5 Ways Everyday Resilience Matters at Work

Resilience shines most in the most difficult moments, but it’s also incredibly useful in day-to-day life. Here’s what it is - and how you can cultivate it.

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The Calm Team

5 min read

Throughout the toughest of workdays or the longest of work weeks, resilience can make all the difference for keeping your mental well-being intact.

It’s a skill that anyone can cultivate, one that empowers you to accept situations, adapt to them, and move onward without getting overwhelmed.

And although resilience shines most in the most difficult moments, it’s also incredibly useful in day-to-day life. In fact, it’s the daily applications of resilience-based thinking that build up our resilience muscles. It’s like any other skill—you get better at it the more you practice. And by practicing resilience during those smaller, daily moments of challenge, you’ll be prepared for when work really tests you.

Here’s how resilience helps you in everyday life

Resilience is so often mentioned alongside moments of crisis, that it’s easy to make the mistake of thinking it’s only for those red-line, heavy-stress situations. The truth is that it has just as much of a place in the average workday—and by training yourself in resilient thinking, you can equip yourself to be happier, be more effective, and build better relationships with others.

All throughout the workday, resilience can be immensely useful. Such as in times when you’re…

  • Preparing to go into meetings
  • Dealing with difficult stakeholders
  • When inspiration doesn’t strike
  • Struggling to work cohesively as a team
  • When you’ve got personal issues on your mind

So, here are five ways that building up resilience can help you in the average workday:

Resilience helps you become better at problem-solving

For many people, work is heavily intertwined with problem-solving—and that goes for just about any field. Maybe that means having to crack a particularly tough planning issue, or maybe it’s figuring out an effective way to motivate your team. Handily, studies show that cultivating resilience is proven to be linked to better problem-solving skills.

There are a number of ways that relationship could manifest in the workday—for one, when you’re less susceptible to stress, you’re better able to keep a clearer head when challenging problems rear their head. You’ll also be able to hold your optimism better, which will make you more open to finding creative solutions.

Resilience helps you protect your relationships and communicate better
Work relationships aren’t always easy. When you’re collaborating on high-stakes work, involved in giving or receiving criticism, or having to voice disagreements—emotions can easily flare up. The ability to stay grounded during these more intense moments can be immensely valuable.

Without knee-jerk reactivity, you’ll be better able to stay calm and articulate your thoughts—which can lead to better teamwork and more effective thought-sharing. This can help in meetings or brainstorming sessions where approaches and opinions can clash. Paired with mindfulness, it also helps you to be more patient with those around you. You’ll be able to understand other people’s positions and perspectives better—which will make it easier for you to communicate and collaborate from a place of openness, patience, and mutual benefit.

Resilience is often confused with independence or being able to tough through difficult moments alone—but feeling able to reach out and receive support from others is a huge part of being resilient.

Resilience helps you shrug off the hard days

For those moments when your workday does test you—when creativity just isn’t coming, collaboration isn’t in sync, or work is feeling twice as hard—fostering resilience can help you understand that those setbacks are just temporary. It’s one thing to intellectually recognize that transience, but it’s another to be able to breathe deep and let that understanding tangibly change your mindset—something that comes easier as you build up resilience.

Training yourself to be resilient can allow you to more easily access that “bigger-picture” view and provide a calming, wider context for the experiences that are challenging you. Doing so means you’re able to keep a clear view of your objectives and plans—knowing that bad days, inevitably, will come to an end.

Growing a sense of resilience can also help you roll with the sometimes-difficult feelings that arise when your work isn’t accepted by yourself or others. Instead of internalizing and agonizing over disappointment, you’re more easily able to acknowledge that those feelings will pass.

Resilience helps you stay aware and mitigate stress

Resilience won’t shorten your to-do list or avert any disasters for you—but it can change how you react in the moment when things become too much. When you train yourself in resilient thinking, you’re less quick to panic if (or when) things go wrong at any point in your workday. If that crucial project file becomes corrupted, or that presentation really isn’t what they were looking for—you’re more easily able to stay grounded in a logical approach, meaning you can react quicker, plan better, and overcome hectic periods more effectively.

Part of that stress mitigation means staying aware and recognizing your bodily responses to stressful situations. When you can more easily notice signs of stress like tension in your muscles, nervousness in your gut, or a clenched jaw—you can use these moments as reminders to take a walk, to breathe deep or to do a short meditation. This not only helps you manage stress before it can build up, but can change the course of your actions to more quickly remedy or address the stressful situation.

Although resilience alone won’t stave off chronic burnout, it is proven to lower stress and increase well-being. Learn more about how you can identify and address burnout in the workplace in Everything You Need to Know About Burnout at Work.

Resilience helps you let go of control

Sometimes (and frankly, often) in the workday, we encounter outcomes that affect us, but that are outside of our control. Maybe a colleague let you down, or client work didn’t quite hit the mark, despite your team’s best efforts. In those cases, it’s common for people to agonize over what-ifs and what-could-have-beens. But looking to exercise control after the fact often doesn’t change the outcome, and can easily contribute to frustration with ourselves, co-workers or clients.

Individuals that have built up resilience can more easily recognize and accept what they cannot control and focus their attention on the things they can. Plus, doing this can itself help cultivate and refine further resilience-based thinking.

Investing in your well-being

Resilience building—like mental health—is an intensely personal journey, and it’s not always an easy one. But the time we spend cultivating resilience makes a positive impact—not just in those red-line times of crisis, but throughout the average workday. And in turn, integrating resilience training into your day-to-day at work can help you achieve that beneficial impact more seamlessly.

To keep discovering how to build resilience into your workday, read 8 Practical Strategies for Work-From-Home Resilience.

Calm offers a range of resilience-building exercises, masterclasses, and meditations that can guide you through your mental well-being journey. Try Calm for Business today.

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