5 Minutes to Stress Relief: How to Release Fear, Worry, and Doubt… Instantly by Lauren E. Miller

Too many sticky notes? Yeah, I agree

You should know that this book has a low rating on goodreads and I can understand why. Lauren E. Miller is overly Christian-centric and repetitive. She uses herself as a sterling example so often I roll my eyes. She can also be preachy and unsympathetic. So why did I give 5 Minutes to Stress Relief four stars and thus, bumped up its rating? Because whether despite or because of her tough love approach (so reminiscent of my mother whenever I’m suffering depressive/anxious episodes), I found a lot of the sentiments expressed useful.

Also, it’s most likely that you’re reading self-help books in the first place to rectify something you’re doing wrong. I tried to read with an open mind throughout and focused mainly on 5 Minutes to Stress Relief’s positive aspects.

2016 has been good to me so far. Depression and anxiety attacks are fewer and farther between. In fact, this is the longest I’ve ever been without a depressive episode. I want to keep it that way. I’ve been taking care of myself as best as I can. I’m also taking this “bright” time to catch up on what to do the next time I get depressed/anxious. When I’m actually in trouble, I can’t even get out of bed – let alone find ways to help myself. 5 Minutes to Stress Relief was the first of my many unread self-help books to get some attention.

5 Minutes to Stress Relief isn’t revolutionary. It’s more of a basic refresher. That’s fine though. Stressed-out people don’t have the mental capacity to execute forty yoga steps to a balanced inner life. Basic is best. In fact, the focal chapter of 5 Minutes to Stress Relief: “Quick Stress Relief Tips That You Can Do in Less Than Five Minutes!” wasn’t that useful to me. I already know deep breathing and daily walks help ease the problems. I’m not interested in Miller’s tapping method or thymus thumps. Although I suspect I will try jumping around and stretching more.

What I liked most about 5 Minutes to Stress Relief was its abstractions. A lot of key statements were what I learned from some hard experiences. I have half a mind to write down these statements in index cards and reread them every time the “black dog” starts sniffing.

Well, writing them down in a blog post counts, right?

  • “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:27)
  • “I have moved through challenges in my past, and I am willing to trust that I can do it again.”
  • “Guilt will keep you stuck.”
  • “Anxiety comes when the options involved in your decisions conflict with the order of your priorities.”
  • “Inner anxiety is caused when your body is where it is, and your mind is in the future or in the past. Be here now.”

Maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise that it’s the theoretical that won me over. I am an academic person, after all. But more likely, I already know these assertions from experience. I just need to be reminded of them frequently and often – especially when I’m inside the black hole trying to claw myself out.

If 5 Minutes to Stress Relief was a novel, my succinct review would be: fundamentally flawed but I forgive it because it’s genuine and rings true.

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4 thoughts on “5 Minutes to Stress Relief: How to Release Fear, Worry, and Doubt… Instantly by Lauren E. Miller

  1. The last piece of advice about being in the moment sounds very like cognitive behavioural therapy where they advise to avoid negative speculative thoughts about the future by focusing on where are we now and what do we know

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  2. I’m glad the black dog has not been too much in evidence lately. Depression and anxiety are exhausting things to live with.

    I think if we have an open mind we can frequently find helpful pieces of information even in the things that are not written in a way that normally appeals to us. It is often the basic things that carry us through the bad times and being reminded of these basic things can be very useful because in the depths they can be easy to forget. It is true, worry adds nothing to our lives but it is so hard to give up.

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