Friday 18 November 2011


I have been reflecting a lot on resilience recently (which I am considering as the ability to work under increasing pressures without a stress response).  As preparation for some Stress Management workshops, I have been reviewing some of the most recent research (see for example Margaret Chesney’s lecture, available via iTunes University: “New Scientific Strategies for Managing Stress, Building Resilience and Bringing Balance to Life     [Show ID: 20631]”)

I have also been coaching a number of people experiencing both chronic and acute pressures, and reflecting on what has helped them - and in some cases their remarkable and humbling resilience.

What has proved interesting is the degree to which the most recent research gives ever-more solid underpinnings for the four-fold framework which I have been working with.  (Chesney talks explicitly about three strands, the physical (both physiological and behavioural) the mental, and the relational or social/emotional.  To these I add the existential/spiritual - dealing with issues of meaning and value.  That relates to my interest in Viktor Frankl, and also echoes Covey's framework in 7 Habits and First Things First.  And Chesney refers to it tacitly on several occasions: the importance of purpose, meaning and value.

Of course, this is all linked to my interest in narratives: the interpretations that people place upon their experiences, which can have a huge impact on positive affect - which is what all four strands are designed to support (and again, Chesney has the research to demonstrate the links between positive affect and resilience.)

And as someone who attended a recent workshop pointed out, there is nothing new under the sun.  The classic Christian virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity are a good bedrock for meaning, values, positive relationships, and positive affect generally - and similar underpinnings may be found in many other ancient and traditional wisdoms, with which I am less familiar.

The other area I am keen to explore, and possibly integrate more fully into my work on resilience, is humour. I have been intrigued by Metcalf's Humor Risk and Change programme and am sure he is onto something (though his presentation doesn't always play well with a British audience).  So I am on the look-out for any research on humour and resilience - any clues?

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