Fall Well-Being and Resilience Curriculum for UW Medicine

Want to support your team’s well-being during the transitions and challenges of the coming year?  Sign up for our four-part Well-Being and Resilience series by clicking the registration links to each event below.  The series will incorporate the themes outlined below and can be experienced as standalone workshops, or in a sequence of four progressive sessions.  If your team would benefit from a specific session during a retreat or standing meeting, please contact Anne Browning (anneb7@uw.edu) to discuss availability of a tailored session.

This is part of a four-part series on the third Thursdays from 3-4pm PDT with occurrences on September 15, October 20, November 17, and December 15th, 2022.

Zoom information will be provided upon registration. This event series is open to UW Medicine employees only.

Register for one or all events in the series:
September 15  Resilience and Emotional Intelligence
October 20  Compassion, Empathy, and Pursuing Kindness to Ourselves
November 17  Exploring Gratitude: Positive Emotions and Expansive Thinking
December 15  Coping with Uncertainty and the Effects of Chronic and Acute Stress on our Well-Being


Below, you will find recordings and materials from the previous fall/winter series

Resilience and Emotional Intelligence

Wednesday, October 13th, 2021 from 12-1pm PST by Zoom

Objectives: Develop understanding of resilience as a context dependent process and how emotional intelligence allows us to strategically choose how we respond to the world around us. Explore the differences between individual and collective resilience as responses to social challenges and as methods of engagement in social action.

Content: Explore the keys to resilience, the behavioral practices that support individual resilience, our neurobiological response to stress and threats, how we can leverage emotional intelligence as a tool to disrupt our typical neurobiological response.

Take away: Gaining awareness of our emotional reactivity, learning how to increase the gap between stimulus and response, understanding the impact of our moods, learning to choose our responses.

Watch the recording here and view the presentation slides here.

Compassion, Empathy, and Pursuing Kindness to Ourselves

Wednesday, November 10th, 2021 from 12-1pm PST by Zoom

Objectives: Explore how compassion for others and for ourselves can support our well-being through an exploration of research and practices.

Content: Revisit our neurobiological response to threats and stress through the lens of self-compassion as a way of disrupting our fight, flight, and freeze response with self-kindness, common humanity, and mindful awareness. Explore the differences between empathy and compassion and how the pro-social emotion of compassion is generative towards our well-being. Look at how mirror neurons operate and amplify emotions around us with a focus on how calm is just as contagious as fear and anxiety.

Take Away: Getting stuck in the experience of empathy while engaging in critical work of providing care for people and their families experiencing health challenges can lead to burnout. Supporting the growth of self-compassion will promote folks’ ability to stay engaged with patients, families, and the broader community during challenging exchanges.

Watch the recording here and view the presentation slides here.

Exploring Gratitude: Positive Emotions and Expansive Thinking

Wednesday, January 12th, 2022 from 12-1pm PST by Zoom

Objectives: Explore pro-social emotions and their role in our well-being and our ability to think creatively, innovatively, and to stay open to different perspectives.

Content: Practicing gratitude is one of the keys to experiencing resilience and to mitigating risks of burnout. We will discuss multiple ways to practice gratitude as individuals and as a community to develop a culture of well-being. We will also examine the role of psychological safety in establishing trust and a thriving community culture that embraces exploration and risk taking. Explore intentionality of thought and focusing on anticipatory joy.

Take Away: Practices that can be leveraged at the individual and community level to improve a sense of belonging and well-being. Understanding the ways in which we can impact the culture of well-being and how we can shift our thinking and perspective when we are getting stuck ruminating on challenges and setbacks.

Watch the recording here and view the presentation slides here.

Coping with Uncertainty and the Effects of Chronic and Acute Stress on our Well-Being

Wednesday, February 9, 2022 from 12-1pm PST by Zoom

Objectives: Look at the impacts of uncertainty on our well-being, especially in a COVID and post-COVID era. Examine the shift in impacts of stress on our well-being through exploring both acute and chronic stressors in our environment. Explore the concept of radical acceptance as developed in dialectical behavioral therapy.

Content: Look at models of post disaster recovery and emotional well-being. Normalize the challenges we have experienced over the last year and will experience in the coming years through validating emotional responses and considering the impacts of anniversary reactions and on-going disruptions. Discuss research on the differences between acute and chronic stress. Explore one’s agency or control in times of chronic and acute stress to leverage radical acceptance of the challenging situations we find ourselves in during our careers and lives.

Take Away: Chronic and acute stress impacts our well-being in terms of our mental, physical, and social health. Focusing on the agency and control we have in difficult situations allows us to accept reality, take action where we can, and to stay hopeful for the future.

Watch the recording here and view the presentation slides here.

Resilience is a process of leveraging external and internal assets and resources to match the challenges you face within our context or setting.  External resources often include your social supports: family, colleagues, and relationships in your life.  To increase your internal resources, you want to increase your capacity to  cultivate positive emotions and cultivate your sense of purpose.  Those three keys: relationships, positive emotions, and a sense of purpose when leveraged together are the foundation to experiencing resilience.


The Keys to Resilience


So what can I do to help myself experience more resilience?  Drs. Polo DeCano and Clay Cook (2014) developed the following list of REFRESHERs based on an extensive review of resilience literature.  Use the REFRESHERs as a guide to the behavioral practices you can integrate into your days to help you experience more resilience and well-being:


Behavioral practices for resilience


How do I foster positive emotions?  I’m feeling stuck and my brain keeps pulling me back to what is going wrong. Practicing gratitude is one of the most simple and effective ways to help break the cycle of rumination on negative thoughts and feelings.


Cultivate a positive lens


Looking for additional resilience resources?

UW Resilience Lab

The UW Resilience Lab (UWRL) endeavors to bring the UW community into connection with one another through programming that normalizes the wide-ranging experiences of hardship, failures, and setbacks our community members face through the cultivation of kindness, compassion, and gratitude toward each other and ourselves.

The Whole U

The Whole U fosters community, promotes holistic wellness, and shares the great perks available to UW faculty and staff.

Interested in having the Assistant Dean for Well-Being work with your team? Contact Anne at anneb7@uw.edu for more information.