Our work at Stress Management Plus with groups and individuals is based on cognitive behavioural approaches to promoting psychological wellbeing, and focussing on how resourceful we are, and what we need to do to learn and develop. If we're worried or anxious or stressed or whatever, learning and developing can become quite difficult for us, as we aren't as perceptive and receptive as we could and should be. That's obviously not good for us personally or in the work context for the business.
From our perspective, a cognitive behavioural approach involves thinking in helpful ways, leading to feeling and behaving in helpful ways, leading to thinking in helpful ways and so on.
What do we mean by thinking and behaving in helpful ways, and which of these could you maybe do more of? Here are just a few examples:
Keeping things in perspective
Not giving yourself a hard time
Being mindful/in the present moment
Giving yourself credit
Expressing yourself/Being assertive
Looking after yourself
Relaxing/Not taking too much on
Doing things that make you feel good
Not being put off by minor setbacks
We may have been thinking or behaving in an opposite way to this for quite some time - being unnecessarily self-critical; not expressing our thoughts and feelings/always putting others first; dwelling on the past in a negative way; lacking in self-belief - either part-time (now and then) or full-time (all the time). It's likely as a result that we won't make the most of ourselves, and that we'll experience unhelpful feelings too. No matter how long we may have thought and felt like this though, where there's life there's hope, and we CAN change and develop and grow. It will take time and effort, and we may not always be on an upward curve, but we can do it. It may require small incremental steps, and we'll need to persevere, and not be put off if success isn't instant or by temporary setbacks.
George (not his real name) was a client of mine who had issues around a lack of assertiveness, which had led to his having difficulties with a number of relationships: he'd not felt able to express himself fully, didn't want to 'make waves' and as a result he'd either felt patronised and put up with it or he'd simply ended friendships as he couldn't see a future in them. This had led to his not feeling 100% good about himself, and to having negative thoughts about himself (a 'chicken and egg' situation of course). What we spoke about was how he could find ways around this, and make a start by practicing being assertive - for example speaking up and saying what he thought without fearing the consequences - in a non-threatening situation. He was therefore changing his behaviour - which would lead to change in others' behaviour towards him - with a view to thinking and feeling more helpfully, resulting in his behaving more helpfully, and so on, as described above.
Whether we're a part-timer or full-timer in this, if we can identify and acknowledge what's happening - not always evident I know - and recognise and accept that we can do something about it, change and growth and learning and development is very, very possible.
Click on the link for some more info on Assertiveness Skills.
Please call Marc Kirby at Stress Management Plus on 0118 3283246 if you’d like to discuss how we can support you or your organisation.