Widen the Window

WIDEN THE WINDOW: Training Your Brain and Body to Thrive During Stress and Recover from Trauma
by Elizabeth Stanley
September 2019 – Avery / Penguin (US)

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 have disowned trauma, it explains the science of how to direct our attention to widen our windows of resilience, perform under stress, and recover from trauma.

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. 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 re-conditioned 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 readers 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.

Elizabeth Stanley is a military veteran, an associate professor of security studies at Georgetown University, and the founder of the nonprofit The Mind Fitness Training Institute.