R is for Resilience: Some Lessons We Can Learn From Survivors

Dennis Charney is the professor of psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

In this video he describes some of the lessons learned from studying returning prisoners of war. Some seemed to thrive and overcome the adversity. So what were they doing right?

Dennis and his colleague Dr Steven Southwick went on to detail these findings in their book Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life’s Greatest Challenges.


In addition to the veterans, they studied people who had overcome violence or other traumas in their lives. They found that similar themes kept occurring.

Building on their research, they outlined ten key skills that people could use to overcome such challenges. It would be helpful for them:

To have a positive attitude but also be realistic: to have a clear-eyed about the challenges they were facing.

To have a clear moral compass, such as a set of values, spiritual faith or sense of altruism.

To draw lessons from their own traumatic experiences.

To have a strong social support network.

To have resilient role models.

To welcome challenges and believe they can find solutions.

To develop active coping skills.

To care for their physical well being.

To train regularly and rigorously in multiple areas – such as their emotional intelligence, moral integrity and physical endurance.

To recognise and foster their strengths, using them to deal with challenging situations.

You can discover more about this in the following articles.




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