It’s the start of the work week. Your inbox is overflowing with unread emails, your to-to list is never-ending, and back-to-back meetings are already crowding your calendar.
But that’s just the beginning.
The workplace is constantly shifting and transforming. Over the course of days, weeks, and months, the demands and dynamics change at an extraordinary pace. New projects emerge, priorities shift, technologies evolve, and markets fluctuate.
Amidst the chaos, there’s one skill that stands out. A skill that equips you to embrace the challenges, navigate the uncertainties, and come out stronger at the other end.
But what is mental resilience, and why should we care?
Mental resilience is the ability to adapt to and “bounce back” from challenges, stress, and adversity. It’s not about being invincible or immune to the tough stuff. Instead, it’s about developing the psychological tools to face it, get through it, and maintain a sense of wellbeing.
In the world of work, it’s not just a nice-to-have; it’s a critical skill. For instance, resilience improves our job performance, career satisfaction, leadership effectiveness, and our ability to problem solve. It also reduces the risk of burnout and its associated impacts on mental and physical health. When we’re resilient, we’re more likely to stay engaged in our work, have a (more) positive outlook, and remain focused on long-term goals. We’re likely to be more open to change, adaptable and willing to learn.
So, what can we do to build our resilience, and thrive in our personal and professional lives?
First, we must acknowledge that resilience is not a fixed trait; it’s something that we can all develop and strengthen.
Here are 10 strategies and techniques for building mental resilience:
- Embrace a growth mindset. Research shows that seeing challenges as opportunities for growth can significantly boost resilience.
- Learn from your mistakes. Reflect on the things that didn’t go to plan. How can you improve? What can you do differently next time?
- Understand and manage your emotions. Notice your feelings – and be open to feeling the negative ones. Acknowledge them and choose to move forward.
- Build your coping ‘toolkit’. Find different ways for navigating the tough stuff and choose the most appropriate strategy for a given situation. Sometimes that might mean problem-solving, and other times it might mean seeking support.
- Cultivate self-compassion. Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding you’d offer a friend. Self-compassion can counteract negative self-talk and provide emotional support during difficult times.
- Build a strong support system. Surround yourself with people you trust, and who can provide emotional guidance. Social support can serve as a buffer against stress and adversity.
- Be adaptable. The ability to flex is a hallmark of resilience. Be open to learning and adjusting as you go.
- Adopt a positive and hopeful outlook. Optimistic individuals tend to view challenges as temporary and surmountable, which is an essential element of resilience.
- Set realistic goals. Achieving milestones can build your confidence and motivation to tackle more significant challenges.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep are all essential for mental resilience. They provide the foundation for emotional and cognitive well-being.
Remember, building mental resilience is an ongoing journey, not a destination. It’s about developing the strength to face life’s challenges head-on, learning from setbacks, and growing stronger in the process. Each day, we can cultivate our resilience and become better equipped to thrive in an ever-changing world.