Buffeted by the storms of Covid-19 and climate change, our teenagers are navigating turbulent times, and that’s aside from the fizzing hormones and usual angst-inducing challenges. For those young readers who are feeling mentally fragile as we approach the new school year, Be Resilient by Nicola Morgan provides balm for the troubled soul. With compassion and clarity, the award-winning teenage brain expert gives us five practical steps towards cultivating resilience, the happy reward being a strong mind, capable of surviving and thriving in an uncertain world.
We’re big fans of Morgan’s guides to teenage life. Brilliant at combining neuroscience and psychology whilst deftly avoiding ‘psychobabble,’ here she covers all the big stuff, and just like the best sort of handyman, no task is considered too small. We begin by examining our personal support networks, and Morgan tells us that the first person on our team list must be us.
‘If you don’t support yourself, you will find it hard to see that other people are also on your side. This is about having compassion for yourself.’
Forging positive connections and dealing with negative ones, Chapter One provides the template for a positive outlook, subsequent chapters are titled Skills, Coping Strategies, Courage, and Future. At the beginning of each topic, Morgan creates scenarios involving imaginary characters and their personal dilemmas. The reader is asked to consider them. What advice would they give these characters and how does that evolve as they progress through the book?
Be Resilient does require a sustained commitment to the goal. There are numerous exercises throughout, and we’re urged to use our ‘whole brains,’ by practicing a variety of new activities. Keep those neural pathways proliferating! Particularly lovely, is the emphasis on realising our ‘heartsong,’ those things we do that bring us moments of giddy joy. Heartsong is more vital and sustaining than we know.
If you find this guide useful, check out the equally excellent Blame My Brain by Nicola Morgan.
Be Resilient by Nicola Morgan is published by Walker Books, 192 pages.