Stress – The Essential Guide; book review by Frances Ive

I saw a review of my book on Stress – The Essential Guide by Neil Moffatt. In many senses I agree with what he said, but in defence of my own writing

I would say that it is what it is – a guide for people who probably don’t have the knowledge that he has. The style is deliberately simplistic, because this is not

an academic book. It’s meant to help people who may be really suffering.

Yes he’s right about green tea (it has caffeine in it, but it’s much better for you than coffee), and unfortunately about insulin, and these should be more explicit. However, the average person really knows so little about how to cope when they are stressed that they do not need a lot of medical detail and depth. If I sounded flippant about the current jobs market I would draw him to page 43, The 21st Century Workplace where I had to be careful not to be too negative. ‘There couldn’t be a worse time for work stress than now, when the economic climate is at its worst and showing no sign of improving.’… and ‘many companies are struggling and staff are concerned about their job security, and may feel unmotivated and at worse ill with stress and stress-related conditions.’

I more than many people am very aware of how extremely difficult it is nowadays, as I am self-employed and much of the thinking behind the book came from my need to cope with very very lean times as well as good times, which have become much rarer. I find it very stressful myself, so when I mention going out and doing gardening I am not being at all flippant. I know that when you feel very depressed about your job situation it helps to go and do something useful because you might actually enjoy it. Let’s face it you cannot spend 100 per cent of your time looking for work, so you need to have some lighter times that achieve a purpose – both practical and mental.

Of course people can’t just change their personalities overnight, but the book helps them to think. ‘So maybe I should say no next time, even if I find it difficult.’ If no-one ever suggests it to they are not that likely to change, but these are meant to be helpful suggestions not orders.

Best wishes

Frances Ive

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