Share With Your Team: Building Resilience

(from the AAA Employee Assistance Program powered by Ceridean LifeWorks)

All of us face unexpected changes, challenges, and set-backs at some point throughout our lives. How can you learn to keep up a positive attitude and stay strong through life’s unwanted changes and challenges? Here are a few resilience techniques to practice and to help you get through challenging times:

  • Choose to have a positive attitude. There are many things over which you have no control — for example, you can’t control whether the company gets sold and you lose your job. You can’t control whether your child is faced with a serious illness. But you can choose how you respond to the difficulties and setbacks you face.
  • Take care of yourself. The stronger and fitter you are physically, the more resources you will have to face the challenges that life brings you. Practice healthy habits. Make sure you get enough rest, eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise, get out and walk alone or with a friend, and manage feelings of stress. The more you do for yourself, the more resilient you’ll feel during times of challenge and change.
  • Use “traffic light coping.” This exercise, developed by Dr. Williams, works like this: When you start to feel worried, panicked, or angry — when you start to “see red” — stop and relax. Pause. Take some time to breathe deeply to help calm your body and mind. Soften your shoulders. Let your muscles soften slightly. When you feel calmer, you’re ready to move forward.
  • Trust your inner strength. Experts agree that we have strengths we never knew we had until we have to use them. You’ll be amazed at how many personal resources you have that you never even knew about. Remember that change can lead to personal growth.
  • Start with a single step. If you are faced with a challenge that feels big or overwhelming, start with the simplest thing you can do that takes you in the direction you want to be. Ask yourself, “What’s the smallest thing I can do to get started?” Once you’ve thought about it, do it.
  • Let go of your anger. A difficult challenge can cause us to feel angry and upset. These feelings are normal, but they won’t help us move forward. Work through your anger by writing about it, or talking about it with a trusted friend. Try to let go of negative feelings. It’s not easy to do. It takes practice and work. But try. You’ll be amazed at the results.
  • Focus on solutions, not problems. Instead of focusing on what you feel you may be losing, consider what you may gain because of the change. For example, if your job is changing, this may be the opportunity you were waiting for to reassess your work and find new direction.
  • Laugh. Even when things seem to be falling apart around you, try to find time to smile and laugh. It’s very healing and it will help you forget your worries for a few moments. Rent a movie that makes you laugh or spend time with a friend with a good sense of humor.
  • Focus on the things that are good in your life. Count your blessings. Try to appreciate the day-to-day good things in your life now. The more time you spend doing that, the more energy you will have to deal with the problems that you face. A sense of gratitude helps put things in perspective.

For more ideas on staying resilient during times of change, get in touch with LifeWorks—call to speak with a caring, professional consultant anytime, 24/7. You can also go to to explore our online resources including an award-winning booklet, Bouncing Back: Staying resilient through the challenges of life , a recording, Navigating Workplace Change featuring stories and ideas on how to thrive in turbulent times. You can also check out helpful articles like Ten Ways to Bounce Back and Finding Strength in Family and Community, or a podcast, Adjusting to Changes in Your Personal Life. LifeWorks is completely confidential and it’s provided to you at no cost through your organization’s AAA membership.

Call LifeWorks at 800-929-0068 or visit (username: theaaa; password: lifeworks). 

Employee Assistance Program, lifeworks