Coping Skills: Build Work/Life Resilience With These 9 Tips

Hint: It Starts with the "C" Word

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Someone anonymously wrote, “I’ve never met a strong person with an easy past.” Your strength — especially the decision to live resiliently — acts as an inner engine that determines how far you go in the midst of unexpected hurdles.

The more I observe human nature, the more convinced I am that most people are unprepared to outsmart the emotional, psychological or physical effects of work and life stressors.

Considering the impact that the associated stress has on your thoughts, actions, mental and physical health, you can learn to respond in healthy and beneficial ways as you start training and partnering with your inner strength.

In their research, Cropley and Purvis discovered that it is not necessarily the amount of stress people experience at work, but how quickly they recover from the effects that is important to their health and wellbeing.

When you cannot change the situation, then work on changing yourself. By cultivating and practicing the following nine exercises, you will enthusiastically discover the power of your inner strength and learn to adjust how you approach any challenge.

1. Change the way you think about adversity.
Refuse to see it as an “end to all.” Previous generations said, “Look on the bright side,” and “don’t borrow trouble.” The profound truth at the center of these statements is simply to develop hardiness skills (a colloquial for emotional resilience), which involves commitment to stick with something even when things get tough; having a sense of control over the situation; seeing challenges as opportunities for growth.

2. Change your attitude to life.
Kick the “why me” approach to the curb. If you are stuck in an apathetic outlook on life, you will never blossom. Associate any counterproductive thinking or feelings with an inability to see the value you bring to the world. As the Chinese Proverb goes,

You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair.

3. Change your focus.
Silence the annoying anxiety that keeps you awake at 3 AM. Center your sights on your strengths. What ignites the spark in you? What makes you come alive? Instead of concentrating on what causes you to feel empty, look to the things that bring you fulfillment.

4. Change your vocabulary.
Take inventory of your thoughts and words. Intentionally listen to how you respond to adverse situations. Do you typically whine and murmur about what you have to do? Are you spreading your critical viewpoint to someone else? Silence the opposing biases by choosing the language of opportunity rather than opposition. Your mind will then start directing you to make the best things to happen.

5. Change failure to experience.
Instead of trying to make sense of the letdown and figuring out what or who caused it, turn inward for a solution. Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this flop?” Simply search for the solution instead of sulking and focusing on the problem.

6. Change your self-view. Self-doubt is essentially the fear of being wrong. If you can see yourself as the valuable, unique, extraordinary high-potential woman, you will start implementing new habits for contributing to your overall well-being. Never be limited. Your inner strength is your power of change, so you must refuse to settle for average.

7. Change your self-defeating behaviors.
We generally defeat ourselves in our minds and then the behavior follows. You may not do everything right, but there are many things you can do correctly. Practice trusting yourself instead of doubting yourself. Pray for wisdom to push forward in taking more risk and seeking new experiences.

8. Change your emotional driver.
Teach your emotions that you are in charge. Take note of how you feel when an emotion wants to whirl out of control. Then say no to the action the emotion wants to follow.

9. Change what others have defined for you.
Ask yourself, “What do I want?” Discover what that is, start where you are, use what you have and do what you can. Never apologize for being you.

Review these from time to time to determine which are the areas you will need to continually improve on when you’re up against work or life setbacks.

In the words of writer Vickor Frankl:

We must never forget that we may also find meaning in life, even when confronted with a hopeless situation, when facing a fate that cannot be changed. For what then matters is to transform a personal tragedy into a triumph. To turn predicament into a human achievement. When we are no longer able to change a situation, that is when we are challenged to change ourselves.


Visit me at and for keynotes, training and facilitation.

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