1-Sentence-Summary: The End Of Stress shows you not only that treating stress as normal is wrong and how it harms your mental and physical health, but also gives you actionable tips and strategies to end stress once and for all so you can live a long, happy, powerful and creative life.
Read in: 4 minutes
Favorite quote from the author:
Pop quiz: What’s the number one cause of death in the United States?
Cancer? Diabetes? Heart Disease?
Wrooooong. It’s stress! Okay, not acute stress, as in you’re about to give a TED talk and just drop dead from the anxiety, but if you add up all cases of the diseases above and a bunch more, who are primarily caused by high long-term levels of stress, then stress becomes your health’s number one enemy.
Even worse, 83% of Americans have given up the battle against stress and admit that they’re not even trying to do anything about it. Don Joseph Goewey has committed to make a change. In this book he takes a four-step approach at overcoming stress. Starting with awareness it leads into transforming your mindset, tapping into your brain’s full potential and then sustaining your new perspective in everyday life.
Here are 3 lessons from the book to get you started:
- Make one of three choices in every stressful situation: change, leave, or accept.
- Practice a peaceful mindset every day.
- Use the placebo effect to improve your health long-term.
Ready to de-stress? Who isn’t? Let’s do this!
Lesson 1: Whenever you face a stressful situation, change it, leave it, or accept it.
It’s easy to just try and deny stress for as long as you can. But eventually, reality will catch up with you. We all face stressful events, and sometimes they get really bad. Eventually, you’ll have to deal with the situation, one way or the other.
The first thing Goewey suggests is being aware of your choices and says you always have at least one of the following three:
- Change it.
- Leave it.
- Accept it.
For example, let’s say you lose your job, because a high-level executive at your company committed tax fraud and robbed the company of half the profits for the year. Totally unfair right? Not your fault in any way, but the only option for the company to survive is to let go some of their employees.
Now, you could try to change the situation, for example by getting a lawyer and proving your dismissal was unfounded. Or you could leave it, by accepting the change and walking away from a firm that probably didn’t deserve you in the first place. Accepting it means to not complain or judge, without demanding change.
Obviously, in this scenario you’d have to change it or leave it. But imagine a loved one just died. In that case, you can neither change the situation, nor simply leave it behind – sometimes acceptance is the only way.
No matter how bad things get you always have at least one of these three options. And while acceptance sure is the hardest one, remember that you’re always 100% in control of one thing: your own attitude.
Lesson 2: You must practice a peaceful mindset every day.
Do you sometimes get mad at people with a zen-like, almost monk-style state of mind? I do. But if I’m honest, most of the time it’s just because I’m jealous. In reality, I’d always prefer to be as calm as them in the situations where I usually get mad.
Even Buddha himself didn’t find enlightenment from one day to the next, though. A peaceful mindset is the result of continuous, daily practice. Goewey suggests these two exercises to get you there:
- Start your day with some peace and quiet.
- Take a 30-second time-out a couple times a day.
If you hit the off-switch on your alarm clock every morning, knowing you have exactly 20 minutes (or even less) to get out the door, that’s not a great way to start your day. Try waking up earlier and taking at least an extra 10 minutes for a little morning routine. Whether you listen to some calm music, close your eyes and just listen to your breath, stare out the window, or eat breakfast in complete silence, starting your day off quietly will put you in a much calmer mindset for the entire day.
The 30-second time-out can be your island of peace in even the most hectic of times. Close your eyes, disengage, clear your mind of all thoughts and let yourself relax. Breath slowly and consciously and enjoy a few waves of undisturbed peace, even amidst a busy subway train, in the locker room, the shower, the line at the store or an elevator.
Doing these two things alone will help you kill a lot of stress within a few days.
Lesson 3: Improve your health long-term by making use of the placebo effect.
I’m sure you’ve heard of this one. It’s called the placebo effect and it’s what happens every time people see real results from fake causes.
For example, when he ran out of morphine during World War II, Henry Beecher kept telling soldiers they were getting the powerful painkiller, when actually he just infused them with saline solution. Nonetheless, 40% of the soldiers reported an immense relief in physical pain, just because they believed in the effects of the doctor’s treatment.
It has long been proven that this effect works well outside of the field of medical science as well, so keep telling yourself that you’ll eventually overcome all of the stress in your life, and make sure to get positive reinforcement whenever you can.
For example, a Harvard study examining hotel cleaning staff over 4 weeks showed that when told their work was equivalent to a gym workout and thus great exercise, dozens of the maids showed improved blood pressure, waist-to-hip ratio, body mass index, body fat and even a loss in weight – simply because they believed they were getting solid amounts of exercise.
Pay attention to what you think of what you’re doing to get healthier – it’s a big part of whether you’ll actually make it there.
My personal take-aways
What I like about this book is that it’s not on many people’s radar. I discovered it thanks to a friend. A very comprehensive take on stress and the things you can do about it. Lots of small wins, many of which you can find in the summary on Blinkist as well – two thumbs up!
What else can you learn from the blinks?
- Which kind of brain functions stress disables (and how deep its reach is)
- How to start rewiring your brain with neuroplasticity
- Why 97% of your worries aren’t even worth a single thought
- How James Watt was only able to invent the steam engine once he stopped thinking about it
- What shame really is and how to escape its tight grip
- What one Greek guy with cancer did to live to be 100, when his doctors thought he only had 9 months left
Who would I recommend The End Of Stress summary to?
The 19 year old who’s scared of college, because she tends to freeze when giving a talk in front of her peers, the 31 year old busy marketer, who has less than 15 minutes between waking up and having to leave for work, and anyone who thinks the placebo effect has worked on them before.