Grit isn't just for students. It can improve adults' work and personal lives, too.

Helping employees learn to be more resilient has significant benefits for both individuals and companies as a whole, Laura Landro writes for the Wall Street Journal.

"Studies find people with the most resilience tend to be more productive, less likely to have high health-care costs and less often absent from work," Landro says.

With so much to gain from having resilient employees, some employers are offering workers programs in resilience coaching to teach them how to stay focused and productive, even when times get tough. 

Landro notes that "while some people have natural coping skills," grit is like any other skill that must be honed over time and practiced.

"We know that resilience can be developed, and you can give people the resources to build within them the power to bounce back from adversity," says Fred Luthans, management professor emeritus at the University of Nebraska. Luthans co-authored the book "Psychological Capital and Beyond," which is about applying principles of positive psychology to the workplace.

How one health system promotes resilience in employees

HealthPartners, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit health system, offered emotional resilience group coaching to 2,200 employees at its headquarters in 2013 and 2014, including emotional resilience training for about 2,000 managers. Some employees also received virtual coaching on topics such as sleep hygiene, positive thinking, and stress management.

A recent study found that HealthPartners' employees who took part in three one-hour emotional resilience sessions enjoyed continued wellbeing one year later. They also experienced improvements in certain lifestyle factors, as well as life and job satisfaction.

HealthPartners offers the following tips based on its resilience coaching for developing grit:

1: Cut out negative self-talk

Beating yourself up will get you nowhere. Catch negative, self-deprecating thoughts and phrases and change them into positive ones.

2: Find your place of peace

When life gets hectic, take a quick break and move to a quiet, calm location. If you can't physically go anywhere, envision yourself in a soothing environment.

3: Adopt a positive attitude

People will respond more kindly to someone who puts forth a positive attitude. Consider your actions, body language, and demeanor when interacting with others. Be an engaged listener and ask thoughtful questions.

4: Invite a co-worker for a walk

Having a friend at work is important for job satisfaction and performance. Use a quick walk as an opportunity to develop your friendship and get some exercise.

5: Be grateful

When life is messy, it can be difficult to think about gratitude. But writing down just three things you're grateful for each day will go a long way toward setting yourself up to take on the challenges ahead (Landro, Wall Street Journal, 2/15). 


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