Resilience at work toolkit? Why do we need that? We spend a huge amount of our lives at work and yet often it’s cited as one of the major sources of stress. We know that the world is changing rapidly and frequently organisations and individuals are unable to keep up with that unprecedented pace of change. The result? Stress and burnout. Working for a Healthier Tomorrow the 2008 report authored by Dame Carol Black recognised business as a key player in promoting adult health and wellbeing. But still we lose an average of 17 million work days due to stress, anxiety and depression according to the Mental Health Foundation. The World Health Organisation has named stress as the ‘health epidemic of the 21st century’ The antidote? Resilience. Take a walk through our resilience at work toolkit where we examine what it is, the latest resilience research and how to develop more of the stuff. Step inside and we’ll show you how to keep calm and carry on.
What is cognitive reserve? It’s one of the key factors in brain resilience and the concept of cognitive reserve, or CR, is pivotal to the health of your brain. We take a deep dive into what it is and how you ca create more of it. Join us for a foray into cognitive fitness.
Could you really increase your wellbeing & resilience with sleep? Can you remember the last time you had a really good night’s sleep and woke up feeling well rested? Are you burning the candle at both ends and feeling it? Or wondering why you’re tired all the time? Maybe you’re constantly cranky? Or perhaps you’ve never really considered how your sleep affects your health but you frequently feel rundown?
Poor sleep is linked to an array of health problems from weight gain to depression and diabetes. Lack of sleep wrecks our immune system and is linked to an increased risk of cancer, alzheimers and cardiac problems. We spend a third of our lives asleep and yet the World Health Organisation has declared a sleep loss epidemic in the western world. Just why is sleep so critical to wellbeing and resilience?
You’re working on a project and desperately need to concentrate. At that exact same moment a colleague decides that they need to ask you something. They interrupt. It’s urgent – for them, but not for you. Try as you might to politely signal that you’re busy, they’re not for budging. Your flow, your task and your patience have been mightily tested. How do you deal with colleagues unable or unwilling to decipher your subtle (and not so subtle) “Can’t you see I’m busy?” cues. Fanfare. Meet the ‘FlowLight’
Resilience: from the Latin word resilo – to jump back. The capacity to bounce back from adversity, adapt and succeed.
Embracing difficulty is key to resilience. But what is it? Resilience describes our ability to manage difficulties effectively rather than be overwhelmed when confronted by adversity. Perhaps one of the most profound definitions is from Viktor Frankl, concentration camp survivor and author of ‘Man’s search for Meaning”. ‘When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.’ It comes as no surprise that Frankl’s work has been modified and applied in a workplace setting. An increasing body of research suggests that resilience is also a valuable predictor of success. Penn Professor, Angela Lee-Duckworth’s research suggests that resilience is an even more accurate predictor of success than IQ. A heady claim for something we’re not taught in school. So what’s is it about resilience that makes it such an important differentiator? Lets find out.
Glenn Richardson, Professor and chair, Department of Health Promotion and Education, University of Utah describes resilience as mental toughness and encourages employees to think differently about how they view difficulty. When met by challenge, Richardson suggests that we develop the mindful habit of taking a moment of calm to support ourselves in developing resilience, by making a choice to work with our emotions to accept failure and examine what we can learn from it. This presents a very different approach to turning away from difficulty to get the job done which employees are sometimes forced into doing by workplace pressures. Dr Gregg Steinberg suggests that challenge and adversity can develop emotional intelligence and grit, enabling people to bounce back to an even higher level of resilience than before. For Steinberg, adversity creates and shines a light upon what is missing in life, highlighting what we need to be more successful and happier. Watch Gregg talking about ‘Falling Up’ in our ’10 Best Resilience Videos’ blog. You might be asking yourself how you can turn towards difficulty or failure when your natural response is to turn away, run for the hills and avoid it. Resilience is a skill that can be learned and you can begin to work out your resiliency muscles right now. The next time you face adversity, try the following;
Embed calm checkpoints into your day.
Take a moment to notice what’s happening. Breathe and sit with what is there for you in that moment.
Known as ‘Affect Labelling’ this is where you identify the emotion. Try saying to yourself “Hello anxiety” if that’s what you’re feeling. Recognising and naming the emotion makes a distinction; you are experiencing anxiety rather than labeling yourself as an anxious person.
Work with what shows up.
As human beings we typically move towards what feels good and avoid what doesn’t, frequently missing what we feel neutral towards. Instead of moving toward the positive or trying to push difficult emotions away, bring a gentle curiosity to both. Notice your reaction without judging it. Reflect on the nuances of perceptions of positive, negative and neutral. Is there an associated response in the body? Tension or lightness? Bring mindful awareness to whatever arises.
It’s not Forever.
Recognising the impermanence of all emotions is key. Mindfulness teaches us that emotions are just mental events with a short life span. Ask yourself what you need in order to manage that emotion in this moment.
Reflect on what is really going on for you. Is there historical stuff or emotional baggage that has led to this emotion? Your response might be appropriate, now you’ve investigated you’re in a better position to choose how to respond effectively and skillfully.
Practice on a regular basis.
When you develop the capacity to face difficulty you are able to make more skillful choices. Mindful awareness of challenging situations gives us the opportunity to defuse difficult thoughts and emotions and create distance. With that distance we can choose our response rather than falling into habitual knee – jerk reactions.
Difficulty is part of life, it isn’t going anywhere soon but the good new is that resilience isn’t an absolute. Changing over time it can grow, be learned and developed. For more information on how to build your resilience check out our other blogs, our free ‘Build Your Resilience’ webinar or come to one of our resilience training courses, we’d love to see you there!
To find out more about building resilience or resilience training contact us at email@example.com
Are you under attack from Mood Hoovers?
No matter how positive you are, sometimes you’re in a situation where those around you have lost their mojo and radiate negativity. Unknowingly these emotional vampires suck the positivity out of everyone around them with their doom and gloom approach to life. It can happen to any of us and we’re all entitled to an off day but on a regular basis it can be exhausting and completely drain your energy levels. If you frequently find yourself in a situation where you’re surrounded by negativity, in the office, with friends or even at home, here’s our quick survival guide to managing mood hoovers.