What is the best strategy for dealing with work stress? There can be an ongoing issue, especially with business owners and managers. Owners and managers are always worrying about the bottom line, staying on top of trends, making customers and employees happy, dealing with everything from ordering to planning the next staff training. Knowing how to deal with work stress is a wonderful skill for everyone to know, but owners and managers, it is essential.
Every organization has a feel. You can often sense it when you walk into the offices. Is this place calm, in control and a supportive place to work? Or is this workplace reactionary, stressed and constantly putting out fires. The feel of the organization begins at the top, with the owners and managers. If you are feeling stressed and that stress manifests itself in you having a short temper, being angry with employees and dealing with problems in a panicked, reactionary way, that trickles down to everyone in the organization in some way. Everyone experiences stress, and the most effective managers and owners know how to deal with the stress, embrace challenges and harness the energy that solving problems can generate. From the field of positive psychology comes a simple, powerful, research-based technique that can dramatically reduce the stress you feel when faced with a challenge. It is called Cognitive Reappraisal.
Every individual differs in their adjustment and reaction to stressful life events. Some people exhibit impaired functioning, including loss of motivation and even depression. Other people exhibit impressive resilience in the face of adversity or challenging situations. The research that has been done in this area was to determine if an individual could deploy a particularly adaptive type of emotion regulation, in this case, cognitive reappraisal, that may be a protective factor in the individual’s subjective appraisal of an event. So, if someone was feeling stressed, and if cognitive reappraisal was used, it could mitigate the stress and change the meaning and significance of the challenge in the mind of the individual. In other words, reduce their stress./
Cognitive Reappraisal is simply the process of an individual reframing an event to change their emotional response to the event. This reappraisal and renaming of our emotions and reactions works because our beliefs are so powerful, and our brains can’t tell the difference between what is real and what is not real in this sense. It’s kind of a “Fake it ‘til you make it” strategy!
How to do Cognitive Reappraisal
Change your self talk
One way to reappraise your stress if you feel threatened by a challenge or a problem that is facing you is to change your self talk with these easy steps:
Acknowledge and identify the feeling you have is fear, that you feel threatened
Train yourself to think about threats as challenges.
Breath deeply. That gives more oxygen to your brain
Change your self talk. Tell yourself something different to say inside your head like:
- I am excited by the challenge
- Let’s do this
- No problem, I’ve got this
- I’ve seen problems like this before, and have overcome each one. This one is no different
- I deal with problems every day, this is just todays little problem
Or any other variation you can think of that reframes this negative to a positive.
To help you sleep that night and not have your mind racing, before you go to sleep, think about three good things that have happened that day, and your role in them. iT Could be something very brief, like “I went for a walk today”.
Do this every night it for 15 days and you will feel less burned out and will be more able to do successful Cognitive Reappraisal. This exercise loses impact after 15 days, so just do it for 15 nights and no more.
Remember, the Cognitive Reappraisal strategy is for periodic moments of stress. This is not a replacement for ongoing cognitive therapy. This will help short term, in the moment. Give it a try! What have you got to lose except your stress!