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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

Critic Reviews

"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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What listeners say about Widen the Window

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  • Overall
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As a psychologist one of the best books ever

A detailed easy to understand explenation of stress, trauma, many problems in life. Also a good understanding of all important aspects of treatment. Just finished but I am going to listen to the book again and make many notes.

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amazing!

I love all of this, the information is clear, relevant and useful. she tells you the tools and how to implement them. The only down is she gets a bit list-y. That kind of thing is fine as long as you are okay with some redundancy. That kind of thing can be hard to listen to, however reinforces the information she puts down.

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How to find healing and create wholeness

Dr Stanley explores how stress and trauma interfere with human flourishing. Tooany of us are caught between survival brain hijack and thinking brain override, not fully in touch with reality or realizing our potential. her assertion sir will ground it and research, and her examples are compelling.

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Well done.

Great trauma awareness tool. I have every confidence the MMF protocols will be helpful practices to engage with. I will probably look into it once I have a little more stability with my basic needs - housing.

Thanks for drawing the connections between traditional mindfulness practices and the challenges some of us might face if we suffer a great deal of developmental trauma. I thought I knew a good deal about the topic but this certainly brought more connective-awareness.

Ellianna
ACE score of a 10 - For me this is not a “indictment” or a prediction of future resilience - merely just a reference point to expand compassion for myself for what I endured.

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Profound explanation of the trauma cycle

This book is a gift. It explained so clearly the detrimental and constant effects of trauma on the body, relationship, and self AND gave tools for rewiring the brain. I am so grateful to have found this gem. The book is long but WELL worth it.

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Not enough exercises

I think the author is really onto something and I'd like to do mind fit training, but the book doesn't really help that much with actually widening your window because it's mostly just theory. There needs to be more exercises in the book

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Great info. Very repetitive

The information is really valuable. It connected many concepts in my mind. For me, it would have been better at half the length. Lots of repeating of lists. And the tips for how to improve a schedule did not fit in this book. The topic is great! I kept thinking, Just stay on that topic!