Monday, June 25, 2012

Stress less: The new science that shows women how to rejuvenate the body and mind

By Thea Singer

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

Let me explain what led me to review this book, and you will see, if it hasn’t been obvious previously, the qualities—for me—that make a great book.  First, I looked the author’s credentials: 30 years of writing about health and science, writer for The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and The Boston Herald.  Contributor to Natural Health and The Nation, among others.

For the second thing that led me to review this book, I looked at her “Selected Bibliography,” which occupies 44 pages of the book and which is filled with high quality books, sophisticated journals (e.g., Scientific American, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, The Journals of Gerontology, Tends in Cognitive Sciences, Human Ecology, Psychology and Aging, among many other outstanding resources).  Each source was presented with impeccable accuracy.  This book truly represents outstanding research.

Singer’s writing skill, too, is succinct, contagious, engaging, and easy to read and comprehend.  This is not an erudite scientific treatise but a warm, friendly book written to and for readers.  Her examples are excellent and well described, her targeted tests at the beginning of each chapter in the book (8 total) are scientifically proven measures of assessment and offer ways at the end of each one to calculate and interpret your score.

This is, indeed, the kind of book to which I am attracted.  It offers valuable, scientific, information in a digestible manner.  There is some technical material, to be sure, as the following sentence will attest:

        “What the two discovered was the enzyme telomerase, which synthesizes telomeric DNA, dabbing additional repeats of the TTAGGG sequence onto shortening telomere ends, making up for the ones that get lost during division or otherwise . . .” (p. 45).

She goes on, however, to fully explain such information and even drives her points home in a climatic fashion: “Do not be surprised if someday soon your doctor orders a telomere-length or telomerase-level test along with—or perhaps even in place of—the current blood tests run for your yearly physical” (p. 45).

Singer’s chapter titles, “The Old Science of Stress,” “The New Science of Stress,” “Your Brain on Stress,” “Stress and Diet,” “Stress and Exercise,” “Stress and the Mind,” “Stress and Social Support,” and “Stress and Sleep,” reveal the comprehensiveness of this book as well as the practical applications she discusses.

Even though Singer wrote this book especially for women, most of the topic apply to men as well since it all relates to having a healthy lifestyle and doing those things that will make and keep you healthy.

This is an outstanding book—well-research, well-written, and well-presented.  You cannot help but be affected in some way by her examples, her knowledge, and her information.  Five stars out of five!

Stress less: The new science that shows women how to rejuvenate the body and mind can be purchased at Amazon

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