Our everyday working lives are hectic and stressful. As a result, many people today are suffering from burnout. Some people, though, seem to be “immune” to stress. No professional challenge or personal crisis, no matter how great, throws them off track. According to scientists, such people have resilience. What this means in concrete terms and how you can strengthen your own resilience, you will learn in this article.
What is resilience?
The term "resilience" can be roughly translated as "psychological resistance". More precisely, it means the ability to cope with life's adversities or particularly stressful times, such as losses, breakups, layoffs or time pressures at work without suffering any psychological impairment.
While less resilient, i.e. vulnerable, people tend to suffer from depression, addiction, anxiety disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder during difficult times, resilient people remain mentally healthy in a similar situation. What's more, by accepting a crisis positively as a manageable challenge, they actually learn and grow with and from it.
Figuratively speaking, resilience can also be described as an inner protective shield that repels damaging external factors and preserves mental health.
What characterizes a resilient person?
A person who exhibits strong resilience has a certain mindset. This allows him/ her to evaluate a difficult situation in a certain way. The six resilience factors - also known as the "pillars of resilience" - show what this evaluation style looks like in concrete terms:
- Acceptance: Resilient people accept that problems and crises are part of life. They accept them as challenges that can be overcome.
- Optimism: A healthy optimism helps resilient people in difficult situations. They have no illusions, but assume a positive course of events in situations of uncertainty.
- Self-efficacy: Resilient individuals trust and believe in their abilities and competencies. They are convinced that they can make a difference.
- Personal responsibility: Resilient people are aware that they are not responsible for causing everything that happens to them. However, they recognize that they are responsible for how they respond to and deal with situations. Instead of seeing themselves only as "victims of circumstances," they strive to solve problems on their own.
- Network orientation: A stable social network provides support in difficult situations. Resilient people cultivate their relationships with friends and family and do not hesitate to ask them for help and support.
- Solution orientation: Instead of only seeing the difficulty of a problem, resilient people focus on the fact that there are always possible solutions. They orient themselves to these with the knowledge that once they have implemented them, they will emerge from a crisis stronger.
Can resilience be learned?
According to neuroscientist Raffael Kalisch, resilience is not simply a trait that one either possesses or does not possess. Instead, resilience should be understood as an activity that can certainly be learned and strengthened. According to Kalisch, however, this does not happen quickly, but requires a longer-term learning process. In our article "Is resilience an innate trait?" you can learn more about this topic.
How can resilience be trained?
To strengthen resilience, negative associations must be unlearned. Examples of such are statements and thoughts such as "I can't do it.", "I'm not good enough.", "Why always me?" etc.
These negative beliefs are in absolute contrast to those beliefs exhibited by a strongly resilient person. Their mindset would look more like "I can do this.", "I am good enough.", "I can learn this." etc.
The clear goal of resilience training is not only to unlearn negative beliefs, but also to relearn positive associations. The following five tips can address this unlearning and relearning process and ultimately strengthen resilience:
- Reflect on crises you have already survived: Become aware of the crises you have already coped with. This will help you internalize that you are not only capable of overcoming difficult times. It will also make you aware of the competencies, talents, and skills you possess and ultimately help you become more confident.
- Reality check: Not all, but still many problems are self-made. High expectations of oneself, demands for perfection and the goal to perform better and better with scarce resources have become normal in today's business world. Instead of subjecting oneself to such pressure, it is often helpful to talk to employees and/or superiors in order to get a realistic assessment of performance expectations. Excessive, self-made pressure can be removed or at least minimized in this way.
- Take time to recover: Resilience training does not mean learning to hold out longer in order to accomplish even more and without letting on. That doesn't build resilience; it clearly overloads you. To build resilience, regular rest is necessary. Take time out every day in which you purposefully pursue other, enjoyable activities. Not only does this help you "switch off," but it's often when you come up with the best ideas and solutions.
- Seek contact with friends and family: In our hectic workday, friends and family often get short shrift. Yet a stable and well-functioning social network is not only an important key to our mental health, but also to our resilience and crisis competence. On the one hand, good friends and family offer us stability and support in difficult times. On the other hand, communicating with them allows us to change our perspective and thus may reveal new ways of solving a problem.
- Make still pending decisions: For many, the fear of not making the right decision leads to not making a decision at all. Many put off making decisions, wait for insight or for others to make the decision for them. However, this inevitably leads to stress, builds pressure and increases anxiety. As long as a decision is still pending, it is constantly on your mind and robs you of valuable time and energy that could be used elsewhere. Therefore, make a conscious effort to make decisions that are still pending. In many cases, there is no such thing as "the" right decision after all; what is more important is that a decision is made.
Strengthen your resilience with Sparrks Business Coaching
Nowadays, numerous seminars are offered on the topic of resilience, promising to increase one's own resilience. However, according to neuroscientist Raffael Kalisch,caution is advised: A seminar that you merely passively sit through is not helpful in strengthening resilience. Reading magazines or books on the subject of resilience alone is also not enough. What is needed instead is training that involves the active participation of the person being trained.
That's what Business Coaching with Sparrks can do. It distinguishes itself from other coaching methods or coaching approaches in that the coachee is actively involved in the coaching process. On the one hand, the coachee actively develops solution strategies in an initial 45-minute coaching session instead of only being given them by the business coach. On the other hand, in a subsequent two-week practical phase, the coachee becomes active in his/her everyday professional life. This means that he/she puts the strategies and tips discussed, including the five mentioned above, into practice.
The practical phase is particularly important in terms of strengthening resilience. Only when the strategies and tips are actually put into practice can convictions and behaviors be solidified.
A subsequent second coaching session now ensures that corresponding progress and successes of the coachee are measured and evaluated. Together with the coach, it can then be decided whether the strategies and tips were practical and/or whether others should be considered.
Get professional support in strengthening your resilience and request a free 30-minute demo call at Sparrks Coaching. We will be happy to advise you further on the coaching topic "Strengthening Resilience".