John Arden: The Science Behind Emotional Resilience

We often break the topic of "Resilience" down into 3 categories: financial, physical and emotional. The first two are much more tangible and more frequently and easily discussed. But it's the last that likely matters most.

No matter how large your bank account or how well-stocked your homestead, no one can be completely prepared for every potential eventuality. And nothing ever goes 100% according to plan. In the times when it doesn't, it's our emotional fortitude that determines how well we fare.

As we often observe: it's not the specific insult that determines our fate. It's our reaction to it.

So how does one go about cultivating a higher degree of emotional resilience? To address that important question, Chris welcomes psychologist, mental health specialist and author John Arden to the program, for a neuroscience-heavy exploration of how to do just that.

Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with John Arden (58m:03s)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Tom Campbell argues from the quantum Erasure experiment that there is nothing "out there". Consciousness is all that there is.
His interpretation is that the brain itself is an illusion. If parts of the brain are altered or damaged, that affects the rule set for the game that we are playing and gives the impression that we are in our brains.

If our brains are enhanced say, with the internet and computing power, then that is exactly the same as finding the secret icon in any computer game that enhances your power.

I have yet to discover a convincing reason why we sleep. Darwinian Evolution should have eliminated sleep in the Precambrian. But there you have it- we have to sleep. And then there is the issue of DMT.

As we age our stomach acid ph raises and we are unable to process vitamin B12, cobalomin. B12 is necessary for the formation of the myelin sheath covering our nerve fibers. Sever lack of B12 and myelation are both dramatic and irreversible. Consider regular shots of hydrocolobalomin. They are not expensive.


Vitamin B12 deficiency can potentially cause severe and irreversible damage, especially to the brain and nervous system. At levels only slightly lower than normal, a range of symptoms such as fatigue, depression, and poor memory may be experienced.[2]
To be honest I find that dragging some significant other along behind you when they cling desperately to their willful blindness to be more damaging than living alone. There are lethal traps for those who refuse to use their one and only super-power.

Thank you for this. Not really what I signed up for so doubly appreciative that this kind of content is provided by PP.

A lengthy read but worth it. So many points resonated strongly with me, particularly the tendencies to denial and avoidance, which I see as widely used coping strategies across the board in society.
The big thing for me with my emotional resilience is being able to first become and then stay disciplined in the actions I choose to take. There is a quote I have by my desk: "The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it." Never truer words spoken.

I believe that the discipline to act is also tied to work ethic. By and large people do not seem to have the same work ethic that was present in previous generations. If it can't be done quickly, or solved in 30 minutes or less, like a sitcom, then there is not much in the way of patience to even start. I have felt that in my own life in certain ways. I am moving back to using hand tools only for woodworking projects and at times I feel the impatience of not being able to something as fast as I would have using a power tool. To make this transition and be happy with the new methodology and see it as the pleasant hobby it is meant to be I need both discipline and work ethic to not take the easy way out. In a way it is re-tooling my brain to deal with the discomfort.

My challenge with emotional resilience will always and forever be about maintaining discipline to do that which I have determined to be the "right thing". If I can be disciplined, I can do anything I put my mind to.


Quick summary of the discussion": 'SEEDS'  to keep you mind strong throughout your life.
Socialize  – we need to intact with each other

 Exercise – get some aerobic stuff each day

Education – read and learn stuff (get a bit uncomfortable, stretch yourself) 

Diet  – eat well

Sleep – Yes get your 7 - 8 hours in


And, run toward the roar, that's where you will find fulfillment.

Thank you

And I wanted to turn that into SPEEDS by adding Play into the mix.  :)
Playing (physically, not board games…) involves using our bodies and muscles and nerves in new, unusual and/or unpredictable ways.  
What we know about neuro-plasticity tells us that using our minds and bodies in new a creative ways enhances our overall conditioning and functioning.  

I was listening to this podcast while grocery shopping and I had to just stop an rewind when you said we're  told "the Super Bowl Is your equivalent of Easter now".  It really jumped out at me because that's a running joke I have with a friend of mine.  The mass media really does insist that we treat the Oscars, the Golden Globes and the Super Bowl as grand feast days in some substitute religious calendar.

Acid is needed to release B12 from animal foods.  Babies have very high levels of stomach acid.

Financial, physical and emotional all the facts are inter-related with each other and in this article we can get a suitable example of it. In most of the cases we have found that people are suffering from emotional issues due to lack of strong mentality and attitude; they are becoming emotional weak while taking decisions. While maintaining a good mental and physical balance we are able to put control over emotional facts.
Emotoinal Intelligence

Thank you, Chris, Becca, and Adam, for bringing the Eight Forms of Capital to our attention.  And thanks to John Arden for his insights and contributions to this vital topic.  They bring an important comprehensive perspective to building wealth in our “future worth inheriting”.
I would like to bring another key resource for building emotional and social capital to the attention of our PP community.  “Positivity” is the title of this resource.  Positivity is based on a program of research directed by Barbara Fredrickson, Ph.D., a research psychologist at UNC-Chapel Hill1.  This research explores and describes the personal characteristics that help one to thrive and flourish rather than flounder in one’s environment.  It is a major contribution to the Positive Psychology movement2.  While it’s based in science, her book is fun to read.  It’s written in such a way that it invites the reader to experience what she’s describing.

Fredrickson describes ten forms of Positivity.  They (taken from pages 39-48 in the book) are:

1)    Joy – experiences in which you feel safe and secure, bright and light, and energetic.  There’s a spring in your step and a smile on your face.  You interact with others with openness and enthusiasm.  You feel like taking it all in.  You feel playful—you want to jump in and get involved.

2)    Gratitude – noticing something that has come your way that feels like a gift to be treasured.  Gratitude opens your heart and creates the urge to give back.  This urge is to give a gift that’s freely given; it’s not an obligation, an expectation, or a favor to be returned.

3)    Serenity – awareness of your current circumstances in which you feel safe, secure, and peaceful; and that carries the urge to savor what you’re experiencing as well as the wish to find ways to integrate these circumstances into your life more fully and more often.

4)    Interest – While feeling safe, something new and inviting draws your attention to it.  You’re utterly fascinated.  You feel pulled to explore, to immerse yourself in what you’re just now discovering.

5)    Hope – when your circumstances could easily disintegrate into something dire and undesirable, hope is the belief that things can change for the better.  Hope arises precisely at those moments when hopelessness or despair seem just as likely.  It is “fearing the worst but yearning for better”.  Hope sustains you.  You are ready to tap into your own capabilities and inventiveness to turn things around.  You feel inspired to plan for a better future.

6)    Pride – when tempered with appropriate humility, pride is the feeling of excitement and satisfaction that blooms while thinking about a specific, valued achievement in which you’ve invested your energy and skill.  It stimulates thoughts and dreams of even further accomplishments, and motivates persistence in efforts to achieve them.

7)    Amusement – an unexpected incongruity that leads to laughter.  These incongruities are social; they always occur with others or when thinking about others.  And they are safe; they’re nonthreatening.  For example, you and a friend are talking about where to go for lunch.  Your friend (safe and social) screws up her face, sticks out her tongue, and crosses her eyes in response to your suggested restaurant (incongruous act).  You both laugh at her behavior.

8)    Inspiration – human excellence that transcends the ordinary; seeing better possibilities than usual.  It rivets your attention, warms your heart, and draws you in.  You become motivated to express what’s good and to do good yourself.

9)    Awe – inspiration on a grand scale.  You feel overwhelmed by greatness, and feel small and humble in comparison.  You are stopped in your tracks, momentarily transfixed.  Boundaries melt away, and you feel part of something much larger than yourself.  You are challenged to absorb and accommodate the sheer scale of what you’ve encountered; you want to let it all soak in.

10) Love – experiencing the forms of positivity in the context of a safe, often close relationship.  Love is multi-faceted, a “many splendored thing”, as it includes moments of joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, and awe at different times in an on-going relationship.  In this context, love occurs in momentary surges; a loving relationship is fleshed out with many such surges.

These positivity experiences are heart-felt.  They are open and genuine.  They are not “pollyannish” nor are they are forced.  In fact, Dr. Fredrickson’s research has demonstrated that if they are disingenuous or forced, they have a negative impact rather than a positive influence as had been sought.  It’s important to just be open and aware of the positive experiences as they happen rather than to try to make them happen.  If they don’t seem to happen as often as you would like, that’s OK; just stay open and keep looking.  At the same time, her book offers several practical tools for focusing one’s search.

One of the more fascinating and hopeful findings in her research is the discovery that the proportion of positive to negative experiences in one’s life determines whether one tends to thrive or to flounder.  A positivity ratio of 3:1 is a “tipping point” at which one begins to thrive.  When a person has at least three positivity experiences for every negative one, that person tends to become physically and emotionally healthier.  (At a ratio of 13:1, however, the benefits of positivity begin to fade away.)  Again, the key to developing more positivity in your life is to become more open and aware of positivity experiences.

Not only does thriving have positive health effects, it fosters creativity and effective problem-solving.  Fredrickson calls it the “broaden-and-build” finding.  That is, her research findings reveal that people with positivity ratios of at least 3:1 demonstrate increased inventiveness and resourcefulness as well as enhanced abilities to solve challenges and problems.

  1. Fredrickson, B. (2009). Positivity: Groundbreaking Research Reveals How to Embrace the Hidden Strength of Positive Emotions, Overcome Negativity, and Thrive.  New York: Random House.

  2. Seligman, MEP. (2011).  Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being.  New York: Simon & Schuster.

Most of your aspects of positivity are good; I have found nothing good in pride. Pride and humility are opposites; where you say “pride tempered with humility”, you might as well say “absolute black tempered with absolute white”. Humility is seeing things and especially one’s self clearly for what each is. Pride is seeing ones’ self as the pinnacle. As such, it is a form of drunkenness.
I suspect that rather than “pride”, the proper term should be “satisfaction”. Satisfaction is the fulfillment of all requirements, and implies the requisite humility as an inherent part of its nature.