Book Review: Cooling Down Stress

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Cooling Down Stress
Cameron Johnston

Unprecedented times. Crazy times. Unusual times we’re living in. These words have become a standard refrain. And here in Melbourne, where we’re wearing masks and are under a nightly curfew, a lot of people are feeling a bit . . . anxious. Add to that, job uncertainty or loss, trying to teach kids while working from home yourself and being cut off from loved ones and you’ve got a lot of extra stress. No matter where you are and whether you’re in a hotspot now, 2020 has been a doozy.

It’s just so happened that, over the past few months, I’ve been working on a couple of books about dealing with stress. I’ve found myself dipping into these books for my own wellbeing and to help out some of my friends too. Cooling Down Stress and Cooling Down Teen Stress (coming soon) are new and updated editions of books that have influenced thousands of people in the US, Canada and Australia over the past 20 years.

Unusually for health books, both are written in the form of stories. Cooling Down Stress is written by now retired pastor and lifestyle consultant Cameron Johnston, and follows successful entrepreneur Chris Brooks and his wife Jessica as they attend a series of wellness seminars after the sudden death of Chris’ 30-year-old sales manager. Written by Cameron’s daughter Delight Johnston Chandler, Cooling Down Teen Stress is about final-year high school student Derisa Moore and deals with issues including study stress, technology misuse, relationships, and mental and physical illnesses.

The stories are complemented by practical tools for evaluating stress and improving wellbeing. These both include and go beyond NEWSTART principles, ranging from simple tips like deep-breathing and keeping some things that make you laugh handy to strategies for forgiveness and grieving. The latter are new to this edition of Cooling Down Stress and I found them particularly eye-opening. So read these books yourself or buy copies to share with friends and family. They are easy, enjoyable reads that are suited to both Adventists and non-Adventists alike. We all need a bit of help to deal with stress. Crazy times.

Cooling Down Stress is available from Adventist bookstores in Australia and New Zealand, or online.

Lauren Webb is assistant book editor for Signs Publishing.

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