How We Break

Vincent Deary

How We Break
Penguin Books Ltd
United Kingdom
25 January 2024

How We Break

Vincent Deary

Vincent Deary is a practitioner health psychologist who helps people cope with whatever life has thrown at them. In How We Break, he examines, with great empathy, what happens to our minds and bodies when we are pushed to, and beyond, our limits.

Drawing on clinical case studies, cutting edge scientific research, intimate personal stories and references from philosophy, literature and film, How We Break offers us a map through the challenging terrain of everyday human suffering. The big traumas in life, Deary points out, are relatively rare. Much more common is when too many things go wrong at once, or when we are exposed to prolonged periods of difficulty or precarity. In these scenarios, he shows us, our breaking is embodied, as our physical and mental distress are linked, and what happens when the same systems that enable us to navigate through life become dysregulated. Moreover, we break where we live- stress and pressure interact with our individual genetics, life experiences and circumstances in entirely unique and personal ways. Ultimately, anyone can be laid low in the right conditions, no matter how stoic: the book reveals that it's a clinical falsehood to assume we can weather life's storms through force of will alone.

In these anxious times, Vincent Deary's voice is a reassuring hand on the shoulder. By equipping us with a better understanding of what happens to us when we're struggling to cope, Deary charts a path through the suffering, helping us find compassion for ourselves and for those around us.

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