As we enter 2021 the COVID-19 crisis continues to escalate and many countries have entered prolonged periods of restrictions due to the lockdown. In the UK we have  now entered  our third lockdown which has required many to  work remotely, homeschool,  manage teams remotely, increased use of technology  and artificial intelligence. It’s apparent that these experiences and changes require adaptability, grit and resilience for all. A mindset shift is required which includes a perspective shift from  living through to living with which is a platform for adaptability and success. 

Resilience can be described as your ability to bounce back emotionally, adapt , recover and grow during or after difficult and stressful times ( Rutter 2008). Resilience is also the process of continual development of personal competence, while navigating & negotiating with available resources, in the face of adversity. Doing well against the odds, recovering quickly and rolling with the punches

A resilient mindset requires optimism as highlighted by  leading Psychologist Martin Seligman who suggests that optimism during adversity is critical whilst purporting that permanence is important as resilient individuals view the effects of bad events as temporary rather than permanent. Moreover pervasiveness is important in resilient Individuals as they don’t allow setbacks to affect other unrelated aspects of their lives. For example they would say ‘ I’m not very good at marketing and sales’ rather than ‘I’m not a successful entrepreneur’. Finally personalization is important as resilient Individuals don’t blame themselves when bad situations arise. A resilient Individual would acknowledge the role of external factors such as other people or resources.

A growth Mindset is a key ingredient to a resilient Mindset as a Leader with this mindset  believes that they can learn from setbacks or perceived failures. What have you learned during this pandemic about yourself , your teams and values.  A resilient mindset is not fear based as this mindset is able to regulate the fight-flight response through preventinting the amygdala from being over activated whilst ensuring chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol are not in excess otherwise this would hijack the possibilities of maintaining a resilient mindset which is critical to performance, productivity and profits. Finally a resilient mindset is continually seeking out opportunities for growth and perceives challenges and part of life rather than obstacles.

Success is not final , failure is not fatal but the ability to continue is what counts ; Winston Churchill

Our mindset is critical to manage in these challenging times as  it influences our  Leadership style and teams as they will be modelling your actions. The harnessing of  a resilient mindset  in these uncertain times is fundamental  and I will now share with you five scientifically  proven  secrets to building a resilient mindset in times of uncertainty:

Locate yourself with Journaling -Locating yourself emotionally in the storm is critical as we are all in the storm but in different boats.Journalling is an effective method of locating yourself emotionally through self monitoring of your mindset, actions and emotions. Journaling will allow you to know thyself and to uncover what self limiting beliefs may be hampering your success and growth. Journaling  is an integral part of my work with clients as if you lack self awareness you are unable to make changes and this stunts your emotional intelligence. Journalling is effective in reducing stress whilst creating a space for self -reflection, creativity,allowing you to keep your thoughts organized whilst boosting your memory. 

Be Mindful and Present – Mindfulness is paying more attention to the present moment  including your thoughts, feelings, and  the world around you . Mindfulness allows you to take a non-judgemental stance and to tune into your experiences whilst tuning out of the distractions of life.  Research highlights the pivotal role  that mindfulness has in building a resilient mindset ( Sayers et al 2015) as it contributes to reducing stress and  anxiety whilst  improving decision making and concentration which is critical to productivity and performance.

You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf them – Jon Kabbatt-Zinn

Tolerate uncertainty – The ability to tolerate uncertainty is associated with enhanced resilience and reduced anxiety which we all require in these uncertain times.Learning to accept that uncertainty is part of life will allow you to embrace times of uncertainty whilst protecting you from experiencing heightened levels of stress and anxiety. We can all learn to tolerate uncertainty and the identification of advantages and drawbacks of requiring certainty can facilitate this process. It can be useful to consider how you have coped with uncertainty in the past whilst considering positive outcomes. Research suggests that uncertainty boosts creativity and enhanced decision making so why not leverage these challenging and uncertain times.

Gratitude – An attitude of gratitude is the quality of being thankful,  the readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Dopamine is released when expressing gratitude and this mood booster results in us desiring more therefore triggering positive emotions and  optimism which are foundations for bouncing back and growing during adversity.  Gratitude during times of uncertainty helps to rid yourself of toxic emotions whilst allowing you to focus your attention on the positive aspects of your experiences and this enhances happiness and optimism whilst fueling a resilient mindset.  

Reframe negative beliefs and develop resilient beliefs –Cognitive Restructuring of beliefs is critical to a mindset change as it allows you to consider alternative perspectives whilst reframing your interpretations. Cognitive Restructuring of beliefs is a skill acquired during cognitive therapy and training and will facilitate a resilient mindset as it helps with countering self-sabotaging negative beliefs which we are all prone to in times of uncertainty. It’s time to shift to a higher perspective and begin building your resilience muscles.

 The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one  thought over another :  William James 

We can all develop a resilient mindset however we have to be intentional about this whilst continually engaging with upgrading and maintaining this mindset which facilitates success, professional growth and development.

Remember to check in with yourself daily especially during these times of adversity and uncertainty. It is useful to quantify your thoughts and emotions as this helps with monitoring and understanding mindset changes.

Martina Witter

Resilience Consultant I Accredited Cognitive Behaviour Therapist I Health and Wellbeing Consultant I Corporate Wellbeing Trainer

Martina delivers transformational and dynamic training which lead to peak performance, enhanced profits and performance. Rapha Therapy and Training Services delivers CPD Accredited courses including Signature Course Rivers to Resilience Training.

Martina  Witter is a published author of Resilience in the Workplace:From Surviving to thriving in the workplace, in business and as an entrepreneur  and Podcast Host of Rivers to Resilience

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