Skip to Navigation

Stress is ubiquitous; we are all subject to the daily demands of our lives and the pressures of the workplace.
One of the side-effects of constant demand is that it is self-perpetuating, another is the tendency it produces in us to neglect our needs. We stop doing the very things we need most to counter the effects of stress: regular exercise; time for reflection; healthy habits of eating, sleeping and socialising.

In short, constant demand means that we gradually lose healthy balance in our lives and even begin to lose touch with ourselves. This is why stress so often catches people out, because thay have lost the ability to effectively self-monitor and manage their well-being. The immediate demands they are faced with trump the less urgent, but much more important, personal needs listed above.

I have noticed over the years in working with people complaining of stress-related symptoms that as demands on them increased they routinely stopped doing the very things that would have helped act as an antidote to stress: regular exercise; time for reflection; healthy habits of eating, sleeping and socialising…

Advice is all well and good, in fact we are surrounded by recommendations to counter stress and maintain balance in or lives, but it often doesn’t help much because people fail to act on it. For the same reason traditional approaches to training, though of high-value in content, are of less value in the medium to long term, particularly where stress and welleing are concerned.

Traditional training – which usually follows a predictable format – is fine for information-based topics, so it is recommended to training on matters that are technical, administrative or procedural. Topics like stress, resilience and wellbeing, which are conceptual rather than technical and therefore involve a different type of mental engagement, are better imparted through interactions that involve ‘learning by doing’. Most training of course involves practical exercises, but these are often regarded with suspicion by attendees who say they are as inauthentic and ‘not the real thing’.

So a more effective alternative to conventional ‘talk and chalk’ methodology is to design training sessions that focus on experience, re-engagement with the self, and fun. Part of the value of this approach is that participants have to suspend critical judgement to engage in the activities. They are distracted, involved and, even if on one level they may be cynical, learning is still happening on another less conscious level.

This is a new approach to training which immediately demonstrates the benefits (in this case of of de-stressing), rather than extolling the virtues of a healthier approach to life. Once people have experienced what it is to be able to reconnect with themselves, focus their thinking and relax at will, the ‘learning’ that the training is intended to impart is already well under way.

Behavioural learning – which focuses on changes in behavior due to experience – emphasises the cause-and-effect relationship between ourselves and our interactions, with others and the outside world. This approach doesn’t require  participants to take on statistics, details or theory, it simply asks them to follow instructions in a sequence of simple and practical exercises.

A typical session lasts 60-90 minutes. There are no course handouts, no writing, and very little sitting down. Participants are engaged in 4-5 practical exercises involving the whole group, small groups and individuals. At the end of the session they are handed a list of consolidation exercises to continue the work if they so choose, and also a reading list.

Results obtained in these sessions have been described by participants as ‘profound’ and ‘a real eye-opener’. Once people know how to manage their stress they can develop a sense of personal agency which invigorates and empowers them. Even if some of the participants do not ‘buy into’ the ideas, they will have enjoyed a relaxing session of stress-reduction.

Find out more:

Contact me to discuss how your organisation could use this approach.

 

What do you think? Share your thoughts...

Latest from the blog

Stop trying and start doing

Do you ever catch yourself prefacing your good intentions with “I’ll try…”?

We all have lists of things we haven’t got round to doing anything about yet. It doesn’t matter how important these are or how serious you are, if you are not making anything happen they mean nothing.

If you are really serious about making things happen for yourself this post tells you one really vital thing you must do.

Continue reading

Walking on eggshells, how to discuss sensitive issues

Difficult conversations

Most of us are careful about how we tackle sensitive issues with colleagues and family members. This article provides some pointers on how to go about raising a subject you have been avoiding, to help tackle delicate matters in a productive, fair and balanced way, and to be sure of getting the results you need. Getting the other person’s attention, striking the right note and ensuring that something changes is the challenge.

Continue reading

More Is Not Necessarily Better

Is choice good for us?
When I was a kid crisps (chips if you are outside the UK), came in one variety, ready-salted. Now we have thirty-six varieties and counting.

Having many options is not necessarily better for us, in fact it can distract and limit us. Some say that limiting choice could actually make our lives better.

Continue reading
FREE DOWNLOAD - Get it now.

How to be more Resilient

Get my super-helpful guide '9 Steps to Resilience' absolutely FREE, when you subscribe to my newsletter.

Understand the steps to resilience and you can develop the ability to cope with problems and setbacks with less stress and more confidence.
close-link
%d bloggers like this: