Your Survival Instinct Is Killing You

Your Survival Instinct Is Killing You

Retrain Your Brain to Conquer Fear and Build Resilience

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Additional Formats
  • Ebook
  • ISBN 9781101609835
  • 272 Pages
  • Plume
  • Adult


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 decision making.
Designed to keep us out of danger, our limbic brain’s Survival Instinct controls what we intuitively do to avert injury or death, such as running out of a burning building.   Rarely are we required to recruit this instinct today because seldom do we find ourselves in situations that are truly life-threatening. However, this part of our brain is programmed to naturally and automatically react to even the most benign forms of discomfort and stress as serious threats to our survival.  
In this seminal book we learn how the Survival Instinct is the culprit that triggers a person to overeat, prevents the insomniac from sleeping, causes the executive to unravel under pressure, leads travelers to avoid planes or freeways, inflames pain, and due to past heartache, closes down an individual to love.  In all of these cases, their overly-sensitive Survival Instinct is being called into action at the slightest hint of discomfort.  In short, their Survival Instinct is stuck in the “ON” position…with grave consequences.
Your Survival Is Killing You can transform the way you live. Provocative, eye-opening, and surprisingly practical with its gallery of strategies and ideas, this book will show you how to build up your “instinctual muscles” for successfully managing discomfort while taming your overly reactive Survival Instinct. You will learn that the management of discomfort is the single most important skill for the twenty-first century.    This book is, at its heart, a modern guide to survival.


Recommended for best in self-help reading

—, January 24, 2013

“Compelling. Readers with an interest in the mind-body connection will find this guide to better health compelling. Schoen does an excellent job in explaining the complicated science behind them.”
—USA Today
“[Reprogram] the brain to no longer equate discomfort with imminent danger, and achieve a state of ease despite life’s inevitable hardships.”
—Wall Street Journal
 “Schoen provides exercises and techniques to tame the anxiety monster and the mayhem it causes. Relief is in sight.”
—Success Magazine
“A useful new book. So many solopreneurs are held back by often-irrational fears — if this is true for you then this book is for you.”
“What you’ll learn: You have the power to change areas of your life that you may previously have thought were impossible to control, whether it’s how you age, how you deal with stressful situations or that “need” for a third helping of ice cream before bed.  A book that can enhance every aspect of your life, from your mind to your body to your spirit.”
“Discomfort training (which helps people conquer their fear and make better decisions) would unquestionably lead to substantial improvements in worker productivity, performance and health. Train your brain to lift decision making.”
—Investor’s Business Daily
“Amazing. I love this book.”
— Patricia Fitzgerald, Huffington Post
“This book can improve your outlook on life”
—Scientific American
“[This book is] short on theory and long on practical tips you can actually use. One let me reduce my heart rate by 6 to 8 bpm in less than a minute. Take that, Zen masters!   Need to better manage discomfort and stress so you can perform better? (Wait–why am I asking? Who doesn’t?)  This is your book.”        
—INC Magazine

“This book is outstanding . . . Dr. Schoen is unconventional, and so is this book. Ancient wisdom with new findings in brain research lead to a startling conclusion: What has allowed our species to survive is driving us crazy. There is something you can do about it—read this book, and follow its advice. Reading this book is like having a conversation with Dr. Schoen and that can change your life.”
—David Logan, Ph.D., New York Times #1 bestselling coauthor of Tribal Leadership and The Three Laws of Performance; professor, USC (University of Southern California), Marshall School of Business
“Dr. Marc Schoen knows what it takes to be resilient and healthy in these modern times. It is not, as some would have you believe, to replace feelings of pain and discomfort with feelings of safety and comfort, but rather to allow these seemingly incompatible feelings to sit side by side to inform and shape one another. Grounded in solid theory and evidence as well as engaging stories, including his own, this book is a must-read for anyone facing mysterious physical ailments.”
—Barbara Fredrickson, Ph.D., author of Positivity and Love 2.0
“I know so well how easy it is to fall into the trap of using food, addictions, or other forms of avoidance as protection from my fears of being uncomfortable. Reading Dr. Schoen’s book was challenging. It felt so close to home—almost too close and personal in fact. Yet as I came to understand the message of this book, it became so much more obvious to me. This book is about the unavoidable—being uncomfortable. Dr. Schoen’s book offers a gift: how to successfully manage your discomfort and fears, and equally as important, how to use the discomfort in your life as a vehicle for empowerment.”
—Carnie Wilson, celebrity, singer, TV host, and author of Gut Feelings, I’m Still Hungry and To Serve with Love
“Dr. Schoen puts his attention to the discomfort, disappointment, worry, and impatience that influence the quality of our lives profoundly but about which science and medicine are so often silent. He does a brilliant job of connecting brain research and our everyday coping strategies. Readers will find new ways of understanding and mobilizing the mind-body connection for stress management.”
—Sara Latz, J.D., M.D., clinical professor of medicine, UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior
“The essence of success is age old . . . Work Hard, Work Smart, and Manage Your Fear. Dr. Schoen has unlocked the essence of fear and discomfort management. This is a must-read for any human that has ever started or thought of starting their own business. A fast-paced impact treatise for everyone who wants to win!”
—Robin Richards, CEO of Vivendi Universal Net USA; founding president, COO, and director of, Inc.; chairman and CEO,; recipient of Inc. Magazine’s 2007 Entrepreneur of the Year Award
“Dr. Schoen, an experienced hypnotherapist, has written an informative book to counter stress and heal your body. He teaches you to develop positive habits and lead a more powerful, productive life.”
—Judith Orloff, M.D., bestselling author of Emotional Freedom, Second Sight, and Positive Energy; assistant clinical professor, UCLA Geffen School of Medicine