In today’s fast-paced business world, it’s inevitable that we all fail at some time, whether it’s on a small or spectacular scale.
But how you handle adversity defines your future success.
The key to building up your resilience may just lie with mindfulness – the ability to take in what is happening to you in a particular moment without passing judgment, and getting stuck in a ‘fear loop’, with the capacity to recover quickly and progress.
The link between resilience and mindfulness
Resilience and mindfulness appear to be linked. A recent study published in the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences delved into the link.
It found that those who actively practised mindfulness coped with stressful moments without emotionally shutting down or becoming overwhelmed, all by merely stilling their mind and observing the situation.
How to use mindfulness to develop your resilience
Practising mindfulness doesn’t come quickly or easily.
It takes time and persistence. But there are many merits in committing to the practise, especially when you consider how it can help you cope with whatever work and personal life throws at you.
Here is a quick example of a mindfulness practise:
Imagine one of your employees has just handed in their resignation, two weeks before a major project deadline. Your first response might be any of the following:
- “I’m now going to miss the project deadline.”
- “I’ll never find a replacement in time.”
- “I’m so stupid I didn’t see this coming.”
But instead of instantly reacting in this way, being mindful calls for you to respond differently.
Instead, ask yourself:
- What are the basic facts of the situation?
- How am I actually feeling about this?
Then reframe your thoughts, without judging them or giving into the fear.
You might say:
“The fact is, he is leaving. I can’t change that. My heart is racing and my hands are clammy, but I understand that’s my body’s response to my feelings of anxiety. I welcome it as it’s energising me to respond. I’m going to breathe deeply and still my mind and focus on only the first thing I need to do in response to this news.”
This example illustrates the key actions involved in being mindful. Here are even more ways you can practise being mindful at work.
1. Take mindful moments
It’s natural for your brain to constantly run through all you need to do, especially when you’re trying to focus on finishing an important task.
So what should you do if you hear your phone beep, your email pings, or you’re interrupted by a thousand different (and usually unimportant) thoughts?
Take a mindful breath.
This pause reminds you to become aware. Use your breath instead as a chance to refresh and regroup, rather than automatically react to other demands on your attention.
2. Practise acceptance
Accept what you can’t change.
When faced with an adverse situation, try not to immediately spring to thoughts of how to fight it.
Instead, work on attempting to accept the facts of the situation. Once you’ve done this, working towards a solution comes easier.
Practising extreme ownership can help with this. Extreme ownership is the practice of owning everything, even when it may seem outside of your direct control. This inspires creativity and empowers you to work towards a shared goal without blame blocking a solution.
3. Reframe with optimism
The reframing optimism technique can be used to help create a more positive way of looking at a situation, person, or relationship.
The next time you’re hit with bad news at work, push your mind to find the positive.
You’ve lost a great employee? Okay, that’s frustrating, but what about the opportunities new blood may offer? Missed an important deadline? Yes, there will be repercussions, but what can I learn from the experience to avoid it happening again?
Considering the worst-case scenario can help us come to terms that the difficult situation or that unexpected challenge is more manageable than our initial thoughts.
4. Be Patient
Understanding that there is no immediate solution to mindfulness is important to note.
Mindfulness takes time and sustained effort.
If you are a rather impatient person, meditation is the perfect training for you. Patience is a state which you can develop over time. This may mean you befriend the situation, look for the silver lining, or as simple as acknowledging the effects of impatience.
Practise makes perfect
These are just a few mindfulness techniques you can use to boost your resilience at work and in your personal life.
Implementing them has the power to transform the way you view your job and perform it, as well as positively boosting your happiness and wellbeing.
Maybe you could tell us about a time where you have used mindfulness to overcome a stressful situation at work.