A pioneering researcher gives us a new understanding of stress and trauma, as well as the tools to heal and thrive.
We usually think of stress and trauma as separate conditions, but they actually share a neurobiological basis. This groundbreaking book not only lays out how and why we tend to disown trauma, it explains the science of how to direct our attention to widen our windows of resilience, perform under stress, and recover from traumatic experiences.
Stress is our internal response to an experience that the survival brain perceives as threatening or challenging. Trauma is our response to an experience in which we feel powerless or lacking control. Until now, researchers have treated these conditions as different, but they actually lie along a continuum. Dr. Elizabeth Stanley explains why an event that's stressful for one person can be traumatizing for another. With training, however, we can access agency, even in extreme-stress environments. In fact, anything conditioned through stress or trauma can, with intentionality and agency, be reconditioned and healed. The key is to use strategies that access not just the thinking brain but also the survival brain.
With stories from the women and men she has trained, as well as her own striking experiences with stress and trauma, Dr. Stanley gives us hands-on strategies we can use ourselves, whether we want to perform under pressure or heal from traumatic experience, while at the same time pointing our understanding in a new direction.
Reviews and Endorsements:
"This high-octane book could give you back your life. When we experience dysregulation, we have to reclaim our core capacities and develop them to serve our health, performance, and quality of life. Liz Stanley expertly maps an inner adventure through training our attention and ability to stay grounded in highly stressful situations. Time to live the life that is yours to live, one hundred percent."–- Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., author of Full Catastrophe Living and creator of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR)
"Our ‘suck it up and drive on’ culture has seriously impaired both our country and ourselves. It is imperative that we find a way to heal so that we don’t just survive but thrive. Liz Stanley give us the tools we need to create a better way of being, both individually and collectively. This book is a must-read for everyone who cares about our future." — Congressman Tim Ryan, author of Healing America
"Our frantic culture generates trauma and stress that limit our capacity to live full and healthy lives. Widen The Window is a clearly written guide into our shocked physiology and a time-tested, practical method of regaining power over it, through awareness and attention." — Gabor Maté M.D., author of When The Body Says No: Exploring The Stress-Disease Connection and In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts
"Like all things in life, it is how we manage—not just cope—with the pressures that envelop us all. Dr. Stanley has written an exceptional book of understanding, relating to and controlling stress and trauma." — Chuck Hagel, 24th Secretary of Defense
"A remarkable, thorough, and important work, tackling the traumas and difficulties of modern times, and offering truly wise and empirically proven remedies for the individual and for our society." — Jack Kornfield, Ph.D., author of A Path With Heart
"In this pioneering work, Dr. Elizabeth Stanley invites us to understand and embrace the practice of training our brain and body to thrive and recover. Equal parts teacher, scholar, warrior, whistleblower, healer, hero, and sage, Liz is among the rarest of souls, whose character, strength, courage, grace, and compassion serve to illuminate and inform our all-too-human journey towards healing, wholeness, and wellbeing." — Loree Sutton, M.D., Brigadier General, U.S. Army (Ret.), Founding Director of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury
About the Author:
Elizabeth Stanley, PhD, is an associate professor of security studies at Georgetown University. She is the creator of Mindfulness-based Mind Fitness Training (MMFT), taught to thousands in civilian and military high-stress environments. MMFT research has been featured on 60 Minutes, ABC Evening News, NPR, Time Magazine, and many other media outlets. An award-winning author and U.S. Army veteran, she holds degrees from Yale, Harvard, and MIT. She's also is a certified practitioner of Somatic Experiencing, a body-based trauma therapy.