‘Resilient’ takes you on a journey where you are the traveller, the route and the destination. It provides you with everything you will need to reflect back, move forward, and at the same time – be present in the now. It is written in the style of a handbook, combining technical information with stories and examples to help bring the different concepts to life in a relatable way. There are even a few Zen parables and fables thrown in for good measure.
Also included are a series of practical exercises you can try out which are mostly reflective and require an openness to delving into yourself and what makes you tick. Each one has the potential to raise awareness of oneself and how we relate to others, as well as helping you work through some specific areas of life where you may be feeling stuck.
“Being with the mind is not enough, we must work with it as well.”
The foundation for all of this is a set of inner strengths and each of these has it’s own chapter. They are presented as ‘psychological resources’, which can all be nurtured and grown with dedication and practice to help meet our basic needs of safety, satisfaction and connection. The idea being that we need to experience them repeatedly in order to create lasting change for ourselves in terms of our thinking, our emotions and our behaviours.
The strengths are grouped into four categories:
- Compassion, Mindfulness, Learning
- Grit, Gratitude, Confidence
- Calm, Motivation, Intimacy
- Courage, Aspiration, Generosity
I particularly enjoyed unpacking each one and discovering the different techniques suggested. And while many of these headings may have appeared familiar to me, I was pleasantly surprised by some of the descriptions and interpretations – furnishing me with some new ways of thinking, as well as building on my existing knowledge and understanding.
Throughout reading this book, I was frequently reminded of what we refer to at 3b as our ‘Bank of Self’, and how by continuing to make deposits into our bank that nourish us, support us and enable us, we can build up that reserve and access it whenever we need to. When life throws us a curved ball or when things don’t quite turn out as planned, or even just when we are responding to those everyday niggles and challenges.
Having tools and techniques to draw on, including good mental well-being, enables us to cope with adversity and push through to the possibilities when times are tough; and yet, resilience is about so much more than this. Hanson states that, “True resilience fosters well-being, an underlying sense of happiness, love and peace.” And that as we experience well-being and understand what that means for us – how it really feels; this in turn builds up each of the aforementioned inner strengths, which in turn make us more resilient. “Well-being and resilience promote each other in a upward spiral.”
You can find out more and listen to the author discuss some of the book’s themes in this interview.