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Resilient

How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness

By Rick Hanson with Forrest Hanson
15-minute read
Audio available
Resilient by Rick Hanson with Forrest Hanson

Resilient (2018) is a practical guide on how to cultivate your inner strengths and develop qualities like compassion, confidence, and grit. Through simple techniques and concrete examples, it explains the ways you can harness your brain’s resources to cope with stress and anxiety – and find the motivation to follow your dreams.

  • Pursuers of happiness looking for guidance on personal growth
  • Life explorers who want to discover their inner strengths
  • Travelers on difficult paths who are in need of encouragement

Rick Hanson is a psychologist and best-selling author. He holds a PhD in clinical psychology, is a Senior Fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, and is the founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom. Hanson has been an invited speaker at NASA, Oxford, Stanford, Harvard, and other major universities and has taught in meditation centers all over the world. His previous books include Hardwiring Happiness, Buddha’s Brain, Just One Thing, and Mother Nurture

Forrest Hanson is a writer and business consultant. He edits Eusophi, a website that shares content from experts in the fields of happiness, health, wealth, and wisdom.

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Resilient

How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness

By Rick Hanson with Forrest Hanson
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 9 key ideas
Upgrade to Premium Read or listen now
Resilient by Rick Hanson with Forrest Hanson
Synopsis

Resilient (2018) is a practical guide on how to cultivate your inner strengths and develop qualities like compassion, confidence, and grit. Through simple techniques and concrete examples, it explains the ways you can harness your brain’s resources to cope with stress and anxiety – and find the motivation to follow your dreams.

Key idea 1 of 9

The path to well-being begins with self-compassion.

Imagine you’re climbing a steep mountain on a chilly October afternoon. The snow is turning to ice, it’s getting dark, and soon you won’t be able to see where you’re going. A wrong step could lead to injury – or worse. You’re getting exhausted, frozen, and terrified. What do you do?

Well, the first step to ensuring survival is to accept the situation. Denying or fighting the danger could be deadly. But if you acknowledge the reality – and your feelings – you can free up the mental space to think about solutions. 

That’s what saved the author when he found himself in this predicament. He made the decision to stay up on the mountain, wrapped in a blanket until first light, and lived to tell the tale. If he’d panicked and made a wrong move, the story might have ended up being very different.

But acceptance is not just something for emergencies. You can make it part of your entire life. It starts with compassion for yourself.

The key message here is: The path to well-being begins with self-compassion.

Compassion is a combination of warm concern for feelings and a desire to relieve suffering. We can feel it both for others and for ourselves.

Most of us have no problem feeling compassion for other people, but we struggle to feel it for ourselves. Have no fear, however – it’s something we can develop by following a few basic principles.

To start learning the art of self-compassion, you need to create repeat experiences of it. You can do this through a simple sequence of mental exercises. First, bring past experiences of compassion to the front of your mind. Second, focus on and feel them as fully as you can. For example, you can start by remembering a time when you were helping someone else – perhaps supporting a sick relative. Think about what it felt like and what kinds of feelings were going through your mind. That’s what compassion feels like. Now, apply this same attitude to yourself. Get a sense of what it feels like to be your own friend, and stay committed to it.

Self-compassion doesn’t just make you feel better in the moment; research shows that the more self-compassion you feel, the more resilient you become over time. That’s because it lowers your tendency to criticize yourself and, instead, helps you build up self-esteem. It can even help you become more ambitious and successful in both your personal and professional lives.

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