The Age of Overwhelm: Strategies for the Long Haul (Paperback)
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Whether we are overwhelmed by work or school; our families or communities; caretaking for others or ourselves; or engagement in social justice, environmental advocacy, or civil service, just a few subtle shifts can help sustain us. Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, bestselling author of Trauma Stewardship, shows us how by offering concrete strategies to help us mitigate harm, cultivate our ability to be decent and equitable, and act with integrity. The Age of Overwhelm aims to help ease our burden of overwhelm, restore our perspective, and give us strength to navigate what is yet to come.
About the Author
Laura van Dernoot Lipsky is the founding director of the Trauma Stewardship Institute and author of the best-selling book Trauma Stewardship. Widely recognized as a pioneer in the field of trauma exposure, she has worked with individuals, systems, and communities around the world for more than three decades.
Laura became one of the first to speak publicly on the connection between environmental science and trauma and the toll exacted on individuals and organizations as they witness mass extinction, irreversible ecological losses, or other forms of human encroachment. Simultaneously, she has long been an activist engaged in movements for social and environmental justice, and has taught on issues surrounding systematic oppression and liberation theory. Her TED Talk--distilling some of the themes she shares to help people who have experienced human and environmental trauma find their way through--was one of the first to be delivered inside a women's correctional facility.
Laura is an advisor for several nonprofit boards, an associate producer of the award-winning film A Lot Like You, and was given a Yo! Mama award in recognition of her work as a community-activist mother.
“For those who battle worrying over everything from daily to global issues, best-selling author Lipsky (Trauma Stewardship) says the first step is to separate what is and isn’t within our control; the second step is to act on that which is in our power to change and relinquish what is not. Combining New Yorker cartoons and sage advice, Lipsky moves readers through the process of minimizing distraction and heightening intention. By paring away the unnecessary, advises the author, people do less of what erodes them and more of what sustains them, asserting that only then can we be a force for good in the world. VERDICT An engaging read that will appeal to anyone who is feeling overwhelmed and looking for support.”
— Library Journal
"The truth is that there is almost no place left to hide from overwhelm. The media is constantly asking us to be upset about something new. Our neighbors attempt to relieve their stress by making nerve-shattering noise all night. If you move to an unpopulated rural area to escape the overstimulation, the next thing you know they’re building a high-density housing development next door, or illegally dumping toxic waste in your backyard, or using eminent domain to take your home and put a superhighway through. Overwhelm is becoming the definitive problem of our age. This book asks readers who are overwhelmed to begin their recovery process by believing in change (individual and collective change). But before you cross this book off as just another “change yourself, change the world” musing, consider the real-world applications which Lipsky has created. Building on her cutting-edge work with trauma exposure (Trauma Stewardship), she has developed clear-cut guidelines for digging out from under overwhelm and reclaiming a sense of balance and empowerment. Let your customers know that she’ll help them learn how to recognize what they can and can’t control, how to take a moment to recalibrate, and how to remember that they are ultimately responsible for responding appropriately to their situation. With examples, from the segregated south to The Gates Foundation, she shows how seemingly small individual actions, ripple through people’s lives with ongoing manifestation. Lipsky shows us that we can do this if we are willing to try."
— Anna Jedrziewski, Retailing Insight
“From tips on how to disconnect less and be in the world more to better handling distraction to encourage focus and higher energy, this provides a powerful testimony to the force of positive thinking and retaking control of one's life, and is highly recommended for anyone who would tackle modern pressures with a more effective game plan.”
– Midwest Book Review
“Scientists worldwide are devastated by the knowledge that humans are causing the mass extinction of life on earth. However, in the face of epic overwhelm, this thoughtful, generous, and inspiring book offers a path forward and a ray of hope for all of us.”
— Dr. Vance Vredenburg, Professor of Biology, San Francisco State University; University of California Berkeley; and the California Academy of Sciences
“This is a useful guide for managing the perpetual, trademark overwhelm of adolescence, and it also realistically addresses my experience as a first generation Ethiopian American. With specific ideas to help shift attitudes and habits, this book is a great resource for teens and adults alike.”
— Faisal Mustafa, high school student
“As a reminder that we must tend to our own needs so that we can be fully present for others, this book is of great significance. The Age of Overwhelm should be within hand’s reach of every judge’s bench, every court administrator’s desk, or anyone serving others in trauma-saturated environments. It’s a timely resource for us all.”
— Hon. Elizabeth Berns, King County Superior Court
“This resource is an invaluable addition to our personal tool kit, offering direction to help us recognize and address chronic exposure to stress within our lives and our world, and providing important guidance to help reduce and heal that stress.”
— Dr. Arne Graff, Division Chair, Child Abuse Pediatrics, Mayo Clinic
“The Age of Overwhelm tells the truth about how today’s culture of overdrive, distraction, rapid response, and scarcity affects our lives, our relationships, and our well-being. This book shows us how to not just cope and survive, but how we can thrive by creating conditions for more contented lives.”
— Deepa Iyer, author of We Too Sing America
“With this profound and critically important book, Laura shows us how to maintain hope, well-being, and integrity when faced with challenges greater than we can solve on our own. Laura's first book, Trauma Stewardship, has become a cornerstone for the international community. The Age of Overwhelm will, without a doubt, do the same.”
— Françoise Mathieu, author of The Compassion Fatigue Workbook