Once the word stress was associated with physics and mechanics, but these days we most readily think of it as a mental condition - a by-product of modern life.
Stress-related illness costs the UK economy more than £6.5bn each year and even low-level worry can have an impact on work, home and quality of life. It is said that one in five adults worry for at least 60 minutes every day.
So a new stress management guide, How to Keep Calm and Carry On, offering ways to build a programme to keep fears in check and anxieties under control is timely.
It is the eighth popular psychology and self-help book produced by brothers Daniel Freeman, Professor of Clinical Psychology at Oxford University, and Jason, a father of three living in Fulwood, who is a freelance editor and writer.
The pair had taken different directions in life but continued going together to football, watching Watford, and began talking about their respective work, one in clinical psychology, the other in publishing, and how they could feed into one another.
“He had written academic books before and wanted to produced a self-help manual but didn’t feel comfortable writing for that kind of readership,” explains Jason. “A lot of academics know their stuff but don’t have the time or the ability to tailor it for a different kind of audience.”
“The idea was to make some complex subjects easier to understand. I moved north for personal reasons and gave up my job as an editor with the Oxford University Press and combined freelance editing work with writing.” he continues. He does a column for The Guardian science website.
Apparently, the next publishing boom will be in self-help books, But, warns Jason, “A lot of self-help book are not evidence-based. What Daniel is able to do is look at science from his own clinincal perspective and say ‘this is what works and we have evidence to show it’ rather than ‘this might work, give it a go’. We will look at the range of things available and make a judgement of what stacks up. We make it readable but reliable.”
So how much stress is there in the life of Jason Freeman?
“Coping with anxiety and stress is something all of us have to deal with,” he says. “I have used many of the techniques myself and I know what works for me and perhaps what doesn’t.
“It would be fantastic to say I am writing about something I have conquered. Life is not like that, although I have been learning an immense amount which has already helped in my life.”
Appropriately, considering where the idea for the partnership began, their next book will be on football. “It will cover such things as the psychological techniques used by managers to the nature of teamwork,” says Jason. “We talked to Graham Taylor for a previous book and I’m looking forward to interviewing other managers.”
How to Keep Calm and Carry On: Inspiring Ways to Worry Less and Live a Happier Life(Pearson, £10.99).