This month, my theme is A New Path to Inclusion. Last week, I gave a few suggestions for skills that will be helpful as we build truly inclusive workplaces. This week, I want to focus on one of those skills: Building resilience.
Whether real or imagined, threats exist. Whether real or imagined, our bodies react to them in the same way. The same neurons trigger in our brains, and the same chemicals flood our bodies. We can’t live indefinitely in a state of stress without doing great harm to ourselves, our loved ones, and our co-workers. So what’s the solution?
Why resilience? Well, according to HeartMath, an organization out of Northern California that has studied resilience for well over 25 years, “resilience is the capacity to prepare for, recover from, and adapt in the face of stress, challenge or adversity.” What’s unique about this definition is the “prepare for” part. We can practice techniques in advance of stressful times so that we are more at ease when stressors arise.
Imagine that you have an internal battery, and resilience is the amount of energy you have stored in that battery. When your battery is fully charged, you can more easily flow through any challenges you encounter. When your battery is depleted, you will have a more difficult time responding well in tough situations.
When we learn how to manage our resilience levels, we don’t waste unnecessary energy on stressful situations. Instead, we can effectively plug any leaks in our internal battery and build and maintain the energy we need to be more effective in our day-to-day activities.
Building resilience can help us reduce anxiety, improve communication, and boost our performance at work, leading to better business decisions and outcomes. Improved resilience also helps us to maintain our composure in challenging situations and self-regulate our emotions, an important part of emotional intelligence.
Best of all, resilience is a skill we can all learn. Try this simple 3-step process to get started:
1) Notice your feelings. In any situation, it’s not the event, but our feeling about the event that releases the flood of chemicals into our bodies that either help or harm us. Building resilience requires the ability to connect to more positive emotions – in turn, generating positive effects in our bodies. If you’re experiencing a negative situation, step away, and choose something that makes you feel good to regenerate.
2) Let go. This may be hard to hear, but when we talk about and replay events over and over again in our heads, we are making a choice to not be resilient. And, when we’re not resilient, our brain has moved out of alignment with our heart. The good news is, we can choose to get back into alignment. But before we do that, we have to choose to let go.
Think about where you might have to let go of something that is keeping you disconnected from your heart. Choose to release past events, because you can’t change them. If it’s an expectation you need to release, create new expectations. Finally, if a person has wronged you, learn to forgive.
3) Focus on your heart…. and breathe! When we're feeling good about something, our heart and our head are connected. This connection helps our brain to process information more clearly. Think about a time you were “in the zone.” Your body and your mind and your emotions all worked together. You could think clearly, and time seemed to move very quickly. When we’re resilient, we can move to, and stay in, the zone more easily.
Join me on social media to discuss your thoughts about how resilience can help us to build a new path to inclusion.
©2020 daiOne, LLC/Susan McCuistion