The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


July 7, 2006

Resilience can ease your stress

It's hard to find a job that doesn't have a certain amount of pressure. If you're working for an IT company, on-the-job pressure is practically a given. It doesn't matter whether you're creating, building or selling a product; chances are you're coping with pressure in various degrees.

What triggers it? Your boss wants to get more work done with fewer people and in less time; you're being hounded to cut your budget, and at the same time, take on more projects. Or you may be worn down by non-stop change.

How do you cope with all this aggravation? In one word, "Resilience." That's the opinion of psychologist Al Siebert, author of "The Resiliency Advantage: Master Change, Thrive under Pressure, and Bounce Back from Setbacks" (Berrett-Koehler).

Resilience is defined as being flexible; pliable; having the ability to rebound and return to a state of normalcy.

"Highly resilient people are best suited for a world of constant change," says Siebert.

Anyone can learn to be more resilient, according to Siebert. Here are three tips for building what Siebert calls the "resilience advantage."

1. Create a personal plan to optimize your emotional health. To sustain emotional well-being, Siebert suggests making two lists. One list consists of situations or events that sap or drain your energy. The second are things you can do to revitalize yourself. For example, pick one energy-draining situation and develop a plan to manage it successfully.

2. Problem solve. Instead of becoming overwhelmed and stuck in problem-solving quicksand, resilient people always manage to successfully cope with challenge. They've learned to consciously respond instead of unconsciously reacting. Siebert has identified three kinds of intelligence available to use for problem solving: logical, creative, and practical.

a. Logical problem solving involves observing, collecting facts, and analyzing information in a rational, objective way that can provide the basis for a new course of action that will get better results.

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