Book of the Month for January 2018

I just finished up a book that was bubbling to the top of my to-read pile as the Holidays passed by me at warp speed. The subject of stress does occupy many minds during the winter months and the up and coming income tax season. But as I began reading the following book I found that this book is a welcome read for any time of the year since stress comes in many forms.

Title: The Upside of Stress

By Kelly McGonigal, PhD

File Size: 1321 KB

Print Length: 301 pages

Publisher: Avery (May 5, 2015)

Publication Date: May 5, 2015

Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

Language: English


ISBN-10: 1101982934

ISBN-13: 978-1101982938

Rating 5/5  

For most of our lives, we have been told that stress is harmful to our health. What if someone were able to prove this to be otherwise? How would you feel if you found that there are more health benefits to stress then health risks? All it takes is a change in your mindset.

Kelly McGonigal argues in her book The Upside of Stress that psychologists have been telling people for years that stress is bad for you but she has discovered through research that this is not indeed the case. With her research, she can prove the benefits of stress can outweigh the harmful effects of stress that revolves around changing the mindset about stress. If one can believe that stress is beneficial than the coping mechanisms associated with stressful events can cause personal growth which will improve the health of that individual.

“Mindsets are beliefs that shape your reality, including objective physical reactions (like the strength of my arm as Crum pushed on it), and even long-term health, happiness, and success. More important, the new field of mindset science shows that a single brief intervention, designed to change how you think about something, can improve your health, happiness, and success, even years into the future.” (McGonigal 2016, 4)

Kelly McGonigal, Phd., is a lecturer and psychologist at Stanford University and an expert on mind-body relationship. She is a senior teacher/consultant at Stanford for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education and also teaches for the School of Medicine’s Health Improvement Program. Her work validates the claims of psychological science to personal health and happiness, as well as organizational success and social change.

I understand what McGonigal means when she makes the statement, “When you face difficulties head-on, instead of trying to avoid or deny them, you build your resources for dealing with stressful experiences.” (McGonigal 2016, 18) We all face difficulties over the course of our lives. It is not a matter of what those challenges are but how we handle them that matters most in life. If we don’t manage them well, then we tend to repeat those problems until we can overcome them.

This book explains the reasoning behind why McGonigal believes that stress can be healthy for personal growth. Her research she shares verify why the probability this is correct and she describes this well in the book.

I did not find anything in this book that I would disagree with which is why I have rated this book with five stars.

I highly recommend everyone to read this book, and hopefully, it will change your outlook on stress and help you handle those dreadful times with personal growth and resilience.


McGonigal, Kelly. The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It (p. 4). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

McGonigal, Kelly. The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It (p. 18). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.


McGonigal, Kelly. The Upside of Stress. New York: Avery, 2016.


Snuggled and Warm




Keelaa settles down for a long winter’s nap. 12/14/2017


Winter brings freezing temperatures and even Keelaa looks to find warmth and comfort.


Focus is the Key to Time Management


Image courtesy of Creative Commons liscense provided by Robin Sharma via

Time Management

Everyone struggles with finding enough time to do the things that need to be done. I know I have had my share of scraping blocks out of my daily life to work full time, be a full-time student, interact with family members, add quality time for my pup, and find me time.

Time management is all about discipline and setting priorities. Some ask me, how do you do it?

My priorities are set by what is most important for me to do on the list.

  1. Work. I must go to work every day to earn that paycheck so I can afford to eat. This means that I have blocked out a minimum of 9 hours out of each day to accommodate this priority.
  2. School work is the next item. I schedule a minimum of 4 hours a day dedicated to reading assignments and homework. This is where the discipline comes into play. If I slack, the grades may slack.
  3. Family time is spent while having dinner at the dinner table. I try to use this opportunity as a quality time to catch up with my loved ones.
  4. Keelaa demands her time too. She will come in little bursts of tail wagging glee to see me and look for that treat or scratch on the back.
  5. Exercise takes place mostly at work while dashing about to keep the machines running. Calling my work exercise also makes it more enjoyable and productive.
  6. Reading personal choice books are only allotted a short time frame of maybe an hour or two each night.
  7. Free time for writing is next on the priority list. I have accepted that I might not get another book out in the next few years, but there will come that day when school will be done, and writing will reclaim that time slot that is allocated for school work.
  8. Last on the list is free time in general. I could place my video gaming in this slot, or any other of my many hobbies like crocheting or knitting.
  9. I do have a cutoff point where time runs out. When the batteries drain sleep is a must to stay healthy, happy and wise.


How do you manage your time?


I Ask Myself A Thousand Times Why I Write

I will continue to ask myself over and over why I write and the list continues to grow.


  • Communication: Writing is a form of communicating with those not met or seen every day. A friend, a sibling, former co-worker, even someone never met may find a shared experience to be inspirational, helpful or educational.
  • Sharing: Experiences are wonderful to share. By sharing the experience the how, why and what will offer insight to what to possibilities for others.
  • Caring: Everyone needs something. Caring is part of sharing insights of experiences of how to do something, why to do it, and what the reason was for the experience.
  • Business: Writers write, plain and simple. Writing becomes more than a hobby as the experience continues to grow, which leads to greater sharing opportunities that are all part of business as usual.
  • Just because I can: The more experience a writer obtains, the more they need to write. Just because, writing is a form of communication just like talking to someone in person. The letter, diary, story, note, message, chat, or phone calls all are forms of communication to not only other people but also to the self.
  • Something I like to do: Writing is fun and allows detachment from the current world. Life can be shaped to reflect dreams, illusions, or reality.
  • Imagination: A form of dreaming, day dreaming, scurrying the unknown to experience what if possibility. Nightmares can be horrifying, but the disturbing nightmare can be overcome by the power found in imagination. A weapon can magically appear to kill the monster; one only needs to imagine – or think it.
  • Creativity: To think something into existence. What is real? Think and see something appear as one wish. What comes first? Imagination or reality.
  • Development: Can be personal or creative. Change takes place without one knowing, realizing a plan is in action until all is done and over with the final result or outcome.
  • Pondering: Thinking, imagining, wonder, inspiration, and creating a new idea or thought.
  • Growth: Personal, knowledge, financial, character, and wisdom are all desirous for any individual.
  • Aspiration: What one wants, wishes, and desires in their life. The one and only, the bucket list that never empties.
  • Escape: Freedom from the events of the day. An excellent way to release stress and learn to enjoy life once again.
  • Experience: What has been learned from doing something, being somewhere, being with whom, and knowing a common knowledge?
  • Learning: All that is needed to know how to do something, to be someone, to get somewhere in life.
  • Self-discovery: Self-knowledge, knowing who you are, become all that one needs to be, and understanding the self.
  • Self-expression: Communicating who we are and what we want and why we want what we want. Just being a being is all one needs to be.
  • Experiencing life: Life happens regardless whether we want to be on the boat of life. Open up and know what is happening to experience the storms so one can ride the waves of life without capsizing the boat.

A Face in the Darkness

Image courtesy of creative commons license provided by via bing images

Legs blocked the walkway of the bottom bleacher. The vacant dark corner across the gymnasium beckoned Allie to come hither and hide in the shadows it provided. No one knew her; she had remained as faceless now as she had on the first day at this school. Coming to this dance was a mistake. Who was she kidding that she would be able to fit in at this school?

No matter what alias she used something always happened to make life miserable for her no matter where they moved. Why couldn’t she be like the rest of them?

What would it be like to be just a human?

The empty corner was not empty after all. Golden yellow eyes of one of the boys from her science class met hers. Had he been waiting for her here all along?

His name – Luke, Larry, Lonny, she faked knowing him as awkward as being near him seemed to be, “Hiya, great dance.”

“Hi to you, it’s just a school dance like any other. You’re Allie, right?” He allowed her a bit of the corner with the shadow blocking the view of the dance floor. “Are you here alone?”

Allie looked beside her to see if anyone was standing next to her. Nope, no one there. “that is a pretty good guess.”

He shifted his weight off the wall. “I don’t normally like to dance, but I like this song. Would you like to dance?” His hand extended in the offer.

Refuse? Any other time Allie would refuse, but his smile enticed her. “This is awful for me to admit, I never caught your name.” Her fingers touched his in reluctant acceptance. “Is it Luke?”

His smile grew. “Yes, I’m Luke.”

The moment he put his hand on her waist and held her hand she knew more about him besides his name. He was just like her. The first one she had ever met. No longer did she feel so alone in a world of humans. Allie didn’t have to be faceless forever. Maybe now she would be able to leave her Aliases in the past.

Copyright © 2017 by Linda Nelson