Cameron Johnston has been talking and teaching about stress for many years, but he believes the need for resources and training for managing stress only continues to grow. “It’s a problem that is getting worse rather than getting better,” says the Canada-based stress coach, retired pastor and author of two newly published books on the subject. “With all the things that are happening in the world at the moment, people need effective, practical strategies to cope with stress.”
Both books were originally self-published by Pastor Johnston in 2002, but have been updated, revised and expanded in these new editions. Cooling Down Teen Stress—co-written with his daughter Delight Johnston Chandler, when she was a teenager—is now in its third edition from Signs Publishing, while Cooling Down Stress is a new title from Signs.
While he has a masters degree in public health from Loma Linda University, Pastor Johnston dates his interest in stress management to his own burnout more than 30 years ago. “I practise the principles in my book,” he says, urging that his wholistic approach distinguishes these principles from some other stress resources. “In particular, I keep relaxed as much as possible, do physical activity, look for the positive, exercise gratitude and lean heavily on the Lord.”
Cooling Down Stress and Cooling Down Teen Stress each tell stories of families encountering the stress of real-life situations and pressures, drawn from the experiences of participants in stress seminars Pastor Johnston has conducted in a number of countries, including a number of visits to Australia.
Assistant book editor at Signs Publishing, Lauren Webb has worked on revising these books for publication during the first part of this year, amid the coronavirus lockdowns and uncertainties. “I’ve found myself dipping into these books for my own wellbeing and to help out some of my friends too,” she reflects. “We all need a bit of help to deal with stress.”
New chapters in Cooling Down Stress focus on deep-seated stressors, including grief and anger. “I found these particularly eye-opening,” says Ms Webb.
“Stress is the spice of life and we need a good level of stress,” explains Pastor Johnston. “Stress itself is not the problem—it is not recognising how stress is affecting us physically, emotionally and spiritually, and living with constantly escalating stress that harms us. I hope these books will help people to take action to manage stress effectively.”