Tough love | Why resilience is the key to workplace happiness

Resilience isn't just about being a better worker, it's an essential part of being content in your job. Here's why.

"the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness."

Resilience is a concept that’s been adopted by the corporate world for decades. As the dictionary definition states, it’s about the ability to recover quickly from difficulties, or to have ‘toughness’. It may seem obvious why this is a positive quality to have, but resilience has hidden benefits for an individual, as well as the business they work for.


As businesses move to more agile mechanisms, the ability to adapt is increasingly important. Change is one of the biggest triggers for stress, especially when experienced on a regular basis. But being more resilient can help you to cope with regular change and reduce the likelihood of suffering stress, which can be detrimental to your health, your performance and your company’s bottom line.

A key part of being able to move forward is how we perceive change. Being able to view change as a challenge and focusing on the positives rather than dwelling on the negatives will allow you to use the experience and improve your performance going forward.

The same can be said for how we perceive our failures. If we can instead see them as lessons learnt, we can change alter our mindset to be more constructive and feel more positive about the outcome. 


Another pillar of resilience is dedication. When you are more dedicated and focused on your goals, you can achieve a lot more. These goals can exist in any aspect of your life, from your work, to your beliefs, or your relationships. Dedication means being able to prioritise with these goals taking precedence.

Dedication also helps you to know where best to use your efforts. Resilient people put their energy into where it will have the most impact, not spending effort where it is likely to have no effect. This kind of focus in the workplace helps to reduce disappointment, allows you to be more efficient and, ultimately, more satisfied in your job.

Resilience can be learnt

Resilience isn't something that you have or don't have. Studies have found that resilience can be learnt and also unlearnt. So if your happiness at work is suffering, it may be an idea to think about your level of resilience. How do you respond to change? How do you prioritise? Do you dwell on your failures? Practicing mindfulness can help you get back into a positive space, and build your resilience.

Environmental factors also play their part. Improving your sleep, nutrition and fitness can all support resilience by maintaining energy levels and keeping you healthy and your mind clear to focus on the job in hand. 

Last updated Monday 8 August 2016

First published on Tuesday 14 June 2016