Stress is a natural reaction to life’s demands. In short bursts, it can be motivating and helpful; however, intense and long-term pressure can be damaging to our wellbeing and can have a detrimental impact on our workplace mindset.
Within 12 months, one in five Australian employees take time off work due to feeling mentally unwell. Taking care of our mindset in the workplace is now more important than ever. This signifies the opportunity to foster a growth mindset to build resilience and manage stress.
As mentioned in our previous blog, our mindset is how we think about our strengths, weaknesses, abilities and skills. Within this, a growth mindset provides the understanding that talent can be developed. This is based on Psychologist, Carole Dweck’s research which found if you believe you can gain intelligence and abilities, you are more likely to succeed in life. Contrastingly, a fixed mindset believes attitudes are unchanging. Those with fixed mindsets will find themselves saying, “I stick to what I know”, “when I am frustrated, I give up” or “I can either do it or I can’t”. This is where resilience can help.
“Life is 10% what happens and 90% how you respond to it…. the better you know yourself the better you can control your response” – Charles R. Swindoll
Resilience is the ability to bounce back or adapt when facing change or difficult situations, a tool which enables us to understand we are not defined by the challenges. However, in reality, we are only human, and from time to time, we may find ourselves in a fixed mindset due to frustration or exhaustion. By using tactics to build our resilience, this can help mitigate our fixed mindset taking over in situations where our growth mindset may struggle.
1. ENGAGING IN EMOTION-FOCUSED PROBLEM SOLVING
Giving in to your fixed mindset emotions can be like quicksand. The greater the struggle, the deeper the intensity of the emotion. Managing strong emotions is about managing them, sooner rather than later. Emotion management strategies include:
- Take time out to put the situation into perspective
- Recognise what thoughts are fixed and reframe them into growth mindset thoughts
2. UTILISE SUPPORT NETWORKS
A strong support network can provide emotional, social, informational and practical support. Networks can act as a general source of nurturing and enjoyment to fill up your resilience reservoir while acting as a buffer against stress when pressure is applied.
- Review your current support networks and identify relationships that need more attention
- Ensure you are giving back by asking how you can support others in their growth mindset
3. GET CREATIVE WITH YOUR PROBLEM SOLVING
Problems do not have to be by the book, tailor them to you. Take time to think more broadly and focus on the problem, rather than the emotional reaction to the problem
- Identify the root problem and begin to brainstorm and evaluate solutions
- Remember to review the plan as more information is received, and outcomes occur.
4. SLEEP SOUNDLY
The Sleep Health Foundation found that within three months, 29 per cent of adults reported making errors at work due to sleepiness or troubles with sleep.
Getting a good night’s sleep is vital to our health and mental wellbeing with benefits ranging from improved immune and brain function to increased positive mood. However, the answer is not necessarily getting more sleep, but rather getting better quality sleep aka deep sleep or ‘dream sleep’.
- Cut back on afternoon coffee
- Place your phone out of reach at night
- Practice meditation and mindfulness
5. MAINTAINING BALANCE
Not only does a balanced lifestyle keep you engaged and satisfied, but it is also key to helping you stay resilient when stress strikes. Take time to consider where you allocate most of your time and where you wish you spend more time.
- To gain a better life balance, it can be helpful to consider how much energy and focus you spend on each area of your life and how that affects your mindset.
6. RELAX AND DE-STRESS
Under extreme stress, chemicals flood through our bodies, most notably adrenaline, preparing us for ‘fight or flight’. The adrenaline rush makes the heart beat harder and faster, raising blood pressure. Relaxation can help us activate our relaxation response, which is a state of deep rest that is the opposite of the stress response.
- Find what situations make you most relax and try to incorporate them into every day to support your positivity and growth mindset
7. BE CONSCIOUS OF YOUR FOOD
Healthy eating plays a crucial role in your ability to deal with stress. A balanced diet will help you to keep alert, focused, energised and healthy and on track for your growth mindset.
- Avoid using food as a stress reducer. Instead, try a brisk walk, or a cup of herbal tea Cut back on caffeine. Try to drink decaffeinated coffees and teas
- Keep mealtimes pleasant. Take a little extra time to slow down and relax while you eat. You’re likely to eat less and enjoy it more
- Keep a food diary and make a note of how those foods made you feel
8. GET MOVING
Exercise in almost any form can help to relieve stress and increase your overall health and wellbeing. Not only does it keep the heart healthy and get oxygen into the system, but it helps deplete stress hormones and releases mood-enhancing chemicals which help us cope with stress better.
The truth is, resilient people are better able to cope with, recover more quickly and grow from challenges and demands. By adopting these tactics paired with your growth mindset, you have the tools to mitigate the common causes of stress and consequently, a fixed mindset. Being resilient is an outcome that occurs from the learning and development of a set of behaviours, actions and thinking skills that enable and equip a person to adapt and bounce back.
With a specialisation in High Performing Cultures, TMS can help your organisation successfully implement strategies to enable organisational effectiveness. Contact us here to see how you can foster an organisational growth mindset.
- Report to the Sleep Health Foundation. Sleep Health Survey of Australia Adults 2016 The University of Adelaide. Retrieved from https://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/pdfs/surveys/SleepHealthFoundation-Survey.pdf
- State of Workplace Mental Health in Australia 2014. Heads Up. Retrieved from https://www.headsup.org.au/docs/default-source/resources/bl1270-report—tns-the-state-of-mental-health-in-australian-workplaces-hr.pdf?sfvrsn=8