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Updated: Aug 11, 2020

RESILIENT: How to grow an unshakable core of calm, strength, and happiness

Andrea Seydel Live Life Happy Unconventional Bookclub


Rick Hanson PH.D. teaches us the skill of resilience using a blend of neuroscience, mindfulness, and positive psychology. These days it's hard to count on the world outside. So it's vital to grow strengths inside such as GRIT, GRATITUDE, and COMPASSION- the keys to resilience and to lasting well-being. In his book he teaches us how to develop psychological resources in a step by step way, like walking a path. Are you ready to feel less anxiety and irritation, less disappointment and frustration, and less loneliness, hurt and resentment? Are you ready to grow our strengths and become more resilient. WE NEED TO MEET OUR BASIC NEEDS OF SAFETY, SATISFACTION, AND CONNECTION.

PART 1: Recognizing Compassion, Mindfulness, and Learning

COMPASSION: Warmhearted concern for suffering and the desire to receive it if you can. Compassion can be given to yourself and others. COMPASSION is an inner strength we can develop. TIPS: Get on your own side and bring caring to your pain. Be good to yourself and others. Have enjoyable moments each day to lower stress and connect with other. Accept things as they are including yourself. Compassion builds confidence and resilience.

MINDFULNESS: What we focus on is what shapes our brain. Mindfulness allows us to determine what we rest our attention on, such as compassion and gratitude. Use your mind to decrease what is painful and increase what is enjoyable. We have three basic needs; safety, satisfaction and connection, so we avoid harm, approach reward and attach to others. We feel well when we meet our basic needs. He calls it the "green zone" or responsive mode. But when we're stressed or reactive mode from the negativity bias, we velcro bad and teflon good. Mindfulness encourages the green zone and responsive Neo Cortex part of brain so we can handle challenges and be more resilient.

LEARNING: We acquire mental resources and resilience through learning. Creating instalments or neurological networks. We can get better at installation and grow inner strengths. HEAL Have a positive experience, Enrich it, Absorb it, and Link it (optionally) to negative material. We can use HEAL to grow mental resources. Identify your inner strengths that can be matched with challenges. TIPS: Let go of anything negative and rest in the positive material.

Part 2: Resourcing Grit, Gratitude, and Confidence

GRIT: Grit is tough resourcefulness. Look at what we CAN do, especially in challenging situations and relationships. Just a few experiences of being trapped, powerless and defeated can lead to "learned helplessness," which undermines coping and ambition. Mental health is sometimes framed as suppressing our primal nature, but this fierce instinct can make people more resilient. TIPS: Know you can tend to causes but you can't control the results fosters responsibility and inner peace. Use HEAL to internalize experiences. How we feel about and treat our bodies affects our health and vitality, which in turn affect our thoughts, feelings and actions. Don't put things off instead ask yourself, " What can I do today?"

GRATITUDE: We seek to feel good in the future but it is often stressful in the present. Don't push happiness to the future, with gratitude you feel good already. Give thanks for what is beneficial, but you can still see what is harmful. Pleasure is easy to dismiss but it helps lower stress and helps to disengage with upset. Feel full of pleasure with gratitude. Negativity bias makes us know when we fail, look for opportunities to feel successful many times each day. TIP: Take in the experiences and use them to notice your success and feelings of good. Be happy for the happiness of others.

CONFIDNECE: We feel safe and secure when others are dependably helpful and caring. But if others are distant or rejecting, we feel insecure and become less resilient. No matter our past we can become more secure inside ourselves. Look for opportunities to feel cared about and take these experiences into yourself. TIPS: When faced with challenge, don't add a second wave of reactions to the initial pain or upset, disengage and stop feeling them. Be mindful of inner critic and second darts this erodes self-worth and makes it harder to bounce back. Strengthen your inner nurturer and push back against the inner critic.

Part 3: Regulating: Calm, Motivation, and Intimacy

CALM: Two parts to our nervous system keep us balanced. The rest and digest parasympathetic branch settles us down, while the fight or flight sympathetic branch revs us up. TODAY we have chronic sympathetic activation, which is stressful on the body, mind and relationships. RELAXATION and MEDITATION engage the parasympathetic nervous system. We inappropriately react to or exaggerate threats. TIPS: Look for ways you could be overestimating threats while underestimating resources to deal with them. HELP yourself feel as safe as you can. CONROL anger, you can be powerful and assertive without being angry. Anger comes in two stages: Priming and trigger. Try to reduce priming and respond to trigger in proportion to it. Avoid self-righteousness and fault finding. Take space to slow down amygdala hijack. Being calm makes us more resilient.

MOTIVATION: People who are resilient are also able to pursue opportunities. Resilience is more than bouncing back from adversity. People who are resilient keep pursing their goals. LIKING is distinct from wanting. Wanting comes from a sense of insistence, or compulsion that is stressful. LIKING something without wanting it more powerful Take in experiences of being already satisfied to build up a contentment. ENJOY pleasures and be ambitions without the stress from wanting. Keep emotions positive to stay in the responsive zone instead of red stress reactive zone. TIP: Keep looking for ways to experience positive emotions. "I like that" vs. "I want that". Dopamine activity is the fundamental motivational circuit. Need rewards to stay motivated. TIP: Increase the association between reward and what you'd like to motivate yourself towards. Focus on rewards. DON'T BE HARD ON YOURSELF to stay motivated. Use guidance rather than criticism to stay on course.

INTIMACY: Exists in all relationships not just romantic ones. Have a strong "ME" in "WE" to foster personal autonomy and boundaries. EMPATHY is necessary for intimacy. We are wired to tune into the thoughts, emotions, and actions of others. COMPASSION and KINDNESS can be strengthened like other psychological resources. TIP: See our common humanity. Separate approval from compassion and exercise warm-hearted caring towards others. Avoid focusing on faults of others. Focus on your own responsibility and person conduct.

Part 4: Relating: Courage, Aspiration, and Generosity

COURAGE: Open, authentic communication is fundamental in relationships. Try focusing on sharing experiences instead of solving problems. TIPS: Say things that are well intended, true, beneficial, timely, not harsh and wanted. Know facts and observations, focus on results you want, make requests not demands. If necessary shrink the relationship to a size and shape that is safe for you.

ASPIRATIONS: When we are young we have hopes and dreams for the life we'd like to have. In Love Work and Play try to find the sweat spot combination of WHAT YOU ENJOY, WHAT YOU'RE TALENTED AT, and WHAT YOU CARE ABOUT. TIPS: Use your time wisely. Aim high while being at peace with the results. Adopt a growth mindset, know that it's alright to fail. Offer what you can then know that after that it is out of your hands.

GENEROSITY: Humans are naturally altruistic. Most generosity does not involve money. Give compassion and take action as best you can. Give forgiveness, disentangle yourself from resentment by considering others perspective. Let go of ill will. Give yourself compassion and full pardon. Be generous and extend your circle from us and them to us and include them. As you grow inner strength such as compassion and courage you develop resilient well-being.


In this book, Rick Hanson guides us throughs clear practical steps to build the resource of resilience. He shows us how to build an unshakable core of calm, strength and happiness. He also help us develop the psychological resources such as Grit, Gratitude and compassion to become resilient human beings, in this modern, hectic world.

For a full highlight of this book visit my Live Life happy Podcast or website at


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