A common-sense guide to managing everyday stress.
In 1998, Huljich was chairman of the board and joint CEO of a large, successful organic foods company, living in one of New Zealand’s largest homes, with all the trappings of success, including stress. And it got to him. Huljich candidly describes the dramatic, full mental breakdown that tore him away from the home and life he’d built for himself and his family. He goes on to briefly describe his personal experience as he returned to mental health, weaned himself off the psychotropic medications prescribed for him, and developed habits to maintain his overall wellness. This telling is far more self-help than autobiography. (Readers interested in a full account of his breakdown can pick up his barely fictionalized Betrayal of Love and Freedom.) While there’s nothing earthshaking in Huljich’s “nine natural steps to survive, master stress and live well,” the recipe he provides for better living is unusual because it’s so practical and seemingly easy to follow. For example, in spite of his experience with organic foods and nutrition, he doesn’t insist that wellness depends on sticking to a strict diet, just a sensible one. But smart eating habits comprise only one of the nine steps in Huljich’s recommended process for achieving better health by developing a lifestyle that acts like a stress buffer. Sound sleeping, exercising and practicing positive affirmations also make his list. Chapters devoted to each of the nine steps are chock-full of practical advice and suggestions that seem reasonably easy to incorporate into a normal (i.e., stressful) modern life. Huljich’s point—based on his experience, not medical research— is that the key to mental health is having a healthy response to stress, not necessarily avoiding it. “A dependence on avoiding stress…is a mask, not a cure,” he writes. These nine steps aren’t the be-all, end-all answer, but they’re worth following.
Reasonable though lightweight advice.