When Mental Burnout Strikes, Firms Offer Positivity Support

By ACSH Staff — Mar 23, 2016
Companies in the U.S. and abroad are introducing "resilience workshops" to combat mental fatigue and burnout in the workplace. These workshops are an attempt by employers to inject positivity by employing a variety of external interventions such as individual coaching, seminars and even physical activity.
shutterstock_390895261 Resilience via Shutterstock

Burnout, when created as a result of a demanding job, can be tough to avoid. And with the inverse relationship between negativity and work productivity clearly established, it's no wonder employers are becoming increasingly interested in boosting employee morale.

Specifically, companies across the United States and abroad are introducing techniques to improve and sustain positivity throughout the workplace by introducing "resilience workshops." These workshops are an attempt by employers to cultivate worker satisfaction through a variety of external interventions that can range from anything from a one-off executive coaching session to weekly bouts of yoga.

By definition, resilience is the capacity and dynamic process of adaptively overcoming stress and adversity, while maintaining normal psychological and physical functioning. A combination of genetic, developmental, psychosocial and neurochemical factors are considered essential contributors to the development of resilience.

And it is only through hardship -- like the daily pressures attached to a stressful job -- when we truly understand how resilient we really are. But individuals vary greatly in their ability to rebound and refocus, with some lacking in ability more than others.

Luckily, however, one's capacity for resilience is, by no means, fixed. Similar to a muscle, resilience is something we can exercise and thus make stronger.

"We know that resilience can be developed, and you can give people the resources within them the power to bounce back from adversity," says Fred Luthans, management professor emeritus at the University of Nebraska. Lutherans is also the co-author of "Psychological Capital and Beyond," a book the Wall Street Journal described as being about "applying positive psychology science at work and is actively developing webinars on resilience training."

And some compelling evidence exists with regard to the link between resilience training and positive, work-related outcomes.

A study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology reported that workers subjected to leadership workshops and individual coaching sessions, designed to increase resilience, showed increased goal attainment, workplace well-being and reduced feelings of depression and stress after the 10-week intervention.

In another study from the Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment, and Health, 48 British workers were randomly assigned to a workshop that employed yoga as a mechanism to reduce stress and bolster resilience. After six weeks, these individuals reported greater feelings of clear-mindedness, elation and confidence among other psychological measures. How these findings translate exactly into greater productivity is unclear, however, they do suggest that interventions designed to enhance worker resilience can be valuable.