Book Review: Stressed in the US-12 Tools to Tackle Anxiety, Loneliness, Tech Addiction and More by Meg Van Deusen, Ph.D


How do you know when I find a book that informs, inspires, and Impacts me in a positive way? When I fill it with Post-its, highlight certain passages, and write notes in the.margins. And that’s exactly what I’ve done Dr. Van Deusen’s book Stressed In the US.

We live in a nation where people are stressed and stretched to the max. We don’t get enough sleep. We’re addicted to social media yet ache with loneliness.We mindlessly eat, don’t exercise, and are disconnected from nature. Both our physical and mental health are out of whack in a toxic world.

What’s a person to do just to feel a little less stressed?

Well, reading Van Deusen’s book is a good start.

As I’ve mentioned in past book reviews, I’m a bit wary when it comes to self-help books. Some are way too namby pamby and some are too self-righteous. But Van Deusen’s book is one of understanding, research, life experiences (including her own), and a great deal of compassion.

Stressed in the US focuses on defining stress and what stressed us out. Van Deusen goes into deep detail on our attachment to others, dealing with loneliness, overcoming our addictions to technology of all kinds, and how getting more sleep, exercise, and healthier diets can de-stress us and make us feel a whole lot better. And yes, we can have a few indulgences and luxuries every now and then.

And in the final chapter she sums up the 12 tools to living a less we can use to combat stress which include things like making eye contact with others to getting back to nature.

I, myself am slowly but surely, working these tools into my daily life. And I forgive myself when I mess up. I hope these tools will help me overcome the past few horrible years. Stressed in the US is a welcome addition to my book shelf and my journey to healing.

Book Review: Benevolent King by Joe Albanese

If gang member Travis has one goal it is to be the biggest and baddest gang leader on the gritty mean streets of Baltimore. And he’s got just the right hustling skills to make this happen, especially after he gets his hands on some Colombian Devils Breath, a particular desired brand of cocaine.IMG_20200209_155848

However, there is local drug dealer Isaac who just might thwart Travis’s “high” ambitions. Travis has a closely held secret and Isaac knows all about it. If this secret is revealed Travis could lose his life and livelihood.

And then there is Shannon who is involved with both Travis and Isaac, and a woman her own desires and ambitions.

The three main characters spend their days and nights filled with dealing and drugging. They are both violent and victims of violence. They spend their time at less than wholesome places, including a local strip club.

And every day, they wake up wondering if it will be their last.

The plot zigs, then zags. And it twists and turns like an overturned steaming plate of pasta. It’s not exactly for the faint of heart but it is compelling.

The three main characters could be cardboard cut outs but are richly detailed. Supporting characters are also multi-dimensional.

Albanese expresses his novels like a director. He’s a very visual writer. I think fans of the TV show “The Wire” would appreciate his work.