Resilience can be learned. How we respond to stressful events and challenges can lead to positive outcomes. Times of persistent stress present risks and vulnerabilities, but also provide an opportunity to develop practices and routines to stay calm, present, and alert during potentially traumatic events and crises. These times present opportunities and risks to individuals, communities, and organizations. Which path do you want to be on? The one that leads to resilience or the one that leads to hypersensitivity?
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the smartest, but those most adaptive to change.”
Attributed to Charles Darwin
Recent neuroscience research and practice provide a path forward for positive adaptation to create better outcomes during challenging times.
Resilience is how we respond to challenges and stressful experiences with the
1. Recovery: Recovery is swift and thorough.
2. Sustainability: There is sustainability of purpose in the face of adversity.
3. Growth. We continue to learn and grow even under adversity.
Taken together this creates calmer more focused thinking under stress and pressure. Below are tips for taking actions and building practices to enhance resilience. The tips help increase controllability, predictability, connectedness, learning, and maintaining purpose.
Tips: Resilience Building Practices
The structure of your routine can be used to help you be at your best. It can also be used to help make things more predictable and controllable and build in moments of reflection.
- Plan good days. Identify what you can do before, during and after work to ensure you are productive.
- Eat-Move-Rest. Have a plan for eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep.
- Limit media. Be deliberate in your relationship with technology and media to be in a position to be at your best.
- Anticipate threats. Identify threats to your good days and what you can do to prepare for them.
- Manage stress and emotion. Build in time to do this. Take regulating breaks. Regulation is necessary in order to produce and perform at your best.
- Fine tune your routine. Ensure you are taking time to reflect on your routine, how it helps you regulate, control what you can control, and make things more predictable.
Regulate and Connect
Manage your stress and emotion so you are able to think at your best even during times of adversity.
- Use top down, bottom up, and relational techniques to tamp down on the stress, emotions, and challenges.
- Connect with others. Positive interactions with others are regulating and enhance resilience. Reaching out and finding ways to help others have the potential to regulate you and them.
Control what you Control
While we can’t control what happens, we can control what we do and how we respond. Adapt positively by bringing control-ability and predictability to the challenges you face.
- Make a list of what is controllable.
- See threats as challenges and opportunities.
- Identify the outcomes you want in the things you control.
- Awareness of prediction and control influence the outcomes of interactions.
Look to a Positive Future
Consider a larger purpose to help you persist through tough times.
- Maintain purpose and meaning throughout the challenges you face
- Identify what you can do to have a meaningful day and continue to do meaningful work.
- Identify outcomes you want to achieve and take actions to help achieve them.
Reflect and Shift
Reflect on your experiences and adapt to create better outcomes.
- What can you learn from setbacks and challenges and how will you grow from them?
- What parts of your routine are working for you?
- What are you doing that is not helping?
- How have you made things more controllable and predictable?
- What small changes will you make to achieve better outcomes?