Sure, Richard Carlson's bestselling Don't Sweat the Small Stuff...
contains plenty of sensible advice, but it's not always easy to follow. Enter this intriguing workbook with its universal appeal: it's aimed at anyone interested in reducing stress and improving their relationships. Designed to help you put the many peace-promoting, "just let it go" principles of Don't Sweat the Small Stuff
into active practice, it's bursting with fun quizzes, checklists, self-tests, questions, and activities. If this doesn't instruct and inspire you to make concrete personality and life improvements, there's nothing much that will!
In one exercise, "Lower Your Tolerance to Stress," Carlson suggests that we'd be better off if we didn't brag about how much stress we can handle. People who do brag about their stress tolerance, he says, are usually stressed out all the time. To help you reduce your tolerance, he lists 20 signs of stress (among them: allergies, anxiety, depression, frequent headaches, and restlessness) and asks you to put a check mark next to the ones you've experienced. The next time you feel any of these symptoms, he says, you should analyze and write down how you might change your behavior in order to alleviate or prevent these problems in the future. In another exercise, "Create 'Patience Practice Periods,'" he first asks you to analyze your level of patience (Do you drive above the speed limit? Grow furious when stuck in voice mail mazes? Feel like everyone else at the mall walks too slowly and gets in your way?). He then gives a series of hypothetical patience-killing situations--a long line at the grocery store, or slow, tricky traffic--and leaves space for you to write about how these situations would make you react.
Some exercises are true/false, some are of the never/sometimes/often/always variety, while others require thoughtful written responses. A few are by nature harder to handle than others ("Imagine Yourself at Your Own Funeral"), so the workbook therefore shouldn't be devoured in one sitting, but dipped into a bit at a time. This is a fine way to nurture the much-underrated concepts of empathy, forgiveness, tolerance, and kindness.
About the Author
Best-selling author Richard Carlson, Ph.D., creator of the popular Don't Sweat the Small Stuff series and the just published Don't Get Scrooged, died suddenly of cardiac arrest enroute to New York on December 13. Carlson, 45, published his first book in 1985 and went on to publish more than 20 books that remain popular in English and in translation in 130 languages and 35 countries. Richard Carlson grew up in Piedmont, CA. He received his undergraduate degree from Pepperdine University and his Ph.D. in psychology from Sierra University. He was in private practice as a psychotherapist when he started to publish books about psychological and spiritual health. As his books started to attract a large audience, he began writing full time so he could teach more people how to live with presence and ease by cultivating gratitude and generosity. Dr. Carlson was a large supporter of and participant in the National Center for Family Literacy and at the time of his death he was working on a project with them called for "A Penny a Book" from publishers, authors and literary agents to promote literacy. Dr. Carlson is survived by his wife and life partner of 25 years, Kris Carlson, his co-author on Don't Sweat the Small Stuff in Love and the author of Don't Sweat the Small Stuff for Women, his loving daughters Jasmine and Kenna, sisters, Kathleen Carlson Mowris of Olympic Village, CA and Anna L. Carlson of La Selva Beach, CA, and his parents, Barbara and Don Carlson of Orinda, CA. A private memorial service will be held next week. Donations in lieu of flowers can be made in Richard's honor to local food banks, Challenge Day, Girls Inc. or Children Inc.