A rational, clearly outlined debut guide to recognizing and tolerating the stress of everyday life.
For years, Costa has advised people on how to manage the stresses of family, work, loss, and the little everyday annoyances whose eventual accumulation might make sufferers want to tear their hair out. Presented as a set of practical strategies to get through the day and through life, this book will set readers back on the path to resilience. Costa sums up her program in an easy-to-remember acronym: RESET—realize, energize, soothe, end unproductive thinking, and talk it out. This guide, she argues, helps us realize that “we end up putting more effort into maintaining our cars and houses and even taking care of our pets than we do ourselves. We do everything and anything but attend to our own emotional health.” In service of this attention, alongside the familiar self-help anecdotes starring friends and case examples, Costa breaks down the RESET idea into simple charts that assist the reader in recognizing his or her “recipe” for stress. For example, “tons of coffee,” no exercise, a “rocky marriage,” alcohol, and only a few hours of sleep can add up to serious mental and emotional burnout. By changing just a few behaviors, stress levels can shrink to manageable levels, which is where therapy and positive self-talk come in. For those averse to talk therapy—Costa cites men who feel they have to “tough it out”—she points out how “Therapy is no longer an excavation of childhood skeletons, but a practical, proven, powerful way to facilitate emotional health by setting and achieving goals.” Although at first the book may be overwhelming to those in the throes of major stress, Costa provides blocked-out “Bottom Line” tidbits and sections that encourage one to “Dissect and Reflect,” thus breaking up the feeling that one must embark upon a huge life overhaul all at once. While her advice may not be new, Costa’s voice and the book’s structure will be useful to readers looking for a leg up.
Not revolutionary, but nevertheless a well-written, sensible self-help guide.