Control your controllables

Written on the 2 April 2014 by Zara Seager, consultant, Strengths Partnership Ltd

Control your controllables With all the challenges we’ve faced recently with the global recession and tough economic conditions, many of us are experiencing job uncertainty, financial stress and family crises. Employers are cost-cutting and demanding more for less. Therefore, more than ever it’s crucial that we build our resilience, so we can navigate through uncertainty and ambiguity, handle change and pressure and find personal coping strategies to help us manage our personal stress levels.

Building resilience can be a tough process and needs to be a conscious one. Fortunately, people can develop and build their personal resilience. So here are five tips for helping you to strengthen and build your resilience:

1. Take charge

Controlling what you can control. Stress occurs when the demands of the situation exceed our perceived ability to deal with them. The more we perceive we can control the less stressed we feel. If you identify what you can control and accept what you cannot control, your stress will reduce.

2. Mastering your mindset

Problem solve with a more positive perspective. Flip challenges and problems into problem questions. For example, “what are the pluses and opportunities from this situation?”

3. Optimise strengths and energies

Understanding and optimising our strengths provides us with a sense of who we are at our best, improves our confidence and gives us the space to think of new creative ways of working with challenges/issues.

In terms of building your energy make sure you take care of yourself! Get enough food, sleep, and exercise to keep you healthy. This is especially important during times of stress.

4. Building your support network

High levels of social support have been associated with improved psychological and physiological health. So find those people in your network who energise you – and spend more time with them. And for the people who drain your energy – work hard to spend less time with them – and to make time with them more focused and efficient.

5. Embrace Challenge – stretch yourself

Finding new ways to stretch yourself in your role and take on new challenges is a key to becoming more resilient. Helping you to become more used to positive stress, helping you to adapt, evolve and grow, and ultimately be more likely to take on challenges in the future, seeing them as just that – challenges not negative stressors.

In order to have success across these five areas we need to adopt habits to reinforce this, to play to areas that energise us, align with our values and to finally build skill in key areas of strength.

New challenges, changes and uncertainties lie ahead of us all, so it’s up to us to decide how we’ll deal with them. Let’s assume then that change is the new norm so focusing on building our resilience should be too.

Zara Seager, consultant, Strengths Partnership Ltd

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Author:Zara Seager, consultant, Strengths Partnership Ltd