The stresses and demands of daily life, not just life transitions, can take its toll on us physically and psychologically. We are living in a world where uncertainty is constant, we have 24/7 connectivity and where we are continually being asked to take on more change in our home and working lives. We need to be able to react quickly to change, achieve more with less, and ensure we don’t become overwhelmed. We need to be more resilient, but sometimes that’s easier said than done.
Next week, on Friday 31st March, Ireland’s third National Workplace Wellbeing Day will take place. The purpose of the annual event is to encourage employers across Ireland to promote employee wellbeing. So it’s timely to remind ourselves of the importance of wellbeing and building our personal resilience. There’s a message here for employers too as workplace stress can contribute to absenteeism and can impact on productivity.
Resilience, which is directly related to wellbeing, is about our ability to cope and “bounce back” from difficult situations. The World Health Organisation defines wellbeing as “the state in which an individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to his or her own community.”
But people do not respond to stressful events in the same way. Some of us seem to be more resilient and cope better with challenges than others. Resilience is a characteristic and, like all characteristics, the amount we possess differs from person to person. Developing resilience is a personal journey. From the day we are born our resilience is being developed. Whether it’s when we are learning to walk, to make friends, to do exams, manage the demands of work or most importantly manage the way we interact with those we love.
Our need to be able to deal with the hard times calls on our resilience. While many of us want to be perfect, the harsh truth is that none of us are. It is in dealing with our mistakes and foibles that we need to draw on our resilience. When things go wrong (as the often will), we have a number of choices; ignore them, learn from them, or crumble under them. By learning from the hard times we grow our resilience. The good news is the learning from Positive Psychology tells us that we can all develop more resilience.
Here are my tips for individuals on how to take a personal approach to growing your resilience:
If you are having difficulty, and finding yourself overwhelmed, then the first point in the list above is the most important tip. As Dr Damien Amen put it, “all of us have problems, the smart ones get help.” Our advice to you: if you are struggling, be smart and reach out and get the support you need to grow your resilience. Very often a coach can help you with this.
Tom Hennessy is a Coaching Consultant. He has worked with Harmonics as a coaching associate for more than five years. He finds that resilience is a common theme that people bring up in their coaching sessions.
Harmonics specialises in helping organisations plan for change, manage change and support their people through change. To learn more visit www.harmonics.ie or contact us on 01 8942616, 061 336136 or 021 7319604 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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