Resilience (Part 1)

This article originally appeared in the July 2012 Successful Supervisor, published by LifeSolutions.

For many years, stress reduction has been achieved largely through various applied interventions: following deep breathing techniques, visualizing favorite places to be, journaling, getting sufficient rest, exercise and sleep, and utilizing positive self‐talk. Approximately 50% of large companies offer stress management programs, but most stop short of offering training in happiness, positivity, resiliency, or mindfulness. We are beginning to move beyond the practices of simple stress management to identifying and building human capacity for resiliency. The trend now is to train people to change their mindset toward being more hopeful and optimistic which leads to greater resiliency and happier and more productive employees. Why is this important? Recent Gallup Poll surveys (2010‐2011) reveal that only 29% of employees in the United States are actively engaged in their work, 56% are passively disengaged, and 15% are actively disengaged. When employers and employees demonstrate greater resiliency and more positive attitudes, the outcome is improved individual and company success, higher levels of engagement, a culture of health, and a safer, more trusting work environment. Materials adapted from Rose Gantner, Workplace Wellness: Performance with a Purpose, Well Works Publishing, 2012; Gail Wagnild, PhD, www.resiliencescale.com ; and David Nash, MD, et al, Population Health: Creating a Culture of Wellness, Bartlett Publishing, 2011.

Article Author: Rose Gantner, Ed.D.

So, what is resilience? Gail Wagnild, RN, PhD has defined resilience as the ability to adapt, recover, and grow stronger from adversity. While most people are able to do this to some extent, individuals with strong resiliency are able to handle change, difficulties, and adversity often without missing a beat. Although they may be experiencing the same circumstances as others, their response is different. They emerge optimistic and challenged, rather than defeated, threatened, or fatigued. They are less likely to become depressed or resigned to the situation. Developing resilience is learning how to build capacity for growth. It prepares people ahead of time for various risk situations and aids in preventing or reducing stress‐related disorders such as depression and anxiety. While resiliency may come more readily to some people, all individuals have the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn ways of being and responding. People can choose to be empowered as opposed to disempowered. So, let’s enter the 21st century and learn about resilience.

What do resilient people do that sets them apart from those who are less resilient? How do I get on board?

Research shows that resilient people:

According to Wagnild, there are five core components of resiliency. Wagnild recommends that the best approach is to address one component at a time. Remember, it is important to take small, actionable steps that can lead to big gains and wins. The five components are:

These components are supplemented and supported by engaging fully in life, supporting others and asking for support when needed, maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and allowing ample time for relaxation and recreation.

Other strategies can help you strengthen resiliency.

You and your employees can become more resilient!

In Part 2 Rose Gantner specifically addresses how managers can promote resiliency in their employees. In the meantime, please contact LifeSolutions if you would like to learn more about stress management or would like support in developing your resources for greater resiliency.

Call LifeSolutions at 1.800.647.3327 if you would like to learn more about resilience.

Nothing in this information is a substitute for following your company policies related to information covered here.

Read Part 2

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