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Emma O'Connor


Jon Kabat-Zimm tells us that “you cannot stop the waves, but you can learn to surf”, a reminder to all of us that managing our own stress and building resilience is vital to us being able to “thrive”.  

Emma O’Connor Head of Training, looks at our recent Managing Stress and Building Resilience in the Workplace course and asks, what did we learn?

managing stress and building resilience in the workplace

I had the pleasure of hosting our first ever Managing Stress and Building Resilience in the Workplace training workshop with Geraldine Joaquim of Mind Your Business from our Reading office. I am determined to reflect on what I learned during the session rather than file the materials away for another day.

My primary takeaway is that this is a topic which we could all identify with. I have written about the business case for implementing a stress and resilience strategy and culture as part of your people management policies but we should not forget the human side. We can all remember times in our own lives past and maybe present, when the “pint pot” was full, nearly full or spilling over, a time when whether it was work or home that was the stressor – or both.   

I was reminded that throughout our lives, we move through a continual wave of feeling ok, moving up into anxiety and down into depression and that this is normal. Positive mental health is also rarely an absolute state: factors both in and out of work affect the mental health of everyone, moving us up or down a spectrum that ranges from good to poor. During our discussion, we talked about how stress can manifest itself physically and emotionally be it in mood, sleep (or lack of), diet and appearance as well as other physical symptoms – sweaty palms, feeling flushed. The stress test was also illuminating as it showed that even thinking about past stressful events, can still have an effect today. Stress can sometimes feel like we are moving on autopilot, particularly in our modern world of work. We talked about how we must manage our own stress before we can help those in our teams or other colleagues.  

Whilst we talked about the symptoms and consequences of stress, we learned that stress management is about prevention. If we can learn the individuals signs, the coping strategies and the tools to ride our own waves, we can begin to help others.

I also learned that happiness is our own decision too.

And lastly, be kind. Perhaps we need to have a refocus and put ourselves in the shoes of another and think how would we like to be treated? Happy people make a happy business.

Want to hear more? Why not listen to our podcast.

We are running Managing Stress and Building Resilience courses for other organisations.  Why not include this course as part of your prevention training? To find out more, or to read testimonials, get in touch.


Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.


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If you have any questions relating to this article or have any employment issues you would like to discuss, please contact the Employment team on [email protected]

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