How Does Therapeutic Behavior Management Relate to Business?
Not only are these tips useful to Human Resources professionals, but they can help us all deal to stress in our work lives.
More than 80% of workers in the United States admit to having job-related stress. This continued stress frequently leads to burnout, which can affect an employee’s ability to remain productive in the workplace. Therapeutic behavior management can be beneficial to any employee experiencing job-related stress.
Job Stress vs. Professional Challenges
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the perception of job stress is frequently confused with professional challenges. These two concepts are not one and the same.
Job stress leads to unhealthy physical and emotional reactions, whereas professional challenges can energize an individual both mentally and physically.
Challenges motivate professionals to master new skills that will improve their job performance. Successfully completing a challenge at work frequently leads to the same feeling of satisfaction an individual experienced following accomplishments during their college career.
A survey conducted by Northwestern National Life finds that 40% of the workers surveyed feel their jobs are very stressful. Additionally, one-fourth of employees consider their jobs to be the number one stressor in their lives.
The Effect of Job Stress on an Individual’s Health
When an individual becomes stressed, the brain begins to prepare the body to take defensive action. This defensive action is frequently referred to as the fight or flight response.
During this response:
- The nervous system arouses and releases hormones to enhance the senses
- Respiration deepens
- The pulse quickens
- Muscles become tense
Although occasional or brief episodes of stress are of little concern, stressful situations that keep the body in a continuous state of activation must be addressed.
A continued state of fight or flight activation increases the amount of wear and tear on the biological systems throughout the body. Eventually, the ability for the body to defend and repair itself becomes compromised. This increases the risk of the individual becoming ill or injured.
Reduce Stress by Changing Your Thoughts About Work
Dr. Frank Ghinassi, who has served on the board of the Academic Behavioral Health Consortium, states that in order to make it through the workday with less stress, we need to alter the way we think about work. Changing our perspective may significantly reduce the apprehension and nervousness we experience in the workplace.
Ghinassi states that it is not necessarily the facts that compel our emotions, but what we think about a particular event. Our cognitive interpretations are responsible for driving how we feel.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Job-Related Stress
The National Institute of Mental Health recognizes CBT as an effective treatment for anxiety disorders and depression.
CBT therapy is unique in that it focuses on the beliefs and thoughts a patient has, rather than a patient’s actions. Because job-related stress is frequently caused by perception, some of the strategies utilized in CBT therapy may help individuals who are dealing with job-related stress.
4 CBT-Inspired Strategies to Reduce Job-Related Stress
Stress levels begin to rise as our responsibilities increase throughout the workday. Make a list of the things you need to accomplish. Rate these tasks according to importance. Chances are that several tasks are crucial, while others are not very important. Now you can focus your attention on the crucial tasks; completing the unimportant tasks only after the crucial tasks have been addressed.
By taking the time to prioritize, you can clearly see the tasks that require immediate attention and which tasks can be addressed at your leisure; thus reducing your stress levels.
2. Create an Oasis
Whenever your attention wanders and you begin thinking stressful thoughts, Ghinassi recommends taking a break. Find a quiet place where you can perform calming non-physical exercises. These exercises may include positive imagery, deep breathing, and listening to soothing music.
3. Use Probability to Eliminate Negative Thoughts
Catastrophizing is a type of thought pattern that focuses on every possible mistake or slip up that can lead to a downfall. Besides causing stress, this kind of black-and-white thinking may cause you to have a sense of impending doom. Instead, Ghinassi suggests controlling these thoughts by weighing the likelihood – or probability – of something happening. Once you bring this technique into your regular patterns of thought, it can be a calming influence in eliminating worry about things that aren’t likely to manifest into actual problems.
4. The Cognitive Flip
If you feel as if you have lost control of a situation, you can try to curb stress levels by thinking about the things you can control. That doesn’t mean the things you can’t control won’t happen but by focusing on what you have the power to control, you are reminded that you can shape your own outcomes.
Having these behavior management tools at your disposal and knowing how to use them will help you manage stress, often before it becomes debilitating. If you are a manager, fostering some of these patterns in a general way can help your staff.
By addressing staff mental health issues, performance levels increase and a company or organization becomes a better place to work. A qualified leader in a company’s human resources department will encourage the use of these techniques by everyone in the company, when needed. They can be used to significantly improve the atmosphere and health of the work force.
Knowing methods like this to improve morale and productivity is just one small – but very effective – part of an advanced human resources education, such as a Master of Science in Human Resources Management. If you want to step up and do more for your company, look into the online master’s in human resources management offered by The University of Scranton.