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International Stress Awareness Week 2019 – ‘Building Personal Resilience’

International Stress Awareness Week 2019 – ‘Building Personal Resilience’ Main Image

It’s almost time for International Stress Awareness Week (ISAW). The theme for ISAW 2019 (4th to 8th November) is ‘Developing Resilience’. This is a great opportunity to consider how you can increase both your personal resilience, begin to develop a more resilient team and in turn a culture of wellbeing within your organisation.

To support you in your journey we have put together our top ten tips to increasing personal resilience, derived from our flagship ‘Excelling under Pressure: Mastering Personal Resilience’ Workshop’

Resilience refers to how well you can cope with and bounce back from the inevitable challenges of life. It is the difference between handling pressure and losing your cool. Resilient people tend to be less impacted by challenging circumstances, maintain a more positive outlook and cope with stress more effectively. Is this nature or nurture? Studies have shown some people are naturally more resilient, however resilience is also a trait that can be developed.

Whether or not you are experiencing a tough time now or you want to better equip yourself to cope with the ever increasing demands of modern life, we trust you will find our five top tips to ‘Mastering Personal Resilience’ useful:


Imagine a bridge that has too much weight and load applied to it. Regardless of how well constructed the bridge is, if the ‘demand’ exceeds the ‘resources’ every bridge on the planet will ultimately collapse. This is also true for every human being. Regardless of how mentally tough and resilient you are, we all have a breaking point. Recognise what the signs and symptoms are when your ‘resilience bridge’ is bowing and buckling, and consider what you can do to either alleviate the load, or strengthen the bridge with personal resilience strategies to better equip you to cope. To learn more watch this short video.


In 2003 following a traumatic personal situation that lead to a breakdown and an attempt to end of my own life, I found myself in the deepest, darkest emotional valley I had ever experienced. Following a quest to the Himalaya’s, and a period of self-reflection and introspection, I had a spiritual epiphany. It all became clear, my life challenges were a gift that allowed me to discover my Ikigai – my very reason for being.

In the face of crisis or tragedy, finding a sense of purpose can play an important role in your recovery. This might mean becoming involved in your community, cultivating your spirituality, or participating in activities that are meaningful to you. Want to discover your Ikigai? Take our Ikigai test now by clicking here.


If you believe you are strong and can cope with the pressures and demands of life, you are correct. If you believe you are weak and unable to cope with all the life throws at you, you are also right. Whatever you believe eventually becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Having confidence in your ability to cope with the stresses of life can play an important part in increasing your resilience.

Research has demonstrated that your self-esteem, self-worth and self-image play a crucial role in coping with stress and recovering from difficult events. Remind yourself of your strengths and accomplishments. Rather than focusing on what is going wrong, what you don’t have, and the challenges you face, develop a gratitude mind-set. Keep a gratitude journal and document at least 5 things every day that you are grateful for.

When you hear negative self-talk, immediately replacing the commentary with positive affirmations. Replace ‘I can’t do this,’ with ‘I got this’. Instead of ‘I’ve screwed this up’ use ‘How can I learn and grow from this experience’
Becoming more confident in your own abilities, including your ability to respond to and deal with a crisis and mastering self-talk, is a great way to build resilience for the future. For further reading check out my new book ‘Turn Negatives into Positives’


It’s important to have people you can turn to in times of need, friends or family members you can confide in. Having caring, supportive people around you act as a safety net to your bridge in times of crisis.

While simply talking about a situation with a friend or loved one won’t make your troubles go away, it allows you to get things off your chest – and as the saying goes ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’. As you verbalise your troubles, you will start to release the pressure valve and starting focusing on solutions.

What kind of support network do you currently have? This can be anyone from your best friend, a family member, or a counsellor. There may be a whole group of people that support you, or just one.  Who you can turn to for the following:

  • Fun
  • Emotional support
  • An emergency
  • A confidence boost
  • A reality check
  • A distraction



When you are under pressure and experiencing stress, it can be all too easy to neglect yourself. Losing your appetite, ignoring exercise, and not getting enough sleep are all common symptoms of a bowing and buckling bridge.

Focus on building your self-nurturance skills, even when you’re troubled. Make time for activities that you enjoy.
Make time for:
Music, meditation, guided relaxation, yoga, social activities.
Introduce a sleep routine – think of how you may prepare a child for sleep, and give yourself similar attention.

Exercise: When we get stressed our body is preparing for a physical response. Any kind of physical activity burns off the stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol). It also releases feel good hormones like serotonin and endorphins

1. Catch ups – Instead of popping round to your friends for a cup of tea to catch up, why not meet up at the local park and go for a walk whilst chatting? You can burn a lot of calories whilst walking and it’s the perfect excuse to have regular catch ups with your friends!
2. Do what you love – that way it will be something that is sustainable.
3. And always take the stairs – our office is on the second floor and in the three years of being here I can happily report not a single member of staff has ever used the lift to get to the office – it is only ever used to transport goods!

By taking care of your own needs, you can boost your overall health and resilience and be fully ready to face life’s challenges.

Build your personal resilience at our up and coming ‘Excelling under Pressure’ workshop

19th November 2019, Elstree
Our ‘Excelling Under Pressure’ workshop is designed to build self-awareness, resilience and to empower individuals to recognise stress and tackle stress-related challenges through effective, practical and proven coping strategies. In the workshop, we explore some of the flawed strategies that people commonly use to deal with stress at work and provide more beneficial alternatives including practical exercises and techniques designed to maximise your personal resilience.
In this powerful and engaging one day workshop we can help you:
• Understand and recognise the signs and symptoms of stress
• Learn practical techniques and strategies to deal with stress (including time management, relaxation and visualisation techniques)
• Build your own personal resilience
• Work with increasing life demands and work pressure
As a special gift to all our newsletter readers the course will be half price for any bookings made before the end of ISAW (8th November).  Click here for more information or to book now.


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