Highly resilient people are able to cope well with adversity, learn valuable lessons from their tough experience and use it to their advantage. Today, employees in every work place experience on-going change. They’re asked to take on new responsibilities, learn new skills, and often have less time. Highly resilient workers are able to cope well with on-going change and they sustain good health and energy when under reactive pressure.
The first step in building your resilience is to recognise your stress response.
What would you do?
Here’s the scenario: Your manager gives you some feedback on a report that you’ve just completed. As a result, there are some large sections of the report that you will need to re-write. That evening you return to your car after stopping off at the supermarket to find that you have a parking ticket. Being really frustrated you call a close friend to share your experiences but you’re brushed off. What would you think, feel, do?
We all feel stress to varying degrees. Do you have work pressures, relationship issues, financial concerns, or anxiety leading up to family events? Knowing what causes your stress is the first step to empowering your health and taking back some of the control that stress disables. It is an opportunity to do things differently and to break unhelpful patterns of behaviour.
How resilient are you?
Read the statements below and select the one you most agree with.
- You are a certain kind of person and there is not much that can be done to really change that.
- You can do things differently, but the important parts of who you are can’t really be changed.
- No matter what kind of person you are, you can always change substantially.
- You can always change basic things about the kind of person you are.
According to researcher Carol Dweck, if you find you agree more with the first either of the first two statements, you have a ‘fixed mindset’, while the second two reflect a ‘growth mindset’.
Your mindset has an impact on your resilience or your ability to bounce back after stress. So if you blame yourself and your capabilities, you’re likely to have a fixed mind-set. But, if instead, you tell yourself: ‘that’s frustrating, what could I do differently next time?’ you’re more likely to have a growth mind-set.
Going back to the scenario: If you are left thinking ‘the world is out to get me, life stinks, I’m stupid, nothing good ever happens to me’ or ‘I need wine’, you’re likely to have a fixed mindset. But here’s the reality: it was a rewrite not a total fail, a parking ticket not a car wreck, brushed off, not rejected outright. In other words, nothing catastrophic. People with a growth mindset tend to think: ‘I need to proof read or have a peer review, be more careful when parking the car and wonder if my friend had a bad day. I need to pay my parking ticket and call my friend to find out what’s wrong.’ Both are upset, yet people with the growth mindset do not label themselves and throw up their hands.
Building resilience and well-being
Resilience and well-being go hand-in-hand. So, how can you become more resilient?
- If you are a perfectionist, remember that some things are out of your control. You can, however, control how you respond
- Give yourself permission to create boundaries. Say ‘no’ in an assertive way to requests you simply don’t have time for, or cannot do
- Identify the sources of your stress and re-frame them with a growth mindset
- Make time-out for you a priority. Do things you enjoy to feel energised again
- Prioritise getting enough sleep
- Exercise regularly to strengthen your body and relax your mind
- Eat nutritious food to give your body the fuel it needs to repair and process
- Reduce body stressors such as caffeine, alcohol and drugs
- Talk with a counsellor or friend to get a new perspective
- See a doctor if you need help with anxiety, depression, or addictions.
If you are wanting to take control of your coping strategies, our next course on Resilience and Wellbeing will help. Focusing on identifying and addressing the stressors in your life, you will discover ways to take control.