Resilient | Rick Hanson

Summary of: Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness
By: Rick Hanson


Life is full of challenges, and it’s only natural for us to face them with stress, anxiety and self-doubt. ‘Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness’ by Rick Hanson offers practical tools to build resilience in the face of life’s many obstacles. With insights into self-compassion, gratitude, motivation, and mindfulness, this summary helps readers understand how to navigate difficulties and emerge stronger. By tapping into our inner resources and following fundamental principles, we can not only survive but thrive in the face of adversity.

The Power of Self-Compassion

Learn how developing self-compassion can lead to greater well-being and resilience.

Imagine finding yourself in a life-threatening situation like climbing a mountain on a dark and chilly October afternoon. The key to surviving and making the right decisions is accepting the situation and freeing up mental space to come up with solutions. This idea of acceptance and acknowledging your feelings can be applied to everyday life as well. The foundation of well-being and resilience starts with self-compassion.

Compassion is a combination of warm concern and a desire to relieve suffering. Most individuals have no problem feeling this for others, but struggle to feel it for themselves. However, self-compassion can be developed by bringing past experiences of compassion to the forefront of your mind and applying the same attitude to yourself.

Practicing self-compassion not only provides an immediate sense of wellbeing but also contributes to greater resilience over time. This is due to the lowering of self-criticism and building up of self-esteem. It can also lead to greater ambition and success in both personal and professional lives.

Take the first step to a better you by developing self-compassion.

Mindfulness in Daily Life

Learn to be present and stay calm through mindfulness, which enables you to focus attention, avoid judgment, and handle stress more effectively.

Life is full of unpredictable situations that require quick responses to stay safe or seize opportunities. Zebras are masters of composure and quick to return to their calm state even after escaping from a predator. In contrast, humans struggle to regain their inner balance after stressful events. Mindfulness is the tool that can help us remain calm in times of stress.

Mindfulness is all about being aware of the present moment and avoiding distractions. It is an easy thing to do when everything is going well, but it becomes challenging under pressure or in heated arguments. Being mindful helps us cope with harmful experiences and enjoy the good ones. It is like a muscle that can be strengthened with practice.

Regulating attention and avoiding judgment are the two key components of mindfulness. Just observe whatever is happening without getting into an internal debate. For beginners, it is a good idea to start with the times when you feel calm and let yourself be. This way, you can learn to appreciate the serenity and focus of mindfulness.

The more mindful you become, the more you’ll conserve your energy, and the less reactive you’ll become. Mindfulness is a way to recharge and refuel yourself, so you are less likely to get stressed by minor incidents. At the same time, it prepares you to handle more significant challenges with a clear and focused mind.

By practicing mindfulness, you can become more centered and better able to manage stress. It is a simple but powerful tool that can help you take control of your life.

Choosing Grit

Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s book “Man’s Search for Meaning” reveals that the power to choose our response, despite any situation, is “the last of human freedoms”. This idea of agency, or the ability to be an active cause instead of a passive effect in our lives, is key to developing grit. By actively seeking experiences where we can make choices and have influence, we can strengthen our sense of agency and unlearn helplessness. Choosing grit means being tough, resourceful, and active in determining the direction of our lives.

The Power of Gratitude

When was the last time you felt truly thankful? Gratitude not only feels good but also provides numerous benefits for our mental wellbeing. Practicing gratitude increases happiness and optimism while reducing anxiety and depression. It also strengthens relationships, reduces loneliness, and improves sleep. Embracing pleasurable activities and noticing the small moments can help foster thankfulness in our daily lives. By accepting pain and suffering as part of human existence, we can make more room for gratitude and joy.

Growing Confidence

Our childhood experiences shape our confidence levels, but we can grow our confidence through intentional efforts. The key to becoming more resilient is recognizing experiences that make us feel cared for and accepting that we’re worth caring about. When faced with negative life events, practicing mindfulness and questioning our critical inner voice can strengthen our self-belief.

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