Employee Wellbeing | Article

4 Ways to Cultivate Resilience

As burnout runs rampant through the workplace, we need resilience. The good news is it can be taught and improved.

Resilience (n.) – the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

Work can be difficult. Life in general can be difficult. That’s why resilience is so important. For some, it may come naturally or stem from previous experience. For others, it may need to be learned and practiced. Begin improving your resilience with these four tips:

1. Start with core needs

People perform better when their psychological needs are met. Plain and simple. The work environment should provide the following:

  • Support and autonomy
  • The ability to grow
  • Feelings of connection to a team and mission
  • A sense of purpose or meaning

A recent study of office workers found that the strongest predictor of how well they dealt with demanding work was whether they felt valued by their managers. Showing appreciation and recognizing daily can go a long way!

2. Redefine toughness

Traditional views of toughness have revolved around the ideas of having thick skin, no fear, and hiding emotions. It’s time to scratch that for a new definition of toughness. Being tough is about figuring out how to thrive in adversity. It means being vulnerable and honest about our emotions while still maintaining emotional control. Toughness isn’t necessarily seen on the outside – It is something that comes from deep within.

3. Look inward

Feelings and emotions tell us what’s really going on. So instead of shoving them away, we should learn how to decipher them. Being able to name our emotions helps us understand them. Once we understand them, we can deal with them. Learn how to read your own inner signals to increases resilience against the negative emotions.

4. Respond rather than react

Researchers compared how expert meditators and novices handled a hot probe applied to their wrists. The groups rated the pain the same, but fMRI technology revealed a difference. The experts’ threat-detecting area of the brain (amygdala) remained silent while the novices’ lit up. The experts were able to fully embrace the pain and then let go of what it meant.

Be like an expert meditator. Create space to respond instead of reacting immediately. It’ll help you keep your cool amidst chaos. Sitting with discomfort will be…well…uncomfortable. But it will help you refine the skill of accepting discomfort and responding appropriately.


Ultimately, you need to be a resilient leader if you want to cultivate resilience among your people. First, make sure your psychological needs are being met. Reimagine what toughness means, look inward for emotional signals, and respond to discomfort. Then you can help your employees implement the same practices to cultivate resilience!