Stress Management at the Workplace: The CAB Approach
As a counselor, many people come to me because they are just plain stressed out.
They are not ‘crazy’ (whatever that really means), ‘depressed’ or ‘suicidal.’ Many of my clients just can’t seem to keep work stress from interfering with their lives outside of work. Most of my clients want to be productive and not overly anxious at work but find it can be difficult when they feel so burned out. Whenever someone like this enters my office, I always sit down with them and help them come up with solutions for their work day. Often times when the issue is work-related stress management; I like to take what I call a three-pronged approach, aka the Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral (CAB) approach.
Cognitive Focused Stress Management
This approach relies on using your rational mind to confront your stress. Many strategies exist which rely on this type of approach. One cognitive based tactic I like to use is confronting the source of my stress. Asking myself, is this really worth getting anxious about? Most times I find, the rational answer is “no.”
Affective Focused Stress Management
Unlike the previous approach, this tactic relies on your effective or emotional state. When using this tactic what I find is most helpful is fully engaging with someone else. A good emotion based intervention for stress is to “check-in” with a trusted buddy, preferably face to face, if possible. Just this honest connection with a confidant will help relieve your stress. Tell that person how you are feeling and what is going on at your job and ask them to just listen.
Behavioral Stress Management
This type of intervention relies upon you actually doing something. We all know the importance of regular physical exercise in managing our stress but this may be tough to do during the workday. However, you can still use a few simple and quick behavioral tactics. For instance, disconnect from your workstation for ten minutes every couple of hours. Get up and walk around, maybe even climb up and down a flight of stairs or two, anything that will cause your blood to pump a little harder. Also, abdominal breathing exercises are good as well, they can be done at your desk and only require about five minutes.
Work-related stress does not have to be overwhelming. By developing a simple plan with a few strategies which work for you, stress can be properly managed at work. By doing so, anyone can be productive and a little happier. Now get back to work!
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