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At USA Today, Julia Savacool looks at a recent study on high-achieving people in professions ranging from professional sports to business. Published in Sports, Exercise and Performance Psychology, the research found five personality characteristics that are directly correlated to performing well in stressful situations. Some are easier to develop than others, but all five qualities increase personal resilience.
1. Cultivate Social Support
Friends can help reduce stress and increase happiness. In addition to building relationships outside of the office, be friendly to your co-workers. When work is stressful, people who like and respect you may be supportive.
2. Be Flexible
Flexibility and adaptability are components of resilience. Some people are naturally more flexible and some prefer stability, but anyone can learn to keep an open mind when priorities shift. Put yourself in your boss's shoes. If you can see things from his or her perspective, it'll be easier to deal with the stress of an unexpected change in plans.
3. Keep a Positive Outlook
Focus on the positive. Getting bogged down in negative thoughts increases depression and anxiety. It also reduces productivity and resilience. Focus on the positive in life, and you'll have the energy to conquer a stressful workday.
4. Maintain Control
There are things we can control, and things we cannot. Focus on what you can control; for example, you cannot control your boss's behavior but you can control your reaction to it. If you have a temperamental boss, remain calm and communicative. Your reaction may help your boss relax, which will reduce the overall stress in the office.
In general, people who have a sense of control in their lives tend to be more resilient.
5. Have Perspective
If your boss yells at you, it is not the end of the world. If there is merit in your boss's viewpoint, try to listen and improve your work. Don't let being yelled at ruin your workday and destroy your productivity.
In general, people who have friends and hobbies outside of work, who focus on the things they can control, and maintain a positive outlook enjoy more resilience. They are better able to thrive in stressful situations.
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