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

ASIN: B00OI5PGWU

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.


Note

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.

Reference

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

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Reflections of 2013

The year is just about over, and many people will be working on New Year’s resolutions – goals for the coming year. But for now I want to take the time to look back and remember where I have come from.

How and why did I begin writing?

It all started for me back in 2008 when my daughter said, Mom come check out My Space. I looked and saw all the blogs on the site and began reading. It was a neat way to keep a kind of journal of some sort to share with others. We left comments for each other, made friends, and left lots of Kudos.

Do you remember Kudos?

Then my daughter turned 18. Ah – the proper age when the child is supposed to leave the nest. The only thing was, she hadn’t finished High School. Ugh!

Yep – she left home – no rhyme or reason. Quit school too.

I was mad. What kind of sane mother wouldn’t be? I went through life trying to help her make it from point A to point B. One grade to the next – it wasn’t my fault that she needed to stay back in school a couple of times. The first time was absolutely all on her. She wanted to be obstinate while in Kindergarten. She is my stubborn child.

So, when she left home in 2009, of course, I was mad. That was the year I wrote Friends of Choice. I put all my worries, fears, angers, and everything into that story. I also wanted her to know that I was actually listening to her all those years. I got her. I knew how she felt, by feeling out of control because we had to move when she was finally in a school that she truly was accepted into.

By the time, the book Road Salt came about my son had entered back into the picture. We had an on and off relationship for the past ten years while he lived with his dad. Most of that time he spent getting into trouble with drug addiction related crimes.

2010 was the year my Granddaughter was born. She and my daughter now reside in upstate NY. That was the year that I published Friends of Choice.

In 2011, my son entered a residential rehab and remained in that program for just about a year. While he was there, my writing began to take on a different meaning. I no longer felt as if I were writing just for myself. I was now writing with a purpose. I wanted to help the public learn about drug addiction and how it can find its way into all walks of life. No one is immune to the disease of addiction.

Road Salt was a hard piece to write. I wanted compelling facts for this fictional story, and without the story sounding too preachy. Besides, the designer drug bath salts is a terribly scary substance.

By the time, I was half way done writing Road Salt, a good friend of mine introduced me to Romance Writers of America. Now I had a new element to add to my writing. This was a new challenge for me.

To many times drug addiction ends in tragedy with the user dying from their drug usage accidently.

In Along Came Neil, I not only sought to write a story about romance, but I wanted to learn how to write a story with a happy ending. When I accomplished this for the first time, it felt fantastic.

Everyone desires to have Happy Ending no matter how much they have screwed their lives up over the years. There is always that small chance that they might make just one single choice that might lead them to recover their lives and live. It does happen. Not as often as it should

If only there were more residential rehabs out there like Delancy Street or the Phoenix House maybe more people would be able to find the strength to stand up against and fight back substance abuse. If the government were to spend money as they spend on the incarceration of an addict, on recovery programs where solid communities are made, maybe more of these addicts would become active community law-abiding citizens and survive to live more than just another day.

Yes, I write fantasy too.

Will I stop writing stories like Road Salt?

No – I can’t. Stories like Road Salt give me a compelling reason to write.

Today is Overdose Awarness Day

This is such a sad thing to have to talk about. I know I’ve had my share of experience with drug addiction via my son. It is such a shame to watch a loved one throw their life away over some petty substance. It doesn’t even make them a better person, actually it does the opposite. It creates a monster.

Some people don’t understand addiction. They think that the person can mearly stop using and things will get better for them. That is easier said than done.

The worst part of addiction is the fact that they have lost every ounce of will power they ever had. It is stripped away more and more each time they use. That which is taken away in a matter of days or hours of use will take years and years to restore.

It is crippling. They eventually lose everything they ever held dear to them. Even loved ones.

Did you know that when a person has been clean for just 28 days they are at the highest risk for a drug overdose?

This is caused by their tolerance level to the substance that begins to lower and they have not yet made the connection. So they go on to use, thinking they should be taking the same dosage they were using before they stopped. They do this not knowing that their bodies can no longer handle this amount of the substance. Most will overdose and many of those will die.

So when you pop that ibuprophen today for that headache, take the time to think about what it must be like for an addict. The pain they go through while they withdraw from their substance. I hear it is worse than a migraine. It makes their whole body hurt.

Fortunately I have not had to witness an overdose. I hope I never have to. But I am worried. My son is about to enter a rehab once again. This time it is one of those 28 day programs, and knowing what I know now about how dangerous these 28 day programs are, it kind of scares me.

If only there were more programs out there, and they were all on the same page, with longer terms to keep our loved ones clean.

They are right to say that drug addiction has become a national health problem.

ROW 80 Check-In:

Last week I finished up the edits to Aaron & Keja, which is the first book in my fantasy series, Orgarlan Saga. This week I will begin the edits on Witch Book. That is the second book in the series. After which I should be able to begin my plotting of the next book in the series.

My goal is to some how get all the characters from both of the books into the next book. Will I succeed? I don’t know. But I will sure as hell try.