A former Olympic athlete who competed while wearing an artificial leg, Bonnie St. John understands how to build endurance and handle pressure. She and her husband and co-author, Allen P. Haines, preach “micro-resilience” – making small changes daily in your routines to achieve better lifetime habits. In this combined guide and self-help manual, they show you how to manage stress through their “five frameworks”: “Refocus your brain, reset your primitive alarms, reframe your attitude, refresh your body” and “renew your spirit.” The authors include examples of people who use these techniques successfully. They ground their approach in the need for personal evolution, but they skip the usual accompanying platitudes. Their practical, readable manual will help executives, managers, teachers and anyone who deals with extensive stress. 

Recognizing the difficulty of changing habits, St. John and Haines know what they're talking about and use a jargon-free, direct voice to do that talking. Their five-step approach is accessible, modern and utilitarian. The steps are:

1. “Refocus Your Brain”

The authors begin with the brain strain of today’s information overload. As you begin to make a few small, practical changes, they suggest that you first cut back on multitasking. Switching back and forth between tasks is ineffective, takes extra time and energy, and can cause burnout. The authors urge you to set aside certain times of the day for emails and calls, instead of handling a constant onslaught.

To refocus your brain, create designated “quiet” zones to work or think. You may need several periods in that zone daily, or you may need to use it only once or twice a week. Block zone time out on your calendar and tell people not to disturb you. Record your ideas in a notebook or in your smartphone since writing helps you commit your ideas to memory. Make checklists to maximize your efficiency. Delegate when you can, but don’t micromanage your staff. Empower them to make decisions so you can focus on more important matters. Even routine tasks suffer when you’re distracted. Outside of the office improve your cognitive function by exercising.

About the Authors

Former Olympian and Rhodes scholar Bonnie St. John and her husband and co-author Allen P. Haines, a former CEO, coach executives on realizing their leadership potential.

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