Healthy and Resilient Aging

Our current thinking on Resilience

Are you going through hard times?

Here is a brief 12-item Resilience Response Scale that you can use to predict what to expect from your own wellspring of resilience. How are you going to adapt to challenges in your life? What can you expect from yourself?

Three Morning Routines to Boost Your Resilience

Resilience is a capacity in each of us that makes it possible to respond in a positive way to whatever the day brings. Every morning gives us a brand new opportunity to train our brain for resilience and be ready for the day. Take a detour. Every morning I’m drawn to my computer or phone

Look for Patterns to Understand Purpose

Over the years I’ve talked to hundreds of people about how their purpose finds them rather than the other way around. This approach is new to many and often greeted with curiosity as most people are used to thinking that they have to “find their purpose”. In fact many will say, “If only I could


Experiencing serenity and feeling cool, calm, and collected under pressure, will support your resilience. There are many ways to achieve this and one of the best approaches is through mindfulness meditation – the act of being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling at every moment without interpretation or judgment. Practicing mindfulness reduces stress, anxiety,

Five Ways to Live Resiliently in the New Year

This is a perfect time of the year for dreaming and planning for the future. Now that the hustle and bustle of December has passed, the quiet and more peaceful days of deep winter are upon us. Here in Montana, the shadows are lengthening by 4:30 P.M. and plunging us into darkness by 5:00. Fifteen

Discovering Your Resilience Core

Most of us are ordinary people. Every one of us, however, has extraordinary possibilities and strengths. Everyone stumbles and falls from time to time, but each of us has the ability to get back up and carry on. We call this capacity to live life to the fullest and face adversity, change, and challenge with

Will Resilience Help You to be More Successful?

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (leader during WWII) said, “Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” This is easier said than done. How do you maintain enthusiasm when you are exhausted, discouraged, frustrated, or completely alone? How can you do this? It’s the hard truth: from time to time you are going

What Does Resilience Look Like?

Staying calm a sign of resilience Eighteen-year old Cherelle LaGrou was hiking alone on a mountain near Denali National Park in Alaska looking for waterfalls. She was nervous because of the slippery terrain. She had been talking with her mom Shelly LaGrou for about 15 minutes by phone when suddenly Shelly heard her daughter scream.

What Does Resilience Have In Common with a Crocus?

This has been a tough Winter in Montana. We are inching our way toward the most snow and cold in 82 years. As I sit in front of the fire and hear the wind howling around the corners of the house, it seems that Spring will never arrive. But it will. We just have to endure the knee deep snow and freezing temperatures a little while longer.

"I can do this" or "I can't do this". Which do you say the most?

During this particularly harsh Montana winter, I decided to re-read Two Old Women by Velma Wallis. This Alaskan legend tells of a starving tribe forced to abandon two old women in order to increase the tribe’s probability of surviving. No one expected to see them again and they said their tearful and final good byes.

Eight Essential Ingredients for Resilient Aging

Time to Read: 3 minutes. It’s been more than 30 years since I began studying resilience and longer than that since I began collecting stories from wise elders for insight into healthy aging. I want to share with you what I’ve learned from those who are aging resiliently.

You Don't Find Purpose; It Finds You

Time to Read: 3 minutes. I googled “find my purpose” the other day and got about 1 ½ billion results. It looks like many of us are in search of a purposeful life. Purpose is essential to resilience (the ability to adapt positively, learn and grow from experiences, and keep going toward our goals). Research studies indicate that if we live with purpose we’re also apt to live longer, have better health, and make better lifestyle choices.

Four Myths about Resilience

Time to Read: 3 minutes. Resilience is an extraordinary ability that develops throughout our lifetimes. Many people have a narrow view of resilience, however, and this limits the potential for individual growth. Consider 4 myths surrounding resilience.

Resilience Response Checklist

As a resilience researcher of many years, I’ve learned that there is a misunderstanding between being resilient and responding with resilience. Resilience is a capability each of us has that is invisible. When we are up against a serious challenge, our resilience or lack of resilience becomes visible through our responses. That’s why we may not know how resilient we are because it’s hard to see unless we are being challenged. When life is routine and predictable, we may wonder if we are very resilient. Have you ever wondered how resilient you are?

Have I come to the end of my resilience? Three things to think about

Do you ever get tired of reading about resilience and how wonderful it is to be resilient? We’re told it will make us happier, more productive and successful and a better person all the way around. Well, what if you don’t feel particularly resilient? There are situations in life that really knock us over and it takes a lot of effort to keep going. I know because I’ve been there, too – many times. I’ve had colossal failures, betrayals, rejection, illness – you know what I’m talking about. During those times I’ve wondered, “Have I come to the end of my resilience? Is this all I’ve got?”

11 point checklist: How much perseverance do you have?

Do you see yourself as a person with determination? I know it’s essential to resilience. There is no way I can achieve anything that’s important to me without putting one foot in front of the other and not stopping. Albert Einstein said, “It’s not that I’m so smart; I just stay with problems longer.” The key to resilience is to keep going. So how much perseverance do you have?

Five Practices for Stress Resilience

Stress resilience is not resistance, avoidance, or inoculation to stress. Whether we have a great deal of resilience or not, we still will experience stress. We will continue to get the flu, have accidents, experience loss, and fail. Events that challenge us will continue to occur. No matter how robust our resilience is, we will never be numb to stress or able to prevent it from occurring.

Six Ways to More Joy and Happiness in Your Life

If you want to chase away the shadows, consider filling your life with more joy. When we feel joy, we experience feelings of pleasure and delight. Sometimes joy is pushed to the side as we strive to meet the pressing demands that fill our days. But joy is there waiting for us to rediscover and in those moments of joy we worry less and feel more lighthearted.

Resilience and Living to 100

Will being resilient help me live to 100? Maybe. Here’s how: 1. Make sure you have goals both short term (goals for today) and long term (goals six months from now). 2. Take care of yourself. Eat nutritiously, move some every day, and get the rest you need. 3. Stay connected to others in your life. Stay engaged and interested in the world around you. 4. Do what you can to prevent depression or ameliorate the effects of depression by building up your resilience.

Resilience and Depression

Several years ago I was at a retreat and during a break found myself sitting between two professional and well-educated women. We were talking about resilience and I shared with them that I had experienced depression and found life challenging at times, despite my understanding of resilience. There was no response. I could feel both women looking at me and then they looked at each other, a look of surprise on their faces and their mouths forming a silent ‘oh’. They each said, ‘I have never been depressed in my entire life’. I was in turn surprised. I said ‘Really?’ They nodded their heads. The conversation moved on to other topics.

Facing Your Fears Will Strengthen Your Resilience

When we are able to tackle the things that scare us and eventually even overcome them, it gives us a feeling of confidence and self-reliance. Fear no longer rules the day. It’s self-knowledge that says, “I can do this”. The more we do this, the more skilled we get at facing our fears. Not because the world becomes a less scary place, but because we have the confidence that we can do what we need to do to overcome fear that that may be otherwise holding us back. Learning to face our fears is a powerful and essential element of resilience. The more practice we get at overcoming our fears, the better prepared we are for facing whatever happens in our life. As our resilience grows stronger, we are better prepared for future adversity. Louisa May Alcott wrote, “I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.”

Three Things to Consider When You’re Discouraged

Have you ever failed and wanted to give up? I have. And sometimes that’s the wise thing to do. But other times, I have quit before I knew how it would turn out and always wondered… should I have kept going just to see what was around the next bend in the road? That’s not easy to do when you are seriously discouraged.

The Ups and Downs of Resilience

Sometimes I don’t feel very resilient. On those days, I am usually tired and discouraged. Maybe even a little grumpy and depressed. I’ve learned not to fight it too much. I don’t mean that I give up as much as I just try to let go for a while knowing that “This too shall pass.” If experience has taught me anything it is that I will get through it. Maybe a little bruised and shaken up, but I’ll make it and learn something in the process.

The Power of Sleep for Resilience

It’s hard to be resilient when I haven’t had enough sleep. Being resilient requires some enthusiasm to get up and get going, which is difficult to muster when I’m exhausted. When I’m tired from a sleepless night, problems can seem insurmountable; I have less ability to take things in stride, and am more likely to be negative and pessimistic. A good night's sleep supports a strong resilience capacity and resilience in turn helps you sleep well.

Where Does Resilience Come From?

All of us have the potential for a resilience response to adversity. In other words, we have the capacity to respond to life’s inevitable difficulties by adapting, becoming wiser, and growing more capable and confident through life’s ups and downs. But where does this resilience capacity come from? I've learned that resilience comes from three sources.

Ten Behaviors that Deplete My Resilience

I have spent time trying to understand how to strengthen resilience in order to be ready for whatever life might throw at me. I’ve also learned for myself that it’s been helpful to be aware of red flag behaviors that deplete my capacity for a resilience response, too. Here is my list of 10 behaviors that undermine my resilience.

Don't Let Anyone Else Define Who You Are

A hallmark feature of resilience is authentic living. In other words, being yourself. This is more difficult than it first appears. There is a tendency to think, ‘well who else can I be?’ But every day we are bombarded from all sides to be richer, more attractive, smarter, more powerful, and more famous than we are. The poet e.e. cummings wrote: ‘To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.’

Panic and Resilience: It Won’t Help to Hide Under the Bed

We face alone many of the crises in our lives and have to look to ourselves to figure them out. There isn’t always someone else to help us and in the case of the coronavirus, we have to learn to get our information from reliable sources in order to make a good plan for ourselves. My dad was an airplane pilot and when I was young I feared what would happen if he had a heart attack. Answer? Learn to fly the plane. If an unlucky intruder comes through my door, I am now ready.