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Widen the Window

Written by: Elizabeth A. Stanley, Bessel van der Kolk - foreword
Narrated by: Elizabeth A. Stanley, Fred Sanders
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Publisher's Summary

"I don't think I've ever read a book that paints such a complex and accurate landscape of what it is like to live with the legacy of trauma as this book does, while offering a comprehensive approach to healing." (from the foreword by Bessel van der Kolk)

A pioneering researcher gives us a new understanding of stress and trauma, as well as the tools to heal and thrive.

Stress is our internal response to an experience that our brain perceives as threatening or challenging. Trauma is our response to an experience in which we feel powerless or lacking agency. Until now, researchers have treated these conditions as different, but they actually lie along a continuum. Dr. Elizabeth Stanley explains the significance of this continuum, how it affects our resilience in the face of challenge, and why an event that's stressful for one person can be traumatizing for another.

This groundbreaking audiobook examines the cultural norms that impede resilience in America, especially our collective tendency to disconnect stress from its potentially extreme consequences and override our need to recover. It explains the science of how to direct our attention to perform under stress and recover from trauma.

With training, we can access agency, even in extreme-stress environments. In fact, any maladaptive behavior or response conditioned through stress or trauma can, with intentionality and understanding, be reconditioned and healed. The key is to use strategies that access not just the thinking brain but also the survival brain.

By directing our attention in particular ways, we can widen the window within which our thinking brain and survival brain work together cooperatively. When we use awareness to regulate our biology this way, we can access our best, uniquely human qualities: our compassion, courage, curiosity, creativity, and connection with others. By building our resilience, we can train ourselves to make wise decisions and access choice - even during times of incredible stress, uncertainty, and change.

With stories from men and women Dr. Stanley has trained in settings as varied as military bases, healthcare facilities, and Capitol Hill, as well as her own striking experiences with stress and trauma, she gives listeners hands-on strategies they can use themselves, whether they want to perform under pressure or heal from traumatic experience, while at the same time pointing our understanding in a new direction.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2019 Elizabeth A. Stanley (P)2019 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

"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, PhD, 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)

"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, MD, Brigadier General, US Army, ret., founding director of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury)

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Mind blowing!!!

Cannot say enough good things about this book!!! Relevant to what ever stage in your life you’re at. Very enlightening!!!

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wonderful resource for life resiliency

This is one of those fundamental books that can be life-changing for the right reader. I love Dr. Stanley's clear thinking. Each one of the chapters builds on the other. She does such an excellent job of introducing the key ideas in trauma and stress resiliency and what helps us live a better life. I enjoy all of the chapters and they contribute to grasping the ideas but my favourites are Chapters 13-18. She offers some practical strategies on how to ground yourself and observe when your window of stress tolerance is narrowed and you are activated, or less able to cope in a healthy way. And I like that she has concrete suggestions on how to see the narrowing of possibilities and then open out to the wider window and range of prospects again and again. I also appreciate that she reminds us this is not a one-shot deal but a continuous practice. I especially loved the finale chapter 18 on how to build wide windows in our collective responses to the world. Each day we are faced with so much stressful data out there, or within us. This book is a life-saver and a life-changer. I listen to the Audible book in the car to ground myself in the ideas all the time. I also bought the printed book so I could have access to it in another way. Congratulations and great thanks to Dr. Elizabeth Stanley for her incredible assistance to those of us struggling with family trauma and lowered stress resiliency. I can finally get my life to be right-sized and do-able.

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Great perspective

Such a wonderful perspective to be better well regulated human beings! I learned not only how to think and feel differently about my self but also how to guide my children and support others around me! But it’s a life long practice that requires conscious effort!

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