Rick Hanson and Resilience 10-28-19

by Stanley Merrill

Rick Hanson

  • “Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness”
  • November’s book club. 

Positive Psychology

  • Negativity bias 
    • Velcro for bad experiences – don’t want to get eaten by a tiger.
    • Teflon for good experiences
    • The way our mind needed to work to survive.
    • Example – Go to sleep – bad mood – 3 great things happened to me and 1 minor bad thing and that is what I was thinking when I went to bed. 
  • My mind is like a bad neighborhood.   I try not to go there alone. Anne Lamont
  • Improvements in Psychological approaches  
    • Treating illnesses
      • When someone is ill or depressed.
      • Cognitive Behavior Therapy 
        • Questioning your thoughts.   Are they true? Are they helpful?
        • Questioning how you react.  Are they helpful or self-destructive?
        • Break destructive behavior patterns. 
    • Positive Psychology – Preventing illness
      • Before one is ill or depressed create a more healthy resilient mind.

Meditation / Mindfulness 

  • Calming impact – Sense of wellbeing as a felt sense
    • Problems are less likely to trigger you. 
  • Objective observer can catch negativity before it turns into rumination.
    • When you are triggered you are more likely to respond constructively
  • Your mind can be your best friend or your worst enemy

Resourcing Approaches

  • Cultivate clear thinking so that you don’t get depressed. 
  • Not wishful thinking
    • Just not feeding your mind negativity that is not helpful. 

Using your mind to alter your brain.

  • There are physiological changes caused by the resourcing practices
  • Neuroplasticity
    • Decreased activity in parts of the brain are signs of happiness
    • Neurons that fire together wire together.
    • Rumination is the major cause of recurring depression. 

Resourcing Skills 

  • Chapter 1 – Compassion 
    • Self-compassion
    • If I am not for myself who will be.   If I am only for myself what am I . If not now when… Hillel
  • Chapter 2 – Mindfulness
    • Wisdom as the attitude of mindfulness – letting go 
    • Let be, let go, let in
    • Felt sense, bodily experience
    • Meditation as a way of cultivating the Mindfulness muscles
  • Chapter 3 – Learning

HEAL – The process 

  • Have an experience
  • Installation 
  • Enrich it: Stay with it, feeling it fully. 
  • Absorb it – Receive it into yourself. 
  • Link it (optional):
  • Chapter 4 – Grit
    • Toughness is in the soul and spirit, not in muscles. —Alex Karras 
    • Agency – opposite of helplessness 
    • Active – Pro-active. 
  • Chapter 5 – Gratitude 
    • Counter-balance our negativity bias.
    • Before you go to sleep at night – think of all the good things that happened that day
    • Gratitude journal
    • Writing thank you notes. 
    • Gratitude Practice
      • Mantra – “Thank you, Thank you, Thank
      • Micro Practice
      • Resourcing
  • Chapter 6 – Confidence
    • Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are. —Malcolm Forbes 
    • To simplify a large body of research, when parents and other caregivers are usually attuned, responsive, loving, and skillful—reliably delivering a “good enough” stream of social supplies—children are likely to become securely attached. They have a feeling of being loved and worthy, as well as strong capacities to soothe and regulate themselves. 
  • Chapter 7 – Calm
    • Meditation – Focusing on the breath – centering
    • Movement – Tai Chi, Yoga
    • Imagery 
    • Appreciating your resources
  • Chapter 8 – Motivation
    • Healthy Passion – Constructive growth
  • Chapter 9 – Intimacy
    • Autonomy – feel comfortable expressing your feelings
    • Grow empathy and compassion within yourself
  • Chapter 10 – Courage 
    • One is wise who is peaceable, friendly, and fearless. —The Dhammapada 
    • Safety first
    • Speak up – Nonviolent communications
    • Requests not demands
  • Chapter 11 – Aspiration
    • Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? —Mary Oliver 
    • Love AND work AND play
    • What is the essence of your dream?
    • Without attachment 
    • Consider what you are doings and offerings 
  • Chapter 12 – Generosity
    • Forgiveness


  • I am an old man and I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.    …Mark Twain