Developing resilience: change your thinking

John Sherman

Today’s job market is not like that of yesteryear. There are fewer jobs for life, competition is fiercer than ever, and the pressure to hit targets is a frequent source of stress. In fact, work is the number one source of stress for most people. The need for a resilient mind – one that’s able to overcome challenges and face tough tasks with a can-do attitude is key.


But this is not just true for your working life, either. Of course, in our private and personal lives there will always be bumps in the road – some of which might be devastating to come to terms with – and so resilience can improve your mental health too.

There are ways to build resilience that can provide help over time. Yet one of the best ways is with the helping hand of an online course, guiding you with professional experience towards a goal that is vital yet difficult to attain.

Reasons to develop your resilience at work are:

  • Being able to bounce back – There is nothing in work, nor life generally, that is worth having if it’s easy to obtain. We all know this, yet many of us are frequently terrorized by the possibility of difficulty and failure. But failure is necessary to learn from, if you are resilient enough to understand this. Resilience allows you to move forward, not give up all together.
  • To be committed – A lack of resilience will cause people to give up when they’re finding something difficult. Commitment is all about dealing with adversity, acknowledging that work can sometimes be difficult, and continuing undeterred.
  • Being able to learn from mistakes – When a task has gotten the better of you, it’s only in trying again that you can put what you learned from failing, into practice the next time. This is a highly sought after skill, and one that is a real asset to have.

Cognitive distortion – This section explains how our brains like to spot and form patterns, but that, unfortunately for us, they don’t always see the right things.

For example, we assume that the angry reaction that our manager had this morning is because we did our job poorly, but perhaps they were just having a bad day; we don’t have all the facts we need to make a proper judgement. Cognitive distortion is the phenomena whereby our minds cause us to believe in something that is not actually true. For many, this is where doubt creeps in.

Cognitive restructuring – This next section begins the process of developing resilience by firstly restructuring our response to a negative situation, and then using it to our advantage. This middle section uses the book Mind Over Mood by Dennis Greenberg and Christine Padesky as a general guide. This is broken into chunks:

  1. Identify the situation – When a situation arises that has a negative effect, take a second to describe the situation to yourself.
  2. Identify automatic thoughts – Be conscious of the automatic assumptions you have made, which are frequently negative. For example, “I’m not good enough”.
  3. Find supportive evidence – What concrete evidence do you have to support those automatic assumptions? If you can’t find anything, your assumptions might not be correct.
  4. Find contradictory evidence – Is there any evidence to contradict those automatic thoughts? For example, “I hit my targets every week.”
  5. Take a balanced view – Speak to a colleague to hear another opinion.

It’s important to develop a level of resilience due to the strained nature of working environments. Currently, deadlines are tight and budgets stretched, so nerves understandably fray. To ensure you’re not overwhelmed by situations that may be confrontational, resilience is key.

A lack of resilience will undermine your performance. It will cause you to second-guess yourself and assume that you’ll fail. Furthermore, those above you are unlikely to look kindly on a refusal to commit.

A resilient person is more able to cope in both personal and private life. You can be more resilient too – it’s all in the mind.

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