Building resilience

Quick tips for managing stress and building resilience

Resilience is that indescribable capability that helps us bounce back from adversity and leadership setbacks – qualities that are crucial in today’s business environment.

Building and strengthening your resilience muscle takes time, attention, tenacity and patience. It also requires a decent amount of self-awareness that enables you to realize when you are on the verge of becoming out of balance.

This April, the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute asked me to support their career services center at their annual conference, held in Frankfurt for the first time. Part of the deal was an interview with me on ‘stress and resilience’ that you can watch below. The ten resilience boosters reflect the necessity to adopt a growth mindset, to center regularly, and to seek support.

10 Boosters: building resilience

  1.    Tap into your inner resources and stay calm. Maintain a clear sense of purpose for long-term goals and priorities.
  2.    Nurture relationships: your friends and support network. The quality of your relationships with other people influences how emotionally resilient you can be in the face of an emotional or physical crisis. In general, the more quality social support you can draw upon    from family and friends, the more flexible and resilient you can be in stressful situations.
  3.     Focus on your sphere of influence and use it creatively. Rather than assuming your first answer is the solution, suspend judgment if you are in the middle of a change.
  4.     Actively manage and resolve conflict. Use organized, structured approaches when managing ambiguity.
  5.     Set and preserve boundaries. Rather than assuming your first answer is the solution, suspend judgment if you are in the middle of a change.
  6.     Tame your inner driver for more balance. Explore your value system and identify your personal sense of direction on which you can rely to make choices.
  7.     Clear your life’s backpack from superfluous weight. Resilient people approach life as meaningful, and their optimistic view lets them see each new day as providing a new set of opportunities and choices. Be proactive, and understand when to ask for help.
  8.     Manage your energy and make friends with your body. Resilient people take a holistic perspective on their mind, body and emotions. When they are confronted with ambiguity, anxiety, and a loss of control that accompanies change, they tend to grow stronger from the experiences, rather than allowing themselves to be depleted.
  9.     Pause and focus on your own needs. Notice which emotions arise and what you say to yourself in an unfamiliar situation.
  10.     Keep an optimistic outlook on life. Develop a focus for the positive.
  11. Adversity, setbacks, and challenges can throw any leader off-balance, which can lead to cascading difficulties. The ten quick tips for managing stress are intended to make you realize to bring yourself intentionally back to an emotional and physical state where you can constructively confront your problems.

10 tips for managing stress

  1. De-clutter your life. Become aware of how your thoughts and emotions drive your actions. Enhance your awareness on your energy sources and energy killers; identify emotional baggage and areas of procrastination.
  2. Take a walk. Step outside for 10 minutes or just go to the bathroom or the coffee lounge. It enhances circulation.
  3. Talk to a friend. A problem shared is a problem halved. It’s hug time!
  4. Put a big grin on your face. Your brain processes the nerve impulses so that you almost instantaneously feel better.
  5. Use the magic word – and just say NO. Be clear about your boundaries, and stop trying to please everyone.
  6. Limit your pity party to 10 seconds. Don’t wallow in self-pity; it increases your feeling of stress and helplessness. Get out of your victimhood by focusing on what you can do and influence. And crack on.
  7. Visualize calm and breathe deeply. Close your eyes and imagine your safe place or having a hot shower. Take in the sights, sounds and smells; and breathe easily from your diaphragm.
  8. Lead, follow, and get out of your own way. Radically accept and embrace your circumstance. Then take action and go for a small win.
  9. Reduce distractions. Reading emails all the time, or always being available for informal chats costs a lot of attention and energy. Instead, focus on your priorities. Working from home once a week could help.
  10. Get back to physical basics. Ensure a healthy amount of sleep. Switch to decaffeinated coffee or have an herbal tea that helps ease some of the tension. Make sure you drink sufficient mineral water. Limit the amount of sugar in your diet. Remember: Leaders are not created from coffee and donuts.

Having a strong resilience muscle means being able to feel inspired and to inspire greatness in others. It is hard, yet important and worthwhile to train. Coaching supports your journey to resilience, encourages self-reflection, gives your mind greater clarity and empowers you to stick with healthy habits.

This article originally appeared on inspiredexecutives.com

Photo: thinkstock.com

Annette B. Czernik

Annette B. Czernik, PCC, is a senior consultant and executive coach at RELEVANT management consultants, an authorised Hogan Distributor. She is a certified member of the International Coach Federation and an enthusiastic practitioner of the Hogan Assessment Suite. Her in-house corporate career includes being vice president of HR development in private wealth management at Deutsche Bank from 2008 to 2010.