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Gill, Joseph L. PERSONALIZED STRESS MANAGEMENT. A Manual for Everyday Life and Work, Counseling and Consullting Services Publications, 920 Saratoga Ave. ste. #205 San Jose, CA. 95129. 1983. 168pp. ($37.00 hardcover, $26 paperback).

Another book on stress management crosses the desk and one wonders when the flood of such books will begin to ebb. Then one pics up The Wall Street Journal and reads the new medical treatment has indicated that “Type A” are more likeley to syffer heart attacks and the thought comes to mind that maybe we neeed a plethora of such books so that we may leazrn how to manage and hopefully reduce the stress in our lives.

This book by El Camino Chaptrer Member Joseph Gill is, as its title states, a personalized manual. It has immediate everyday applications. Chapter’s One and Two are concerned with understanding stress and the author provides Holmes and Rahe’s Life Change Scale, a selection from the Friedman and Rosenman’s Type A Behavior and Your Heart instrument and the ten item internalizer / externalizer reflection instrument by Julian Rotter. These Devices are of particular help in assisting an individual in determining the potential impacts of stress in one’s life. I can recall hearing Richard Rahe speak at a dinner in which he provided everyone with a copy of the Life Change Scale and the sudden impact that I received from realizing the role that stress had played and was playing in my life. I believe that, for many, reading the first two chapters dealing with the anatomy of stress will provide them with the motivation and rationale to resd further.

The remainder of the book is a series of enlightening chapters, informative instruments, specific excercises (with photoillustrations), and the basic ingrediants for developing a Personalized Stress Management (PSM) program. Part 2 has chapters on coping with stress cognitively, and coping with stress actively. In this latter chapter emphasis is placed on the importance of relaxation, nutrition, exercise and support systems.

Part 3 focuses on one’s stress management program and provides the details for developing a PSM design with the appropriate mental conditioning. This section also discusses the relationship between time management and stress and provides instruments that effectively assist the reader in getting a handle on and assessing one’s allocation of time and energy.

The last three chapters look at privacy, home, career / career pursuits, social interacting, and at miscellaneous time in terms of managing stress. Inb these chapters the author provides a four stageprocess of Goal Assessment, Decision Planning, Plan Implementation, and Evaluation for one’s own personalized stress management program. The first three steps to lead to the development of a “commitment contract” which calls for the evaluation of one’s particular PSM commitment. The book has a useful bibliography and a table of contents that serves as an excellent outline.

I found the book to be a useful tool. Many of the elements in the book could be adapted by trainers for use within their own organizations but more importantly, the book provides a step to step guide to understanding stress and for building a personalized program that each of us can adapt and modify to make work for our particular needs.
--Dave Wiggleworth


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