Building resilience through challenging times

by REP11 Sep 2015
The constant and rapid pace of change, economic uncertainty, restructures, redundancies, demanding performance targets and competing priorities, cost pressures, increased competition, commuting, and being constantly connected or wired in are just some of the pressures and challenges facing leaders and employees in the modern workplace. The result of this high-pressure environment is rising stress levels for real estate professionals across the industry.
The impact of workplace stress is increasingly psychologically unhealthy and unhappy employees. The challenge for businesses today is what to do about it.
The answer is to build resilience. Resilience is an individual’s capacity to respond constructively to change, challenge and other stressors and to learn from that adversity in order to become even stronger and more capable than before. In other words, it’s our ability to withstand stress and recover quickly from life’s challenges.
Building resilience, together with organizational strategy such as effective change management practices, realistic job design, and providing role autonomy and flexibility, is fundamental to lowering workplace stress.
Building resilience is becoming increasingly important to businesses because of the direct commercial benefits of having employees who deal effectively with change and other challenges and stress. Individuals who are resilient are happier, less stressed, and report higher overall wellbeing than those who are not. The improved performance outcomes of increased employee resilience and overall wellbeing are increased engagement, improved productivity, and decreased stress/psychological injury claims. In essence, investing in employees’ capacity to be resilient is good for the individual and good for business.
Importantly, what we know is that resilience is a skill. The most recent advances in applied psychological science tell us that while some of us are naturally more resilient than others, resilience is a defined set of characteristics and behaviors that can be learned. If we can understand and embrace these qualities, we will deal with change more effectively and respond to change and stress in our lives in ways that are helpful.
Building resilience
There are three key dimensions to resilience. They are what we call Active Self-management, Taking Control, and Meaning and Purpose. These dimensions form the foundation of the qualities and characteristics of resilience. They empower us when facing challenges, and allow us to feel happier and healthier in life and to perform at our best.
Active self-management
Active Self-management refers to managing our initial response to stress and how we can proactively establish helpful choices around what we call the big four lifestyle factors of resilience: sleep, nutrition, exercise and positive relationships.
Taking control
Taking Control focuses on consciously choosing our thoughts, feelings and behaviors in response to any situation by taking control of our thinking and the results we get in life. Individuals who believe they are in control of their lives are more resilient, and no matter what happens it is our choice how to think, feel and behave.
Meaning and purpose
Finding meaning and purpose is about the need to explore the value and opportunity in a situation in order to be able to embrace it positively so we can learn and grow. This is not about pretending everything is rosy. It is about acknowledging that a situation is not easy and experiencing the emotions associated with this while knowing that the circumstances can be overcome. It is a process of consciously thinking – which helps us consider what opportunities a change or challenge presents – and searching for where we can find meaning, wherever that meaning and purpose lies for us.
While some people seem to naturally display more resilience than others, we can all improve our resilience by investing energy in the three dimensions of the Resilience Model. And in the simple, yet deeply insightful words of Khalil Gibran: “Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.”
This is a slightly amended version of an article written by Sentis GM of health and wellbeing Kellie Lewis. It has been shortened to make it suitable for web publishing.

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