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Calm Clarity
Cover of Calm Clarity
Calm Clarity
How to Use Science to Rewire Your Brain for Greater Wisdom, Fulfillment, and Joy
by Due Quach
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Author of the viral Medium piece, "Poor and Traumatized at Harvard," Due Quach shares her Calm Clarity program to show readers how to deal with toxic stress and adversity.
We often don't realize how much control we have over our thoughts, feelings, and actions—on some days, the most minor irritation can upset us, but on others, we are in our best form and can rise to challenges with grace. These fluctuations depend on the neural networks firing in our brains, and we have the power to consciously break hardwired thought patterns. Due Quach developed an intimate understanding of the brain during her personal journey of healing from post-traumatic stress disorder.
According to Quach, people function in three primary emotional states: Brain 1.0, Brain 2.0, and Brain 3.0. In Brain 1.0, people act out of fear and self-preservation. Brain 2.0 involves instant gratification and chasing short-term rewards at the expense of long-term well-being. Brain 3.0 is a state of mind that Quach calls "calm clarity," in which people's actions are aligned with their core values. As Quach confronted PTSD and successfully weaned herself off medication, she learned how to activate, exercise, and strengthen Brain 3.0 like a muscle. In Finding Calm Clarity, she draws on the latest scientific research and ancient philosophy alike to show us how we too can take ownership of our thoughts, feelings, and actions in order to be our best selves.
Author of the viral Medium piece, "Poor and Traumatized at Harvard," Due Quach shares her Calm Clarity program to show readers how to deal with toxic stress and adversity.
We often don't realize how much control we have over our thoughts, feelings, and actions—on some days, the most minor irritation can upset us, but on others, we are in our best form and can rise to challenges with grace. These fluctuations depend on the neural networks firing in our brains, and we have the power to consciously break hardwired thought patterns. Due Quach developed an intimate understanding of the brain during her personal journey of healing from post-traumatic stress disorder.
According to Quach, people function in three primary emotional states: Brain 1.0, Brain 2.0, and Brain 3.0. In Brain 1.0, people act out of fear and self-preservation. Brain 2.0 involves instant gratification and chasing short-term rewards at the expense of long-term well-being. Brain 3.0 is a state of mind that Quach calls "calm clarity," in which people's actions are aligned with their core values. As Quach confronted PTSD and successfully weaned herself off medication, she learned how to activate, exercise, and strengthen Brain 3.0 like a muscle. In Finding Calm Clarity, she draws on the latest scientific research and ancient philosophy alike to show us how we too can take ownership of our thoughts, feelings, and actions in order to be our best selves.
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  • From the book 1.

    A Traumatic Start

    Pain that is not transformed is transmitted.-Richard Rohr

    Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.-Helen Keller

    The wound is the place where the Light enters you.-Rumi

    Let's face it. A lot of terrible things happen every single day to bring people into Brain 1.0. No one is immune from tragedy. We all live in a world that traumatizes us and makes us feel like victims of broken systems, vulnerable to exploitation by con artists, criminals, and crooked politicians. Our environments are full of temptations for drugs, alcohol, food, retail therapy, and other pleasures and thrills as a form of easy escape. At the same time, the world is also full of wonder, majesty, and inspiration that naturally bring people into Brain 3.0. In every corner of the Earth, people are working hard to improve life for their families and to make a difference in their communities.

    The fact that the misery and the awesomeness of our planet are not evenly spread out has always been very hard for me to come to terms with. The more I learned about how unfair the distribution of resources can be and how unequal the access to opportunity can be, the more my sense of outrage grew. Seeing signs that the system is not only rigged against the poor and powerless but also set up to exploit them has always triggered my Inner Godzilla.

    Being born on Earth is like a lottery. A small lucky proportion are born into loving families blessed with inner resources (like education, emotional intelligence, and resilience) and a degree of financial stability, where parents are generally able to shelter children from the harsh realities of this world for as long as possible, give them a safety net in case they fall, and then coach and equip them to prosper in their careers and to raise a family of their own. Loving, caring, "privileged" families like these naturally develop and pass on Brain 3.0 from generation to generation. But a lot of people aren't lucky. The vast majority of people, like me, are born into families that cannot shield them from horrors. Too many parents are so traumatized that they get trapped in Brain 1.0 and can't help transmitting their pain and suffering to their children just by role modeling what for them are normal behaviors and expectations.

    As I dive deeper into Brain 1.0, please keep in mind that what I mean by Brain 1.0 is a pattern of neuronal network firing rather than a specific part of the brain. In the Brain 1.0 pattern, the amygdala, a part of the brain that is involved in reading emotions and looking for signs of danger and threat, is highly activated and puts the entire body into a state of "red alert" that scientists refer to as hypervigilance, a prolonged state of anxiously looking out for danger and threats and not being able to relax (a.k.a. freeze-fight-flight mode). Whenever the body is in this very strong state of stress, there is reduced blood flow to the frontal lobes that help us carry out higher-order mental processes; thus we have less "processing capacity." This is why when we are afraid and anxious, it can be nearly impossible to think clearly, take in and process information, and make sound decisions.

    According to the Sanctuary Institute, a pioneer in the area of trauma-informed care, "trauma is defined as an experience in which a person's internal resources are not adequate to cope with external stressors." In...
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Calm Clarity
Calm Clarity
How to Use Science to Rewire Your Brain for Greater Wisdom, Fulfillment, and Joy
Due Quach
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