Fighting invisible tigers: Stress management for teens

Review by Portia Devonshire

Earl Hipp (2009), Free Spirit Publishing, US

Upon first picking up this book, I was not 100% sure of what to expect. I could see from the introduction that the author wants the reader to reflect on their personal experiences of stress and to learn new tools they can use to cope. There is a message from the author accompanied by two ways of contacting him, this small personal touch helps readers to feel at ease about reaching out if they have any questions.

In the first section Hipp breaks down what you may experience during stressful moments when your body is in fight or flight mode. He gives a helpful explanation of what is happening and what sensations you may experience. This helped me feel more informed and took a bit of the pressure off as I could see what was previously ‘unknown’ was natural and normal.

Each of the different chapters of the book provided a way to help overcome stress with links to helpful websites. Having the links readily available made it easier to reach out for more help and learn new methods to deal with what the reader is feeling. The illustrations in the book help make it an easy read and supported what the words on the page convey. As they say ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’.

Overall, this is a book that I would love to recommend to my old high school, it would help students who can be under a lot of pressure academically, socially and mentally. It is the type of book that I wish I had access to during my times of need. After experiencing stress, I understand some young people aren’t always capable of reaching out and asking for help. Having information that could help readily available in a book really would empower young people. 

The Mental Health Foundation’s Information Service brings you reviews this Pink Shirt Day on books with bullying prevention themes.

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