The Resilience Dimension


  1. If I have a minor disagreement with a close friend or spouse—closer to “No, it’s your turn to do the dishes” than “ You cheated on me?! ”—it typically leaves me out of sorts for hours or longer.
  2. If another driver uses the shoulder to zoom up to the front of a long line of traffic waiting to merge, I am likely to shake it off easily rather than fume about it for a long time.
  3. When I have experienced profound grief, such as the death of someone close to me, it has interfered with my ability to function for many months.
  4. If I make a mistake at work and get reprimanded for it, I can shrug it off and take it as a learning experience.
  5. If I try a new restaurant and find that the food is awful and the service snooty, it ruins my whole evening.
  6. If I’m stuck in traffic because of an accident up ahead, when I pass the bottleneck I typically floor it to vent my frustration but still seethe inside.
  7. If my home’s water heater breaks, it does not affect my mood very much, since I know I can just call a plumber and get it fixed.
  8. If I meet a wonderful man/woman and ask if he/she would like to get together again, being told no typically puts me in a bad mood for hours or even days.
  9. If I am being considered for an important professional award or promotion and it goes to someone I consider less qualified, I can usually move on quickly.
  10. At a party, if I’m having a conversation with an interesting stranger and get completely tongue-tied when he/she asks me about myself, I tend to replay the conversation—this time including what I should have said—for hours or even days afterward.

Give yourself one point for each True answer to questions 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, and 10; give yourself zero points for each False answer. Give yourself one point for each False answer to questions 2, 4, 7,and 9; score zero points for each True answer. Anything above seven suggests you are Slow to Recover. If you scored below three, you are Fast to Recover and thus quite resilient.

Neurological Aspects of the Resilience of the Brain

The amount of signals coming from the amygdala (the fear center) to the prefrontal cortex and from the prefrontal cortex to the amygdala  tells how fast a person can recover from an unpleasant experience.  The prefrontal cortex being the control center of the brain.  Its ability to quiet signals coming from negative emotions allows the brain to plan and act smoothly without being disturbed by negative emotions.  That’s a good definition of resilience.  We can improve our resilience, nothing is fixed for ever.