One area not missing from any bookstore, collection, or library is the volumes of books dealing with stress, a problem that few are immune to and many are held hostage by.
In The Turning Point: Conquering Stress with Courage, Clarity, and Confidence, authors Balasa Prasad, a physician and addiction specialist, and his son-in-law Preetham Grandhi, a psychiatrist trained at Albert Einstein and Yale, provide a philosophy that may help readers look at stress differently. They offer a way to understand that nature and the world we live in have limitations that we too often believe we can conquer, thus sending us into a stress-inducing cycle — one that can ruin a child or a war veteran and everyone in between.
“You cannot conquer stress by flipping a few chemical switches in the brain,” Prasad and Grandhi write. “Stress is a problem of the mind, not the brain — and our minds have ingrained thought patterns that are often challenging to change.” In trying to sum up their method, the authors work to ground us in realism and lose the optimism or pessimism that most of us have embedded in our thinking. “Keeping this fact [realism] at the forefront of our minds helps us adjust our priorities and expectations to the realities of life,” they write. “Realists have the courage and the will to accept the world as it exists. Realists do not have to like the facts of life, but they must have the audacity to face them as they unfold.”
The authors present their idea, which they term “naturization”: accepting and respecting the principles of nature. Nature offers us solutions, they write. And naturization helps us once we recognize what is and isn’t within our control. We can then engage the world without false expectation, and we can teach our children to do the same.
“Naturization gives you the power to conquer stress, and while it might not make all your problems disappear, it will put you in the best frame of mind to take on any challenge that unfolds in your life and do the best within your limitations,” the book explains.
The philosophy is intuitive, and if one is fortunate enough to be able to embrace it, life can be easier to handle. Those who try to manipulate situations, stick to beliefs that don’t make natural sense, or fog their minds with chemicals stand little to no chance of beating stress and its insidious side effects.
At no point do the authors say that their method is easy, or that life is a walk in the park. But, they do offer guidance, through interviews and different perspectives, to explain our natural world and our human limitations.
Even for this stressed book reviewer working a deadline, the book was a breath of fresh air. I learned that I should know better; that I know how foolish it is to over-schedule my time; that I know what time of day I work most efficiently; and that I know when I’m most likely to be distracted.
Yes, I’ll have to remind myself of these things from time to time. Still, this book does a terrific job of helping me remain aware of the natural way our world, our bodies, and those around us operate. Accepting those realities is a welcome sigh of relief.
The Turning Point: Conquering Stress with Courage, Clarity, and Confidence
Plain Sight Publishing, 2012
Paperback, 176 pages