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Building Emotional Resilience

Stress is one of the curses of the modern world. Nobody, but nobody has an entirely stress free life, though most of us in western Europe are astonishingly lucky, even if we don’t know/ appreciate it.

Some people seem to be overwhelmed with stress and anxiety for the most minor of reasons. For many sufferers this blight is quite genuine, though there’s a good proportion of people who cite “stress” as a reason to go sick as soon as anything they don’t like happens at work. In fact, I find this response is now the rule rather than the exception and have to deal with a fair few cases every single week.

We can learn to be less mentally vulnerable by building on our emotional resilience (ER). ER measures our ability to cope with or adapt to stressful situations or crises – our ability to bounce back. The lack of ER in the UK is now such an acute concern that steps are now being taken to introduce resilience training in British schools. It’s not just children who can learn ER. We all can. Experts say adults are just as adept at learning the skills needed to be emotionally strong, proactive and decisive, no matter how late in life they start.

How do you build your ER?

  • Treat crises as interesting challenges to overcome, not insurmountable problems.
  • Surround yourself with a supportive network of friends and family.
  • Accept that change is normal, not a disaster.
  • Take control and be decisive in difficult situations.
  • Nurture a positive view of yourself - don’t talk yourself down or focus on flaws.
  • Look for opportunities to improve yourself: a new challenge, social situation or interest outside work. Set goals and plan ways to reach them.
  • Keep things in perspective. Learn from your mistakes and think long-term.
  • Practice optimism and actively seek the good side of a bad situation.
  • Practice emotional awareness: can you identify what you are feeling and why?
  • Look after yourself, through healthy eating, exercise, sleep and relaxation.

Organisations in which ER is taught have improved so much (increased motivation, innovation and better relationships etc) that the Department for Health now sponsors a free, downloadable ER toolkit for employers, with tips on how to “survive and thrive” at work.

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Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this blog, nothing herein should be construed as giving advice and no responsibility will be taken for inaccuracies or errors.

Copyright © 2018 all rights reserved. You may copy or distribute this blog as long as this copyright notice and full information about contacting the author are attached. The author is Kate Russell of Russell HR Consulting Ltd.

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