Resilience is a Skill

by May 5, 2020

As Heather Craig at Positive Psychology says, “…resilience is that it is a skill. Like any skill, with practice, resilience can be learned.” We’ll turn back to Craig shortly for a concrete example of a way to acquire an expertise in resiliency. Today we’re considering approaches vetted by psychological experts when it comes to building up your ability to bounce back from any circumstance. During these unprecedented times, we especially want to remind you that you can establish the foundations for a swift recovery from anything life throws your way.


Looking back to Craig, she provides a scientific take on how to achieve workplace resilience: “Positivity. By taking a positive stance at work, employees are more able to adapt to adversity and also hold on to a sense of control over their work environment. Putting energy and motivation into work, or, having ‘vigor’ – as described by Shirom (2004) – is also associated with building personal resilience. It is the ‘opposite’ of burnout, which is characterized by emotional exhaustion, physical tiredness, and cognitive fatigue or ‘weariness’. Vigor is characterized by having the capacity to put in the maximum effort at work and thus further build personal resilience (Shirom, 2004).” In case you’d like to read further, the article cited here is “Feeling vigorous at work? The study of positive affect in organizations. Emotional and physiological processes and positive intervention strategies,” found in Research in Occupational Stress and Well Being 3. We love that Craig points out the efficacy of positivity; having a positive attitude is also a skill that you can cultivate–something that you can control and take ownership of. And the positive energy that you put into your work will help build up the positive aspects in other parts of your life.


Rich Fernandez at the Harvard Business Review provides another useful way to increase your resilience: “Exercise mindfulness. Social psychologists Laura Kiken and Natalie Shook, for example, have found that mindfulness predicts judgment accuracy and insight-related problem solving, and cognitive neuroscientists Peter Malinowski and Adam Moore found that mindfulness enhances cognitive flexibility. In dynamic work environments, organizational psychologists Erik Dane and Bradley Brummel found that mindfulness facilitates job performance, even after accounting for all three dimensions of work engagement – vigor, dedication and absorption. Preventive medicine researchers Kimberly Aitken and her colleagues have found that online mindfulness programs have been shown to be practical and effective in decreasing employee stress, while improving resiliency and work engagement, thereby enhancing overall employee well-being and organizational performance.” And whether you’re looking for a high-tech or low-tech ways to practice mindfulness, Fernandez has the solution for you. He recommends books like Fully Present: The Art, Science and Practice of Mindfulness and Mindfulness: An Eight Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World, and the apps Headspace, Spire, Mental Workout, Calm, Whil and Simple Habit. Focus on living in the present, on what you can do from moment to moment. It’s more than okay to not have any answers other than your approach to tackling your workplace tasks in the here and now.


Being positive and mindful are actions that you can choose to take. And those actions will prove most beneficial if you practice! Don’t feel like you need to instantly recuperate when faced with a setback, but do think about how to find the silver lining in that situation and let it fuel you forward. We’ll see you back here tomorrow for our mid-week Wednesday Wellness: Resilience edition.


Image retrieved from Pixabay under the public domain.

This posting is brought to you by Contemporaries Inc., one of the best temp agencies in Boston MA. Also available for payrolling employees in Boston and Greater Boston

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