Building the Foundations for a Resilient Life 

 

This six-module program can be delivered as 90 minute in-person trainings or as a webinar series. Each module builds upon knowledge from the previous module but also stands alone i.e. can be completed without participating in earlier modules. Therefore, organisations or individuals can complete the whole program or  select the modules that they feel would be the most beneficial.

 

Module 1: Introduction to Resilience - Bouncing Back

"Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again"   

                                                                                             Nelson Mandela


Resilience has been defined as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress such as family and relationship issues, serious health problems, workplace and financial stressors and events impacting whole communities, such as natural or man-made disasters.

Resilience means ‘bouncing back’ from difficult experiences. By promoting the foundations of resilience, we build psychological defences against stress.

Our resilience is not a quota we are born with but an interweaving of personal characteristics, support networks and the ability to access systems and structures that support individuals and communities.

This module explores the social, cultural, familial, gender, age and genetic influences related to resiliency. Participants will learn 7 factors identified in resilient people and actions to develop resiliency.

Learning objectives

 

Module 2: The Art of thinking - how thoughts impact wellbeing and happiness

“The scientific research shows that more than genetics, more than intelligence, more than any other factor, it is thinking style that determines who is resilient and who is not.”     

                                                      The Resilience Factor, Reivich & Shatte, 2002

Research on neuroplasticity shows from an evolutionary point of view our mind is more inclined to notice the negative, potential dangers (the pride of lions stalking in the grass) than the positive (the view from the mountain). However, we can train ourselves to "hardwire" the positivity in our brains and to nourish the adaptive and emotionally fulfilling aspects of human behaviours.

How we perceive the world, others, ourselves and experiences shapes our feelings and our actions. We accumulate stories about our lives and experiences. How we think about these experiences is the biggest determinant in how we feel. 

This module assists in identifying thought patterns that help or hinder our resilience and the tools to enhance our ability to handle thoughts in more skilful ways. Participants will learn how to decrease the effects of unhealthy emotional and psychological states cultivating "antidotes" such as happiness, hope, gratitude and connectivity.

Learning objectives

 

Module 3: Self Regulation - Understanding and regulating your emotions

 “Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection.” 

                                                                                                          Brené Brown 

We tend to value feeling happy, excited and joy and attempt to banish the so-called dark emotions such as sadness, anger, fear and disgust. This is understandable, they don’t feel good. However, these emotions are equally valuable and unprocessed can transform into anxiety and depression. Like the weather, all emotions are important and have a place in the theatre of life.

Developing a reflective habit of checking in with ourselves on a regular basis, taking note of our "emotional weather" without judgment and learning to regulate our emotional states is vital. It helps us to gain awareness of our best intention, to choose what we want to feed, and to respond rather than react to everyday events.

This module explores strategies to regulate emotions and incline the mind towards positive emotional states in order to respond to the environment.

Learning objectives

 

Module 4: Mind-Body Connection - Learning the language of your body

“The development of personal strengths in the context of a balanced life may be the key to wellbeing.”                             

                                                                                                                       Aristotle

Developing awareness of how the stress we experience affects our body and our mind allows us to begin developing skills to bring greater balance to our lives. As it turns out, there is science behind that ‘gut feeling’. The gut is described as our second brain and it has more insight than one might imagine! Serotonin, a brain neurotransmitter, can affect mood and social behaviour, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory and sexual desire and function.

An association has been made between depression and serotonin levels. New research shows that 90% of serotonin is produced in the digestive tract and that is also linked to diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis. 

Stress, distress and trauma is ‘stored’ in the body. Illnesses and disease can develop as a result of chronic stress, (heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, migraine, fibromyalgia etc.) Learning the language of the mind-body connection is an important pathway to wellness and resilience.

This module explores the connection between the mind and the body and how to cultivate wellness in all areas of life.

Learning objectives

 

Module 5: Hope and Meaning

 “In the middle of every difficulty lies an opportunity”       

                                                                                                           Albert Einstein   

Research shows that The Beatles 1964 hit song “Money Can’t Buy Me Love” is true. After a certain basic point (a bit above the minimum poverty level), increases in material well-being don’t seem to affect how happy people are. The lack of basic material resources contributes to unhappiness but the increase in material resources does not increase happiness.

Some people appear to have a natural happy or sunny disposition. So, is ‘happiness’ genetic? Research estimates that 50% is genetic, 10% depends on our circumstances and 40% is under our control or influence.

This module explores factors related to happiness and how Positive Psychology (which is not affirmations or denying difficulties) can assist us in developing a hopeful, meaningful and happy life.

Learning objectives

 

Module 6: Stepping into Wellness - Creating an action plan

‘Wellness is a conscious, deliberate process that requires being aware of and making choices for a more satisfying lifestyle.’

Peggy Swarbick, Jay Yudof, Jen Cohn, Maureen Costa, 2012

We are all aware of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle in promoting good physical, emotional and social health. While wellness can mean different things to different people depending on culture, ethnicity and beliefs, the foundations of wellness are common to most of humankind.

Stress, loss, and disappointments can make us feel off balance. It is easier to maintain our wellness during crisis and difficult times by focusing on daily habits and routines such as physical activity, regulating stress levels, resting, and planning activities that are relaxing.

This module explores eight dimensions of wellness and the importance of balance in each area. At any moment in our lives one or two dimensions may be more in focus than others. The key is to identify routines that are likely to work for you as part of your own personal strategy to foster resiliency and cultivate wellness.

Wellness involves a sense of empowerment: taking personal responsibility for our day-to-day choices and our lives. Participants will create an individual Wellness Plan as part of their strategy to foster resiliency and cultivate wellbeing.

Learning objectives