05th November 2019

Learning to show resilience
in the face of stress

Stress Awareness Week, 4-8th November 2019

Mental ill health, and particularly stress and its impact, seems to have become the topic of the moment. We are hearing more and more about stress and its effect on our everyday lives, possibly encouraged by the number of celebrities who have recently spoken out about their own experiences, and the recent high-profile campaign spearheaded by members of the Royal Family. However, the fact that more people are talking about it also reveals that stress has a significant impact on many people’s lives.

Stress Awareness Week runs from 4th-8th November this year and focuses on the need to develop resilience in both our working and personal lives, to help us deal with ongoing challenges.

A recent survey carried out by ISMAUK (International Stress Management Association - a leading professional body for workplace and personal stress management, wellbeing, and performance) reported that work was a significant stressor in daily life:1 

  • Almost 70% of respondents said that they had difficulty in switching off from work and continued to think about work-related issues at home
  • Almost 20% said that they were tired or exhausted from work

It has been estimated that 45% of the 11.7 million lost working days per year is due to stress.2

When asked whether the use of technology contributed to stress:1

  • Over 70% of respondents stated that they felt confident and relaxed about working with technology
  • More than half said that technology may affect their health and wellbeing, suggesting that they might be less confident than they appeared
  • Only 15% worried that they might lose their job to technology, which is interesting when you consider the increasing amount of automation we see around us in shops and businesses

Resilience is defined as ‘the ability to recover readily from, or resist becoming affected by, a setback.’ The fact that some people cope better with stress than others is mainly down to resilience. Fortunately, resilience isn’t an innate characteristic; it can be acquired over time, and the working environment is a good place to start building resilience to help cope with stressful situations. 

Developing resilience involves proactively building a range of resources to draw on when we need to. These might include becoming more self-aware, recognising and managing our energy levels, developing an understanding of what motivates us, becoming more optimistic, taking more physical activity and nurturing supportive relationships.3

The aim of this year’s Stress Awareness Week is to keep resilience high on the national agenda as part of the promotion of wellbeing in the workplace. The week will culminate in the annual conference in central London, where a range of speakers from experts in counter-terrorism to wellbeing gurus will discuss different aspects of resilience; other events include an online global stress summit and a stress fair, where professional therapists will demonstrate various potential treatments. An online stress chatbot will be available to listen to people who are experiencing stress, and can also point them towards sources of specialist help. 

Look out for symptoms of stress in both yourself and your colleagues: 

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About ISMA

A registered charity, ISMAUK exists to promote sound knowledge and best practice in stress management, both nationally and internationally. To find out more about Stress Awareness Week, visit https://isma.org.uk/national-stress-awareness-week or to find out more about ISMAUK, go to https://isma.org.uk/; you can also download fact sheets on how to recognize stress and how to manage it at https://isma.org.uk/nsad-free-downloads.

At Solaris Health we take our mental and physical wellbeing seriously and have our own MHFA qualified Mental Health First Aider who has:

  • An in-depth understanding of mental health and the factors that can affect wellbeing
  • Practical skills to spot the triggers and signs of mental health issues
  • Confidence to step in, reassure and support a person in distress
  • Enhanced interpersonal skills such as non-judgemental listening
  • Knowledge to help someone recover their health by guiding them to further support - whether that’s self-help resources, through their employer, the NHS, or a combination 

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The fact that some people cope better with stress than others is mainly down to resilience


  1. ISMAUK 2018 Stress Awareness Survey and Report. Available at: https://isma.org.uk/about-stress/books-and-publications/surveys.
  2. International Stress Awareness Week. Sample stress management programme: growth 2019 PPNT slide deck. Available at: https://isma.org.uk/national-stress-awareness-week.
  3. Imperial College London. Available at: http://www.imperial.ac.uk/health-and-wellbeing/resilience-and-stress/