Well-Being Guide to Resilience

The ACR® is committed to supporting your well-being. Resources like these, curated by fellow radiologists, are designed to help identify activities that can enhance your well-being and mitigate burnout. These resources are part of the ACR Radiology Well-Being Program, which includes access to the Well-Being Index for ACR members and an ACGME-aligned well-being curriculum for program directors.

Additional support guides are available on topics including mentorship, resilience, conflict resolution and more.

About Resilience

There are limits to the stress and trauma that an individual can endure before their ability to bounce back is compromised, affecting the health of the individual. Therefore, level of resilience can be a contributing factor to burnout.

Individual strategies, such as those described below, can support efforts to reduce stress and burnout. However, the ultimate source of stress may be beyond your control. Organizational procedures and policies, or even the environment, affect levels of resiliency.

How to Use These Resources

These readings, activities and other resources can provide you with tools you can use to reduce symptoms of burnout and improve resiliency. Although many of the resources may be targeted toward residents, the nature of the resources ensures their applicability to practicing radiologists, radiation oncologists and medical physicists.


Video: The Power of Resilience 

Harvard Medical School Assistant Professor of Psychology Robert Brooks, PhD, provides the best strategies for reducing stress and leading a more resilient, meaningful life in this talk. The renowned speaker and author shares insights and anecdotes that highlight the importance of emphasizing personal control, maintaining connections to minimize feelings of loneliness, practicing therapeutic lifestyle changes, engaging in contributory activities, and expressing gratitude in order to enrich the lives of others and provide health benefits for ourselves.

Activity Time: Approximately 1 hour (start at 4:30)

Exercise: Gaining Gratitude 

Authors Amber Bird, MD, and Amber Pincavage, MD, provide an exercise to gain gratitude. According to the authors, “The aim of this lesson will be to introduce trainees to the concept of gratitude. Trainees will attempt to identify individuals or things that they would like to be more grateful for in their daily lives.” To access the following exercises, you’ll need to click on the link above and download the appendices.

  1. Gratitude lists: Provides for the mental subtraction exercise below and asks you to make a list of things for which you would like to express gratitude.
  2. Mental subtraction exercise: Identify something you want to be more grateful for and vividly imagine your life without it.
  3. Setting goals exercise: Break goals into parts and arrange the easier parts to be completed first.

Activity Time: Each exercise takes only a few minutes.

Exercise: The Resilient Leadership Self-Assessment 

A 15-question five-point Likert scale test, which assesses your ability to stay connected with people, manage anxiety and lead with conviction. The questions provide fodder for self-reflection as to what kind of leader you are and what kind you want to become. For each area, select one bad habit you would like to stop doing, as well as one positive habit you would commit to start doing. Write these commitments on three notecards, place the notecards in an envelope, and seal the envelope, to be opened in 1–2 months. To access the self-assessment, click on the link above and download the Resilient Leadership Self-Assessment from the appendix.

Activity Time: The self-assessment takes only a few moments. The complete exercise occurs over 1–2 months.

Article: Implement a Peer-Led Wellness Curriculum 

This article demonstrates how to implement a low-cost, peer-led wellness curriculum. It provides resources to educate residents and radiologists regarding burnout and teaches participants how to foster resilience. Participants will learn the definition of burnout, why it occurs, and detailed ways to combat the emotions and effects of burnout to foster resilience. Participants will learn that they are already resilient and learn how to increase their existing resilience through practical exercises.

Activity Time: 10–15 minutes to read through the article and 20–30 minutes to review the appendices. The PowerPoint for the first educational session takes about an hour to present to residents. Subsequent sessions can range from 15 minutes to one hour depending on the needs of the residents and time allowed away from work.

Optional Activity: The Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale 

The Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC) is a survey that measures resilience, or how well you bounce back after tragedy, trauma or stress. The scale can help predict the outcome to treatment as well as follow the progress of treatment. Depending on the time allowed, you may choose between surveys that contain two, five, 10 or 25 questions. Sample statements designed to be scored on a five-point Likert scale include, “I am able to adapt when change occurs,” and “I can deal with whatever comes my way.”

Note: The scale is designed to be accessed by a group of people and there is a cost. To access the CD-RISC, a request form will need to be submitted and payment provided (cost is dependent on the number of individuals who will use the scale).

Activity Time: The CD-RISC 25-question test takes about 5–10 minutes.