Day 166

Some people are naturally introverted and others naturally extroverted. The same goes for right-brain vs. left-brain thinking, verbal vs. non-verbal learning, and so on.

The Myers-Briggs Personality index — a model based on Carl Jung’s theories and an accepted standard in the field of psychology and social work — categorizes people according to basic emotional and intellectual tendencies and perceptions. Back before we were married, my husband and I took the test and I was told I had the natural personality of a CEO — an extroverted, intuitive person who is quick to size up the world (ENTJ, for those of you who know the lingo).

What the test wasn’t able to account for, though, is the optimism/pessimism spectrum, or the happiness/unhappiness tendency.

I’ve been hearing more lately about what researchers are calling the resilience gene–  and the complex interplay between physiology, environment, and health, which can come together in some people to spark and sustain what resilience researcher Ann Masten has called “ordinary magic.”

One of the things researchers are finding is that people with the resilience gene are more likely to build sustaining relationships withother people, which can help them get through and bounce back from difficult passages and even from significant trauma. .

Can you mimic the behavior of a resilient person and thus mimic some of that resilience yourself? I hope researchers discover this is possible. Because then, that old expression FAKE IT ‘TILL YOU MAKE IT will prove to be more than just a feel-good slogan.  It’ll be part of the ordinary magic we can intentionally and deliberately bring to our own lives

P.S. No, this doesn’t mean I’m not out walking. It means that I’ve been out walking and wondering what makes some people seem naturally more upbeat and optimistic than others, and if it’s something that’s innate, or something we can teach ourselves and our children.

If you want to read more about resiliency, check out this article in the New York Times.