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3 Top Tips to Build Resilience

3 Top Tips to Build Resilience

By Dene Donalds.

In 2016 a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) study identified that 47% of absence at work is due to stress and related anxiety and depression. Previously in November 2013 Oxford University found that a structured mindfulness course reduced stress, anxiety and depression by 50% on average.

So it’s understandable that the use of mindfulness to help build resilience has begun to take on more importance for individuals and teams within organisations today.

The fast paced lives we live can prevent us from stopping, calming, and allowing our neurological thinking patterns to operate at their optimum.

Resilience is a human quality that allows us to be knocked down by life and bounce back even stronger. The great news about resilience is that it’s not a personality trait. It’s something anyone can learn.

My three top tips are below and the studies and background follow:

Tip 1.

Regularly ask yourself ‘are my perceptions true’ write this phrase down on a card and place it on the wall of your workspace.

Tip 2.

Develop nurturing and nourishing relationships. Develop a range of positive, supportive trustworthy connections, within and outside your family where you are listened to without judgment. Join a local interest group, evening class, stay in contact with people that you trust and consider joining a local mindfulness group.

Tip 3.

Use mindfulness exercises to respond rather than react. Pause and look closely at your perceptions and ask if they are true and informed. Spend time in environments that encourage self-reflection. When faced with adversity, rather than resorting to old patterns of behaviour which in the past have made the situation worse, pause and take a few conscious breaths. Use mindfulness and nurturing supportive relationships to shift your attention from negative reactive rumination to more positive functional thoughts and actions to address the challenging situation.

 

Optimism is a choice. Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable. You can’t change the fact that change and very stressful events happen. However you can change your response to those situations.  Mindful meditation can help teach us to respond to adverse situations rather than reacting to them.

 

Try our free-guided mindful meditations and deep relaxation exercises to help build resilience: http://verveconsulting.co.uk/inner-edge/resources/  

Background and Studies

Studies suggest that people can be trained to modulate their own brain activity. Feder et al (2009) and Jackson et al (2007) explored resilience as a strategy for responding to workplace adversity. They concluded that the workforce can develop and strengthen resilience by participating in mentoring programs, maintaining balance in their lives and developing emotional insight.

In a study of nurses working in a residential facility, Cameron & Brownie (2010) found that nurses reported that their resilience was enhanced by colleagues or mentors who provided physical or psychological support; by offering the chance to self-reflect, debrief, or validate. Those who provided relief through humour and camaraderie were also mentioned as resilience enhancing.

Humans have been programmed to scan for danger. In response to real or perceived threat our bodies release cortisol from the Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal (HPA) axis. The sympathetic nervous system stimulates the adrenal medulla to release adrenaline and prime for a fight or flight response.

The release of these hormones causes our hearts to beat faster and oxygen to circulate to the periphery of our body; so we can move and allow our brain to enable thought. When our nervous system detects safety, oxytocin is released in the body and stress responses from the HPA axis are suppressed. Our natural body rhythms cause a fluctuation between sympathetic and parasympathetic responses.

A high stress environment disrupts the bodies’ normal biorhythms, and can result in a state of chronic stress. High levels of cortisol in the blood stream are associated with lowered immunity and wound healing, higher blood pressure, impaired cognitive performance and a number of other health problems. Therefore it makes sense for us to build our resilience and develop greater equanimity.

Enhancing Resilience

It is interesting that “greater use of reappraisal in everyday life had been linked to greater Pre Frontal Cortex PFC activity and lower amygdala activity in response to negative stimuli suggesting a way to promote successful coping Feder et al.( 2009).

Zen teacher and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh encouragers us to ask the question ‘Is it so?’ which can reduce a lot of our suffering due to our misperceptions about a person or situation.

In the book ‘Your True Home’ Thich Nhat Hanh ( 2011 ) reminds us that we are only human and we have wrong perceptions everyday. Our work colleagues ,family and friends are also subject to wrong perceptions, so we must help each other to see more clearly. We should not trust our initial perceptions too much. “Are you sure of your perceptions?” he asks us. And encourages us to write this phrase down on a card and place it on the wall or our workspace.

When I facilitate mindful meditation retreats or programmes, when a safe environment has been built with participants. I will break participants into small groups and give them the opportunity to share personal stories and experiences.

During the exercise each of us speaks openly and honestly while the rest of the group listens without judgment and in silence. This experience can offer us all a humbling reminder that the assumptions we make about people and situations, sometimes couldn’t be further from the truth.

3 Top Tips to Build Resilience

By Dene Donalds.

In 2016 a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) study identified that 47% of absence at work is due to stress and related anxiety and depression. Previously in November 2013 Oxford University found that a structured mindfulness course reduced stress, anxiety and depression by 50% on average.

So it’s understandable that the use of mindfulness to help build resilience has begun to take on more importance for individuals and teams within organisations today.

The fast paced lives we live can prevent us from stopping, calming, and allowing our neurological thinking patterns to operate at their optimum.

Resilience is a human quality that allows us to be knocked down by life and bounce back even stronger. The great news about resilience is that it’s not a personality trait. It’s something anyone can learn.

My three top tips are below and the studies and background follow:

Tip 1.

Regularly ask yourself ‘are my perceptions true’ write this phrase down on a card and place it on the wall of your workspace.

Tip 2.

Develop nurturing and nourishing relationships. Develop a range of positive, supportive trustworthy connections, within and outside your family where you are listened to without judgment. Join a local interest group, evening class, stay in contact with people that you trust and consider joining a local mindfulness group.

Tip 3.

Use mindfulness exercises to respond rather than react. Pause and look closely at your perceptions and ask if they are true and informed. Spend time in environments that encourage self-reflection. When faced with adversity, rather than resorting to old patterns of behaviour which in the past have made the situation worse, pause and take a few conscious breaths. Use mindfulness and nurturing supportive relationships to shift your attention from negative reactive rumination to more positive functional thoughts and actions to address the challenging situation.

 

Optimism is a choice. Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable. You can’t change the fact that change and very stressful events happen. However you can change your response to those situations.  Mindful meditation can help teach us to respond to adverse situations rather than reacting to them.

 

Try our free-guided mindful meditations and deep relaxation exercises to help build resilience: http://verveconsulting.co.uk/inner-edge/resources/  

Background and Studies

Studies suggest that people can be trained to modulate their own brain activity. Feder et al (2009) and Jackson et al (2007) explored resilience as a strategy for responding to workplace adversity. They concluded that the workforce can develop and strengthen resilience by participating in mentoring programs, maintaining balance in their lives and developing emotional insight.

In a study of nurses working in a residential facility, Cameron & Brownie (2010) found that nurses reported that their resilience was enhanced by colleagues or mentors who provided physical or psychological support; by offering the chance to self-reflect, debrief, or validate. Those who provided relief through humour and camaraderie were also mentioned as resilience enhancing.

Humans have been programmed to scan for danger. In response to real or perceived threat our bodies release cortisol from the Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal (HPA) axis. The sympathetic nervous system stimulates the adrenal medulla to release adrenaline and prime for a fight or flight response.

The release of these hormones causes our hearts to beat faster and oxygen to circulate to the periphery of our body; so we can move and allow our brain to enable thought. When our nervous system detects safety, oxytocin is released in the body and stress responses from the HPA axis are suppressed. Our natural body rhythms cause a fluctuation between sympathetic and parasympathetic responses.

A high stress environment disrupts the bodies’ normal biorhythms, and can result in a state of chronic stress. High levels of cortisol in the blood stream are associated with lowered immunity and wound healing, higher blood pressure, impaired cognitive performance and a number of other health problems. Therefore it makes sense for us to build our resilience and develop greater equanimity.

Enhancing Resilience

It is interesting that “greater use of reappraisal in everyday life had been linked to greater Pre Frontal Cortex PFC activity and lower amygdala activity in response to negative stimuli suggesting a way to promote successful coping Feder et al.( 2009).

Zen teacher and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh encouragers us to ask the question ‘Is it so?’ which can reduce a lot of our suffering due to our misperceptions about a person or situation.

In the book ‘Your True Home’ Thich Nhat Hanh ( 2011 ) reminds us that we are only human and we have wrong perceptions everyday. Our work colleagues ,family and friends are also subject to wrong perceptions, so we must help each other to see more clearly. We should not trust our initial perceptions too much. “Are you sure of your perceptions?” he asks us. And encourages us to write this phrase down on a card and place it on the wall or our workspace.

When I facilitate mindful meditation retreats or programmes, when a safe environment has been built with participants. I will break participants into small groups and give them the opportunity to share personal stories and experiences.

During the exercise each of us speaks openly and honestly while the rest of the group listens without judgment and in silence. This experience can offer us all a humbling reminder that the assumptions we make about people and situations, sometimes couldn’t be further from the truth.