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University of Pennsylvania

Resilience Skills in a Time of Uncertainty

University of Pennsylvania via Coursera

This course may be unavailable.


We are all facing different and difficult challenges as we confront the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to support you in this time of uncertainty, the University of Pennsylvania is sharing this free and unique version of Dr. Karen Reivich’s “Resilience Skills” course from the Specialization Foundations of Positive Psychology.

Learn how to incorporate resilience interventions into your personal and professional life with Dr. Karen Reivich. In this course, you are exposed to the foundational research in resilience, including protective factors such as mental agility and optimism. Several types of resilience interventions are explored including cognitive strategies; strategies to manage anxiety and increase positive emotions such as gratitude; and a critical relationship enhancement skill. Throughout the course, you will hear examples of individuals using resilience skills in their personal and professional lives.


  • Resilience and Optimism
    • In this module, you will learn the definition of resilience and understand the protective factors that make one resilient. You will differentiate between helplessness and mastery orientations, and understand the thinking styles underlying each. You will summarize major outcomes of optimism, and the mediators of those outcomes, as well as assess your own levels of optimism, using a questionnaire. Finally, you will hear about personal and organizational outcomes of optimism, and will be able to apply these concepts to your own life.
  • Cognitive Approaches to Resilience: Strategies to Increase Optimism and Resilient Thinking
    • In this module, you will learn about thinking traps and how they undercut resilience. You will learn about five common thinking traps and identify which you are prone to, in addition to the effects of those styles of thinking. You will practice Real-Time Resilience, a strategy to challenge non-resilient thinking. Finally, you will hear about personal and organizational outcomes of optimism, and plan how to apply these concepts to your own life.
  • Managing Anxiety and Increasing Positive Emotions Like Gratitude
    • In this module, you will learn the definition of catastrophic thinking and identify the effects it has on physiology, attention and contingency planning. You will experiment with several non-cognitive strategies to decrease anxiety, including Deliberate Breathing. You will be introduced to the Broaden and Build theory of positive emotions, and will be able to describe the effects of positive emotions on resilience. Finally, you will relate research and examples of gratitude to your own life and develop a plan for a gratitude practice.
  • Leveraging Character Strengths and Strengthening Relationships
    • In this module, you will identify your own character strengths using a well-validated questionnaire. Next, you will describe how to use your character strengths in stressful situations to increase resilience by creating a buffer of positive emotion. Additionally, you will learn the research on active constructive responding, and identify their predominant responding style with important people in their lives. Finally, you will hear examples of inculcating resilience into organizations, and plan how to incorporate resilience strategies into your personal and professional lives.

Taught by

Karen Reivich, Ph.D.


5.0 rating, based on 3 Class Central reviews

Start your review of Resilience Skills in a Time of Uncertainty

  • Profile image for Sandra Buendia
    Sandra Buendia
    I found the course very valuable. It has a combination of information, testimonies, practices, research, role playing, exercises to make it easier to understand and integrate the learning. I like the collaboration of several specialists in diverse matters. I love that includes mindfulness information and practical exercises.
    The VIA questionnaire for optimism and character strengths is very helpful to get into understanding ourselves to better incorporate the learnings based on the more likely attitudes and ways of thinking.
    I love that we get specific actions for taking responsibility for our actions to improve once we finish the course. If I really want to be more resilient, I have from this course several tools to do it.
  • Anonymous
    So brilliant. Karen is sensational and her communication style makes the content accessible and enjoyable. The tools are explained clearly and this is just an essential self development course. I have already recommended it to others. What a blessing to be able to have such an amazing academic share her work, wisdom and personal experiences. thankyou, thankyou, thankyou
  • Fantastic course showing how to deal with stress and anxiety. I'm using now techniques in my daily life and trying to catch thinking traps before I fall into them. For this topic it is the best to practice and this course provides good tools for that.

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