Written by Jennifer Love, MD and Kjell Tore Hovik, PsyD, PhD


Review by Gunnel Minett

When it comes to self-help books they are available in abundance. But not all of them have the ‘self’ aspect in them to the extent that you can actually follow a step by step process that will take you to better health and wellbeing. However, this book has just that: it offers a number of examples of crisis situations that most of us face at some point in our lives. It does not have to be a serious crisis, it can simply be a situation like the one the whole world is experiencing now, in the form of the covid pandemic.

One of the major factors behind stress and psychological problems is the sense of losing control. In the current situation, with a pandemic seriously restricting our personal freedoms, many people are experiencing just these extreme psychological stresses. On top of this the people who normally would help in such a situation are themselves in the same situation, having their personal freedoms and possibility to work seriously restricted.

So although the authors started writing the book before the pandemic hit, the book could not have come at a better time. It contains very down-to-earth advice, which readers can easily follow on their own: it’s perfect for this period when we really have to rely on our own resources. Many of us have got used to having to practice a number of new skills, whether it is cooking, cutting your own hair or helping yourself to find the best way possible to get through this global crisis. 

One excellent suggest from the authors advice is to simply write lists as to what we can and can’t control. Getting this on paper clears your head from the stress overload of constantly thinking about this question. With regard to our list of what we can change in our situation, they recommend going through it to identify what is easy change and what is more difficult. 

Fortunately, following the seemingly ‘simple’ techniques described in the book can mean the difference between the feel of being in control and the experience of stress overload. In addition the book has a section entitled The Science of Stress, in which the biology of stress is described in detail. To understand what happens in the body when we get stressed usually also helps to lower the stress level and provides an increased sense of being in control. 

So if you feel you need some help to improve your situation before the pandemic is over, this book would be a really good choice.

Citadel; Press, www.kensingtonbooks.com, 2021, 260 PP, ISBN 13-0-8065-4081-8