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The Neuroscience of Resilience

The Neuroscience of Resilience

Resilience in the face of adversity

This cutting edge article explores how to strengthen our capacities for resilience from the bottom up – at the level of neurons firing in new patterns that promote flexibility in the face of change. The article traces the nine functions of the pre-frontal cortex, considered by some neuropsychologists to be an “evolutionary masterpiece,” and offers practical tools and exercises to strengthen each of the nine functions:

  1. regulating our nervous system so we stay calm and engaged
  2. quelling the fear response
  3. regulating emotions so resilience is not blocked by fear or shame
  4. attunement – the safety and trust of “feeling felt”
  5. empathy – the safety and trust of being seen, known, understood
  6. response flexibility – the capacity to pause, recognize and evaluate options, and make appropriate decisions; the fulcrum of resilience
  7. insight – self-awareness
  8. intuition – the guidance of our gut feelings
  9. morality based on a sense of connection with others and the common good

It is the integration of these functions that is the true neural substrate of resilience

Wise Brain Bulletin June 2010

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