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4 Tips For Becoming Emotionally Resilient Emotional resilience can be learned and this article presents 4 ways to help develop it. From Psych Central, September 11, 2014.

10 Quick Stress Busters Therese Borchard, editor at Psych Central, has 10 tips for dealing with stress (e.g., simplify, prioritize, laugh, exercise, etc.). Borchard readily admits that she uses an average of 5 per day, and as much as all 10 on a truly bad day.

Acceptance of What Can't Be Changed Is Key To Satisfaction In Later Life, Research Shows When it comes to life satisfaction in one's later years, the ability to accept what cannot be changed is equally important to the feeling of being able to exert control over one's life according to research published in the Journal of Happiness Studies and summaries here in the Huffington Post, July 12, 2013.

An Upbeat Emotion That’s Surprisingly Good for You A new study singles out one surprising emotion as a potent medicine: awe. And happily, awe seems to be much easier to come by than many might expect, even for the busy and stressed-out. This, according to research by Dacher Keltner and colleagues published in the journal Emotion and summarized here for the New York Times, March 26, 2015.

The Biology of Kindness: How it Makes Us Happier and Healthier Summarizes research by Barbara Fredrickson and colleagues which finds that people who engage in Loving Kindness meditation shows great responsiveness of the vagus nerve which plays a role in regulating glucose levels, immune responses, altruistic behavior, and how we connect and bond to one another. From Time, May 9, 2013.

Build Skills to Endure Hardship The Mayo Clinic provides this guild to resilience and mental health including tips to build resilience and when to seek professional advice.

Can You Instill Mental Toughness? The U.S. military is implementing a resilience-building program designed by Martin Seligman and colleagues to help train personnel to think more optimistically through attributional retraining and to develop the capacities for gratitude and generosity using principles of positive psychology. Read about this work in this article from Time magazine online, April 19, 2012.

Designing Your Own Workspace Improves Health, Happiness and Productivity Employees who have control over the design and layout of their workspace are not only happier and healthier -- they're also up to 32% more productive according to research by Craig Knight at the University of Exeter and summarized in this article from Science Daily, September 8, 2010.

Don't Worry, Be Happy: An Explication Grounded in Research Maria Popova presents this explication of Bobby McFerrin's Don't Worry, Be Happy, the iconic happiness anthem grounded in the latest research in personality and social psychology. Includes links to original sources.

The Feeling That Expands Time and Increases Well-Being Awe, that jaw-dropping moment when coming across something surprising, powerful, beautiful or even sublime can have a transformative effect, according to new research published in Psychological Science and summarized here in PsyBlog, April 16, 2015.

The Ghost Boy According to this uplifting story in the Mail Online, from July 6, 2011, Martin Pistorius was a happy, healthy boy – until at the age of 12 a mystery illness left him in a virtual coma. Doctors never found the cause of his condition – even his mother gave up hope. Yet in 1992, when Martin was 16, a miracle happened: he started to regain consciousness. But he was still trapped in his broken body, unable to communicate. Slowly, however, he regained some control of his head and arms, and began to use a computer to write messages and operate a synthetic voice. Here, Martin tells the story of his remarkable recovery – and how he came to find love, a home and a job in England…

Grit: How Entrepreneurs Can Develop Grit, The Most Important Trait Of Successful People Writer Faisal Hoque describes about how entrepreneurs can build Perseverance and passion for long-term goals, called GRIT by psychologist Angela Duckworth, by developing the characteristics of gut, resiliency, inventiveness, tenacity, and trusting instincts in this piece published in Business Insider, October 8, 2014.

Grit: A Key Researcher Says “Grit” isn’t Ready for High-Stakes Measures Grit, the ability to persevere when times get tough, or to delay gratification in pursuit of a goal, has been embraced by educators, the media. But according to researcher Angela Duckworth, the enthusiasm is getting ahead of the science. From NPR, May 13, 2015.

Ground Down Was Nietzsche correct when he said "That which does not kill me makes me stronger"? Apparently not, according to research by David Almeida and colleagues published in 1995 and summarized here in The Economist, April 13, 2013.

The Healing Power of Laughter Theresa Borchard outlines the stress-busting and healing power of laughter in this essay from Psych Central.

Heal Thyself: Think Positive Realism may be bad for your health: believing things will turn out fine or feeling safe and secure may help the body maintain and repair itself according to research by David Creswell and colleagues reviewed in this summary and video (3 minutes, 5 seconds) from New Scientist, August 29, 2011.

Helen Keller on Optimism Maria Popova for Brain Pickings shares her musings on Helen Keller's moving treatise on optimism from 1903. Posted June 6, 2013.

Here’s How Amazing Leaders Adapt to Crazy Situations According to research by clinical psychologist Leslie Patch, personality profiling of executives at GE, McDonald’s, Merrill Lynch, and more, found that active coping is the greatest predictor of managerial success. From “Business Insider”, June 20, 2014.

How Trauma Can Help You Grow Post-traumatic growth can help help survivors of traumatic events cope with their pain and recover from traumatic events. From U.S. News & World Report, September 8, 2014.

Just two questions predict how well a pilot will handle an emergency A new study reports that, more than relevant facts such as age and years of experience, pilots' answers to two simple questions can more accurately forecast how they will respond to a stressful situation. These questions help to determine whether the pilot views the situation as a challenge or as a threat. Published in Anxiety, Stress, & Coping and summarized here for "BPS Research Digest", July 7, 2015.

Keeping Up That Positive Feeling: The Science of Savoring Emotions Savoring a beautiful sunset and the positive emotions associated with it can contribute to improved well-being, according to research. But why and how are some people better than others in keeping the feeling alive? From Science Daily, July 21, 2015.

Laugh Often to Live Well According to Brain Blogger: Humor and mirth offer a multitude of preventive and healing effects and a new study is offering more evidence that laughter has quantifiable benefits for the brain. Posted May 10, 2014.

The Link Between Personality and Immunity Research suggests that basic personality markers — extraversion, hostility, and optimism among them — do seem to play a role in how well someone wards off sickness. Read about the latest findings here in the Association for Psychological Science Observer, September, 2013.

Live your Life Well the website designed to help you cope better with stress and create more of the life you want provides information about stress, ways of coping with stress, and more.

A Navy SEAL Explains 8 Secrets to Grit and Resilience Eric Barker of the “Barking Up The Wrong Tree” blog presents this look into how reality compares to the theory of grit and resilience.

The Long and the Short of It New research suggests that stress takes a toll on us at the most basic level: our genes. Over time, telomeres, the protective caps on the ends of our chromosome what protects our genetic data become shorter and die, leading to a wide range of aging-related diseases including dementia, osteoporosis, diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers. From the APS Observer, volume 27(9), November 2014.

On Road to Recovery, Past Adversity Provides a Map New research suggests that resilience may have at least as much to do with how often people have faced adversity in past as it does with who they are — their personality, their genes, for example — or what they’re facing now. That is, the number of life blows a person has taken may affect his or her mental toughness more than any other factor according to research by Mark Seery, Alison Holman, and Roxane Silver, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (2010) and summarized in this New York Times article January 3, 2011, by Benedict Carey.

Optimists Better at Regulating Stress It's no surprise that those who tend to see a rose's blooms before its thorns are also better at handling stress. But science has failed to reliably associate optimism with individuals' biological stress response -- until now according to Science Daily, July 23, 2013, summarizing research by Joelle Jobin and Carsten Wrosch published in Health Psychology.

The Paradoxical Traits Of Resilient People Entrepreneur Faisal Hoque, writing for Leadership Now argues that resilient people, those who are able to bend but not break during adversity, possess the paradoxical traits of control, acceptance, and using adversity to change for the better.

Pessimism -- It Could Save Your Mind Summarizes research by O'Mara, McNulty, and Karney (2011) in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology which found that optimism led to increased mental health when participants were faced with less stressful situations, but that pessimism was more adaptive in the face of highly stressful situations. From Brain Blogger, October 11, 2011 by Radhika Takru.

Reacting to Personal Setbacks: Do You Bounce Back or Give Up? Sometimes when people get upsetting news – such as a failing exam grade or a negative job review – they decide instantly to do better the next time. In other situations that are equally disappointing, the same people may feel inclined to just give up. How can similar setbacks produce such different reactions? It may come down to how much control we feel we have over what happened according to new research mapping brain activity using fMRI scans published in the journal Neuron and summarized here in Science Daily, September 4, 3014.

Resilience in the Wake of Superstorm Sandy Social factors such as neighborhood bonds and social supports are important factors in helping people cope with the devastation of Hurricane Sandy according to a recent study summarized here in Science Daily, June 24, 2013.

Resilience: Why It’s Vital and How to Enhance It From the website: You can't always get what you want, but resilience helps you feel good anyways. From Psychology Today, June 6, 2013.

The Road to Resilience. The American Psychological Association, as part of its help center, provides this online brochure on resilience and coping with tragedy. There is also a fact sheet on kid resilience.

Rebounding from Losses: Psychologists shared how they've applied resilience-building strategies from APA's public education campaign. An article by Bridget Murray from the American Psychological Association Monitor, Volume 34, No. 9, October 2003.

Resilient kids learn better Embed lessons on optimism, assertiveness and flexibility into class instruction and you'll improve a child's outlook on life, curb his likelihood for depression and boost his grades, according to new research presented at APA's Annual Convention by University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin E.P. Seligman, PhD. according to Amy Novotney, in an article from the APA Monitor on Psychology, 40(9), p. 32. October, 2009.

Resilient People More Satisfied With Life Students who are more resilient … are also more satisfied with their lives and believe they have control over their emotions and their state of mind, according to research by Joaquín Limonero and colleagues in Behavioral Psychology and summarized here in ScienceDaily, May 23, 2012.

If You Don't Have a Father Today. In this Psychology Today blog from June 21, 2009, Paul Dobransky, celebrates resilience as well as Father's Day. Fathers not only make us more resilient people, but our own natural resilience also assists us in finding the fathering we need.

Obituary: Jack Block From the New York Times obituary, February 6, 2010: Jack Block, a prominent psychologist of personality who in 1968 began studying a group of California preschoolers and for decades kept watch as they moved from childhood through adolescence and into adulthood, died on Jan. 13 at his home in El Cerrito, Calif. He was 85.

The Obstacle Is the Way From the website: the principle of changing poison into medicine explains that we can transform even the most horrific tragedy into the very thing we need to become happier than we currently are. From Psychology Today, May 4, 2014.

The Penn Resiliency Project Based on Ellis' Adversity-Consequences-Beliefs (ABC) model and the cognitive-behavioral theories of depression by Aaron Beck, Albert Ellis, and Martin Seligman, elementary and middle school children learn to detect automatic thoughts, evaluate the accuracy of these thoughts, and to consider alternatives to challenge negative beliefs. Includes an overview of the program, references, current projects, and a summary of research findings using the program.

Resilience as a Life Skill Writer and educator Sherri Fisher summarizes important findings from recent studies on resilience that predict resilience and recovery from high-risk childhood, and success as adults.

The Science of Success The Atlantic Magazine ran this article December 2009 summarizing research on the genetics of resilience: Most of us have genes that make us as hardy as dandelions: able to take root and survive almost anywhere. A few of us, however, are more like the orchid: fragile and fickle, but capable of blooming spectacularly if given greenhouse care. So holds a provocative new theory of genetics, which asserts that the very genes that give us the most trouble as a species, causing behaviors that are self-destructive and antisocial, also underlie humankind’s phenomenal adaptability and evolutionary success. With a bad environment and poor parenting, orchid children can end up depressed, drug-addicted, or in jail—but with the right environment and good parenting, they can grow up to be society’s most creative, successful, and happy people.

The Stories That Bind Us Writer Bruce Feiler describes research which suggests that the stories families tell about themselves inspire resilience in future generations. From The New York Times, March 15, 2013.

Stressed Men are More Social Research by Markus Heinrichs and Bernadette von Dawans, published in Psychological Science, suggests that when under stress men may show the tend-and-befriend coping strategy often shown by women, according to this summary in ScienceDaily, May 21, 2012.

Study Confirms: Whatever Doesn't Kill Us Can Make Us Stronger A new national multi-year longitudinal study of the effects of adverse life events on mental health has found that adverse experiences do, in fact, appear to foster subsequent adaptability and resilience, with resulting advantages for mental health and well being According to a study by Mark Seery, Alison Holman, and Roxane Silver in this 2010 article from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and summarized by Science Daily, October 15, 2010

Stress and Aging While stress is known to have a negative impact on the body (e.g., notably affecting chromosomal telomeres and leading to cancer), new evidence suggests that stress management (e.g., counseling, exercise) stops this damage and actually promotes their repair. This summary is from The Economist, April 7, 2011. See also Science Daily, April 2, 2011.

True Grit Getting to that finish line takes stamina and determination. Researchers are working to identify how gritty individuals get things done. according to this article by Angela Lee Duckworth and Lauren Eskreis-Winkler for the APS Observer, April, 2013.

Virginia Tech Shootings: Research on Post-Traumatic Stress According to research by professors Michael Hughes and Russell T. Jones, 15.4 percent of Virginia Tech students experienced high levels of posttraumatic stress three to four months following the shootings. Their research is published in Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy and summarized here in Science Daily, August 3, 2011.

Want to Live to 100? Try To Bounce Back From Stress Gerontologist and commentator Mark Lachs says one of the keys to a long, health old age is the ability to keep moving forward after life's inevitable setbacks in this piece from NPR's Morning Edition, April 11, 2011.

What Does Not Kill You Makes You Stronger Eric Barker in his Barking Up the Wrong Tree blog of May 8, 2012, summarizes research which suggests that this old adage is indeed true, a follow up to his December 16, 2011 post on the same issue.

What is Psychological Resilience? Provides an overview of what resilience is, the characteristics of resilient people, examples of resilient people, enhancing psychological resilience, measuring resilience, and more.

What Makes Us Happy? Joshua Wolf Shenk writes: Is there a formula—some mix of love, work, and psychological adaptation—for a good life? For 72 years, researchers at Harvard have been examining this question, following 268 men who entered college in the late 1930s through war, career, marriage and divorce, parenthood and grandparenthood, and old age. Here, for the first time, a journalist gains access to the archive of one of the most comprehensive longitudinal studies in history. Its contents, as much literature as science, offer profound insight into the human condition—and into the brilliant, complex mind of the study’s longtime director, George Vaillant. From The Atlantic Magazine, June 2009.

Who's Stressed in the US? Adult Stress Levels from 1983-2009 Results show women report more stress, stress decreases with age, and the recent economic downturn mostly affected white, middle-aged men with college educations and full-time jobs. according to research by Sheldon Cohen and Denise Janicki-Deverts published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology and summarized here in ScienceDaily, June 11, 2012.

Women Warriors Show Resilience Similar to Men, Psychological Study Shows Women service members who experience combat are apparently as resilient as the men they serve alongside, according to a study by Dawne Vogt and colleagues and summarized in Science Daily, June 7, 2011.

Assignments, Exercises, and Activities

10 Easy Activities Science Has Proven Will Make You Happier Grounded in research, these activities including practicing gratitude, controlling counter-factual thinking and others may be used to spark discussion or to introduce topics in stress, resilience, cognition, emotion, and positive psychology.

How Mindfulness Works C. Nathan DeWall writing for the APS Observer on Teaching Current Directions in Psychological Science describes two exercises which illustrate how mindfulness works based on the research of J. David Creswell and Emily Lindsay (2014). Posted January 2015.

Teaching Students About How Simple, Positive Activities Can Increase Well-Being Nathan DeWall and David G. Myers offer their advice and guidance about teaching an area of research recently highlighted in Current Directions of Psychological Science. In this column for the May/June 2013 APS Observer they discuss numerous classroom activities to illustrate the effect---how simple activities can increase well-being---and spark discussion.

Teaching Students About the Sunny Side of Stress Nathan DeWall and David G. Myers offer their advice and guidance about teaching an area of research recently highlighted in Current Directions of Psychological Science. In this column for the May/June 2013 APS Observer they discuss how people can use arousal reappraisal to lessen the experience of stress in both mind and body.

Why Self-Control and Grit Matter —- And Why It Pays to Know the Difference C. Nathan DeWall, writing for the Teaching Current Directions in Psychological Science column in the APS Observer, presents this five-minute activity on the Duckworth and Gross (2014) study of Self-Control and Grit.

Current Researchers and Research Team Pages

The Duckworth Lab The research lab of Angela Duckworth at the University of Pennsylvania: Our lab focuses on two traits that predict achievement: grit and self-control. Grit is the tendency to sustain interest in and effort toward very long-term goals (Duckworth et al., 2007). Self-control is the voluntary regulation of behavioral, emotional, and attentional impulses in the presence of momentarily gratifying temptations or diversions (Duckworth & Seligman, 2005; Duckworth & Steinberg, 2015).

Electronic Texts

Examples and Illustrations

The Relentless Urge to Create: the Work of Earl Joseph Martell. Joseph Martell, a paint mixer at Home Depot, is able to see the beauty in a simple can of unmixed paint. While others are too busy to notice, he quickly snaps a photo before the can hits the mixing machine. The results are stunning and illustrate the urge to create -- even under less than ideal circumstances.

Lecture Notes

Slide Presentations

Tests, Measures, and Scales

Cognitive Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (CERQ) The CERQ by Nadia Garnefski and Vivian Kraaij is a 36-item multidimensional questionnaire constructed in order to identify the cognitive emotion regulation strategies (or cognitive coping strategies) someone uses after having experienced negative events or situations. Contrary to other coping questionnaires that do not explicitly differentiate between an individual's thoughts and his or her actual actions, the present questionnaire refers exclusively to an individual's thoughts after having experienced a negative event.

Flourishing Scale The Flourishing Scale by Diener, et al. (2009), is a brief 8-item summary measure of the respondent's self-perceived success in important areas such as relationships, self-esteem, purpose, and optimism. The scale provides a single psychological well-being score. The scale is available for downloading in English, Chinese, Hungarian, and Turkish.

Grit Scale According to psychologist Angela Duckworth, Grit is the tendency to sustain interest in and effort toward very long-term goals. The idea is that determination, persistence, and resilience are the keys to success. Take this short quiz and see how much grit you have compared to others.

Mindset Scale When it comes to your own level of intelligence and other basic qualities, do you have more of a fixed mindset or more of a growth mindset? Take this 16-item quiz to find out your attitude toward basic abilities.

Scale of Positive and Negative Experience (SPANE) The Scale of Positive and Negative Experience by Diener et al. (2009) is a 12-item questionnaire includes six items to assess positive feelings and six items to assess negative feelings. For both the positive and negative items, three of the items are general (e.g., positive, negative) and three per subscale are more specific (e.g., joyful, sad).

Multimedia Resources

Building Resiliency Psych Central's founder and Editor-in-Chief John M. Grohol interviewed therapists Daniel J. Tomasulo, Ph.D. & Marie Hartwell-Walker on how to build resilience. In their original video from May 12, 2012 (which runs 5 minutes, 33 seconds) they offer 5 suggestions and in this follow-up from May 21, 2012 (running 4 minutes, 10 seconds) they offer more.

Does Teaching Kids to Get Gritty Help Them Get Ahead? Summarizes the research by Angela Duckworth and describes how school are trying to teach students “grit” i.e., that persistence, determination and resilience are the keys to success in school and beyond. Tovia Smith visits a public school and Brookly and reports how they have put Duckworth’s ideas into action. From NPR’s “Morning Edition”, March 17, 2014. Includes links to a a Grit scale and the mindset test of Carol Dweck. Part 1 Runs 7 minutes, 48 seconds; Part 2 runs 7 minutes, 43 seconds.

Heal Thyself: Think Positive Realism may be bad for your health: believing things will turn out fine or feeling safe and secure may help the body maintain and repair itself according to research by David Creswell and colleagues reviewed in this summary and video (3 minutes, 5 seconds) from New Scientist, August 29, 2011.

Motorcyclist Thrown After Crash, Walks Away I can either land on my feet or my head right now is what was going through the mind of 24 year old Michael Smith as he was hit by a car while riding his motorcycle through an intersection in Florida. Amazingly, he flipped head-over-heels, landed on his feet, and walked away. Posted July 2014. Runs 51 seconds.

Resilience: The Nick Vujicic Story Nick Vujicic was born in 1982 without arms or legs but with the strength of character and spirit to overcome these challenges: By the age of 19 Nick started to fulfill his dream of being able to encourage other people and bring them hope, through motivational speaking and telling his story. [Nick] found the purpose of [his] existence, and also the purpose of [his] circumstance. Nick wholeheartedly believes that there is a purpose in each of the struggles we encounter in our lives and that our attitude towards those struggles that can be the single most effective factor in overcoming them. A 4-minute and 11-second film about him featuring excerpts from some of his talks to young people is available here.

This Emotional Life From the website: The Emmy Award-winning team of Vulcan Productions and the producers of NOVA have created a three-part series that explores improving our social relationships, learning to cope with depression and anxiety, and becoming more positive, resilient individuals. Harvard psychologist and best-selling author of Stumbling on Happiness, Professor Daniel Gilbert, talks with experts about the latest science on what makes us tick and how we can find support for the emotional issues we all face. Each episode weaves together the compelling personal stories of ordinary people and the latest scientific research along with revealing comments from celebrities like Chevy Chase, Larry David, Alanis Morissette, Robert Kennedy, Jr., and Richard Gere. The first episode, Family, Friends & Lovers, looks at the importance of relationships and why they are central to our emotional well-being (includes an excellent overview of Attachment theory). In the second episode, Facing Our Fears, we look at emotions that are commonly regarded as obstacles to happiness — such as anger, fear, anxiety, and despair (includes a discussion of Anger, Depression, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Stress and Anxiety). The last episode, Rethinking Happiness, explores happiness. It is so critical to our well-being, and, yet, it remains such an elusive goal for many of us (includes Creativity and Flow, Forgiveness, Happiness, Humor, Meditation, Resilience). See more about the people and stories featured on the series, view selected video clips, learn more about the topics mentioned, find information about resources and support organizations, and purchase a DVD.

The Science of Compassion and Resilience Psychologist David DeSteno examines the science of compassion and resilience exploring new ideas for leveraging the mechanisms of the mind that enable them according to Maria Popova for Brain Pickings, October 22, 2012. Runs 18 minutes, 28 seconds.

Well-Being: Claremont Graduate University Online Video Library. Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA, maintains an online video library of selected talks and panel discussions at the University. How can educators best support student well-being? Yost Hammer, Elizabeth (Xavier University of Louisiana), moderator, Anthony Antonio (Stanford University), Tracy McLaughlin-Volpe (Emerson College). Panel discussion from the 2009 Claremont Symposium on Applied Social Psychology, Enhancing Teaching and Learning: Lessons from Social Psychology. March 28, 2009. 45 minutes.

Wounded Warriors Softball Team NBC Nightly News did this feature story on the inspirational Wounded Warriors softball team. These veteran service members play on an amputee softball team, made up entirely of players who have lost limbs. They take on able-bodied teams for camaraderie and the love of good hard competition. Aired September 5, 2011 (Runs 3 minutes and 28 seconds).


Page last modified by December 17, 2015, at 08:02 PM