Chaplain’s book is for those who are stressing about stress

WALSENBURG — Former San Luis Valley resident Dr. Joel Shults brings his experience to the page and the stage after a career working alongside emergency responders as a police officer, trainer, and chaplain. At his Veterans Day event in Colorado Springs, he will be sharing tips from his recent book “Fifteen Ways To Calm Your Mind Without Driving Yourself Crazy.” His first book on the subject, “The Badge and The Brain,” was aimed specifically at police officers, but Fifteen Ways is for everyone.

“The book and seminar on stress, anxiety, and PTSD is aimed at sufferers and their loved ones. Stress is contagious!,” says Shults. Research cited by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and National Institute of Health shows a higher risk of stress-related disorders among children and caregivers of those with PTSD.

Although PTSD has been publicized mostly around military veterans and first responders, the condition is more prevalent in the civilian population. Research on prevention of anxiety disorders has focused on resilience. While few predictors of PTSD are known, previous exposure to trauma is believed to be a factor.

“That’s why coping skills can be so important”, says Shults.

A former chief of police, Shults’ first interest in PTSD developed while dealing with an officer-involved shooting. Already a law enforcement chaplain who served NYPD officers after 9/11, his research on trauma after his officer’s shooting led to him becoming a registered psychotherapist and working with officers and their spouses whose lives were radically altered by PTSD.

Shults describes his book and seminar as first aid for brain health. “It won’t cure, but it may prevent a future serious episode.”

He especially recommends that teenagers be equipped for handling stress. “Stress is like fire – good and bad. Sorting it out takes some skill and experience. I welcome young people to connect with my book and workshop”.

Information on the book and the seminar can be found at

Dr. Shults is now a resident of Walsenburg.