Are you resilient or not?
Resilience is our ability to bounce back when things don’t go as planned. It’s a quality that we all possess to some degree, but some of us can draw on it more easily than others can. Resilience is important because it keeps us on track until we reach our goals, it allows us to deal with difficult situations, and it helps us to grow by encouraging us to look at the positives and to manage stress.
Neuroscience helps us to understand that the level of resilience we have is depended on our experiences and the habits we have generated throughout our life; and that our brains change structure and function in response to the environment. This is called ‘neuroplasticity’. For example, the ‘knowledge’ required by London taxi drivers places huge demands on their memory which makes that part of their brain, the hippocampus, larger. Equally, high stress environments develop a larger fight/flight structure called the amygdala. Quite extradentary!
It is this fight/flight mode, in relation to stress, when people are imagining, that reduces our ability to be resilient. This helps us to understand that the major factor on our levels of resilience is ourselves.
But this can change. Through guided practice we can deliberately, purposefully create new neural pathways that build resilience. The growth of new positive pathways is called ‘neurogenesis’ and it opens enormous possibilities. Business leaders world-wide are understandably paying close attention.
The benefits to you, and to business are far-reaching. Competitive advantage springs from adaptability, and this could be the opportune moment to apply this principle. Learning specialised calming techniques that build resilience will enable you to react in the most appropriate way. Specific psychological techniques that both de-stress AND empower you to resilience will convert stress into energy. Essentially, you will be training yourself through calming techniques to regulate your emotions and constructively harness the stress response. This ability to enter deeply relaxing states and access empowering resilience is a skill we can all learn and ensures:
- Controlled Decision-Making – Calm and relaxed states de-activate the stress response.
- Cognitive Clarity and Focus – Oxygenated blood flows back into brain areas designed for problem-solving.
- Peak Performance – Building and accessing resourceful resilience states.
Heightened resilience will undoubtedly improve your reaction as well as improving employee morale and loyalty.
Guest Contributor: Annie Slowgrove