Building Resilience to Improve Well-Being

I was recently at an educational session where we discussed how to help change behavior by building resilience. The presenters defined resilience as “being realistically optimistic, flexible, motivated and determined” and they identified four key components, all of which are dimensions of wellness: 1) Physical, 2) Mental, 3) Emotional and 4) Social. We discussed how to build resilience in these four areas to help improve well-being. Jane McGonigal’s 2013 TED Talk promotes building resilience through these four areas and states that we can add 7.68245837 minutes to our lives each day if we did just one thing in each of these areas. Watch her TED Talk here and read on to find out more.

Building your physical resilience requires that you move your body! This helps your body to withstand more stress and heal faster. Physical resilience helps you to live longer and decrease your likelihood of heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers as well. So take those 5-10 minute walking and stretch breaks throughout the day or go out and enjoy a 30 minute walk during your lunch!

Research shows that lifelong learning positively affects wellbeing, recovery from mental health difficulties and coping with stress. Building your mental resilience can be fun. Do you like to play Sudoku or do crossword puzzles? Math problems, puzzles, and scrabble are also great ways to build your mental wellness. Being curious and daydreaming can also have a positive effect, and by working on your mental resilience you’ll gain more focus, more determination, more willpower, and more clarity.

Emotional resilience is built by provoking positive emotions. These positive emotions have been shown to improve your health and well-being and are linked to a longer life. Pay attention to any negative emotions you have during the day and each time you have one try to experience three positive ones. Here’s how. You can smile or find humor in something by thinking of something funny or watching a funny video. You can also think of three things in which you are grateful for, optimistic about, or things you are looking forward to.

Social resilience can decrease the negative effects of stress and can also increase the likelihood of survival by 50% according to the presenters. Fostering social relationships in your day to day life is simple. Make a point to talk to someone and get to know them. Try to learn one new thing about them. Reach out to an old friend via phone, email or text. Smiling and making eye contact are also very effective!

So how do we build resilience here in the work place? Here are a few ideas:

  • Put out a happiness or gratitude jar on your desk and having employees in your area fill it with things that make them happy or that they are grateful for. You could also do this on a whiteboard so it is more visible.
  • Perform a random act of kindness for someone and then encourage them to pass it on.
  • Lay out the pieces of a 1000 piece puzzle on a large table and have employees try to complete this together. Every time you walk by you can try to do a piece or two!
  • Form walking groups or recreational sports leagues with other colleagues at work or make sure to get up from your desk every hour.
  • Take a stretching break and play a Sudoku puzzle on your phone or write a quick note to a friend.

Share your ideas via the comments section or let us know about what you are already doing in your area to help build resilience!

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