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Customer Review

on January 3, 2000
A highly-readable little paperback with a different perspective of the generations; your own, those before you, and those soon to follow. The book is enjoying a good run as a best-seller, living proof many among us must be anxiety-ridden and looking for answers.
Say to yourself: "Life isn't an emergency" advises Dr. Carlson, and admits this is his essential strategy on how to keep little things from taking over your life. Then, along with this, he confronts the reader with the realization (often unrecognized) that life is made up of "little things."
Each of the hundred short chapters contains ideas and true-life examples of how to work around the little things so life will be more livable and enjoyable minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour. It would seem that adopting even one of these sometimes profound, sometimes simplistic concepts of living, you can relieve stress in your life; more importantly, life will be a lot more fun.
Examples: Live in the present. When you look around, it's easy to see no one has a guarantee he or she will be here tomorrow; right now is the only time we have control over. When we focus on the present moment, fear of what might happen in the future (and most of these fearful events never happen) goes away so we are more relaxed.
Become more patient. Don't interrupt others or finish their sentences (a sign of impatience that says, "I'm waiting for you to finish so I can talk"). The more patient you are, the more you will accept how it really is, rather than insisting that life should be as you would like it to be. Patience adds ease and acceptance of life so essential for inner peace. Allowing the other person to finish speaking is a mark of patience which improves relationships. Those you are talking with feel more relaxed because they feel you are listening to what they have to say. Result; you enjoy conversations more and are more relaxed rather than rushing through them.
"One thing at a time." Admonishes Carlson. When you do too many things at once, it's impossible to concentrate on the present moment. Result: You cannot fully enjoy the moment because you are less effective and focused.
Here are some chapter titles that illustrate the broad range of anti-anxiety subject matter covered in the book: "Surrender to the Fact that Life Isn't Fair; "Allow Yourself to be Bored; "Seek First to Understand; "Become Aware of Your Moods and Don't Allow Yourself to be Fooled by the Low Ones; "Practice Random Acts of Kindness; "Choose Being Kind Over Being Right; "Every Day, Tell at Least One Person Something You Like, Admire or Appreciate About Them; "Resist The Urge to Criticize; "Write Down Your Five Most Stubborn Positions and See if You Can Soften Them; "Become a Less Aggressive Driver; "Think of What You Have Instead of What You Want; "Think of Your Problems as Potential Teachers; "Get Comfortable Not Knowing; "Remember, One Hundred Years from Now, All New People; "Mind Your Own Business; "Live This Day as if it Were Your Last. It Might Be!"
"Don't Sweat the Small Stuff" is a sprightly blend of old ideas and new ideas on how to how to cope with the fiendish pace of the Information Age. You won't recognize most of the old ideas though, because Author Carlson has dressed them up to fit today. In a gentle way, there's something rewarding here for almost everybody.
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