24 Evidence-Based Ways to Train and Track Resilience

Resilience has emerged as key to health and recovery from traumatic experiences.

Grant H Brenner

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Photo by Grant H Brenner

Recently I had the pleasure of speaking with Jonathan DePierro, Ph.D., about his newly updated book Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life’s Greatest Challenges. DePierro is associate director of the Center for Stress, Resilience and Personal Growth (CSRPG) at New York’s Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine. The book provides pragmatic practices based on years of clinical research with Vietnam veterans, 9/11 recovery workers, and others, backed up by inspiring stories of endurance and transformation.

What Is Resilience, and How Can I Build It Up?

Resilience can be hard to measure, and many longstanding ways to assess resilience, while helpful, have fallen short. For instance, resilience is not simply the absense of post- traumatic stress disorder; it is the presence of health and, often (but by no means exclusively), accompanied by post-traumatic growth.

Regardless, resilience serves to buffer PTSD such that people with greater resilience are less likely to develop pathological outcomes following significant trauma. Not only that, but while many aspects of resilience are innate (related to biological factors affecting brain plasticity, for example), many resilience factors are learnable (“modifiable”). It is these modifiable factors people need to target, train, and track.

DePierro and colleagues have developed the Mount Sinai Resilience Scale (2023, © Icahn School of Medicine 2023. All rights reserved), which enhances the capacity not only to assess resilience but whether its component factors are being applied effectively. At face value, its 24 items serve as an evidence-based framework for self-assessment as well as a means of identifying areas where resilience can be further trained.

Increasing resilience correlates with enhanced long-term health outcomes and has been shown, at the organizational level, to be a cost-effective strategy. Investing in resilience now saves organizations significant costs in the future. Nevertheless, relatively few organizations actually implement robust and demonstrably effective resilience training into their…

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Grant H Brenner

Psychiatrist, Psychoanalyst, Entrepreneur, Writer, Speaker, Disaster Responder, Advocate, Photographer