Changing Our Brain For Resilience with Rick Hanson, Ph.D.

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How can we grow more resilience? Hanson says, “The question becomes: How do you get your brain to change for the better in a challenging world so that you actually hardwire more patience, more confidence, more happiness and other factors of resilient wellbeing into your own nervous system? The take-away point is that you really can do it. You use everyday experiences, including the small experiences of daily life, to change your brain for the better in ways that are durable so that the residues of your experiences stay with you and you take them with you wherever you go.” Here Hanson describes the different stages of the HEAL Process. First, you must notice an experience when you have it. In order to install the experience in your brain you must enrich it and absorb it. Finally, you may link a positive and negative experience together making the positive one the more potent of the two. He gives many examples of how to do this. He assures us that that core of our being is “calm strength.” It is the background of who we are; it is a fundamental quality, the “wallpaper of our mind.” This dialogue is filled with practical wisdom to support us in growing calmness and well-being so we may be more effective in our lives. (hosted by Justine Willis Toms)


Rick Hanson, Ph.D. is a psychologist with a deep interest in neuroscience and mindfulness. He is a senior fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California Berkeley and creator of the year-long course The Foundations of Well-Being. 

He is the author of many books including:

To find out more about the work of Rick Hanson go to

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • What is resilience
  • What is the HEAL Process
  • What are the two steps to living a calmer life and experiencing more inner well-being
  • How can we negate the habit of negative thought
  • Why resistance leads to persistence
  • Why focusing on smaller moments are more important than just looking for bigger “ah-ha” moments
  • What did Hanson’s life-threatening moment teach him
  • What is embodied learning
  • What is his “The Foundations of Well-Being” year-long course
  • What is the neurological difference between liking something and wanting something
  • How does the motivational circuit work in the brain
  • How can we learn to want things that are good for us
  • How can we grow empathy

Host: Justine Willis Toms          Interview Date: 2/5/2018         Program Number: 3638

Music Playlist

From Album: A Windham Hill Retrospective
Artist: Alex DeGrassi
2010 Windham Hill E2-VWH-21011 

Opening Essay: Track 01 Overland
Music Break 1: Track 02 Causeway
Music Break 2: Track 03 Western
Music Break 3: Track 06 Blue Trout