The New Science of Thriving

“Simply put, our well-being—as individuals and as a society—depends on mindfulness.”
— Dr. Christina Bethell, professor at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and director of the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative

Dr. Christina Bethell is a professor at Johns Hopkins and a leading researcher on childhood development. She's focused on the impact that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) have on health and how emotional resilience, positive health, and healing can offer transformative change. Dr. Bethell writes in an article for Johns Hopkins Public Health magazine:


Simply put, our well-being—as individuals and as a society—depends on mindfulness. You wouldn’t be the first to raise an eyebrow at that statement, but I’m no advocate of woo-woo pseudo-science. The data are strong and growing. Adding to the neuroscience findings, epigenetic research now demonstrates the role of both negative and positive emotions on gene expression. Nobel laureate Elizabeth Blackburn and colleagues in 2011 found that mindfulness meditation may slow the rate of cellular aging and extend life expectancy. The new science of thriving and the role of mindfulness show us the possibilities to flourish despite adversity.

This brings me back again to my grandmother’s admonition that “all you need is inside of you.” My evidence-based, public-health-oriented take on her sage advice is that we need to really put the “we” in wellness. We need public health approaches and policies that prioritize fostering safe, stable and nurturing relationships in early life, prevent ACEs and promote resilience, mindfulness and positive health in populations.

In November 2015, Dr. Christina Bethell presented a lecture at Johns Hopkins: “We are the Medicine: Human Development Sciences and the Epidemiology of Child and Family Adversity and Well-Being”.