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EXCERPT | Optimism, resilience and your genes – Richard Sutton offers solutions in Thrive

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Thrive: The Power of Resilience by Richard Sutton (Pan Macmillan SA)
Thrive: The Power of Resilience by Richard Sutton (Pan Macmillan SA)

BOOK: Thrive: The Power of Resilience by Richard Sutton (Pan Macmillan SA)

The author of The Stress Code and Stressproof returns with a new guide to how to develop and maintain resilience. As we struggle with financial pressures and widening gaps in inequality, fractured family units, chronic stress and mental health challenges, overlaid with the uncertainty and complexity of a rapidly changing world, we need to learn this skill. Richard Sutton offers the lessons of cutting-edge science and key sports figures such as Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps and Martina Navratilova. In this excerpt, he discusses the bases of optimism.

Optimism reflects the extent to which you believe your future is going to be positive. For years, the relationship between optimism and resilience has been a key area of research. For example, the Journal of Psychology and Behavioral Science published a study in 2015 showing that children who were more optimistic tended to be far more self-efficient and satisfied and subsequently more resilient. Optimism has been shown to enhance resilience by modulating sympathetic tone (ie, the fight or flight aspect of our nervous system), which reduces inflammation, lowers cortisol and ensures stable blood pressure values.

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