Success in work, love, and life depends on developing habits that activate the powerful prefrontal cortex when we need it most. Unfortunately, under stress, the human brain tends to revert to emotional habits we forged in toddlerhood: blame, denial, avoidance, reacting to a jerk like a jerk, and turning our connections into cold shoulders—or worse.
In Soar Above, renowned relationship expertDr. Steven Stosny offers a ground-breaking formula for building new, pressure-resistant habits. Based on research in psychology, neurobiology, and anthropology, Stosny will show anyone how to switch to the adult brain automatically when things get tough and to soar above the impulse to make things worse. Filled with engaging examples from his lectures and therapeutic work with more than 6,000 clients, he explains how to use two potent laws of emotion interaction--reciprocity and contagion-- to inspire those around you, creating collaboration and community instead of chaos and confusion.
Most importantly, readers will learn how, through practice, they can get off the treadmill of repeating past mistakes to become their best selves at home, at work, and in the world.
Stress is inevitable in life, but this illuminating book gives anyone the practical tools to rise above.
How to access your higher brain for a better life. Arguing that many of our reactions to the circumstances around us come from habits developed during childhood, a theory Stosny (Living and Loving after Betrayal, 2013, etc.) backs with research and his own therapy sessions, the author outlines just what that toddler brain is and how to access your adult brain instead. Located in the prefrontal cortex, the adult brain matures later in life and is responsible for a variety of functions. "A relatively late addition to the species," writes Stosny, "the many specialties of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) include analysis, sensitivity to the perspectives of others, judgment, calculation, and regulation of impulses and emotions. It appraises environmental cues and organizes information to reconcile those appraisals with internal experience." Only by using this part of the brain can we "soar above" the knee-jerk responses built up over a lifetime of habits that originate when the toddler brain is in control. By understanding what we want to "appreciate, nurture and protect," we can create a better life for ourselves and the other people in our lives. Although a bit redundant in his descriptions and comparisons between the toddler brain and the adult brain, Stosny, who writes one of the most popular blogs for Psychology Today, provides valuable information for those searching for a way to break out of old constructs. By examining our feelings, we can see how a toddler's reaction of fear can harden into caution or concern in the adult, anger can shift to impatience, and shame morphs into disappointment, all negative feelings the adult brain is more capable of processing in a positive way. Increasing self-esteem and offering kindness and compassion are just some of the many suggestions Stosny recommends for his readers. In a book that will appeal to readers devoted to self-betterment, a relationship expert divides the brain into two parts and shows how to let the mature side win when under stress.—Kirkus review
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