Research

In order to continue to expand programming as well as the scope and depth of research in alignment with the needs of our campus community, we seek the support of those who share our belief that this work will be critical to overcome the challenges our world faces today and in the years to come.

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Campus Partners

The UWRL is profoundly grateful for the ability to support the needs of our campus community as we partner with units across UW to embed resilience and compassion messaging into existing efforts. 

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National Conversations

Resources

Psychological Capital Scale

Psychological Capital (PsyCap) is a positive state-like capacity that has undergone extensive theory-building and research (Luthans, Avolio, & Avey, 2007). Take this questionnaire to do an assessment of your own psychological capital, defined as the positive and developmental state of an individual as characterized by high self-efficacy, optimism, hope and resiliency.

Recommended Reading

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Dweck explains why it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success — but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset. She makes clear why praising intelligence and ability doesn’t foster self-esteem and lead to accomplishment, but may actually jeopardize success. With the right mindset, we can motivate our kids and help them to raise their grades, as well as reach our own goals — personal and professional. Dweck reveals what all great parents, teachers, CEOs, and athletes already know: how a simple idea about the brain can create a love of learning and a resilience that is the basis of great accomplishment in every area.

Rising Strong

Social scientist Brené Brown has ignited a global conversation on courage, vulnerability, shame, and worthiness. Her pioneering work uncovered a profound truth: Vulnerability — the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome — is the only path to more love, belonging, creativity, and joy. But living a brave life is not always easy: We are, inevitably, going to stumble and fall.

Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain

Drawing on important new research in the field of interpersonal neurobiology, Siegel explores exciting ways in which understanding how the brain functions can improve the lives of adolescents, making their relationships more fulfilling and less lonely and distressing on both sides of the generational divide.

Key Concepts

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a “non-judgmental, receptive mind state in which individuals observe their thoughts and feelings as they are, without trying to suppress or deny them” (Brown, Ryan, & Cresswell, 2007, p. 212 ). Mindfulness is present moment awareness without judgment. In their online course on compassion (Courageworks.com), Brené Brown and Kristin Neff refer to it as courageous presence.

Encourage Innovation

Fostering resilience allows us to pursue risk and challenge necessary for growth, development, and learning.

Adaptive Coping Strategies after Failure

A compassion-oriented approach allows us to enlist emotion-focused rather than avoidance-oriented coping strategies to help us recover from setbacks and adversity.

Self-kindness

Self-kindness is the ability to treat ourselves as we would a close friend or loved one when facing failure, setback, or hardship. Researcher Kristen Neff defines self-kindness as being “gentle and understanding with ourselves rather than harshly critical and judgmental” (2011, p. 41).

Growth Mindset

Carol Dweck’s research tells us that a person with a growth mindset sees their ability to learn and achieve mastery in any domain as possible (Dweck, 2006). As a result, grades are seen as feedback rather than confirmation of one’s ability. Individuals with a growth mindset work harder, stay engaged, and enjoy stronger learning outcomes.  

Positive Emotions

Positive emotions are one of the three keys to being able to experience resilience. One can foster positive emotions through acts such as practicing gratitude. Research by Barbara L. Frederickson supports “positive emotions are worth cultivating, not just as end states in themselves but also as a means to achieving psychological growth and improved well-being over time” (p. 218).

Compassion

The word compassion comes from the Latin to suffer together and is the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s or one’s own suffering and feel motivated to alleviate that suffering. In Neff’s words(2011): “compassion….involves the recognition and clear seeing of suffering. It also involves feelings of kindness for people who are suffering so that the desire to help — to ameliorate suffering — emerges. Finally, compassion involves recognizing our shared human condition, flawed and fragile as it is” (p. 10).

Resilience

Resilience can be broadly defined “as the potential or manifested capacity of a dynamic system to adapt successfully to disturbances that threaten the function, survival, or development of the system” (Matsen, 2011, p. 494).

Common Humanity

Suffering and hardship is part of our shared experience. The suffering we face unites and connects us rather than isolates us. Viewed through the lens of common humanity, we appraise our own hardships as less severe because we then see our situation in the context of what’s happening to everyone around us. Recognizing that suffering and personal inadequacy is part of the shared human experience – something that we all go through rather than being something that happens to “me” alone.

Vulnerability

Vulnerability is uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure (Brown, 2012). It allows sharing of our whole selves in an authentic and unfiltered way. The very definition of being “human” means that one is vulnerable and imperfect.  Sharing our vulnerabilities helps us experience increased connection and hopefulness.

Sense of Purpose

Cultivating a sense of purpose is one of the three keys to being able to experience resilience. In essence, having it is about being connected to and working toward something greater than yourself. Psychologists have found repeatedly that people with a strong sense of purpose in life tend to have greater resilience and to fare better on several different measures of mental health, well-being, and even cognitive functioning. Even in the initial stages of adulthood, it appears that purpose in life already matters. Hill’s, Edmond’s, Peterson’s, Luyckx’s, and Andrews’s research on adolescents and young adults found that those with higher levels of purpose in life had more positive self-images, engaged in less delinquency, and had higher overall well-being (2015).

Emotional Intelligence

The concept of Emotional Intelligence (EI) refers to the ability to accurately perceive, access and generate emotions, assist thought processes, and reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth (Mayer, Salovey, & Caruso, 2004). If we don’t control our emotions, our emotions control us. Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to recognize and understand our own emotional responses in any given situation—overriding the automatic reaction. Emotional intelligence allows individuals to increase the gap between sensing and perceiving and reaction. In a range of research studies, “Dulewicz and Higgs (1999; 1999b; 2000) have demonstrated that EI is strongly correlated with individual advancement and success in an organizational setting and with individual performance, and also it may be strongly related to leadership” (Magnano, Carparo, & Paolillo, 2016, p. 11).

Healthy Connections

Fostering healthy connections and relationships is one of the three keys to being able to experience resilience. Our connection to other people and the support of others gives us stability when we hit our highs and lows. We can all learn to exhibit more resilience through having a sense of purpose, cultivating positive emotions, and developing healthy connections.

Self-Awareness

Dulewicz and Higgs (2000) define self-awareness as “the awareness of your own feelings and the ability to recognise and manage these” (p. 10). Self-awareness helps us get in touch with our psychological and physiological needs — knowing what we need, what we don’t need, and when it’s time to reach out for some extra help.

Social Emotional Skills

Social emotional skills, including mindfulness, requires that we not be “over-identified” with thoughts and feelings, so that we are caught up and swept away by negative reactivity. Social emotional skills increase individuals’ ability to enlist emotion-focused rather than avoidance-oriented coping strategies.

Stress Management

College students can help to manage the effects of stress by building their stress resilience.  Check out our “REFRESHER”—10 behavioral ways that can help you manage your stress and foster your own resilience—Relationships, Exercise, Fun (recreation & enjoyable activities), Relaxation & stress management, Eat well (Nutrition & diet), Sufficient sleep, Helping others, Earth (time in nature), and Reason (sense of purpose, religion & spirituality).  

Bibliography

  • Brown, B. (2012). Daring greatly: How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent, and lead.. New York, NY: Avery.
  • Brown, B., Neff, K., & Lerner, H.. Trust, self-compassion, and heartfelt apologies. Retrieved from: https://catalog.pesi.com/sales/bh_001195_brenebrown_courageworks-15330.
  • Brown, K.W., Ryan, R.M, Creswell, J. D. (2007). Mindfulness: Theoretical foundations and evidence for its salutary effects. Psychological Inquiry, 18(4), 211–37.
  • Dulewicz, V., & Higgs, M. (2000). Emotional intelligence. A review and evaluation study. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 15(4), 341–372. doi: 10.1108/02683940010330993.
  • Dweck, C.S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York, NY: Random House.
  • Frederickson, B.L. (2001). The role of positive emotions in positive psychology: The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. American Psychology, 56(3), 218-226.
  • Magnano, P., Craparo, G., & Paolillo, A. (2016). Resilience and Emotional Intelligence: which role in achievement motivation. International Journal of Psychological Research, 9(1), 9-20.
  • Matsen, A.S. (2011). Resilience in children threatened by extreme adversity: Frameworks for research, practice, and translational synergy. Development and Psychopathology 23, 141-154.
  • Mayer, J. D., Salovey, P., & Caruso, D. R. (2004). Emotional intelligence: Theory, findings, and implications. Psychological Inquiry, 15, 197–215.
  • Neff, K. (2011). Self-compassion: The proven power of being kind to yourself. New York, NY: Harper Collins.