Fighting Invisible Tigers: A Stress Management Guide for Teens
Hipp, E.
ISBN: 0915793806
Free Spirit Publishing
1995

BOOK REVIEW (Davidson Young Scholars) - This article contains three separate book reviews by three Davidson Young Scholars of Fighting Invisible Tigers: A Stress Management Guide for Teens. All three reviewers enjoyed the book and found helpful tips on dealing with stress.

Review #1

Fighting Invisible Tigers is an interesting stress guide for teens, which uses quizzes, drawings, graphs, quotes, and scientific work to show you how to reduce stress in your life. I recommend this book to anyone having trouble with stress, or basically life in general. The author, Earl Hipp, is a well-known psychologist, who has B.A. in psychology and a Master's Degree in Psychophysiology. There are three parts of the book and together they intertwine how to feel better about your self, how to see yourself in a different light, and how to fight off "invisible tigers," his analogy for stress.

The first part of the book is called "Life in the Jungle" and humorously informs you about the "fight-or-flight response," a typical symptom of stress, and what can be done about it. There are included quotes from teenagers and researchers that inform you about what may be stress in your life and how to begin to fight it off. The book then contains information about distraction, avoidance, procrastination, illness, sleep, and escape, the common teenage methods for dealing with stress. The book discusses the pros and cons of these ways of dealing with stress and whether they should be tried or avoided.

The second part of the book is aptly named "Self-Care for Tiger Bites," and involves quizzes and quotes to inform you on how to effectively treat stress in your life. This is the shortest part of the book, but tells you many important things. This part mainly answers the question of "What to do when you can't cope"? and is highly informative and useful for finding effective ways of curing "tiger bites", the analogy for stress catching up with you.

The third and final part of this book in the largest and, in my opinion, the most practical. It mixes up breathing exercises with the importance of laughter and discusses relationships. The title for this part is "Life Skills" and tells you what methods to use in the real world for dealing with stress. A large part discusses relationships and helps you rate your relationships with your friends on a scale. There are many quizzes to let you know if you are affected with stress or if you are a perfectionist. If I had to read only one part of this book, this is the one I would pick.

This book is a good resource for dealing with stress, and I recommend it to all teens. The quizzes are useful and fun, and the breathing exercise is a good thing to know, instead of the childish "counting to ten" method. The only problem I have with this book is the fact that is in an "easy-to-read" style and contains few paragraphs, preferring cartoons and bullet points. Despite this flaw (in my opinion), this is a wonderful guide and is a nice thing to have around as a gifted teen.

Review #2

Fighting Invisible Tigers by Earl Hipp is a stress management guide especially for teens. It is written in a manner that is detailed, concise, and easy to understand. Young people, who often don't understand stress advice meant for adults, will find Tigers very helpful. Hipp does not only describe how to handle stress when it comes; he details what to do to keep the same stress from reappearing, and some good techniques to use for daily relaxation, such as meditation. Black and white drawings lace his book, as well as quotes from teens just like readers, who will appreciate advice from those who are in situations similar to their own.

Appropriately, Hipp begins with a chapter about stress as a whole. He discusses the parts of a stress-induced reaction, such as the fight-or-flight response and the changes that the body undergoes during stress. Readers will see that every part of such a reaction has a purpose and is in no way strange or unnatural. Once readers learn about the basics of stress, Hipp introduces them to the many ways people try to cope with stress. Many teens don't know that the techniques they are using may not be helping them at all!

To clear up confused minds, Hipp groups stress-relieving methods into categories and gives reasons for why some are truly relaxing and some merely work for the moment. What may surprise teens is that the bases of their favorite snacks, sugar and caffeine, promote the rise of stress! Other teenage favorites, such as procrastination, are also against relaxation. Hipp gives readers a detailed explanation of how to meditate, one of the most relaxing ways to eliminate stress. As many of us will encounter distractions and problems with such a technique, Hipp shows teens how to get past those and return to relaxation.

After we are thoroughly free of stress, Hipp explains ways that we can keep stress from coming back in several sections that target typical teens' lives. He emphasizes the importance of friendships, from acquaintances to true friends, and explains the boundaries that define five clear levels of friendship. Assertiveness, he says, is also a key to a stress-free lifestyle. For teens who are not inclined to be assertive, Hipp lists a few ways to improve and to take charge of life. He explains the three types of action that many teens choose instead, passive, aggressive, and passive-aggressive, and readers will clearly see why assertiveness is a positive alternative to all three. Along with tips for our serious sides, Hipp advises us to grow a funny bone. He emphasizes the importance of humor in stress-busting - and, after all, everyone loves a good joke! Humor is good for the body, and so are the tips listed in Tigers for staying healthy; physical health is another key part of keeping stress away.

To finish off teen's improvement of their own lives, Tigers includes a section dedicated to goal-setting and other ways to take charge of busy lives - sources of teenage stress. He advises readers about their decisions, stating how to make good ones and what will lead to a bad choice. Once teenagers have a strong grip on the steering wheel of their lives, Hipp bids them good luck and sends them on the road of time once again. They will be ready for tigers that cross their paths from time to time. Armed with Hipp's techniques, teens will turn their tigers into kittens, and be ready to enjoy their new pets while on the roads of life.

Review #3

If you're a teen, or a preteen, you've probably felt at some point in your life that what with school, family, friends, health and trying to find some time to have fun, life is just too overwhelming, and you need some sort of instant cure. Well, that's what guides to life like Fighting Invisible Tigers, by Earl Hipp, are for! While there is no "instant cure" for stress, there are many books which can help you to get your life under control, and Fighting Invisible Tigers is at the top of the list.

In Fighting Invisible Tigers, teens can learn about everything they'll ever need to know to manage the work they have to do, decrease stress and actually have time for "fun stuff". Teens learn about just why they're so stressed out, the causes of stress, if they're in danger of real health problems resulting from stress, and what to do about it. This guide helps teens to "see" their "invisible tigers", and makes it a lot easier to deal with stress and other life issues resulting from stress.

Fighting Invisible Tigers is divided into three main sections: Life in the Jungle, Self-Care for Tiger Bites, and Lifeskills. Life in the Jungle is about stress itself, where it comes from, how it affects teens/preteens, etc. Lifeskills is about lifestyle changes that can help reduce stress, along with techniques that can be used in everyday life to lessen the pressure. Self-Care for Tiger Bites is a section that's not found in many books. This is for when you're feeling like you can't cope anymore and need help immediately. Many books discuss just the other two categories, and leave out what a lot of teens need the most: ways to cope with the stress you're feeling right now, not just future stress.

Although Fighting Invisible Tigers is "a stress management guide for teens," as the cover says, many adults could use a little advice like what's written in this book. In fact, there's almost no one who couldn't benefit from learning how to manage their life a little bit better, and that's what Fighting Invisible Tigers helps people to do.

The topics covered in the book all add up to a guide to living that can change the way you do everything. By presenting information in an organized, understandable way, Fighting Invisible Tigers helps teens (and many other age groups) to understand their world and tame their tigers. So don't wait until you feel like you're going to die from the stress. Go get yourself some help right now, and start learning those valuable lifeskills that you'll need to survive in the jungle of everyday life.

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