The Stress Prescription Book Summary - The Stress Prescription Book explained in key points
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The Stress Prescription summary

Elissa Epel

7 Days to More Joy and Ease

4.7 (95 ratings)
20 mins

Brief summary

The Stress Prescription by Elissa Epel is a book that delves into the science behind stress and its impact on our health. It offers practical strategies and tools to help manage stress and improve overall well-being.

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    The Stress Prescription
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    Day One: Meet the future on your own terms

    Imagine you’re playing a simple computer game. The goal of the game is to explore an area by picking up rocks. Most rocks are fine, but every so often you pick one up to find a small snake hiding underneath. Here’s the twist: when you discover a snake, you’re given a small shock in real life.

    In order to study the effect of stress, one study gave participants this exact video game. The researchers had three groups: one that never received a shock, one that received a shock only some of the time, and one that received a shock every time a snake appeared.

    Who do you think experienced the most psychological stress?

    If you guessed the participants that only experienced a shock some of the time, you’re right. Their heart rates increased, pupils dilated, and fight or flight reflexes were always on high alert. It turns out that uncertainty is worse than a bad outcome itself.

    This group also had consistently lower performance and delayed decision-making.

    So although you might think your future focus is helpful in life, the science is in and it doesn’t look good. Not only does your anticipation stress lower your performance, but it also does nothing for your overall resilience. People who stress about something going wrong are no better prepared if it actually does.

    On the first day of your stress detox, start by letting go of your expectations for the future.

    Instead, start by tuning into your physical body. Take a deep breath, close your eyes. Take in the temperature of the room. The feeling of your clothes against your skin.

    Now scan your body for tension. Uncertainty is carried throughout the body, and each of us carries it differently. Relax your jaw. Roll your shoulders. Let your breath carry the pressure away.

    Now ask yourself what uncertainties you’re holding on to. What expectations for the future have you been carrying in that tension? As you relax your body, release the expectation. Remind yourself that this is only one possible outcome.

    Finally, physically lean back. As you lean back, allow your mind to move back with you to focus on the present. Acknowledge that sometimes, things go wrong. That’s okay. Allow the future to come to you and you’ll be ready to meet it on your own terms.

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    What is The Stress Prescription about?

    The Stress Prescription (2022) offers a practical seven-day guide to reducing anxiety and cultivating joy. Combining scientific research with accessible advice, it leads readers through techniques like mindfulness, gratitude, and harnessing hormetic stress to build resilience and embrace ease. With a different empowering theme each day, it provides a roadmap to a calmer, more purposeful life.

    The Stress Prescription Review

    The Stress Prescription by Elissa Epel (2021) is a compelling book that offers insights and strategies for managing stress and cultivating resilience. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It provides a wealth of evidence-based techniques that empower readers to effectively cope with stress and promote their well-being.
    • This book explores the relationship between stress and health, shedding light on the impact of stress on our bodies and minds.
    • With its engaging blend of science and personal stories, this book keeps readers captivated, ensuring that the topic of stress doesn't become dull or overwhelming.

    Who should read The Stress Prescription?

    • Working professionals 
    • People going through a stressful period
    • Anyone looking to build resilience to stress

    About the Author

    Elissa Epel is a health psychologist who studies the effects of stress on aging. She’s a professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, and the director of the Aging, Metabolism and Emotions Center. In addition to The Stress Prescription, she’s also a coauthor of the New York Times best-seller The Telomere Effect.

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    The Stress Prescription FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Stress Prescription?

    The main message of The Stress Prescription is understanding and managing stress is essential for overall well-being.

    How long does it take to read The Stress Prescription?

    The reading time for The Stress Prescription varies depending on the reader, but it takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Stress Prescription a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Stress Prescription is worth reading for its practical tips on stress management and improving resilience.

    Who is the author of The Stress Prescription?

    Elissa Epel is the author of The Stress Prescription.

    What to read after The Stress Prescription?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Stress Prescription, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • How to Master Stress by The Blinkist Team
    • Stress Less, Accomplish More by Emily Fletcher
    • The Stress Code by Richard Sutton
    • The Burnout Fix by Jacinta M. Jiménez
    • Unplug by Suze Yalof Schwartz
    • Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff
    • Accelerate by Nicole Forsgren
    • Practical Optimism by Sue Varma
    • What to Eat When by Michael Roizen
    • As A Man Thinketh by James Allen