Building Resilience Muscles
Learn resilience by understanding yourself and identifying the mental obstacles that get in your way.
starting November 17th at
COVID-19 Support—Creating a Positive Learning and Working Environment
Click on the play icon below to listen to the recording of this online seminar.
Resilience is the ability to
Resilience refers to the ability of an individual, family, organization, or community to cope with adversity and adapt to challenges or change. It is an ongoing process that requires time and effort and engages people in taking a number of steps to enhance their response to adverse circumstances. Resilience implies that after an event, a person or community may be able to not only cope and recover, but also change to reflect different priorities arising from the experience and prepare for the next stressful situation.
Research has shown that resilience is ordinary, not extraordinary, and that people regularly demonstrate this ability.
Resilience changes over time. It fluctuates depending on how much a person nurtures internal resources or coping strategies. Some people are more resilient in work life, while others exhibit more resilience in their personal relationships. People can build resilience and promote the foundations of resilience in any aspect of life they choose.
Individual resilience is a person’s ability to positively cope after failures, setbacks, and losses. Developing resilience is a personal journey. Individuals do not react the same way to traumatic or stressful life events. An approach to building resilience that works for one person might not work for another. People use varying strategies to build their resilience. Because resilience can be learned, it can be strengthened. Personal resilience is related to many factors including individual health and well-being, factors with and into which a person is born, life history and experience, and social support.
Further, there are several attributes that have been correlated with building and promoting resilience. The American Psychological Association reports that resilience includes the following attributes:2
Family resilience is the coping process in the family as a functional unit. Crisis events and persistent stressors affect the whole family, posing risks not only for individual dysfunction, but also for relational conflict and family breakdown. Family processes mediate the impact of stress for all of its members and relationships, and the protective processes in place foster resilience by buffering stress and facilitating adaptation to current and future events. Following are the three key factors in family resilience:4
Organizational resilience is the ability and capacity of a workplace to withstand potentially significant economic downturns, systemic risk, or systemic disruptions by adapting, recovering, or resisting being affected and resuming core operations or continuing to provide an acceptable level of functioning and structure:
Measuring workplace resilience involves identifying and evaluating the following:4
Community resilience is the individual and collective capacity to respond to adversity and change. A resilient community is one that takes intentional action to enhance the personal and collective capacity of its citizens and institutions to respond to and influence the course of social and economic change. For a community to be resilient, its members must put into practice early and effective actions so that they can respond to change. When responding to stressful events, a resilient community will be able to strengthen community bonds, resources, and the capacity to cope. Systems involved with building and maintaining community resilience must work together.
Cultural resilience refers to a culture’s capacity to maintain and develop cultural identity and critical cultural knowledge and practices. Along with an entire culture fostering resilience, the interaction of culture and resilience for an individual also is important. An individual’s culture will have an impact on how the person communicates feelings and copes with adversity. Cultural parameters are often embedded deep in an individual. A person’s cultural background may deeply influence how he or she responds to different stressors. Assimilation could be a factor in cultural resilience, as it could be a positive way for a person to manage his or her environment. However, assimilation could create conflict between generations, so it could be seen as positive or negative depending on the individual and culture. Because of this, coping strategies are going to be different. With growing cultural diversity, the public has greater access to a number of different approaches to building resilience. It is something that can be built using approaches that make sense within each culture and are tailored to each individual.
Aguirre, B. (2007). Dialectics of vulnerability and resilience. Georgetown Journal of Poverty Law and Policy, 14(39), 1–18.
American Psychological Association. (2006). The road to resilience. Retrieved January 15, 2020, from https://www.apa.org
Bonanno, G. (2004). Loss, trauma, and human resilience: Have we underestimated the human capacity to thrive after extremely aversive events? American Psychologist, 59(1), 20–28.
Wilson, S., & Ferch, S. (2005). Enhancing resilience in the workplace through the practice of caring relationships. Organization Development Journal, 23(4), 45–60.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). (n.d.). Resilience and stress management: Resilience. Retrieved January 15, 2020, from https://www.samhsa.gov
Most of us are familiar with the old adage cautioning against discussing politics in polite company, but at least one survey a few years ago indicated that employees do not heed this advice in the workplace. According to the survey by Vault.com, 66% of respondents say that their coworkers discuss politics at work, and 46% have witnessed a political argument at the office.
With election season in full swing, impassioned political debate has the potential to escalate into conflict of a deeply personal nature, some of which may create bad will among coworkers that can far outlast the current issues of the day. While a certain amount of political discussion at work is unavoidable, it’s not surprising that such talk often leads to heated and emotional argument. Political viewpoints often serve as umbrellas that cover a spectrum of deeply held personal beliefs that are formed by an individual’s religion, culture, upbringing, economic class and other influences.
Best practice dictates that employees avoid political discussion of any form during the regular conduct of business. Interjecting political commentary into meetings, work-related e-mail and/or other official communication is highly unprofessional and grossly inappropriate. Doing so drags down productivity, creates unnecessary distraction, and can potentially alienate fellow employees and/or clients.
While the line is clear in the conduct of official business, it’s not as clear when socializing with coworkers while on the job. The following are a few guidelines to help you steer clear of any unintended harmful side-effects that may come about when expressing your political views.
Avoiding escalation always begins with respecting the rights of others to believe differently than you. When in doubt, it’s best to “agree to disagree” and drop the issue.
No employee should feel compelled to agree with or remain silent in the face of aggressive political advocacy. Attempts to embarrass, ostracize, harass or punish employees for their political ideologies can create a hostile work environment. If you are uncomfortable with the discussion of politics at your workplace, it’s recommended that you make your feelings known and politely assert your wish to avoid political discussion at the office. If met with resistance or retaliation, report your discomfort to a supervisor or a Human Resources representative.
Source: Distributed with permission, Copyright ©2018 by DFA Publishing & Consulting, LLC
The holiday season typically involves travel, gatherings of family and friends, indoor religious services, and parties, all of which present new risks this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. How can you maintain the most important aspects of your holiday celebrations without putting yourself or vulnerable family members in danger from serious illness? The answers will be different for every family and every individual. This article offers various key factors to consider and some ideas for enjoying the holidays in different ways this year.
Base your decisions around how to celebrate the holidays this year on the key factors that are known to increase or decrease the risk of catching or spreading the virus. These include the following:
Do not host or attend an in-person holiday gathering if you or anyone in your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19, has symptoms of COVID-19, is waiting for COVID-19 viral test results, or has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the 14 days before you attend the gathering.
In-person holiday gatherings beyond the immediate household should not include anyone who is at higher risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19. This includes adults age 65 and over and people of any age with existing heart, lung, or immune-system conditions. These at-risk individuals should limit in-person holiday celebrations to members of their immediate households and find safe ways to connect by phone or video with friends and extended family.
People around the world have already had some experience with changing the ways they celebrate important holidays. Many key religious holidays have already been observed with virtual or carefully managed services and limited family gatherings. National holidays have been observed without parades or public gatherings. As the fall and winter holidays approach, the same kinds of changes will be needed to protect the health of the people you love while maintaining the joy, togetherness, and spiritual meaning you value so much in these celebrations. Here are some ways to celebrate the upcoming holidays to minimize the risk of COVID-19:
Avoid activities such as
“Holiday Celebrations,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
“People at Increased Risk,” CDC
“Travel during the COVID-19 Pandemic,” CDC
“COVID Data Tracker,” CDC
This coronavirus tracker website can be filtered by country, region, and language:
“Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” CDC
“Here’s how to stay safe when flying during the coronavirus pandemic,” USA Today
“How to road trip safely during a pandemic: Tips for navigating rest stops, gas stations and hotels,” USA Today
Source: Morgan, H. (2020, September). Celebrating holidays during the COVID-19 pandemic (C. Gregg-Meeker, Ed.). Raleigh, NC: Workplace Options.