Following on from my recent blog ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ Personal Emotional Resilience and Work Part One, hopefully you’ve had the opportunity to consider how emotionally resilient you are in work.
Today I am going to share with you my nine top tips on how to become more resilient…..and the good news is that, without exception, all of these skills or actions can be learnt or implemented:
- Truly understand and develop your Emotional Intelligence
This concept was first proposed in the 1920’s, with adapted EI models proposed by Salovey and Mayer and more latterly Daniel Goleman. It is now widely accepted in Leadership, Management and Learning as a useful framework in defining the skills required to be an effective leader, manager or employee. You will need to explore your competencies in 5 key areas namely Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, Social Skills, Empathy and Motivation. A huge subject, and fortunately a wealth of collateral exists in terms of information, self-help publications and learning opportunities. As the cornerstone of resilience, understanding your levels of competency in all key areas is worthy of your total attention. Ignore it at your peril!
- Develop a positive, optimistic mind-set
Staying optimistic during difficult periods can be challenging, but maintaining a hopeful outlook is an important part of resiliency. Positive thinking does not mean ignoring the problem in order to focus on positive outcomes. It means understanding that setbacks are transient and that you have the skills and abilities to combat the challenges you face. What you are dealing with may be difficult, but it is important to remain hopeful and positive about a brighter future.
- Value and love the work you do
Working within an organisational culture with values aligned to your own is paramount. If you are working in an unsupportive, uncaring culture or have values non-aligned to your own, the cracks will soon start to appear. After all, it’s a relationship and if this is incongruent then it may be necessary for you to rethink your work aspirations and the type of work that you do.
- Seek out who or what inspires you
Whether it be new personal interests, groups or clubs, hobbies, volunteering or fundraising. Make a list of things that you want to achieve and experience in the short, medium and long-term…a ‘bucket list’ for life if you like!
- Keep healthy
The old adage ‘healthy in body and mind’ is more vital today than ever. Maintaining healthy diet, exercise and sleeping regimes appear obvious but require dedication, perseverance and discipline. ‘Presenteeism’ is another common feature of working life today and can protract a medical condition causing further harm, so do try and avoid this.
- Surround yourself with resilient people
Seek out role models who you regard as resilient people. Everybody has resilient people in their networks that have experienced huge change, adversity or trauma and understanding their experiences and their means of dealing with them are a source of valuable learning for you.
- Keep connected to networks of family, friends and work colleagues
Surround yourself with good support networks as they can make life more fulfilling and can be a great source of advice, guidance and feedback. Maintaining networks require investment of your time and energy and neglecting these can leave you isolated and unsupported. Make sure you invest in connecting with the important people in your life (and by this I don’t mean using Facebook!).
- Keep your sense of humour
Being able to see the funny side of life’s challenges and obstacles is healthy and a trait of resilient people. Acting as a distraction to negative thoughts, humour places a ‘psychological distance’ from the pain or stress of a situation you are in and will ultimately enhance your own emotional resilience. Additionally, medical research shows that laughter reduces the level of stress hormones like cortisol, epinephrine (adrenaline), dopamine and growth hormone. It also increases the level of health-enhancing hormones like endorphins, and neurotransmitters. Laughter increases the number of antibody-producing cells and enhances the effectiveness of infection-fighting T cells. All this means a stronger immune system, as well as fewer physical effects of stress. As the legendary Charlie Chaplin once said ‘To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain, and play with it.”
- Don’t stop learning
Learn new skills, gain new understanding and apply them during times of change. Seek formal and informal opportunities to learn and develop, rather than holding on to old behaviour and bad habits, especially when it’s obvious that they do not work anymore. Start thinking about what drives your preference towards this old behaviour and whether it is helpful for the context you operate in today.
These all require personal effort and ongoing work and are not quick-fix solutions. They are longer term strategies for coping with stress, obstacles and trauma and they will help you on your quest for work-life balance and happiness generally…the other option is to simply……‘Keep Calm and Carry On’…if you can?
Contact us to discuss how to make you and your people more resilient in the workplace.
David Allgood, Bray Leino Learning
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