Resilience, The Science of Mastering Life’s Challenges

Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life’s Greatest Challenges, by Steven M. Southwick, M.D., and Dennis Charney, Cambridge University Press, NY, 2012

Although this book deals with life events far more challenging and disrupting than retirement, it offers insight and help for anyone dealing with stressful situations. The authors draw much from evaluations of POW’s, and victims of other types of trauma. They explore how neuroscience increasingly explains just how stressors influence behavior and at the same time what can be done to minimize the negative effects of traumatic experiences.

The authors identify “resilience factors” such as optimism, faith, physical fitness, social support, closely held values, and a sense of purpose.   Interestingly, these same factors seem to play a role in populations of centenarians as described by Dan Buettner in “Blue Zones.”

If resilience factors work for victims of major traumatic events, they should make retirement a piece of cake. These factors are generally conscious behaviors that can be adopted by anyone who wishes to.

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