Is there a hero in you?
As most of you know I love to read and research around how the body and particularly the mind works. I was in Wrexham library’s psychology section on Friday (I’m doing more research on how our minds work for my next talk ‘Power of your Mind’ on June 5th – see home page for more details) and was drawn to a black spine with the title “The Unthinkable” by Amanda Ripley on it. Certainly all my kinesiology clients will know that I don’t believe in co-incidences and if a book seems to leap out at me I always check it out. On looking at the front cover it was not inspiring – a warning sign with loads of accidents pictured in stark black on white. But then the subtitle – ‘Who survives when disaster strikes – and why’. Now I was interested – it was the ‘and why’ bit that did it. The back cover made it a must read – ‘when faced with external circumstances people behave in surprising ways. How would you react if had to survive the unthinkable?’
24 hours later (couldn’t put it down!) I have finished the book and feel compelled to write this immediately. This book is a must read if you fall into any of the following categories: a member of the armed forces, a member of the emergency services, anyone who scuba dives (professionally or recreationally), teachers, anyone who flies (as crew or passenger), anyone who is in charge of people in a work environment, anyone who works in a building that is more than 3 stories high and/or usually uses a lift to go to work, anyone who shops in a building that is more than 3 stores high and/or usually uses a lift to access the different floors, anyone who stays in an hotel that is more than 3 stories high and/or (– you get the picture!), anyone who goes on beach holidays, anyone who drives a vehicle (especially for work), anyone who is a parent, anyone who is over 65 or has people they love over 65…….. have I missed anyone out? Basically anyone who can read and is over the age of 16 should read this book. And the information should be simplified and taught to those under 16.
Do you think that I am overestimating the importance of this book and the information within? I don’t think so. None of us knows how we will react if faced with a crisis but if we know how the human brain works when stressed we can then use simple techniques that may change the outcome. This is not a doom and gloom book – yes, it covers some major disasters but in a positive way looking at what has been learned that has made differences (and in some cases what has been learned but then not put into place by authorities). It also shows that in the vast majority of cases it is the ordinary man or woman in the street who makes the greatest difference in an emergency (and also in everyday life) – not the authorities/governments etc. We need to step up to the plate and take responsibility for our own lives and not expect other people to do this for us. Who are the heroes? It turns out that probably we are.
The most important thing that I learnt from this book is the absolutely necessity of controlled breathing – and why (I’m not telling – you have to read the book!). The second most important thing I learnt is thinking of loved ones – and why. And the third most important thing I learnt has to do with practice, visualisation and just paying attention – as Buddhist monks would say ‘being in the moment’. And the fact that the occasional use of foul language can be a life saver when used appropriately!
If you think that this book may make you more scared of daily life then trust the research which shows this to be the exact opposite. Humans become less scared when they feel more in control. Although this is not a self help book – it is an absorbing collection of much research into how humans react when under extreme stress – reading this book will show you ways to be more in control of your everyday life and the mini crises that we all can experience and also ensure that if we are ever unlucky enough to encounter a major crisis we are more likely to act in a way that ensures not only our survival but that we may be a force for good to help anyone else who hasn’t read the book! And if you encounter no crises at all in your life you will still benefit because you won’t be worried about what you might do if you did (a major cause of our day to day stress currently) – because you’ll know. Happy reading.
Please comment – I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Now I’m off to test my smoke alarm……. :>)