BUILDING RESILIENCY: COPING STRATEGIES FOR WORK/LIFE Lanai Greenhalgh, LCSW Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Manager WHY TALK ABOUT RESILIENCY? 1. Work Satisfaction 2. Professional Success 3. Improved Health and Wellbeing 4. Reduced Use of Substances 5. Improved Relationship to Self and Others 6. Life Fulfillment and Longevity Resiliency cannot be taught, but it can be learned! It’s a practice! WHAT IS RESILIENCY? Dictionary definition: noun 1. the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity. 2. ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy. Working definitions: The ability to recover quickly from disruptive change or misfortune without being overwhelmed or acting in dysfunctional or harmful ways. Facing stress at a time and in a way that allows self-confidence and social competence to increase through mastery and appropriate responsibility. Resilience in an individual refers to successful adaptation despite risk and adversity. Resilience is the ability to thrive, mature and increase competence in the face of adverse circumstances. These circumstances may include biological abnormalities or environmental obstacles. RESILIENCY QUIZ Answer the questions generally across all areas of your life—work, play, home, family. Pick three of the lowest scoring items on the quiz to practice. Pick three of the highest scoring items on the quiz to focus on as areas of strength RESILIENCY SCORING GUIDE 80 or higher = Very Resilient! 65-80 = Better than Most 50-65 = Adequate 40-50 = Struggle to Bounce Back 40 or Under = Need Practice! WHY TALK ABOUT RESILIENCY? 1. WORK SATISFACTION Employees are feeling pressured to get more work done, of higher quality, in new ways, with fewer people, in less time, with less budget in a constantly changing workplace. Resilient employees and managers know how to function in non-stop changing and learning environments and accept change as learning opportunities. Learning = change and change = learning WHY TALK ABOUT RESILIENCY? 2. PROFESSIONAL SUCCESS Resilient employees create more opportunities for advancement, have more job options, capitalize on change for their own advancement or increased job satisfaction. This is due to: A. Internal vs. external “locus of control.” B. Problem-focused coping vs. emotion-focused coping. C. Self-motivated, self-managed learning. A. INTERNAL VS. EXTERNAL LOCUS OF CONTROL External: Believes situations are out of their control. Do not see how their thoughts, feelings and actions impact the situation. Have the “good-child/good employee” complex. Feel helpless to change the situation. Want authority to tell them what to do. Internal: Believes they have influence over the process or outcome of a situation. Sometimes seen as a problem employee. Are able to see how their thoughts, feelings and actions affect the situation. Believe they have personal attributes and skills to handle the situation or are willing to learn. B. PROBLEM-FOCUSED COPING VS. EMOTION FOCUSED COPING Problem-focused coping is a left-brained activity that focuses on the tangible details of a situation, uses logic and reason to describe the situation and seeks to understand a situation from a question and answer perspective. Emotion-focused coping is a right-brained activity that focuses on the feelings of a situation and can include fear, sadness, suspicion and hopelessness as well as happiness and relief. CORRELATIONS TO RESILIENCY Problem-Focused Coping Social Support Coworker Cohesion Supervisor Support +.48 +.39 +.32 +.24 Symptoms of Illness Emotion-Focused Coping Perceived Job Stress -.40 -.50 -.56 C. SELF-MANAGED LEARNING First learning mode is parent to child, teacher to student or authority to beginner. Second is imitation of role models. Third is self-motivated, self-managed learning, which develops expert-level skills and professionalism. WHY TALK ABOUT RESILIENCY? 3. IMPROVED HEALTH AND WELLBEING More likely to develop stress-related illness Experience more stressors in routine activities Feel vulnerable, helpless and without choices Have limited internal and external resources on which to draw Feel socially isolated, not accepted Have little capacity for self change Accumulate negative experiences Less likely to develop stress-related illness Experience fewer stressors in routine activities Feel capable of taking effective action Draw action choices from a wide range of internal and external resources Experience family and friends as caring and supportive Manage self change well Convert negative experiences into learning MAKING STRESS LESS DISTRESSING A stimulus is not the same as a person’s reaction to it. Don’t blame the stimulus. There is no stress in any situation until a person has “stress reaction” to it. Take responsibility for your response. A stressful situation can be beneficial. Good events in a person’s life can be stressors. People who become convinced their jobs have high levels of stress become less resilient. Today’s emphasis on workplace stress encourages people to feel helpless. HANDLING STRESS: FEEL BETTER NOW! Breathing Exercises Meditation Reframing With a Sense of Humor Music Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) Yoga Exercise Guided Imagery / Visualizations Journaling Cognitive Restructuring: Finding Perspective WHY TALK ABOUT RESILIENCY? 4. REDUCED USE OF SUBSTANCES Each year Americans obtain 57 million prescriptions for Valium and 15 million prescriptions for Librium (tranquilizers). In the 17-21 year old age group, 92% consume alcohol and 41% use marijuana each year. A high percentage of people go on to develop significant problems with drugs and/or alcohol. In 2007, an estimated 19.9 million Americans were current illicit drug users. The rate of current illicit drug use among Americans has remained stable since 2002, hovering around 8 percent.1 Nearly 58 million people, or more than one-fifth (23.3 percent) of the population age 12 and over, participated in binge drinking (having five or more drinks on the same occasion at least once in the past 30 days). About 17 million people or 6.9 percent of the population age 12 and over, reported heavy drinking (defined as binge drinking on at least 5 of the past 30 days). Of the 17.2 million illicit drug users aged 18 or older in 2005, 12.9 million (74.8 percent) were employed either full or part time. Research indicates that between 10 and 20 percent of the nation's workers who die on the job test positive for alcohol or other drugs. Life’s best survivors gain strength from stressful experiences instead of turning to chemicals for relief. Substance abuse interferes with resiliency. WHY TALK ABOUT RESILIENCY? 5. IMPROVED RELATIONSHIP TO SELF AND OTHERS Qualities that make people more resilient also promote solid self-esteem, which helps promote healthier relationships with others. Healthy relationships with others and solid selfesteem make people more resilient. Resiliency includes both interpersonal and intrapersonal qualities that interact with each other. WHY TALK ABOUT RESILIENCY? 6. LIFE FULFILLMENT AND LONGEVITY How long a person lives is determined by four factors: 1. Genetic Endowment 2. Lifestyle 3. Environmental Factors/Natural Events 4. Psychological Resiliency QUALITIES OF HIGHLY RESILIENT PEOPLE More than 30 years of research into the inner nature of highly resilient survivors has created a clear understanding of human resiliency and how it develops. Highly resilient people show many similar qualities QUALITIES OF HIGHLY RESILIENT PEOPLE “PLAYFULNESS” Playful, childlike curiosity. Ask lots of questions, want to know how things work. Play with new developments. Enjoy themselves as children do. Have a good time almost anywhere. Wonder about things, experiment, make mistakes, get hurt, laugh. Ask: “What is different now? What if I did this? Who can answer my questions? What is funny about this?” QUALITIES OF HIGHLY RESILIENT PEOPLE “LEARNERS” Constantly learn from experience. Rapidly assimilate new or unexpected experiences and facilitate being changed by them. Ask: “What is the lesson here? What early clues did I ignore? The next time that happens I will. .” QUALITIES OF HIGHLY RESILIENT PEOPLE “ADAPTATION” Adapt quickly. Very mentally and emotionally flexible. Comfortable with contradictory personality qualities. Can be both strong and gentle, sensitive and tough, logical and intuitive, calm and emotional, serious and playful, etc. The more the better. Can think in negative ways to reach positive outcomes. Asks: “What could go wrong, so it can be avoided?” QUALITIES OF HIGHLY RESILIENT PEOPLE “SELF-ESTEEM” Have solid self-esteem. Self-esteem is how you feel about yourself. It determines how much you learn after something goes wrong. It allows you to receive praise and compliments. It acts as a buffer against hurtful statements while being receptive to constructive criticism. It says, “I like, appreciate and love myself.” QUALITIES OF HIGHLY RESILIENT PEOPLE “SELF-CONFIDENCE” Have solid self-confidence. Self confidence is your reputation with yourself. It allows you to take risks without waiting for approval or reassurance from others. You expect to handle new situations well because of your past successes. It says, “These are my reliable strengths. . .” QUALITIES OF HIGHLY RESILIENT PEOPLE “QUALITY RELATIONSHIPS” Have good friendships, loving relationships. Research shows people in toxic working conditions are more stress resistant and are less likely to get sick when they have a loving family and good friendships. Loners are more vulnerable to distressing conditions. Talking with friends and family diminishes the impact of difficulties and increases feelings of self-worth and self-confidence. QUALITIES OF HIGHLY RESILIENT PEOPLE “EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE” Express feelings honestly. Experience and can express anger, love, dislike, appreciation, grief—the entire range of human emotions honestly and openly. Can also choose to suppress their feelings when they believe it would be best to do so. Obtains help from outside resources when needed. QUALITIES OF HIGHLY RESILIENT PEOPLE “OPTIMISM” Expect things to work out well. Deep optimism guided by internal values and standards. High tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty. Can work without a job description, is a good role model of professionalism. Has a synergistic effect, brings stability to crisis and chaos. Ask: “How can I interact with this so things turn out well for all of us?” QUALITIES OF HIGHLY RESILIENT PEOPLE “EMPATHIC” Read others with empathy. See things through the perspectives of others, even antagonists. Win/win/win attitude in conflicts. Ask: “What do others think and feel? What is it like to be them? How do they experience me? What is legitimate about what they feel, say and do?” QUALITIES OF HIGHLY RESILIENT PEOPLE “INTUITIVE” Use intuition, creative hunches. Accept subliminal perception and intuition as valid, useful sources of information. Ask: “What is my body telling me? Did that daydream mean anything? Why don’t I believe what I’m being told? What if I did this. . .?” QUALITIES OF HIGHLY RESILIENT PEOPLE “SELF-PRESERVATION” Defend self well. Avoid and block attacks, fight back. See through and side-step cons, “games” and manipulations that others attempt. Find allies, resources and support. QUALITIES OF HIGHLY RESILIENT PEOPLE “RESOURCEFUL” Have a talent for serendipity (an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident). Learning lessons in the school of life is the antidote to feeling helpless or victimized. They can convert a situation that is emotionally toxic for others into something emotionally nutritious for them. They thrive in situations distressing to others because they learn good lessons from bad experiences. They convert misfortune into good luck and gain strength from adversity. QUALITIES OF HIGHLY RESILIENT PEOPLE “RESOURCEFUL” (CONTINUED) A good indicator of exceptional mental health is when a person talking about a rough experience says, “I would never willingly go through anything like that again, but it was one of the best things that ever happened to me.” Ask: “How can I turn this around? Why is it good that this is happening? What is the gift?” QUALITIES OF HIGHLY RESILIENT PEOPLE “GROWER” Get better and better every decade. Become increasingly life competent, resilient, durable, playful and free. Spend less time surviving than others and survive major adversities better. Enjoy life more and more. REMEMBER. . . Your mind and habits will create either barriers or bridges to a better future. Resiliency can't be taught, but it can be learned. It comes from working to develop your unique combination of innate abilities and using your external resources for support. The struggle to bounce back and recover from setbacks can lead to developing strengths and abilities that you didn't know were possible.