embracing unrest:

Harness Vulnerability to Tame Anxiety and Spark Growth

Stop bracing against life and feel more alive to the moment.
Whether you feel disconnected, distracted, overwhelmed, or anxious, or if you never worry but instead push yourself too hard and sometimes wonder what it’s all for, Embracing Unrest shows you how to use unrest as an invitation to come home to your body and matter. Despite abundant advice to be mindful, many of us still struggle to “be present”. Experience avoidance has created an epidemic of anxiety, apathy and disconnection. Why is it so hard to experience our inner lives? The answer is in our bodies: an almost imperceptible spike in our nervous system ejects us precisely as growth is calling. We all have unrest. When confronted with vulnerability our nervous systems spike to call us home. But rather than heed that invitation to tune in, we unconsciously orient outward, looking for danger.

Answering the question:
Why is it so hard to “be here”?

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Within you is a remarkable force for growth. All you need to do is learn to embrace it.

Through her thirty years of clinical practice, psychologist Dr. Sandra Parker has seen how what troubles us arises from everything we do to avoid experiencing the vulnerability of our inner lives. Anxiety, intimacy problems, and depression all stem from the conscious and unconscious ways we bypass our experiences.

Do you feel free to follow your dreams or are you hampered by self-doubt? Can you stay present in the moment, or are you tormented by worry or regret or a frantic need to keep busy? Do you feel hopeless or self-attacking when faced with your human vulnerability? Does it seem you ought to feel more joy than you do? Can you let in the love of others? Can you connect with the larger world and feel engaged and empowered to make a difference? Are you living the meaningful life you long for? Or have you settled for getting by?

In Embracing Unrest, Parker shows you how the answers to your questions are inside you, heralded by a tiny signal that holds the key to your growth. By getting to know the call of unrest, you harness a power that helps you alleviate anxiety and panic, numbness and depression, as you come alive to the promise of your own potential to live more fully.

Drawing on brain science and using proven techniques derived from her extensive experience helping others, here Parker teaches you how to slow down enough to recognize the moment when you need to pay attention to your body’s signals, to accept your emotions, and the utterly transformational power of mattering deeply to yourself.

Embracing Unrest will help you catch yourself just as you are being ejected from the moment.

You’ll learn when and how to tune into your body to counter the reflex to avoid inner experience.

You will be able to differentiate unrest from healthy fear and unhealthy anxiety and use unrest as your doorway to feeling deeply, living bravely and becoming all you are meant to become.

Dr.Sandra Parker the Author

Helping grow capacities for bearing the beauty and pain of our human vulnerability is my passion and calling. For over thirty years, as a psychologist, I’ve helped people turn toward their inner experience with compassion and curiosity. My book, Embracing Unrest: Harness Vulnerability to Tame Anxiety and Spark Growth, reveals an almost universal and often undetected signal meant to call us into the moment but, paradoxically (and unfortunately), ejects us from it. In facilitating groups for people who struggle with panic episodes I came to see that “fear of fear” is the root, not only of panic disorder, but of all the suffering we endure. We unconsciously move away from what we feel when our nervous system spikes, and that experience avoidance is at the heart of what creates our suffering.

… what others say about the book “embracing unrest” 

Dr. Gordon Neufeld

Best-selling author (with Dr. Gabor Mate) of Hold Onto Your Kids: Why Parents Matter More Than Peers, and founder of the Neufeld Institute

“The rest we seek can only be found if we turn around to head into the very feelings we have been running away from. A frightening thought to be sure, but Dr. Parker eases our alarm with a generous invitation to embrace our most vulnerable selves, heart-warming stories to illustrate the journey, and practical suggestions to guide our way.  Many thanks to Sandra for this much needed assurance and encouragement that embracing our vulnerability is indeed worth it!” 

Jennifer Louden

National best-selling author The Woman's Comfort Book, Why Bother? Discover the Desire for What's Next

“From page one, I was in love with Embracing Unrest and highlighting the heck out of Sandra’s insights.

As someone who believes the body is the way to real change and lasting insight, I can’t recommend this book highly enough.

I believe this book has the power to change your life and our hurting world.”

Dr. Ronald D. Siegel

Assistant Professor of Psychology, part time, Harvard Medical School Author, The Extraordinary Gift of Being Ordinary: Finding Happiness Right Where You Are

“With keen insight, compassion, and disarming honesty, Dr. Parker has distilled her deep wisdom born of years of clinical practice and personal investigation into a step-by-step guide to authentically connecting with ourselves. This book can help almost anyone live a richer, more engaged, more empowered life by tapping our inner healing potential while boldly facing the enormous challenges of being human.

Rick Hanson, Ph.D

New York Times bestselling author of Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness, and Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm and Confidence

“This deeply touching and beautifully written book shows us how to bring acceptance and tender support to every part of ourselves, for healing and happiness and love. Grounded in science, endlessly practical and effective, and full of inspiring stories, it’s a gem.”

Susan Warren Warshow

LCSW, Founder, DEFT Institute, and author, A Therapist’s Handbook to Dissolve Shame and Defense: Master the Moment

“If only everyone would read this book! Dr. Parker’s richly informed and beautiful writing voice inspires us to ride the roller coaster of life by leaning into its terrifying turns, dips, and upward climbs while trusting the full range of our feelings to take us safely home. She courageously shares her darkest hours and has lived what she teaches.

Dr. Parker implores us to embrace unrest by tuning in to the most crucial resources of our lifetime, our bodily signals and emotions.  She beckons us with compassion and tenderness toward a profoundly nourishing relationship with ourselves.”

Jon Frederickson

Best-selling author, The Lies We Tell Ourselves: How to Face the Truth, Accept Yourself, and Create a Better Life; Co-Creating Change: Effective Dynamic Therapy Techniques; and Co-Creating Safety: Healing the Fragile Patient.

Embracing Unrest points to the wisdom within ourselves that we have not yet listened to. But how do we do that? We need to listen to our vulnerability with the ear of the heart. With great gentleness, Dr. Parker invites us to use the physical experience of unrest as a cue to pay inner attention to soothe the body and harness emotion. If we can slow down, tune into, and listen to our bodies, we can receive the information the mind does not yet have. If you’ve wondered how to tune into your feelings to find the relief you seek, this book offers powerful guidance to help you feel deeply and live fully.”

Dr. Bal Pawa

Physician, best-selling Author of The Mind-Body Cure

“The mind and body are intimately linked for health and well-being, and this powerful book introduces a very subtle, yet extremely important inner signal to help us tune in to ourselves. Embracing unrest is the ultimate self-regulation practice that holds the key to sustainable mental and physical health.

Dr. Parker skillfully navigates her readers to explore emotions and experience and what it means to be fully present in our daily lives.”

Nicole Williams

Career expert and bestselling author Wildly Sophisticated, Earn What You’re Worth and Girl on Top

“This beautiful book invites you to listen to the wisdom of your body as it calls you home to feel the truth and grow in the most important moments of your life, when your longing meets your limits.

Embracing Unrest shows you how to do the opposite of how you are wired and approach the discomfort of vulnerability so you can live your most powerfully authentic life.”

Justine Cohen

Founder, Down Under School of Yoga

“If you have ever experienced a gap between what you long for and the reality of life, this call to embrace unrest and feel the depth of your emotion is a manifesto for being fully alive. Dr. Parker reveals the many ways we all numb and disconnect from genuine feeling. And yet, page by page, she shares a methodical roadmap detailing how to work with all feelings big and small to become more authentic, resilient and connected. Embracing unrest is the alchemy for transforming adversity into blessing and chaos into meaning. This book is a thrilling journey into the possible.”

Linda Graham, MFT

Best-selling author of Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being

Embracing Unrest is a fresh and excellent exploration of turning toward what is most difficult, scary, painful, to-be-avoided-at-all-costs as the most reliable path toward being fully alive and whole.

Dr. Parker is a knowledgeable and trustworthy guide to listening deeply and patiently to our innermost vulnerabilities – little moments of unrest – that can reliably lead to big choices and genuine transformations. We recognize ourselves in the many stories of real people, struggling as we do, learning to work with unrest as our most powerful ally in healing and growth.

The science is solid and sensible. The practices are embodied, doable exercises to change your way of being with yourself (WIN – warmth, interest, non-judgment) that become the doorway to deeper authenticity, resilience, and connection. The journey itself is the gift.”

Erna Hagge

President, Hagge Global Institute, Executive Coach and Organizational Development Consultant, author of Tri-Namics: LEADS in a Caring Environment - Leadership Wisdom for the Health System.
“Dr Sandra Parker’s whole brain approach speaks to the intellect and then leads us to our hearts where our sage self lives.

Embracing unrest is our key to unlocking the gift of feeling and accessing our true brilliance. A must read for those who are ready to live life fully.”

To learn more about how you can transform anxiety to confidence and apathy to aliveness,  watch the video
“Why is it so hard to “be” here?