Last updated July 4, 2024

If you are looking for resilience activities for workplace training, here are 12 suitable ideas to get you started.

Resilience activities for workplace training

Resilience Activities for Workplace Training

1. Resilience Role Models

Number of People: Any

Time Needed: 20 minutes

Intention: This resilience activity is great for helping employees find inspiration from other resilient individuals. This activity highlights the importance of learning from others’ experiences and how it can help us build our own resilience.

Items Needed: None

How to Run the Activity: Ask participants to think about someone they consider a resilience role model.

It can be anybody they wish. It might be someone in the news, someone they know personally, a famous sports or TV star. It’s their choice.

Encourage them though to choose someone whose story of overcoming challenges resonates with them personally.

If participants struggle to think of someone, provide examples such as a famous sports star who is in the news, a famous leader, or someone who might be well-known and respected locally.

Allowing 10 minutes for the first part of this activity, ask the participants to write down the answers to the following questions, on a sheet of A4 (or digitally):

  • What is the person’s name?
  • What challenges would you say the person has faced and overcome?
  • What can we learn from what this person has done/achieved?
  • What qualities or personality traits would you say have helped this person be resilient and achieve what they have?

Next, place participants into small groups of 3 to 5 people and ask them to share with the others in their group the storyline they have created about their chosen resilience person.

After a person has told their storyline, others in the group may ask questions to learn more about the resilience of the person being discussed. Give the participants 10 minutes for this.

You can extend this activity by asking a couple of people who wish to share their stories, to do so with the rest of the class.

End the activity by explaining that reading about others who have achieved great things can be a great way to learn about resilience.

2. Five Good Things

Number of People: No minimum

Time Needed: 15 minutes

Intention: This gets the participants thinking about the positive things that occur in their lives. We often fail to take the time to acknowledge and appreciate these small wins that we experience on a daily basis.

Learning to appreciate these small daily wins can help us build resilience, by teaching us to appreciate how daily persistence can lead us to success.

Items Needed: Pen and paper.

How to Run the Activity: This is another simple-to-run activity and it tends to be one of the most popular (or at least it was in workshops that I have run) for resilience training.

Allocate 5 minutes for everyone to start thinking about and then writing down on a piece of paper, 5 things that they achieved the day before.

Explain that these things can be small things or big things. As long as it can be seen as an achievement it counts. Explain that small things build to achieve bigger tasks and all count.

If participants struggle to think of things, give a few examples such as:

  • I talked to someone new
  • I learned 3 new words in Italian
  • I ran 5km
  • I completed my Excel training

After the 5 minutes, pair people up and have them discuss, in their pairs, the achievements they wrote down.

If you wish, you can then bring the class together for another 5 or 10 minutes and ask a few people to share their achievements of the previous day.

End the activity by reiterating that we should remember our achievements no matter how small and use these as building blocks for developing our resilience.

3. Knowing Your Strengths

Knowing your strengths activity

This is one of the easiest resilience activities for workplace training and also one of the best for building the participants’ confidence.

Number of People: Any number needed.

Time Needed: 25 minutes

Intention: This resilience activity helps participants to recognize their own strengths; strengths that can aid their resilience.

Items Needed: Strengths assessment tools, pens and paper. Optional: internet access for online assessments.

How to Run the Activity: Hand participants a printed questionnaire with 5 to 10 questions on it. You can use these questions if you wish:

  • How do I typically react when faced with unexpected changes or setbacks?
  • What do you consider your greatest achievements?
  • What positive feedback do you consistently receive from others?
  • When times are difficult, what is my way of being resilient and being positive?
  • What changes can I make to strengthen my resilience moving forward?

Give participants 10 minutes to think about the questions and to write down some notes in bullet point form.

Once the first part of the task is complete, ask participants to now reflect on the following questions:

  • Which strengths surprised you?
  • What benefits have these strengths given you in the past?
  • How can you use these strengths more effectively in your personal and professional life?

Have participants write down their reflections and insights.

Next, put people together into pairs and ask each pair to explain to each other their top strengths and their reflections on how these strengths have helped them in the past. Allow 5 minutes for this task above.

You can have a class discussion for another 10 minutes if you wish to extend this activity. An idea can be to write on a whiteboard the keywords that everyone says as a strength. If a term is used more than once add the number of instances.

At the end of the task, you will see which words/terms everyone in the class rated the highest.

4. Funny Stories

Funny stories exercise

One of my all-time favourite resilience building activities is the ‘Funny Stories’ activity and I think that as a trainer or facilitator, you might enjoy it too.

Number of People: Any (individuals or teams)

Time Needed: 25 minutes

Intention: This is a great resilience exercise that helps boost resilience through the power of laughter. Recognising and embracing humour, in everyday life, helps us form a positive mindset.

Items Needed: Paper and pen.

How to Run the Activity: Begin by explaining that laughter is useful when we think about building resilience because laughter can reduce stress, improve our mood, and strengthen our social bonds.

Now ask participants to spend 10 minutes to think about two of the funniest things they have experienced, seen, or heard recently.

This can be anything whether it be something hilarious that they experienced or saw, something they read about, or saw (i.e., on TV or YouTube), or something funny that happened at work.

They should write down the two ideas and ask them to include a few details.

For example, instead of writing “I saw a funny video,” they might write “I watched a video of a cat trying to jump onto a counter, missing, and landing on top of a plant, on YouTube and it made me laugh with tears.”

Once participants have written down their funny experiences, they should spend 5 minutes reflecting on how each of the two experiences made them feel.

  • Did it make them laugh out loud, smile, or just feel a bit lighter?
  • How did their mood change as a result?
  • Why in particular did you find it funny? Encourage participants to consider the elements of surprise, timing, context, or personal relevance that made the moment humourous.
  • Have participants write down these reflections next to each experience.
  • “I found the cat video funny because it was unexpected and the cat’s reaction was so dramatic.”

Next put participants into small groups (say 3 or 4 people in each) and have them share one of their experiences with the rest of their small group.

If time permits, you can bring the class together for 5 minutes and discuss as a group, how recognizing humour and laughter can contribute to a positive mindset and enhance resilience.

This is also a great resilience in the workplace exercise for team building or as an icebreaker.

Resilience training materials

>> Resilience Training Course materials

5. Resilience Building Blocks

Number of People: 4 or more people.

Time Needed: 30 minutes

Intention: This is one of the best resilience building exercises for teams. It also helps each person participating to identify and understand personal resilience factors.

Various factors contribute to building resilience and these include social support, problem-solving skills, and self-care. This activity will include all three.

Items Needed: Building blocks (or LEGO sets), markers, and paper.

How to Run the Activity: Give each participant a set of building blocks or pieces of LEGO.

Now ask them to reflect on the factors that contribute to their personal resilience (such as their specific skills, support systems, and personal values).

Participants need to write down each factor on a small piece of paper and attach it to a building block.

They will then use the blocks to build a structure that represents their resilience.

Give everyone 10 minutes for this.

For the second part of the activity (this will require another 10 minutes), split participants into small groups and have them explain their resilience structures to each other.

They can explain the significance of each block and how it aids their overall resilience.

To conclude the activity you can mention that it is important to recognize and cultivate these resilience factors in daily life.

The participants might want to take a photo of their structure if they have a smartphone so that they can remember how their structure looked.

6. Resilience Vision Board

Number of People: Any

Time Needed: 30 minutes (but can be adapted time-wise as needed)

Intention: This is a visualisation exercise that’s great for teaching how to set goals for building resilience.

Items Needed: Magazines, scissors, glue, poster boards, and markers.

How to Run the Activity: Start by allowing 5 minutes to distribute the materials that each participant will need.

Either ask them to bring or provide them with a large piece of A3 paper, magazines, scissors, glue, and markers. (This can be done digitally on an iPad or computer as needed so can also be a great online activity).

For the next part of the activity allow 15 minutes.

Instruct participants to think about the qualities, goals, and practices they associate with resilience.

They will now spend 15 minutes creating their own vision board by looking through the magazines and cutting out images, words, and phrases that represent resilience to them.

Have them arrange and glue these items onto their poster boards, creating a collage that visually represents their vision of resilience.

Encourage participants to use markers to add their own drawings or words to further personalize their boards.

After the 15 minutes is up, allow 10 minutes for a group sharing exercise where you invite people to explain their vision board and how, for them, it represents resilience.

Participants can keep their vision board at the end of the session for future reference, or to add to as they wish, in their own time.

7. Resilience Rescue Mission

You might want to start off this resilience activity by explaining that problem-solving skills are important for resilience.

Effective problem-solving helps you to manage and navigate challenges and find solutions under stress.

Number of People: Two or more.

Time Needed: 30 minutes

Intention: To develop problem-solving skills to enhance resilience.

Items Needed: Whiteboard or flip chart, markers, paper, pens

How to Run the Activity: Put participants into groups of 3 or 4 (depending on how many people are in your workshop) and give them 5 minutes to identify and write down a current challenge one of them is facing.

Now the small groups will spend 10 minutes to brainstorm possible solutions.

Explain also that creative and innovative ideas are welcome no matter how unusual or quirky they might be.

Next allow another 5 or 10 minutes for the groups to then go through each option and to consider its feasibility, resources needed, and potential impact. They should choose their number one choice.

Allow another 5 to 10 minutes for a whole class discussion with some of the groups selected to explain the issue they tried to solve and their solution and how this might relate to resilience.

8. Stress Management Role-Play

When using resilience activities for workplace training, it is worth drawing on activities from other soft skills areas (as we did with the problem-solving above).

In this activity, we draw on stress management in relation to building resilience.

Effective stress management techniques can help you stay calm and focused during tough challenges at work.

With this in mind, an exercise related to stress management can be really helpful in a resilience workshop.

Number of People: Pairs or small groups

Time Needed: 25 minutes

Intention: This resilience exercise helps participants practice and develop stress management techniques.

Items Needed: Role-play scenarios, pens, and paper.

How to Run the Activity: Divide participants into pairs or small groups (of 3 or 4).

Then provide each group with a role-play scenario that involves a stressful situation (e.g., a tight deadline at work, a conflict with a colleague, or a personal crisis).

Ask each group to take a few minutes to read through their scenario and discuss potential stress management techniques they could use.

Allowing 10 minutes for this, in their groups participants will then act out a role-play.

One person will play the role of the individual facing the stress and the others will provide support or play other roles as needed.

Encourage participants to practice different stress management techniques, such as deep breathing, positive self-talk, and seeking support from others during the role-play.

If you wish to extend the activity, you can have a different member of the group be the individual under stress.

After the activity is over, have a class discussion about their scenario and the stress management techniques they practised and used in the role-play.

If you need more information on Stress management you can find the stress management materials below:

Stress Managment workshops
>> Stress Management Training Materials

9. Strengths-Based Role Reversal

Using one’s individual strengths also helps in building resilience hence this role reversal activity is a way to gain new perspectives and appreciate different strengths.

Number of People: Pairs

Time Needed: 25 minutes

Intention: To gain new perspectives and appreciate different strengths.

Items Needed: None

How to Run the Activity: Pair participants up and then give them 5 minutes to talk about their main strengths at work and in their personal life.

They might, for example, be well-organized, great at time management, or have excellent people skills.

Next, give the groups 10 minutes to do a role reversal. One person in each pair will take on the other person’s strengths and responsibilities in a role-play.

So for example, if one person is known for their organizational skills, their partner should try to embody and demonstrate those skills during the role-play.

The participants should try and have fun with the activity by being creative in the role reversal, using their minds to be inventive where possible.

As the facilitator, you can then ask everyone, in a join class discussion for 5 minutes, questions such as:

  • What did you learn about your partner’s strengths?
  • How did it feel to step into their role?
  • How can you apply this new perspective to your own resilience?

10. Resilience Mapping

This is another of those resilience exercises that is building on the participants’ existing strengths. Resilience mapping helps in identifying personal resources and strategies for building resilience.

Number of People: Any

Time Needed: 30 minutes

Intention: This resilience activity helps employees visualize personal resilience resources and strategies.

Items Needed: Large sheets of paper, markers, and sticky notes.

How to Run the Activity: Give each participant a large sheet of paper and markers.

Then ask participants to draw a central circle with their name in it.

Around this circle, they need to add branches representing different aspects of their resilience (e.g., support network, personal strengths, coping strategies, hobbies).

The sticky notes can be used to add specific examples or details to each branch. For instance, under “support network,” they might write names of family members, friends, or colleagues.

You can allocate 10 minutes for this task above.

Then, after the resilience maps are created, allow 5 minutes for participants to share their resilience maps with the group (if the group is not too big) or in pairs.

11. Stress Ball Creation

As we have mentioned in a previous activity, stress and resilience overlap hence this stress balls activity can be a way to create a personal stress-relief tool.

Number of People: Any

Time Needed: 20 minutes

Intention: Of all 12 resilience activities for adults listed in this post, this one is often a favourite for participants as it helps to provide a stress-relief tool.

Items Needed: Balloons, flour or rice, funnels, markers

How to Run the Activity: Participants will spend 10 minutes making their own stress ball.

So to get started, hand out materials such as balloons, flour or rice, and funnels to participants.

As the trainer or facilitator, you might want to demonstrate how to fill the balloons with flour or rice using the funnels.

Explain to the participants that the balloons need to be filled to a certain level and securely tied.

The participants can also personalize their stress balls with markers, adding personal touches or positive affirmations.

Then allow 5 minutes for people to walk around the classroom/training room to take a look at other people’s stress balls, i.e. to see what designs and positive affirmations others have used.

12. Resilience Pictionary

The benefits of using creative expression and teamwork are that they help build resilience.

This game of Resilience Pictionary involves participants drawing and guessing resilience-related words or phrases.

Number of People: Any

Time Needed: 15 minutes

Intention: This resilience exercise helps to build resilience through creative expression and teamwork.

Items Needed: Whiteboard or large paper, markers, and a list of resilience-related words or phrases.

How to Run the Activity: Split people into teams of 4 or 5 people and then allow them 15 minutes to play this game.

One player from the first team selects a resilience-related word or phrase from a list and tries to draw it while their team guesses.

Allow 2 minutes for each round (you might need a stopwatch, if there is no clock on the wall in the training room).

Award a team 1 point if they get the word within the 2 minutes.

Rotate the drawing role among team members and continue for several rounds.

To end the activity you can have a class discussion for 5 minutes to discuss the words and phrases that were drawn. Ask questions like:

  • What did you learn about resilience through this activity?
  • How did teamwork help in guessing the drawings?

This exercise is also great for resilience team building activities if team building is important in the training.

Resilience Training Course Materials

If you were searching for resilience activities and exercises, you might also be interested in our resilience training course materials.

Resilience training materials
>> Resilience training materials
Dr Valeria Lo Iacono
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