Last Updated on March 13, 2023 by Karen Olney, BA
Many of us lead our lives in the fast lane, but by applying the benefits of resilience, we can learn to reduce stress in our hectic schedules. Our current pace of living has bred a culture where we lack resilience and are highly receptive to stress triggers. As society shows no signs of slowing down and the stress of economic uncertainties unfolds, learning how to be resilient and manage unhealthy coping strategies is perhaps more important than ever.
According to the American Institute of Stress, 94% of Americans report feeling stressed at work. Excess stress can lead to mental health conditions and detrimental effects in the workplace, such as low morale, absenteeism, and burnout.
Resilience is the key to resolving workplace stress, unlocking higher performance levels, and creating happier staff. Read on if you want to know more about how resilience helps in the workplace.
What Is Resilience?
Have you ever noticed that certain individuals are better at coping with life’s highs and lows? And as a result, they seem to adapt, grow and thrive more than others? These individuals exhibit inner resilience – an ability to cope and bounce back from life’s challenges, such as grief, natural disasters, and other traumatic events. This is not to say that emotionally resilient people do not experience negativity; instead, they manage to overcome these feelings and adjust without becoming overwhelmed. Neither is resilience consistent; some individuals may demonstrate strength in certain areas of life but have low resilience in others.
For years, the notion of resilience has fascinated psychologists, leading to the development of the Resilience Theory. This theory advocates that people react differently to adverse situations, implying that physical resilience is not the adversity itself but rather how we deal with it. The theory measures factors such as social support networks, positive psychology, and coping mechanisms, which all impact our capacity for resilience. But most importantly, psychologists believe that we can learn to be resilient.
The 7 C’s of Resilience
Dr. Ginsburg, pediatrician and human development expert, proposes that there are 7 C’s of Resilience. He argues that children are more likely to be resilient if they grow up in an environment that encourages and nurtures the following seven components:
- Competence – competence enables us to handle a task with self-assurance.
- Confidence – deriving from competence, confidence is developed by experiencing success which, in turn, fosters self-esteem.
- Character – a strong sense of character and mental toughness enables us to control urges, build relationships, and have a duty of morality.
- Connection – reliable relationships, either from our community or family, enable us the confidence to meet challenges.
- Coping – having the right coping skills enables us to face stressful situations head-on.
- Contribution – contributing to society can make a notable difference and create a sense of purpose.
- Control – when we understand and assume responsibility, we make sensible choices and have control in our lives.
Why Promote Resilience at Work?
As more companies work virtually or offer hybrid work arrangements, learning how to cope with remote work stress is becoming increasingly important. Our natural communication methods of talking face to face and reading body language have become lost in translation in this new working environment. Being resilient is imperative to keeping communication lines open and boosting morale amongst a team. Mental resilience is a valuable skill in any workplace environment.
7 Benefits of Building Resilience in the Workplace
A resilient organization is vital in today’s fast-paced and competitive working world. Here are seven benefits of building resilience in the workplace:
#1 – Resilience Reduces Stress
It’s no secret that a heavy workload can induce stress. However, by applying stress management techniques such as breathing meditation and mindfulness, we can apply the right tools to help us remain calm under pressure without feeling overwhelmed. By using simple techniques, such as deep breathing, we can learn to handle strong emotions. Breathing rapidly is a natural response to feeling threatened, and by practicing deep breathing, our muscles relax, and our heart rate slows down.
There are many healthy ways to manage stress, including talking to a mental health professional and taking steps to learn how to combat unhealthy coping mechanisms.
#2 – Resilience Improves Emotional Regulation
At the very core of resilience is how we regulate emotions. We all feel varying degrees of emotional pain, but how we react to adversity makes a big difference. This is called emotional intelligence (EQ). If we can recognize and understand difficult emotions and identify the positive, we are more likely to become resilient.
Healthy emotional resilience enables people to accept negative feelings, focus on finding solutions, and sustain longer-term, more beneficial relationships. It can also mean they will accept feedback and take criticism onboard.
#3 – Resilience Supports Mental Well-being
When employees become overloaded with work and stress, productivity and engagement levels tend to drop, leading to mental illness issues such as depression and anxiety. If an employee is in psychological distress, resilience can give them the confidence to reach out and accept help if needed.
#4 – Resilience Strengthens the Immune System
Research about the link between resilience and immunity suggests that if we want to reduce our stress levels, we must tune into our immune systems. Embracing healthy lifestyle choices, regular exercise, and getting enough sleep can boost our overall health, leading to a stronger mindset.
If we feel overwhelmed, we are susceptible to chronic illness, but if we can handle stress, we can boost not only our mental well-being but our physical health, too. This can play a significant role in the workplace. An organization that fosters resilience can expect fewer staff sickness days and a healthier, productive team.
#5 – Resilience Facilitates Conflict Management
Resilience improves the ability to manage conflict because it helps strengthen communication skills and promotes the ability to accept and forgive. This is an important factor in the workplace as disputes can be resolved early on, avoiding the cost of a more formal route. Furthermore, conflict resolution skills help progress leadership qualities, which is ideal for encouraging productivity.
#6– Resilience Improves Learning Ability
Being resilient can also foster our learning and problem-solving skills. We can approach challenges with a more positive mindset as we learn how to manage negative emotions. This mindset enables us to learn from failures and welcome challenges, allowing more opportunities to succeed. Difficulties at work can become a learning curve, promoting knowledge and confidence rather than impacting work quality.
#7 – Resilience Increases Performance
When we are resilient to stress, we can focus better and meet challenges head-on, which is essential for a productive workplace. Improved performance benefits not only the employee but the employer, too. With a healthy, engaged workforce, morale and productivity tend to increase, leading to higher profits, better talent retention, and a stronger organization overall.
The Bottom Line
Resilience is the antidote to the workplace mental health crisis we witness today. It gives us the inner strength to handle adversity and, as a result, reduces stress and conflict in the working environment. In short, an organization that promotes resilience can have a more robust and productive team.
Understanding how to foster our own resilience doesn’t have to feel overwhelming, and it can become a learned behavior over time. By implementing small changes, you can build the stepping stones to resilience.
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