Monthly Article Archives: November 2015

Continuing Thoughts about Resilience and Caring: What We Can Learn from Military VeteransRobert Brooks, Ph.D.

I am writing this article on November 11, Veteran’s Day.  I mention this detail since the theme I have selected to address in this piece was prompted, in part, by material   related to resilience in military veterans.  This theme is also a follow-up to my October article “Changing Mindsets about Stress.”  After that article was sent out and posted on my website, I received feedback via emails and in my workshops that people were intrigued by the research I cited, especially that of psychologist Dr. Michael Poulin at the University of Buffalo. Poulin found that while stressful events were associated with people dying at an earlier age, such an association was not found in those individuals who were actively involved in helping others.  In analyzing the data, Poulin noted that there was “a significant interaction between helping behavior, stressful events, morbidity, and mortality. . . .  Helping others predicted reduced mortality specifically by buffering the association between stress and mortality.” In citing Poulin’s study, health psychologist Dr. Kelly McGonigal concluded, “Caring created resilience.  And so we see once again that the harmful effects of stress on your health are not inevitable.  How you think and how you act can transform

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