6 Ways To Build Resilience and Combat Stress

Research shows that we are increasingly stressed at work. The increasing pace of work, pressure to deliver more with less, and being hyper connected and responsive to work anytime, anywhere, has taken its toll. What’s the antidote to stress? Resilience.

Resilience is about how lead you: your ability to adapt and bounce back when things don’t go as planned. Resilient people don’t wallow or dwell on failures; they acknowledge the situation, learn from their mistakes, and then move forward. Being challenged — sometimes severely — is part of what activates resilience as a skill set.

“Your mind can be your biggest friend or your biggest enemy”. Vijaya Vaidyanath, CEO, Yarra City Council.

Mental toughness happens through practice. While my 6-year-old son loves books, encouraging him to practice reading, so he learns to read, has been a constant challenge – for him and me! So, I while he flicked a light switch yesterday I shared with him that Thomas Edison had to practice making a lightbulb 10,000 times before he got it right.

Do you have the resilience you need to overcome your challenges? And what could you accomplish if you had the strength not to give up?

How you respond and what you take responsibility for is the biggest driver of your results

So how can we develop resilience and stay motivated in the face of stress, constantly increasing demands, complexity and change? Employ these tips today to build your resilience and take your leadership to the next level.

1. Be optimistic

Having resilience means maintaining enthusiasm –interpreting setbacks, challenges, failure as something temporary and changeable (“It’s going away quickly; it’s just this one situation, and I can do something about it.”).

2. Persistence: Focus on the next step forward

Resilience is about taking the next step, no matter how hard it is. We all fear failure, rejection and not being good enough. Having tough conversations and taking risks is necessary for our growth and development. The only way to move through fear though is to tap into courage. If fear is hardwired in us, then so is courage. They are both there, all of the time.

3. Don’t be attached to the outcome

The only thing you control is you. Resilient people never think of themselves as victims – they focus their time and energy on changing the things that they have control over. They are able to let go of everything else and take responsibility for their actions. As a result, they are much more able to think quickly and creatively and discover a new path or an alternative solution.

4. Don’t sweat the small stuff

Working life is full of every day challenges. Big ones, small ones, some we expect, some out of the blue.

Be aware of how much you react to what happens in your day. Let go of the little things – don’t overact to them with emotion and drama. There are bigger things that are worth your time, energy and effort.

5. Be kind to yourself

We all fail from time to time – it’s life! Be kind to yourself and give yourself a break. Reach out to others who matter for help and support.

6. Look after yourself

We’re often so busy looking after everyone and everything else, that we don’t pay enough attention to our own wellbeing. Resilience is not only mental – it’s physical too.

That’s why it’s important to create the balance we need to tackle every challenge. Eating well, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep are essential first steps. Making sure you take regular breaks at work and create clear work-life boundaries also helps.

Bringing it all together

Your career isn’t a straight line. Your success is not guaranteed. Setbacks and stuff-ups are built into the rollercoaster ride of life for a reason: to enable you to push past what you thought was possible; to learn something about yourself that can help you bounce back even better next time. Your success is doing that for your entire career.

The next time you hit a bump, feel like you’re in a slump or even sense you’ve lost your way, remember to ask yourself:

  • How could I choose to see this situation right now as a good thing?
  • What can I learn from this that’s going to serve me and my leadership into the future?

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