Blog Post

Monday, 22 January, 2024

Advice for the new year: Read books, be kind & stay weird. + my first book recommendation of the year, it’s a good one!

I don't typically set New Year's resolutions, but I find inspiration in selecting a couple of impactful words to guide me throughout the year—words that serve as anchors for my priorities. This practice extends across various aspects of my life, with a primary focus on aligning with my core values. While I hold numerous values dear, condensing them into a few key words has proven to be an invaluable tool, consistently reminding me of my true self and how I want to show up in the world. I’m sure I’ll dive deeper into values at a later time so don’t worry if you're intrigued. But back to the point…

One of my words for 2024 is "intention." Specifically, I aim to share insights from some of the books I've read, am currently reading, or plan to read. Each week, I'll be featuring a book, starting with a powerful read that left a lasting impact on me in 2023: "What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing" by Oprah Winfrey and Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D.

"What Happened to You?" by Bruce Perry and Oprah Winfrey is like a deep dive into our own stories. It's not your typical self-help book; it's more like a conversation with two wise friends. Dr. Perry, a psychiatrist, and Oprah, explore how our past shapes us. They share real-life stories and scientific insights, making it easy to understand how early experiences can mess with our heads. But here's the kicker – it's not just about what happened TO us; it's about what happened FOR us. The book nudges us to reframe our stories, find resilience, and create our own healing path. It's like a warm cup of wisdom, perfect for anyone curious about the human journey.

So key points:

  • Neuroscience of Trauma
    Bruce D. Perry, a renowned psychiatrist, discusses the neuroscience behind trauma, explaining how it affects the brain and its developmental impact, particularly in childhood.
  • Impact on development
    The authors explore how early childhood experiences, especially adverse ones, can shape a person's development and impact their mental and emotional well-being.
  • Resilience and healing
    The book focuses on the concept of resilience and how individuals can overcome the effects of trauma through various therapeutic approaches, support systems, and self-awareness.
  • Empathy & Connection
    Oprah Winfrey and Bruce Perry stress the importance of empathy and human connection in the healing process, highlighting the role of relationships and understanding in promoting resilience.
  • Personal stories and conversations
    The book incorporates real-life stories and conversations between Oprah and individuals who have experienced trauma, providing a personal touch to the exploration of trauma and healing.
  • The trauma informed approach
    The authors advocate for a trauma-informed approach in various fields, encouraging a shift in how society responds to individuals who have experienced trauma, with a focus on understanding rather than judgment.
  • Cultural & social perspectives
    The book also touches on how cultural and societal factors can contribute to or alleviate trauma, emphasizing the need for a broader understanding of these influences.

Although I am just provided a list of a few of the themes that get addressed in the book. They do not do justice to how powerful the information and stories that are shared actually are. Also I highly recommend listening to the Audiobook of it. The authors read it and it’s as if you're just listening to them have a conversation. One you wish you could interrupt and ask questions, but you can’t and actually Oprah asks them all for you.

Don’t forget… Read books, be kind, stay weird!

-Stasia Romano

I'm Stasia Romano, and I am a psychotherapist and the founder of Mandala Wellness. I am probably not that different from you, just a human trying to live their best life, trying to show up and kick ass and be a positive light in the world. You know just your typical awkward, neurodiverse magic conjuring physiotherapist. I help adults figure this adulting shit out so they can let go of all the people pleasing, perfectionism and anxiety of trying to make it all look easy, cause it's not. If this is something you could use some help on, hit me up. I'd love to work with you.