by Dennis S. Charney, MD – Dean Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai


  1. Positive Attitude
    • Optimism is strongly related to resilience
    • Optimism is, in part, genetic but can be learned (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)
    • Neurobiological Mechanisms: Reward circuits, converse of learned helplessness
  2. Cognitive Flexibility through Cognitive Reappraisal
    • Traumatic experiences can be re-evaluated by altering the perceived value and meaningfulness of the event
    • One can receive a benefit from stress and trauma: one can reframe, assimilate, accept and recover. These skills can be learned.
    • Failure is an essential ingredient for growth
    • Neurobiological Mechanisms: Memory Reconsolidation, Cognitive Control of Emotion, Memory Suppression
  3. Embrace a Personal Moral Compass
    • Develop a set of core beliefs that very few things can shatter
    • For many, faith in conjunction with strong religious and/or spiritual beliefs is associated with resilience
    • Altruism has been strongly related to resilience. Survivor Mission.
    • Neurobiological Mechanisms: Neural Model of Human Morality, Altruism & Human Evolution


Retain faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties. AND at the same time Confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.

Excerpted from hardcopy of webinar slides

Resilience and Mental Health: Challenges Across the Lifespan. Edited by Steven M. Southwick, Brett T. Litz, Dennis Charney and Matthew J. Friedman. Cambridge University Press 2011. 

Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life’s Challenges. Steven M. Southwick, MD with Dennis S. Charney, MD. Cambridge University Press 2012.


5 responses to “Resilience”

  1. Mastery does seem to be a stretch; whereas, flexibility is more doable. I agree that webinars are difficult to watch. They take FOREVER. I can read and scan far more quickly. So, I found the slides and copied and pasted what I considered to be the most salient points. In other words, I gave up on watching the whole webinar.

  2. This is interesting stuff (though webinars are SUCH a snooze). I’ll look for these books at the library. It’s curious to me that they use the word “mastering.” Resilience, for me, has always been about bouncing back–the flexibility and tensile strength needed to cope and rebound.

  3. Excellent tools here for recovery, survival, and living a quality life. A positive outlook, cognitive control of emotion and faith! Yes, all are keys to success! I love it!

  4. Reblogged this on AmandaQuirky and commented:

    I try not to post other people’s thoughts TOO often (and fail, continually…) but this one was too good to pass up.

    My mother always told me I should have a more positive outlook on life.

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