrew Bernstein has brought some much needed common sense to the subject of stress and that alone makes this book a winner."

-- Caroline Myss, author of Defy Gravity and Invisible Acts of Power

"Bernstein has created a wonderful, accessible how-to manual for regular people wanting to feel better. This WORKS!"

--Kathleen DesMaisons, Ph.D., author of Potatoes Not Prozac

"Bernstein's volume is an outstanding guide to understanding the nature of stress and how to handle it.  The book provides numerous insights and techniques for anyone experiencing stress -- and who doesn't?"

 -- Aaron T. Beck, M.D., founder of Cognitive Therapy

"We often think we have to avoid or reduce stress.  The Myth of Stress teaches you not to “manage stress” but to root out the very causes of stress, the tangled thinking that keeps you stuck in the belief the world has to change for you to be happy.  Andrew Bernstein guides us through a way to untangle those thoughts and be free. Read this book and it will change your life and you will find your happiness will depend on only one thing ? YOU."

--Mark Hyman, MD, New York Times best-selling author of The UltraMind Solution

"Bernstein's volume is an outstanding guide to understanding the nature of stress and how to handle it. The book provides numerous insights and techniques for anyone experiencing stress -- and who doesn't?"
-- Aaron T. Beck, M.D., founder of Cognitive Therapy

"The Myth of Stress is a compelling, compassionate book about our suffering when we fight reality and the transformation that is possible when we don't. I loved it."
--Geneen Roth, author of When Food Is Love and Women, Food, and God

"Andrew Bernstein has brought some much needed common sense to the subject of stress and that alone makes this book a winner."
-- Caroline Myss, author of Defy Gravity and Invisible Acts of Power

"We often think we have to avoid or reduce stress. The Myth of Stress teaches you not to “manage stress” but to root out the very causes of stress, the tangled thinking that keeps you stuck in the belief the world has to change for you to be happy. Andrew Bernstein guides us through a way to untangle those thoughts and be free. Read this book and it will change your life and you will find your happiness will depend on only one thing – YOU."
--Mark Hyman, MD, New York Times best-selling author of The UltraMind Solution

"Bernstein has created a wonderful, accessible how-to manual for regular people wanting to feel better. This WORKS!"
--Kathleen DesMaisons, Ph.D., author of Potatoes Not Prozac

"Hans Selye's theory of stress as a fight-or-flight response is wrong and overrated, according to Bernstein, originator of ActivInsight, a cognitive method for identifying, understanding, and transforming stress. Bernstein asserts that stress originates in thoughts and beliefs, but he concedes that it has long-term physical and mental effects. Using the worksheet process adapted from his mentor Bryon Katie, Bernstein formulated ActivInsight, a seven-step stress-reduction program he has taught in seminars to corporations and nonprofit organizations. While acknowledging similarities to positive thinking, Bernstein envisions ActivInsight as working not just by replacing stressful ideas, but by subtracting the underlying negative beliefs. In the book's second half, Bernstein guides readers in applying ActivInsight to 12 common challenges ranging from anger, heartbreak, and money problems to fear of dying. By the end, readers should be able to apply ActivInsight to their own problems, though Bernstein admits that some issues may need more than a single work-sheet session. An online self-help platform with downloadable work sheets, tutorials, and email connections will be launched upon publication. VERDICT An easy-to-learn method for addressing issues underlying stress, best suited for the workbook crowd and believers in cognitive-behavioral therapy." --Library Journal

"Look out Anthony Robbins, move over Deepak Chopra, there’s a quiet storm moving up through this state and beyond. His name is Andrew Bernstein... He’s an intelligent, calm, and soft-spoken person who uses reason and logic to quiet the mind." --Vision Magazine

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; 1 edition (May 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439159459
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439159453
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #629,985 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. Hooks on July 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is what a self-help book should be. You buy it, you honestly and earnestly do what it says to do and it all works like it says it will. This is the way it's supposed to be. I can't think of a higher recommendation. I was shocked at how the stress went way down when I did my own worksheet on "Why I should not be financially successful at this time." I thought taking an honest look at myself would make me feel worse and, in addition, cause me to lose my motivation to work hard. But just as the author explains in detail, you will actually unwind your emotional knots and feel much better. I actually want to work harder and smarter but this time, after having done the worksheet, I am now coming from a different place. A place of greatly improved peace and clear-mindedness. Furthermore, the changes appear to be long-lasting, not just a temporary high. But even if I'm not ultimately successful, in a way, I'm no longer emotionally attached to the outcome whatever it may be. This is the first clear-headedness and peace-of-mind I have ever experienced. I also noticed that the relief is immediate but after several days of occasional reflection the insight is deeper and so is the sweet peace. The implications are pretty staggering. This means I can be my own counselor. I no longer feel that I have to depend on anyone else for my happiness or to help me "figure things out emotionally." In my mind, this is what all my years of reading the Bible and religion should have done(bring me peace and tremendous desire to work hard). Instead, they just made me feel worse about myself and not motivated to do anything but apologize for even living. This book did for me what the Bible, religion, NLP, "Law of Attraction" books and all the other, seemingly endless, psychology books could not do.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have long enthusiastically studied both eastern religious and western psychological approaches to the relief of stress and suffering. Andy has identified the essential wisdom behind the ones that actually work which is that it is not our experience that causes suffering but rather our thoughts about our experience that cause us to suffer.

He presents a practical way to understand and benefit from this insight that is extremely elegant and clear. I find more than anything else I've come across, I can feel comfortable sharing Andy's book and insights with people. There is a logic and common sense to this process that once understood is so reasonable that it seems very unlikely to me to trigger the cynicism or skepticism you might expect from someone not normally attracted to this subject.

I highly recommend this book for oneself. But furthermore, I highly recommend this book for a friend who might otherwise never be open enough to consider an alternative viewpoint to negotiate their way through life difficulty.

This is a book simply, clearly, and logically enough written that I believe it can cast a very wide net on who will be able and interested to hear it. It is by no means the first book to take on this subject and to attempt to share this wisdom. But it may well be the most clear and the most accessible.
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Format: Hardcover
The single most effective, scientifically based, and immediately actionable approach I have ever used to respond to experiences of stress, regret & discrimination - ESPECIALLY for skeptics and people turned off by anything that smells of cheesy "self-help."

Chapters "The Myth of Discrimination," "The Myth of a Broken Heart," and "The Myth of Dying Too Soon" alone are probably worth 10x the sticker price of the book.

I literally read the book from beginning to end, followed along by doing the exercises honestly, paying full attention, and have already obliterated the traces of a couple major stresses and past regrets already. Now that I've finished the book, I've established the habit of doing the very simple ActivInsight exercise on paper (on my computer, actually) whenever something new comes up.

I can't recommend this enough. Even though I'm a big "self-help" guy, I RARELY ever promote such material for fear of being made fun of.

This book is so important, though, that I don't care. Furthermore, with the book's tone I feel even more compelled to share it especially with people who are usually turned off by self-help.
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Format: Hardcover
It's everywhere, or so we think. I get up in the morning and there it was waiting for me when I slept through my alarm clock and was late for work. It showed up again on my way to work in the traffic jam and yet again at work in the team meeting. It crept in at family dinner disguised as conversation. Finally at the end of the day I go to bed with it and it keeps me up late only to make me sleep through my alarm clock again.

Stress seems to follow me around looking for opportunities to make my life miserable.

"Myth of Stress" by Andrew Bernstein challenges the common thought process that outside factors are the cause of the stress. Based on personal experience, research and professional work, he posits that stress is 100% internal. In his blog on Psychology Today he says, "The truth is that stress doesn't come from your boss, your kids, your spouse, traffic jams, health challenges, or other circumstances. It comes from your thoughts about these circumstances. "

He presents a simple thought process to engage in at the moment stress occurs. By the end of this process each time I am able to change the way I feel by changing the way I think. The truth I realized is that stress indeed follows me around. It lives in the way I perceive situations and people in my life. If I change my perception and act on positive behaviors that encourage the elimination of stress, I can minimize the amount of stress I feel drastically.

Although simple, this process takes practice and is best utilized in conjunction with the tools Andrew Bernstein and his company ActivInsight have provided, which can be found at [...]Give it a try and see if changing your thoughts can help you alleviate the stress that seems to be everywhere.
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