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Happy Mind, Happy Life: 10 Simple Ways to Feel Great Every Day. A science-backed guide to a calmer, happier you.

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How To Make Better Decisions Under Stress with Dr Sabrina Cohen-Hatton

by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee   /  March 11, 2020

My guest on this week’s podcast is living proof that trauma doesn’t have to break you – that your start in life needn’t determine where you’ll end up. 

Dr Sabrina Cohen-Hatton is one of just six female chief fire officers in the UK, and a psychologist with a PhD in behavioural neuroscience. She’s also an ambassador for The Big Issue, which she sold on the streets while experiencing homelessness as a teenager – something she describes as the worst, most dehumanising experience of her life. And yet, as you’ll hear in this episode, it helped create the grit, resilience, empathy and compassion that’s made her the incredible human being she is today. 

Sabrina talks us through her amazing journey from childhood trauma through homelessness, harassment and onto academic and professional excellence. She shares the experiences that lead her to research the psychology behind how and why we make the decisions we do when under pressure. Her work explores the tension between instinct and procedure, gut decisions versus protocol. And her findings have revolutionised not just how the UK Fire Service works, they’ve been adopted across many areas of industry and won 10 science awards globally.

This podcast, recorded in front of a live audience at the Life Lessons festival, is one of the shortest conversations I’ve released, and yet it’s absolutely packed with Sabrina’s enthralling stories, powerful lessons and practical advice. Her message – that every single one of us is stronger than we think – is a vital one. This is a truly life-affirming episode and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 

Disclaimer: The content in the podcast and on this webpage is not intended to constitute or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.*

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Watch the video version of this interview in full below.

Connect with Sabrina:

Twitter       Instagram

Sabrina’s book:

The Heat of the Moment: A Firefighter’s Stories of Life and Death Decision


Dr Chatterjee’s resources:


*DISCLAIMER: Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have heard on the podcast or on my website.

Disclosure: All books marked with a are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We take part in Amazon’s affiliate advertising program designed to provide a way for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon’s website. You are not charged any extra by using these links to purchase books.

Dr. Rangan Chatterjee MbChB, BSc (Hons), MRCP, MRCGP