Flexible and flourishing, whatever the weather… The bamboo that bends is stronger than the oak that resists. My strength and compassion and my ability to adapt to change will not allow me to be defeated.
Building Resilience is designed to be an introduction to Values in Healthcare (VIHASA). It explores the notion of resilience as a way of responding to challenges and adapting to stress in a resourceful way. Some people seem to bounce back from difficult times, while others may decline into depression or ill-health. What can we learn from looking at the qualities of resilience demonstrated by those who seem to triumph over adversity? This module helps participants to identify those qualities, experience what it feels like to express them in action, and then to apply the insights they’ve learned to their own work and personal lives.
The tree – light, spiritual, strong, full of impact… Know yourself – what created this life of ours, with all its variety of branches of activities? What essential values drive us? What direction do we now want our lives to take?
Values are the bedrock of everything we do and say in our work and life as health professionals. If we lose touch with them, we may begin to suffer low morale and poor self esteem. With the fast pace of modern life it is easy to forget what our values are and, like a plant without moisture, we can begin to wither and lose vitality. Rediscovering and strengthening our values gives us a renewed sense of purpose and revitalises confidence in our judgement. Values remind us of the reasons we were drawn to work in the caring professions in the first place.
Roots – a firm foundation… As a tree reaches underground to form a firm foundation, so too we can turn within and create a foundation of peace and understanding through the inner being. Then, no matter what situation comes to shake us, we will not react outwardly.
Peace is introduced as our natural state, and within all of us there is an innate core of calm and tranquility. The programme uses simple yet powerful methods to rediscover this inner peace. By practising peacefulness, and listening with peace, participants can access their positive qualities, which help to build self-respect and contentment. Peacefulness is the medicine for stress.
Trunk – underlying attitude, strength… The trunk is the visible support for all my activity. Does my attitude lean one way or the other, or waver with the wind? Does it follow the light, or has it been warped by past events? I need to be clear, open and positive, a pillar of society! Attitude unwavering, straight and powerful, uninfluenced by surroundings, able to give guidance and support.
Positivity is about having the choice and power to determine the way we think. Healthcare professionals can often think critically or even negatively out of habit, whereas positive thoughts make people feel good. The programme helps participants recognise unhelpful patterns of thinking and change them to more positive ones by learning to observe their thoughts. Their resulting optimism brings benefits not only to themselves, but also to colleagues and patients.
Fruit – giving of myself, nurturing… When a tree is healthy and mature it will bear fruit and give of itself, for the benefit of birds, insects and animals. I can give love, the fruit of my inner work. But I must not give the branch as well, or I will no longer be able to bear fruit.
Compassion brings humanity to health care. It is the expression of our innate qualities of patience, generosity and kindness, yet there are often personal barriers to its expression – anger, anxiety and guilt. The programme helps participants to acknowledge and tackle these barriers and to view compassion as a value they can consciously express through their practice.
Branches – doing together what cannot be done alone… One branch alone cannot provide protection for the birds in the nest, or shade for those that seek relief from the sun. No matter how good our skills are, their effect is multiplied when we come together with others. To take my place in a team is an honour.
Co-operation is concerned with working together successfully, as individuals and teams. The programme helps participants gain an understanding of the thoughts, attitudes, feelings and behaviours that enable successful co-operation. It enables them to build team spirit in non-competitive ways, so that tasks become enjoyable and creative.
Leaves – regenerating and refreshing the self… Quietly, systematically, without show, I follow a spiritual discipline to refresh and replenish my inner resources. In my daily routine, I give time for silence and reflection. In-between activities, I pause, and process, and let go. Understanding and love combine with wisdom and objectivity. When I process my experiences in this way, it will create an atmosphere around me such that others come to do the same.
Valuing Yourself requires that we recognise our own worth, and in doing so, better acknowledge the intrinsic worth of others. Participants explore the ways they look after and support themselves, and allow themselves to be supported. This can help them bring mutual respect and harmony into their relationships, to the benefit of themselves, their patients and colleagues.
Flowers – giving, caring, newness, a sparkle… See a tree in blossom, and the heart is lifted. There is beauty, and wonder, and feelings of anticipation – of summer, and of autumn fruits. In my work, let me see the beauty in others and maintain hope in their emerging future. Illness can reveal a delicate but beautiful part of the patient, in which there is a feeling of wholeness and renewal.
Spirituality in Healthcare is a vital concept in furthering the ideals of holistic health and in meeting the spiritual needs of patients and practitioners alike. The programme involves participants in clarifying concepts of health and healing, spirit and spirituality, in order to further develop their values-based practice.