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Positivity Boosts Resilience

by Beth on April 3rd, 2010

According to Barbara Fredrickson’s Broaden-and-Build Theory, positive emotions serve to broaden our mind’s focus and to help us build valuable resources over time.  I have already discussed how positivity opens our mind and provides us with physical and social resources.  So today I’m going to talk about the psychological resources that positivity helps us to build.

For starters, positive people have better mental health, experiencing less anxiety and lower levels of depression.  Another psychological resource that positivity brings is resilience.  Resilience refers to one’s ability to bounce back from difficult situations and to adapt to the changing demands of stressful events.

Positive people are more resilient because they have more effective coping skills.  They are proactive and problem focused when facing difficulties.  They are more likely to use humor when dealing with stressful events and to find positive meaning in their negative circumstances.  People who experience more frequent positive emotions face hardships with hope rather than despair, reacting to what is happening at the moment rather than spending energy worrying about the future.  Positive emotions can put the brakes on the potential downward spiral created by negative thinking.

So resilience is yet another reason why positivity enhances employee effectiveness.  Leaders who create positive environments will have a resilient workforce that effectively handles challenges.  Studies have shown that when resilient individuals face hardships they bounce back to even higher levels of performance than before.

We are still facing tough economic times.  Having a resilient workforce is crucial in order to make it through the challenges and uncertainty that we are experiencing.  Creating and maintaining a positive work environment is as important today as it has ever been!

Do you have any examples of how people you work with have shown resilience over the past year?  We’d love to hear your stories!

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