How to identify and change your physical reaction to stress without losing your mental edge--a neat, simple exercise that can easily be self-taught. Psychiatrist Stroebel developed his approach to treat his own tension headaches, and now uses it widely in his practice: ""the major issue is how we can maintain the positive, high-performance traits of the type A personality without devastating our physical health."" Other stress-reducing approaches he tried didn't work: tranquilizers dull mental function; T.M. has no sustained or emergency effect because it's practiced away from stressful situations; and biofeedback, while effective, necessitates the use of a machine for training and reinforcement. Stroebel's ""Quieting Reflex"" is for use at the time of a stress-producing experience: the six-second response (practiced enough, it becomes automatic) begins with a conscious recognition of something frightening or annoying, and continues in quick stages to muscle relaxation and deep breathing. Stroebel explains each stage in detail, as well as how to identify common stressors or stimuli. He supports his program by explaining the physiologic response to chronic stress (eventually manifested as headaches, nervous stomach and bowel problems, and chronic low back pain, among other ailments); being aware of the response, he points out, is the first step in diverting or deflecting it. No hyperbole or exaggerated claims--but real help in understanding our bodies' reaction to stress, and how we can deal with it.