Book – Stressilient by Dr. Sam Akbar
Genre – Self-help, Non-fiction
Publisher – HarperCollins India

Number of books read and number of techniques tried but stress is a ghost that seems to have possessed each one of us with an aim to never let us live a stress-free life. It keeps on stacking ailments – anxiety, BP, PCOS, diabetes- and there’s no cure for it. But if we look keenly we will realise that the cure to tackle stress lies within us. Stressilient by Dr. Sam Akbar, published by HarperCollins India, is a book that teaches you those tricks and tips. It is a book that will help you bring back your mojo by pointing out just the right places within you that must be focused on.

The book is a short handbook spread across 10 chapters. All the chapters answer one key question related to stress and how to beat it. The content in these chapters is succinctly put. And every chapter is followed with a summary.

Author Dr. Sam Akbar is a clinical psychologist who excels in treating victims of PTSD and this book is born out of all her clinical training and experiences. The methods she discusses in this book are tried and tested, quite doable and practical. The idea is to make sure that the reader can access these techniques anytime and anywhere. According to the author Stressilient is “not avoiding inevitable emotional pain” rather “it’s about making room for every emotion in the face of stress. It’s about turning towards, (and) not away, from your emotions, whether you like them or not.” The aim is to equip us with the right tools to handle stress. However, the author forewarns, “all of this is just an intellectual exercise if you don’t take action.” “Practice atleast some of what you have read here if you actually want to change something about your life.”

To buy the book, pls click - Stressilient by Dr Sam Akbar

While reading this short and compact handbook you realise how conversational the language is. The author makes all valid points and at the same time doesn’t bore you. The writing is humorous, smart and witty. The nuggets of wisdom peppered throughout the book are energizing and the ones you can return to time and time again to uplift your mood.   The narrative slams the reality in-your-face. It changes tonality to match the intensity of the topic discussed. But most often it is subtle and speaks facts. It supports and explains the concepts with appropriate analogies, case studies, researches and exercises.

Most books on stress and anxiety will tell you how it is a defense mechanism of our brains. They will even tell you the methods to cope with it. But only a few will tell you how to be more positive and accepting towards it. This is one such book. It shows you just the right ways to deal with stress and anxiety. The focus being on how to handle emotions better. Throughout the author uses metaphors like chessboard, sky or computer to simplify and explain the workings of our minds.

However, this one does have a flipside. After a certain point the narrative begins to sound like a Sandeep Maheshwari or Jay Shetty podcast. Infact, you realise that you are acquainted with some of the techniques discussed in the book like habit tracking, habit stacking, 54321 method etc.

But, what’s worth paying attention to are the some of defusion techniques, types of mindfulness, clean and dirty pain, compassionate other, observing self and creating your own life line. For these methods alone I would urge you all to read this book.

All-in-all, this can be a good read for the beginners.

To buy the book, pls click - Stressilient by Dr Sam Akbar

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