For the past 2 years, I have been listening, learning from and changing as a result of Dr Rangan Chatterjee’s podcast, ‘Feel Better Live More‘. (I mention his podcast in ‘My Top 4 Podcasts‘ post) I am very excited to be able to write a review on his most recent book – ‘The Stress Solution’.
Who is Dr Rangan Chatterjee?
Dr Rangan Chatterjee is a GP and a television presenter as well as the author of ‘The Stress Solution’ and ‘The 4 Pillar Plan’. He states in his podcast that he, ‘believes that everyone has the ability to feel better than they currently do but getting healthy is far too complicated.’ With his goal of simplifying this, I can happily say that his work has improved my life considerably.
Why Did I Read ‘The Stress Solution’?
I have mentioned in previous posts that I am blessed with the ability to build-up stress quite easily. I have been trying to add things into my lifestyle that can, firstly, lower my stress and secondly hinder the build-up. This is exactly why I was so thrilled to read ‘The Stress Solution’ and why I am so keen to write this review!
Now that I have set the scene, I would like to share with you four particular terms, techniques and thoughts that I have learnt from Dr Chatterjee’s book and how they have impacted my life.
What I Have Learnt From ‘The Stress Solution’
One – You can’t avoid Micro Stress Doses
We are starting off with something important that I learnt from the introduction of the book! I was introduced to the term of, ‘Micros Stress Doses‘ (
I reflected on an average day and the number of MSDs I experienced before I even got to work was insane – and that’s when I knew I had to change something. Dr Chatterjee uses examples such as reading negative news stories first thing in the morning to having an argument with a teenager to get out of bed in the morning. Whilst I can resonate with the first example, of which I now make the decision to read the news later in the day, I also discovered my own versions of these MSDs.
Below are two of my ‘Micro Stress Doses’ that I tackled! They seem simple and obvious but I never thought much of them until reading Dr Chatterjee’s book.
1: Being ‘shocked’ out of sleep by my alarm
Jack was kind enough to gift me a Fitbit for Christmas, which includes a silent alarm, so I took advantage of that. I am now awoken by a gentle vibration and not the equivalent of, ‘GET OUT OF BED THE WORLD IS ENDING‘. If you are interested in getting one I wrote a review on mine, otherwise, I have recently seen Flora Beverly advertise a snazzy light alarm clock.
Another tip I recommend is making sure you are going to sleep and waking up within the same half-an-hour period each day, as this will allow your body to naturally set a body-clock!
2: The ‘RUN FOR THE BUS’ State
I am potentially the country’s, if not the world’s, most organised person. Yet, I still found myself running to the bus stop in the morning pretty much every day. This was a simple one to fix – I gave myself more time between finishing at the gym, getting ready for work and getting to the bus stop. Simple yet incredibly effective. Whilst every once in a while I find myself doing a
Two – The power of touch
I hadn’t found myself thinking very much about this ‘left behind’ sense until I read chapter 4. I learnt so many facts about the power of human touch and its techniques that reduces stress. These include, “touch is the first sense we develop as a foetus” and “being touched as a child helps form vital neural pathways and feeds emotional connections.”
With benefits such as reduced cortisol levels and raising levels of ‘Natural Killer’ cells, I was keen to start annoying my family with my love even more. (Sorry Mum!) Dr Chatterjee even provides six ways to get more touch into your every-day life. I have yet to book my VERY long-awaited massage (Jack is awful at them…) and the only real person I hug every-day is my Mum. However, it still feels good and sometimes I can feel it decreasing my stress
Another one I want to mention from chapter 4, on Relationships, is the exercise shared on seeing ‘eye to eye’! Either with a partner or close friend, sit with your knees touching and spend five minutes maintaining eye contact. Whilst it did take a few attempts to convince Jack to try this one with me, I wanted to recommend giving it a whirl yourself as it can be a great tool!
Three – Finding your ‘perfect’ dose of exercise
Exercise is a fantastic way of releasing stress and this is why it is recommended that students take part during the exam-period. Whilst also learning about how exercise fights stress, I learnt about the concept of ‘Hormesis’.
Hormesis is the idea “that exposure to a small amount of stressor can actually do the body good, while exposure to a large amount can be detrimental.” This then follows on nicely to the idea of over-exercising and the negative impacts it can have on your mental and physical health. Dr Chatterjee provides several signs that someone might be over-exercising. These include:
Frequently getting ill (for example, coughs and colds)
Feeling irritable and moody after increasing intensity of workout
Impaired heart-rate variability
This is something that I am being aware of right now as I have just created a new higher intensity exercise timetable for myself!
If you are confused on what was meant by ‘impaired heart-rate variability’ then do not worry, as it leads us nicely onto the last point…
Four – Heart-Rate Variability
Following the trend of the large number of new terms and facts I have learnt from Dr Rangan Chatterjee’s ‘The Stress Solution’, I wanted to share my newly-acquired knowledge on heart-rate variability.
If you thought that the heart should always beat the same rhythm then you are wrong and in fact it should vary! Low levels of stress are linked to high heart-rate variability and is “a reflection that the body is capable of adapting to a constantly changing environment.” Whereas high levels of stress are linked to low heart-rate variability which is then linked to poor health.
I had absolutely no idea that this concept even existed, prior to reading ‘The Stress Solution’. Since then I have been increasingly aware of the impacts that MSDs can have on a person’s health.
I don’t plan on decreasing my life-expectancy from stressing over missing the bus. Knowing the science behind this has allowed me to feel more powerful and that I can tackle life’s issues without negatively impacting my health.
I have only mentioned four of the main takeaways I got from Dr Rangan Chtterjee’s ‘The Stress Solution’. However, I can guarantee there are so many new things to learn and implement within the 271 clean, minimal and high-quality pages.
If you feel as if you are suffering because of the stress of your everyday life then I recommend picking up a copy of this book. There is science, evidence, techniques and more yet Dr Chatterjee portrays them in a simple and easy to take-in way. Through beautiful and calming photographs to subjects touching on every aspect of life – I truly believe the average person can benefit from flicking through this book.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my review on Dr Rangan Chatterjee’s ‘The Stress Solution’! I am trying to approach book reviews in a different way. Particularly non-fiction, I want to inform the potential reader of what they can get out of reading the book and not just describe what happens with some adjectives!
Please let me know in the comments below your tips on decreasing stress, whether you have read/heard of Dr Chatterjee’s work before and any similar book recommendations! I will also leave links to other posts I have written around stress and self-care.
Until next time my friends!