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Preface

Preface

The idea for this book grew out of the numerous stress mastery seminars and workshops we have conducted with executives, employees, students, faculty, police officers, health professionals—people from all walks of life. The participants in our workshops often requested written materials to accompany our presentations and encouraged us to provide all materials within one volume. Initially, we created a short pamphlet entitled “A Manual for Less Stress.” After constantly revising and adding to this work, it became clear that what was really needed was a complete yet succinct volume incorporating all of the relevant materials. This fact was further reinforced by the participation of one of the authors in the DACUM (Developing a Curriculum) process at Miami–Dade Community College and in multiple focus groups conducted with college and university professors, representatives from business and industry, students, and alumni. Again and again they reiterated the need for students to be able to handle the multitude of stresses they would face as they entered the workforce. They emphasized the need for coursework to address issues of coping with stress and to teach skills to maximize effectiveness on the job and elsewhere.

We have attempted to engage learners directly. To accomplish this end, our book is written in a rather unconventional style for a textbook: conversational rather than didactic, peppered with jokes and amusing anecdotes. Since most of the material in this book was derived from the information we present in our stress mastery seminars, we have endeavored to make the book read as if it is being presented or delivered to each learner personally—to literally encourage the reader to engage in a dialogue with the book.

Involve yourself with the exercises, techniques, and suggestions included in this book. The value of this book is in the doing, not simply in reading and/or memorizing facts. We have found that keeping a stress mastery journal provides an excellent foundation for processing the lessons and techniques presented in these chapters.

The Master Strategy summaries at the end of each section are much more than study guides, although they will serve that purpose quite well. They are shorthand cookbooks or recipes for coping with stress. Refer to them often, both for review and in preparation for dealing with life's vicissitudes.

Finally, we encourage you to have fun with this book. The book was designed to be humorous to reinforce the fact that humor is one of the great stress reducers. We hope you find yourself coping gracefully with the challenges of life, and that our book is of assistance in that process.

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank all of our students and the participants in our stress mastery workshops and seminars for their encouragement, feedback, and willingness to share their histories and personal experiences on the road to becoming masters of stress.

We offer our gratitude to the professors who reviewed this book for Prentice Hall for their invaluable suggestions and insights for improving this work. And we offer special thanks to Barbara Abascal and Kathy Stanton for their willingness to take the time to read our many drafts and offer constructive criticism and feedback from the lay perspective. Finally, many thank-you's to Libby Perez and Sandy Dowdee for helping to keep us organized and on task as we coped with the stress of writing this book.

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