Change is inevitable in life. In the workplace, change is very frequent: there may be the need for new skills (for example: the implementation of smart working, or learning new working methods), to face a group conflict or to join a new working team, corporate restructuring, job losses, redundancies, etc.
Any change in an organization has the potential to cause stress and could have a negative impact on the psychological health of some workers.
This happens because change implies ADAPTATION, CHANGE OF PERSPECTIVE, ACTION, GROWTH. It often requires letting go what gives us stability and certainty, what we know and our habits, to venture into something new. And all this can destabilize, generate doubts, uncertainties, fears and anxiety.
So: how can we better deal with change? We should try to be RESILIENT and PROACTIVE.
Resilience is the ability to deal with stressful events, overcome them and continue to develop by increasing our resources, with a consequent positive reorganization of our life. Being resilient means staying highly productive even in difficult times, it means capitalizing experiences and treasuring them to look forward with energy, enhancing personal resources.
A resilient person owns some peculiar characteristics, in particular he/she:
- considers negative events as momentary and limited;
- has the ability to cope well with pressure and adversity;
- believes to be in control of his/her life;
- is motivated to achieve his/her goals;
- tends to see changes as a challenge and an opportunity;
- even in case of defeat and frustration, does not lose hope.
In the past, resilience was believed to be only an individual trait, in recent years research has shown that resilience can be built, trained, strengthened. Even if we already have a basic endowment of resilience from birth, we can therefore increase it.
The techniques are varied, but the main objectives are:
- identify our irrational or dysfunctional ideas (cognitive assessment);
- increase the sense of self-efficacy and self-control;
- regulate physiological activation, for example through meditation.
Proactivity refers to an anticipatory and change-oriented approach; it implies acting in advance for a future situation, rather than reacting, taking control and making things happen, instead of adapting to a situation or waiting for something to happen. The opposite of being proactive, for example, is to passively wait for someone’s help to arrive, not taking control of the situation, wasting time and energy, complaining in vain instead of acting concretely.
In proactive behavior the focus is not on the problem but on the result, on the goal that I want to achieve; so my attention is turned to the present and to the future.
The thought behind proactive behavior is: WHAT DO I WANT TO OBTAIN AND HOW?
Remember: you do not become resilient and proactive from one day to another; commitment, dedication and discipline are needed.
Resilience and proactivity are not a condition or an innate quality, but an active process!
Silvia Zoni, PhD in Occupational Medicine, Psychologist, Psychotherapist, Consultant