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Opposites of Fear in Extreme Distress – Being Brave, Being Safe 

Opposites of Fear in Extreme Distress – Being Brave, Being Safe 

I was recently interviewed by Hesna Al Ghaoui, former war correspondent for Hungarian television, now a Fulbright scholar at the University of California-Berkeley, studying fear. Hesna found me through my book Bouncing Back on Audible. We had a mutually illuminating conversation about resilience and post-traumatic growth based on her years of experience covering soldiers and refugees in Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, etc., and her research now on how to “fear bravely” and keep the higher brain online to make decisions, even under fire, even in extreme distress.

In looking for ways people can manage fear in extremely difficult, even dangerous situations, we came back again and again to the importance of safe connection and safe touch to antidote the cortisol and adrenalin activating the survival responses of fight-flight. Hesna focused on Hand on the Heart and Havening as tools even children can use, even when not speaking the same language as volunteers teaching them in refugee camps. 

Brainstorming with Hesna was another step in my own being “woke” to how resources for recovering resilience can continue to evolve beyond the very individual, intrapersonal tools I teach my clients and in my workshops.

I’ll still be teaching those tools in upcoming trainings:

May 20-22 online Resilience: The Neuroscience of Coping with Disappointment, Difficulty, even Disaster for Professional Counseling and Psychotherapy Seminars of Ireland

June 3-5 in-person The Resilience Mindset for Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, Stockbridge, MA

June 27-July 1 in-person The Resilience Mindset for Cape Cod Institute, Cape Cod, MA

And continuing to learn how to strengthen our capacities for resilience as we emerge from the two years+ of pandemic into a world that is not quite stable on its axis. Meeting the fear and anxiety of so much uncertainty with deeper and safer connections to our fellow human beings.