What We’re Reading: A book about a better way for dealing with stress

They had us at the first sentence:

This is a book for any woman who has ever felt overwhelmed and exhausted by everything she had to do, and yet still worried she was not doing “enough.”

YES, sister. That’s pretty much all of us, right? And then we started reading the book and it made so much sense. With science! The book is written by twin sisters, Emily and Amelia Nagoski, and we recommend that you get it on your nightstand, download it to your Kindle — or listen to it on Audible while you drive to work.

The nugget of wisdom that we’ve never read in any other book is this: to prevent stressful situations from junking up your body and making you sick, you need to “complete” the stress cycle.

“Just because you’ve dealt with a stressor, that doesn’t mean you’ve dealt with the stress — ‘complete the cycle’ — or it will slowly kill you.”

So how do you do that? Well, the book goes into lots of detail about how to deal, but here are some of the highlights:

  • Physical activity is the single most effective strategy for completing the cycle — even if it’s jumping up or down or an ugly cry.
  • Affection — a six-second kiss, a 20-second hug, a huge belly laugh
  • Self-expression, like writing, drawing or singing (we know you mamas are big fans of car singing!)

Here are a few ways to know you need to deal with the stress:

1. You notice yourself doing the same, apparently pointless thing over and over again, or engaging in self-destructive behavior.

2. You erupt in a way that’s out of proportion to what’s happening in the here and now.

3. When your brain is stuck in the middle of a stress cycle, it may lose the ability to recognize you’re not under threat, so you may come home from work and eat ice cream with potato chips as the spoon or want to sleep all weekend. Basically, you try to hide from your life.

4. Your body feels out of whack. Maybe you’re sick all the time, you have chronic pain or infections that keep coming back.

If any of that sounds a little too familiar, you might want to read this book. We still have a few chapters to go, but it’s so good we wanted to share it with you RIGHT NOW.

We hope you enjoy it as much as we are — and that it gives you some solid strategies for dealing with the stress cycle.

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