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This Week at St Mary’s

How to be Resilient in a World of Change

As we face yet more change in the way we go about our everyday lives, the timing of Dr Debbie Hawker’s ‘taster’ seminar on resilience could not have been more apposite.

Right from the beginning, Dr Hawker pointed out that resilience is not so much about bouncing back from events but making the most of situations and aiming to grow if possible through what we experience.  That balance between realism and hope characterised the whole session.

I had intended to attend the seminar virtually but made a last minute decision to go in person.  I am so glad I did.  Debbie is a highly engaging communicator and also gave us plenty of opportunity regularly to reflect on the material either on our own or ideally with someone else. 

Although billed as a taster seminar we gained a lot of very helpful information about strategies for building and maintaining resilience and about various resources to offer to those around us.  We might not all face solitary confinement for 5 years and cope in part by writing a book in our head (Terry Waite) but the insomniacs amongst us – Tom was spotted jotting this tip down – could all try counting backwards from 5000 in 3s (or 14.5s as Debbie suggested to an erudite professor). 

What I especially appreciated was the way Debbie wove together really practical tips, all research based, with fascinating facts demonstrating links between our emotional and physiological natures.   Who would have thought that writing about challenging experiences would affect our production of white blood cells? 

As we face further uncertainty, I am really grateful for this chance to think more deeply about how to live well and how to journey with others, offering the hope that is key to life.

Joanna Gillum

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