The Must-Read Book Club

Jennifer Cohen Harper: I’ve known Kelly since the founding of the Yoga Service Council in 2009, which we were both a part of. We’ve stayed friends, and at the 2014 Yoga Service Conference Kelly gave a keynote presentation based on some of the ideas in this book, which she was writing at the time. The message resonated, although it was also controversial, and I looked forward to the book release. It hasn’t disappointed.

YCNYC: Favorite quote?​

JCH: “At it’s core, the tend and befriend response is a biological state engineered to reduce fear and increase hope… [it] makes you social, brave and smart… And — this is the most important part — anytime you choose to help others, you activate this state. Caring for others triggers the biology of courage and creates hope”

YCNYC: What one person would you recommend this book to?

JCH: My Mom. Not only does she have her own stressors, she has three daughters with busy complicated lives, and she tends to hold all of the stress of everyone in our family very closely.

YCNC: What moment or part resonates with you the most?

JCH: The driving force of this book is that not only can we handle the things that challenge us, but we can thrive in part because of those challenges, and during those challenges. Kelly shares such clear, practical strategies that offer a powerful path forward without discounting or minimizing how hard life can be. I particularly loved reading about how the body works to bring us together during stress. I spend a lot of time teaching people how to help kids access and strengthen their inner resources, and it’s nice to see the science saying that one of those inner resources is the ability to help other people, even, and really especially, when you’re having a hard time yourself.

You can purchase The Upside of Stress here.

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