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24th September 2018

Resilience – What is it and how can it help us to reduce stress at work?

It is likely you’ve heard the term ‘resilience’ many times in articles and blogs over the past few years. It seems that resilience is quite the buzzword as of late, but what actually is it and how can it help us in the workplace?

Resilience is a strength that drives you to keep moving forward after experiencing setbacks. It is sometimes seen as a magical attribute that only a few of us are lucky enough to be blessed with. However, this is not the case. It is not a mystical superpower, it is a strength we all have varying levels of and great news…you have the power to increase your own resilience levels.

Key Elements of Resilience:

  • Persistence: Getting back on your feet, dusting yourself off and carrying on when faced with set-backs
  • Confidence: Having the confidence in your own strengths and abilities, telling yourself you can do this
  • Recovery: Stopping yourself from dwelling on failures in the past and looking at them as opportunities to learn from
  • Adaptability: Flexing your style when faced with challenging situations as each set-back is likely to be different
  • Positivity: Keeping a positive view of yourself and maintaining a positive mindset


Building Resilience

Our view of the workplace can impact on the way we feel and how we react to certain events. If we are feeling down and stressed at work, questioning our negative mindset and changing how we interpret difficult situations can help build our resilience and enhance our ability to tackle challenges more effectively. According to leading positive psychologist Martin Seligman, we can re-evaluate setbacks in a positive light by thinking of the 3 P’s:

  • Permanence – view setbacks as temporary rather than permanent
  • Pervasiveness – do not let setbacks in one area of life affect other areas
  • Personalisation – do not blame yourself for setbacks, consider what else may have been the cause

Therefore, when negative thoughts begin to surface keep these 3 P’s in mind and this will help reduce stress by reducing the pressure we put on ourselves, keeping things in perspective and looking at things in a positive, but also realistic way.  A simple technique that can help us with this is reflecting on which parts of a situation we can control, influence and anticipate.

What can you control?
Spending time worrying about uncontrollable events can often make you feel lost, helpless, and powerless to act. Therefore, the key to being more resilient is identifying situations and events that you can control. For example, you can control how you view and respond to a challenge.

What can you influence?
Remember, no one has total control over their life. However, you can feel more in control by focusing on what you can influence. This particularly relates to dealing with people and working with others. You cannot control other people’s behaviour, but you can influence the way that they feel and act. For example, acting with integrity and responding positively to others is more likely to lead to desirable outcomes for both you and the persons involved.

What can you anticipate?
Additionally, there will be situations which you can neither control nor influence. In these circumstances you should anticipate what event may happen and how people might behave in response to it. This also gives you opportunity to think about and plan how it’s best for you to respond to the adversities and overcome them. Preparation for such events helps you to adapt to the new situation and reduce stress.


Taking Action

Being resilient will not stop stressful times happening but having a more resilient mindset can help you cope better in stressful situations. It is an area where we can take positive steps ourselves to help combat stress at work. To find out more about how we can help you and your teams at work build resilience, get in touch with us here.