The ability to resist or recover from adversity is resilience: the ability to rebound or spring back. (Oxford English Dictionary).
This is a process which enables individuals to adapt to certain changes and uncertainties in life as a result of circumstances.
There has been a real focus on resilience by a significant number of companies in the last few years largely due to the socio economic climate requiring a reduction of workforce and the need to retain key staff. The current total cost to employers of employee mental health problems is estimated at nearly £26 billion annually, according to the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health. Companies can help their staff to develop resilience by investing in cost effective interventions and this in turn, can reap benefits such as employee engagement, productivity and performance.
We all experience stress and adversity in our lives at some point be it at home or at work. We know that not all stress are harmful or have negative impact but the chronicity of the condition can sometimes have debilitating effects on individuals’ physical and mental wellbeing in the long term.
Research has shown that if we learn to be resilient and use good coping skills such as positive thinking, good lifestyle strategies, we would be able to better manage our stress levels and achieve better outcomes of adverse situations.
Resilient individuals tend to have the capacity to regain their sense of balance and stability in the face of setbacks such as overwhelming shocks and stresses. They tend to have attributes including confidence and beliefs in their strengths and capabilities. They have the bounce factor, they problem solve and survive and some may even go as far as thrive when faced with life’s challenges through perseverance and self-belief. In other words, they learn from their mistakes, and move on.
There is a body of evidence to suggest that resilient people are less likely to succumb to physical and mental illness with life’s challenges. They have a positive outlook on life, better able to learn coping skills and with their strength and fortitude, overcome setbacks in a more positive way.
Increasing your tank of resilience is a personal journey but it helps to utilise support mechanisms that are available. It is probably true that some of us are hard wired to be able to deal with challenging circumstances but equally, we can learn to develop our resilience capacity. By doing so, we can then achieve better health, decrease our stress levels and regain some balance in our lives. It also means that the perception of challenges do not always become intensified that it negatively affects the physical and mental wellbeing.
There are simple tips which one can easily adopt and improve personal resilience.
Never underestimate the power of mind over matter. Positive thinkers are better able to manage their stress levels using effective coping skills. Having an optimistic view on life rather than dwelling on negative thoughts and “failures” will benefit the overall mental wellbeing.
When things don’t go according to plan, don’t give yourself a hard time and ruminate on negative thoughts. Learning from the experience and applying effective coping skills to mitigate the problem is more effective than wallowing constantly on the situation. Resilient people view difficulties as challenges.
One can easily get overwhelmed by circumstances beyond our control. Learning how to focus on priorities is one way of dealing with complex situations. Being resilient does not mean that one needs to struggle and cope on one’s own. Having a good network of family and friends and being able to seek support and advice or even just a listening ear often helps to clarify the situation.
Exposing to constant stressors and not doing anything about it equates to the body being on high alert and over time, this will lead to ill health. Luckily, there are coping strategies which will mitigate this and provides you with a sense of control.
Try and make reasonable lifestyle changes including healthy food choices, maintaining good work life balance and exercise regularly.
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