All right, so we've defined resilience, now let's talk about what the science of resilience tells us are variables that contribute to a person's resilience. Sometimes they're called protective factors. I'm going to review for you sort of a big field of resilience, and so I'm going to be drawing from lots of different studies. Each of those studies is designed to help us identify what are those critical variables that enable resilience. Now I've clumped them into sort of buckets so that they're easier for you to remember and think about. So one group of variables that relates to resilience is biology. So like most variables, there's probably some degree of heritability in terms of resilience. We know that how your body responds to stress, has effects on your resilience. I'm not going to focus so much on the biology of resilience, because that's not the work I do. I focus on the psychosocial aspects of resilience. The aspects of resilience that are determined by your psychology, and by your social relationships and interactions. Okay, so a bucket of resilience or a set of variables that contribute to resilience could be defined as variables that relate to self-awareness. So by self-awareness I mean, how often do you sort of hit the pause button, just for a second, to ask yourself what's going on internally? How often do you notice what your thoughts are? And whether those thoughts are helping you in situation, or maybe getting in your way. Another part of self-awareness is tracking your emotions. So in a moment in time, can you identify what you're feeling? And do you have a, sort of broad lexicon to describe your emotions? We're going to talk about the role of emotions in resilience as we get into this course. Another part of self-awareness is not just tracking your thoughts and your emotions, but also your reactions. What are you doing in a situation? And are your behaviors or your reactions helping you or harming you? Another part is physiology, so some of us are really attuned to our thinking, and maybe we are also really attuned and aware of our reactions, but we couldn't tell you what's going on in our bodies. We're not aware of our breath or our heart rate. And that's important because we're going to talk about how physiology can affect our resilience. So that's part of self-awareness. Another part of self-awareness is knowing your strengths. So being as deeply aware of what your strengths are and how to leverage those strengths to overcome challenges, as you are of your weaknesses. And how to correct those weaknesses to get better outcomes. So, we've got biology as a set of variables that affect resilience. We've got self-awareness as another set of variables that affects resilience. A third, sort of grouping of variables is self-regulation. So a bunch of different capacities or abilities that relate to your ability, to not just notice your thoughts, and your reactions, and your physiology. But also your ability to change your thoughts, your emotions, your physiology, when what you're experiencing isn't helping you in a situation. So let's just take for example physiology, maybe through yourself self-awareness, you've noticed that you're weigh too revved up. Your fight or flight response is engaged, and you're prepared for a battle, but there really is no battle. Well, to stay resilient or to enable resilience in that moment, you're going to need some skills to down regulate all that fight or flight, to be able to calm your physiology. And we're going to talk about some of those skills in this course. Another part of self-regulation, kind of tucked into that category, is goal setting. We know that it takes a lot of self-regulation and control to reach our goals. And we also know that having goals, having a vision for ourself for the future. For a quest that we're trying to attain. That that's important resilience, it gives us something to shoot for. So another category of variables that the science says are important in resilience is under this category of self-regulation. Okay, there's another sort of group of variables that matter, and I call these mental agility variables. So by mental agility, I mean the ability to look at things from multiple perspectives. We know from the science that one of the variables that helps with resilience is perspective taking. It's being able to look at a situation, not just from one vantage point, but from multiple vantage points. Another part of mental agility is problem solving. Just basic skills and being able to identify the root cause of a problem, and then to be able to identify solutions, and enact those solutions. We also know from the science that good intellectual functioning is important for resilience. It contributes to problem solving and perspective taking. So mental agility is another bucket. One of the groups of variables that we're going to talk a lot about, falls under the title of optimism. And I'm going to define it more for you later, but optimism as you know, is the belief in a positive future. We know that that's critical in resilience. If you think about resilience as kind of an endurance run, right? Being able to stay after something and continue to work to overcome a stress or a challenge. Optimism might very well be kind of the engine of resilience. It gives us the attitude to continue to persist. Part of optimism, another variable that matters in resilience, is being able to separate out what you can control in the situation, from the aspects of a situation you might need to accept. And we'll talk more about that. Something that resilient folks do really well, is they think about stressors, not as threats, but rather as challenges. So when there is a problem in front of them, they have the mindset, or a challenge in front of them. The have a mindset of, yeah, this is a challenge I can overcome, I'm going to lean in to it. Versus this is a threat and I'm going to withdraw. So optimism is critical in resilience. There's another set of variables that relate to, what I would describe as self-efficacy or mastery. So variables like knowing what your talents are, knowing what your strengths are, having a I can attitude. The belief that you can master your environment. Part of what we'll explore in this course is character strengths, and how knowledge of who you are at your best contributes to high self-efficacy, contributes to the perception or the belief that I can master my environment. And we'll talk about how you can use your character strengths to deal with challenges. So self-efficacy, mastery, is another grouping of variables. An additional grouping of variables, I title connection. So in this sort of group of variables, there are things like attachment style. So we know from the research in infancy, that children who have a strong attachment to their caregivers, who feel safe with their caregivers, are more likely to go on to demonstrate resilience later in life. A very common finding in the resilience literature is around relationships. And what some of the early work in resilience, has shown, and current work continues to support this, is that a critical variable in resilience is having people in your life. Maybe just one person, even, in your life who you know you can rely on. Where that relationships is robust, and that you know that no matter where you are and where that other individual is, that that person is thinking well of you, and that you can rely on that person for support when things start getting hard. So it's your attachment style as an infant and attachment style throughout life. It's also your relationships that are important in predicting and contributing to resilience. But it's not just connection at the level of inter-personal relationships, another aspect that seems very important resilience is what I would loosely describe as spirituality. Feeling attached or connected to something larger than yourself. So may be that's not only a relationship, it might be your faith. It might be a deep connection to nature and a sense of spirituality that comes to you when you're out in nature. The attachment to something larger than yourself might also be to a mission, to a purpose, to an idea, something that you believe is critically important and worth fighting for. So those are examples of variables that contribute to resilience, that I would put under this title of connection. Now the last grouping of variables can be described as positive institutions. So you notice that in both of what I've talked about so far, are variables that either reside within the individual or reside within or across individuals within relationships. And those variables matter deeply. But we also know that there are variables within institutions, whether that be the family institution, or the community, or your workplace, that either can support and further grow those interpersonal and intrapersonal variables, or can erode those over time. So if you grow up in a community where you're not safe. If you go to a school where you feel threatened everyday. If you're growing up in a family where your basic needs aren't being met. That's going to be harder to maintain high levels of resilience, than if you're part of schools and communities and work places and families, where these attributes of resilience are valued. Okay, so that's the landscape of what the science of resilience tells us are critical variables in contributing to resilience. In our work, we focus on really a subset of those variables. So in this course, we're going to be talking about skills to build your self-awareness, to be able to track what's going on internally with you. We'll talk about skills to build self-regulation, how to regulate or change your thoughts, emotions, physiology, when those things are getting in your way. I'm going to be teaching you what I would describe as mental agility skills. Skills that help you to notice when you're getting bogged down in maybe an overly rigid perception or perspective, and how to have more flexibility. We'll talk about the optimism and other positive emotions. We'll talk about character strengths, and we'll also be exploring some strategies for strengthening your relationships with others.