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Serious Self-Help

September 6, 2007 By:
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Feeling a little stressed these days, as the blissful ease of summer abruptly comes to an end, and school and religious obligations come flooding back at you with the onset of the fated month of September? You're not alone, of course, and now there's a magazine that's right up your ally. It's called Going Bonkers? -- and it attempts to relieve the incessant pressure of modern life through the balm of humor. As Carol Pererya, the editor of the online (gbonkers.com) and in-print journal put it in a press release earlier this summer, the quickest cure to the stress that pervades the contemporary scene "is to step back, take a good look, and laugh at the situation."

The new quarterly publication bears the subhead "The Self-Help Magazine With a Sense of Humor," and though that's definitely the tone that was set right from the start with the spring issue, Pererya is serious about dispensing help and advice to those who feel flustered -- and worse -- by what the pace of modern life does to them.

Each issue of Going Bonkers? contains two-dozen articles and not a spec of advertising, which is refreshing, for a change. And Pererya's hope is that the pieces will be timeless -- of help to people at the present moment and even five years from now.

I'm not certain about the longevity business, but the topicality of the pieces sampled on the Web site can't be faulted. There's already been a "business edition," which has considered such issues as how to free your staff and harness their creativity, why satisfaction is worthless and loyalty priceless, ways of increasing your customer base, how to hire smart, and a brief primer on do-it-yourself marketing.

Another issue looked at matters like anger, fear and panic, and how these play out in personal relationships and the workplace. One article considered the rules you must follow in order to fight fairly, how to cope when you live with a person who's angry all the time, and just what a healthy relationship looks like.

The current issue follows the pattern, dealing this time out with what to do about control freaks, how to deal with individuals who suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder, and what strategies exist if you're living with a "manipulative monster."

There are also pieces on what it's like to live with an adult whiner, how to deal with verbal abuse, getting yourself off the "yes" treadmill, and how to have a great life even though you've had a terrible childhood.

As the editor has noted, the articles are all presented in an easy-to-follow format, with lots of useful tips appended to each entry. When humor is used, it's done so only when appropriate.

At this point, there are only previews available to these articles on the Web site, which does, however, provide a guide to how to find the print version in your area. Subscriptions are also available either to the online version or as a downloadable PDF. 

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