Stress Awareness Month 2020

For stress awareness month we have put together three booklists offering different types of techniques and advice in how to cope and overcome stress.
One list is for all adults, one is aimed at parents and carers and the third is for children and teens.

The first step is always the hardest, but these books could help you take those steps.

Adult booklist,

The stress test
by Ian Robertson

The difference between too much pressure and too little can result in either debilitating stress or enduring demotivation in extreme situations. However, the right level of challenge and stress can help people to flourish and achieve more than they ever thought possible. In ‘The Stress Test’, Ian Robertson, armed with over four decades of research, reveals how we can shape our brain’s response to pressure and answers the question: can stress ever be a good thing?

The relaxation & stress reduction workbook
Martha Davis, Elizabeth Robbins Eshelman and Matthew McKay

Each chapter of this workbook follows a practical format, including a history of the technique covered, symptom effectiveness, examples, checklist, further reading and homework.

Try the eBook

A life less stressed: the five pillars of health and wellness
by Ron Ehrlich

Life has never been more stressful. It is no coincidence that chronic degenerative disorders such as cancer, heart disease, autoimmune illnesses and mental health conditions are on the rise. But if we want to tackle them, we need to look beyond their symptoms. That is the message of dentist and health advocate Ron Ehrlich, who untangles how problems in one part of the body are intimately linked to the whole being.

Try the eBook

Is your job making you ill?
by Ellie Cannon

A book aimed at advising, calming and empowering anyone, at any level, who is suffering as a result of their job. Full of take-home pro-active messages, experiential advice and case studies from Dr Ellie Cannon’s clinical experience of the last decade.

Notes on a nervous planet
by Matt Haig

Rates of stress and anxiety are rising. A fast, nervous planet is creating fast and nervous lives. We are more connected, yet feel more alone. And we are encouraged to worry about everything from world politics to our body mass index. How can we stay sane on a planet that makes us mad? How do we stay human in a technological world? How do we feel happy when we are encouraged to be anxious? After experiencing years of anxiety and panic attacks, these questions became urgent matters of life and death for Matt Haig. And he began to look for the link between what he felt and the world around him.

Try the eBook

Booklist for parents and carers,

Under pressure: confronting the epidemic of stress and anxiety in girls
by Lisa Damour

Though anxiety has risen among young people overall, recent research studies confirm that it has skyrocketed in girls since the turn of the century. So what’s to blame? And how can we help these girls? In the same engaging, anecdotal style and reassuring tone that won over thousands of readers of her first book, ‘Untangled’, clinical psychologist Lisa Damour starts by examining the science of stress and anxiety, then turns to the many facets of girls’ lives where stress hits them hard: the parental expectations they face at home, pressures at school, social anxiety among their peers, and on social media.

Help your child deal with stress – and thrive: the transformative power of self-reg
by Stuart Shanker

Stress can affect your child in many ways – whether it’s exam pressure, pressure exerted by friends online or in the playground, or related to health, with lack of sleep and anxiety at home contributing. This is a ground-breaking parenting book, in which Dr Stuart Shanker argues that by teaching children the art of self-regulation, it can transform their behaviour and help them to identify, talk about and manage their emotions. This leads to a harmonious home, and children who feel nurtured and supported.

Happy parent, happy child: a 10-step plan for a stress-free family life
by Dr Genevieve von Lob

We all know that raising happy, confident and resilient children can be a tough job in this fast-paced world – and there’s never any shortage of well-meaning advice on how to be a better parent. So, if you’re anxious and struggling to cope with the pressures of school and family life – or if you worry that you’re not doing enough to support your child through their problems – give yourself a break: this book outlines a genuinely practical 10-step plan for a stress-free family life.

Mindful parenting: find peace and joy through stress-free, conscious parenting
by Oli Doyle

Oli Doyle guides the reader through a six-week guide to show how mindfulness can help us be completely present in the messy reality that is parenting. The guide to making your parenting journey a means to achieve peace of mind will give parents the skills to enjoy every moment with their children.

The thriving child: the science behind reducing stress and nurturing independence
by Dr William Stixrud and Ned Johnson

As parents we all want the best for our children, but so often over-manage every aspect of their lives, leaving them overwhelmed, lacking motivation and at risk of mental health problems as adults. So how can we prevent this from happening? Over their combined sixty years of practice, William Stixrud, a clinical neuropsychologist, and Ned Johnson, the founder of an elite tutoring agency, have worked with thousands of children all facing this problem. In this ground-breaking book they will teach you how to set your child on the real road to success.

Try the eAudiobook

Booklist for children and teens,

The teenage guide to stress
Nicola Morgan

Nicola Morgan is something of an authority on the teenage brain and is often invited to schools and colleges to speak on the subject. She came up with the idea of ‘The Teenage Guide to Stress’ because so many parents and teenagers contacted her for advice and help. The book is divided into three sections: Section one explains what stress is and looks at the ways teenage stress is different. Section two deals with a number of issues that affect teenagers – from anger, depression and sexual relationships to cyber-bullying, exams and eating disorders – and offers guidance and advice, as well as looking at how pre-existing conditions such as OCD and dyslexia are affected by adolescence. Section three is concerned with how to deal with and prevent the symptoms of stress, as well as healthy ways of looking after your mind and body.

Try the eBook

Fighting invisible tigers : stress management for teens
by Earl Hipp

Stress is something we all experience. But research suggests that adolescents are affected by it in unique ways that can increase impulsivity and risky behaviors. While eliminating stress from life isnt realistic, young people can learn to control how they respond to it. This book offers proven techniques that teens can use to deal with stressful situations in school, at home, and among friends. Theyll find current information on how stress affects health and decision making and learn stress-management skills to handle stress in positive waysincluding assertiveness, positive self-talk, time management, relaxation exercises, and much more. Filled with interesting facts, student quotes, and fun activities, this book is a great resource for any teen whos said, Im stressed out!

How not to lose it: mental health sorted
by Anna Williamson

The go-to mental health guide for kids! Exam stress? Friendship issues? Panic attacks? ‘How Not to Lose It’ will help you be the boss of all of this, and more. It’s not just your body that should be fit and healthy – your mind needs to be, too! ‘How Not to Lose It’ is the go-to guide for achieving a balanced mind and strong emotional well-being. With immediate, heart of the matter advice and a chatty yet honest tone, Anna Williamson addresses all of the key issues affecting children today.

Mental well-being and mindfulness 
by Katie Woolley

You can’t see mental wellbeing but you can feel it. Your mental wellbeing is all about how you think and feel. Some people call it ‘mental health’ or ’emotional wellbeing’. Having good mental health doesn’t mean being happy all the time. We all experience feelings of anger, sadness, fear and frustration. These feelings are perfectly normal. Mental wellbeing comes from finding positive ways to manage these feelings as you grow and develop. This simply written title explores what mental health is, why it is important and ways to deal with some mental health problems such as stress and anxiety.

Would you like to know more about stress, Mind UK can help and provide support for adults.

Ken Follett

©Olivier Favre

Ken Follett is a thriller and historical fiction writer of international standing. Born in Wales in 1949, he was raised in a strict religious family who were part of the Plymouth Brethren. He studied Philosophy at University College London. and developed an interest in politics joining the student protest movement of the late sixties. After university, he became a journalist and then moved into publishing. He started writing as a hobby, eventually gaining international recognition with the publication of his 11th book, Eye of the Needle, and went on to become a bestselling author. He also continued his involvement in politics and met his second wife, Barbara Broer, who became an MP (Barbara Follett) for Stevenage 1997–2010 and a Cabinet minister. The combination of his political views and luxury lifestyle has earned him the label ‘champagne socialist’ which he engagingly endorses

I always had a taste for the good life. It must be a rebellion against the Puritanism of my parents in some way because all my adult life I have loved good food and wine, the cashmere sweaters, the great hotels and flying first class. Nothing about it has disappointed

Ken Follett

Why Ken Follett is our Author of the Month

  • If you like a page-turner, Follett is one of the best
  • There’s something for everyone from adventure and espionage to his epic historical fiction series · Winning combination of meticulously researched period detail and nail-biter plots
  • He is a featured author on the BBC promotion Novels that Changed Our World and their Adventure theme for March with his book, Eye of the Needle
  • He has credited libraries with helping him become a writer – “I didn’t have many books of my own and I’ve always been grateful for the public library. Without free books I would not have become a voracious reader, and if you are not a reader you are not a writer.
  • He was awarded a CBE in 2018 for services to literature – “I am very pleased and proud to receive this honour for doing something I love – making books and stories as entertaining and accessible as possible,” Ken said. “Reading is a hugely important part of my life and I am glad to have helped others to enjoy it too.

The Kingsbridge Series

Epic spanning four generations opening in 12th century England with the building of a cathedral which forms the spine of the story and the focus for the lives of all the characters. Follett’s interest in cathedrals was the inspiration behind the series and his research included time spent at Winchester Cathedral. These are big books but you won’t want them to end!

The pillars of the Earth

This is a timeless story of passion and idealism, about a group of men and women whose destinies are fatefully linked with the building of a cathedral. It is an epic drama from the author of ‘The Eye of the Needle’ and ‘On Wings of Eagles’.

World without end

On the day after Halloween, in the year 1327, four children slip away from the cathedral city of Kingsbridge. They are a thief, a bully, a boy genius and a girl who wants to be a doctor. In the forest they see two men killed. As adults, their lives will be braided together by ambition, love, greed and revenge.

A column of fire

Young Ned Willard is coming home to Kingsbridge at Christmas as this story opens. The year 1558 will turn his life upside-down and change Europe forever. The ancient stones of Kingsbridge Cathedral look down on a city torn by religious hatred. High principles clash bloodily with friendship, loyalty and love. Ned finds himself on the opposite side from the girl he longs to marry, Margery Fitzgerald. When Elizabeth Tudor becomes queen, all of Europe turns against England. The shrewd, determined young monarch sets up the country’s first secret service, to give her early warning of assassination plots, rebellions and invasion plans. Waiting in Paris is the alluring, headstrong Mary Queen of Scots, part of a brutally ambitious French family. Proclaimed the rightful ruler of England, she has her own supporters scheming to get rid of Elizabeth.

When you’ve lost everything, you’ve got nothing to lose.

Ken Follett, A world Without End

Century Trilogy

Follows five families through the world-shaking dramas of the 20th Century. More big books that “will suck you in, consume you for days or weeks, depending upon how quick a reader you are, then let you out the other side both entertained and educated.” (USA Today)

Fall of giants

In a plot of unfolding drama and intriguing complexity, ‘Fall of Giants’ moves seamlessly from Washington to St Petersburg, from the dirt and danger of a coal mine to the glittering chandeliers of a palace, from the corridors of power to the bedrooms of the mighty.

Winter of the world

Berlin in 1933 is in upheaval. Eleven-year-old Carla von Ulrich struggles to understand the tensions disrupting her family as Hitler strengthens his grip on Germany. Into this turmoil steps her mother’s formidable friend and former British MP, Ethel Leckwith, and her student son, Lloyd, who soon learns for himself the brutal reality of Nazism.

Edge of eternity

When Rebecca Hoffmann, a teacher in East Germany, finds herself pursued by the secret police, she discovers that she has been living a lie. Her younger brother, Walli, longs to escape across the Berlin Wall to Britain to become part of the burgeoning music scene. In the United States, George Jakes, a bright young lawyer in the Kennedy administration, is a fierce supporter of the Civil Rights movement – as is the woman he is in love with, Verena, who works for Martin Luther King, Jr. Boarding a Greyhound bus in Washington to protest against segregation, they begin a fateful journey together. Russian activist, Tania Dvorkin, narrowly evades capture for producing an illegal news sheet. Her actions are made all the more perilous as her brother, Dimka, is a rising star in the heart of the Communist Party in the Kremlin.

And here’s my advice to you. If you get the chance of the mad kind of love, grab it with both hands, and to hell with the consequences.

Ken Follett, Winter of the World


A cannister containing a deadly virus goes missing from a lab during a blizzard. Edge-of-seat thriller with a nail-biter ending.


“Britain sent fifty women agents into France and Occupied Europe during the Second World War. They were very brave – many were captured and tortured. I wanted to write about women agents, and the role they played. In Jackdaws, their job is to destroy a big telephone exchange that is vital to the German’s defences. It can’t be bombed, as it is in a bomb-proof bunker, and the French Resistance can’t get near it, as it is too well guarded. So a team of women, disguised as cleaners, is sent to destroy the exchange…” (Ken Follett)

The Third Twin

Steve and Dan appear to be identical twins, but were born on different days, to different mothers. One is a law student, the other a convicted murderer.

A high-tech read about genetic engineering, with emotional depth” (Daily Telegraph)

A provocative, well-paced, and sensational biotech thriller” (Variety)

The Man from St Petersburg

1914. Tensions are rising as Europe finds itself caught in a web of alliances and dangerous warmongering. To help tip the balance in their favour Britain aims to draw Russia into an alliance with them instead of Germany.

Eerily plausible . . . one of Follett’s finest” (Time)

The Eye of the Needle

His breakthrough book that brought him international recognition winning the American Edgar Award for mystery writers and made into a successful film starring Donald Sutherland.

It is 1944 and weeks before D-Day. The Allies are disguising their invasion plans with a phoney armada of ships and planes. Their plan would be scuppered if an enemy agent found out… and then, Hitler’s prize agent, ‘The Needle’, does just that.

A tense, marvellously detailed suspense thriller based on a solid foundation of fact” (The Times)

Notre-Dame: A Short History of the Meaning of Cathedrals

“The wonderful cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris, one of the greatest achievements of European civilization, was on fire. The sight dazed and disturbed us profoundly. I was on the edge of tears. Something priceless was dying in front of our eyes. The feeling was bewildering, as if the earth was shaking.
My French publisher asked me if I would think about writing something new about my love of Notre-Dame, in light of the terrible event of 15 April. Profits from the book would go to the rebuilding fund, and so would my royalties.
‘Yes,’ I said. ‘I’ll start tomorrow.’

This short book is the result. Written from the heart, it describes the emotions that gripped him and goes on to tell the story of the cathedral from its construction to the role it has played across time and history.

I like to create imaginary characters and events around a real historical situation. I want readers to feel: OK, this probably didn’t happen, but it might have.

Ken Follett