Have you ever wondered why some people seem to manage the stress of everyday life so well? How is it that some people handle incredible amounts of stress while others quickly fall apart? The answer is emotional resilience, or the ability to adapt to stressful situations. More resilient people are able to “roll with the punches” and adapt to adversity; less resilient people have a harder time with stress and life changes.
It’s no surprise we are hearing more and more about it. Many of us now work in constantly connected, always-on, highly demanding work cultures. Being hyper-connected and responsive to work anytime, anywhere, is extremely stressful and cognitively exhausting. The result is a frenetic way of working.
The good news is that resilience is not a quality that you either have or don’t have – it can be learned. You can develop certain skills to help in the face of chronic stress and increasing demands. Here are some common traits of highly resilient people – skills that experts agree can help build your resilience:
- Mindfulness: Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. We all react differently to stress and trauma. Being in the presence of the moment without judgment or avoidance takes practice, but it’s one of the best forms of healing and resilience-building.
- Empathy: Empathy helps build our own self-worth when we see ourselves and everyone around us as having value. Another bonus of practicing empathy is the “happy” effect of oxytocin, the hormone that is released when we care for others. Empathy and business effectiveness are not mutually exclusive. Rather, individual, team and organizational success rely on a compassionate work culture.
- Acceptance: When a problem arises, own what is happening to you. Resilient people understand that stress/pain is a part of living that ebbs and flows. As hard as it is in the moment, it’s better to come to terms with it rather than ignore it, repress it or deny it. Ask the necessary questions to be able to solve the problem. Use critical thinking, reasoning and problem-solving techniques. Resist the urge to blame others or external forces. Acceptance helps you learn from your mistakes and find meaning in life’s challenges rather than seeing yourself as a victim.
- Internal Control: Resilient people believe that they, rather than outside forces, are in control of their own lives. They have a realistic view of the world and can be more proactive in dealing with stressors in their lives, more solution-oriented, and feel a greater sense of control, which brings less stress.
- Optimism: Resilient people see the positives in most situations and believe in their own strength. This can shift how they handle problems from a victim mentality to an empowered one.
- Support: Resilient people tend to be strong individuals, but they know the value of social support and they surround themselves with supportive friends and family. Supportive people give us the space to work through our emotions. They know how to listen and when to offer just enough encouragement without trying to solve all of our problems with their advice.
- Sense of Humor: People with emotional resilience are able to laugh at life’s difficulties. This is a huge asset because it provides a greater perspective and the ability to perceive issues as a challenge, rather than a threat. And of course, laughter reduces the level of stress hormones and increases the level of health-enhancing hormones, like endorphins.
- Self-care: This idea of taking care of yourself takes into account many things – for some it is rest, reading, journal writing or meditating. For others it is physical exercise, listening to music, taking a bath or relaxing with friends. It is any activity that inspires you, nourishes your soul, helps you recharge your batteries and fills your cup. Resilient people know what works for them and they make it a priority in their lives.
Building your resilience is a skill and a practice that will serve you well in an increasingly stressful world. Progressive organizations understand that they will benefit from a more resilient workforce. If you need help boosting emotional resilience in your organization, contact Powers Resource Center at http://powersresourcecenter.com/