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Five Ways to be more Resilient



HELLO fellow pharmacists and welcome to the fifth article in the 5W2 series.


The 5W2 series is a selection of short articles on strategies and techniques to support our emotional development within our professional roles.


The inspiration for creating this 5W2 series was my Clinical Leadership in Pharmacy (CLIP) Research Project titled:


“The Pharmacy Profession– Competence to Confidence”.


One of key findings of this project was that we rightly place a strong emphasis on our professional development but perhaps there is less focus on the softer skills that help us understand and manage our own and other’s emotions. Broadening our development focus could enable us to move from a competent profession to a truly confident profession, where we value our contribution, see ourselves equal to other healthcare colleagues and embrace and deliver the changing pharmacy environment.


Each article in this series includes tried and tested practical self-development tools. Previous articles have focused on “Managing Stress”, “Using Mindfulness”, “Self Coaching” and “Maintaining Energy levels”.


This fifth article is Five Ways to be more Resilient, and will look at the following 5 strategies:

  1. Know your Purpose

  2. Know your Worth

  3. Learn to Re-Frame

  4. Choose the right “Mystic”

  5. Quality Improvement (QI) of Self

There are a number of definitions of Resilience and the one I always come back to is a definition I heard while attending training on Positive Mental Health at my local GP practice:

“ Resilience is the ability to access positive emotions when you are under stress

The reason I like this definition is that it makes clear that resilience is within our control and can be developed by adapting the way we choose to think. So, here are Five Waysthat you can adapt your thinking to be more resilient in your Pharmacy role.

  1. Know your Purpose

When I think of people in my life that I would describe as resilient they really know what they are about, they know what they are trying to achieve, they know why they are trying to achieve it and they are disciplined to take action. When things don't go according to plan they are flexible, they adapt and move on.

In summary:

Purpose + Motivation + Discipline + Flexibility = Resilience

So consider asking yourself the following questions to build your resilience:

· What do I want to achieve? PURPOSE

· Why do I want to achieve it? MOTIVATION

· What do I need to do, when & how often? DISCIPLINE

· What can I learn from unexpected setbacks? FLEXIBILITY


2. Know your Worth


Ok, now it’s time to get in touch with your feelings and beliefs about you.

Think about any resilient person you know and I bet if you asked them what their three greatest strengths or qualities were they would be able to identify them and share them with you. Resilient people tend to feel comfortable talking about what they value about themselves. They create a feeling of worth from within rather than relying on external validation to support their self worth.

One simple exercise I do with clients to help them explore their self worth is to ask them to write the following on a blank piece of paper.


· I am _______________

· I am _______________

· I am _______________


I then ask them to complete all 3 statements with what they feel are their strengths/qualities. I encourage them to repeat this until they have ten statements. After reading all ten of them out loud they decide on the three, which they believe are their best. The client is then encouraged to be aware of when they demonstrate those three qualities and give themselves credit for what they have achieved.


Now it’s your turn to come up with your ten!


3. Learn to Re-frame


Re- framing is a technique used in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Planning) to change perspective. Have you ever changed the frame on a photo and the photo looked so much better in the new frame? When we reframe situations and observe from a different angle to give a different perspective, we can help things look so much better.


When you change the way you look at things the things you look at change…..

One way to improve your resilience and access more positive emotions in a challenging situation is to use a “meaning (content) reframe”. You can do this by simply pausing and asking yourself “What else could this mean?”or “What elsecould be going on here?” or “How could I view this situation more positively?”.


4. Choose the right “Mystic”


With this fourth strategy I’ll start with a little quote:

“We have two “mystics” we can choose to follow, Opti or Pessi”

Dr Michael Yapko, clinical psychologist & expert in non-medical interventions in depression.

I attended a lecture given by Dr Yapko in 2015 where he talked about helping patients realise they have a choice to follow optimism. He encourage them to follow a pragmatic optimism that allowed them to focus their thoughts on the things they CAN control rather than devoting headspace to things they CAN’T control.


Becoming more optimistic is just a matter of turning off automatic pilot and switching your thought process to manual by making a conscious decision to have a more positive outlook. Try these starter phrases to help you change what you say to yourself and others.

  • I am learning to be more…..

  • I see the benefits of….

  • I am getting better at…..

  • Today I motivate myself to…

These starter phrases can help you choose to follow the optimistic path rather than the pessimistic path and access more positive emotions to support your resilience.


5. Quality Improvement(QI) of Self


In our pharmacy settings, continuous QI is just part of our day job. Whether it’s near miss reviews, safety climate surveys or NSAID care bundle interventions, it’s all about getting better at being better. But….


· Do we take the same approach with ourselves and our emotions?


· Do we note when we haven’t demonstrated resilience and displayed positive emotions with a patient or colleague?


· Do we consider whether it was a Major or a Minor issue?


· Do we reflect on what were the contributory factors?


· Do we put steps in place to ensure these behaviours don't happen again?


It’s easier to build your resilience by having an ethos of continuous QI of self. Here are some ideas to help you:


· Invest in regular conversations with a critical friend/coach/mentor with whom you can talk comfortably about your thoughts, feelings and actions.

· Be open about what some of your less than positive emotions are, the resulting behaviours and impact on self and others.

· Choose to start each day with a clean slate and clear picture of not only WHAT you want to achieve but HOW you want to be.


That’s it for Five Ways to be more Resilient. Thank you for taking the time to read this article. The next article in the 5W2 series is Five Ways to manage your State and will be with you soon, but in the meantime, if anyone wants to find out more about anything in this article or has any comments please get in touch via the details below.


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