The 6 Domains of Resilience

The #MSEBUDDYNETWORK I’m part of at work is a great resource for being able to support colleagues who just feel that they need someone to listen to them, for somewhere safe to spout off, or to just reflect and recoup.

There have been some great resources shared throughout the programme and another such example was shared yesterday. Available via the NHS Leadership Academy (through whom I did my Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Senior Healthcare Leadership MSc) are some bite size learning snippets around health and wellbeing conversations specially focusing on resilience.

The resource was developed by Sonya Wallbank, a clinical psychologist and organisational development lead. It is broken down into 6 dimensions covering Vision, Reasoning,  Adaptability, Responses, Health and Relationships. Each dimension then goes on to explain its impact and offers suggestions to think about how we could focus our energies into improving them.

The resource is there to support facilitators of conversations and can be applied to your own experiences as well as used as a template to help others. My personal opinion is that we should not expect to help others where we cannot help ourselves first, so for me to support anyone else, I need to understand my own experience.

VISION: This is about setting personal goals and values and understanding why we do what we do and helping shift our anxieties and concerns into hope and curiosity. The questions posed are about asking yourself what you believe is your purpose in life, whether you are engaged in activities that bring out the best in you and inspire you, and what are your goals and how could you get nearer to them.

REASONING: This is our ability to problem solve, be resourceful and anticipate and plan for things and our reactions to set backs. The ask is to reflect on how you react to change in plans, what you need to be able to cope better with change or difficult circumstances, and how you could plan for a range of different potential scenaios.

ADAPTABILITY: Considering our ability to bounce back, be realistically optimistic and flexible about expectations and acceptance of change. You might need to consider how you adapt to last minute changes of plans, how to say “no” or “I could do that if…” instead of saying “yes“, and what could you achieve if you had a bit of extra help.

RESPONSES: How do we react emotionally, psychologically and biologically, to what’s going on around us. What are the things that you are worried about that you could do something about, what are the things that are outside of your control, do you need extra help to get you through this response?

HEALTH: How we feel plays a major part, how are we physically, financially and environmentally. Are there simple changes to lifestyle that could help, do you need help with controlling finances, are you OK in your work or home space?

RELATIONSHIPS: Our culture, team and other relationships all contribute to our resilience. Is there anything that leaders or colleagues could do to help make you feel safer in sharing ideas or opinions, where can you get support outside of your team, what networks and communities do you connect with and what will enable you to thrive.

Another great resource that enables us to help others. But as I said, in order to help others I need to be able to understand my own responses, so I’ll have a sit down and think.


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