Chris Johnstone

Chris’s Books 

Practical and clear with strategies that work, this is, by far, the best book I’ve read on resilience.
— Miriam Akhtar, Author of Positive Psychology for Overcoming Depression

Seven Ways to Build Resilience

Strengthening your ability to deal with difficult times

Resilience is the ability to cope with and recover from difficult situations. It includes our capacity to make the best of things, deal with stress and rise to the occasion. We all have this ability, though not always as much as we'd like. This engaging, practical book draws together scientific understanding, real life examples and proven methods in describing how you can develop seven essential skills that help your resilience grow.

Author Chris Johnstone experienced burnout and depression when working as a junior doctor, crisis becoming a turning point when he had a near fatal car crash. His journey of recovery led him to make the study, practice and teaching of resilience his central life work.

This self-help guide includes:

  • A toolkit of resources for emotional first aid

  • Techniques for storyboarding your life and seeing the positive pathways you can take

  • Practical strategies and insights for dealing with tough times

  • Skills for thinking flexibly and creative problem-solving 

  • A science-based system that helps the gains you make 'stick'

If you're feeling challenged in your personal life, workplace or relationships, Seven Ways to Build Resilience offers you proven pathways to protect your wellbeing. If you have hopes or ambitions with inevitable hurdles in the way, the resilience tools described here can help you survive the bumps and keep to your path.


Please read this book and share it with others — for your own awakening, for our children, and for our future.
— Tara Brach, PhD, author of Radical Acceptance

Active Hope

How to Face the Mess We're in without Going Crazy

Co-authored with Joanna Macy, Active Hope is about finding, and offering, our best response to the crisis of sustainability unfolding in our world. It offers tools that help us face the mess we’re in, as well as find and play our role in the collective transition, or Great Turning, to a life-sustaining society.

Active Hope was published by New World Library in 2012. There are also editions published in German, Japanese, Turkish, Korean, Dutch, French, Spanish and Swedish, with editions soon in Catalan, Farsi and Italian.

To find out more, see the website about the book here.

Books about social and ecological change too often leave out a vital component: how do we change ourselves so that we are strong enough to fully contribute to this great shift? Active Hope fills this gap beautifully, guiding readers on a journey of gratitude, grief, interconnection and, ultimately, transformation.
— Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine

This brilliant and practical book is a call to liberation: it frees us to discover, use and enjoy the powers life has given us.
— Joanna Macy, Author of World as Lover, World as Self

Find Your Power

A Toolkit for Resilience and Positive Change

This book is currently out of print while Chris is working on developing an updated edition.

Find Your Power describes how to strengthen your ability to bring about positive change in your life and our world. Drawing on insights from addictions recovery, positive psychology, storytelling and holistic science, it includes proven strategies for improving mood, building strengths and increasing effectiveness.

  • The first part of the book introduces motivational enhancement tools that help you become clearer about your direction and more inspired to move that way.

  • The second part offers tools for getting through blocks by looking at creative problem solving strategies, ways of dealing with fear and methods for transforming crisis or failure into turning points.

  • The third part explores how to keep yourself going in the marathon of longer term change by strengthening support around you, tapping into purposes bigger than yourself and making what you do more enjoyable.

The tools described can be used for any kind of change, from tackling depression and improving your life through to addressing world issues like peak oil and climate change.

The first edition was published in 2006 by Nicholas Brealey Publishers and attracted praise from counsellors, coaches, activists, managers, doctors, permaculturists, teachers, and people wanting to bring about positive change in a range of contexts.

The new improved 2nd edition was published by Permanent Publications in May 2010. It features a foreword by Rob Hopkins, co-founder of the Transition movement, and has new material on resilience, countering depression and tackling global issues.

For a review by an environmental activist, read this.

For a review by an executive coach, read this.

For an interview by Rob Hopkins about the book, read this.


“Active Hope is a practice, like Tai Chi or Gardening – it is something you do. It involves taking steps that make the future you hope for more likely.”



Chris has also been a contributor to these books:

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Creative Advances in Groupwork
by Anna Chesner & Herb Hahn

Chapter 8

This chapter describes Deep Ecology workshops designed to deepen participants’ feeling of connection with our world and strengthen their power to respond to global issues. Drawing on the work of Joanna Macy and John Seed, the chapter describes the principles and practice of this type of empowerment process, as well as reporting the results of a follow up outcome study. In this, a postal questionnaire was sent to participants a year after they had attended one of these workshops. Over 90% of respondents reported a strengthening in both their sense of connection with the world and their feeling that they could make a difference within it. Over 80% replied that the experience of the workshop had changed their life, and for this, over a quarter had marked the response ‘very deeply’.

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The Transition Handbook
by Rob Hopkins

Chapter 6

Chapter Six of this best-selling guide to addressing peak oil and climate change focuses on the Psychology of Change features an interview with Chris where he describes how insights from addictions treatment can help us address our dependence on oil and other fossil fuels.

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Be The Change
Interviews by Trenna Cormack

Trenna Cormack interviews Chris where he describes what inspires and sustains him in addressing concerns about the world. He explores how having a guiding story that we have our hearts in can energise us, and how for him, this has been the story of the Great Turning.