Wraw webinar: Become an accredited resilience coach and trainer

Have you ever thought about becoming a resilience coach and trainer?

On March 19th, Desiree Ashton, leading expert in resilience and head of the Wraw Academy, will be hosting a short webinar on Wraw Accreditation. In under 30 minutes you will get all of the essentials:

  • How Wraw is bringing a data-driven approach to resilience and wellbeing
  • An overview of Wraw reports for individuals, teams and leaders
  • How leading businesses are driving resilience and wellbeing with Wraw
  • Accreditation options for in-house teams and independent consultants

And there will be plenty of time to ask questions.

Date: Thursday, 19th March

Time: 12:15 – 12:45 UK time

To hold your place, just follow the link.

Flexible Body, Strong Mind

As the festive season fades into distant memory and winter drags on, taking a proactive approach to staying healthy and resilient is all the more important. In this month’s news, Victoria Farrelly, business psychologist and resilience expert, takes a closer look at the link between physical and mental wellbeing. Discover how yoga doesn’t just stretch your body, but also grows your mind.

Flexible body, strong mind

For a long time, physical health and mental wellbeing have been seen as separate. You go to the gym to look after your body, and you see a coach or counsellor to feel mentally strong. But study after study is showing that the two are tightly connected.

Let’s take yoga as an example. A recent review of 11 studies published in the journal Brain Plasticity found that a regular yoga practice has a dramatic impact on the brain. It increases the volume of the hippocampus, the amygdala structures and the prefrontal cortex.

So what? You might ask.

These brain structures have a significant impact on our performance:

  • The hippocampus is crucial for mental processing.
  • The amygdala plays a critical role in emotional regulation, learning and memory.
  • The prefrontal cortex is pivotal in multi-tasking, planning and decision-making.

With all 3 combined you have a powerhouse of mental strength. So, if you’re interested in performing at your best and staying well, make a change for February. Try a yoga class.

Find out more about how Wraw drives the resilience of individuals and organisations:


+44 (0)800 085 6899.


Christmas lights

Celebrate Success

As 2019 draws to a close we’d like to take this opportunity to thank you, our readers, for your support.  Wraw continues to go from strength to strength as we build our network of client and independent practitioners.  We are very grateful for your enthusiastic testimonials and referrals to both colleagues and fellow professionals. Thank you!

To wrap up the year we wanted to share a quick reflection to prime you to embrace all that 2020 has to offer:

  1. Reflecting on this past year, what have been your greatest achievements?
  2. What new skills did you develop, and what existing skills have been fine-tuned?
  3. Looking forward into 2020, what specific opportunities will allow you to use these?
  4. Where, what or who will help you to make this happen?

We hope you find a quiet half hour to reflect on your success and get set for an exciting new year!

With best wishes from the Wraw Team

Work Relationships And Introversion

So far this year we have shared articles focusing on four out of our 5 Pillars of Resilience, and this month brings the fifth and final pillar: Strong Relationships. The importance of social interaction and connection for our mental wellbeing is well documented, but building and maintaining such relationships can be a great deal easier for some than others, especially at work.

For those who sit towards the more introverted end on the spectrum of introversion to extraversion, forming connections at work can be a real challenge. ‘Introverts’ tend to feel energised more by time alone than by time spent with others, which is more likely to drain them – in contrast to more extraverted individuals, who feel energised by socialising. There has been a great deal of research into the biological reasons behind these differences, and one key aspect seems to be that introverts are more sensitive to dopamine than extraverts are, meaning they feel more easily stimulated in circumstances that cause dopamine release (such as social situations).

Pressure to act extraverted

On top of being told that being sociable is good for our health, work environments often reward extraverted behaviour—either intentionally or unintentionally. In one study highly extraverted individuals were found to have a 25% higher chance of being in a high-earning job than introverts. And yet, introverts can make some of the best leaders – they are just often overlooked as their louder, more chatty colleagues attract more attention. Because of this, introverts can feel as though they need to act more extraverted in the workplace, not in line with their true personality.

If you identify as an introvert, here are some tips to help foster healthy relationships at work that don’t sap all of your energy:

  • Be open about your preferences and needs with colleagues, such as your preferred method(s) of communication. Then set clear boundaries that work for you (and stick to them). For example, you could have a boundary around how close together your meetings are scheduled, ensuring you always have enough downtime in between to recover and prepare for the next one.
  • Don’t feel guilty about taking time out; it will help you recharge and feel ready to connect with colleagues again. This might mean something like booking a meeting room to go and work in for an hour or so, just to get some quiet time, or heading out alone during your lunch break. It’s about balance.
  • To avoid uncomfortable small talk, try asking for someone’s opinion on a work matter instead. It makes for easy conversation, and people love to feel helpful!
  • When it comes to socialising after work, don’t feel like you need to say yes to everything you are invited to, but do try to go along sometimes. You could set yourself a particular time that you will go home—this way there is an end in sight and you preserve some time to wind down afterwards, ensuring you don’t exhaust yourself.
  • Focus on quality of relationships, not quantity. Try arranging 1:1 conversations whenever possible; you will be more likely to forge strong connections this way compared to conversations within big groups.
  • Play to your strengths: listen! Many people prefer the sound of their own voice over truly listening to other people, but feeling heard and understood is key to a trusting, supportive relationship.

The key thing to remember is that introverts have different needs to extraverts. The types and frequency of social situations that people require to feel happy and healthy can vary enormously. That said, there are real risks that come with not spending enough time around other people. Social isolation is detrimental to both mental and physical health, so if this is your natural inclination, then it is worth trying to strike a balance between time alone and encouraging yourself to spend some time with others. Think about what ‘strong relationships’ means to you, what makes you feel at your best, and try not to feel pressured to match other people’s preferences.

For information about how you can use Wraw to develop your own resilience and wellbeing, get in touch with us by emailing team@wrawindex.com or telephone +44 (0)800 085 6899.


St John Ambulance Conference: Embedding Mental Health Best Practice

We’re excited to be a part of the St John Ambulance ‘Embedding Mental Health Best Practice in the Workplace’ conference in Manchester on Thursday 26th September.

The event is one of a series of regional conferences, following the success of their summit of the same name in London last year.

These CPD-registered conferences aim to bring like-minded individuals together to explore the latest evidence-based practice in supporting employee mental health. This month’s event will feature leading speakers in the field, case studies and masterclasses led by industry experts, as well as a final drinks reception to give speakers and delegates the opportunity to discuss the day together.

We’re delighted to be supporting this event, as the theme of embedding mental health best practice at work is really at the core of our mission: to create a world where everyone lives well at work, by putting wellbeing and resilience at the heart of the workplace agenda.

A 20% discount is available on tickets until the end of this week – click HERE for more information and to purchase yours.

We’d love to see you at our stand!

Sector Full Price With 20% discount
Commercial £495.00 £396.00
Public Sector £400.00 £320.00
Charity/Student £350.00 £280.00

Wellbeing Can Be The Beating Heart Of Organisational Change

Change is a constant focus for almost every organisation. The shifting of the sands of the external environment are relentless and the pace of change gets faster every year. We have seen many household names struggle and collapse because they were unable to adapt effectively to the changes going on around them in both the commercial landscape and society in general. This has led to the growth of a whole industry revolving around organisational change, but this tends to be dominated by theories of production that stem from the engineering and IT industries, with little thought or appreciation given to the human element.

Recent research by a leading academic has demonstrated that organisations that put wellbeing at the heart of their change programmes are far more likely to reap the benefits from these.

Professor Kevin Daniels led a team of experts in reviewing cutting-edge research in this area from across the world. The team reviewed over 25,000 studies and analysed data from over 100,000 individuals and hundreds of organisations, making this one of the most comprehensive studies ever conducted. This review was supported by further detailed analysis of hundreds of individuals in the UK, to verify that the findings translated across diverse groups and industry sectors.

The Impact of Resilience Training

The team picked out 41 studies that specifically looked at the impact of dedicated resilience training for managers and staff and the impact on organisational wellbeing. The results were definitive, with this training enabling individuals, teams and organisations to perform effectively, particularly during times of difficulty. The study also looked at ease of implementation, cost of delivery and ROI, and noted that resilience training was a relatively inexpensive process that produced very good ROI.

Leadership Can Make Or Break

However, a key finding from the study also noted that all the benefits of such programmes could be eroded by inflexible and unsupportive leadership. Strikingly, they found that an oppressive leadership and organisational culture could extinguish all the positive effects of an otherwise promising change programme.

The organisations that had the best returns were those that included experienced wellbeing leads (either internal senior staff or external consultants) in leading dedicated organisational change programmes. Successful organisations invested in a holistic approach, focusing on fostering healthy high performance and creating a culture of leadership that actively embraced and supported wellbeing as a core commercial strategy for success. The level of initial investment was understandably greater than the delivery of isolated training, but in terms of both organisational performance and sustainability of the changes, the ROI was extremely high.

The Wraw assessment enables organisations to gain a holistic picture of wellbeing across all levels, from individuals and teams right up to senior leaders and the organisation as a whole. The Leader Index and Leader reports explore how wellbeing is being demonstrated and role-modelled at senior levels, highlighting any areas to focus on in order to create a culture of wellbeing.


For information about how you can use Wraw to put wellbeing at the heart of your strategy, get in touch with us by emailing team@wrawindex.com or telephone +44 (0)800 085 6899.


The Power Of Habit Tracking

For many of us, there exists some level of discrepancy between our intentions and our everyday behaviours. How often have you promised yourself you would start something – a new project, perhaps – but ended up postponing it for weeks? Or vowed to practice something daily, when in reality you manage it once a week at best? One aspect of life that this tends to apply to is taking care of ourselves; looking after our own wellbeing. Think about all the new year’s resolutions that go unrealised each year, the unused gym memberships, the much-loved and yet neglected hobbies.

Perhaps you have recently taken the Wraw assessment and received your results. Or maybe you simply have a few ideas of ways that you think you could improve your wellbeing. You put together some goals and steps that you’d like to take to put these into action. Then what? How can you embed these desired behaviours into your day-to-day life, so that you can begin to reap the benefits?

There is a wealth of advice out there on how best to ingrain healthy habits, but one simple tool is often overlooked: habit tracking. A popular concept within the practice of ‘bullet journaling’, habit tracking requires nothing more than a pen and paper—and maybe some coloured pens if you have them. There are various habit tracking apps available, but doing it by hand is likely to have greater impact as it demands greater attention and uses more of your brain (plus, it removes the likelihood of ending up distracted by other things on your phone).

How To Create Your Habit Tracker

The premise is simple: you draw up a table with the days of the month along one edge, and the habits you want to track along the other. As each day passes, you mark off whichever habits you managed to complete that day. A quick internet search will bring up endless ideas of ways to design your habit tracker, both in terms of functionality and aesthetic appearance, but if you want to keep it simple, this works just as well. It’s up to you how creative you get with it. Or, if you really want to avoid creating your own, there are countless printable templates available.

What Can I Track?

Absolutely anything! From meditating in the mornings to packing healthy lunches, practising the piano to flossing your teeth – if it’s something you believe will influence your life for the better, it’s worth tracking. And it doesn’t need to be actions that you want to take every day; you might aim to do some weekly, or fortnightly – whatever feels most appropriate. It may be that you start off this way and then, month by month, aim to increase the frequency until the habit in question has become a daily ritual. If you need some inspiration, this article contains some helpful habit suggestions.

Reviewing Progress

At the end of the month, you will have a visual representation of how much you have been acting in accordance with your intentions. This is a time to look back and reflect and to renew your focus for the following month. You might even be able to identify patterns in your practices that can provide guidance – particular times when you struggled to maintain a certain habit, for example. This part is crucial; if you don’t take the time to look back at your completed tracker for the month, the exercise really loses its impact.

The key here is not being too hard on yourself; the purpose is not to fixate on what you didn’t manage to do. Notice what went well, above all else. If a habit does not seem to be working out, avoid the temptation to just ‘try harder’ the next month. Instead, think about how you could do it differently. It may be as straightforward as picking a different time of day or setting yourself reminders.

One final piece of advice is not to focus on too many new habits at once. Picking one or two to focus on each month is much more likely to be manageable and effective than trying to introduce several at once.

Habit Tracking And The Workplace

There are various ways to bring the practice of habit tracking into the workplace. At an individual level, employees could be encouraged to share with colleagues things that are important to their habit goals – for example, needing to leave the office right on time every Wednesday as it allows them to fit in one of their weekly habits. The whole exercise could also be applied at a team level, by supporting the team to agree on workplace habits that can benefit them all – going for a walk one lunchtime a week, for example.

So get habit tracking now and look forward to indulging yourself at the end of the month in the comfort of knowing that you’ve accomplished a lot more than you probably would have given yourself credit for!

For information about how you can use Wraw to identify your personal opportunities for developing your wellbeing and resilience, get in touch with us by emailing team@wrawindex.com or telephone +44 (0)800 085 6899.


Resilience And Flexible Thinking: The Role Of Mindfulness

Research over the past few years has found that mindfulness can bring a myriad of benefits, promising better sleep, reduced anxiety and increased focus, among many other things. In this article, we will focus on how it can help to develop one key area of resilience: flexible thinking.

In our 5 Pillars of Resilience model, the Flexible Thinking pillar encompasses our ability to see things from different perspectives, approaching tasks with an open, clear mind and not making snap judgements or assumptions.

So why is mindfulness relevant in the context of flexible thinking?

Integrating mindfulness into your working day allows you to maintain a sense of moment-to-moment awareness, better equipping you to remain level-headed and adaptable. It is especially beneficial when going through challenging situations or times of change, helping you to put things into perspective and not get caught up in worry, therefore feeling more in control. It supports you to remain grounded and see things more clearly, enabling you to respond in the most effective way possible and make rational decisions.

If you’re looking to improve this aspect of your resilience, here are eight easy ways to embed mindfulness into your working day:

  1. Before you start work or during a break, try a simple mindfulness meditation or breathing exercise.
  2. Look away from your laptop regularly, ideally outside (also great relief for your eyes).
  3. If you spend most of your day sitting at a desk, get up and move. Pay attention to how it feels to move your body.
  4. If you are able to, get outside at lunchtime. Look around you and take in your surroundings, rather than at your phone.
  5. Give eating your undivided attention – whether it’s a healthy lunch or a quick snack, resist the temptation to do other things at the same time. Focus only on the experience of whatever you are eating or drinking.
  6. Set reminders for yourself to periodically check in with your senses – what can you see, hear, feel? Can you smell or taste anything?
  7. Bring mindful attention to routine tasks, such as washing your hands or making a cup of tea.
  8. Have a conversation with a colleague and really, truly listen to them.

Mindfulness takes practice, but it is worthwhile to reap the benefits – for both yourself and those around you. If you can integrate some of the above techniques into your day, you should find that you are able to think more clearly and creatively and feel calm, in control and confident in your own judgement.

For information about how you can use Wraw to identify your resilience development needs, get in touch with us by emailing team@wrawindex.com or call +44 (0)800 085 6899.

One Size Does Not Fit All

In an age of information overload, it can be difficult to know what advice to take onboard when it comes to personal wellbeing. How do you sift out the helpful from the well-meaning yet misinformed? Furthermore, is it really fair to assume that all advice is applicable to everyone? After all, we are all individuals and can be incredibly different from one another—physically, mentally and emotionally. As such, guidelines for healthy living often suggest an optimal range to aim for (7-9 hours of sleep per night, for example). So how do you identify what’s best for you, when it might not be the same as what works for friends or colleagues?

To a certain extent, a bit of trial and error is likely to be necessary. You may have an idea of what feels right but, until you try it, you simply can’t know for sure. What this therefore requires is a careful balance between being committed to whatever habit you are trying to form—whether this is a physical behaviour or a way of thinking—and having the self-awareness to recognise when it isn’t working out. This process of inward reflection, of checking in with yourself, is crucial in order to assess how well something is serving you. As a result, you may decide to stick with the new habit, to adapt it to suit you better or to try a completely different approach.

The following are just some examples of areas to which this may apply:

  • Sleep patterns: your ideal sleep/wake up times, how many hours you need per night
  • Nutrition: the best mealtimes for you, how frequently you need to snack during the day
  • Physical activity: the types of exercise that feel right for your body (and that you enjoy doing!)
  • Your working schedule: how frequently you need breaks from work in order to keep focused, your ideal working pattern (if you have a choice)
  • What helps you to unwind: for example mindfulness meditation, reading, a walk in nature…
  • Drive and motivation: what gets you motivated, what your values are and what brings you a sense of purpose
  • Relationships: how often you need to socialise (this will likely vary a lot depending on how introverted/extraverted you are)

Whilst these tend to be very personal, many relate to working life—after all, we spend a great portion of our time at work. It is therefore important that employers and managers consider the varying needs of the individuals in their companies/teams and offer support accordingly, avoiding a ‘one size fits all’ approach to working practices and initiatives.

And as individuals, how do we know where to start? If you are thinking about making changes in any of the areas listed above—or any others—it’s advisable not to tackle everything at once. Picking one or two areas to focus on at a time is likely to be far more sustainable. First taking stock of your current levels of wellbeing with a psychometric assessment can provide you with some much-needed direction, highlighting areas with the most room for development. Once you know your focus, you can choose some advice that resonates with you, and give it a try.

For information about how you can use Wraw to identify your wellbeing and resilience needs, get in touch with us by emailing team@wrawindex.com or telephone +44 (0)800 085 6899.


Further reading:

The impact of imposing a schedule that goes against your natural rhythms.

A longer read on differing nutritional needs and the links to mental wellbeing.

The Importance Of Boundaries

This month, we’re focusing specifically on the Energy pillar of our 5 Pillars of Resilience model that underpins our Wraw psychometric assessment. This key area reminds us of the importance of rest, relaxation and restoration if we want to feel and perform at our best. This sets us up to feel physically and mentally energised throughout the day, and to therefore have the energy be able to keep going during challenging times.

Some of the more obvious elements of this pillar include things like getting sufficient exercise and sleep and maintaining a healthy diet. But another crucial part of keeping our energy levels up lies in setting and maintaining appropriate boundaries – knowing our limits and when to say ‘no’.

In this context, we are talking largely about mental or perhaps even emotional boundaries – your own internal rules that guide how much work you take on, when you are willing to do that work and within what timeframe. With UK professionals currently working large amounts of unpaid overtime in their jobs – an average of 7.5 unpaid hours per person per week – the need for stronger boundaries is clear.

It’s a particularly important area to think about for women, according to the findings from Cigna’s most recent 360 Well-Being Survey. It found that women are hit hardest by the ‘always on’ culture of so many workplaces, with almost two-thirds of female employees reporting working in this type of culture and experiencing the associated pressures. This increases work stress, which itself was found to have a greater negative impact on women than men, causing more trouble with sleeping and eating well. But it’s certainly not just women – work stress is leading increasing numbers of people to struggle with their mental health. Overall, 12% of people surveyed reported being so stressed that they feel it is unmanageable.

Reflect on your boundaries:

The following ideas should help to evaluate whether you might benefit from setting or solidifying some boundaries around your own working practices.

  • Be aware of appearing to always be available – for example, being online in the evenings and at weekends (or whatever other times you aren’t supposed to be working). This goes for holiday time too – take the time to disconnect. The more you seem to be available outside of your working hours, the more others will come to expect it, and so the pressure builds. This might be more challenging if you are required to work with people in different time zones, but aim to still set some limits around your availability. Also, discuss and clarify expectations with your team members and manager about when you will and won’t be available.
  • Set up clear and helpful ‘out of office’ emails. During any time off, be diligent about setting up an automatic response for anyone who tries to contact you. If you are trying to switch off and disconnect from work, don’t promise that you’ll have ‘occasional access’ to emails – be clear that you won’t be available until a certain date, and point people clearly in the relevant directions for any urgent needs in the meantime.
  • Make use of your email signature – if you don’t work typical office hours, or work part-time, including your working hours in your signature can go a long way when it comes to managing people’s expectations. This can also apply to your voicemail message too, if you have a work phone.
  • Make a point of getting away from your desk to have lunch – ideally, a healthy, nutritious lunch somewhere where your desk is out of sight and you are unlikely to be disturbed by people with work requests.
  • Accept that work plans change, and your schedule can (usually) change with these. There are always going to be days when you don’t get absolutely everything done that you set out to do – in fact, probably most days – so avoid being tempted to regularly work late to compensate. Embrace a little flexibility and shift things around where you can. That said, these kinds of hectic days can be minimised by setting more realistic goals and plans for yourself in the first place. Factor in time for the unexpected so that you aren’t constantly playing catch-up.
  • If your workload and timelines are consistently unrealistic, speak up about it. Nothing will change if no one raises the issue. Along a similar line – learn to say no, if this is something that you struggle with. Being able to turn down work or object to plans politely yet assertively is key in order to keep in control of your workload.

In most workplaces, the chances are that not all of the above suggestions will be feasible. Some will be easier than others, so use this as a reflective exercise and apply what you can from it. Even making a couple of basic changes can influence your energy levels and wellbeing for the better.


For information about how you can use Wraw and the 5 Pillars of Resilience, get in touch with us by emailing or telephone +44 (0)800 085 6899.


Further reading:

Some simple but effective relaxation tips

Help if stress is affecting your sleep

A helpful HSE factsheet on work-related stress