The Transformation by James S. Gordon, MD |HarperOne {Book Review}

Book Review-76

The Transformation by James Gordon

Book Summary:

 A world-recognized authority and acclaimed mind-body medicine pioneer presents the first evidence-based program to reverse the psychological and biological damage caused by trauma.

In his role as the founder and director of The Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM), the worlds largest and most effective program for healing population-wide trauma, Harvard-trained psychiatrist James Gordon has taught a curriculum that has alleviated trauma to populations as diverse as refugees and survivors of war in Bosnia, Kosovo, Israel, Gaza, and Syria, as well as Native Americans on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, New York City firefighters and their families, and members of the U. S. military. Dr. Gordon and his team have also used their work to help middle-class professionals, stay-at-home mothers, inner-city children of color, White House officials, medical students, and people struggling with severe emotional and physical illnesses.

The Transformation represents the culmination of Dr. Gordon’s fifty years as a mind-body medicine pioneer and an advocate of integrative approaches to overcoming psychological trauma and stress. Offering inspirational stories, eye-opening research, and innovative prescriptive support, The Transformation makes accessible for the first time the methods that Dr. Gordon—with the help of his faculty of 160, and 6,000 trained clinicians, educators, and community leaders—has developed and used to relieve the suffering of hundreds of thousands of adults and children around the world.

Publication Date:

September 10th, 2019

Genre:

Self-Help, Healing, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Book Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

My Review:

discovering wholeness and healing after trauma

When I was offered a copy of The Transformation in exchange for an honest review, I jumped at the chance. Trauma is often misunderstood and not only does Dr. Gordon give a wonderful explanation about what it can look like, but he also shares how we can indeed heal from it.

This book is readable while also being informative. Gordon shares a wonderful balance of stories, research, and techniques which as the reader can help you feel heard while also feeling like a proactive step in your own healing. His writing is also very accessible as someone who does not work in the medical field.

Gordon starts off by discussing the misconceptions of psychological trauma. He has a wonderful way of explaining that while it may look very different for people, it is something that can or will affect almost everyone in some capacity throughout one’s life. While this may sound dire, it can also help someone feel less alone.

“Trauma comes to all of us, and its consequences can be terrible. That’s the truth and the bad news. The good news is that all of us can use tools of self-awareness and self-care to heal our trauma and, indeed, to become healthier and more whole than we’ve ever been. If we accept the pain that trauma inflicts, it can open our minds and bodies to healing change-Our broken hearts can be open with tender consideration and new love for others, as well as ourselves.” -James Gordon, MD

Instead of subduing our fears, anger, and sadness, which can cause us to feel stuck, Gordon teaches us that there are alternatives. These new processes allow us to express emotions, become aware and deal with these emotions and also learn from them. When we learn how to use this emotion cycle, it can become a way for us to not only deal with past trauma but navigate it in the future.

trauma healing

Gordon incorporates many things like soft belly breathing, movement(shaking and dancing), connecting with nature and diet into his practices and it was fascinating how powerful these tools can be.

As someone who successfully uses medication for anxiety, I also appreciated that while Gordon emphasizes the importance of these more natural coping mechanisms, he isn’t against medication which can often be a very important part of someone’s healing and ongoing wellbeing. His approach is well rounded and I appreciated his balance between both traditional and more holistic practices.

I loved learning more about this thoughtful and compassionate approach towards something that has affected not only my life but many people around me and I highly recommend this.

Thank you to Dr. Gordon and FSB Associates for an advanced copy of this book. All opinions are my own. 

self-help books, healing

Limitless Mind by Jo Boaler | HarperCollins | Book Review

self help and personal growth

Limitless Mind by Jo Boaler

Book Summary:

“When we learn, we change what we believe and how we interact with the world. This changes who we are as people and what we can achieve.

Many people grow up being told they are ‘not a maths person’ or perhaps ‘not smart’. They come to believe their potential is limited.

Now, however, the latest science has revealed that our identities are constantly in flux; when we learn new things, we can change our identities, increase our potential and broaden our capacity to receive new information.

Drawing from the latest research, Professor Boaler followed thousands of school students, studied their learning practices and examined the most effective ways to transform pupils from low to high achievers. Throughout her study, Boaler has collaborated with Stanford University neuroscience experts, harnessing their expertise to reinforce her advanced understanding of learning and educational development.

In Limitless Mind, Boaler presents original groundbreaking research that proves that limiting beliefs really do hold us back from fulfilling our potential and that with a few careful life hacks we can transform our potential for good.”

Publication Date:

September 3rd, 2019

Genre:

Self-Help & Personal Growth

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

My Review:

Limitless Mind by Jo Boaler presents the idea that brains are not fixed from birth. Boaler shares research and studies that back up this message as well as how this can help us move from the fixed brain mindset to the brain growth mindset as learners.

Jo Boaler Ph.D.

Jo Boaler is a professor at Stanford and backs up her book with a plethora of research. She shares this information in an accessible manner that is readable for someone who is not an academic in her fields of work. She breaks down her message into accessible chapters that help us better understand this newer research.

When We Learn We Develop New Pathways In Our Brains…

The crux of her book is the idea that when we learn and push ourselves, we develop new pathways in our brains. We are not born with brains that are made to be good (or not) at certain subjects but we actually develop them, and this ability never stops. Our brains are constantly growing and this happens by stepping outside our comfort zones.

Pushing Through Struggles

We can do this by pushing ourselves in areas that are challenging and pushing through struggles and even mistakes. As we do this, the pathways in our brains are delicate but the more deeply we use these pathways the stronger they become. This message is the push for why struggle and mistakes are actually beneficial and allow our brains to continue to grow.

When we face challenging situations, rather than fear causing us to turn around, forge ahead, knowing these are the situations that help brain growth. Mistakes are a part of our everyday lives but many of us have grown up to think of mistakes as things are “bad” and something we should try and avoid.

Mistakes Are A Good Thing!

Boaler encourages mistakes and strongly feels that facing obstacles is how we can learn and thrive. When we struggle, our brains are more active and are working harder than when we are just in” autopilot” mode. When we are able to change our perspective on failure, we are able to live a more limitless life and continue on the path to improve and grow.

Life gives us endless moments where we can learn, grow and connect. Mistakes can help us be determined, proactive and move forward. Boaler shares that we are often unmotivated in areas where at one time someone or something gave us the idea that we couldn’t be successful. I found this message to be so motivating and inspiring.

Lifelong Learning & Growing

As someone who has spent much of my academic life feeling like I wasn’t “good” at certain subjects, this book is such a wonderful reminder that life long learning and growing can not only help us live fuller lives but the things we can master are, indeed, limitless.

Thank you to NetGalley, HarperCollins and Jo Boaler for an advanced copy to review. All opinions are my own.

Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Amelia & Emily Nagoski | Book Review

Burnout by Emily & Amelia Nagoski

Burnout, audiobook, book review

Book Summary:

“This groundbreaking book explains why women experience burnout differently than men—and provides a simple, science-based plan to help women minimize stress, manage emotions, and live a more joyful life.

Burnout. Many women in America have experienced it. What’s expected of women and what it’s really like to be a woman in today’s world are two very different things—and women exhaust themselves trying to close the gap between them. How can you “love your body” when every magazine cover has ten diet tips for becoming “your best self”? How do you “lean in” at work when you’re already operating at 110 percent and aren’t recognized for it? How can you live happily and healthily in a sexist world that is constantly telling you you’re too fat, too needy, too noisy, and too selfish?

Sisters Emily Nagoski, PhD, and Amelia Nagoski, DMA, are here to help end the cycle of feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Instead of asking us to ignore the very real obstacles and societal pressures that stand between women and well-being, they explain with compassion and optimism what we’re up against—and show us how to fight back. In these pages you’ll learn

• what you can do to complete the biological stress cycle—and return your body to a state of relaxation
• how to manage the “monitor” in your brain that regulates the emotion of frustration
• how the Bikini Industrial Complex makes it difficult for women to love their bodies—and how to defend yourself against it
• why rest, human connection, and befriending your inner critic are keys to recovering and preventing burnout

With the help of eye-opening science, prescriptive advice, and helpful worksheets and exercises, all women will find something transformative in these pages—and will be empowered to create positive change. Emily and Amelia aren’t here to preach the broad platitudes of expensive self-care or insist that we strive for the impossible goal of “having it all.” Instead, they tell us that we are enough, just as we are—and that wellness, true wellness, is within our reach.”

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

My Review:

10 Things to Tell You Podcast

I learned about Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle on the 10 Things To Tell You Podcast episode about anxiety. I listened to this book on audio and while I think their intentions were good, I think listeners are either going to love their narration style, or not….for me, I was somewhere in the middle.

I did think the information they shared was fabulous and the explanation of completing the actual stress cycle was brilliant. Honestly, I had never thought about it in that way before and it makes SO much sense. That section alone made this book super helpful to me and I have been recommending it to so many friends.

They also included some great practical advice about choices we CAN make when we can’t always control outside stress in our lives. While it may not have been earth-shattering information, it was a great reminder of the things that we have control over in our own lives. Suggestions like prioritizing sleep, connecting with others, and showing yourself compassion are such powerful and attainable things we can do right away to help our own responses to external stressors.

There is a big emphasis on “the patriarchy” in this book. I found that it was not the most powerful part for me as a reader but it certainly was beneficial in some ways. I think this book would have been strong enough without that section because the stress cycle parts were so hugely beneficial to me. All that said, there certainly is validity in how patriarchy affects women’s daily stress.

If you are looking for a book either as a refresher on stress management or if you are feeling like you need some new tools for handling daily stressors, I highly recommend checking this one out.