manage stress

How Parents Can Better Manage Stress and Recover from Trauma

Elizabeth Stanley, PhD, shares a researched-backed method for helping parents manage stress

by Steve Silvestro, MD  @zendocsteve


It goes without saying that the ability to manage stress and recover from trauma would certainly come in handy these days.

For parents, these skills of mental resilience are important even in “normal times,” as our kids learn how to handle challenges and stress by watching what we do in front of them. And yet the very act of being a parent—dealing with tantrums, poor sleep, questions about behavior and big decisions to make—is stressful in and of itself.

How can parents learn to manage stress in a healthy way that’s also good for their kids?

My guest in this episode has an answer. Elizabeth Stanley, PhD is Associate Professor of Security Studies at Georgetown University, a military veteran, author, and the creator of Mindfulness-Based Mind Fitness Training.

And in her most recent book, Widen the Window: Training Your Brain and Body to Thrive During Stress and Recover from Trauma, Dr. Stanley outlines a powerful approach to help you cope with stress, become less driven by compulsions and emotions, recover from trauma, and enhance your resilience so you can live a truly whole life once more. This is so useful for all of us as parents—especially right now—and arming our kids with these skills would be like giving them superpowers.

If you’ve ever felt stress as a parent (and who hasn’t?), you need to hear this conversation.

Take a listen on your favorite podcast app or in the player below:


In This Episode, We Talk About:

  • The life experiences that led Dr. Stanley to study conflict & trauma—and how losing her eyesight was a massive wake-up call that changed her life
  • How thinking about the difference between our “thinking brain” and our “survival brain” can help us understand stress and trauma
  • Why thinking your way out of stress doesn’t always help
  • The importance of not judging situations that get challenging
  • What the “Window of Stress Tolerance” is & how it develops throughout our lives—beginning in the womb
  • What happens when that window is too narrow + how we can “widen the window”
  • How certain cultural norms make us think we’re resilient when we’re actually harming our ability to handle stress
  • How to recover from chronic stress
  • Why some of the most impactful fixes in our lives are the simplest—and why we overlook them
  • What Mindfulness-based Mind Fitness Training is
  • Why it can actually be good for parents to occasionally fight in front of their kids
  • …and a whole lot more!

Scroll up to the player above to listen, or hear it on your favorite podcast app!

Tag me on FacebookInstagramTwitter, or LinkedIn, and let me know what you think about my conversation with Dr. Elizabeth Stanley!

Important Resources for You to Use:

Dr. Stanley’s Info, Book, and Course

Additional Books

Related Child Repair Guide Episodes

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How Parents Can Better Manage Stress and Recover from Trauma - with Dr. Elizabeth Stanley