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Resilience: What is it and How to build it

10 May 2019

Mental Health Awareness Week: Resilience


WHAT IS RESILIENCE?

Resilience is the ability to recover from adversity, hardships, or significant sources of stress.

It means “bouncing back” from difficult experiences, feeling stronger and more capable to cope than before. With life becoming more stressful than ever, it is an important skill to develop which can make a big difference between surviving and thriving within work and general life.

 

HOW RESILIENT AM I?

Research has shown that resilience is ordinary, not extraordinary, and is not simply a trait we either have or do not have.

So here’s the good news! Resilience can be developed. It involves behaviours, thoughts and actions which can be learned and developed in anyone.

 

SO HOW CAN I DEVELOP RESILIENCE?

Many studies show that the primary factor in developing resilience is having caring and supportive relationships within and outside the family, including at work. Relationships fostering trust, provide role models and offer encouragement and reassurance help bolster resilience.

Several additional factors are associated with resilience, including:

  • The capacity to make realistic plans and take steps to carry them out.
  • A positive view of yourself and confidence in your strengths and abilities.
  • Skills in communication and problem-solving.
  • The capacity to manage strong feelings and impulses.

These are all factors you can develop in yourself, and which can be fostered within the work environment by employers taking an active interest in employees’ wellbeing.

 

TOP TIPS FOR DEVELOPING RESILIENCE

Here are a few things you could try, to develop your resilience.
Please don’t feel you need to tackle them all at once – trying one or two at a time may be enough to make a big difference!

1) Create connections

– good relationships with family, friends and colleagues are crucial. Accepting help and support from those who will listen to and care about you strengthens resilience. Assisting others in their time of need can benefit you in return.

2) Accept that change is fundamentally part of living

– accepting circumstances that cannot be changed can help you deal with these more effectively whilst focussing on circumstances that you can alter.

3) Avoid seeing stressful events as insurmountable problems  

– try to look beyond the present towards how future circumstances may be a little better. Take note of any subtle ways in which you might already feel better as you deal with difficult situations – signs of good progress.

4) Take decisive action

– this can assist you in giving some control over your response to challenging situations

5) Pursue your goals

– making them small but achievable and most importantly realistic. Each day, ask yourself “What’s one thing I know I can accomplish today which will help me move in the direction I want to go? Take baby steps in the right direction!

6) Nurture a positive outlook

– developing confidence in your ability to solve problems and trusting your instincts helps build resilience.

7) Keep things in perspective

– retaining an optimistic outlook and visualising what you want, rather than worrying about what you don’t want, can all help the brain engage with this.

8) Practice mindfulness and meditation

– Mindfulness means paying more attention to the present moment – to your own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around you. Meditation involves the use of techniques such as mindfulness to train attention and awareness. Mindfulness and meditation are believed to relax and calm the brain, tackling sources of stress while improving clarity focus and even sleep. According to mentalhealth.org.uk, those practising mindfulness have shown increased activity in the area of the brain associated with positive emotions.

9) Take opportunities for self-discovery and personal growth

– by learning something about themselves, people may find that they have grown in some respect. Many people who have experienced tragedies and hardship have reported better relationships, a greater sense of strength even while feeling vulnerable, increased sense of self-worth, a more developed spirituality and heightened appreciation for life.

10) Take good care of yourself

– pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly. Taking care of yourself helps to keep your mind and body primed to deal with situations requiring resilience.

 


If you would like further help and support in resilience training in your workplace, get in touch with our Corporate Health department.

 

 

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