Our Wednesday Wisdom Guest Blog on Resilience comes today from Rhiannon Stafford of Blue Grape, a people development consultancy supporting innovative and growing businesses. What I love about Rhiannon is her passion for looking at things differently, finding new and innovative ways of doing things to help people learn, rather than just be trained! So let’s dive into this guest blog on Resilience.
My teenage daughter likes to laugh at music from “my era” and with Apple music she does this often! The other day Billy Ocean’s “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” was on that evening’s playlist and immediately I thought “Resilience”!
Often resilience is offered as a solution to managing stress; and despite getting better at talking about mental health in the workplace, this has led to people viewing resilience as a negative for people who “can’t cope”.
I disagree. Being resilient is more than just dealing with things, and coming out the other side. Resilience also includes the individual being able to make changes and grow personally, to emerge stronger from a situation. Each person is unique and responds to situations in different ways – physically, cognitively and emotionally. Therefore, our resilience levels are individual to us, but there are some common themes when it comes to resilience.
Studies have found that more resilient people are higher performers and respond better to change. They are more motivated, build better working relationships and are less likely to take time off sick or suffer from low morale. If you think about the economic, environmental and societal changes we’re are experiencing, it’s no wonder that resilience has risen in popularity.
Tough is a word people sometimes use to mean resilient. It may not sound as good as Billy Ocean’s words but, but when the going gets tough, the resilient remain resourceful, creative and healthy. There are numerous definitions of resilience all saying pretty similar things. My favourite is having the physical, emotional, social/familyand spiritually capacity to better manage ever changing demand.
What do I mean by this?
Emotional Capacity means maintaining emotional calm and balance allowing you to approach challenges in a positive, optimistic way. We see this most often if we stand back from events that cause us difficulty and reframe them more positively. To ask ourselves questions such as, “What do others think about this situation? How will it look in a year’s time? What is really important here?”
Physical capacity is about healthy body composition and flexibility derived through exercise, nutrition and training. A commitment to physical capacity needs self-determination, and the achievement contributes to mood control, creates positive emotions and raises self-confidence and, consequently, self-belief.
Social/family capacity means being part of a unit/relationship that is safe, supportive, loving and provides a healthy and secure environment. Positive relationships provide many positive emotions, which then affect our sense of self and self-confidence.
Spiritually capacity is having aset of beliefs, principles or values with a vision, that sustain a person beyond family, institution and societal sources of strength. Having a vision gives a sense of purpose and direction to your life helping you get over the obstacles that could get in your way of achieving your goals.
Research has told us we can increase our levels of resilience – by developing behaviours that underpin resilience. And that is why I like this definition of resilience so much. If I look at resilience in this way, I can think about what capacity I feel is a strength, and what capacity is lacking somewhat! I do a bit of honest self-assessment – focusing on my thoughts and feelings and examining my actions and responses. Then considering my capabilities and the resources available to me, I figure out ways to improve my capacity in those areas.
No guesses how my social/family capacity is at the moment with a teenage daughter!
And the argument for increasing our resilience levels just gets stronger. People with high levels of resilience have ways to protect themselves from stress (this is where prevention rather than cure comes in). The hormones released into our bodies when we are stressed impact not just on our immune systems, making us more susceptible to illness, but on our thinking and emotions, potentially affecting the decisions we make.
And finally, remember that resilience isn’t static, and it is contextual. As we go through life and experience different situations, our capacities can rise and fall. So be prepared for building your resilience to be a long-term commitment to working towards a stronger self. It’s worth it – I promise!
You can learn more about Rhiannon here in this uploaded bio, or via her: