Joan Borysenko is an internationally known speaker in spirituality, integrative medicine, and the mind/body connection. She is a licensed clinical psychologist, the best-selling author of 14 books, a journalist, and a radio personality. She is one of S&P's Living Spiritual Teachers. Her website is www.joanborysenko.com.
In this timely work, Borysenko examines the widespread problem of burnout, noting that it typically has 12 stages. Using her clinical experience, psychological and biological research, personal recollections, and a spiritual overview, the author delineates various paths to recovery from this malaise of feeling fried. She also taps into the burnout experiences of her 5,000 Facebook Friends. Together, they reveal that being fried often overtakes the most idealistic and hard-working members of society and damages their spiritual capacities of caring, hope, and meaning.
Being fried manifests as three sets of symptoms: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and diminished personal accomplishment resulting in a progressive loss of confidence and competence. Here are some of the stages which Borysenko assesses in detail: working like a maniac; putting your own needs last; feeling frustrated, aggressive, and cynical; being emotionally exhausted and disengaged; and wondering why you should bother. This can eventually lead to physical and mental collapse.
Other topics discussed in this wide-ranging work are the Depression Industry known as Big Pharma that offers drugs that promise to rekindle your inner fire, conquer fatigue, and take the edge off stress; the childhood roots of burnout; the option of energy management, and letting go and moving on. After such a thorough mapping of the terrain, we were happy to see Borysenko also cover routes out of burnout, including courage, creativity, reconnecting with your spiritual qualities of the inner spark, passion, and trust. Here she gets specific sharing her own daily practices and also including those contributed by her Facebook Friends. She concludes:
"Revival from burnout is always about the recovery of lost authenticity. It's waking up to who we really are and realizing that heaven is not a destination, but a state of mind. If being fried can bring us to the point where we reconnect to our own true nature, then it's worth every moment of separation to rediscover the heaven that has been inside of us all along."