Feeling stressed out? What are you reading?

September 28, 2016

Reduce Stress – Check Out a New Book!

It’s rarely the case that people are trying to figure out “if” they’re stressed. More often, they’re working down a list of the things that regularly stress them out. In response to this highly visible stress epidemic, there are scores of products, pills, and prescriptions being generated to help people reduce stress.

But what’s really working to reduce stress?

Mindlab International at the University of Sussex decided to take closer look into some of the favorite more traditional and non-chemical approaches to stress reduction. They found that listening to music, sipping a cup of tea of coffee, taking a walk, and even playing video games were all capable of bringing heart rates down.

However, the undisputed champion of stress release, was reading.

According to cognitive neuropsychologist Dr. David Lewis, who conducted the test, “Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation.” From the pool of volunteers who were surveyed for this study, reading was able to reduce stress levels by an astounding 68 percent. Dr. Lewis additionally noted that, “It really doesn’t matter what book you read, by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author’s imagination.” We’re definitely huge advocates for reading here at Lytle. Being fully aware of the health advantages that accompany reading, most of us are regularly engrossed in books touching on a variety of topics. To help encourage others to benefit from reading, we decided to put together a little book review of some of the books a few of us at Lytle are currently enjoying.


Second Nature by Alice Hoffman – It’s a novel with several story lines that converge into one tale of mystery and revelation. I liked that it made me start guessing early at who and what was behind some of the mysterious events. Along the way to the conclusion, it has some surprising plot twists. I enjoyed the book as it was an easy ‘beach read’ item that flew by and kept me reading. It took me out of my own day to day experiences.

Sacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential by Carolyn Myss – This book has been out for a while and follows up on Myss’s first book, Anatomy of the Spirit. Given all her years of case study and practice with thousands of students, she has arrived at an architecture for understanding our individual and unique life purpose relative to God. Myss is a medical intuitive and her book is a “…synthesis of psychology, healing guidance, and spiritual insight”.


The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh by Vincent Van Gogh – This book is mainly the letters that he wrote to his brother Theo. It was very plain to see the highs and lows of this brilliant artist’s life.  He was always searching and never finding the peace he clearly wanted; through his own letters, you can see where professional mental health might have helped to prevented his suicide.


A Manager’s Guide to Coaching by Brian Emerson & Anne Loehr – This is a great book for managers to learn about the coaching process as a way to manage and develop their employees. The book outlines seven basic tenets of the coaching mindset, coaching actions along with coaching questions for specific situations. I like the book because it is a practical application of coaching principles with specific tools for application.

Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip Heath & Dan Heath – The authors discuss decision-making literature and introduce a four-step process to help us make better decisions. The strategies and tools are practical, ready to use now to refine decision making. I like the book because it provides the research behind the ideas and framework for the process.


Instead of reading, I have to say, I’ve been into documentaries this summer. A few standouts are Happy, which looks at folks from around the world and how they view happiness. It’s poignant and thought-provoking. 

Also, Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a fascinating story of a man’s singular focus on making exceptional sushi.


The Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly – I judged a book by its cover, and I was right this time! This book is based on a true story about 3 women whose lives intersect in ironic ways during the course of WW2. I found it intriguing and I highly recommend it.

When I Married My Mother by Jo Maeder – Don’t let this title fool you. This is a memoir of a woman who moves in to care for her estranged aging mother.  This book is a humorous and heartwarming view of eldercare and family issues.  In an unexpected way, the author makes peace with the past.  I couldn’t put it down!


Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain by Dr. Seigel (audio book version) – It’s helping me to better understand my own teenagers and will be a great resource for some of the families I work with.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer (Nook version) – It’s  historical fiction (my favorite genre) taking place in Europe during WWII. I’m fascinated with books about that era. My father was a WWII vet and I had the honor of working with WWII vets at the VA for one of my graduate internships. Truly the Greatest Generation.

I just sent for Intimate Messages from Heaven by Wayne Weible – I’ve read several of his books and I love to read books that help to nourish my spirituality-definitely a stress buster!


102 Minutes by Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn – It’s about the fight to survive inside the twin towers (9/11). I purchased it at the twin tower memorial store in NYC. It is an emotional book, and I have not been able to put it down.


The Lower River by Paul Theroux – A man returns to a place in Africa and it isn’t quite as he remembers it when he was in the Peace Corp. It strikes me as a person later in life really trying to find himself as well as define himself after not feeling fulfilled and disappointed with the life he had created. It’s beautifully written and enjoyable to read.

Many Masters Many Lives by Brian Weiss – It’s a spiritual read about a scientist , who became a psychotherapist, and uses hypnosis  and assists patients to recall information that helps resolve their current conflicts in their lives. It’s an amazing read no matter how you believe spiritually. It creates a lot of introspective thinking. An all time favorite of mine!

Happy Reading!

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