Every day, each of us faces a variety of challenges both at home and at work.  Within the workplace, people often find themselves dealing with a “stack” of issues that get in the way of performing at their best.  Over time, employees can experience frustration and ultimately burnout as a result of this workplace stress.

So, what’s the solution?  Becoming more resilient in the face of these challenges.

As part of our #WellnessWednesday video series, we spoke with Allison Graham, keynote speaker and Resiliency Ninja.  She shared some thoughts on the importance of mastering everyday resilience as well as some strategies on how to accomplish that.  A link to the complete conversation can be found below, but here are a few highlights from our discussion.

Interrupt the pattern

When something goes wrong, we tend to experience emotional reactions to the situation.  We get frustrated.  We begin to worry.  We feel our anxiety levels rise.  Sometimes we start to play the blame game to determine whose fault it is.  This pattern is all too common but unproductive.  The emotional response simply creates extra unneeded stress and does nothing to help us overcome the obstacle.

We don’t NEED to emotionally react to challenges that arise.  Instead, we should refocus that energy to develop a solution to the obstacle that we are facing.  If we stop to think about it, we understand that stress and anxiety are unnecessary to the process of dealing with difficult situations.  We can simply bypass that phase and jump right to solution-building!

Adopt “the options of 3”

We often become fixated on the one solution we assume is the only solution to a problem.  Perhaps it’s out of habit or our desire to get things done as quickly as possible, but focusing on this “one and only” can often result in added stress rather than providing the calm associated with resolution.  In reality, there is never only one solution.  Approach an obstacle by brainstorming 3 possible ways to solve it.  We need to be open to different options and simply find the best option that we can implement.

To build resiliency, we can practice this approach with small, everyday obstacles that we face.  For example, what are the different routes we can take home if traffic isn’t flowing as quickly as usual?  This better prepares us for the times when we are faced with change or dealing with an unexpected obstacle, both within the workplace and in our personal lives.  The ability to be creative and flexible allows us to be more resilient and manage stress more effectively.

Validate our feelings about change

Most of us don’t like change.  We want what’s familiar and comfortable, and we tend to resist situations where that is threatened.  We know, however, that change is inevitable, so we need to be prepared to deal with it in a healthy and effective manner.

The first step to helping us navigate change more successfully is accepting that we don’t like it!  It’s ok to feel upset – grieve even – about what is changing.  We are, in fact, “losing” something and now have to learn to accept something different.  By validating how we feel about change, we can then allow ourselves to focus on facing it.  We next have to recognize the need to avoid consuming our time with complaining, blame, judgement, or worry.  These are time-wasters that take our focus away from the creative thinking and problem solving necessary to adapt to the changes that are happening.

“When we mis-place emotion or add negative story, we create unnecessary and unhealthy stress.  Resiliency is about learning how to interrupt that pattern.”

Allison Graham

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