The review of ‘Dear Stress -I’m breaking up with you,’ which is a part of ‘Dear Women Guide Book Series’ couldn’t have come in my life at a better time. I am at a turning point with my work, my relationships and with mid-life issues, so it is without saying that I am experiencing a significant amount of stress. Can we say: THE S WORD?? Stress, a norm in our everyday lives, has become more of a subjective term than a scientific one. Here, well-known author Ky-Lee Hanson presents an amalgam of stories for women written by a selection of 17 women co-authors who, by sharing their own life experiences dealing with stress, help and inspire other women to do so.
This book is not only an easy read, and it is cleverly divided into five sections making it easier for the reader to understand the different types of stress and how to either eliminate or deal with it. Whether read linearly or picked at a story by story, it delivers many realizable solutions. These are creatively put forward in each story in the form of suggestions, recommendations, explanations, lists, poems and quotes from everyday women that are easy to relate. From teachers, mothers, business women, to physicians these women have suffered from stress, whether internal or external, and they each offer their unique perspective on how to overcome its grip.
The first section ‘The Weight Within’ deals mostly with the negative inner dialogue we women have. I found there many ways to change ‘stinking thinking’ into gratitude. Stress can make us or break us: that is our decision. We can accept to be victimized by stress by holding on to it and stay ridden by guilt and shame, or we can see stress as a great teacher and learn from it. Knowing this is not an easy task, this part of the book offers many ways that women can identify what is real stress vs. what is imagined to be stress and in the second-hand use self-development and learn how to turn negative experiences into positive ones.
Many women who juggle family life and work will find solace in the second section ‘Family Matters’, which helps women prioritize themselves and encourages them to give up their ‘limiting’ thinking. Living for yourself is not an easy task for mothers who often feel guilty by putting their needs first. In these stories, women will find ways to prioritize and organize their lives as to lessen stress and be more joyful.
Next comes ‘Healing the Body with Knowledge’, which addresses the educational value of understanding internal and external stressors and their link to illnesses. There the reader understands the underlying causes of stress, such as fear, and that not all stress is detrimental to our health. Some types of stress are only problematic if they are at an unhealthy level. Here there are many examples of the relationship between stress and disease with solutions and even recipes which promote health and therefore reduce stress.
The book then moves on to ‘More than just a girl’, which deals with the injustices we face today, just by being women. In this part of the book, women share how they overcame stereotypes and limitations by accepting stress and how they found ways of letting it go – forever. Although the unfortunate reality is that we are not socially and economically equal to our counterparts these women have found ways to break free from the ideas we have internalized as women either from the culture we grew up in, from injustices we have endured or from our parent’s belief system. It is an enigma that in 2017, wanting equality for women is seen as feminism and has a negative connotation. I just loved how these women cheer others on to stay true to themselves and to just go for it!! Why not? Are we not meant to be equal after all?
The last part of the book, ‘The break up with no returns” digs deep into the importance of communication. Talking about our issues is the first step in moving away from them, and this fact is essential in all areas of our lives. Women are encouraged to connect with themselves really: physically, emotionally and spiritually. All in all, the author stresses how women often crippled by stress, miss the boat and realize that their lives are passing by them which leads to depression and low self-esteem. Hanson, motivating women to ignite this change in their lives, helps women move from a dark place into a place of light and peace.
Stress will always be an inevitable part of life, but after having found so many ways to break up with it, I can say that I no longer have a reason to keep enduring it and, with a big smile on my face, I can dearly say GOODBYE STRESS!
Dear Stress: I’m breaking up with you is available at all bookstores and online