by Rick Hanson, PhD
Harmony Books | 2018
304 pages • $26.00
One needs resilience in order to withstand uncertainty and whirlwinds, and to achieve lifelong happiness. In his latest book, Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness, Dr Hanson discusses the scientifically grounded foundation for lasting wellbeing. He cites inner strengths including grit, gratitude, compassion, and courage, that can fortify resilience to help overcome life’s inevitable adversities.
With a blend of mindfulness, neuroscience, and practical positive psychology, he discusses general themes of recognizing, resourcing, regulating, and relating. Suggestions, experiential practices, and personal experiences are conveyed in an easy to read and informative manner. Each chapter contains experiential exercises and concludes with key take away points.
Wellbeing is examined, those experiences that subsequently hardwire into the nervous system and embed into traits. Citing three basic needs of all humans: safety, satisfaction, and connection, Dr Hanson outlines responses and reactive modes. Mindfulness is referred to as “coming home,” a practice that enables one to become grounded and unwavering. Negative distortions are encouraged to be challenged. The importance of learning from positive opportunities that he terms “jewels,” is stressed—no matter how simple, given the potential benefits derived from their accumulation. The relationship between positive and negative experiences is described, as well as the release of bias by the use of positive practices.
Other topics include determination, attachments, unlearning helplessness, gratitude, “altruistic joy,” and the relation of thankfulness to resilience. Liking and wanting are compared and contrasted. Readers are encouraged to find the “sweet spot” and to cultivate the “Inner Nurturer.” Various aspects of intimacy, temperamental differences, and interpersonal relations are explored, including personal autonomy, empathy, forgiveness, and the need to seek and understand our common humanity. The concluding section addresses courage, aspiration, and generosity. Readers are encouraged to seek outlets for gifts and talents, know what one wants from life, and to honor this with a growth mindset.
Dr Khajuria is a Practicing Psychiatrist and Adjunct Faculty, Wright Institute, Berkeley, CA.