Welcome to Understanding Unrest, my monthy-ish newsletter! 

This is where I riff about unrest and explore how approaching moments of vulnerability is your surprising path to a bigger, juicer life. I’ll also keep you in the loop about my upcoming book Embracing Unrest: Harness Vulnerability to Tame Anxiety and Spark Growth, with news about interviews, endorsements, podcasts, articles, and early access to special offers for subscribers.

We all have unrest. It is the most important inner cue you’ve never heard of, meant to help you grow. 

You’ve felt unrest, but you’ve never heard of unrest, or at least not in the way I’m talking about, because unrest is a word, coined by me, to help identify the inner nudge that is (unconsciously) exiling you from the present moment.

I hope you’ll play with some of these ideas and practices. Drop me an email at sandra@drsandraparker.com and let me know how you’re reacting to unrest in your daily life. I’ll do my best to dig in and answer your questions in future newsletters.

You know you’re vulnerable. I’m pretty sure you’re aware of the fact you have limits to your control over things. You understand you can’t always get what you want (thank you, Mick Jagger), but did you know that you also feel something when you are vulnerable? You see, unrest is a sharp spike of nervous system activation that jolts you when you bump up against an immediate instance of your human limits. When you want something, anything really, and you twig to the fact that the object of your desire is not entirely in your grasp, you’re plucked like a bowstring and begin to quiver.

Unrest is your very own biofeedback letting you know you cannot secure something you want with 100 percent certainty. Whether it’s landing that great job, having a good night’s sleep, meeting the partner of your dreams, losing your keys, catching the bus, not catching Covid, your cat barfing on your carpet, your kids launching successfully, getting your brother to quit drinking, saving the planet from climate change, or making this perfect moment where we are all finally together again, laughing and talking, last forever and never end… It. Is. Not. Entirely. Up. To. You.

Vulnerability is a fact of life and unrest is your experience of that fact. When what you want is met with limits to making it happen, your body alerts you with sensations that are indistinguishable from fear. And therein lies our predicament. Your friend unrest doesn’t look so friendly. But vulnerability is not danger. Vulnerability is simply longing bumped against limits. Painful but not dangerous.

We’re wired to avoid things that evoke fear, so we focus outward, escaping our inner discomfort but also losing touch with our inner truth. We scan and brace for danger. We find ourselves in mental worry movies and busy activity and don’t even know why we’re scrolling our social media feed or fretting about our health again or feeling the urge to eat even though we’re not hungry.

We need to embrace unrest like a friend rather than brace against it like a threat. Then we can open to the truth of our human vulnerability, feel the emotion that comes with that, and grow into more of who we are deeply meant to be.

This is not easy. But you are so worth it.
Dr. Sandra Parker

My new book, Embracing Unrest, drops October 18, 2022.
I now have a gorgeous cover design for my new book, Embracing Unrest: Harness Vulnerability to Tame Anxiety and Spark Growth! Miss Adeline even gave her bark of approval.
Listen to my latest podcast episode.
In this episode, The War in Ukraine, to feel deeply and act from the heart, I talk about the challenge of caring deeply especially when we have limits to control outcomes that matter to us. I provide present-day examples of how embracing unrest is the medicine for overwhelm, apathy, and the compulsion to fix. We are living in unprecedented times, we must be willing to make friends with unrest to help us grow.
Listen here

Truths I’ve learned in the past 30 years that I want to share with you.

Learn More about Unrest

Recent Blog Posts:

Embracing Unrest

I’m excited to announce my first book has a launch date! Out October 18th, 2022, Embracing Unrest: Harness Vulnerability to Tame Anxiety and Spark Growth answers the question: why is it so hard to “be here”?

View my “Embracing Unrest” column on Psychology Today!