In this post we want to introduce you to Dr. Chris Johnstone, a British Medical Doctor whose approach to resilience training is very similar to our own. We see him as a remarkably kindred spirit.
There are four videos in the collection from the Bristol Happiness Lectures, 2010. We urge you to watch them all. Since many of you will not have time for that, at least take a look at this one, the second in the series, which is about 8 minutes long.
Some important ideas from Dr. Johnstone:
- Resilience training can be as effective in dealing with depression as widely used medications for depression (SSRIs).
- In one study, school children at risk for depression who were given resilience training reduced symptoms of depression, as measured two years later, by 50%.
- Attributing your lack of resilience to your DNA does you no good because you cannot change your DNA.
- To learn and apply new ways of dealing with difficult situations may seem overwhelming, but small changes can add up and have disproportionate results.
- Pessimism is a risk factor for depression like smoking is a risk factor for lung cancer. (An important aspect of resilience training is learning to be more optimistic.)
- Taking a problem-solving approach to difficult situations can reduce minor to moderate symptoms of depression. Having a problem-solving attitude is closely linked with optimism.
- Both training yourself to be more optimistic, and exercising can reduce depression
Those of you have read a number of our posts will recognize some of these ideas as identical to our own, so you can understand why we were delighted to discover Dr. Johnstone.
Finally, how can you learn to increase your resilience? You can go a long way just by reading our posts, and making a serious effort to practice the various techniques we describe. In addition, Dr. Johnstone has a very useful book called “Finding Your Power”, which you can get here.