The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook (New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook)
The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook (New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook)

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Although the sheer size of this dense workbook might cause initial hyperventilation--280 full-size sheets of text--take heart (and a deep breath!): the many self-assessment tools and calming techniques presented in this fifth edition can help overcome anxiety and promote physical and emotional well-being. First introduced in 1980, the book received praise for presenting a comprehensive look at stress, its physical manifestations, and the multiple ways it can be managed. Twenty years later, its well-organized chapters on breathing, relaxation, meditation, thought stopping, and body awareness still guide the reader through copious self-help techniques to try and, eventually, master. Other chapters, including job stress management, goal setting and time management, and assertiveness training, focus on daily scenarios people often find distressing. Lessons in identifying key elements that trigger unpleasant responses and in reacting differently to these elements are designed to defuse perceived conflicts. For this edition, coauthors Martha Davis (psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry of Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Santa Clara, CA), Elizabeth Robbins Eshelman (licensed clinical social worker with Kaiser Permanente Online), and Matthew McKay (clinical director of Haight-Ashbury Psychological Services, San Francisco, CA) have added topics on worry control, anger management, and eye-movement therapy. New diagrams and a more reader-friendly format should appeal to readers, despite a few typos and graphical mishaps. This is a valuable tool for therapists, their patients, and the stressed-at-large. --Liane Thomas

The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook broke new ground when it was first published in 1980, detailing easy, step-by-step techniques for calming the body and mind in an increasingly overstimulated world. Now in its sixth edition, this workbook, highly regarded by therapists and their clients, remains the "go-to" source for stress reduction strategies that can be incorporated into even the busiest lives.

This new edition is updated with powerful relaxation techniques based on the latest research, and draws from a variety of proven treatment methods, including progressive relaxation, autogenics, self-hypnosis, visualization, and mindfulness and acceptance therapy.

In the first chapter, you'll explore your own stress triggers and symptoms, and learn how to create a personal plan for stress reduction. Each chapter features a different method for relaxation and stress reduction, explains why the method works, and provides on-the-spot exercises you can do to apply that method when you feel stressed. The result is a comprehensive yet accessible workbook that will help you to curb stress and cultivate a more peaceful life.

Customer Reviews:

  • Loaded with information
    Very easy to read, extremely informative and very helpful.
    Wish it would have come with a tape or two, some things like meditation or self hypnosis are hard to do without a voice guiding you....more info
  • A Cornucopia Of Coping Strategies
    Brew yourself a cup of your favorite herbal tea and curl up in a quiet corner because you're in for a treat. This book is exactly what the title says it is - a workbook for relaxation and stress reduction - and its user-friendly style enables the reader to dip into any chapter at will and derive something useful and informative from it. The book's orientation is very much a holistic approach and the authors' emphasis on mental coping methods dovetails nicely with the chapters on reducing physical stress symptoms. I found the progressive relaxation guidance (including instructions for creating your own tape) particulary well done and helpful. As the authors make so clear, many of us are unaware of how and where we store our tension and how our breathing impacts our ability to move from a stress response to relaxation. Methods such as progressive relaxation - systematically tensing and relaxing all the large muscle groups in the body - aid in gaining awareness of what we are experiencing physically both during stress and in relaxation. The book also discusses goals, time management, nutrition and exercise, with copious worksheets for the reader to dissect which area(s) he or she most needs to focus on to achieve more individual balance, and therefore less stress. The end of each chapter includes suggestions for further reading, providing the reader a jumping off point for deeper work in a particular area, if needed. Each chapter is a module for bringing about psyche/soma homeostasis. The book's one drawback in my view is the length of the personal stress analysis worksheets. One is of course free to skip over them or complete only a portion of each one. Overall though, the book provides a palatable plethora of nurturing and nourishing ideas and methods for bringing mind, body and spirit to a place of respite and repose, whatever one's outer circumstances may be....more info
  • First Rate Advice
    The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook by Martha Davis , Elizabeth Robbins Eshelman, Matthew McKay and Patrick Fanning is a book that will help you overcome anxiety and encourage physical and emotional well-being. The book takes a good long look at stress and how you can learn to manage it. You will master breathing, relaxation and meditation techniques with the help of this book. The book also includes chapters on job stress management, objective setting and time organization, and assertiveness training. You will also learn other stress reduction methods including hypnosis and meditation to biofeedback and assertiveness exercises.

    After you read this book it may be a good time to consider reading my book entitled "The Enlightenment, What God Told Me After One Million Prayers, a Message for Everyone" (See Profile Above) There are lots of way to handle life's many problems.

    ...more info
  • This is the one you want!
    I purchased several books on this subject hoping to learn all I could. This workbook had all the info the other books had and much more. It is also easily read and understood.I don't bother with the other books now-this is the one I return to and reference! ...more info
  • Gaining Control of Stress
    The complex demands of modern life combine to create severe long-term effects on our health and happiness. Fortunately my therapist, author of several books, including Undoing Perpetual Stress, suggested I also follow techniques in this workbook. Both have been enormously effective in helping me learn how to gain control of my personal stresses. ...more info
  • Borring Book
    Did not get past the first few chapters, exercises did not work. Waste of money. I use it to hold up my window....more info
  • The best book in the field of relaxation & stress reduction.
    I am a clinical psychologist specializing in medical psychology and have used this book for over 20 years (since it's first edition)and my patients have consistently found it very helpful in learning the background of various aspects of relaxing their lives, and in putting the many exercises included in the book into practice that are needed to integrate relaxation and stress reduction into a person's lifestyle, which is of course the main goal. It has been a very helpful guide for my patients in reducing the signs and symptoms that they report when coming to me for treatment....more info
  • practical guide and tips for relaxation
    This is a great book for someone who is looking for straight forward practical tips on how to relax. I am not in the medical field, a psychotherapist, etc; just a plain old person looking to educate myself on how to better manage the stress in my life. This guide has been exactly what I've been looking for and all in one place. I would recommend this for anyone who wants to empower themselves to be more relaxed and live a stress-free life....more info
  • Excellent collection of tools for managing stress
    This book is a wonderful source companion for anyone seeking to find effective ways of dealing with stress and the mental and/or physical pain that it can cause. By offering a variety of proven methods and approaches, The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook has helped me to discover and focus on those techniques that are the most helpful and effective for me. Clearly written and easy to read, I recommend it highly....more info
  • Doctor Recommended
    The Doctor Recommended this and Its WELL WORTH IT! Go for the hardback though if you have a choice!...more info
  • WOW!
    I have been dealing with MANY extremely stressful situations within the last couple of years - and along with this depression, anxiety, fatigue, etc. has been very present in my life - this book was recommended by the 'woman to woman' website and I thought to myself well this is probably "JUST" another book, but to my amazement I couldn't put this workbook down - reading just the first couple of chapters has helped tremendously! I could hardly wait till I read the rest of the book. This workbook has helped me to take a breath, finally - It is a book that is simple reading and structured - those who deal with 'structure' best will love the way this book is laid out - TAKE A CHANCE AND GET THIS WORKBOOK, afterall if it's not what you want, re-sell it on AMAZON. This book will bless you.
    Thank you
    Debbie...more info
  • I love this book
    This book has helped me deal with stress in a practical way. Fist it explores where you store your stress and how it manifests in your life. Then it will help you identify the stress reduction exercises that will help you the most. The exercise explainations are very easy, step-by-step and assuring. It does not include religous overtones, so anyone can enjoy it. Like I said, it is a very practical guide. It has made a real difference in my life....more info
  • Good choices
    I am a therapist and regularly recommend this book. I like the variety of techniques it offers, as one technique may work for once client and not for another. It also has a chapter on dealing with chronic worrying, and an excellent, educational first chapter on stress and anxiety and how it affects us physically, emotionally, etc. My clients love this book. One recently told me it was like having her therapist "right there, all the time". They have sought experts in the various fields and of numerous techniques and theoretical orientations, which leave a nice balance of information from which to choose,use, practice, and get help....more info
  • The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook
    A great book with something for everyone. Like to take tests or rating scales? This book is for you! Like simple, easy to understand text to make real changes that will help with stress? It's in this book. This was required reading for a class, but I'm also using it as a personal guide. ...more info
  • This is the Book I've Been Looking for for 10 Years!
    I'm an American woman living overseas, and believe-you-me, I've had some VERY stressful times these past ten years. I'm not stressed out at present, but saw this book, and ordered it to deal with the next time I am. Looking through the book, I would have given ANYTHING to have this book at various times these past few years. If you are stressed out, BUY THIS BOOK! WELL WORTH THE MONEY....more info
  • The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Book
    I have been waiting for a volume such as this all my adult life.
    It has become a treasured book already. Even though it has been in print for many years there is a reason that the authors and publisher have issued the 5th Edition -- it works!

    This book leaves no stone unturned in the pursuit of techniques that will unlock the freedom from stress. I would encourage anyone to buy this fine work. It has helped me live a wonderful drug free life....more info
  • Awesome book
    I found this book to be very helpful both for myself and for the clients I work with as a therapist. It clearly describes how to do each of the different techniques with good worksheets to guide you, and it has so many different options, that you are bound to find something that is helpful for you....more info
  • The best book on the subject I have seen...clear and concise
    I must have bought countless books on relaxation and meditation in order to relieve stress. For the most part I found non-objective, very subjective eastern treatises pushing a philosophy or dogma. These books were not very well structured in explaining how to use the techniques. This book, approaches relaxation methods in a scientific manner. Each chapter is about one method, telling what type of attitude works best in its use, the variations of the method (based on effect) and the time that is necessary to see the effects. The methods are explained in a "cookbook" manner. The steps of the methods are clear and explained well. These methods are treated as templates for anybody to use, without implying inferences as to what philosophy of life is correct. I don't think I have ever recommended a book before (heuristic: 90% of all books say the same thing), but since this one follows such a well defined format, I will. Enjoy....more info
  • A very good guide to lowering stress
    A well-written and easy to understand tool for lowering your stress levels. This book is a positive step in the effort to maintain a calm and orderly life. I reccommend it.

    Wayne D. Ford, Ph.D., author of "Stress Management for Over-Achievers" info

  • Highly recommended for stress relief
    Very informative and easy read. This book has great information for anyone who needs to learn how to better manage stress and how to use relaxtion techniques. I have even recommended to some people who I think need it!...more info
  • Really great
    I am using this book as a part of a Self-care for Social Workers class and absolutely love it. One of the things that I really appreciate is the way in which the book begins with general testing and discussion, and then breaks down into different chapters that you can either choose to read or not depending on what your particular de-stressing needs are. I have already recommended it to my family and friends! You won't regret getting it! ...more info
  • Excellent book for stress management
    As a holistic massage therapist and author, I recommend this book to clients for the stress reduction and management part of obtaining and maintaining good health. This book is very useful for learning an effective relaxation technique for a Skilled Relaxation practice. Plus, the tips and suggestions for stress management in everyday life have been very helpful to my clients. ...more info
  • A must-have.
    This is a very good book. Very easy to read, the book itself is written in a very straight-forward, clear and concise way, and it is in the same way that gives one (the reader) the key to live a stress-free life.

    I deeply enjoyed the layout of it, since it makes it easy to evaluate your own case/situation, and thus, how to work with your own level of stress.

    A very informative and helpful book. More books like this one should be written. ...more info
  • Learning Meditation as a way to relax
    The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Woorbook - (New Harbinger Self-Help Woorkbook) My counsler suggested this workbook to me as I am going through tremendous stress right now and suffering from insomnia. I usually only get about 4 hours per night, and it had been that way for over 2 months. In the beginning of the workbook, they have a test that gives you a score to determine just how much stress that has been in your life over the past year. The highest number rating was 300. I scored over 1,000 !! The book begins very easy, teaching you to breathe and focus. I did this when I woke up at 2am in the morning when the house was quiet, and learned how to control my breathing. The book continues on to teach you how to meditate which is something I had never thought of. It works !! But, you have to be consistant and do the exercizes every day. I am not finished with the book yet, but I have already told my friends and family about it and should purchase it if they are going through a stressful period of time. I am glad my counsler told me about this workbook as now I can sleep all night using the breathing exercize's before I go to sleep. 5 Stars on this one...more info
  • Great techniques for stress reduction
    I really liked this book. It presented multiple techniques plus gave me the approximate time period it would take to learn the technique. I was able to fit my particular stress reduction and relaxation needs by taking a little "test" at the beginning. Since stress is a normal part of life, having techniques at my disposal, especially those I can do while still sitting in a meeting, are very helpful....more info
  • Excellent and nearly essentail read...
    Anyone who works inside OR outside the home can asily benefit from educating themselves on the severity of stressors and how to handle them each the most effectively....more info
  • Stress Reduction Workbook
    This book is a wonderful guide to what too many people do too little of: stopping to relax. I think everyone should take a look at it and figure out how to make time to use it. Makes you feel more like stopping to smell the roses....more info
  • Best compilation of current techniques available
    Unlike many books, this book is exactly what the title purports it to be. It is a workbook containing most of the common and not so common techniques being used for relaxation and stress reduction today. Each chapter not only describes a technique but also what symptoms you can expect it to relieve and an estimate of how long you will have to use it in order to master the technique. I have seen no other book that does such a thorough job as this one. That is not to say that there are not others that are much better on a specific technique, but this is the best overall survey of all the currently used and effective techniques and the only one that guides you to what to expect, the details of the techniques and how long you will have to practice before seeing results....more info
  • The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook
    Very thorough workbook with great stress reduction ideas, techniques and self-analyzing of just what might work for the reader...more info
  • Helps put things into perspective
    I bought this book after realizing that I needed to take responsibility for the way I think to change my levels of anxiety. The quizes in the beginning were easy and showed me exactly what chapters would be helpful in treatments of those symptoms. I take time every day now to do the exercises learned in the book. I am a social worker who has a considerable amount of stress every day. I have offered this book to many of my fellow caseworkers to deal with the stress of our jobs. Some of the exercises sound cheesy but you will find that they do help! ...more info
  • Classic, bible in its field
    This is one of, if not the best books on stress management and relaxation. It is a must have for health care providers working in this area, and an incredible resource for laymen seeking personal help or self growth.

    I've recommended this book to probably 1000 psychologists, and as a specialty dealer of products for stress management, relaxation training and biofeedback, I know that at least 600-800 actually bought copies. Many of the ones I suggested it to already owned the book and I was always happy they did, because then, they knew I made credible recommendations.

    The book offers a wealth of beautifully, simply explained exercises and techniques you can use immediately to learn to relax and cope with stress more effectively....more info

  • A Nice Collection of Techniques
    I purchased this book, not realizing that it was the same book (just a newer version) that a therapist had once given me for a weekend. It's a nice collection of stress and anxiety management techniques. I particularly like how the book emphasizes the fact that you should only do what works best for you and recommends you pick and choose those elements throughout the book, rather than necessarily reading the whole thing.

    The first two chapters of the book are necessary for understanding basic stressors and their effects on your life. I thought the book did a nice job of summarizing recent understanding concerning stress and anxiety, as well as the importance of relaxation on physical and emotional health. By the end of the first two chapters, depending on how you've answered some of the questions in them, you are directed to specific chapters throughout the book that are most likely to benefit you.

    I haven't had enough time to sit down and try many of the techniques within, but it is clear that the book gives a whole range of relaxation styles and worksheets to help one accomplish the techniques. About the only thing I wish was different in the book is some of the recommended further reading lists. Given today's world of new media/Internet resources, more of the further reading materials should be available online, at least in some fashion. Along the same lines, I think the book fails to recommend online support groups, which can be very valuable to users.

    All in all, a great book and (from what I remember of the old version) filled with good updates. But, as with many self-help and textbooks, I am somewhat left with the wish that online options were at least mentioned/mentioned more....more info
  • Great practical, readable guide
    This book is nicely laid out. It starts with background information on stress. Then it gives you some tests to take that indicate how stressful your situation is, what is a normal level of stress, and what areas you might want to focus on first. The rest of the book is short chapters giving you the basics on various techniques you can use to manage stress.

    I don't normally like self-help books -- but this one is a gem. I refer to it often....more info
  • Good tool
    This book contains exercises that can be done as a lay person or professional, with groups or individuals - even on yourself. The exercises are designed in such a way that they can be customized to your need. I bought it to get a technique to use on my classmates and one guy got so relaxed, he actually dozed off! I think that shows the effectiveness of relaxation therapy! This is a good tool to get ideas and helpful exercises for personal or professional use....more info
  • Excellent Book
    I started with an older version of the book and then bought this version (newest). I found the worksheets to be extremely helpful. I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to read it. It takes you step through step on how to help improve and change so you are in a better state of mind and functions. ...more info
  • Empowering Workbooks to Create the Life You Want
    These workbooks which promote active participation in the creation of the life you want are very empowering. Self-reflection and action to engage in meditation, positive thinking and creative visualization are incredible tools to not only relax, and deal with stress but also to create the joyful life we all want. This is an excellent book filled with an assortment of tools to do just this. Similar to another I have been using... the Living The Secret Everyday series including a workbook and meditation CD has brought powerful changes in my life....more info
  • Easy-to-read, concrete strategies for stress reduction.
    I'm a psychologist working in a college counseling center, and this is one of the top self-help books which I recommend to my clients. It's appropriate for anyone looking to find ways to reduce the amount of anxiety and stress they feel. Strategies address all areas of anxiety, including physical tension, worry, and interpersonal issues. Each chapter details a specific anxiety reduction strategy--eg, diaphragmatic breathing, self-hypnosis, thought stopping--and at the start of the book, there is a self quiz to help determine which chapters would best meet your individual needs. This is one of the best, simpliest books avaiable for reducing anxiety and stress; it's also useful for a wide variety of related problems such as depression and difficulties sleeping. Highly recommended!...more info


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