Book Review: From Stressed to Centered

Stress seems to be inescapable in our modern life. From Stressed to Centered by Drs Dana Gionta and Dan Guerra is a compelling read in helping you identify and reduce your stress. Their emphasis on Self-care as a foundation for leading a healthier and happier life.


Seems like people are reporting being more stressed than ever. Life is more hectic in many ways which results in our feeling more stressed. It may be that we are on the brink of an epidemic of stress induced exhaustion. We just don’t give ourselves enough time to heal.

Drs Gionta and Guerra have created an excellent guide to identifying and managing stress while building a foundation of Self-care that will generate long-term good health and well-being. From Stressed to Centered provides a step-by-step guide in helping you understand and practice good stress management and Self-care.

Identifying where your stress comes from is essential if you are going to effectively deal with it. The first few chapters of the book addresses the definition of stress, where it comes from and its consequences. Drs Gionta and Guerra present a quick questionnaire that brings in all the life elements that are stress causing. The final score gives you an accurate evaluation of your situation.

Having identified your stressors, you can set goals and take action on them to eliminate or reduce them in your life. You can also start practicing breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation and thought/mind awareness to reduce the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual effects that stress causes.  If you are uncomfortable doing these exercises alone, join a hatha yoga class as many of these exercises are taught there.

Now that you have started handling the immediate situations, your long-term health and happiness will be a result of how you can take care of yourself i.e. Self-care. In yoga, we often say Be Kind To Yourself. The remaining part of the book offers great ways to do that with a Self-Care toolkit.

The three main pillars of the toolkit are good nutrition, regular exercise and quality sleep. Other elements of well-being are renewing yourself with social activities and hobbies that you enjoy and have fun doing. Ensuring financial and medical health are important as well.

One of the keys signs of burnout or stress exhaustion is that you start ignoring Self-care. You undermine the foundation for health and spiral back into the stress filled life out-of-control. I certainly felt totally stressed and overwhelmed when I was diagnosed with three cancers. I gave myself time to Self-care and heal by taking 6 weeks leave from work.

Following the advice in From Stressed to Centered will give you small steps to take in a longer journey of living a healthier and happy life. It will allow you to tune in to your life by raising your awareness of your mind and body states. In so doing you can influence your life experience towards health and well-being.

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