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Stress & Relaxation

Self-help books on Stress & Relaxation


There are so many popular psychology texts in the shops that it can be difficult to know where to begin. This set of book-lists was compiled by staff of the University Counselling Service to respond to those students who have asked us what they might read on this topic.

Our selection is not intended to be the 'final word' - we are sure that there are many other good and helpful books out there; in any case we recognise that what is helpful is very subjective and depends on personal circumstances.

Books are listed in alphabetical order by author. 


The descriptions given are intended to provide a summary of the contents but should not be taken to imply that the Counselling Service endorses the opinions expressed.

Stress & Relaxation

Date of information: Jan 2006, updated Dec 2019

Bill Anderton, Duncan Bird Publishers, 2003

A guide to the origins, theory, and practice of meditation. A variety of techniques are covered including relaxation, positive thinking, and guided imagery. It also describes a range of benefits claimed for meditation.

Mindfulness for Health: A Practical Guide to Relieving Pain, Reducing Stress and Restoring Wellbeing          Vidyamala Burch and Danny Pennman, Piatkus, 2013

Simple practices that can be incorporated into daily life to relieve chronic pain and the suffering and stress of illness.

Stop The World

Gary L. Cooper & Murray Watts, Hodder & Stoughton, 1998

The authors aim to show that coping with stress may require a radical but positive and healing change of lifestyle and attitude. Topics include how to meet the challenge of stress, and how to find the right solutions rather than the self-destructive ones.

Teach Yourself Relaxation Techniques
Alice Muir, 2010

This book explains techniques intended to assist physical and mental relaxation using such disciplines as meditation, yoga, Alexander Technique, self hypnosis, affirmations, sleep therapy, bio-feedback, autogenic training, muscle relaxation, posture exercises, breathing and calming techniques.

The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook
Martha Davis, Elizabeth Robbins Eshelman and Matthew McKay, New Harbinger Publications, 2008

A self-help book describing step-by-step techniques to calm your body and mind.

Easy Exercises to Relieve Stress
Hussein Eshref, Francis Lincoln, 1999

Drawn from a background of yoga, dance, osteopathy and natural movement, this book focuses on the body as a whole and its reaction to a range of sources of stress, with the goal of reducing tension in the different muscle groups.

Managing Stress
David Fontana, Routledge, 2005

This is a guide to the symptoms and the treatment of stress in the work environment. It is written to help professionals identify stress-related problems in clients and in themselves, so that they might pre-empt becoming ill or depressed.

The Stress Workbook
Joanna Gutmann, Sheldon Press, 1998

A workbook intended for anyone who wants to get more done and feel less exhausted at the end of the day, particularly anyone trying to juggle home and family commitments as well as a job.

Full Catastrophe Living - How to cope with stress, pain and illness using mindfulness meditation
Jon Kabat -Zinn, Piatkus 2008

Includes mindfulness techniques, an 8 week practice schedule, research findings and personal stories.  Specifically looks at mindfulness in relation to stress, anxiety, emotional and physical pain.

Teach Yourself Managing Stress
Terry Looker, Teach Yourself, 2008

This guide to stress management advises on assessing and identifying stress, and on developing a personal stress management plan.

Stress and Relaxation Handbook
Jane Madders, Vermilion, 1979

In this book the author describes a range of relaxation techniques to help counteract stress and lead to a healthier life.

The Ultimate Stress Handbook for Women
Ursula Markham, Vega Books, 2002

A guide to coping with stress aimed specifically at women. It covers such topics as recognising stress and its causes, thinking positively, seeking to relieve stress through self-help techniques.

Perfect Relaxation
Elaine Van Der Zeil, RH Books, 2009

Perfect Relaxation describes strategies aimed at helping the reader take and keep control of their life as well as their stress levels.

Complete Guide to Reducing Stress
C Wildwood, Piatkus Books, 1997

Examines alternative ways to reduce stress by tuning into nature and implementing simple breathing and stretching exercises. Also looks at how nature might heal the body.