In 2012, suicide surpassed automobile accidents as the leading cause of injury death among Americans. One third of this nation’s employees report debilitating stress, and fully half of “millenials” (18 – 33 years old) claim it’s keeping us awake at night.
Multiply that by the chronic health issues like cancer and heart disease for which stress can be a deadly trigger – not to mention the growing number of antidepressant prescriptions for adults and children alike – and the picture is horribly clear: we have an epidemic of stress underlying most, if not all, of the ills of our modern age. (In the words of comedian Joe Rogan, “We have a mental health problem disguised as a gun problem.”)
Imagine for a moment a world in which our soldiers and emergency first responders are taught to manage their stress so they don’t escalate violent situations or suffer from untreated lifelong trauma. Imagine a world in which our politicians and judges learn to ground themselves and view their thoughts from a place of neutrality. Imagine how much healthier this world would be. How much more peaceful.
This is the world to which Lisa Wimberger has dedicated her life. Her book, New Beliefs, New Brain (Divine Arts Media, 2012), is the fruit of that life – an accessible and empowering workbook to “free yourself from stress and fear.”
Stress is contagious, but luckily we have inherited a world’s worth of wisdom traditions that teach us how to manage the stories we tell ourselves, so the inherent drama of living doesn’t have to slowly kill us. In New Beliefs, New Brain, Lisa gathers a potent toolkit of these methods and makes them available in plain language. She not only explains the neurological theory behind how stress leads to second-order health consequences, but also how the techniques she teaches police officers and government officials really work to rewrite destructive patterns of thinking, liberating that mental energy to serve us in our lives.
Lisa is not speaking from some theoretical armchair, either; a sizeable portion of this book is dedicated to her story, which is no light reading. She speaks from a place of authenticity, through the archetype of the Wounded Healer – this is someone who has struggled with post-traumatic stress and crippling anxiety throughout her life – and her utterly vulnerable and transparent writing about these difficult topics helps establish a sense of trust and familiarity between author and audience all too rare among “self-help” titles.
The exercises themselves are deceptively simple – variations on techniques for grounding, cleansing, setting personal boundaries, and neutralizing intense emotions that will be familiar to many. It is in Lisa’s thorough, patient, lucid prose that this book truly shines. It is an excellent primer on both the very real danger that chronic stress poses to a person’s health and happiness, and the simple, persistent routines that address and dissolve that danger. Appealing to both left-brain scientific language and right-brain emotional narrative, she makes it plain to anyone that chronic stress is not forever, and there is hope for anyone willing to take the steps.
You can heal yourself. New Beliefs, New Brain teaches you how.
Social readers can also join the discussion about Lisa’s work at the New Beliefs, New Brain Facebook page.
Here is Lisa introducing her book in her own words: