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Beyond Duty – how you can build a connected family with the ‘Resilience Doughnut’.

All ‘Beyond Duty’ artworks by Phillip Marsden and Ken Chung, our digital scribes from KPMG.

A resilient person can recover well from stress and challenges.  

When we’re resilient, we’re also more likely to create connection with the people around us. “The people who show great resilience have optimism in their language, and they show hope in their relationships,” says Lyn Worsley, Director at The Resilience Centre. 

When we are resilient as individuals, we can create a resilient family that keeps strong even during challenging times. 

At Fortem’s summit, Beyond Duty – what is the bigger picture in first responder wellbeing?, Lyn shared some ideas for making your family more resilient and connected. 

Connection is an important way to build family resilience 

First responders commonly react in one of three ways after a crisis or challenge at work. “They withhold information to protect their family, they withdraw as a protection of themselves, or they project, which makes them feel left out and abandoned,” explains Lyn.  

“When they display those reactions, the family tends to do it back to them. A child might withhold so they don’t worry their parents, and in turn this makes them feel like their parents don’t want to be with them.” 

Instead of this pattern of holding back, there is a strategy that can create stronger families that are well connected: Share, Connect, Own. It works like this: 

  • Share your values, share why you do what you do, and share how these affect your emotions. This sharing helps the family to move together, rather than withdraw. 
  • Connect around other aspects of your life that match with your values. This helps to create moments of joy together. 
  • Own your emotions and share them with your family, so that you don’t disconnect from the family. It might be as simple as saying that you had a tough day and you need a hug or to do something fun. 

The Resilience Doughnut: a model for building a resilient family 

The Resilience Doughnut model encourages us to share, connect and own. 

The Resilience Doughnut has seven elements: work, partner, skill, family and identity, education, friends, and community. 

“All of the factors affect us in one way or another, but we only need three factors in order to be strong,” explains Lyn. “We each need to find the three factors that help us to survive and thrive.” 

She suggests getting to know what your own Resilience Doughnut looks like, as well as those of the members of your family. This can help you to connect with each other in ways that are meaningful to each of you. 

“Resilient families are quick to adapt, they strengthen their connection through conflict, they have similar passions, values or beliefs, they are connected with a larger network of community, and they reach out to each other with optimism.” 

There’s much more to this conversation, click play to watch…

More about our speaker:

Lyn Worsley – Director, The Resilience Centre, Sydney. 

Lyn Worsley is a clinical psychologist and a registered nurse, and as Director of The Resilience Centre in Sydney, Lyn leads a team with a reputation for innovative, solution-focused approaches to change through individual and group therapies for over 21 years.  

Lyn is the author of ‘The Resilience Doughnut’ – an internationally recognised approach used by schools, business, corporate and community organisations to build personal resilience; helping people to flourish and thrive. 

Further recordings from ‘Beyond Duty’ will be published to the Fortem Australia website over the coming weeks. The community is invited to share those recourses widely, be agents for change themselves and keep the conversation and connection going.

Fortem activities, events and community engagements are designed to support the mental fitness of our first responder families. Read more about Our Approach.
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