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6 Ways To Build Resilience at Work

Work environments in the 21st century are stressful: rapidly evolving industries, constant access, fierce competition, and a breakneck pace. 

While some levels of stress can actually help motivate you to be more productive, there’s a breaking point: after a certain amount of stress, you run the risk of burning out and even chronic disease. While it’s unlikely you will have much control over your work environment, what you do have control over is how you react to its stressors. Essentially, the amount a stressful work environment negatively affects you is directly related to how resilient you are. 

What is Resilience? 

Resilience is essentially your ability to respond to bounce back from hardship. Other hallmarks of a resilient person include the ability to: 

  • Adapt to changes 
  • Stay calm when experiencing difficult situations or strong emotions 
  • Remain optimistic in the face of challenges 
  • Learn from failure rather than let it consume you 

The more resilient you are, the less stressful the work environment will negatively affect you. 


How to Build Resilience

The good news is that resilience is absolutely something you can build through practice. Here are some of the best ways to build resilience: 

  1. Practice mindfulness. Studies have shown that practicing mindfulness increases your mental flexibility and function. Strategies like setting an intention at the beginning of your day, focusing on staying present in your tasks, and taking short meditation breaks can all help increase resilience. 
  2. Take a step back. When you feel yourself getting stressed or experiencing other negative emotions, pause and try to see the emotion from a neutral viewpoint. Identify or “label” the emotion and then consider your options in how you could respond to this emotion. This way, you aren’t letting your emotions overwhelm you, but you also aren’t trying to ignore or suppress them. 
  3. View mistakes and failures as lessons. Mistakes are part of life, and sometimes your best efforts just aren’t going to work out. Rather than letting your failures consume you, remember to have compassion for yourself — nobody is perfect! Instead, see a failure as an opportunity to learn something new and valuable. 
  4. Value a balance between work and life. This can be especially difficult in an age when many employees have near-constant access to work. Just because you can check your work email one last time before bed doesn’t mean you should. It’s important to maintain a separation and balance between work and the rest of your life. Have healthy boundaries around your time outside of work. It may seem counterintuitive, but this will actually reduce your stress levels and increase your resilience.