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Your Survival Instinct Is Killing You: Retrain Your Brain to Conquer Fear, Make Better Decisions, and Thrive in the 21s t Century
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Your Survival Instinct Is Killing You: Retrain Your Brain to Conquer Fear, Make Better Decisions, and Thrive in the 21s t Century

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  446 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Thanks to technology, we live in a world that’s much more comfortable than ever before. But here’s the paradox:  our tolerance for discomfort is at an all-time low. And as we wrestle with a sinking “discomfort threshold,” we increasingly find ourselves at the mercy of our primitive instincts and reactions that can perpetuate disease, dysfunction, and impair performance and ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published March 21st 2013 by Hudson Street Press
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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Alex Rubenstein
Jul 31, 2013 rated it it was ok
I've just finished reading 'Your Survival Instinct is Killing You", by Dr. Marc Schoen. Let me preface this review by saying that I have a Ph.D. in Management, and am well-versed in common terminology in habit theory, the science of stress, and decision-making. I do not say this intending for readers to agree with my on an appeal to authority, but rather just to provide a foundation on which to base my critique.

I felt the general thesis of this book is fair: As a result of modern conveniences,
Emma Sea
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really, really enjoyed this one. Mindfulness mixed with ACT theory. So, nothing new, but practical and action-based and accessible (I'm not 100% sold on the Schoen Method of Breathing, but hell, I'll try it for a while).

I love the name he gives to the feeling of unease and incompleteness I get: agitance. That feeling that something is not-right and I need to take action to fix it. And I'm cycling through actions (often these involve eating. Or napping. Or watching YouTube in an effort to dist
Oct 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This was an interesting read and kind of scientific. It is about why we do what we do, and also why we can't help ourselves, especially when it is tied into our Survival Instinct.

I liked his approach in identifying agitance. We are busy. The world is loud, and colorful. We tend to master our surroundings and constantly looking for something more interesting and as my mother would say, "More better". I have a son who suffers from anxiety. I've had to teach him coping skills through out the years
May 20, 2013 rated it liked it
talks about "agitance" rather than stress. We are always in a hurry, always expecting more, can't wait, can't tolerate discomfort. This kicks in our survival instinct which is hard on our bodies to be in a constant state of fight or flight. things to do about it - take a break from technology, tolerate imperfection, limit sensory input, regular schedule and bedtime, slow down, don't procrastinate,don't try to get it all done, embrace uncertainty, get rid of anger habit (always angry at something ...more
May 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

** Getting comfortable with discomfort **

Back in the Stone Ages, our survival instincts were really a matter of life or death. If a caveman didn’t have enough fear raging through him when confronted by a drooling tiger, the outlook was pretty grim.

Although we’re rarely confronted by drooling tigers in today’s world, our primitive survival instincts still kick in when they detect a threat—and, more often than not, the perceived threat is not an actual threat. Our body’s hypersensitivity to these
Kim Forney
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was not one of my favorites. Another book with a lot of research from a clinical professor at UCLA on discomfort training. He has his own website and advertises in his book for additional assistance for personal discomfort, which manifests itself into addictions such as eating, drinking, sex, etc. His approach is to “rewire the brain” from the cognitive pairing operant conditioning. The author premises that when we our uncomfortable at work or in our relationships, we use compulsive behaviors ...more
Sep 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is possibly the most important book I will ever read. Groundbreaking and surprising this book offers unique and powerful (yet simple) tools to deal with the discomfort in our lives that create anxiety, anger, depression and maladaptive behaviors at unprecedented levels throughout our modern society.

This is not yet another one of those New Age books with recycled ideas about how to talk yourself out of your problems. Dr Schoen backs everything up with scientific research and case studies. I
Carolyn Moor
Mar 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Highlighted a lot of sections of this book, then tweeted the author and we ended up connecting to see what could possibly be created for my organization Modern Widows Club. A community of women building resilience and yet, disadvantaged and often paralyzed by fear in small and great ways. Sure hope a partnership is fulfilled.

I enjoyed the science behind learning we all have the qualities to live a resilient life.
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very in depth look at the behavioral side of our brain. The main point is that being unable to manage stress results in survival instincts kicking in. The ability to thrive under pressure is a skill to develop. The author also focuses a lot on how modern convenience has altered our brains. If we are inconvenienced, we experience stress and other issues.
Joshua Cartwright
One of the most important books of our time

Increasing comfort levels are leading us to overreact to discomfort. This is activating our survival instinct for more and more trivial issues, increasing our anxiety and reducing our ability to perform successfully and use our resources.

This book reframes discomfort, pointing out what it is and managing yourself to perform while uncomfortable is so important.

I have had a hairtrigger reaction to certain situations all my life. I tried all kinds of solu
Aug 06, 2018 rated it liked it
A lot of very interesting information, however a lot of high school esque term paper writing. Let me expound: Much of the writing involved a lot of "In this next section I will show you this..." And a lot of "pre-telling" of information without yet giving it and that to me reeks of a very immature writing style which was highly distracting.

The actual facts presented however were worth the read and the ideas being shown were enough to make me keep reading, highlighting, and underlining.

I enjoy l
Ryan Marchand
Although the concepts and logical pathways make a compelling case for the author's positions, his explanations are long-winded, somewhat repetitive, and at times, hard to follow. I was hoping this book would offer more clarity to self-training techniques for handling instincts and learning to manage your responses to stress in beneficial ways. Instead I feel that I could have got the majority of the value from just reading the first couple chapters.
Paul Baker
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a truly insightful book. Dr. Schoen really nails modern issues of psychology and presents practical, easy, and free methods for dealing with discomfort and how to use discomfort to make your life more full.

I highly recommend this book!
Alberto Laverán
Another self help book

Another self help book, with a lot of pseudo scientific talking. A typical book to read on a commuter train...
Angie Boutch
Nov 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Some helpful strategies. Chapter 8 was probably the best chapter... there were more helpful tips and strategies there.
Feb 14, 2018 rated it liked it
I think if you are under 40, this may be a more helpful read.
Apr 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Nice book, offered a valid point about how discomfort can be spur of growth rather than being something to avoid. The secret is how to live the discomfort.
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating read! Definitely recommend.
Mary-ann Owens
Sep 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great exercises for building confidence. Loved this book. Read it slowly as doing the exercises is very beneficial.
Sep 03, 2020 rated it liked it
very probably. but I had to be a lawyer. where everyone drops by, and asks if you can solve the worst problem they've had in 5 years. in 2 hours . . .
Nikki Morse
Dec 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: personal-growth
Like many self-help authors, Schoen has interesting points to make but falls serious victim to putting forward the idea that he's figure something out that is the most brilliant thing ever and is the only thing you'll ever need to learn EVER and will solve all of your problems if you just follow his advice exactly. Sheesh! For those of us with a low tolerance to dogma, this seriously undermines what's interesting about his argument.

I found the early analysis more interesting than his strategies
Sep 19, 2013 rated it liked it

The only reason I requested this book was because My mom is Psychologist and I find psychology quite interesting. Once again I am out of my realm of comfort with this book. But I did enjoy it. I did not read it page for page but i did read quite a bit. It was nice to read when I was bored with the fiction and YA books I was reading. It's not something id sit down and read non stop but it was nice to read a few pages here and there.

Once again, Thank you Netgalley for an e-copy of this book :
Aug 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
A pretty insightful yet simple read. What I found most valuable was how Schoen drags out our deeply-ingrained subconscious thought patterns; he lays them in simple ideas for reflection and action.

Essentially the book is all about the creeping discomfort in our lives that nudge us towards discontent and inaction. Perhaps I'm a layman in psychology, but I found certain parts floaty and loosely-elaborated. The book could have been condensed into a much shorter read. Still a decent read, nonetheless
Ray Smithee
Jan 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Marc Schoen explains how our survival instinct, rooted in the limbic brain, can control our actions without our realizing it. Our phobias, bad habits such as addiction, and many ailments can be exacerbated by our unconscious. He recommends that we confront, rather than avoid our fears and tendencies. He gives practical advice on how to get control of our discomfort and fears, to get more empowerment.
Diane Dreher
Jul 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Fascinating book filled with insights about why so many of us are so stressed out today, so easily upset and prone to anxiety, road rage, and unhealthy habits. Schoen shows how our survival instinct gets us stuck in chronic defensiveness--and what to do about it. The book is filled with informative stories and advice I've already begun to apply to my life.
Dec 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Without a doubt our fight/flight response is in high gear more now than ever before in my lifetime. This book is well researched with practical concepts (agitant, discomfort) with easy to employ strategies which I found immediately effective. At times it's redundant but what's good about this book makes it worth wading through some of the repetitive rhetoric self-aggrandizement.
Dec 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-development
Overall not bad. The author focuses on expanding your comfort zone by consistently doing things that cause you to push yourself. He uses the analogy of comparing tour comfort zone to a muscle. The more you use it the stronger it becomes.
Mar 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this is a very clinical book but informative and worth the effort

if coping techniques are needed, this is the path

he is clearly on to something, and we can all learn how to keep from over-stressing, conquer fear, and calm down
Sep 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is full of knowledge. He breaks down the pathways in the brain and speaks very scientifically about how anxiety manifests and what contributes to it. Super informative, but don't read it if you aren't interested in a lecture.
Rebecca Bryan
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Naming the Disconnect in our brains

I gained a lot of insight into what it means when I feel agitated or can’t sleep. I love connecting what I experience with neuroscience and this book does just that.
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