The Books That Helped Me Transition from Trauma to Triumph: A Book Review Series – “Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life”

As I sat here contemplating ideas for my next article, I glanced around my sacred writing space only to find myself staring at a beautiful stack of books. This assorted collection of signed copies of books, written by my podcast guests, their pages filled with the light of hope and healing, reminded me how a perfectly timed read can truly change a life. I am that person who makes a book my own by highlighting those ah-ha phrases or drawing five giant stars on a page so I can easily flip through the book to find those “spoke to my soul” words.

Today my eyes fell upon the small stack to the left of my podcast guests’ collection. And there it was . . . Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao by Dr. Wayne Dyer. A deep, poetic, powerful, life-altering translation of the Tao Te Ching. While I can go on about what the Tao is and give you the low-down on its original author, Lao-tzu, I will merely allow you the opportunity to discover it for yourself in the reading of Dr. Dyer’s book, just as I did.

Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao

Instead I want to share its impact on me and my healing journey. Perhaps then you will be inspired to pick it up yourself and allow a similar transition to happen for you. There were many more books, which I will review in this series, which have had a powerful affect on my journey, such as Bessel van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma and The Power of Now: The Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle.

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

I have been saying for awhile now that I finally learned to “find the gifts within the chaos,” meaning I am now able to search for the positives that resulted from traumatic or what I used to only perceive as negative events or circumstances in my life. I told my sister the other day that I now look for the positivities of growing up with an addict as a parent. Instead of seeing an alcoholic who struggled to offer her children emotional support, a mother who dished out criticism as a “joke,” one who chose nights out partying with co-workers over tucking her children into bed, I now say to myself:

My mom worked six days a week; she taught me work ethic. My mom drank after work with her followers and fans; she taught me loyalty to friendships. My mom was a partier; she taught me how to entertain. My mom was traumatized, too; she taught me how to keep going in the face of adversity. My mom was a “Jesus-freak”; she taught me how to believe even when in doubt.

Learning to find my gifts within my chaos has changed everything. Everything.

In the preface of Dr. Dyer’s book, is the following quote from one of his journal entries, which speaks directly to this philosophy:

Nature doesn’t create a storm that never ends. Within misfortune, good fortune hides.

Dr. Wayne Dyer

This review will be poetic in nature as I could truly write another book in response to this book’s based on my highlights and exclamation points and stars scribbled onto its pages. Here is my simplistic analysis of the first twenty verses as translated by Dr. Dyer and how I try to live them based upon the lessons I learned in their depth:

I try to be present in the moment.

I live to be me and the universe simultaneously.

I want to serve others.

I observe.

I give the gift of myself.

I let my creativity radiate.

I try to meet the needs of others.

I allow my thoughts to flow freely.

I seek joy in the act of doing in lieu of the results.

I let go of what is mine so it may become someone else’s.

I allow silence.

I treasure what is within rather than what I can possess.

I trust my own perceptions of me.

I practice walking meditations.

I allow my life to unfold as planned.

I observe life.

I allow others to travel their own path.

I am virtue, not virtuous.

I learn to let go of attachment through generosity.

I let go and let God.

There are eighty-one verses total.

Eighty-one gifts.

Eighty-one powerful lessons surrounded by and filled with an infinite number more. Different for all. Yet, the same.

I hope you gift yourself this transformative translation of the Tao.

The Ten Books That Changed My Life – Healing ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and Building Resilience

After struggling with severe panic attacks for over twenty-five years, following horrific trauma during my first twenty-two years of life, I finally found my way onto the healing path in 2013. I began EMDR therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) along with reading everything I could on trauma-recovery. I began practicing mindfulness exercises, meditation, yoga, tapping (or EFT), and many other healing modalities in order to “fill my coping skills tool box.”

Following is a list of those books that had a profound impact on my life and have helped me create a life filled with tranquility and joy. While I may not have agreed with every word written, I did find powerful answers, delicious little tidbits, and inspirational guidance within each book.

I am always amazed when my podcast guests refer to these same books during our interviews. I would love to know if you have read any of these empowering books and their impact on your healing journey: https://teriwellbrock.com/contact-us/ .

I wish you continued healing and success in finding the tools that best help you along your path to recovery.

Trauma is a fact of life. Veterans and their families deal with the painful aftermath of combat; one in five Americans has been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence. Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, one of the world’s foremost experts on trauma, has spent over three decades working with survivors. In The Body Keeps the Score, he uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust. He explores innovative treatments—from neurofeedback and meditation to sports, drama, and yoga—that offer new paths to recovery by activating the brain’s natural neuroplasticity. Based on Dr. van der Kolk’s own research and that of other leading specialists, The Body Keeps the Score exposes the tremendous power of our relationships both to hurt and to heal—and offers new hope for reclaiming lives.

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You are not doomed by your genes and hardwired to be a certain way for the rest of your life. A new science is emerging that empowers all human beings to create the reality they choose. In Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, renowned author, speaker, researcher, and chiropractor Dr. Joe Dispenza combines the fields of quantum physics, neuroscience, brain chemistry, biology, and genetics to show you what is truly possible. Not only will you be given the necessary knowledge to change any aspect of yourself, but you will be taught the step-by-step tools to apply what you learn in order to make measurable changes in any area of your life. Dr. Joe demystifies ancient understandings and bridges the gap between science and spirituality. Through his powerful workshops and lectures, thousands of people in 24 different countries have used these principles to change from the inside out. Once you break the habit of being yourself and truly change your mind, your life will never be the same!

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In The Power of Habit, award-winning business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. Distilling vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives that take us from the boardrooms of Procter & Gamble to the sidelines of the NFL to the front lines of the civil rights movement, Duhigg presents a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential. At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, being more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. As Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.

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In this beautiful and lucid guide, Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh offers gentle anecdotes and practical exercise as a means of learning the skills of mindfulness–being awake and fully aware. From washing the dishes to answering the phone to peeling an orange, he reminds us that each moment holds within it an opportunity to work toward greater self-understanding and peacefulness.

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A totally accessible user’s guide from the creator of a scientifically proven form of psychotherapy that has successfully treated millions of people worldwide.

Whether we’ve experienced small setbacks or major traumas, we are all influenced by memories and experiences we may not remember or don’t fully understand. Getting Past Your Past offers practical procedures that demystify the human condition and empower readers looking to achieve real change.

Shapiro, the creator of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), explains how our personalities develop and why we become trapped into feeling, believing and acting in ways that don’t serve us. Through detailed examples and exercises readers will learn to understand themselves, and why the people in their lives act the way they do. Most importantly, readers will also learn techniques to improve their relationships, break through emotional barriers, overcome limitations and excel in ways taught to Olympic athletes, successful executives and performers.

An easy conversational style, humor and fascinating real life stories make it simple to understand the brain science, why we get stuck in various ways and what to do about it. Don’t let yourself be run by unconscious and automatic reactions. Read the reviews below from award winners, researchers, academics and best selling authors to learn how to take control of your life.

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How can we live our lives when everything seems to fall apart—when we are continually overcome by fear, anxiety, and pain? The answer, Pema Chödrön suggests, might be just the opposite of what you expect. Here, in her most beloved and acclaimed work, Pema shows that moving toward painful situations and becoming intimate with them can open up our hearts in ways we never before imagined. Drawing from traditional Buddhist wisdom, she offers life-changing tools for transforming suffering and negative patterns into habitual ease and boundless joy.

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Waking the Tiger offers a new and hopeful vision of trauma. It views the human animal as a unique being, endowed with an instinctual capacity. It asks and answers an intriguing question: why are animals in the wild, though threatened routinely, rarely traumatized? By understanding the dynamics that make wild animals virtually immune to traumatic symptoms, the mystery of human trauma is revealed.

Waking the Tiger normalizes the symptoms of trauma and the steps needed to heal them. People are often traumatized by seemingly ordinary experiences. The reader is taken on a guided tour of the subtle, yet powerful impulses that govern our responses to overwhelming life events. To do this, it employs a series of exercises that help us focus on bodily sensations. Through heightened awareness of these sensations trauma can be healed.

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An astonishing new science called “neuroplasticity” is overthrowing the centuries-old notion that the human brain is immutable. In this revolutionary look at the brain, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Norman Doidge, M.D., provides an introduction to both the brilliant scientists championing neuroplasticity and the people whose lives they’ve transformed. From stroke patients learning to speak again to the remarkable case of a woman born with half a brain that rewired itself to work as a whole, The Brain That Changes Itself will permanently alter the way we look at our brains, human nature, and human potential.

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The fear of abandonment is one of our most primal fears, and deservedly so. Its pain is often overwhelming, and can leave its mark on the rest of your life. In the midst of the hurt, it’s hard to see an end to your feelings of rejection, shame, and betrayal.
 
In this updated edition of the groundbreaking book, Susan Anderson, a therapist who has specialized in helping people with loss, heartbreak, and abandonment for more than thirty years, shares recent discoveries in neuroscience that help put your pain in perspective. It is designed to help all victims of emotional breakups—whether you are suffering from a recent loss, or a lingering wound from the past; whether you are caught up in patterns that sabotage your own relationships, or you’re in a relationship in which you no longer feel loved. From the first stunning blow to starting over, it provides a complete program for abandonment recovery.
 
Going beyond comforting words to promote real change, this healing process will help you work through the five universal stages of abandonment—shattering, withdrawal, internalizing, rage, lifting—by understanding their biochemical and behavioral origins and implications. New hands-on exercises for improving your life will teach you how to manage the inevitable pain, then go on to build a whole new concept of self, increase your capacity for love, and find new love on a deeper and richer level than ever before.

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A leading neuroplasticity researcher and the coauthor of the groundbreaking books Brain Lock and The Mind and the Brain, Jeffrey M. Schwartz has spent his career studying the human brain. He pioneered the first mindfulness-based treatment program for people suffering from OCD, teaching patients how to achieve long-term relief from their compulsions.

Schwartz works with psychiatrist Rebecca Gladding to refine a program that successfully explains how the brain works and why we often feel besieged by overactive brain circuits (i.e. bad habits, social anxieties, etc.) the key to making life changes that you want—to make your brain work for you—is to consciously choose to “starve” these circuits of focused attention, thereby decreasing their influence and strength.

You Are Not Your Brain carefully outlines their program, showing readers how to identify negative impulses, channel them through the power of focused attention, and ultimately lead more fulfilling and empowered lives.

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