Stressed? Anxious? How to be more resilient

Work-related stress led to 9.9 million lost working days in 2014-15 and the main factors cited were workload pressures like tight deadlines. It’s a picture that will be familiar to many in internal communicators – and the pressure to ‘do more with less’ has increased... InsideOut talks to psychotherapist Rebecca Howard about how to be more resilient.

The NHS issued 53 million prescriptions for antidepressants in 2013 – up a quarter on the previous three years – and 440,000 cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety were reported in 2014/15.

Surgeries are increasingly becoming full of people with chronic unexplained pain, stress, mental health, psychological and musculoskeletal illnesses. A third to half of all patients suffer from symptoms that have no identifiable pathology or cause, and according to the World Health Organisation stress is a global epidemic.

The chances are, if you’re feeling overworked, it won’t change soon – but psychotherapist Rebecca Howard says you can change your mindset.

“I don’t think there’s a solution to extract stress from modern-day life,” she says bluntly. “I can’t reduce the stress, that comes from companies wanting to perform better, or huge change in the workplace, or the drive to do more with less.

“But you can shift your thinking to create a different response to stressful situations.”

As CEO at Cynergy and Shinymind, Rebecca has worked on resilience with clients from the NHS, Welfare to Work and many education establishments, and says: “Being resilient is not about meditation, sleeping, eating well and exercising – although they are all absolutely good for you. “It’s about helping people understand they can be resilient even in tough times. It’s not something we are born with, like charisma, it’s an active choice to have it or not.”

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